Summer Road Trip: Travel Tips & More

summer road trip


Summer is close to coming to an end which means it’s time to get out on the open road and have some fun. One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to experience Canada and beyond is by planning a summer road trip. We’ve covered what you should keep in your car for winter, now let’s take a look at some tips for driving during the summer months and some great places to visit in the Ottawa area.

Getting Your Vehicle Road Trip-Ready

Heading out on a summer road trip can be an exciting adventure to have with your friends and family, however in any situation where you’ll be in a vehicle for an extended amount of time you should ensure all your vehicle components are in working order.

A couple of quick safety checks you can do yourself include checking your tire pressure and that your lights and electrical components are all working properly. This ensures you have good traction on the road and that other drivers will be able to see you. For a complete car maintenance checklist, check out our post here!

In addition to checking your vehicle yourself, it’s recommended that you bring your vehicle in for a routine service inspection to make sure everything under the hood and beyond is in good condition.

summer road trip

Prepare For The Ride

When planning a summer road trip, choosing the destination can be one of the most exciting parts, but preparing for a four hour trip can be much different in comparison to a multi day-long road trip. No matter the distance, here are a few tips that will make the drive easier:

Clean & Organize Your Car

If you’re planning on taking a summer road trip having a clean and well-organized car is necessary. Give your car a thorough cleaning inside and out by throwing out garbage, removing unnecessary clutter and giving it a quick car detailing.

Put Your Smartphone To Good Use

There are several apps available for smartphones that are beneficial when on a summer road trip. Download a fuel app that will help hunt down the  nearest gas and service stations which can be a life saver while exploring unknown territory. Another useful tool is GPS apps like Google Maps that allow you to look up directions and receive them hands-free in an instant.

Though mobile devices can be useful in many ways, if you’re behind the wheel your cellphone should be out of bounds. Leave it up to your co-pilot to look up directions and pick a playlist on Spotify to make sure everyone stays safe.

Build A Summer Vehicle Kit

Along with everything in your winter emergency kit, there are a few other supplies that can help you on a long summer road trip. For pit stops and leg stretching breaks, having a Frisbee or something to toss around can promote good blood circulation after sitting for long periods of time. It’s also wise to have non-battery powered games and entertainment while on the road in.  The Ottawa Mommy Club blog has a great packing checklist for travelling with your family and kids including all the travel must-haves.

summer road trip

Summer Driving Tips

There is an age old debate as to whether or not your fuel consumption is better with the windows up with AC on or driving with the windows down. This debate became so popular that the Discovery Channel show MythBusters tested to see which was better. The results found that using your vehicle’s AC uses more gas so rolling down the windows will save you a bit at the pumps.

Though feeling the wind through your hair is great, summer is known to bring unpredictable weather with humid, wet days so making sure your AC is in good working order will save you on those too-hot, summer days.

Where To Go On Your Summer Road Trip

The Ottawa area has some incredible destinations to visit. Whether it’s in your own backyard or an adventurous drive from home, we’ve created a list of some great summer road trip destinations for you to enjoy.

summer road tripTake In A Drive-In Movie

Pembroke, ON is home to one of the last operational drive-in theatres in Canada. Recently upgraded with digital picture and FM sound, the Skylight Drive-In offers a unique experience that many will never get to be a part of. Open seven days a week, the drive-in plays most modern movies as they release and is about a 90 minute drive from downtown Ottawa.

Experience Canadian History

Upper Canada Village has been transporting modern citizens back to the 1800’s for years. Located along the St. Lawrence river outside of Cornwall, ON, Upper Canada Village provides a way for people of all ages to take in Canadian history. There’s no shortage of things to do, with tours, shopping, dining, and more, Upper Canada Village is about an hour south of Ottawa.

Have An Adventure

LaFleche Adventure Park offers a wide range of outdoor activities. Located about 35 minutes north of Ottawa in Val-des-Monts, QC, LaFleche offers hiking, cave exploring, zip lining, kids activities, orienteering, and more. It’s recommended to dress comfortable for this day trip, as many of the zip lining and other activities can take upwards of 2 hours to complete.  LaFleche also offers night events for the truly brave.

Travel Across The Border

The US border is only an hour away from Ottawa. You can easily cross over in Ogdensburg, NY  and discover amazing camping and hiking in Lake Placid, incredible shopping in Watertown, and a wide assortment of other novelties that can only be found south of the border.

Discover French History

For a more romantic weekend getaway, historic Quebec City offers incredible scenery and activities for those looking to unwind. Old Quebec features attractions like the Chateau Frontenac and the Plains Of Abraham. Take in the views of the St-Lawrence river and enjoy a bit of adventure about four and a half hours from Ottawa.

Island Life

Nestled on Northern Lake Huron, Manitoulin Island is the biggest freshwater island in the world. Located just seven hours northwest of Ottawa, the beautiful island is full of wildlife, breathtaking views and plenty of outdoor activities for you and your family to enjoy. Explore the Cup and Saucer trails that provide a challenging adventure up mountains and trails or take in the serenity of Bridal Veil Falls. With the option to camp out in a tent or stay in beautiful lake-side lodging, Manitoulin Island is the perfect summer road trip destination.


Have any ideas for a great summer road trip destination? Let us know in the comments!


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