With longer days and warmer temperatures here, it's time to start finalizing your summer family travel plans. But before you even start to narrow down where you'd like to visit, you should first determine exactly what kind of a summer getaway you're looking for. Do you want to be lazy or prefer to be busy? Do you want to unplug your gadgets, or would being without wi-fi make you miserable? Whatever your family's summer holiday style, there's a great Canadian vacation destination for you. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Are you craving a little culture? Does your family like plenty of options in terms of food and fun? If so, a mini-break in a family-friendly city might be just the trip to fulfill everyone's wish list.
Because getting around is a breeze with the fantastic SkyTrain and many attractions are within walking distance of one another, Vancouver is an ideal choice for an urban family vacation. Skip along the seawall in Stanley Park and go for gelato in Granville Island, but make sure to leave room for the wonderful local seafood.
Or enjoy a taste of Paris without the trans-Atlantic flight by visiting Quebec City. The Plains of Abraham demand to be frolicked upon, and you can relax afterwards with an enjoyable history lesson as you tour the Old Town via horse and carriage. You can rent bicycles and cycle alongside the St. Lawrence, but meandering amongst the 400-year-old cobblestoned streets counts as an activity, too.
If it's sunshine on your shoulders and sand between your toes that you require to relax on your summer vacation, you have many options to fulfill your beachy needs.
With 1,100 kilometres of shoreline, Prince Edward Island has plenty of beaches for you to play on, and your toughest decision might be choosing between the warmer waters and calmer seas of the South Shore, or the waves of the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the north side of the island. And then you can cycle the island or go deep-sea fishing, should you want to do more than just relax on the sand.
And speaking of sand – Sandbanks Provincial Park in Ontario has vistas of white sand and blue water that can rival any Caribbean beach, with a wide range of family accommodation options nearby to suit every budget.
If you need to unplug in order to recharge, perhaps a camping trip in the great outdoors will help you reconnect with your family and with nature.
Surrounded by the majestic Rocky Mountains, Kananaskis Country, just 45 minutes outside of Calgary, is a great escape to the outdoors with lots to do and see. There are five provincial parks in the region, along with four wildland provincial parks, one ecological reserve and several provincial recreation areas, so you can hike, bike, and play to your heart's content. You can set up in your choice of accessible or backcountry campgrounds, or stay at a nearby lodge or hotel.
Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario doesn't have the view of the mountains, but it does have more than 1,500 lakes, 53 species of mammals, 272 types of birds, 31 kinds of reptiles and amphibians, and more than 1,000 species of plants to keep your budding naturalists busy. It also has a logging museum and an art centre, to inject some culture into your rustic getaway.
When you're planning your Canadian family getaway, remember that your provincial health insurance won't necessarily cover all the costs of a medical emergency while you're in another province or territory, so look into protecting your family with travel insurance.
Wherever your summer travels take you, there's no better time to unwind and re-connect with your busy brood than on vacation. Involving your whole family in the travel plans means everyone has the chance to contribute to the fun.
Corinne McDermott provides an online guide for parents travelling with kids in her blog Have Baby Will Travel.