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Ottawa River

Ottawa River: Our most recommended tours and activities

Ottawa: Sightseeing River Cruise

1. Ottawa: Sightseeing River Cruise

Discover the natural beauty of the region that captured the imagination of the first European explorer Samuel de Champlain. Climb aboard the 'Paula D' for a 1.5-hour sightseeing cruise on the Ottawa River. This must-do experience offers an entertaining glimpse of the region's rich history and leaves you with plenty of time to enjoy the rest of your stay. For your convenience, there are two departure docks, one located in Gatineau and another in Ottawa. Once boarded, sit back and relax as you cruise down the river. Enjoy spectacular views of the city and learn about the river's past life as a watery highway for transporting resources with your guide's engaging and informative commentary in both English and French. During your cruise, you'll have the opportunity to see the Parliament Buildings, the Rideau Canal Locks, and the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau from the river. You'll also be able to spot some sights that are only visible from the water or from Gatineau. While you're taking in the sights, savor a nice cold beverage (at your own expense) on the large open-air upper deck. Alternatively, escape the elements and visit the closed-in lower deck to take advantage of the on-board canteen with a bar.

Ottawa: 1-Hour Bilingual Guided Tour by Amphibious Bus

2. Ottawa: 1-Hour Bilingual Guided Tour by Amphibious Bus

Climb aboard a unique vehicle that can travel on land and water and discover the historical attractions of Ottawa and the Ottawa River from different perspectives. Spend 40 minutes on land and 20 minutes on the water. Admire landmark monuments and attractions such as Lake Dow, Landsdowne Park and Byward Market. Get a magnificent view of the city as you cruise along the river aboard the amphibious vehicle. See all the important sights of Ottawa and the city of Gatineau, located just across the water. Avail of an activity that is both fun and educational for the entire family, and ideal for those who are short of time but want to see it all.

Ottawa: River Zipline Adventure

3. Ottawa: River Zipline Adventure

Try out a completely unique activity that demands to be tried at least once. Try the world's only interprovincial zip-line flying across the mighty Ottawa River, separating Canada's capital, Ottawa, from the city of Gatineau. Arrive at the Welcome Desk on the Gatineau side to register and sign the liability waiver. Collect your equipment and head to the launch tower in Ottawa, an 8-minute walk from the Welcome Desk, across the Chaudière Bridge. Climb the steps to the tower and get ready to cross from one province to the other. Soar from Ontario to Quebec in less than a minute at an average speed of 40 km an hour, 120 feet above the water. Enjoy a breathtaking view of the National Capital Region with historic landmarks such as the Parliament of Canada, the historic district of Old Hull, and the Chaudière Falls, classified as a natural monument and national heritage site. Capture the whole experience and keep it as a souvenir for you and your loved ones with the Kool Replay video capture system. Quickly upload the full video of your zip line ride for your social media and watch your friends go wild.

Ottawa: Ottawa River Tour by Hawaiian Palapa Hut

4. Ottawa: Ottawa River Tour by Hawaiian Palapa Hut

Take a relaxing tour up and down the Ottawa River on a Hawaiian-style palapa hut in a boat trip like no other. Just head to one of the embarkment sites, climb aboard and get the party started. The activity provider's captains are all small vessel certified and licensed. Enjoy fancy drinks and snacks as the tiki bar takes you along the river, offering stunning views of the shoreline. Whether it’s just hanging out with friends for a fun time, spending some relaxing time with your family, taking a romantic cruise, or a group excursion, this tour is one of the most unique ways to get out on the water. Cruise the time away sipping drinks, and listening to or singing karaoke to your favorite tropical tunes.

Foresters Falls: Adventure Rafting on the Ottawa River

5. Foresters Falls: Adventure Rafting on the Ottawa River

Enjoy a thrilling rafting adventure on the Ottawa River. Paddle, splash, and rollover rapids. Follow challenging routes through the white water, led by an expert guide on this 8-hour adventure. Begin your experience at the local partner’s location with an in-depth safety briefing. After a short bus trip to the start location, meet your guide and board your raft for a day of white water adventure. Paddle with your crew as you take in views of the Ottawa River valley. Take a break for snacks and drinks, and savor a BBQ lunch at the end of your trip. Return to the meeting point and watch a video of your rafting trip, filmed by a video kayaker.

Ottawa: Afternoon, Sunset, or Night Yacht Tour with 1 Drink

6. Ottawa: Afternoon, Sunset, or Night Yacht Tour with 1 Drink

Cruise along the Ottawa River for a mellow tour aboard a classic yacht. Meet some new people or opt for an intimate experience by booking all 12 spaces. Relax in the breezy open-air deck to see landmarks such as the Chateau Laurier, the Rideau Canal Locks, the Parliament Buildings, and Rideau Falls. Meet the captain and first mate of the modest Everly or the more spacious Dolce Far Niente and get a quick safety briefing before setting sail. You can also grab dry bags for your electronics. These yachts are proudly maintained by a Canadian-owned tour company that’s accredited by Transport Canada. Kick back and take in the sights and sounds of Ottawa’s busy riverside at your ideal time of day with options in the afternoon, at sunset, or by night. Enjoy non-alcoholic beverages served on-board, or bring your own alcoholic option which staff will be happy to serve to you.

Lunch Tour on a Yacht (includes lunch + free 1st drink)

7. Lunch Tour on a Yacht (includes lunch + free 1st drink)

Spend the day on the Ottawa River on this luxurious yacht tour. Whether you're organizing a team-building trip or a getaway with friends, you'll enjoy beautiful panoramic views of Ottawa as you coast down the river. Meet your crew aboard your yacht and start with a safety briefing. Set sail with your fully-licensed captain and crew. Enjoy lunch prepared by some of Ottawa's best culinary artists and served by your crew. Alcohol is not sold on yachts, but you may bring your own bottles to enjoy. Your tour includes one gourmet sandwich with homemade chips. From the open-air deck, take in Ottawa’s riverside landmarks. Admire views of the Chateau Laurier, the Rideau Canal Locks, the Parliament Buildings, and Rideau Falls from the waterway that separates the border between Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec. Choose from the 42' long x 14' wide Everly or the 37.5' long x 11.5' wide Dolce Far Niente yachts. The Everly’s massive bow and spacious cockpit allow you more space to bring the party outside. On the Dolce Far Niente, enjoy the inviting cockpit and cabin, the massive sit-down bow, and the extended swim platform. Lunch options• Prosciutto and ham sandwich with home-made chips (prosciutto, ham, cheddar, olive, sun-dried tomato tapenade, tomatoes, and lettuce)• Gravlax sandwich with homemade chips (cured salmon, brie, beer-marinated red onions, and pesto)• Vegetarian sandwich with homemade chips (halloumi, house pickles, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, avocado, and jalapeno cream)

Foresters Falls: Soft Adventure Rafting on the Ottawa River

8. Foresters Falls: Soft Adventure Rafting on the Ottawa River

Discover the Ottawa River valley on a gentle rafting tour. Cruise down the river and splash over rapids to get an introduction to the world of white water rafting. Make your way to the local partner's location to begin your activity. After an in-depth safety briefing, board the bus for a short drive to the boats. Meet your guide, then hop aboard your raft to start your white water adventure. Enjoy the trip as you and your guide steer the raft over rapids. Admire the scenery and take a short break to enjoy some snacks and drinks. At the end of your rafting experience, a BBQ lunch is served on the boat and you can watch a video of your trip, filmed by a kayaker.

Sunrise Tour on a Yacht (includes breakfast at Zak's Dinner)

9. Sunrise Tour on a Yacht (includes breakfast at Zak's Dinner)

Board a luxury yacht at dawn, just minutes before the sun rises over Ottawa, Ontario’s stately second city and Canada’s capital. Set off on the calm Ottawa River, enjoying views of iconic buildings and national historic sites lined along the shoreline before heading to ByWard Market for breakfast. Find your spot on the open-air back deck of luxury yacht Dolce Far Niente to watch the morning sun cast its glow on the river, city, and surrounding landscapes. Learn about Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, where the country’s Gothic-style buildings on the river are home of the Parliament of Canada. Gaze at the 1912 Chateau Laurier’s limestone turrets and masonry, which are reminiscent of a French chateau. Then, as you cruise alongside the Rideau Canal, imagine ice skating on this UNESCO World Heritage Site in winter when it becomes the world’s longest skating rink.  Continue taking in the views on this excursion that travels to Rideau Falls, a pair of cascades that rise 36 feet nearby its namesake park, which was established after the Second World War. Look across the expansive Ottawa River to imagine the provincial boundary with Ontario’s neighbor, Quebec.  End your luxury yacht tour on dry land in the city at ByWard Market, a bustling destination with restaurants, cafes, and local vendors. Settle in at Zak’s Diner for a hot breakfast composed of a set menu of dishes such as pancakes, bacon, and omelets, complemented by juices, tea, and coffee. 

Other Sightseeing Options in Ottawa River

Want to discover all there is to do in Ottawa River? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Ottawa River

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 1,039 reviews

We actually live here in Ottawa and we looking for something to do. A bus that goes in the water sounded like fun and it was so much fun and educational. I didn't realize that so many embassy's were here in Ottawa, and actually leaned so much more about this city. It's a great tour for tourists and people who live here with an hour to spare. You won't regret it.

This was one of the most amazing river cruise I ever had. It was just a wonderful experience on the Paula D cruise. The guide on the cruise was well knowledge of the history and relevance of the various points of interest. I would do this again. Hopefully next year I will be back.

The experience was great except they came like 20 minutes late. The instructions to meet at destination spot was confusing!

Going on the palapa tour was very interesting. We met some very nice people. The ride on the boat was fun.

It is a wonder Journey there and the tourist guide is awesome!