Enjoying outdoor activities always makes for a great day out with family. When sticking to off-road trails, biking is a safe and easy activity for all ages. Depending on your riders, make sure there is extra time for stops that may include ice cream, turtle ponds, swimming spots and more.

Try a 6km cruise along the paved trails from downtown following  opens in a new windowOttawa’s Rideau Canal or the Ottawa River with fun trailside discoveries such as working boat locks, museums, Dows Lake, picnic spots and parklands, guaranteeing fun for everyone. If riding with an energetic crowd, keep pedalling; off-trails in Ottawa cover many more kilometers.

A scenic, paved off-road portion of the  opens in a new windowWaterfront Trail follows the shoreline between Burlington and Hamilton. With plenty of parking available at either end, this ride is easy to access and fun for all ages. Stop at sandy beaches and playgrounds along this 10km stretch or watch the big boats glide under the lift bridge before getting the whole gang drenched at Wild Waterworks. For more visitor information on outdoor experiences in the area, visit  opens in a new windowOurTrueNature.ca.

The paved, off-road 1000 Islands Parkway Recreational Trail is a spectacular, smooth ride that can be as short or long as the day dictates. Ride this trail on one of 10 featured cycling itineraries on  opens in a new windowThe Great Waterway’s tourism website, as an overnight itinerary. Starting just west of Brockville from Brown’s Bay beach and picnic area, roll on towards the village of Rockport, or pitch a tent at one of the many campgrounds not far from the St. Lawrence River, for an overnight campout. For more visitor information head to  opens in a new windowbrockvilletourism.com.

Just east of Yonge Street, stretching from Aurora to Holland’s Landing, is the delightful  opens in a new window20km Nokiidaa Trail. Wetlands and woodlands, parks and green space quickly bring riders young and old back to nature. For more visitor information head to  opens in a new windowyorkscene.com.

There are hundreds of family friendly cycling experiences in Ontario and they range from overnight cycling trips to several kms of paved or stone-dust off-road riding. Looking for more options? Go to Ontario By Bike’s “Great Places To Cycle” section of the website, find the region or area you’d like to ride more in and scroll down to the “Major Off-Road Trails” section and look for options that best suit your group. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, perhaps we can help. Call toll-free (1-866-701-2774) or email info (at) OntarioByBike.ca for more information.

The above is an excerpt from the annual Cycling in Ontario / Le velo en Ontario guide. View a copy online at  opens in a new windowontariobybike.ca/2016