Canada

Ultimate guide to things to do in Canada with kids

Canada is home to interesting wildlife, an impressive outdoor adventure scene and some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world. Festivals and family activities run year-round through Canada’s kid-friendly cities – Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal – immerse in the history and cultural delights of these impressive modern cities. The landscape throughout Canada’s northern regions and National Parks are both awe-inspiring and full of adventure – hike, ski and camp your way through the Canadian Rockies and experience up close encounters with moose, elk, bears, eagles, whales and other unique wildlife. With diverse experiences and something to entertain all – families will be impressed with all that Canada has to offer!

Canoeing in Bow Lake in western Alberta, Canada. Photo: Banff Lake Louise Tourism / Noel Hendrickson

The kids will love

Outdoor Activities 

Canada is an adventure-packed destination for the whole family. The Canadian National Parks are full of hiking trails for all levels and ages as well as horseback riding throughout the country. A variety of water sports run throughout the warmer seasons – canoeing, kayaking, white-water rafting and other boating sports are just the beginning of what’s on offer – and world-class snow sports during winter –  skiing, snowboarding, ice-skating, sledding and dog sledding.

Wildlife Encounters

Canada is home to unique and diverse wildlife, particularly throughout its northern regions and ubiquitous National Parks. Spot moose, elk, eagles, bears and polar bears. Take wildlife oriented expeditions through some of the most impressive landscapes in the world, and whale-watching tours along coastal areas.

Leviathan roller coaster in Canada's Wonderland theme park, Toronto Canada

Toronto

Toronto is traipsing through green parks in summer and ice-skating in winter. The city is bustling with activities – Ontario Science Centre, Canada’s Wonderland theme park, Art Gallery of Toronto, CN Tower, High Park – and is located right next door to the impressive Niagara Falls!

Vancouver

Vancouver is full of kid-centric activities – Granville Island tops the list for families with live entertainment, the buzzing Public Market, Kids Market, theatres, art galleries, water park, kayaking and paddle-boarding, as well as Stanley Park – Vancouver’s ‘green heart’ with playgrounds, trails, Capilano Suspension Bridge, water play park, nearby beaches, and the city’s several world-class museums.

Best time to travel

Canada’s diverse regions are beautiful to visit year-round, for vastly differing reasons. The high season in most parts of the country is summer, June to August. There are several festivals during this time and warmer weather in most areas, while the most northern regions experience a brief respite from freezing temperatures. Accommodation prices hike up to 30% during this period in most cities.

November to April brings a freezing wintertime across the country. The holiday season, November to December, hosts ‘festivals of light’ with Christmas parades and Christmas tree lightings, while January to April is the most ideal season for snow sports.

The shoulder periods, May and September to October, bring lower crowds and dropped accommodation prices. Fall is a wonderful time to visit – the landscapes are breathtaking and temperatures are cool throughout the country, but remain relatively comfortable.

Things to do in Canada with...

Big White Canada
Big White Canada. Picture: Shutterstock

Getting around Canada

Air travel in Canada is the most efficient and convenient way to travel the country, and can save a lot of time. Air Canada is the largest domestic network and there are several regional airlines which travel to more remote northern destinations, often inaccessible by road or train.

Car is an efficient way to travel across Canada, which has an extensive highway system that links most towns. Rentals are available from airports, train stations and city centres for approximately $35 to $70 per day. Car seats are compulsory for children and can be rented for around $15 per day. Liability insurance is required by law for all rentals.

Recreational Vehicle (RV) hire is popular for travelling families, particularly throughout west Canada. RVs are available for hire for approximately $175 to $280 per day, plus insurance. Two reliable companies are Canadream Campers and Cruise Canada.

Bus company Greyhound Canada has an extensive network, travelling to most destinations across the country, as well as there are several other companies with extensive regional routes. Buses are affordable, clean and reliable, often with amenities for the longer journeys.

Train travel is efficient and reliable between Quebec City, Montreal and Toronto, and outside of these routes is predominantly used for scenic journeys. Reservations are recommended, particularly during summer, and economic rail passes are available from company VIA Rail.

Prince Edward Island

More about Canada for families

Accommodation 

  • Most hotels and motels offer rooms with two double beds and the option of roll-away beds or cots. Some offer ‘kids stay for free’ promotions, while other accommodations, particularly B&Bs are adult-only. Always ask when booking.
  • Camping and campervan parks are ubiquitous in Canada. Some camping grounds offer cabins, swimming pools and playgrounds for kids. These are a great option for families, and good for kids to make friends while travelling.
  • Airbnb apartments or cabin rentals are available across Canada. These are affordable and ideal for travelling families, with the advantage of a fully furnished kitchen and laundry.

What to pack

  • Canada is very family-friendly country and child essentials are widely available in all major cities.
  • Sunscreen, insect repellent and rain gear are essential items, particularly for camping and cabin rentals.
  • Layered and warm clothing is essential year-round, even in summer, and exceptionally warm clothing for the freezing winter season.
What’s on?

The best annual events for families in Adelaide

Feb/March – Adelaide Fringe

You’ll find family and kid friendly shows at Adelaide’s wild and wonderful Fringe festival.

March - Adelaide Festival

Australia’s premier Arts festival showcases theatre, world-class musicians, dance, writers and visual art.

March – Adelaide 500

This motorsport spectacular is packed with action and entertainment for families. The 2021 Superloop Adelaide 500 will occur on revised dates in 2021.

March – South Australia History Festival

Enjoy hundreds of events such as talks to workshops exploring the local history.

March – WOMADelaide

Enjoy family friendly performances and workshops by the world’s best traditional and contemporary musicians, dancers and DJs.

May – DreamBig Children’s Festival

This arts festival for schools and families is the largest of its kind in the world.

September – Royal Adelaide Show

Experience animals, rides, food and entertainment as the country comes to the city.

October – OzAsia Festival

Australia’s biggest Asian arts festival.

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