little girl kayaking

Make a splash in Canada with the family. (Photo: Getty Images)


From Niagara Falls to Vancouver, Find the Best Family Vacation Ideas in Canada

The best family vacations in Canada, with its scenic coastlines, interactive museums and thrilling water parks, entertain young travelers of all kinds, from toddlers who love splashing around to older kids who yearn for the great outdoors.

Spanning the nation from coast to coast, these destinations offer a variety of experiences, from a cultural getaway to an indoor amusement park.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.

Vancouver, British Columbia

A vibrant port city on the southwest coast of British Columbia, Vancouver is best known for its easy access to the outdoors.

vancouver sea wall
Outdoor adventure awaits in and around Vancouver. (Photo: Getty Images)

Encompassing stretches of sandy beaches, verdant fields and forested paths, the 1,000-acre Stanley Park is Vancouver’s favorite urban green space, and a family outing there can be an all-day affair.

Start with a visit to the Vancouver Aquarium, where kids can experience more than 30 exhibits and meet more than 65,000 animals. Watch rescued sea lions play, spot a lazy sloth hanging upside down on a tree and brave a visit with the blacktip reef sharks.

Then spend an afternoon biking, rollerblading or strolling along the 5.5-mile-long seawall with views of the Pacific Ocean; building sandcastles at Second Beach; or splashing at Variety Kids Water Park if you’re visiting in the summertime.

Niagara Falls, Ontario

The thunderous Niagara Falls are undoubtedly the star attraction of the city of the same name in southern Ontario.

niagara falls aerial view
Fill the kids with wonder in Niagara Falls. (Photo: Getty Images)

Explore the southern end of Niagara Gorge on a Hornblower Niagara cruise. This 20-minute voyage on a catamaran travels past American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls and is the only way to get as close as possible to the base of Horseshoe Falls. Though a wet and blustery experience awaits on the tiered viewing decks of the catamaran, guests can stay dry while still viewing these natural wonders from the glass-enclosed area on the lower level.

Kids who love water will enjoy an afternoon at Fallsview Indoor Waterpark. Its three acres are home to 16 hair-raising water slides, an extensive wave pool, private cabanas and an outdoor pool and patio. Toddlers can play in the Tiny Tots Splash Park area, while older kids can race each other down the Kamakazi or Drop Canyon racing slides.

Quebec City, Quebec

Brimming with cobblestone streets, neoclassical cathedrals and historic buildings, Quebec City oozes old-world charm.

quebec city aerial view
Kid-friendly fun awaits in Quebec City. (Photo: Getty Images)

Embrace the wonder of childhood by shopping for toys at Benjo, a 25,000-square-foot toy store in the city’s St.-Roch district. Enter through the child-size VIP doors and tour the toy mecca’s vast selection of board games, dolls, building sets and books on an electric train ride.

Those with a sweet tooth should visit Érico, a small museum and boutique chocolate shop in St.-Jean Baptiste that traces the origins of this confectionery from Mayan times. Through text and a display of artifacts on this free and self-guided tour, learn about the cocoa plant and techniques for making chocolate. Then indulge in delicate chocolate macarons, decadent truffles or velvety chocolate ice cream to cap off your visit.

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Characterized by spellbinding seascapes, historical charm and colorful maritime history, the lively port city of Halifax is a destination for families that are eager to immerse themselves in some hands-on learning.

halifax aerial view
Discover the charms of Halifax. (Photo: Getty Images)

Begin with an introduction to Nova Scotia by perusing the Museum of Natural History. Learn about the origins of the province, its marine life and native species that inhabit the land through the museum’s galleries. Get up close to a live bee colony and examine dinosaur fossils and a skeleton of a pilot whale from Sable Island.

A short walk from Halifax’s picturesque waterfront is the Discovery Centre, an interactive science museum dedicated to igniting curiosity in visitors of all ages. Explore the five themed galleries spread over four floors, experiment with simple circuit boards at the Innovation Lab, and discover the peculiarities of space as you observe live star shows in the Dome Theatre.

Edmonton, Alberta

Base yourself in Edmonton, Alberta’s dynamic capital situated on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, for a family-friendly getaway.

Boasting some 800 shops, the West Edmonton Mall holds the record as Canada’s largest shopping mall. In addition to being the ultimate retail destination, the mall is home to a five-acre waterpark, a mini-golf course, a bowling alley and an indoor amusement park, along with a plethora of other entertainment venues.

Kids can ride one of the world’s tallest indoor roller coasters and soar across a massive wave pool on a 470-foot indoor zip line at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour while the grown-ups complete their shopping.