Growing up in a family with three children, I understand why my parents weren’t keen on trying to organize big family trips every summer. Aside from the sheer logistics of it all (even with only one kid of my own, the thought of packing and organizing a trip oversees leaves me cold), there is of course the cost to consider. Instead, my parents opted for a family friendly resort that we returned to year after year, about an hour north of our home in Montreal.
To this day I fondly remember the rooms we stayed in, the basement arcade, the evening shows and bonfires and the water-ski shows performed by the family who owned the resort. In short, we made many lasting memories and it was an easily planned respite for our parents. Kid-friendly meals? Check. Parent-approved entertainment? Check. Safe and secure? Check. Rest and relaxation? Double check.
Canada has so many family friendly vacation spots, with access to lakes and all kinds of outdoor sports. Do yourselves a favour and stick close to home this summer. With these amazing options, you won’t have to “resort” to travelling far.
Go Fishin’ at Lodge Eighty Eight, near White River, Ontario
“Hey kids, who wants to go fishing this weekend?” For a more salt-of-the-earth bond-with-the-kids type of getaway, Lodge Eighty Eight is all about communing with nature. If you’ve always dreamed of going on a real fishin’ trip, complete with log cabin, head over to this family-owned resort nestled in the forest.
Though a big draw for the family who loves the challenge of the “catch”, you need not worry about family members who are less into rods and flies. If they don’t want to catch ‘um, let the kids join ‘um – in the clear lake – for swimming and tubing. Or they can stay on dry land and explore the hiking trails, pick from the wild blueberry patches and spot wildlife like eagles and moose. Alternately, you can all hang out in the main lodge and play pool, cards or watch the game. Relaxation guaranteed!
Treat yourself at Seigneurie du Triton, Northern Quebec
The resort I held so dear is long gone, but there are plenty of other options in Quebec, beginning with the Seigneurie du Triton. The Seigneurie is like a luxury camp for the whole family (famous historical visitors include Winston Churchill and US presidents Roosevelt and Truman). Most surfaces of the resort are made of wood, many rooms are sprinkled with decorative antlers, and the walls are adorned with old photographs. The natural materials and eclectic cottage décor feel like a comfy rural hug after so many months surrounded by concrete.
Your sense of adventure will be immediately be sparked if you take the train (“Triton Club” stop) — from which you’ll be picked up and transported by pontoon to the resort! Along with the usual list of activities offered at a lakeside establishment (swimming, hiking, canoe) there are a few fun surprises including a campfire “with tales and legends”, black bear observation in its natural habitat (from a safe distance, I assume), and a torchlight ride on the lake. And the best part? Everything you need is on site and provided. Just slather the kids with sunscreen, grab a bathing suit and go!
Chill Out at Viamede Resort, Woodview, ON
Viamede Resort touts itself as having a similar feeling to that of “going to a good friend’s cottage”. And hey, if I had a friend with a house on a lake complete with the amenities offered here, I’d invite myself on over! Sadly, most of us don’t have a Daddy Warbucks bestie, so head over to Viamede for all that and more!
As all cottages should be, the Viamede is lakeside and surrounded by nature. It’s not huge, so there is a family feel, which is in line with overarching theme of the resort: casual and fun. Their “Club 1885” is a communal spot to hang out and meet other visitors while sipping coffee by the fire, as the kids play foosball and ping pong. They have every activity under the sun including tennis, paddle boards and a sporting field for those impromptu softball games.
Hit the beach at Pictou Lodge, Nova Scotia
If you’re looking to spend some time on the East coast this summer, then Pictou Lodge might tickle your fancy. Less than a two hour drive from Halifax, this waterfront resort blends relaxation with outdoor fun. There are accommodations for different group size from hotel style units to larger chalets with a charming, rustic feel. If you’re travelling with little ones, this beachy spot is a one-stop-shop and will keep your kids entertained with a playground, bocce ball, horseshoe pit, beach volley court, bicycles and even a giant checkerboard.
There’s also a whole slew of aquatic activities like kayaking, peddle boating, canoeing, and paddle boarding. If lounging about in hammocks is more your speed—there’s no judgement on vacation— Pictou Lodge has those too.
But maybe the key to your vacation-heart is through your stomach; with its Atlantic location, the resort naturally serves up fresh seafood fare like a decadent lobster mac’ n’ cheese, fish n’ chips, seafood chowder and fish cakes. Whatever you’re in the market for this summer, Pictou Lodge has you covered.
Into the Wild at Cassiar Cannery, British Columbia
To truly experience the great Canadian wilderness, some say you have to head west to British Columbia (don’t @ me East-coasters!) Nestled along the Skeena River near Prince Rupert, Cassiar Cannery offers adventurers the opportunity to do just that. Formerly a hub for 20th century salmon canning activity, vacationers can rent either the Halibut, Sockeye, Coho, or Steelhead guest houses for several nights, most of which can accommodate up to six people.
Like the house names aptly suggest, you can spend the day fishing and proudly cook up your catch for dinner in your on-site kitchen. If you’re interested in learning more about the area’s history, check out the North Pacific Cannery Museum National Historic Site.
Or go wildlife viewing along the north coast—you might spot a majestic grizzly bear, eagles, whales and sea lions. If you’re up for the challenge, you can even head off on a 20 km hiking excursion in the nearby area of Metlakatla, or make your way through the Butze Rapids and trails. Adventure awaits you on the west coast!
Top image: ©Cassiar Cannery
Learn more aout travel by train with children.