Westport is located between Ottawa and Toronto and can be reached by bus from either city or by car via Canada’s network of highways. The peaceful town of Westport on the west bank of Lake Upper Rideau attracts visitors looking for a quiet escape from nearby and beyond Ottawa. Westport is the perfect place to spend an afternoon with a fishing rod in hand, explore the surrounding forests or shop at specialty stores along the town’s main street. Swim from the lake’s sands in summer or enjoy a home-cooked meal in a cozy winter restaurant. With almost two centuries of history, Westport offers a lot to explore.
The earliest European settlers arrived in the area in the first two decades of the 19th century, when the settlement was called Head of the Lake. Its strategic location helped develop the town and it was officially established in 1904. Westport operated as a trading center, with goods transported by rail and barge on the Rideau Canal. While the train no longer runs to Westport, it was the line that provided the region’s first tourism industry.
Today, the area’s natural beauty and sparse population attract those seeking refuge from neighboring cities. This small but friendly lakeside town is a popular destination for fishermen, hikers and swimmers. Spend a day exploring the small town center to explore the wide range of specialty shops selling local produce, crafts and souvenirs. Find a seat at a restaurant for some small-town hospitality. Sample of fish caught from lakes and canals.
Rent a boat or register to charter a fishing boat from Westport wharf. The small pier is a great place to meet locals returning from a day on the lake. Venture to the surrounding area to hike along the Rideau Trail. The 186-mile (300 km) trail passes through Foley Mountain Reserve and offers stunning views of Westport.
Outdoor activities in Westport
Enjoy the view from Mount Foley
Westport has a great viewpoint, from Mount Foley. Maybe you couldn’t ask for a more spectacular view. See the town, lakes and harbor below. The lookout point is located in the Foley sanctuary, just outside Westport and surprisingly easy to reach.
The view is so staggering that visitors think it will take a long hike to get there. Actually, the view only takes 2 minutes, an easy walk from the parking lot. Even if you’re not a hiker, you can still enjoy the view and don’t have to worry about your shoes, as most of the short walks are boardwalks.
Explore the Foley Conservation Area
It only takes a very short walk to get to the observatory, so if you want to enjoy more time in nature, check out the Foley Conservation area further. There are 10KM worth of hiking and hiking trails here, which are a small part of a much longer trail that goes all the way from Ottawa to Kingston. The main trail goes along the mountainside.
Elsewhere, shorter inland trails run through the reserve. They will take you to places like Beaver Pond, where you can spot some beavers at work. There’s also a small, natural swimming area in the Foley Conservation area, so bring your swimwear if you want to take a dip.
Parking fee is $ 6 to enter the reserve.
Resting at Westport Sand Lake Beach
This small, quiet beach is the perfect spot for swimming, picnic lunches and playing volleyball with friends or family. Westport Sand Lake Beach (map) is an easy 20-minute walk from the town center, so you can chill and unwind with some ice cream from Vanilla Bean’s Cafe & Creamery after enjoying a day in the sunlight.
Rent stand rowing boards, kayaks
Westport is extremely watersports friendly, so if you’re a SUP fan, kayaking or any other type of rowing then it’s a great area. Westboro harbor is beautifully decorated and equipped with toilets and a BBQ area that anyone can use, so many people will bring their boats and dock there for an afternoon.
You can rent village paddleboards for $ 55 / half day, at Lake Effects, or bring your own paddle board or kayak if you have one. If you are a kayak enthusiast, the lake system in the area means there are many ways you can go. Many people rent a kayak from Rideau Tours and from there go a 9 km kayak to Westport. It’s a full day and is probably the best for kayaking enthusiasts, but it tells you just how awesome the area is. The water on Lake Upper Rideau is especially quiet so if you have any water sports equipment of your own, bring it along!
Explore Westport’s Town
Westport town only spans a few blocks so you can easily walk anywhere. Many of the stores are independently owned businesses, as are cafes, bakeries and ice cream shops. Yes, those are singular pronouns. The place was small, and bursting with charm. Head down to the harbor and take a stroll along the water or drop into a store to explore.
Scheuermann winery and vineyard
The Scheuermann Vineyard is the perfect place to end the day. Enjoy a glass of wine mixed right here. There’s also pizza baked in the oven if you’re still hungry! The Scheuermann Vineyard is another example of a family owned and operated business, and this wine is amazing. Nice property and the family of the vineyard owner set up tents, tables and chairs for you to relax by a glass of wine. You can also buy some to take home!
Meet Daniel Schell from the youtube channel Here, There and Everywhere Travel. “My name is Daniel Schell and I am in my early 60’s. I have always had a love for learning about new places and a longing to travel since I was a little kid. Along with travel I also have a keen interest in hiking and camping and I try to combine the three together whenever possible. I love to share my love of these 3 interests with other people in hopes that they will see what a wonderful world we live in” He said. Mr. Schell just had an amazing trip in the town of Westport and wanted to share with us.
He also added “With the stoppage of travel due to covid I decided to explore some of the beautiful little towns closer to home. Westport in one of those little towns. It is located in the center of the Rideau Canal System and is a favorite stop of the many boaters that may make their way through the canals. The little shops and restaurants all add to its small town charm. Just up the hill from the town you will find hiking trails and an amazing view of the town and the water.”
Thanks to Daniel for sharing his interesting experiences. Don’t forget to subscribe to his youtube channel and give him a thumbs up after watching. And remember to share your trips with us via firstname.lastname@example.org, or our Facebook / Twitter.