11 Summer family vacation ideas in Canada

Jul 29, 2010 at 3:10 p.m. ET

We're halfway through the summer season and not quite ready to gear-up for the onslaught of back-to-school must-dos. With plenty of opportunities for quality family time left, we've found 11 kid-friendly holiday gems sure to entertain and inspire.

Horseback riding

1Horseback riding in British Columbia's interior

Where: Tod Mountain Ranch (near Kamloops, BC)

With more than 30,000 hectares of diverse trails, plenty of activities to help break up the day, private family-oriented cabins and healthy home-style meals,  Tod Mountain Ranch makes a great vacation choice. The ranch offers spectacular scenic vistas and fantastic opportunities to spot natural wildlife such as deer, moose and (sometimes) bear, sure to have your little 'dudes' riding high with excitement!

2Ziptrek your way through Whistler Blackcomb

Where: Whistler, BC

Fly free as a bird with Whistler's very own Ziptrek Eco-adventure tours and you'll cover more than 11 hectares of old growth rainforest at a height of nearly 180 meters! With a variety of 3-hour tours to choose from, this is a great option for a family getaway offering something to everyone.

3Cultural awakening in Quebec's capitol

Where: Quebec City, PQ

Perched along the St. Lawrence seaway, this historic fortressed city lends a European flare to any visit. Featuring attractions such as the oldest church in North America (La Citadelle) and the Artillery Park Heritage Site (which defended la belle province in the 17th century), explore cobblestoned streets, galleries and festivals throughout the summer.

4Dinosaur dig in Drumheller

Where: Drumheller, AB

Situated in the heart of the Canadian Badlands – yet only a 90-minute drive from Calgary – Dinosaur Valley will take you and your kids thousands of years back in time. Check out the Royal Tyrrell Museum and unearth life that existed billions of years ago. Watch your children's eyes widen in complete wonder! It's not just about skin and bones, though. Be sure to tour the unique geological hoodoos formations before they erode away.

5Have a 'Whale' of a time in Nova Scotia

Where: Halifax, NS

This colourful and stunning eastern province is not only host to cheap lobster, great music and a lively zest for life – it's oozing with personality and an array of activities, shopping and festivals. Halifax also offers outdoor exploration options befitting kids and adults alike. Be it a guided kayak tour, an afternoon aboard a whale watching boat, or a trip to historic Peggy's Cove lighthouse and pier, you are guaranteed to get caught up in a fascinating adventure. Just don't get caught by a crashing wave!

6Visit Canada's Capitol City

Where: Ottawa, ON

There is so much to see and do in the city that runs the country. For starters, rent bikes and cruise alongside the Rideau Canal and wind your way to the ByWard Market where the kids will have plenty of activities to choose from (leaving you time to shop and dine). Check out Parliament Hill's free tours, or cruise along aboard the Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield Steam Train.

Up next: 5 more family-oriented vacation stops >>

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