Canada With Kids: 11 of the Best Destinations
Canada is a country in North America known for maple syrup, Moose, the Northern Lights, poutine, Niagara Falls, frigid winters, and tons of natural beauty! These are all great reasons to visit Canada (except for maybe the frigid winters!), but there are also many great reasons to visit Canada with kids!
There are plenty of family friendly destinations that will keep every member of the family entertained while producing irreplaceable memories. From the Kawartha Lakes, Vancouver Island, Montreal, and Niagara Falls, see why you should visit Canada with kids!
Kawartha Lakes, Ontario
Recommended by sustainable travel bloggers Oksana & Max from Drink Tea & Travel
For the ultimate family vacation head to the Kawartha Lakes region in Ontario. It is the perfect place for active families who like to spend their free time outdoors.
The Kawartha Lakes region encompasses Balsam Lake Provincial Park in Ontario. This beautiful park has camping available, a robust summer activity program and a plethora of hiking trails. The lookout trail is 2.6 kilometers in length and popular with families.
The park is located along the historical Trent Severn-Waterway which is an old lock system connecting over 300 kilometres of Ontario lakes. It includes Lake Ontario, Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay.
At Balsam Lake Provincial Park, families can go for a swim at the beach, rent a kayak or canoe or go fishing. The outdoor activities are endless.
The Kawartha Settlers Village is an interesting attraction located nearby. It contains a collection of houses and buildings dating back to the 1800’s. It gives families interesting insight into what life was like for pioneers in the area.
Take the Discovery Trail to discover all that the village has to offer. Events are held regularly at the Kawartha Settlers Village and feature activities like movies in the barn.
Last but not least, don’t miss a chance to sample Kawartha Lakes ice cream. It has a long history in the area and your little ones will love the sweet treat.
Algonquin Provincial Park
Recommended by Voyageur Tripper
Algonquin Provincial Park is an excellent destination for young families looking to get outside and experience nature. The park offers nearly 8,000 sq km of beautiful boreal forest and more than 2,000 km of canoe routes. While taking kids on their first canoe trip can be intimidating, Algonquin has all the facilities needed to ensure families are prepared and primed for a good experience.
First, there are tons of easy canoe routes that involve short days with little to know portaging. Campsites are spacious and well maintained, with proper thunderboxes for bathrooms and fire pits for cooking. Algonquin also has plenty of experienced and professional outfitters who provide all the gear necessary for a safe and enjoyable canoe trip. Outfitters can also support families in choosing canoe routes that are appropriate for the family’s abilities. Finally, there are plenty of companies that offer guided canoe trips in Algonquin Provincial Park, so if planning a trip does feel overwhelming, leave everything to the professionals.
If an overnight canoe trip is out of the question, families can also rent a canoe for a few hours or do one of the park’s many short day hikes. Due to its size and popularity, Algonquin has something for everyone.
Toronto is the Canadian capitol of Ontario and is the most populous city in Canada. Despite its crowded streets, there are still plenty of family friendly activities for the whole group to enjoy, making it a great destination in Canada with kids!
Take a ride to the top of the CN Tower and wow your kiddos with the stunning views of the city. If they are brave enough, have them walk out onto the glass floor. After enjoying the view, head back down to ground level and head next door to the Ripley’s Aquarium, which is home to over 15,000 thousand sea animals.
If you prefer land animals, make a stop at the Toronto Zoo. The zoo is the largest in the country and is home to over 5,000 animals. The Ontario Science Centre is another great option for the young ones, featuring an IMAX theater and hands on, interactive exhibits.
Take a ferry ride to Centre Island to enjoy the Centreville Amusement Park. The park has plenty of green space for the kids to stretch their legs, pony rides, an antique Ferris wheel, and carousel.
Whistler, British Columbia
Recommended by Big Adventures for Little Feet.
Whistler is a resort town in British Columbia well known for it’s winter wonderland but we think it’s a brilliant spot to travel with young kids when the weather warms up and the snow melts. The Village of Whistler is super family friendly with pedestrian only promenades and plenty of family friendly accommodation.
The area is packed full of adventure activities and provides the opportunity to immerse the family in nature and spend some quality time together.
Top things to do in Whistler include mountain biking or bike riding around the Valley trails. For those traveling with younger kids who may not be riding confidently, take a family bike ride along the Sea-to-Sky trail directly from the village for a super pretty ride past three scenic lakes. It is a great day out to pack a picnic and stop along the way at some great playgrounds or to rent a kayak or canoe for a paddle.
Another fabulous day tour is the Whistler Peak to Peak Experience. Explore the upper mountains of Blackcomb and Whistler and experience the thrill of the engineering masterpiece that is the Peak to Peak gondola spanning between the two mountains.
There are some stunning hikes around Whistler both on the upper mountains and surrounding the Valley. For families, a favoured hike is around Lost Lake which is a beautifully forested parkland with good options for swimming and hiking.
Montreal sits in Canada’s Quebec Region along the St. Lawrence River. Montreal is one of the best cities to visit in Canada with kids and has much to offer every age group.
Take a ride to the top of the Montreal Tower, where you will be greeted with stunning views of the city. After the ride explore the Olympic Stadium and nearby Montreal Biodome, Insectarium, and Planetarium. Cross the street and stroll through the Montreal Botanical Gardens.
Stroll the streets of Old Montreal and visit Notre-Dame Basilica. The kids will be delighted with the stunning colors of glass and alter. Take the short walk to the Old Port of Montreal, where you will find the Montreal Eye and frequent events and festivals. There is even a zip line beside the Ferris wheel.
Parc Jean-Drapeau is another must visit location for any family trip to Montreal. At the park you will find a sandy beach to cool off in, some botanical gardens, the biosphere, and La Ronde amusement park.
Mount Royal is a great escape from the city with plenty of great hikes and great views of the Montreal skyline. You can hike to the summit, or if the little legs in your travel party can’t make the climb yet you can drive to the top. Either way you can enjoy some relaxation and maybe even a picnic lunch at the top.
Recommended by Casandra of Karpiak Caravan
Tofino is known for its wild landscapes and beautiful sandy beaches. Located on the rugged west coast of British Columbia, it is a destination that is coveted by families who want their kids to get outside, explore and safely learn new activities like surfing.
Tofino offers incredible accommodation options and so many beaches to explore that the hardest part will be deciding which one to visit.
Our favourite family resort is Pacific Sands Resort on Cox Bay Beach. The suites offer waterfront views so you can just walk out the door and onto the beach, kitchens to cook so you don’t have to eat out all the time, an on-site restaurant if you don’t feel like cooking, on-site surf rentals and lessons, the best educational kids club and fire pits to roost s’mores after a long day at the beach.
The waves at Cox Bay Beach are perfect for young kids to play in the water, boogie board or learn to surf. The sand is perfect for making sandcastles or spending endless hours digging away in. There is a multi-use path outside the entrance of Pacific Sands Resort that goes into the village of Tofino, perfect for a bike ride to get ice cream from the popular Chocofino. The hiking options are endless, usually ending in spectacular views of the area.
The best way to end a day in Tofino? A walk on the beach at sunset.
Put Tofino on your travel bucket list for an incredible family vacation!
Recommended by Ann of The Unorthodox Traveler
Vancouver Island is a fabulous destination for families with kids of all ages. There are so many activities to choose from, it’s hard to narrow it down, from beaches, wildlife, and museums, there is something for everyone.
The family fun starts with the ferry ride to reach the island. The island is accessible by ferry (walk-on and vehicle) in multiple locations from Washington and mainland British Columbia. Small ones will enjoy exploring the ferry or going on the deck to view the water and feel the
wind. Now that you’ve reached the island. Let’s check out a few of my favorite things to do that the kids will love!
Qualicum Beach is on the east coast. This beach offers soft sand with clear water. At low tide, the kids can spend all day playing in the sand looking for shells and sand dollars, and skimboarding.
Victoria Bug Zoo is in (you guessed it) Victoria. This mini zoo offers wonderful opportunities to check out creepy crawlies. Kids of all ages can touch and hold the animals on display. Make sure to take pictures to capture the fun.
Royal British Columbia Museum and IMAX Theater are in Victoria, this world-class museum and IMAX theater explore the natural and human history of British Columbia. Explore The First People’s Gallery with displays of totems and artifacts. Discover and wander the Natural History area with exhibitions to excite and delight the whole family
Going on holiday, eh? Vancouver Island in THE place to visit!
Niagara Falls, Ontario
Niagara Falls is perhaps one of the most family friendly destinations in Canada. Not only with the whole family be amazed at the roaring power of both the Horseshoe and American Falls, Niagara Falls has many family friendly activities that will entertain for days, making it one of the best destinations to visit in Canada with kids.
First things first, check out the falls from both the Niagara Falls Parkway and the many tour options to get up close to the falls. Enjoy Journey Behind the Falls, where you will be able to travel behind the falls in a series of tunnels. Enjoy a Hornblower Niagara Cruise and cruise right up to the great Horseshoe Falls.
Aside from the falls, you can enjoy Clifton Hill, which .is home to many exciting attractions. Enjoy a ride on the Niagara Skywheel, try your hand at some Dinosaur Mini Golf, visit the Ripley’s Museum, take a ride on the Niagara Speedway, or visit the Movieland Wax Museum.
For some outdoor fun, visit the Niagara Falls Butterfly Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Take the short drive along the Niagara Parkway and visit the Floral Clock. If you or the kiddos are animal lovers, check out Bird Kingdom.
By Lotte from Phenomenal Globe Travel Blog
Ottawa is the capital of Canada and a great place to visit with young children. The city center is very walkable, making it perfectly suitable for a family trip. From exploring one of the amazing family-friendly museums, strolling around the beautiful downtown area or visiting one of the festivals that Ottawa hosts year-round, you won’t run out of things to do in Ottawa with kids.
What better place to visit with your children than the Children’s Museum? In this interactive and educational museum, your kids can learn about the different countries around the world. They can even collect stamps in their ‘passport’ (given to them at the entrance) from all the countries they visit!
While you might not expect there to be a beach in Ottawa, there are actually several nice beaches to visit with your little ones! Some of the most popular beaches in Ottawa include Mooney’s Bay, Britannia beach, Westboro beach and Petrie Island. These are perfect places to relax after your city explorations and to go for a swim with your kids.
More water fun can be found at Calypso Water Park (about a 30-minute drive from downtown Ottawa). Young children will surely enjoy the jungle-themed Kongo expedition lazy river and just splashing around and playing with water all afternoon.
There are lots of other places you can visit while exploring Ottawa with your children, such as Parliament Hill, the Experimental Farm and the Rideau Canal. Have fun in the capital of Canada!
Jasper National Park
If you are looking for an outdoor, family friendly destination in Canada, Jasper National Park is the stop for you. Jasper National Park has many outdoor adventures that every member of the family can enjoy, from hiking to water sports to wildlife viewing. Jasper National Park is one of the best outdoor destinations to visit in Canada with kids.
When visiting with the family, be sure to take a wildlife tour. There are plenty of guided tours to choose from or you can choose to go on a self guided adventure. You are likely to see some elk, bears, wolves, moose or mountain goats, all depending on the season of course.
Spend some time in the evening relaxing in the Miette Hot Springs or take the short hike up to the Source of the Springs, an abandoned building and swimming area where the springs were located years ago.
Enjoy a ride on the Sky Tram for some stunning views of Jasper National Park, and one of the best parts? The ride is free for children under 5, making it an affordable adventure for families with young children. If you want to get out on the water, take a Maligne Lake Cruise to see the surrounding glaciers and stunning water colors.
Quebec City, Quebec
Quebec City is the capitol city of the Quebec province. Quebec City sits along the St. Lawrence River and is well known for its historic stone buildings and cobblestone streets.
Check out the Dufferin Terrace near the Chateau Frontenac. The kids will have plenty of room to stretch their legs and the adults can enjoy some great views of the St. Lawrence River and the Chateau Frontenac. You can also walk on the historic walls of the Old City.
Take a ride on the funicular to the upper town at Quartier Petit Champlain, the oldest commercial district in North America. The kids will enjoy the rides and views, and at the top you can enjoy some shopping and dining.
Visit the Plains of Abraham, a historic battlefield that played a role in the Seven Years War. Visit the Montmorency Falls for some nature, a short hike, and some great waterfall views. For animal lovers, visit the Aquarium du Quebec, which is home to over 10,000 animals.