The weather is right, the plane is fueled and. . . nowhere to go?
We have tons of ideas! Have a look—and have a great day in the air!
(COPA also has destination suggestions. If you have any, please pass them along to us and we’ll add them to our page.)
- Flight and Bite
- Airports with onsite or nearby restaurants
- Restaurants a short walk from the airport
- Other places with restaurants on site
- Interesting places to visit
- Further afield
- Just across the U.S. border
- Northern Ontario
- Time-specific trips
- Airports within 45 minutes
- Airports approximately 60 minutes away
- Airports less than 90 minutes away
- Airports approximately 90 minutes away
- Airports approximately two hours away
- Airports just over two hours away
- Airports approximately 2.5 hours away
- Airports approximately three hours away
- Airports just over three hours away
Flight and a Bite
Why not start your own tradition of a quick flight to a nearby destination for lunch? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Airports with onsite or nearby restaurants (within a 30-minute walk)
Lachute, Québec — It’s restaurant is on the field and offers a very hospitable atmosphere. Bicycles are available at no cost. Free taxi service is provided within the region. Open 365 days a year. No landing fees.
Peterborough, Ontario — A nice long runway with a good quality restaurant on the field called the Landing 27 Bistro (one RFC member highly recommends the fish and chips). Nice town to visit but a taxi is required. Peterborough has a canoe museum and a boat ride on the Trent river is another possibility from there.
Les Cèdres, Québec — Restaurant upstairs at the airport but also a place across the road if it is closed. Close to Montréal, but outside controlled airspace, convenient for meeting people from the West end of Montréal.
Gatineau, Québec — Like Sherbrooke, it serves good meals in a nice restaurant in the terminal building that overlooks the apron. Gatineau may not be a very far away but it is different and there are times when the fleet of aircraft at Vintage Wings is on display (thanks Alison Hobbs).
Mont Laurier, Québec — Less than an hour’s flight north of CYRO, the roadside Restaurant de l’Aeroport, just a few steps from where you park your aircraft, is open 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., seven days a week. There is also a relatively new restaurant across the road, about 75 metres east of the airport restaurant. The quality of the food at the new restaurant is getting mixed reviews so, if you visit, let us know what you think.
Restaurants a short walk from the airport
Morrisburg, Ontario — Restaurants can be found at either the golf club or at Upper Canada village.
Iroquois, Ontario — Very narrow runway and permission in advanced is required (but given easily). Walk to the beach or to the town. Great place for a family picnic.
St Jean sur le Richelieu, Québec
West Port, Ontario
Bromont, Québec — “The Bromont airport has one of the best airport restaurants I have seen. The locals even go there for lunch. (Real chicken in their sandwiches – and their prices are very reasonable.)” (Review by Bob Cloutier.)
Other places with restaurants on site
Interesting places to visit
So, you’ve visited the practice area, sightseeing over Parliament Hill is in the books and your friends have seen just about enough of the Gatineau River. Now what?
We’re glad you asked! Here are a few ideas. (If you would like to add something to our list, just let us know.)
Iroquois, Ontario (CNP7) — Here, you’ll find a nice sandy beach, just perfect for a picnic. Iroquois is famous for its locks where you can watch large vessels go by. Carmen House Museum. Restaurants in the village.
NOTE: Prior permission required so best to call ahead. Very narrow runway, can cause illusion of being too high.
Morrisburg, Ontario — Upper Canada Village is a must see and, if you aren’t too tired, you could take in a round of golf as the course is within walking distance. Nicely maintained, but there are no services at all at the airport, not even a telephone.
Kingston, Ontario — With a number of museums, Fort Henry and boat tours of the 1000 islands, Kingston should be on everyone’s short-hop list.
Toronto Ontario — Just two hours to City Cente Airport, you can take the ferry to the mainland and walk to downtown Toronto. See Toronto without the hassles of Pearson.
Alexandria Airport — With so much to do, this is one of our favourite destinations. Don’t forget your golf clubs—a 9-iron and putter aught to do it—on this little excursion. The Alexandria Aviation Extreme Golf Course features just nine holes, all of which are par fives (although the longest tee-to-hole is just 85 yards!). No clubs? No worries. They have plenty kicking around if you’re up for the challenge. Green fees are just $4.00.
For the more serious golfer, there is the Glengarry Golf & Country Club (including driving range) right next door to the airport.
You might want to also check out the Alexandria Fly-In Breakfast. Expect over 100 airplanes and their pilots/crews to join you. Always held on the 3rd Sunday in August, this event has been going on for more than 30 years (COPA mobile tower 123.2).
Also on site are camping accommodations, canoeing (depending of the availability of the one and only canoe). You’ll find restaurants and shops and there usually is a vehicle available to take you into the village (about two kilometres away) in exchange for a gas fee.
Be aware that skydive aircraft report jump runs on 123.2—regular circuit-entry patterns are generally not in conflict.
Lachute airport, Quebec — No need to see only the airport when visiting Lachute? Free bicycles and even a free taxi service is provided within the region. The town is only one nautical mile north-east of the airport and it boasts a very walkable main street.
Pembroke, Ontario — Just 45 minuites from Rockcliffe Airport along the Ottawa river. Beautiful vistas all the way.
Stanhope, Ontario — Close to Haliburton, you’ll find camping on the grounds.
Mont Tremblant, Québec — There are two airports here: La Macaza, an old military airport, and St Jovite an aerodrome with a nice turf runway. There are landing fees.
Westport, Ontario and Deep River, Ontario — These facilities give you good opportunities to practice your short-field take-off techniques as they both have tall trees at the ends of their runways. Not suitable for retractable gear aircraft for this reason. (Note: We have it on good authority that if the wind is from the west, Morrisburg is good for this, too.)
Stanhope/Haliburton hosts a Fall Colours Fly-In every year. There is also an ultra-light fly-in in the spring.
The Smiths Falls Fly-In Breakfast is always a popular destination for Rockcliffe pilots.
Les Faucheurs de Marguerites in Sherbrooke, Québec is a fly-in where you can buy second-hand avionics on a certain weekend in June.
Are you looking for something a little farther from home where you could spend the night or even make a weekend out of it? Here are some ideas. Most are less than three hours away from Rockcliffe in a C172 and all of these locations have been tested by our roving aviators.
- Quebec City — There is always an interesting show at the museum of civilization if you don’t have any other reason to go.
- Trois Rivieres
- Montreal (Dorval or St Hubert)
- Ile-aux-Coudres — Landing on an island is so romantic!
- Sherbrooke (to explore L’Estrie, the Eastern Townships area)
- La Macaza, north of Mont-Tremblant (stay at one of the “auberges” nearby)
- St. Victor de Beauce, south of Quebec City
- Bromont, another destination in the Eastern Townships
- Toronto — Land at Buttonville or City Centre: it’s easier than you think
- Stratford — Visit the Stratford Festival, stay overnight or for several days
- St. Catharines — Visit Niagara Falls or Niagara-on-the-Lake. How about the Shaw Festival?
- Kitchener — You could stay overnight in Guelph, if you land there
- Brampton — Not much farther than Toronto, visit the The Great War Flying Museum
- Manitoulin Island — There are two airports on the island
- Killarney — Stay at Killarney Lodge with the jet-set—if you can afford it! Best to reserve your spot well in advance.
- Muskoka — There’s a motel on the main road within walking distance of the airfield, or you could go into Gravenhurst for more choices.
- North Bay
- Georgian Bay (near Parry Sound) — There is a restaurant within walking distance, on the main road north (the Trans-Canada Highway). Flying along southern Georgian Bay is simply beautiful.
Just across the U.S. border
The following airports are also an easy flight from Rockcliffe Airport and are recommended by Alison Hobbs as attractive stopping places, especially if you’re prepared to pay for a short taxi ride into the towns they serve. If you’re lucky, local hotels will send a free shuttle bus to the airport to pick you up.
- Watertown, NY (We stayed overnight at nearby Sackets Harbor, the lakeside historic town to the west of Watertown.)
- Ithaca, NY
- Saranac Lake, NY
- Lake Placid, NY — The circuit goes around the ski jump tower—very impressive.
- Burlington, Vermont — There are hotels close to the fixed-base operator and a restaurant at the passenger terminal.
- Alexandria Bay, NY — This will provide a view of the 1000 Islands from the other side of the St Lawrence River.
- Portland, Maine
- Montpelier, Vermont
- Rutland State, Vermont — Here, you can hike some of the Appalachian Trail.
- Sandusky, Ohio — They have a shuttle that will take you to Cedar Point Amusement Park.
Why not venture North and enjoy the vast beauty of Northern Ontario? Think you don’t see many planes in the skies around here? You OWN the skies up there!! You can’t beat the fall colours in the Quebec hills around Mattawa following the Ottawa River to its head at Lake Temiskaming in the Tri-town area (New Liskeard, Haileybury, Cobalt).
North Bay is a good rest stop for trips into Sudbury (Big Nickel), Earlton, Kirkland Lake, St Bruno de Gigue (Que), Timmins, Cochrane (Polar Bear Express to Moosenee), Iroquois Falls, Hearst and Kapuskasing if you want to break things up a little.
From experience, I know that Kirkland Lake and Earlton have long, wide and well-maintained runways (4500’–6000′). Most traffic there is general aviation, air ambulance, and business jets (mining/waferboard companies got lotsa money!). Other than fuel (cheap) and tiedown, not a lot of services on the fields. But all are close to their respective quaint towns. And folks are extremely nice up north.
Lots of farming in and around the Tri-town area on both the Ontario and Quebec sides, so plenty of places to put down if the need arises. No worries there.
Timmins (Shania Twain, mine tours) is Class E dual r/w, but is relatively quiet. Some scheduled Dash-8 services offered by Air Ontario, but mostly general aviation traffic. So go north, get away from the rat race, and enjoy Class G to the max!
(Thanks to Peter Mucklow for the above information.)
Want to get away but you are limited by time. Alison Hobbs has prepared this list of destinations (thanks, Alison!) based on how long it takes to get there in a C172. Don’t forget that winds can add or subtract 30 minutes or more.
- One asterisk (*) indicates there is food served at the airport (quality varies).
- A double asterisk (**) indicates food is just a short walk away.
- No asterisk means you’re a cabbing it.
Airports within 45 minutes
- Smiths Falls*
- Pendleton (for the gliding)
- Alexandria (turf runway, music festival on Sundays in summer)
- Massena (U.S. customs clearance)
- Westport** (turf runway, high trees around)
Airports approximately 60 minutes away
- La Macaza
- Les Cèdres (Cedars)* (This is the airport where we hear people talking on the same frequency as us.)
- Pembroke Mt. Laurier*
- Tomvale (Land o’ Lakes) (NOTE: PNR $10 landing fee if you call ahead, $50 landing fee if you don’t) find it under Plevna in the CFS, no services)
- Alexandria Bay (U.S. customs clearance)
Airports less than 90 minutes away
- St Hubert* (park here for a visit to Montreal)
- St. Jean-sur-Richelieu**
- Deep River (watch out for high trees)
- Burlington* ** (A good place for U.S. customs clearance)
- Saranac Lake* (Add time for customs clearance at Massena)
Airports approximately 90 minutes away
- Watertown (U.S. customs)
- Stanhope (Haliburton Highlands)
- Trois-Rivières* (might be slightly more than 90 minutes)
Airports approximately two hours away
- Syracuse (U.S. customs)
- North Bay *
- Lindsay *
- Barrie (2 different airports)
- Sherbrooke *
- Rutland State (U.S.A. Allow time for customs clearance at Massena)
Airports just over two hours away
- Toronto City* ** (landing fee)
- Québec City*
Airports approximately 2.5 hours away
- Georgian Bay**
- Hamilton* (Visit the War Planes Museum on the field)
- St. Catherine’s
Airports approximately three hours away
You may want to consider taking a break half-way to your destination.
- Ithaca (Allow time for customs clearance en route. Hotel shuttle will pick you up at the airport)
- Goderich* ** (The restaurant at the eastern end of the runway is particularly recommended but the one across the apron is also good. There’s an excellent museum at this airport that used to be a Royal Air Force flight-training camp.)
- Portland** (Allow for a stop at Burlington for customs clearance.)
Airports just over three hours away
You may want to consider taking a break half-way to your destination.
- Airports on the periphery of Boston, Mass. (Allow time for en route customs clearance.)
- Île aux Coudres (N.B. gravel runway. Hotel shuttle will pick you up)