Whether your family is young or old, a road trip is a great opportunity to spend some time together! Canada offers countless attractions scattered in cities across the country that everyone can enjoy, even if its only for a weekend trip. Our list will help you narrow down the top spots.
Tip: Before you get going, prepare for the long drive ahead with a roadside emergency kit.
Peggy’s Cove: In Nova Scotia, this quaint little town, 1 hour away from Halifax, is home to small shops and world famous lighthouses. In Peggy’s Cove Village you can explore fishing villages that have been converted into arts and crafts stores and restaurants. Head to the South Shore where the Peggy’s Point Lighthouse sits atop smooth rocks, overlooking the Atlantic.
Whale Watching: There’s something majestic about the ocean and the creatures that live in it. Of the many species, whales are one of the largest mammals on earth that anyone, any age can appreciate. Depending on the time of year you visit the Atlantic, you can find various species of whale roaming the waters, when you take a tour boat out.
Magnetic Hill: Big on optical illusions? Magnetic Hill in Moncton, New Brunswick is bound to trip out your passengers. Park in neutral at the end of a preserved 19th century cart path and witness as you travel backwards, seemingly uphill. If the physics behind it is still too much, take some time to enjoy the wildlife at the Magnetic Hill Zoo.
Le Chateau Frontenac: If you’re planning to stay in Quebec for a couple nights, Le Chateau Frontenac is an interesting choice. Originally built in 1893, this historic landmark makes for a great cultural experience, whether you’re staying in it or just admiring the architecture.
Saint Saveur – Village Vacances Valcartier: For those interested in adventure, relaxation or both, this resort offers it all. Starting with accomodations, you can choose between a hotel, a cabin or camping. Once settled in, the resort has an indoor and outdoor waterpark perfect for the kids, and adventure tours like white water rafting or ziplining for the adults.
La Citadelle de Quebec: Located in Old Quebec, this fortress is a great destination for learning about Canadian military history. You can experience the changing of the guards, witness a goat with gold horns – the fort’s mascot – and tour the museum.
Canada’s Wonderland: If your family is craving an adrenaline rush and enjoys seeking thrills, Canada’s largest amusement park should be able to fulfill that. With its total of 69 rides, including 16 rollercoasters, its bound to provide a good fix. If taking it chill is more your thing, don’t forget the swim trunks for the Splash Works Waterpark.
Ottawa: The country’s capital city is likely to have a number of activities taking place whether it’s the summer or winter. Join in the fun and grab a photo of the whole “fam jam” at Parliament Hill. If museums are your thing, Ottawa has a great selection to help you learn about Canadian history and provide an interesting and educational retreat for the whole family. Start by visiting the Canadian War Museum, Currency Museum or Canadian Aviation and Space Museum and, if theres time, check out the other 14.
Sandbanks Provincial Park: If you’re looking to soak up the sun on a beach in Ontario, then head over to Sandbanks Provincial Park. Here you can marvel at the world’s largest baymouth barrier dune, and enjoy one of many sandy beaches the park has to offer. If you’re looking to stay overnight, try staying on–site by camping in the park, where you can enjoy star–gazing when the sun sets.
Algonquin Provincial Park: Get away from city life and head to Algonquin Provincial Park to embrace nature. This undisturbed natural area is great for going back to basics with camping, canoeing, hiking and mingling with wildlife. It’s a great opportunity to gather around the camp fire and share stories with the family, while roasting marshmallows!
Calgary Zoo: Everyone can appreciate a day trip to the zoo. The Calgary Zoo offers multiple exhibits and daily activities that allow visitors to mix and mingle with a variety of different animals. So, whether your family likes birds, reptiles, mammals or are just plain animal-lovers, this zoo should have something for everyone.
Dinosaur Provincial Park: The Alberta badlands located in Drumheller were once home to giant dinosaurs. Today, you can visit and interact with the World’s Largest Dinosaur (not living of course) on your way to Dinosaur Provincial Park. At the park, experience a fossil museum and go for a hike around the badlands where you can peer into dig sites where fossils lay.
West Edmonton Mall: Get ready to shop until you drop! North America’s largest mall has close to 800 stores and 9 different attractions. There is bound to be something for each member in the family, just make sure you have enough space in the car to get it all home!
Churchill Polar Bears: In northern Manitoba, the town of Churchill lies at a point on Hudson Bay. If you’re willing to make the drive up, you’ll be greeted upon arrival by mostly barren landscape and polar bears. The town is home to many tour companies willing to take you out to see Beluga Whales and Polar Bears. At night, you can sit back and enjoy the Northern Lights!
Rockies Train Ride: Park the car and take a break from driving. You can only see so much by road and foot, so hop on a train and explore the Rockies for a few days by rail. The family will see a different side of Canada and enjoy the experience travelling by train provides.
Kitsilano Beach: The Kitsilano area in Vancouver is an urban area established along a stunning waterfront. Located here are trendy restaurants, boutique shops, retail stores and, of course beaches. “Kits” Beach, one of the more popular beaches in Vancouver, offers a great opportunity for the family to soak up the sun with its many attractions. These include a playground, multiple volleyball courts and one of the longest, outdoor swimming pools.
Whistler: Driving the sea to sky highway up to Whistler will have the whole family pulling their cameras out. Along the way, scenic lookout points provide a great place to stop for photos and a stretch. While Whistler is known for being a prime winter destination, summer activities are plenty and allow you to embrace the natural beauty of the land. These range from eco-adventures (like Jeep tours through the wilderness) to ziplining above temperate rainforests.
Road Trip Tip: British Columbia can experience lots of rain in the warmer months so you might want to brush up on some tips for driving in the rain.
Grab your map, load up the kids and hit the road!