For U.S. family travelers, Canada offers the perfect family vacation: It’s close and familiar but different from American destinations in important ways. For example, they eat more maple syrup, many of them speak French natively, and as a nation, Canadians are friendlier and more progressive than their neighbors to the south. By visiting Canada on your family’s next big trip, you could teach your kids about distinct cultures – and see some outstanding natural and historical sites, as well. If you need more convincing that Canada should be the site of your next family vacation, consider the following world-class, family-friendly Canadian vacation destinations.
5 Canadian Vacation Destinations You Will Love
Canada has so much to see but you don’t want to miss Niagara Falls so I’ll start there.
Niagara Falls is loud, wet and surrounded by adventure and excitement – making it automatically interesting to kids of all ages. Plus, the natural beauty of the surrounding area, the numerous museums and historic sites and the fruitful wine region attract parents, as well. There are dozens of attractions on both sides of the border bisecting Niagara Falls, but for a more unique experience, you should look into hotels in Niagara Falls, Canada, which also boast family-friendlier accommodations and amenities.
As some of the largest waterfalls in the world, Niagara Falls offers ample opportunity for education. You can take your kids to the “Miracles, Myths & Magic” film at the Niagara IMAX Theatre to learn about the geological and cultural history of the falls, and then you can go on a Journey Behind the Falls, where you’ll travel into tunnels behind and below the thundering water. You can explore the geology of the region yourself on hikes such as the White Water Walk and the Bruce Trail, and you can also experience the history at sites like Fort Niagara and the Battle Ground Hotel Museum. Then, everyone can relax and unwind at one of Niagara’s indoor waterparks – or at an adults-only wine tour.
Bay of Fundy
A wide bay between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the Bay of Fundy is another of Canada’s wild and watery wonders. Though it might not be as world-famous as Niagara Falls, the Bay of Fundy is just as fantastical: Every day, twice per day, the tides of the bay move an astonishing 53 feet, the farthest of any tidewaters in the world. Even more thrilling, the bay is filled with geologic formations called the Hopewell Rocks, which seem to defy physics.
Kids will love wandering around the sandy beach of the bay and returning hours later to find the beach transformed into a sea. During high tide, you can kayak for up-close looks at the Hopewell Rocks or scuba dive to see the outstanding marine life in the bay – which includes 12 species of whales. You can also explore nearby historic sites in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, including various forts and settlements dating to the 17th and 18th centuries. The Bay of Fundy offers a vacation that includes a once-in-a-lifetime sight alongside typical family fun.
White Pass and Yukon Route Railway
Rightfully called the “Scenic Railway of the World,” this trip by train will take your family deep into the north, where you will see some of the wildest territory of Canada. The railway, originally built to service the prospectors of the Klondike Gold Rush, now focuses on tourism to otherwise difficult-to-access regions of Canada and Alaska. Plus, you can travel in comfort and style, relaxing to the sounds of the rail while your kids experience the wonder of trains. There are three unique excursions offered by the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway:
Bennett Scenic Journey: An eight-hour trip between Carcross, Yukon Territory and Skagway, Alaska with a 45-minute layover in beautiful Bennett, British Columbia, which is inaccessible except by train or foot.
White Pass Summit Excursion: A shorter, three-hour tour of the original railway route. You will see amazing natural scenery, including waterfalls, gorges, glaciers and mountains as well as manmade wonders like sky-high trestles and deep, black tunnels.
Frasier Meadows Steam Excursion: A four-hour journey on a steam locomotive through similarly wild and breathtaking landscapes of northern Canada.
Banff is one of the best year round Canadian vacation destinations. If the winter you have a winter wonderland great for skiing, ice skating, and waterfall ice climbing. In the summer, Banff National Park is alive with hiking, white water rafting, and wildlife viewing. We love it so much we have gone two spring breaks in a row!
Prince Edward Island
Finally, if you are raising little readers, you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to transport them to the world of Anne of Green Gables. Prince Edward Island (PEI) is where Anne’s legendary Green Gables farm was placed, and you and your kids can explore many of the important sites of the book in real life by visiting this island off Canada’s east coast. At the very least, you can visit the Green Gables House in Cavendish before exploring other beautiful and exciting attractions around PEI.
There you have 5 wonderful Canadian vacation destinations but really that just scratches the surface. I loved Vancouver when I visited and we are planning a Northeast road trip to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec this summer! Have you been to Canada? What are your favorite Canadian vacation destinations?