You don’t need to go very far to get the perfect dose of quality time with the family. These kid-friendly trip ideas for travelling in Canada are perfect for a weekend adventure or a last-minute getaway to make the most of a great flight deal. The best part? All of these mini vacays are homegrown holidays – no passport required!
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Spend a day or two careening around the big city. It might be easier to list the things you can’t do in Toronto, but let’s start with some family favourites. Spend a day museum-hopping (kids especially love the ROM, AGO, Ontario Science Museum, and the Bata Shoe Museum), visit Black Creek Pioneer Village, or catch a zany show at Medieval Times. You can challenge your fear of heights at the CN Tower, your fear of the spotlight with a private karaoke room, or your fear of vegetables at one of the many, many delectable eateries all over the Six.
Drive a rental car up the scenic Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler, for an action-packed escape in any season. Start with a visit to the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre for a guided tour and a snack at Thunderbird Café. Then, depending on how old your little ones are, you can spend the rest of your time relaxing, rock (or ice) climbing, ziplining, tubing, bungee jumping, or hitting the slopes. For a special thrill, pop on over to Whistler Sliding Centre to experience bobsledding with a pro!
Enjoy a low-key getaway with a view. You can take family pictures at the Butchart Gardens or experience the Kodak moment of a lifetime on a whale watching tour. Don’t forget to check out I-Hos Gallery to browse artwork created by First Nations artists and enjoy a presentation by the Kumugwe Dance Troupe. Then, spend a day wandering around Beacon Hill Park and Children’s Farm as well as Victoria’s many little ice cream shops and bakeries to indulge your sweet tooth.
Go for an obvious choice: a few days in Banff! Embrace the outdoors with a camping trip in Banff National Park (or keep it comfortable with a stay in one of the park’s gorgeous hotels). You and your crew can enjoy hiking, boating, going for a soak in the Upper Hot Springs, or enjoying the view on a Lake Minnewanka Cruise. Before you head home, squeeze in a day trip to Drumheller to check out the dinos at Royal Tyrell Museum or hike among the hoodoos of the badlands.
Pair your city break with a mountain escape. Start with a full day of exploring Montreal: from dining in Old Town to climbing the ropes at Voiles en Voiles to riding rollercoasters at La Ronde. Next, pack up your rental car and drive to Mont Tremblant. There, you can either take it easy and enjoy the views or burn off some extra energy with a couple days of go-karting, dune buggy tours, skiing, biking, boating, and more. Before you go, make sure you and the kiddos experience the magic of the woods at night at Tonga Lumina.
Take your teens to mall rat heaven, West Edmonton Mall, where they can shop ‘til they drop. Then enjoy some family fun at the water park, mini golf courses, or Galaxyland. If your crew is looking for a more outdoorsy trip, drive your rental over to Athabasca County for a quiet weekend of fishing, hiking, wildlife watching, and even try panning for gold with a local tour operator. You can book a camping site year-round to get the full off-grid experience.
Head to Ottawa Valley for some whitewater rafting (if it’s warm enough), or enjoy some snowshoeing, dogsledding, and cross-country skiing (if it’s cold enough). If you’re travelling with tots, we recommend visiting the Canada Agriculture & Food Museum to meet some new bovine pals. During the summer, little ones love seeing the spectacle of the changing of the guard at Parliament Hill. If all else fails, everyone in the family will find something to enjoy at Byward Market!
Experience everything that The Forks has to offer! This convergence of two rivers has been an important place of gathering for thousands of years. You can spend an afternoon discovering the many installations representing Néhiyaw, Metis, and Ojibwe heritage. Follow that with back-to-back tours of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, The Children’s Museum, and the Winnipeg Railway Museum. Then enjoy the outdoors as you please, with heaps of activities to enjoy like skateboarding, trolley tours, boat tours, and ice skating.
Spend all weekend on all fours. That is, hop on a four-wheeler and follow Mukwa Adventures’ owner, Arthur Trudeau, through the woods and trails of Northern Ontario. Taking a tour with this award-winning indigenous-owned company is one of the coolest ways to explore the Elliot Lake region when you have older kids. Each night, you can unwind with a competitive family games night at a comfortable local lodge.