Best Family Vacations in Canada – Spring Edition

There’s a vacation spot in Canada for everyone: restless youngsters, demanding adolescents, and moms and dads. From eastern beaches to northern lakes, ziplining to horseback riding, puffins to dinosaurs, no person would be able to remain indifferent – especially families. Reconnect with your kids and Canada’s natural wonders this spring. The following is a list of some of the best family vacations in Canada.

Toronto

Toronto is among the best destinations for family vacations in Canada because it is home to so many fantastic sights to see and things to do. And visiting in spring will allow you to move around with fewer visitors than in the summer months.

The Science Museum and Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada are great options for families, so you can make these your first stop. Next, kids of all ages can enjoy visiting Little India. Here, they can sit in a tuk-tuk and try many different national dishes. It’s an excellent chance for them to explore other cultures and cuisines! Finally, a trip to the Toronto Islands, where an old-school amusement park for children under ten is housed, is an excellent choice for exhausted moms and dads who want to relax rather than race from one attraction to the next. Parents who enjoy craft beer will be delighted to learn that Toronto is home to a large number of breweries that welcome children.

Overall, Toronto is the place to go if you want ample city conveniences with a neighborhood feel. That’s why the best part of the city is exploring all its diverse communities. So, make sure to uncover the true beauty of Toronto by following local’s guides on where to go and what to see.

A skyline of Toronto during a sunset
Toronto offers a wide variety of activities for families

Quebec City

Quebec offers the feel of a genuine European vacation without ever having to leave North America. It’s one of the most family-friendly places in Canada, with the best schools and daycare and so many fun activities for both the kids and the parents. This is why so many new families settle here every year. In the upper and lower ancient towns, you can go for a walk, stop at a patisserie or sweets shop, and dine. For families with young children, the Funicular and a tour to the Chateau Frontenac are must-dos. 

And, if you ever need a break from the historic city center, you can quickly change the vibe. One of the most stunning places to see in Quebec is Montmorency Falls and the beautiful Ile d’Orleans. A cable car takes you to the top, where you can walk across a bridge that spans the falls and return via cable car or stairs on the other side. If you’ve got young children, consider stopping at the summit’s playground. If you don’t stop, the island features a one-hour-long circle road. But don’t forget to stop by the chocolate shop, visit the roadside stalls offering jam, maple syrup, and other homemade delights, and snap a few shots before returning to the city.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls are a must-see, but it might seem intimidating at first for families with kids. But don’t worry! It’s all about making it as easy as possible for visitors to take in this natural treasure. And it might just become one of the most memorable travels with your children.

On the Hornblower Cruise, you go so near the falls that you can feel the water on your face. The variety offered by Niagara Falls makes them one of the best family vacations in Canada.

Visitors with more time on their hands can take advantage of numerous family-friendly attractions in town, including an indoor water park, miniature golf, and out-of-this-world culinary establishments.

Those who prefer a slower pace and more natural surroundings may find Niagara’s skyscrapers a little overpowering. However, there are a plethora of other options. Niagara on the Lake, for example, is a picture-perfect town with charming shops and a small village atmosphere and is just a short drive from the Falls. Families seeking a peaceful, leisurely getaway would also appreciate Ontario Wine County located nearby.

Algonquin Park

Even though Canada is home to several magnificent cities, Algonquin Park offers a sense of the country’s untamed wilderness. Moose, polar bears, and beavers are Canada’s most recognizable natural species. And if you’re eager for wildlife encounters, Algonquin Provincial Park, located three hours north of Toronto, is the Canadian wilderness you imagined: clear lakes, towering pines, and flowing rivers. 

Rent a canoe and go for a paddle on one of the lakes for a truly Canadian experience. By camping, you can enjoy Algonquin Provincial Park in the evening while baking smores around the campfire. Non-campers can rent Yurts in the Park, and there are hotels and inns all around it. Only a few eateries can be found in the park, but you must try the world-famous Beavertails: a deep-fried, sugar-coated pastry that includes no beaver.

A high-angle photo of Algonquin Park’s forests.
Algonquin Park is an ideal family vacation for more active families.

Montreal

Montreal is a lovely and easy-to-enjoy city in both its old and new neighborhoods. Green areas and outdoor cafes make any summer day out in town a delight. Montreal’s fresh produce markets deserve their high reputation for the quality of their produce.

The Botanical Gardens, the Biodome, and the Science Museum of Montreal are among the must-sees. Still, the city has a robust cultural calendar, and many museums that cater to both adults and children, and you could quickly fill a vacation to Montreal with activities every single day.

A skyline of Montreal in the evening
Montreal will capture your family’s hearts with its amazing sights and pleasant atmosphere.

Final words

We hope you liked our selection of the best family vacations in Canada. From the hustle and bustle of the cities to the incredible wilderness, Canada really has it all! Spring has just started, so pack up your entire family and get on to traveling! Have an amazing time!

Essential tips for essential travel

Airplane seats waiting and ready for boarding

Not everyone is ready to get back in the air, but many people still have trips they need to take. Travel is slowly increasing with essential travel leading the way. If you’re in that boat (or plane, actually) there are some things you should know before you go, i.e. essential tips for essential travel.

Most importantly, you should know that the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has instituted several measures to ensure your security screening experience is as safe and secure as possible.

Wear A Face Covering

People travelling by plane from and within Canada need to bring their face covering. Face coverings need to cover the nose and mouth, be made of at least two layers of tightly-woven fabric (such as cotton or linen) and secured to the head. (Check out Public Health Agency of Canada’s guidelines, including instructions on how to make your mask.)

Use Hand Sanitizer When Out and About

At major airports, hand sanitizing units have been placed by the checkpoints to be used by the public. You can also have one bottle of hand sanitizer up to 355 mL in your carry-on – that is in addition to the 100 mL bottles that fall under the usual liquids’ restrictions. Keeping hands clean is especially important to help prevent the virus from spreading.

Screening Checkpoint at Security

Temperature screening at an airport in Canada

If you’re flying out of one of Canada’s 15 busiest airports, you’ll have your temperature checked when you arrive at the screening checkpoint. You will not be permitted to proceed through screening if your temperature, after two separate tests, is at or above 38⁰C. Note that if you exhibit symptoms of illness such as a cough or difficulty breathing, you will be required to leave the checkpoint.

While in the queue and the screening checkpoint, you must keep two metres between yourself and other passengers. Hold on to your own electronic or printed boarding pass or other documents of entitlement while they are scanned.

Travel Safely

Travel myths abound but the facts are the facts. Aviation is an essential service, ensuring people and goods get to where they need to go, and CATSA has taken every step possible to ensure this happens safely. You can go to their website for more information, or you can download their app for Android or iOS.

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How to Avoid Common Mistakes On The Mountain

A great day of skiing
Photo by Melvin Wahlin on Pexels.com

As a ski patroller and veteran skier, I’ve seen more than my share of mistakes on the mountain. And there is a theme with common mistakes – not being prepared and/or not skiing smart. Here’s how to avoid those common mistakes on the mountain:

1. Be prepared for a Workout

Skiing and snowboarding are great workouts. A day on the slopes requires stamina, a strong core and leg muscles. If you plan on hitting a big mountain with long runs, skiing will be harder still. If you have a decent fitness level, you’ll have a good base for your day on the slopes and adjust easier to the demands of skiing and boarding. A regular fitness routine will help you to ski or snowboard better and longer.

2. Avoid heading straight to the Black Diamonds

A skier on a black diamond run
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Start out easy at the beginning of the day. Experienced skiers always take it easy for, at least, the first few runs before heading off to the diamond runs. Warm up and get your focus on movement, turns and technique before you crank it up on more challenging stuff. Gain confidence with easier runs before moving to diamond runs. Work your way up to the more serious, advanced, narrow, thrill rides.

3. Use common sense

There is something called the Alpine Responsibility Code which many skiers know, and many don’t. It’s typically posted on a yellow sign at the bottom of most lifts. It’s a combination of safety rules and common sense for skiers and snowboarders. For example, always stay in control; do not stop where you obstruct a trail, before starting downhill or merging onto a trail, look uphill and yield to others, etc. Follow these rules (ski smart) and you’ll stay safe and avoid the common mistakes of others.

4. Pay attention to lifts

Walking back to the chalet after a great day of snowboarding
Photo by Visit Almaty on Pexels.com

Getting on and off lifts is prime for accidents. If you don’t pay attention, you’ll quickly find that the chairlift is unforgiving. High speed chairs pick you up slowly, but then move fast. Be ready, line up with skis pointed forward and poles in hand. Getting off a chairlift can be a challenge for novice skiers and boarders. At the offloading area, simply stand up and let the chair push you. T-bars or other vintage lifts are completely unknown to new or young skiers, so ask for help from the lift operator or ski patrol if you need it.

5. Don’t think you can ski all day (with no break)

If you only ski while on a ski vacation, you’ll need to pace yourself for a full day on the slopes. As a Canadian Ski Patroller, I’m on shift all day and break the day into parts: a few hours of skiing and then take a break. Back out again for a few more hours then take a lunch break. After lunch, I’m back out again with a break in the afternoon. Don’t over do it and your last run will be as good as your first run.

6. Avoid borrowing your Dad’s old equipment

2 skiers taking a break from skiing
Photo by julie aagaard on Pexels.com

Chances are your Dad’s equipment is old, worn out and/or doesn’t fit. Take a pass. If you don’t have your own equipment, rent from a ski shop where they will provide decent equipment based on your skill level. Boots need to be comfortable. Bindings should be set so that they will release your skis when needed. Tuned up skis make it easier to hold an edge and get down the hill. Helmets are very much in style and should be mandatory for their obvious protection. A helmet can’t prevent a concussion, but it could reduce the severity of one. Use quality equipment that fits you and your level of ability.

7. Not Layering Up

I’ve become a bit of an expert at dressing for winter. Wearing the wrong type of clothes can result in a not-so-happy ski day. For example, don’t wear cotton socks and a cotton shirt as your base layer. You will not be warm. The best way to layer up for skiing is to have three high-quality layers: a thin base layer (long johns); an insulating mid-layer (fleece or ski sweater) and then ski pants/ski jacket. Keep active, take rest breaks and keep nourished (your body stays warmer with fuel intake). If your clothes get wet, change them.

Get ready for a great day on the slopes! If you are going on a ski vacation, check out my TuGo post – What to Pack for a Ski or Snowboard Trip. And don’t forget your travel insurance if you travel outside your home province or Canada. Have fun, stay safe and enjoy the great outdoors!