Remember the family vacations of your childhood? Tucked into the panelled station wagon with siblings and family pets, listening to the CBC as Mum and Dad plodded their way through the only two weeks they got off all year, grumbling about costs and heat and Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?
Family vacations don’t have to be National Lampoon reboots. In 2023, options available for family fun are plenty. There’s certainly no shortage of venues vying for your family’s vacation time or money. It can be overwhelming to slog through the options. Ontario is rich in resources and full of adventures and possibilities.
Here’s a rundown of some of your best options for the summer. Want to ride white water rapids? We got you covered. TO staycation? You got it. Tree-top ziplining? Check. Eco-adventure? Yup! Lions, tigers, bears, sharks—Oh my! Dangle over the city? Escape the city? Family of young ones? Teens?
We. Have. You. Covered.
The only limits to the fun you and the family can have are how many days you can get off work. What follows is a roadmap to Ontario’s best in family fun. Send us a postcard!
A restaurant, glamping, and adventure resort located in Turkey Point, Southwestern Ontario, Long Point Eco-Adventures is a terrific option that won’t break the bank, but still gives you and your family a summer experience to remember. Paddleboarding, kayaking, hiking, axe-throwing, nature tours, ziplining, an observatory, and all the outdoor fun you remember from childhood, in a perfect Turkey Point package.
Have you ever wanted to sleep with the fish? Spend the evening on the ocean floor? Wake up in an aquatic wonderland? Well, Ripley’s Aquarium has an adventure for you, which promises an “evening exploring the Aquarium, participating in hands-on educational experiences, and learning about the animals that call the Aquarium home.” Plus, a journey through the Dangerous Lagoon shark tunnel—it’s every aqua-nut’s dream!
In the heart of Muskoka lies Ontario’s premier family resort, the Severn Lodge. For over 150 years, the landmark has been offering families respite and relaxation not far from the city. Over 100 acres of property with 700 metres of waterfront, the Severn boasts fishing, a lake and heated pool, basketball, mountain biking, pedal boats, kayaks, paddleboards, jet skis, wakeboarding, waterskiing, canoeing, tennis… the list goes on and on, until Labour Day.
The Toronto Zoo is one of the GTA’s true landmarks, but have you taken notice of everything it has to offer your family? The Serengeti Bush Camp is an opportunity to explore the wildlife of the Zoo’s African Savanna and Rainforest Pavilion, with activities, campfire tales, and sleeping under the stars in authentic African tents. Visit the Dark Continent without leaving the Six!
Horseshoe Resort is another one of Ontario’s most renowned family resorts, just an hour from the GTA. Adventurous families will find themselves going “tree-to-tree on fun games like suspended bridges, Tarzan swings, swinging logs, cable traverses, and of course, ziplines!” Plus, a stay at the resort offers rooms, condos, a pool and fitness centre, plus amazing eats. Truly a one-of-a-kind resort for the whole family.
Experience your own Indiana Jones-like adventure!
Drop 125 feet beneath the earth into 130-year-old tunnels, and witness cave-like creations like you’ve never seen. Feel the “thunderous vibration” of the Horseshoe Falls. Marvel at the 13-storey-tall falls, with viewing portals cut straight through the bedrock. Afterwards, treat yourself to dinner from the inspired Table Rock House menu, overlooking the most powerful falls in North America.
Did you know that Ottawa has some of the world’s best white water rafting? The Ottawa River is rich in rapids, offering enthusiasts of every level a route for fun. Go for the day or plan a camping package. OWL has all the options you need, having taken the adventurous on river excursions for over 40 years. And the family-owned business will guide you through every second of the experience, ensuring safety and memories to last a lifetime.
How often have you stared up at the CN Tower? How many times have you visited? The tallest free-standing structure on land in the Western Hemisphere offers its EdgeWalk experience for the bravest of us, to step out over the city for a view—and experience—like no other. Then finish up the day with dinner from world-class chefs overlooking a panorama for the ages.
Hotel X, one of Toronto’s newest and boldest accommodations, has all kinds of experiences for the family. A great place to entertain out-of-towners or enjoy a staycation adventure! You’ll be greeted with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and mixed fruit jellies, and treats for each child, including plush robes and slippers. Watch a movie in the Screening Room or rent a Nintendo Switch and play your favourite games on the giant screen, or try the Disney Animation Lighthouse Immersive Experience.
There’s nothing quite like the Great Wolf Lodge. The world-renowned family resort’s Ontario location is a can’t-miss for family fun. Oliver’s Mining Co., MagiQuest, Howler’s Peak Ropes Course, and the Northern Lights Arcade, plus a 100,000-square-foot water park kept at 30˚C year-round and themed suites all make this a unique adventure any time of year. Plus, the new Barnwood fine dining restaurant caters to culinary appetites of all ages.