A family holiday to Canada is full of excitement and adventure for all ages. Spot bears foraging on the beach from a remote wilderness lodge in British Columbia. Cheer on the Toronto Blue Jays at a major league baseball game. Kayak with seals and dolphins off the coast of Vancouver Island. Hike the Athabasca Glacier in the heart of the Rockies. Howl with wolves in Algonquin Park – then howl with excitement as you zip line your way past the mighty Niagara Falls.

Rocky Mountains - Canada with kids

Canada’s mountain scenery is truly jaw-dropping

A trip to Canada with kids can include an incredible variety of fun and memorable activities – as well as a hearty dose of ‘All You Can Eat Buffets’! Take a look at our sample Canada itineraries and read on for our favourite family activities to enjoy when holidaying in Canada with kids.

Our top 10 things to do in Canada with kids

1. Wildlife viewing in remote British Columbia

Family on zodiac trip, British Columbia, Canada with kids holiday

Explore the British Columbian coast by zodiac, looking for grizzlies, orcas, dolphins and more

Experiencing the magnificent Canadian wildlife has to be a highlight of any trip to Canada with kids. The best location to enjoy grizzlies galore, as well as whales and dolphins, is the wild British Columbian coast. One of our favourite spots is Farewell Harbour Lodge, a family-friendly eco-lodge, nestled on the edge of the Great Bear Rainforest. This truly is a magical place that will tap into children’s love of nature. Wild orcas patrol the blue Pacific waves, humpback whales can be viewed up close from zodiac dinghies and mighty grizzly bears forage in lush coastal estuaries. Spot dolphins and sea lions on a kayaking tour and explore the rainforest on a walking safari in search of bears. Kids will love the floating accommodation – and the 5 o’clock swim club! Take a look at our World’s Best Wildlife Encounters blog for other family wildlife holidays.

2. Make a splash at Niagara Falls

Canada family holidays - Niagara Falls with visitor boat

Get up close to Niagara, but don’t forget your waterproofs!

The Big One. Kids will be blown away by the spectacle of watching 3 tons of water per second plunging over the cliffs. Adrenaline junkies will love the jet boat tour through the Whirlpool Rapids or hop on a Hornblower cruise which takes you right to the foot of the falls (waterproof camera essential). Cross into the USA and get up close on the Cave of the Winds tour – water has never been so ‘roarsome’! Check out our Lakes, Falls & Cities of Ontario sample itinerary.

3. Get active in the Rocky Mountains

White water rafting in the Rockies - Canada with kids

Enjoy the thrills and spills of a white-water rafting adventure packed full of fun, thrills, and beautiful landscapes

The famous Rocky Mountain resorts of Banff and Jasper offer endless fun for any holiday to Canada with kids. From the gentle Athabasca Mile (suitable for 5yrs+) to the Class III rapids of Sunwapta River (where the waters might be glacial but the pace definitely isn’t!) the whole family can enjoy some white-water adrenalin. For a more gentle water experience, you can paddle a canoe along the Bow River or hire a SUP on Lac Beauvert.

There are also endless hiking routes or hop on two wheels and head out on mountain bikes along the Bow Valley Parkway (e-bikes available). Horse-riding expeditions will allow you to channel your inner cowboy. With Via Ferrata, zip lines, float trips, and heli-hikes this is the place to be for action-packed family adventures.

4. Explore Algonquin by canoe and stay in a log cabin

Canada with kids - kayaking in Algonquin at sunset

Explore by canoe, but hurry back to camp at sunset for toasted marshmallows around the campfire

Kids will love our 3-day canoe and log cabin wilderness trip into Algonquin National Park, Eastern Canada’s best-kept secret. Paddle past moose grazing on the lakeshore, watch beavers busy building their dams, learn how to portage (carry a canoe on your head), and see how many s’mores you can polish off around the campfire. A particularly magical Canada with kids’ holiday experience is the wolf howl session. Waiting for the reply to echo back in the haunting wilderness is an unforgettable part of any family holiday to Canada. See our Lakes, Falls & Cities of Ontario itinerary for more on what your family can do in Eastern Canada.

5. Get the Vancouver vibe in Canada’s most beautiful city

Family on water bus to Granville Island, Vancouver

Catch the water bus to Granville Island for tasty lunches and craft shopping

Come winter or summer, there are so many things families can enjoy in Vancouver. Here are a few of our kids’ favourites. Cycling along the seafront in Stanley Park. Tackling the Grouse Grind. Hopping on the aqua bus to Granville Island. Taking a whale-watching cruise through the Gulf Islands. Wandering the cobbled streets of Gas Town and snacking on dim sum in Chinatown. Reach new heights on the Capilano Suspension Bridge – just avoid windy days… Younger kids will enjoy the Grouse Mountain lumberjack show and grizzly bear visits, and Flyover Canada is great fun for all. Complete the experience with a bird’s eye view of Vancouver and the North Shore Mountains on a thrilling panoramic seaplane tour.

6. Hop on a bike and explore on two wheels

Family cycling in Canada

Grab a complimentary bike from your hotel in Banff and head out to the stunning Vermilion Lakes

Taking to two wheels to explore slows the pace of life down and gives you access to lakeshores and pretty trails that are harder to reach by car (and no issues with parking!). Self-guided biking is one of our most popular activities in Vancouver and a superb way of introducing yourself to the delights of this fabulous city (child bikes and tag-alongs available).  Or if you are a little nervous about cycling the streets independently join our guided city bike tours (also in Ottawa and Toronto). Head into the Rockies on either a self-guided or group tour basis or cycle between the Niagara wineries in Ontario. E-bikes are usually available for an easier ride. 

7. Spot killer whales at Vancouver Island

Whale-watching Vancouver Island - orca pod - Canada with kids itinerary

Look for orcas (killer whales) at Vancouver Island, go snorkeling with sea lions, and follow the wilderness trails in Pacific National Park

Looking for two weeks of fun in just one spot? Welcome to Vancouver Island! From the quaint capital city of Victoria, you can head out on a whale-watching cruise. Venture up the east coast to the waterfront town of Nanaimo where you can snorkel with sea lions and those with a sweet tooth can follow the (infamous) Nanaimo Bar Trail. Cross the island (watch out for those bears on the roadside – there’s no Green Cross Code here) to Tofino and Clayoquot Sound on the Pacific Coast, where you can get close to whales, dolphins, sea lions, bears, and otters by kayak, SUP, and wildlife cruises.

The glorious Pacific Rim National Park is a firm family favourite with a variety of trails of different lengths – keep those eyes spotted for wolf and bald eagles. One of our favourite activities in Western Canada for Families is simply beachcombing and enjoying a local fish taco with the stunning background of a Pacific Ocean sunset.

8. Drive the Icefields Parkway

Icefields Parkway drive, Canada with kids itinerary

Drive along the Icefields Parkway for a huge helping of spectacular Canadian scenery

For the ultimate freedom when holidaying in Canada with kids, rent a car and the open road is yours. Travel between Jasper and Lake Louise along one of the world’s most scenic mountain routes, the Icefields Parkway. Drink in the dramatic panorama of snowy peaks, vast forested valleys, glaciers and waterfalls as you wind along the Continental Divide. Head west to the Pacific Coast from the heart of the Rockies along the Trans Canada Highway. Drive the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to the famous ski resort of Whistler. Or motor south across the border into the USA on an exciting North American road trip. For further inspiration, take a look at our Best Family Road Trips in the World, where Canada and the USA both make the cut!

9. Hiking in the Rockies

Family hiking in the Rockies, Banff, Canada with kids holiday

There are spectacular hikes for all energy levels in the Rockies, from gentle treks to ice walks with crampons

Get out of the car, lace up those walking boots, and head into some of the most stunning mountain scenery in the world on a family holiday in Canada. The best spot to immerse yourself in nature and wildlife is Lake Louise, less than an hour north of Banff. Here you can enjoy numerous self-guided trails including the gentle Moraine Lake Rockpile and Lakeshore Trail (3.4km) or the classic kid-friendly Lake Agnes Tea House hike (guaranteed hot chocolate at the top!). Older teens can tackle the more challenging scramble up the Tower of Babel. Just up the road, along the Icefields Parkway, you can enjoy the ultimate glacier experience by donning crampons and hiking out on the ice itself on an unforgettable Ice Cube Ice Walk. For further ideas please see Places to Visit.

10. Ride the Peak-2-Peak Gondola

Peak 2 Peak Gondola ride - Whistler Mountain

The kids will love the gondola ride between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain

Soar into the sky on the famed Peak2Peak Gondola ride linking the renowned mountain resort of Whistler with Blackcomb Mountain. The world’s longest unsupported cable car stretches over 3km across the picturesque valley, giving spectacular views of towering volcanic peaks, coastal rainforests, ancient glaciers, and the river 436m below. Scenic walking trails, indoor interpretative displays, mountaintop restaurants, and wildlife viewing are all waiting to be enjoyed. Other spectacular aerial rides can be enjoyed in Vancouver by hopping on the Skyride on Grouse Mountain (tramway and chair lifts), taking the Jasper Sky Tram to the summit of Whistlers Mountain and the Banff Gondola up Sulphur Mountain. Taking a Canadian family holiday to new heights!

Canada with kids next steps

If you’d like to know more about holidays in Canada with kids and what to expect on a trip with us, take a look at our two sample Canada itineraries. Alternatively, call us on 01728 752 751 or email us using our contact form. We’d love to hear from you. This is a destination we can’t help but give a cheerleading ‘Rah Rah’ to!

Liddy Pleasants, MD Stubborn Mule Travel
I’d love to hear about your experiences of travelling to Canada with kids so do email me at [email protected].