Westport is a tiny Ontario town with big charm. I’ve lived in Ottawa for most of my life, and the province of Ontario just keeps on giving in the way of beautiful places, charming small towns, and incredible lookouts. I love a good day trip, and there’s no shortage of amazing places to explore. A couple hours of driving in Canada may not involve crossing through different countries like it does in Europe, but it will take you to some of the most beautiful small towns you’ve ever seen. Westport is one such place.
I’m the type of person that can get excited about going nearly anywhere. Westport was a town that I had never even heard of until a few days before I went! Now I have been several times because it is such a great town, with lots of things to do and see.
What to do in Westport, Ontario for a Day
Westport has a motto: life is good. And it definitely is in this quaint little town! Westport is home to about 600 people, and you can walk from one end of the village to the other in a matter of minutes. It’s not an exciting place, but it is very sweet and if you’re looking to get out of the city for a change of scenery, it’s a nice spot to go. The best feature of the village is that it’s right on a beautiful section of the canal system.
Getting to Westport
Westport is a small village in Eastern Ontario, at the west of the Rideau Lake. It’s part of the canal system, between Kingston and Ottawa. The best way to get there coming from either city is definitely to drive. If you’re coming to Westport from Ottawa, take the Trans-Canada Highway/ON-7 from Ottawa. It’s a long, 60KM stretch on the highway, then take Route 10 into Westport. The drive takes about 1.5 hours in total.
Outdoor Activities in Westport
Take in the View from Foley Mountain
Westport has a fantastic lookout point, from Foley Mountain. I don’t think you can ask for a more spectacular lookout. Take in a view of the town, the lakes, and the harbour below. The viewpoint is in Foley Conservation area, right outside of Westport and it’s surprisingly easy to access.
This view is so incredible that I assumed it was going to take a decent hike to get there. In reality, the lookout is only a 2 minute, easy walk from the parking lot. Even if you’re not an avid hiker, you can go enjoy the view and there’s no need to worry about your footwear, because most of the short walk is a boardwalk anyways.
I visited in the summer, and expect that it’s a stunning place to see the fall colours come October as well.
Explore the Foley Conservation Area
It’s a very short walk to access the lookout, so if you want to enjoy more time in nature, explore more of the Foley Conservation area. There is 10KM worth of hiking and walking trails here, which are a small portion of a much longer trail that goes all the way from Ottawa to Kingston. The main trail follows the side of the mountain.
The area other shorter, inland trails that loop through the conservation area. These will take you to places like Beaver Pond, where you might be able to spot some beavers at work. There’s also a small, natural swimming area in the Foley Conservation area, so bring your swimsuit if you want to go for a dip.
There’s a $7 parking fee to access the conservation area.
Relax at Westport Sand Lake Beach
This secluded and quiet little beach is the perfect spot for swimming, a picnic lunch, and volleyball with friends or family. Westport Sand Lake Beach (map) is an easy 20-minute walk from the center of the town, so you can meander back and cool off with some ice cream from Vanilla Bean’s Cafe & Creamery once you’ve enjoyed your day in the sun.
Rent a Stand-Up Paddle Board or Get to Westport by Kayak
Westport is incredibly water-sport friendly, so if you’re a lover of SUP, kayaking, or any other kind of boating it’s a great area. The Westboro Harbour is well-laid out and equipped with washroom and BBQ areas that anyone can use, so many people will bring their boats and dock there for an afternoon.
You can rent a stand-up paddleboard in the village for $55/ half a day, at Lake Effects, or bring your own paddleboard or kayak if you have one. If you’re an avid kayaker, the lake system in the area means that you can go quite a ways. Many people rent kayaks from Rideau Tours, and from there’s it a 9km kayak to Westport. That’s a full day in of itself and probably best for avid kayakers, but it tells you just how wonderful this area is. The water in Upper Rideau Lake is exceptionally calm so if you have any water sports equipment of your own, bring it!
Explore the Town of Westport
The town of Westport only spans a few blocks, so you can easily walk anywhere. Many of the shops are independently owned businesses, as are cafés, the bakery, and the ice cream shop. Yes, those are singular pronouns. This place is small, and bursting with charm. Make your way down to the harbor and enjoy a stroll along the water, or pop into a shop to explore.
Scheuermann Vineyard and Winery
Scheuermann vineyard is the perfect place to end the day. Enjoy a glass of wine that was made right there oh the property. There is also oven-baked pizza available if you’re still hungry! Scheuermann vineyard is another example of a family-owned and operated business, and the wine is incredible. The property is beautiful and the family that runs the vineyard set up tents, tables, and chairs for you to sit and relax with your glass of wine. You can also buy a bottle (or two) to take home with you!
The Tangled Garden Café
Enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the Tangled Garden Café. They serve a wide variety of favourites including sandwiches, burgers, and custom Westport pizzas. Pick your size and customize your toppings, or opt for a fun specialty pizza.
Cove Country Inn
There are only a few restaurants in small-town like Westport, and we decided to have lunch at the Cove Country Inn. The Cove Country Inn offers standard pub food, and prices are reasonable (under $20 for a meal + drink). The property is what makes this place really wonderful. It’s worth the wait to sit outside and enjoy your lunch overlooking the gardens and the lake. This place gets really busy at lunchtime, so don’t wait until you’re hungry to go and put your name down!