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Destination : Local

Indulge your wanderlust: no passport required. This is the ultimate guide for a weekend staycation in Gatineau Park.

Destination : Local

6000 3963 O'Brien Chelsea

Pumpkin-spiced delights may have made a reappearance, but it’s not autumn yet (fall equinox isn’t until the 22 of September). With more manageable day-time highs, fresh mornings and beautiful, crisp evenings these are, in fact, some of the best days to enjoy the great outdoors. So hold fast to that summer feeling and plan yourself a weekend of our favorite warmth-weather pastimes and local secret-spots.

Nothing says ‘summer’ quite like a day at the beach. If you’re reading this from your room at the O’Brien, look out your window. Just beyond our back terrace are the sparkling blue waters of Meech Lake. As one of more than 50 lakes across over 36,131 hectares of parkland, it’s a part of a spectacular network ripe for aquatic adventures.

Meech Lake, Phillippe Lake, La Peche Lake and Leamy Lake all have sandy shores and beautiful swimming that are supervised by lifeguards right up until the end of the Labour Day weekend.

Before heading out visit Paddlefit to rent a Stand-Up paddleboard or a kayak. It’s a fun way to stay active and preemptively burn-off calories for après-beach patio sessions or double-scoops of ice cream from La Cigale (we recommend lavender & mojito or blood orange & pistachio). Never SUP’d? No problem: Paddlefit also offers lessons for beginner.

If you’re not looking to make a splash, we highly recommend taking a hike. Luskville Falls trail offers a challenging 4.5km route that includes a 290-meter rocky climb.  We recommend bringing plenty of water and dependable running or hiking shoes. If you prefer to enjoy nature’s serenity at a more leisurely stroll, try the Pioneer Trail or Pink Lake.

Chelsea also offers some of the most popular cycling routes in the area. Visit Greg Christie’s Ski et Velo to rent a bike and discuss all things cycling. We suggest checking out this loop for a 31 km ride that allows you to enjoy different hotspots along the Gatineau Parkway.

Live your best life at one of two world-class spas in the area (or both. YOLO.)  Nordik Spa is only minutes down the road from O’Brien and is an oasis. The prescriptive thermal experience – a cyclical ritual from hot to cold and temperate baths – yields wellness benefits from eliminating toxins and stimulating your immune system (goodbye back-to-school bugs) to improve muscle tone and encouraging better sleep. Eau Vive Spa located at our sister property, The Wakefield Mill, is a haven for. Nestled at the foot of a waterfall, go for one of their signature treatments and leave extra time to enjoy their red cedar sauna and swimming pool.

Regardless of how you spend your day, plan to catch a sunset. We might be biased but, we think the views from our back terrace are the best. Make a reservation for dinner and take in the idyllic surroundings as Chef Pat takes you through the flavors of the season. Be forewarned: once you’re here, you won’t want to leave. To be safe, book a stay (and then you can enjoy breakfast, too!!)