If you don’t have time to get away for a long vacation, Canada has plenty of day trips and weekend trips that offer just as much sightseeing, fun, and excitement for the whole family. You’ll find numerous cities across the country with thrilling attractions and unique experiences that you can enjoy in just a few days, so you can make memories with the kids without taking time off of work. Whether you want a city break with sightseeing or an unforgettable experience in the great outdoors, here are the best options for a family day or long weekend in Canada.
Canada’s westernmost province, British Columbia has a long Pacific coastline and numerous mountain ranges and national parks. It’s home to Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort, an incredible ski resort with activities for all seasons, and the Glacier National Park, which has hiking and biking trails for outdoor fun. For a weekend of city attractions, Vancouver is the best place. You’ll find plenty of kid-friendly activities, such as visiting the Vancouver Aquarium to see incredible marine life, exploring the geodesic dome at Science World, and finding thrills at Playland at the PNE. Kids will also like the Vancouver Maritime Museum, a nautical museum with maritime history exhibits.
Home to many of Canada’s most vibrant cities, Ontario is a great destination for a weekend retreat. You could visit Ottawa to tour the Canadian Museum of Nature and the Canadian Museum of History, or you can ice skate on the Rideau Canal in winter. Ottawa also has the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, which is home to numerous aircraft and spacecraft. In Toronto, you have your choice of the Toronto Zoo, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, and the Toronto Islands and the Centreville Amusement Park. One of the best places is Niagara Falls, however, which boasts the spectacular set of namesake waterfalls and the amusements and attractions of Clifton Hill.
The eastern Canadian province of Quebec is home to Quebec City and Montreal, 2 excellent cities for a weekend trip with the family. In Quebec City, you could explore historic sites like La Citadelle de Quebec and the Plains of Abraham or enjoy wildlife experiences with the Aquarium of Quebec. Kids will also like Valcartier Bora Parc, an indoor water park with a wave pool. In Montreal, the kids can have unique experiences, like touring the Biodome nature centre to learn about different ecosystems or wandering the Montreal Underground City tunnels that link the famous landmarks. For thrills, Montreal has La Ronde, a Six Flags amusement park with thrill rides, kiddie rides, and games.
With its diverse landscape of mountains, prairies, badlands, and forests, Alberta is a haven for outdoor adventure. You could explore exciting national parks with the kids, such as Banff National Park and Jasper National Park, to wander hiking trails and see wildlife. Several ski resorts are found near both parks, giving you a chance to ski or snowboard with the kids. If they’re not ready for the slopes, plenty of local ski resorts offer snow tubing and other winter fun. For a low-key family weekend, visit one of the many recreational lakes and enjoy beach time with the kids. Calgary is also located in Alberta and offers attractions like the Calgary Zoo, the Heritage Park Historical Village, and Calaway Park, an amusement park with rides and games.
Located in eastern Canada, Nova Scotia boasts a variety of incredible cities and attractions that are sure to delight the kids. The capital city, Halifax, is home to excellent maritime attractions, beaches, and museums. You could stroll the boardwalk to see kitschy amusements, dine in casual eateries, and hop a train trolley that takes rides in the downtown area. On the beach, you’ll find a playground with a giant wave sculpture. There’s also the Discovery Centre, a fantastic kid’s museum with interactive STEAM exhibits that educate and entertain. Some other impressive places include the Bay of Fundy and Cape Breton Island.