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Children play on the Raiders attraction at Vancouver’s Playland. (JOHN LEHMANN/GLOBE AND MAIL)
Children play on the Raiders attraction at Vancouver’s Playland. (JOHN LEHMANN/GLOBE AND MAIL)

How to have an affordable, fun family vacation without leaving Canada Add to ...

  • Port Hood beach on Cape Breton Island – warm sea, sandy beach, great lifeguards, beautiful setting and ceilidhs. @margymaclibrary
  • Montreal! You don’t need a car; the Jazz Festival is set up for kids – and parents can still enjoy adult music; and there’s food everywhere. @_HeMom
  • The Calgary Stampede is awesome. @LaurenBrodie
  • Annapolis Royal and its surrounding area in Nova Scotia! No kid could resist playing at being Champlain in the reconstructed 1605 “Habitation” stockade at Port Royal. Take a day down Digby Neck whale-watching, travel one way at least on the Digby-St. John Ferry. (I’ll leave it to someone else to suggest Fortress Louisbourg, also great for kids.) Carol Bradley
  • I love the Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum [Ontario] for hands-on fun. Had a great time there once with my young stepdaughter: It wasn’t crowded, so we could play with the printers. @SarahBHood
  • Rathtrevor Beach on the east coast of Vancouver Island is perfect for families. At low tide the ocean recedes almost a kilometre. When the tide comes in, the hot sand warms the water, making for wonderful swimming. The provincial campground fills with families, so your kids will have friends. But you need to reserve ahead – it’s a very popular park in summer. @SsecretsSuitcase
  • Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada in Toronto. @rbecksss
  • Prince Edward Island for beaches, camping and Anne of Green Gables! Oh and mussels. @meredithbethune
  • Alberta’s Dinosaur Provincial Park (a hidden gem!) and the Icefields Parkway (pure awe!). Also, the village of Tadoussac in Quebec (whales!) @ShannAnderson
  • Victoria! Totem poles at the Royal B.C. Museum, Miniature World, the Bug Zoo, harbour boat tours and whale-watching. And the Winnipeg International Children’s Festival at the Forks – great shows, great playground and a nearby kids theatre. @Nat_Carnegie
  • I have great memories of my parents driving my brother and I around the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, as a kid. Loved the scenery and playing golf with my dad at the Keltic Lodge – I think it was the first time I ever outscored him on a hole. @GChanRay
  • Cabane à sucre in Quebec; International Fringe Festival in Edmonton; walking kilometres off-shore at low tide in Parksville [B.C.]. @k_kassam
  • So many options in the Maritimes! PEI is always fun – amusement parks, beaches, Anne of Green Gables, golf, lobster. Fredericton’s also a lot of fun: rent a houseboat, golf, hike, bike on the trails. @iamTheMaritimer
  • Bien sûr Montreal! For the Biodome, Old Port, jet boating and the Notre-Dame Basilica light show. Also, summer fests like the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival amp up the fun @DearAnnTravels
  • Northern Ontario, where families can get outside and embrace our lakes, trails and wildlife via camping, fishing, hiking, etc. @Feeleygirl
  • In Fredericton, kids can “enlist” as a guard, swing from the trees and play in an old provincial jail! @FredTourism
  • Definitely Cape Breton Highlands National Park in the East and Pacific Rim National Park in the West! @baby_traveller
  • I love Vancouver Island: Tofino is full of fun things to do. The Calgary Stampede is awesome too. And then there’s Quebec for walks. @LaurenBrodie
  • The Waterpark at the indoor West Edmonton Mall in Alberta. @HeidiFortes
  • West Edmonton Mall also has Galaxyland (indoor rides). Also, Fort Edmonton Park has some interesting old West history. @travellingtraci
  • I would suggest Loisirs Saint-Donat [Quebec]. A beautiful place, very warm people … and many things to do around. @Dennis7menace
  • Travelled to Prince Edward Island every summer as a kid and always enjoyed it! Very family-friendly. @nancyorford
  • The Banff Springs Hotel [Alberta] for the mountains, horseback riding and swimming. Also the Empress Hotel in Victoria for tea and crumpets. @EmptyNestExpat
  • As a youngster, I can remember visiting Osoyoos [B.C.] with my family and it was always gloriously hot and sunny! There’s great beaches, swimming and water activities in Canada’s warmest freshwater lake. Morgan Sommerville
  • Quebec City in the winter. The architecture makes it feel a bit like a fairy tale – plus there’s sledding. @jasonclampet
  • Families love coming out to Splashdown Park in the summer or Toy Traders, a hidden gem in Langley [both B.C.]. @dariankovacs
  • Summer on Hornby Island [B.C.], definitely. Multiple sandy beaches, excellent mountain biking, good food – plus choice rental houses or camping. @aucuagmo
  • The Fairmont Whistler hotel staff are superb – treating children as well as adults and committed to everyone having a great experience. @WendyHartley
  • The Caravan Farm Theatre in Armstrong, B.C. Whether in summer, or for the sleigh-ride winter show … magic! @juliehijinks
  • Total appeal to families here: the Royal Tyrrell Museum [Alberta]. It’s just a cool dinosaur museum, with lots of parking, a cafeteria – plus it’s easy for families to do together. @KSofen
  • The Okanagan [B.C.] of course! Lots of beaches, sun, orchards, u-pick fruit, hiking and friendly people @VisitWestside
  • Best place for families? Camping in Banff National Park! @TanyaOtis
  • The Parksville area [B.C.]. Beaches, ocean, wildlife, caving, rafting, goats on a roof, Cathedral Grove, mini-golf – and Island Farms ice cream. @travelling_mom
  • Any of the Gulf Islands in B.C. Lots of outdoor activities! @worldnecklace
  • We enjoyed a recent trip to Taku Resort on Quadra Island [B.C.]. The kids had a ball. This summer we’re taking our kids to Montreal and Toronto. @raspberrykids
  • The coasts! Sandy beaches for barefoot beachcombing, ocean kayaking, paddleboarding and crazy geocaching! Especially Prince Edward Island and B.C.’s Parksville-Qualicum Beach area. @LesliCKellow
  • I would suggest Vancouver Island – many easy hikes, camping and biking opportunities. @groceryalerts
  • Victoria has a massive amount of family-friendly events – and they’re almost all in the Inner Harbour. Add in the petting zoo, Dallas Road beaches and Fort Rodd/Fisgard Lighthouse. @SnarkySteff
  • Christina Lake [B.C.] is Canada’s warmest tree-lined lake – with pictographs, wildlife and lots of family-friendly adventure. It’s not as busy as many of the other family destinations in Canada, but still has all the amenities and activities a family could hope for. Barkerville [B.C.] is like stepping back into the Gold Rush days with costumed actors, horse-drawn carriages, a gold-rush theatre and panning for gold. It really needs two days to see everything and is fun for all ages. @bikehiketravel
  • I know you’re looking for travel locations, but I have to say that White Spot [B.C. and Alberta] is the restaurant destination for families! Super friendly towards families with babies, I can attest! Accommodating with seating and the table next to you likely has kids, too! @chengsophia

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