So you are looking to plan a trip to Canada with kids? You are definitely in the right place! I grew up and now raise my kids on Canada’s West Coast, just outside of Vancouver. Canada is a popular destination every year, over 20 million people visit Canada every year, and a lot of them are families coming to Canada for a holiday!
You may be surprised at who visits Canada. The United States, Canada’s closest neighbor, makes up the largest proportion of visitors. close to 75% of travelers to Canada, come from the USA. If you are one of them, then this post will help you out for sure.
The first thing to know about visiting Canada, is that it is a family-friendly destination. It has modern infrastructure, outdoor spaces, and exciting attractions. Its natural beauty, from pristine lakes to old-growth forests are what draw so many families to Canada. Canada has a multi-cultural vibe, right across the country. It has a vast and interesting past that is celebrated through various Indigenous experiences. It is the place to explore, and wonder, and eat, and laugh, and challenge yourself and your family!
Canada with Kids
What is there to do in Canada with kids? Well, the options are limitless! Canada is such a huge country, I will include the top highlights as well as seasonal things, but do not expect to be able to tick off everything here. Pick a region in Canada for your visit. That will allow you to get the most out of your time!
Key Cities in Canada to travel to with Kids
I have broken down the provinces and the cities to help start the planning for you.
BRITISH COLUMBIA (BC): Vancouver, Victoria, Whistler (VISIT https://uncoveringbc.com for my website on traveling in British Columbia)
ALBERTA: Banff, Calgary, Edmonton
SASKATCHEWAN: Regina, Saskatoon
ONTARIO: Ottawa, Toronto, Niagara Falls
QUEBEC: Montreal, Quebec City
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND (PEI): Charlottetown
NEW BRUNSWICK: Saint Johns, Fredericton, Moncton
NOVA SCOTIA: Halifax
NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR: St. John’s
NORTHWEST TERRITORIES: Yellowknife
Of all of the cities above, the top three cities most popular to visit are Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. For those driving to Canada, Ontario is the most popular place for a road trip, then Quebec and British Columbia. Some of the reasons why Ontario may be so high for road trips is due to the dense East Coast population of the USA. Niagara Falls is just across the border and a popular place to visit, especially for families! The views at Niagara Falls cannot be beat!
Canada with Kids Tips!
- Pay attention to the time of year and seasonal activites. If you want to ski, most large ski hills in British Columbia (like Whistler) open for American Thanksgiving, but many others are weather dependant and may not open until later in December depending on the conditions. When it comes to weather, July and August are typical summer months for most of the country. Warm weather can be felt into September and May and June often have hot weeks in between wet weather. Plan for all types of weather, especially on the West Coast.
- Pick a region: West Coast, Ontario, Quebec, Maritimes and concentrate on one area at a time. Canada is vast and it takes over 5 hours to fly from West Coast to East.
- Tap water is clean to drink anywhere in Canada. Save a bit of plastic and bring a refillable bottle and fit it from the tap in your accomodation or ask for a glass of water in a restaurant. Most restaurants do not even offer bottled water (only fast food places).
- Canada is a safe country to travel. Petty crime is not common. But that does not mean you should not pay attention to your surrcoundings. The best advice I can give is to be as vigalant as you are at home. But with that being said, almost anywhere the streets are safe at all hours of the night, as is public transit.
- Public transit is good in major cities and sub-par everywhere else. There is not a good network to travel long distances in Canada without a car. Flying from major cities is easy, but smaller towns it is more limited. It can be quite expensive to fly into smaller towns in Canada as the air service is limited.
- SIM cards are expensive in Canada. There are not a lot of options for SIM cards and data is quite expensive compared to the USA and other parts of the world. There are wifi hotspots all over the country, as it is common for businesses to have free wifi. If there is not an open network, feel free to ask for one.
When is the best time to come to Canada with kids?
I will have an entire post about the best time to come to Canada, but I will start with the obvious. Summer is the best time to come weather wise, unless you are planning on coming to ski! Then you want to come in the winter! June, July and August are the busiest times to come to Canada as well. So keep that in mind.
Despite being a ski-destination, January and February are the months of the year with the fewest visitors to Canada. November is also low season. The shoulder seasons are before June and after August. Keep that all in mind when planning your trip.
Family and Kid-Friendly Tours in Canada
Canada is not well known as the place to take a small group tour, since so many arrivals come by car. However, there are tours in Canada. These take the leg-work and the guesswork out of travel. Most of the big tour companies focus on British Columbia and Alberta tours, that take visitors to Banff National Park and places like Lake Louise, world renowned for its pristine beauty.
What to Pack for Canada (with or without kids) ?
Hiking shoes or comfortable shoes – Canada is a place to explore, whether walking city streets or on an all day hike. Make sure your shoes are comfortable.
Credit cards and Debit Cards or Canadian Cash – most businesses in Canada take credit or debit cards much more frequently than cash. If you do want to pay in cash, bring Canadian Dollars.
Layers – Even in the summer, the weather can surprise you. Pack layers for all seasons.
Camera – probably a no brainer, but make sure you pack your camera to capture the stunning scenery in Canada
Adapter Plug – In Canada, the standard voltage is 120 V and the power plugs and sockets are of type A and B. The standard frequency is 60 Hz. If you are coming from the United States, you will not need an adapter.
Food to Try in Canada with Kids!
- Time Horton’s
- Craft Beer
Things to do in Canada with Kids
Vancouver is full of things to do with kids! In the summer months there is plenty of outdoor spaces, beaches and hiking and biking trails. In the winter months, the ski hills are popular for all ages! Read more about things to do in Vancouver. One of the first posts I ever wrote on this site was 40 things to do in Vancouver with kids. It is a city with no shortage of things to do.
Whistler is a year-round destination for good reason. It has world-class skiing from November to April and in July and August the lakes and hiking trails provide some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. With mountains in every direction, there is always something to look at in Whistler. Whistler also offers a mountain-town vibe, a walkable downtown, and so many outdoor things to do with kids. Read more about things to do in Whistler with kids!
Banff and Lake Louise
Some of the most beautiful mountains surround the town of Banff in Banff National Park. The summer months offer biking, hiking and a walkable downtown. Nearby at Lake Louise, visitors are awed by the jewel blue waters. Do not skip nearby Morraine Lake.
One of Canada’s most popular road trips is driving from Vancouver to Banff.
Did you know that the town of Niagara Falls offers more than views of the horseshoe falls! It has water slides, amusement park activities, plenty of restaurants as well as casinos for the adults! It is just across the border from the USA and a popular destination for those looking for some fun (on top of seeing the falls!)
Revelstoke Mountain Resort
One of British Columbia’s hidden gems, Revelstoke Mountain Resort offers all day fun in the summer and powder skiing in the winter. It is a 6 hour drive from Vancouver in the summer months. While it may not make the list for a first-timer, Revelstoke Mountain resort surprises all who visit!
Historic Sites to visit in Canada with Kids
Fort Langley is the birthplace of British Columbia and in a few hours, visitors can get a real sense of what it was like to be one of the first Europeans to live there. The site shows that the Europeans and the Indigenous Peoples of BC lived side by side on the river. It is included on my top things to do in Langley British Columbia.
Other Places to see and Things to do in Canada with Kids
Obviously, I cannot cover everything that there is to do in Canada. But if you are researching a specific location and would like more info, pop a question into the comments section or send me an email! I am always happy to share my knowledge!