Top 7 Kid-Friendly Parks in CanadaPosted on by Sarah Lafontaine
Summer vacation is an exciting time for kids and it can be difficult for families to get away for an extensive period of time. Others might find their vacation time limited in the summer months, so why not bring the kids to a National Park in Canada?!
Several National Parks in Canada have education centers, or are part of the Xplorer program which makes learning about the wildlife and plantlife in the parks a whole lot of fun. We’ve compiled 10 of the best parks to include in your summer plans this year, and ensure you and the kids, have a summer to remember!
1. Rathtrevor Beach, Parksville, British Columbia
If you’re looking for a great place to take the kids camping this summer, Rathtrevor Beach is a favourite among West Coast families. The campsites are clean with great amenities and there are tons of things to do outdoors. Located mid-Vancouver Island, the park contains a nature house with interpretive activities, as well as an outdoor amphitheatre. Other activities include canoeing, swimming, hiking, windsurfing, cycling and more. When the tide goes out, the beach stretches out for quite a distance, so keep an eye out for interesting sea life like sand dollars, geoducks (gooey ducks) and more!
2. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, Tofino, British Columbia
The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is made up of 3 regions, the most popular being the Long Beach region between Tofino and Ucluelet on Vancouver Island. Long Beach stretches along the Pacific Ocean, and is a haven for families with it’s sprawling sandy beaches, accessible hikes, abundance of wildlife and laid back energy. There are great options for accommodation in the area, whether it be camping, glamping, cabins on the beach, B&B’s, hotels or luxury resorts. The park is part of the Xplorer program for kids, which makes exploring the reserve fun and educational. Don’t forget to check out the Ucluelet Aquarium, where kids will be able to learn hands-on about the variety of sea life in the area through touch tanks and interpreters.
For more info on places to stay and things to do in the area, visit the Pacific Rim Visitor Centre website.
3. Banff National Park, Banff, Alberta
In the heart of the Rockies lies Banff National Park, Canada’s oldest National Park. It is beautiful to visit all year round, but in the summer a wide variety of activities leaves families with loads of options for everyone. Take a gondola ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain for stunning views, visit the Columbia Icefields, go horseback riding, take a dip in a glacial lake, go hiking, biking, and so much more! Wildlife sightings are not rare around here and animal loving kids will have a great time at the wildlife interpretation centre in Lake Louise.
For more info on where to stay and things to do, visit the Banff National Park website.
4. Grasslands National Park, Val Marie, Saskatchewan
Grasslands National Park is one of two national parks in the province of Saskatchewan. The park measure over 900 square kilometers of unique landscape and is home to wolverines, black-tailed prairie dogs, bison, coyotes, hawks and so much more. Canada’s first dinosaur bones were discovered here in the Killdeer Badlands. Why not camp at the park too? Choose from back country, front country, teepee, OTENTik (ready to camp tents).
For more info on the park and camping options, click here for info from Parks Canada.
5. Thousand Islands National Park, Gananoque, Ontario
Thousand Islands National Park is a paradise for sailing, fishing, hiking, biking, and exploring. With tons of kid friendly activities, families can easily spend a few days to a week here and not get bored! The park contains over 1800 islands, 2 UNESCO designated sites and hosts many events throughout the summer.
For more info on the park and accommodation options, click here for info from 1000 Islands Tourism.
6. Riding Mountain National Park, near Dauphin, Manitoba
Riding Mountain is home to wolf, elk, bison, moose and many bird species. It spans almost 3000 square kilometers and is a fantastic destination for families with children. Choose from activities like hiking, biking, horseback riding, horse drawn carriage rides, canoeing, kayaking, cross country skiing and more.
For more info on the park and accommodation options, click here for info from Travel Manitoba.
7. Wood Buffalo National Park, Fort Smith, Northwest Territories
Wood Buffalo National Park spreads across Northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories. Over 44,000 square kilometers, the massive UNESCO World Heritage site is wonderful for active families who enjoy canoeing and hiking. Kids will enjoy identifying wildlife such as bison, beaver, foxes, etc. From late August through the winter, visitors may get the chance to see the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). Spectacular!
For more info on the park, things to do in the area & accommodation, click here for the Northwest Territories Tourism page.
For more information on the Xplorer program, check out the Parks Canada Website.