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18 Best Things to do on a Family Vacation in Ontario

Canada's largest province, Ontario, is a prime tourist spot in North America. It is a family-friendly travel destination with numerous historical sites, amusement parks, museums, and playgrounds. There's also its stunning natural areas, including its lakes, forests and parkland.

A family of four walk through a park as the sun shines through the trees

With so many different options, it can be difficult to narrow down the top tourist destinations in Ontario. The travel experts at Canadian Train Vacations help travellers plan their trips to Canada. In this list, we have compiled some of the best spots for family vacations in Ontario.

Best Spots For Family Vacations In Ontario

Let us walk you through the best spots for family vacations in Ontario to plan your trip effortlessly.

1. The beaches on Ontario's West Coast

You'll find 100 km of scenic shoreline, hundreds of parks, and 15 pristine beaches in Huron County, known as Ontario's West Coast. Located along the coast of Lake Huron, they offer opportunities for picnics, kayaking, canoeing, bird watching, and fishing.

  • Best time to visit: 8:00 am to 11:00 am or 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm 
  • Average time to spend: 2 to 3 hours
Cloudy sky above a pristine sandy beach

2. Niagara Falls

Among Ontario's most visited attractions, Niagara Falls is a combination of three waterfalls at the USA-Canada border. At an elevation of 160 feet, they have the highest flow rate of any waterfall in North America. The falls are open throughout the year and you can enjoy various activities, from the aero car and gardens to the newly opened Niagara Parks Power Station Museum and cliffside observation deck.

  • Hours of operation: each Niagara Parks attraction and restaurant has its own hours of operation
  • Best time to visit: 10:00 am to 2:00 pm 
  • Average time spent here: 2 to 3 hours
Aerial view of Niagara Falls and surrounding greenery

3. Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

Designed for kids and adults alike, Grand Exeperiences Outdoor Adventure Company offers a plethora of water sports, such as river rafting, kayaking, and boating. In addition, hiking, cycling and trekking are also available.

  • Hours of operation: 8:30 am to 5:00 pm 
  • Address: 115 Grand River St N, Paris, ON N3L 2M4, Canada 
  • Best time to visit: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm 
  • Average time spent here: 4 to 5 hours

4. Georgian Bay

Georgian Bay is a large bay on Lake Huron that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Popularly known as the "sixth great lake", it spreads over 5,800 square miles. Georgian Bay is popular for its stunning vistas owing to its diverse geography that includes forests, wetlands, and rocky habitats.

  • Best time to visit: 8:00 am to 11:00 am 
  • Average time spent here: 1 to 2 hours
Rocky island with trees, surrounded by clear turquoise water

5. Canada's Wonderland

Canada's Wonderland is Ontario's most popular theme park. This amusement park offers 200 attractions, including 18 roller coasters, two kids' areas, and a 20-acre water park for water splashing. Don't miss the live events and shows organized here at regular intervals. 

  • Hours of operation: 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm 
  • Address: 1 Canada's Wonderland Drive, Vaughan, Ontario
  • Best time to visit: 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm 
  • Average time spent here: 3 to 5 hours
People riding the Leviathan rollercoaster upside down at Canada's Wonderland amusement park

6. Jungle Cat World

Formerly known as Orono Exotic Cat World, Jungle Cat World is a wildlife park that opened in 1983. It is a unique tourist attraction open all year long where you can see animals from around the world. The place is home to over 150 animals, including cougars, snow leopards, tigers, lions, and wolves. 

  • Hours of operation: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • Address: 3667 Concession Rd 6, Orono, Ontario
  • Best time to visit: 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm 
  • Average time spent here: 2 to 4 hours
Close up of a Snow Leopard's face

7. LEGOLAND

Legoland is a popular family entertainment hub and one of the best kids' attractions in Ontario. It features LEGO-themed rides, 10 LEGO play zones, a kid's play area, a gift shop, and a 4D cinema theatre. The major attraction here is the LEGO Brick Flag, the biggest in the world. This place is specially designed for kids from ages 3 to 10 years. 

  • Hours of operation: 11:00 am to 8:00 pm 
  • Address: 1 Bass Pro Mills Dr, Vaughan, ON L4K 5W4, Canada
  • Best time to visit: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm 
  • Average time spent here: 2 to 4 hours
Close up of a Lego display at Legoland

8. Treetop Trekking 

Treetop Trekking offers several zipline adventure parks in Ontario. Each is spread over a vast area, presenting a challenging course where you can participate in adventure activities like ziplining, rope climbing, trekking, and canopy walking. 

  • Hours of operation: depends on location 
  • Address: depends on location 
  • Best time to visit: During the summers 
  • Average time spent here: 1 to 3 days
View of a treetop adventure course from below

9. The ROC Adventure Park

Known as the Recreational Outdoor Campus, ROC Adventure Park offers several recreational activities. These include ziplining, rock climbing, skiing, skating, and snowboarding. The park also offers courses varying from easy to difficult levels. 

  • Hours of operation: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm 
  • Address: 26479 Civic Centre Road Keswick, Ontario
  • Best time to visit: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm 
  • Average time spent here: 3 to 4 hours

10. Family Fishing Trip in Sunset Country

Regarded as a paddler's paradise, Sunset Country is a sprawling expanse of Boreal forest in the northwest corner of Ontario, right on the border of Manitoba. With over 70,000 lakes, streams, and rivers, it is a wonderful destination for fishing, warm-water swimming, hunting, hiking, and fun jumping.

  • Best time to visit: sunrise or sunset
  • Average time spent here: 2 to 4 hours
Close up of a person's hand holding a fish caught on a fishing line

11. Toronto Zoo

Family vacations in Ontario are incomplete without a visit to the Toronto Zoo. Covering 287 hectares of land, Toronto Zoo is the largest zoo in Canada. It is a protected area that houses over 3,000 animals belonging to 300 different species. This zoo is divided into seven different geographic regions, showcasing animals and plants from different parts of the world.

  • Hours of operation: 9:30 am to 4:30 pm 
  • Address: 2000 Meadowvale Rd, Toronto, Ontario
  • Best time to visit: 10:00 am to 2:00 pm 
  • Average time spent here: 3 to 4 hours
A siberian tiger sitting in an enclosure in Toronto Zoo, looking directly at the camera

12. Algonquin Provincial Park

Established in 1893, Algonquin Provincial Park is another family-friendly destination in the province. Located between Georgian Bay and the Ottawa River, it's known for its maple hills, rocky ridges, and huge forest cover. The park also includes beautiful trails, such as the Whiskey Rapids Trail and the Barron Canyon Trail. You can plan various recreational activities here, such as camping, fishing, and photography.

  • Best time to visit: autumn, for fall colours
  • Average time spent here: 2 to 3 days
A blue lake surrounded by bright fall colours in Algonquin Provincial Park

13. Kawarthas and Muskoka

The Kawartha Lakes are a chain of over 250 lakes and rivers in south-central Ontario. It is known for recreational tourism where tourists can indulge in hiking, boating, fishing, cycling, and bird watching among other activities. Similarly, Muskoka has around 1,600 lakes, consistently named among Canada's top vacation spots. Like Kawartha Lakes, you can indulge in swimming, water skiing, boating, and fishing among other activities.

  • Best time to visit: summer
  • Average time spent here: 2 to 3 days
Aerial view of fall colours next to Balsam Lake in Kawartha Lakes area

14. Ottawa's Rideau Canal

Locally known as Rideau Waterway, Ottawa's Rideau Canal connects the city of Ottawa to Lake Ontario. The canal stretches over 202 km and its construction was completed in 1832. Ottawa's Rideau Canal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The waterway turns into a popular skating rink during the winter.

Boats docked on the side of the Rideau Canal

15. Parliament Hill

Home to Canada's federal government, Parliament Hill is where Canada's representatives assemble to make laws for Canada. The buildings in Parliament Hill, designed in the gothic style, first opened in 1866. Parliament hill overlooks the Ottawa River and you can take a walk around its impressive architecture and landscape.

  • Hours of operation: 8:30 am to 6:00 p, most days
  • Address: Wellington St, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A9
  • Best time to visit: during special occasions, such as Canada Day
  • Average time spent here: 2 to 3 hours
Gothic-style historic buildings behind fall foliage

16. Ontario Science Centre

Also known as the Centennial Museum of Science and Technology, the Ontario Science Centre is a prominent science museum in Ontario. It has several interactive and permanent exhibits featuring geology, nature, astronomy, music, and technology. It is a great place for kids to explore in a day.

  • Hours of operation: 10 am to 4 pm, week days;: 10 am to 5 pm, weekends
  • Address: Wellington 770 Don Mills Rd., North York, ON M3C
  • Best time to visit: earlier in the day
  • Average time spent here: 2 to 3 hours
A family reading an info board in an indoor garden exhibit at the Ontario Science Museum

17. Algoma Central Railway

This one-day scenic train ride transports tourists through Algoma's wilderness, including the Montreal River, northern lakes, and granite formations. Tourists can further explore the Agawa Canyon on foot once the train reaches Wildeness Park.

Red train carriages travel through fields and forest in Ontario

18. Prince Edward County

Prince Edward County is located on Lake Ontario’s northeastern shore. Its coastline is known for sand beaches, limestone cliffs, and Sandbanks Provincial Park. There's so much to do and explore in Prince Edward Country including water activities, skateboarding, wineries, and music festivals.

A group of friends climbing up a sand dune near a lake

Top family restaurants in Ontario

Here are our top 5 picks of the places to eat in Ontario with family:

1. Barque Smokehouse

Barque Smokehouse in Toronto is a family restaurant featuring a special kids' menu. The restaurant serves special menus on weekends and organizes family-themed nights.

2. Magic Oven

This unique restaurant that serves the Toronto's best pizzas and pasta. Here, pizzas are baked fresh and delivered to your doorstep. You can choose from seafood to vegan pizzas at Magic Oven.

3. Terroni

Reflecting true Italian culture, Terroni in Toronto is a perfect place to begin your day. Featuring a classic Italian menu, Terroni is a special food joint that becomes crowded, especially during the holiday season. If you're a fan of pizzas and pasta, head to Terroni with your family. 

4. Pizzeria Libretto

Pizzeria Libretto is an iconic destination to enjoy mouth-watering gourmet pizza. It is another Italian restaurant in Toronto frequented by families. The major attraction here are the activities conducted regularly like painting, drawing, and coloring.

5. The Ace

The Ace is an ideal lunch and dinner spot while you're in Toronto. The restaurant features a special kids' menu, featuring plenty of healthy and tasty options.

Close up of a hand taking a slice of margarita pizza from a wooden board

Family Resorts in Ontario

Our list of 10 family vacation rentals in Ontario:

  • Rocky Crest Golf Resort 
  • Mactier 
  • Lumina Resort 
  • Dwight 
  • Glen House Resort 
  • Gananoque
  • Deerhurst Resort 
  • Severn Lodge 
  • Glen House Resort
  • Hidden Valley Resort

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the preferred vacation destination of families living in Ontario?

People living in Ontario go to places like Muskoka, a quaint town regarded as Canada's cottage country. Locals also head to Stoney Lake and Algonquin Park.

Where should I go on vacation this summer in Ontario?

The best family vacations in Ontario in summer are, Bay of Quinte, Muskoka, Niagara Region, Ottawa and Prince Edward County.

What is the best place to travel with kids in Canada?

If you've kids or toddlers, some of the best places to travel in Canada are Niagara Falls, Vancouver and Banff.

What are the most popular family vacation spots in Ontario?

The most popular family vacation spots in Ontario are Algonquin Provincial Park, Kawarthas and Muskoka and Prince Edward County.

What are the best family resorts in Ontario?

The most famous family resorts in Ontario are: Severn Lodge Hidden Valley Resort Glen House Resort Deerhurst Resort Sheraton Fallsview Hotel

Which part of Canada is best for families?

If you're traveling to Canada, places like Ontario and Toronto are considered the best cities in Canada. These are family-friendly locations with historical housing sites, amusement parks, museums, and playgrounds.

Popular Train Trips to Explore Ontario

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