Best Family Vacations in Canada
When looking for the ideal destination for your next family vacation abroad, consider Canada for its wide range of multigenerational entertainment – from zoos and aquariums to amusement parks and even rodeos. Based on recommendations from our editors, and you, our readers, U.S. News rounded up a list of Canadian destinations that best cater to families. Use this ranking to plan your next trip north, and vote below for your choice destination before you head out.
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The Maid of the Mist boat tour may leave you soggy, but it won't put a damper on your trip. When you're not admiring the falls, marvel at the blooms at the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens. Or, visit the Aquarium of Niagara, which has more than 1,500 species of aquatic animals.
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You'll find most of Vancouver's kid-centric attractions in Granville Island and Stanley Park. The nearly 1,000-acre park boasts the Vancouver Aquarium, plus four playgrounds, an outdoor water park and a miniature train. For an adrenaline rush, walk across the 450-foot-long Capilano Suspension Bridge.
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Prince Edward Island#3 in Best Family Vacations in Canada
The backdrop for the “Anne of Green Gables” stories, Prince Edward Island offers a variety of outdoor experiences – from sandy beaches to water sports like kayaking to exploring one of eight lighthouses. Plus, PEI is a quick flight from almost anywhere on the east coast.
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Kids will love hitting the slopes on Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, tobogganing at Whistler Olympic Park and riding the Rocky Mountaineer train to nearby Vancouver. Whistler also boasts educational activities, such as the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre, for families who want to squeeze in some learning while on vacation.
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The ice slide at Terrasse Dufferin and the street performances in the Quartier Petit-Champlain will enchant visitors of all ages. Plan an early spring trip when you and your family can enjoy all the delicious fun that accompanies maple harvesting season.
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Whether you're visiting in winter or summer, you'll find plenty of outdoor attractions suited for the whole family. Hop on the Banff Gondola for an unbeatable view, whisk down mountains on a snow tube, go canoeing at Moraine Lake or relax in natural hot springs.
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Wintertime visitors shouldn't miss ice skating along the Rideau Canal. And if you're planning a May trip, take part in the annual Ottawa Children's Festival. No matter when you visit, the Canadian Museum of Nature and the Canada Aviation and Space Museum's hands-on exhibits will keep kids occupied for hours.
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Keeping the family entertained won't be difficult in Toronto: The Toronto Zoo and Ontario Place are always a hit with the kids, while the Ontario Science Centre and Fort York offer educational (and fun) outings. Budding athletes will also enjoy perusing the exhibits at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
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The largest park in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper National Park in Alberta offers lots of outdoor fun for children of all ages. Water activities range from kayaking to fishing to boating, plus families can hike, bike, camp and participate in ranger-led programs on land.
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Kelowna#10 in Best Family Vacations in Canada
Kelowna hosts the Kelowna MapleFest in April, the Fat Cat Children's Festival in June and more kid-friendly events throughout the year. Families can also cross-country ski at various resort trails in the winter or fish, paddleboard and kayak at Okanagan Lake during the warmer months.
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Victoria and Vancouver Island feature several family-oriented attractions. Your kids will enjoy a visit to the Victoria Butterfly Gardens or a hike in Juan de Fuca Provincial Park. One opportunity you shouldn't pass up is a whale watching tour: Orcas are common in these parts.
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Saskatoon#12 in Best Family Vacations in Canada
Saskatoon's 17 free spray pads, multiple ice skating rinks and Nutrien Playland at Kinsmen Park are just a few reasons why this Saskatchewan destination appeals to families. But no vacation here is complete without a visit to the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park & Zoo, which features a zoo, a fishing pond and a nature-themed playground.
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Halifax boasts plenty of educational to-dos for kids, including the Discovery Centre – Nova Scotia's only hands-on science center. When you all need some fresh air, take the ferry to the small town of Dartmouth for a bevy of trails, parks and lakes.
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This francophone city is a hub for history and art, not to mention delicious French-inspired cuisine. You'll also uncover a host of child-centric activities. Head to the Montréal Biodôme for some scientific exploration or to La Ronde amusement park for a roller coaster ride.
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Saint John offers fewer attractions than other destinations on this list, but it's a great place for families looking for culture and nature. History buffs will appreciate the Loyalist House and the New Brunswick Museum, while those itching to spend time outdoors will love exploring the Reversing Falls and Irving Nature Park.
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