Go on and dust off those suitcases, Canada! From splashing around at Great Wolf in Lodge in Ontario and hearing your pint-sized dinosaur lovers let out their biggest roars at Drumheller in Alberta, get ready moms and dads — it is time to pack up the kids and hit the open road in search of rest, relaxation, adrenaline surges and some very serious giggles.
If you’ve always wanted to explore Canada and discover some of the coolest family-friendly gems it has to offer, these 14 great getaway ideas are sure to get the inspiration engines revving — and raring — to go!
After shaking off the remnants of a long, excruciating Canadian winter, who doesn’t want a big splash of summertime sunshine?
Squeeze the most of out of cheery summer days at the Painted Boat Resort in B.C.s Sunshine Coast (seriously, the name can’t help but make you smile, right?)
It is here on this pristine waterfront where thrilling outdoor adventures and relaxation meet.
Stressed-out parents will love the serenity (think an unbeatable ocean view, infinity pool and the chance to decompress at the garden spa) and the whole family will adore marvelling at the stunning aquatic life and exploring the six acres of forested area by bike or foot. Now how is that for family balance?
WHY IT'S GREAT: Just two hours from downtown Vancouver, the Painted Boat Resort’s fresh, west-coast style villas — which come with fully equipped, high-end kitchens — will have you saying, ‘ahhh’ in no time.
If you’ve long suspected that you’re kids are actually wild animals, they might prove you right roaming around Great Wolf Lodge Indoor Waterpark in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Yep, this is full-on kids territory here, a place where energetic munchkins can truly get their sillies out.
Parents consider yourselves warned: This is not the spot for quiet seekers. Great Wolf is packed with snaking watersides, indoor/outdoor pools, wave pools, a flashy arcade, daily entertainment and, get this, an interactive four-storey treehouse complete with suspension bridges and tree-top slides!
WHY IT'S GREAT: I know, I know, you’re all grown up with a job and car and kids and blah, blah, blah, but guess what? Here you also get a pass. This is your chance to act like a kid again, all the while tiring out your offspring like never before.
I get it — you’re tired from draining slog of parenthood and just want to kick back with some super easy travel. Clevelands House in picturesque Muskoka, Ontario, is where seasoned Yummy Mummy Club staffers and loyal readers alike regularly go to chill.
From newborns to sulky teenagers, Clevelands has cool stuff to do for kids of any age, including a variety of sports, water skiing, canoeing, kayaking, wildlife outings, arts and crafts, hiking and outdoor movies. Parental types may want to hit the tennis courts, play a round of golf or partake in more relaxing pursuits (just in case you were wondering, yes, there is yoga, tai chi, massages and a sauna on the premises).
WHY IT'S GREAT: So there are the sunny cottage and lodge-style accommodations and pretty waterfront dotted with colourful Muskoka chairs but also … wait for it … wait for it … on-site childcare! Yep, while the kiddies are busy enjoying snacks and meals and getting tuckered out by activities, parents can truly get away from it all. Oh, don’t worry, the kids will be back before you know it.
Jim Morrison was right when he sang the lyric, The West is the Best, Baby. While Morrison wasn’t lamenting about the Canadian Rockies, he easily could’ve been. After all, few spots top the charts of must-see destinations quite like the Rockies.
Escape the daily grind at the Delta Lodge Kananaskis, located in Kananaskis, Calgary, nestled in the Rockies at an elevation of 5,000 feet surrounding by some of the most spectacular scenery Canada has to offer.
This tucked away lodge won the 2011 Calgary's Child Parents' Choice Award for Best Hotel, but don’t let that fool you, there is plenty of grownup bliss to be found here as well, especially true for outdoor enthusiasts.
WHY IT'S GREAT: This spot brings good, ol’ family bonding to new heights with hiking biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Slope lovers will want to hit the adjacent Nakiska Mountain Resort before downshifting at the Summit Spa and Fitness Centre — and it’s all just an hour away from Calgary International Airport.
Have kids, hear them roar!
Dinosaur lovers will be right at home at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in the town of Drumhellert, Alberta, where visitors get to travel hundreds of millions of years. Scour the museum collection of skeletal remnants and be sure to visit one of the area’s biggest attractions — the 'World's Largest Dinosaur' — an 86 foot T-rex sculpture which the kiddies can climb.
WHY IT'S GREAT: After getting your dino fix, head to the otherworldly Hoodoos — a stunning natural wonder of geological rock formations composed of sand and clay that were creatively formed by water, wind and frost (known icons of Alberta's badlands) is just a 10-minute drive away.
So, it’s quality time you seek, is it? This may be far-flung from your regular family vacation destination, but that’s a good thing. Your brood will reconnect at the Winnipeg Elkorn Resort and Spa, located in central Manitoba. Among the goodies at this relaxed resort are bike rentals, kayaking, a kids playground and evening campfires just waiting for you to bust out the marshmallows. That’s right, think roast and relax.
WHY IT'S GREAT: Rubbing shoulders with more than 3,000 square kilometres of boreal forest, the Elkhorn also borders Riding Mountain National Park so whether it’s a good summer hike that gets you pumped or scenic cross-country skiing, this all-season spot has it.
Ooh, la la. Round up the family and head to a sandy peninsula between Mont-Tremblant and Montebello you will find the spacious, cottage-style accommodations at Petite Rouge. Awaken those athletic spirits with year-round activities. For winter warriors, ice skating, cross-country ski and snowshoeing will get the blood pumping, but if summer is more your scene, take advantage of the canoeing, kayaking, tubing, volleyball, tennis and mountain biking.
WHY IT'S GREAT: Friendly service and great for family gatherings of any size who want to play in the Great Outdoors.
Think warm, welcoming east coasters combined with awe-inspiring landscapes — that is what makes breath-of-fresh-air Nova Scotia truly standout. This spectacular province, teeming with rich, natural beauty, is worth road-tripping all on its own, but for those looking to plant themselves in one key spot, the idyllic seaside Oak Island Atlantica Resort and Hotel is just a 45-minute jaunt from Halifax and a terrific starting point for visiting nearby Peggy’s Cove and World Heritage site, the breezy fishing village of Lunenburg.
WHY IT'S GREAT: Whether you want to slow down and stretch out seaside with a good beach read or prefer to explore the natural wonders of this south shore treasure, it delivers. Oak Island Atlantica will get the stamp approval with fun recreational offerings, from volleyball and mini golf to tossing horse shoes, swimming and boating.
Slow down, you move to fast. And you will slow down on this journey.
Harrowsmith Magazine named Telegraph Cove one of the 10 best towns in Canada and it’s easy to see why. This tiny, well-preserved reprieve nestled in the eastern coast of Northern Vancouver Island recalls its roots as a sawmill and salmon town with simple, rustic charm. It is abundant in marine life (pay a visit to nearby Stubbs Island Whale Watching) and spectacular nature hikes. Once you’ve arrived, there is never a need to hurry. Go ahead and breathe.
WHY IT'S GREAT: Top notch for scenic unwinding, lush forests and a lovely selection of cosy cottage-style stays.
Calling all young adventurers! Get ready to get your adrenaline fix at Deerhurst Resort, snuggled into Ontario’s famous Muskoka region. This is the place to go for parents and kids with serious energy to burn. Scale the rock climbing wall inside the 11,000-square-foot indoor playground, also equipped with an arcade and a colourful, animated pool area, play Tarzan as you trek across treetops and get your heart rate pounding on the slopes and dogsled excursions.
WHY IT'S GREAT: Indoor or outdoor, Deerhurst has all the right fixings of a four-season reprieve fitting for adults and youngsters alike. Added bonus: You can bring Fido along as trained dogs and cats are welcome at this pet-friendly getaway!
If you’re game to travel off the beaten path, jot Takhini River Lodge in Whitehorse, Yukon down on your vacation list. Sure, the Yukon is known for its chilly temperatures, which is exactly what makes the Takhini River Lodge a splendid destination for wintery bliss. After a day of dog sledding, taking in a bird’s eye view of the jaw-dropping landscape on a private helicopter tour or learning from an in-house pro the best ways to achieve the great snapshots of the Northern Lights, snuggle up under luxurious goose down duvets in one of the four artistically detailed theme rooms, such as the Yukon Art or cosy Trappeur room.
WHY IT'S GREAT: This is your chance to see the Northern Lights … hello!
Load up on double extra ‘cheese’ at the ever-popular tourist destination, Clifton Hills in Niagara Falls. There is no shortage of colourful, family-ready hotels and packages in this quirky hotspot, which is a haven for a weekend of no-holds-barred gluttony. Teeming with haunted houses, antique-style photo studios, where you can step back in time and play dress up as a swaggering, dusty-booted Western cowboy or a pursed-lipped Victorian damsel and the kind of junk food that makes cotton candy look healthy, this is the place to get your sillies out. Ride the Niagara Skywheel, get a soaker aboard the Maid of the Mist as you near the famous Falls itself and rub shoulders with the waxy famous figures, such as Marilyn Munro, Katy Perry and U.S. President Barack Obama at one of many wax museums.
WHY IT'S GREAT: It’s a splashy, unapologetically garish and one heck of a greasy good time.
Delight your senses and breathe in the charm at The Algonquin Resort in New Brunswick’s picturesque town, St. Andrews by-the-Sea. Lap up the refreshing waterfront breeze at this seaside resort along Canada’s stunning East Coast. Awaiting the kids is a children’s paradise with an indoor and large outdoor pool, huge waterslide, playground and gooey marshmallow roasts. Close by you’ll find whale watching, kayak tours and have the chance to meet sea creatures at the Huntsman Fundy Discovery Aquarium.
WHY IT'S GREAT: For adults, romance and relaxation is in the air at this luxurious coastal retreat, but the resort hasn’t overlooked the kids, making for wonderfully well-balanced family travel.
Sticking to a strict travel budget? Bust out the tent and camp in Gros Morne National Park, in Newfoundland and Labrador. This inexpensive getaway is rich in natural wonders with surrounding mountains and an abundance of wildlife, earning Gros Morne a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.
WHY IT'S GREAT: An awe-inspiring way to unwind for outdoorsy types. Book a boat tour for a close-up view of a freshwater fjord carved out by glaciers and be sure to pay a visit to local fishing villages, sandy beaches and stunning waterfalls.