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Top Tips To Experience The Maui Submarine Tour In Lahaina

As soon as we saw the bubbling of the Maui submarine tour rippling across the surface of the calm Pacific waters, we knew that this would be no ordinary Hawaiian adventure. Gasps rose from the boat and my kids were pulling at my arms and pointing out towards the frothing water. The Atlantis Submarine Maui, Atlantis IV slowly rose above the bubbling waters. And just like something out of a movie, we were left staring at the gleaming white hull of one of the coolest items on our Maui itinerary.

As the submarine (It’s still so freaking cool to say!) docked with our transport boat, I could almost feel my heart pump from my chest. Just that morning I had been chatting with my kids about all of the cool ways that we had traveled. We’d done sailboats and cruise ships. We had traveled on trains and even by dog sled. But we had never been on a submarine or a helicopter. Who would have thought that we would knock off a freaking Maui submarine tour before we did a helicopter!?

What Is The Maui Submarine Tour?

Alantantis Submarine Adventures is an adventure experience company that has been operating in Hawaii since 1988. They operate on the Kona on the Big Island, Waikiki on Oahu, and Lahaina on Maui. The submarines carry up to 48 passengers and two crew. And to top it all off, they operate all-electric battery powered passenger submarines that dip to over 100 ft below the ocean surface.

The Hawaii submarine adventure offers a fascinating and eco-focused outlook on the coral reefs of Hawaii. Not only have they worked to build artificial reefs at their Oahu and Maui submarine locations, but the subs themselves are zero-emission vehicles that emit no pollutants. They also glide near-silently through the water thanks to their battery-driven engines.

What Is The Atlantis Submarine Maui Experience Like?

The Maui submarine tour begins at the Lahaina harbor in East Maui. The Maui excursions are lined up along the harborfront in a row. The Atlantis submarine Maui pier sits about three-quarters of the way down near the remains of the old Lahaina fort. We checked in about 20-minutes before our boarding time. There is a covered seating area available to help keep the hot Hawaiian sun at bay.

The Maui Atlantis Submarine Transport

The boat captain joined us right at the Maui submarine tour start time. We were given a short and entertaining safety briefing before separating into our individual groups for a professional photo in front of the Atlantis transport boat. Then we made our way onboard for the 10-minute ride to meet the Atlantis submarine.

The way out offered amazing views of the Lahaina coastline and the soaring Pu’u Kukui volcano. As we neared the dive location we were told about the Roxie, the support vessel that stays above the Atlantis submarine tour. Soon though we were all laughing like school kids as the submarine began its emersion from the Pacific ocean.

Once Atlantis IV was above water, the two boats docked with each other. Those on the transport squeezed towards the back. The passengers from the Maui submarine tour began filling up the front. It was an intricate dance of bodies trying to navigate two small areas together. Soon though, we were on the deck of the Maui submarine and ready to head below for our underwater tour.

Inside Atlantis Submarines Maui

As we descended the steep metal stairs into the submarine I was shocked at how spacious it was inside. Even when all 48 passengers plus crew were inside, there was still plenty of elbow room for everyone. The viewports were huge as well, offering amazing views of life outside the sub.

As we descended, the color around us began to change. With the increasing depth, we lost reds and greens and were soon basked in a beautiful blue glow. My 5-year-old, D, was absolutely mesmerized. He had just experienced his first day of snorkeling the day before in Molokini and was now absolutely obsessed with fish. And the fish were everywhere.

We glided silently just a few short feet from lively coral reefs as eagle rays and countless fish made their way past our viewing ports. Christina’s parents, who had joined the tour the day before had even seen sharks and octopus. We had swum with sharks during our time on the Big Island but weren’t lucky enough to find them on our Maui submarine tour. We even made several passes over and around a purposefully sunk ship, the Carthaginian II. This ship was sunk by Atlantis adventures to add to the reef and encourage more marine life in the area. Seeing the boat resting on the bottom of the sea was a truly cool experience.

As we went about the tour, our Captain and guide made entertaining and educational banter about the reefs and the fish that called them home. There was always a passionate note about conservation and ecology that was truly appreciated by all who were aboard. They spoke of the reef as parents speak of children. 

Surfacing and Deboarding the Atlantis Submarine Tour

After our final tour of the shipwreck, we began making our way to the ocean surface. As we rose the color slowly began to return to the inside of the Atlantis submarine. The light was brighter outside our viewports before bubbling excitedly as we reached the surface where another boat was ready to experience the magical underwater world up close.

Once surfaced, we made our way up the stairs to the deck and back on to the transport boat back to Lahaina town. Once we reached the shore we were shown our photos and given the option to purchase them for about $20.

Tips For Your Maui Atlantis Submarine Tour

Atlantis Submarine Adventures takes care of most everything you need prior to your excursion. However, there are a few things that you should know in advance.

  • Book early, especially during the summer. Atlantis submarines is a popular Maui activity. Booking early will ensure that you can get the timeslot that you want. The Maui submarine tour runs 7 days a week at 9 am, 11 am, 12 pm, 1 pm, and 2 pm. Booking the earlier time slots usually means the water is a bit less murky for the best visibility.
  • Consider taking sea sickness medication such as Gravol or Dramamine if you are prone to seasickness. While the trip is smooth sailing while you are beneath the waves, during the trip out and back there were a few people who were a little green. Especially when the boat is sitting still.
  • Sit on the starboard (right) side of the transport boat to get the best views of the surfacing Atlantis submarine. 
  • Use the bathroom before you go. There are no facilities on the boat or on the submarine. Once you’ve left the shore, you’ll need to hold it in. The ride out takes about 15 minutes, the tour is about an hour, and the ride back is another 15 minutes. You’ll need to go about 1.5 hours without using the facilities. You do not want to have an accident while sitting 100 ft below the surface in an airtight tin can.
  • Take the weather into consideration. The Submarine tour in Maui is a great thing to do in the rain. However, during high wind and waves visibility may be poor. Rough waters can kick up sediment at the bottom of the ocean. This can also make for a much rougher and boarding experience.
Should You Take An Atlantis Submarine Maui Trip With Kids?

Our boys were absolutely in love with the submarine experience. In fact, I think the only person that was more excited than my kids about the Atlantis submarine tour was me. D was so engaged with the whole event that he barely closed his mouth. If you are visiting Maui with kids you should definitely consider the Atlantis submarine experience during your visit. It’s a relatively short 2-hour time slot. But it will leave you with memories that will last for a lifetime.

Make Sure You Explore Lahaina Town As Well

After your Maui submarine experience be sure to check out Lahaina town as well. This historic Hawaiian town is a true gem. I especially enjoyed the art galleries in the basement of the old courthouse across the road and the massive Banyan tree in the park near the Atlantis Submarine pier.

For something refreshing head over to Lapperts at Front St. and Market St. for a classic Dole Whip soft serve. And if you are traveling with kids, head to Lahaina Galleries and check out some of the first edition sketches from their Dr. Seuss collection.

Have you done the Atlantis submarine tour in Lahaina Hawaii? Tell us about it in the comments section. Or, head to our Facebook page and share a photo of your experience. We would love to hear about your travels.

Disclosure: This post was made possible with the support of Atlantis Adventures. All opinions are our own. Wandering Wagars is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.ca. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

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Kauai Tubing Through Sugar Plantations And Tunnels: What You Need To Know

Mountain tubing was one of the highlights of our Kauai family vacation. And it wasn’t just because it was a relaxing day on the water. Our Kauai tubing experience was educational, fun, and not at all what we had expected. When we signed up for our Kauai Backcountry Adventure experience, we knew that we would be riding tubes through an old Hawaiian plantation. We knew there would be tunnels. But we weren’t prepared for how much more was on offer during our unforgettable Kauai mountain tubing adventure.

When we were first introduced to the idea of mountain tubing in Kauai, it seemed like the perfect fit for our lifestyle of family adventure travel. We are always looking for a new kind of adventurous activity. Gliding through old irrigation canals in a Hawaiian sugar plantation sounded magical. Christina and I have already tried one of the big three underground tubing experiences during our trip to Belize. Our Kauai tubing experience would mark our second. 

What Do You Need To Know Before Your Kauai Tubing Adventure Begins?

Our family trip to Kauai was just getting started when we were rolled into the Kauai Backcountry Adventures office on the outskirts of Lihue. There are Kauai mountain tubing tours held throughout the day. These usually start at 8:00 AM, 9:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 12:00 Noon, 1:00 PM and 2:00 PM. The water on the mountain can be quite chilly. Unless you are comfortable with the cold water or have brought a wetsuit, I recommend considering the later times when the air is warmer.

Registering For your Kauai Backcountry Tubing Adventure

The Kauai Backcountry office is spacious. The upper level is set up for filling out waivers and picking up your safety gear. Gloves and helmets are provided. But you need to bring your own swimsuit and waterproof shoes. If you don’t have waterproof shoes of your own, I recommend these ones for kids and these ones for adults.

After we registered we headed down the waiting area. To kill time till our truck left, our boys played the cornhole games with the other kids on the tour. Christina and I spent our time chasing them down to lather them with sunscreen. Bringing sunscreen or long sleeve shirts along is recommended. Much of the Kauai tubing adventure is under the sun. Please make sure to use a reef safe sunscreen as much of this water ends up mixing with the ocean reefs off of the coast. Many sunscreen brands include chemicals that have adverse effects on the health of coral reef systems.

You may want to bring your own waterproof GoPro or Olympus Tough camera in order to take some fun photos along the way. Also, make sure to pack a towel and bug spray. The experience is deep in the Kauai interior and there are mosquitos. Kauai Backcountry does take a few photos along the way. These are available for purchase for $40 back at the Kauai Backcountry office. It’s a great deal as it includes individual photos of each member of your group, a group shot, and other scenic shots of the Kauai tubing tour that you won’t have the opportunity to get yourself since your bum is stuck in a tube. It was great to get photos of the members of our family since the flow of the water often made staying together a challenge.

What Is It Like Mountain Tubing In Kauai?

From the Kauai Backcountry Adventures office in Lihue, we boarded an open-air truck. Once our entire tour group was on board, we began a short drive down the Kuhio Highway. Then we turned off and entered through a gate. This is where we learned that the property that we would be on was actually owned by America Online (AOL) founder Steve Case. The mountain tubing takes place on an old sugar cane plantation on his 18,000-acre estate.

The ride up to the Kauai tubing tour is truly magnificent. The ride to the tubing experience offers a view of a side of Kauai that is often hidden from view. We drove deep through farm fields, stopping often to wait for the cows to clear the roadway. But we eventually arrived at one of the greatest viewpoints on the island. We even passed shooting locations for some super famous movies like the epic Apocolypse Now napalm opening. We also saw the place where the opening sequence to the hilarious Tropic Thunder.

Waialeale Crater Overlook

The Waialeale Crater is a breathtaking overlook about 3/4 of the way to the Kauai tubing experience. We stopped for about 10 minutes here. Just long enough to snap some photos and learn about this important Hawaiian mountain. Mount Waialeale is a 5,148 ft (1,569 m) mountain in the center of Kauai. The summit of Mount Waialeale is considered one of the rainiest locations on the planet. It sees an average rainfall of more than 373 inches (9,500 mm) every year.

Kauai Mountain Tubing

We piled back in the truck and made our way to the launch point for our mountain tubing in Kauai experience. When we deboarded we were able to leave any gear that we didn’t want to get wet in bins that would be brought to us at the finishing point. The guides gave a brief safety presentation. This explained some of the dangers along the way. These included a lot of spinning, bumping into each other, and the risk of bumping our heads in the tunnels.

Getting Wet

From there we went to the area where the stream that runs through the plantation sectioned off into the irrigation canals that once supplied the sugar cane farm with water. Our boys, C and D, hopped into their tubes first and Christina and I followed. D, our 5-year-old got swept up to the front of the pack and it took me half the tour to finally catch back up with him. Not that he complained, he spent his time making friends with every single tuber along the way.

Photo by Kauai Backcountry Adventures

The mountain tubing Kauai experience started out calm. The landscape surrounding us was beautiful. It ranged from fields to forests, to towering lush green walls. And of course, there were the tunnels. There are three hand-dug tunnels along the Kauai tubing route. One of the tunnels clocks in at just over a mile in length.

The experience was a complete blast. Everyone was having fun, enjoying the warm sunshine contrasting with the chilly waters. D, who was wearing a wetsuit was super comfortable. C opted not to wear his wetsuit and was pretty chilly. If you get cold easily, it may be worth considering bringing one with you. There are no wetsuits for rent at the Kauai backcountry adventure office.

Photo by Kauai Backcountry Adventures

I will say that there is A LOT of spinning involved. If you are prone to motion sickness, you may want to consider taking a dose of Dramamine or Gravol before you go. The tubes bump against each other along the narrow route. You’ll also be bouncing off of the walls along the way, especially in the tunnels. Each bounce seemed to send me in a new direction.

The time in the water takes about an hour. This includes a stop in the longest of the tunnels. Here we learned about the incredible amount of work that went into carving these irrigation canals. At the end of the route, there’s a short time to warm up and dry off.

Lunch And Swimming After Kauai Tubing

We loaded back up into the truck and headed further into the property for lunch at a picturesque spot. We were greeted by a slow-moving stream with small waterfalls cascading into it. It was the perfect spot for a swim. The cool, refreshing water cut out the afternoon heat nicely and helped work up our appetite for the delicious sandwich bar that was provided.

There are bathroom facilities at the lunch location. There are no bathrooms available during the Kauai tubing experience, so they were a very welcome site. We relaxed here for about 45 minutes before it was time to make our way back to the Kauai Backcountry Adventures office in Lihue.

Should You Go Mountain Tubing In Kauai With Kids?

If you’re traveling in Kauai with kids, we highly recommend the mountain tubing adventure. It’s fun, exciting, safe, and made for one of the highlights of our Kauai family vacation. The tubing experience only takes up a few hours of the day. This means that you can have this great adventure and still have time for plenty of other things to do in Kauai, whether you are looking at heading to the beach, or catching one of the legendary Kauai sunsets.

Kauai mountain tubing is adventurous without being strenuous. None of those on the tour had anything but smiles on their faces at the end. As I mentioned, Christina and I had done a much different cave tubing experience in Belize. Our next one to experience will be the Waitomo cave tubing experience in New Zealand. You can check out that one here.

Have you ever done the Kauai mountain tubing experience? Drop a comment to tell us about your experience. Or, swing by our Facebook page and share a photo of your experience. We would love to share in your adventures.

Disclosure: This post was made possible with the support of Kauai Backcountry Adventures. All opinions are our own. Wandering Wagars is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.ca. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

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The Best Of Maui Itinerary – 5 Days To See The Whole Island

Maui, Hawaii is touted by many as one of the most incredible islands in the world. And with the sheer volume of incredible things to do in Maui, choosing the best Maui Itinerary for 5 days or more on the island can be a monumental task. Between the legendary Road to Hana, the stunning volcanic crater, and the gorgeous beaches and waterfalls, Maui lives up to its reputation. Whether you’re taking a family trip to Maui, or visiting for a honeymoon, wedding, or just a fun-filled vacation, these 5-days in Maui will give you the chance to see the best that this Hawaiian island has to offer.

Our visit to Maui came after already making a family trip to Kauai. And spending a week on the largest of the Hawaiian Islands, the Big Island of Hawai’i. After those two vastly different experiences, we were excited to make the most of our 5 days in Maui in the most epic way possible. And the Valley Isle did not disappoint. It delivered unforgettable experiences from epic road trips, turtles, whales, waterfalls, culture, and so much more.

How To Make The Most Of This Maui Itinerary

There are so many ways to spend 5 days or a week in Maui. Many people pick one of the resorts in Lahaina, Paia, or Keihi, hit the beach with a book and only get up to go to the bar. Our family tends to get itchy feet after more than a few minutes standing still. So depending on your travel style, you can extend these 5 days to a week or 10 days in Maui with some relaxing in between. 

We stayed at a few different places during our family vacation in Maui. Because the island may be a bit larger than what you expect, we wanted to minimize our time on the road and maximize the amount of time to enjoy all of the awesome Maui activities. These 5 days in Maui are laid out the way that we experienced them, but the great thing about this Maui island itinerary is that you can mix up the days and re-arrange them in a way that best suits your personal travel style. 

Transportation on Maui

The main thing that you will need to arrange for your trip to the island is transportation. I highly recommend renting a car to access the best places to see on Maui. If you plan on experiencing the Road to Hana or Haleakala, renting a car in Maui is pretty much a necessity. If you want to follow our Maui itinerary, you’ll need one. If you’ve got lots of extra time, or want to experience the island through group tours, you can do that, but it will likely take you more time. And you’ll likely miss some of the awesome places to see in Maui along the way.

What To Pack For Your Trip To Maui

Just like every destination, planning your Maui packing list will help to make sure that you have everything you need for your family vacation. The weather in Maui is consistent throughout Central, East and West Maui. Temperatures ranging from the mid-70s F (23 C) to the high-80s F (31 C). 

However, if you are planning on traveling to the Maui Upcountry through Haleakala, Pu’u Kukui, and the Western Maui Mountains, that can change quite dramatically. Temperatures drop about 3 F (.75 C) for every 1,000 ft of altitude. And with the highest point of Maui standing at over 9,000 ft, life on the summits can get chilly. But, no matter what Maui adventures you have planned, here are a few things you should not forget.

  • Reef safe sunscreen – You won’t find many popular brands of sunscreen for sale in Hawaii. This is because the sale of sunscreen has been limited to brands that are considered reef-safe. Sunscreen brands such as this one don’t include chemicals that have been known to be destructive to coral reef systems like those found off the islands of Hawaii. We really like this brand.
  • Water shoes – If you’re anything like us, you’ll be spending a lot of time in the water during your itinerary in Maui. Packing a pair of water shoes will help you explore some of the beaches and streams without hurting your toes. These will also help on some of the searing hot sand of the Maui beaches during the middle of the day. Try these ones for kids and these ones for adults.
  • Waterproof digital camera – You’ll want to capture all of the best experiences on your Maui holiday. Bring along a waterproof camera such as a Go Pro Hero or an Olympus TG-Tough to get great photos without worrying about getting it wrecked on the beaches or in the water.
  • Windbreaker, puffer, or rain jacket – The weather in Maui is usually pretty amazing. However, there are times when the temperature can drop, especially in the mountains. Be prepared with a light and packable jacket just in case. These do double duty for Maui boat tours since it can get chilly out on the water. These ones are great for kids and these ones are great for adults.

Maui Itinerary: 5 Days To Experience The Best Attractions On The Island

Getting started on your Maui itinerary has a lot to do with when you arrive on the Valley Island. If you land too late, head to the hotel, enjoy those Maui sunset views and get a good rest. But, if you arrive early in the day as we did, it’s time to hit the road.

Maui Itinerary Day 1: Road To Hana

The Hana Highway, otherwise known as Highway 36, the Highway to Hana and the Road to Hana is one of the most famous road trips in Maui. At 64.4 Miles (136 km) this trip doesn’t sound too daunting. But with 52 one-lane bridges and 620 turns the Hana Highway is a minimum 2.5-hour trip. And that is without stopping to see all the incredible things along the way. Because of this, the Hana Highway takes up the entire first day of our Maui Itinerary.

It’s best not to attempt the Road to Hana unless you are comfortable driving. This drive is not for the faint of heart. But the experiences along the way more than make up for the challenge. Starting as early as possible is highly recommend.  Our Maui Itinerary gives 1 day for the drive to Hana and one day for the return.

This gives ample time to experience the beautiful beaches, parks, waterfalls, and food trucks along the way. You could do the Road to Hana, there and back, in 1 day, but I don’t recommend it. Find a place to stay in Hana town and rest after the beautiful trip. And that gives you the time to take in what you missed on the way back. When you arrive in Hana stop in for dinner at either Travaasa Hana or the Ranch Restaurant.

What To See On The Road To Hana

There are tons of things to see along the Road to Hana, and I’ll get to them in a separate post. I HIGHLY recommend downloading the Road To Hana app by Gypsy Guides. It offers a fantastic GPS-based commentary along the way to give you an idea of what you are seeing and when you’ll be seeing it. Here are a few of the top stops on the Road to Hana.

  • Watch the surfers from Hookipa State Park
  • Feed the Peacocks at the Garden of Eden
  • Walk among the Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees
  • Visit the Church At Malame Keanae
Where To Stay In Hana

Once you’re in Hana, you’ll want to get a good night of sleep. Hana is a super small town. There are not a lot of options, so you need to decide if you want to go big, or go small. The best hotel in Hana is Travaasa Hana. This luxury hotel is also home to one of the best restaurants on Maui. If you are planning on soaking in the life in Hana for a couple of days, this is a great option. If Travaasa is a bit too steep for your needs, check out Hale Nanea. These cottage-style accommodations are close to the water and even have a gas bbq for cooking.

If you aren’t looking for luxury, you can try the Hana Inn (Formerly Joe’s Place). This simple, hostel-style accommodation is great for those who want access to a kitchen, and don’t mind a lack of amenities.

Maui Itinerary Day 2: The Road Past Hana And Back From Hana

Day two of our Maui itinerary has a couple of options. First off, continue on past Hana to explore the backside of Haleakala National Park. You’ll find the 7 Sacred Pools, the Bamboo Forest and much more, including the grave of famed explorer and pilot Charles Lindbergh. Here though, you need to make a decision. Either turn around and do the Road back from Hana to Central Maui or continue on and loop around the eastern tip of the island.

We chose to head back along the Road to Hana to visit some of the places we missed along the way. Road to Hana attractions such as Waianaapa State Park with lava tubes and black sand beaches were a must. Part of that decision is due to a stipulation of many Maui rental companies. Some rental companies consider traveling beyond the entrance to the backside of Haleakala to be a violation of the rental agreement.

What To See On The Way Back From Hana

I’ll be honest, the Road to Hana could easily be a three day Maui itinerary on its own. In fact, if you have 6 days in Maui, I highly recommend considering it. The drive up, Hana one day, and the backside of Haleakala the next day, and then the drive back on the 3rd day. But we’re trying to see the whole island of Maui in 5 days on this itinerary. So on the way back check out these stops:

  • Haleakala National Park 7 Sacred Pools and Bamboo Forest hike
  • Palapala Ho’omau Church and the grave of Charles Lindbergh You’ll also see one of the points of the Geodetic Survey. We saw another one of these during our trip to Norway the previous year.
  • Waianapanapa State Park  with black sand beaches, lava tubes, and some nice easy hikes
  • Stop At Mile Marker 23 and search for the Lava Tubes. These aren’t on any guides that we’ve seen. The entrances are small, but they open up inside and make for a cool bit of exploring. Make sure to bring headlamps or a flashlight.

Once you’ve made it back to Central Maui, it’s time to circle around Haleakala towards Haleakala National Park. If you think you can tear yourself away from the beaches on the return trip in time for sunset, book a night at Kula Lodge in Kula, HI. For Kula Lodge, timing is everything. You want to get here before sunset to enjoy one of the best sunset views on the island.

To add to the great views, the rooms here are big, airy, and well-laid out, especially Room #1 which has the best sunset views in the place next to the restaurant. Room #1 is also great accommodation in Maui for families with a second floor that has two single beds for kids. As an added bonus, being in the Maui upcountry makes for a much shorter trip to the Haleakala Crater for Day 3. Grab dinner at Kula Lodge this night and prepare for some intense views tomorrow.

Maui Itinerary Day 3: Haleaka Crater and Old Lahaina Luau

Today we’re heading up to over 9,000 ft (3,000 m) to explore the crater of Haleakala Volcano. Now, some people opt to catch the sunrise on Haleakala. For many people, this means waking up at 2 am to make a 2-3 hour trip from West or Central Maui to the crater rim. This is to make it in time for the Haleakala sunrise between 5:30 and 7 am. The time of the sunrise varies by the time of the year and you need to make reservations before you arrive. You can check the exact times for sunrise at Haleakala here.

Haleakala Crater

We were traveling with our two boys (D, age 5 and C, age 8) as well as Christina’s parents. We opted to skip the sunrise and enjoy Haleakala a little later on in the day. To help our decision, Christina and I had seen a pretty incredible sunset during our ascent of Mauna Kea on the Big Island a few years prior. We had a casual wake up this morning. Fill up with a heavy breakfast and stop at the Kula Marketplace to load up on snacks and water.  Once you head up the road to Haleakala there is nowhere to buy gas or refreshments.

As you head up the road to Haleakala it’s amazing to watch the dramatic changes to the landscape. First, passing the treeline leaves the land around you alien-like. As you rise further on Haleakala you begin to drive through layers of clouds wafting over the roadway. But all of this is just a preamble to the crater rim.

At the Haleakala crater rim, head out on one of the hikes. But remember, even the short ones can take a lot out of you at these altitudes. Make sure you have water on hand. Make sure to also check out the views from the summit a little further up. Here you can check out the surreal telescope setups by the various university and science organizations taking advantage of the clear dark skies of Haleakala National Park.

Old Lahaina Luau

Once you’ve had enough of the majestic views from Haleakala, it’s time to make the long drive down the mountain, through Central Maui to the Western Maui town of Lahaina. Make sure to book a night at the Old Lahaina Luau. This classic Hawaiian Luau is one of the top-rated Luaus on Maui. The food is classic Hawaiian, and truly delicious. The excellent dance presentations tell the story of the history of the Hawaiian islands right up to present day.

Where To Stay in Lahaina

Lahaina is a very popular resort town in Western Maui. It’s exceptionally beautiful during the rainy season when the frequent but short rain showers often leave the surrounding mountains layered with rainbows.

Kaanapali Beach is one of the best beaches in the area, and the prime hotel on Kaanapali Beach is the Kaanapali Beach Hotel. It sits on a great stretch of sand right before the beach tapers off to almost nothing during high-tide in front of the Sheraton, yet outside of the much busier resorts closer to town. It is also one of the best values in West Maui.

Maui Itinerary Day 4 – Snorkeling And River Baths

If you’ve recovered from your Luau the night before, it’s time to head towards the Central Maui town of Maalaea.

Snorkeling With The Pacific Whale Foundation

Here you can spend a relaxing day out on the water with the Pacific Whale Foundation. I highly recommend joining up with their Molokini and Turtle Arches snorkeling tour. You spend the morning on the boat, eating, drinking, and relaxing. The knowledgable staff works hard to make sure everyone is comfortable. Not only does this make for an incredibly calm day, but the beautiful trip out to Molokini and Turtle Arch gives you a chance to snorkel some of the most beautiful reefs in Hawaii.

We got up close and personal with green sea turtles, parrotfish, angelfish, puffers and much more. And what makes a Pacific Whale Foundation tour even better is knowing that your money is being used to foster education and conservation..

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15 Of The Most Unforgettable Things To Do In Kauai With Kids

Kauai is always floated as one of the most popular destinations for a family vacation in Hawaii. Kauai is often called the Garden Island. It is lush, beautiful, and less crowded than some of the larger islands such as Maui and Oahu. If you’re planning a family trip to Hawaii, our recent trip to the Islands let us explore some of the best things to do in Kauai with kids. And let me tell you, there are so many great Kauai activities for the whole family. Keiki (the name for children in the Hawaiian language) will beg not to leave this beautiful island after these adventures in Kauai for kids.

Kauai was the start our recent visit to the Hawaiian Islands. We hadn’t visited since our epic tour of the Big Island and O’ahu before our kids were born. This time, we were fresh off of our winter exploration of the Adirondacks and were aching for some of the legendary Hawaiian weather and sunshine. Kauai was our first stop before heading to Maui and Lanai. We were anxious to take in some of the most amazing Kauai kids activities that we could find. The boys were crazy excited to explore Kauai. And Christina and I were more than ready to shake off the winter cold and feel the warm sand between our toes.

What You Need To Know Before Your Kauai Vacation

Kauai is full of lush landscapes and glorious beaches. And no matter what kind of Kauai adventures you’re searching for, you will find something that fills your Kauai to-do list. At over 7 million years old, Kauai is the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands. It’s also among the wettest. In fact, parts of the Mt. Waiʻaleʻale on the Na Pali coast sees an average rainfall of 374 in (9,500 mm). But, all this wetness has created the beautiful rainforests and tropical gardens that have seen Kauai be dubbed the Garden Isle.

In fact, it was this rainfall that led to the closure of the Kalalau Trail and much of the northern shore and Na Pali coast trails in 2018. Another fascinating result of the weather in Kauai is the chickens. Yes, chickens. Thanks to hurricanes in 1982 and 1992, many chickens escaped from holding pens. They’ve since taken over the island. There are now chickens everywhere in Kauai. For kids in Kauai, this is great. Chasing chickens is practically a public sport. And, you will never run out of chicken crossing the road jokes (If those don’t work for you, you can check out some of our favorite travel jokes here).

When you arrive in Kauai, you’ll likely arrive by plane or cruise ship in the city of Lihue. This city is mostly residential. Most visitors head out to outlying towns with a little more action such as Kapa’a, Po’ipu, and Princeville. Where you stay will often determine your list of things to do in Kauai, but I’ll get to those towns later.

What To Pack For Your Trip To Kauai With Kids

Just like every destination, planning your Kauai packing list will help to make sure that you have everything you need for your family vacation. Kauai has very consistent weather year-round with temperatures ranging from the mid-70s F (23 C) to the high-80s F (31 C). And no matter what Kauai adventures with kids you have planned, here are a few things you should not forget.

  • Reef safe sunscreen – You won’t find many popular brands of sunscreen for sale in Hawaii. This is because the sale of sunscreen has been limited to brands that are considered reef-safe. Sunscreen brands such as this one don’t include chemicals that have been known to be destructive to coral reef systems like those found off the islands of Hawaii. We really like this brand.
  • Water shoes – If you’re anything like us, you’ll be spending a lot of time in the water during your time in Kauai with kids. Packing a pair of water shoes will help you explore some of the beaches and streams without hurting your toes. These will also help on some of the searing hot sand of the Kauai beaches during the middle of the day. Try these ones for kids and these ones for adults.
  • Waterproof digital camera – You’ll want to capture all of the best experiences on your Kauai vacation. Bring along a waterproof camera such as a Go Pro Hero or an Olympus TG-Tough to get great photos without worrying about getting it wrecked on the beaches or in the water.
  • Windbreaker, puffer, or rain jacket – The weather in Kauai is usually pretty amazing. However, there are times when the temperature can drop, especially on the coast during the winter. Be prepared with a light and packable jacket just in case. These do double duty for Kauai boat tours since it can get chilly out on the water. These ones are great for kids and these ones are great for adults.
Our Favorite Things To Do In Kauai With Kids

If you’re planning on experiencing some of the best family adventure experiences in Kauai, you don’t have to travel far. The island is small and easy to navigate (although there are a few areas that see some pretty heavy traffic). If you rent a car on the island, it’s very easy to explore yourself and take in as many of the best things to do in Kauai with kids on a do-it-yourself tour. These are a few of our favorite Kauai things to do for families.

Lydgate Farms Chocolate And Island Fruit Tour

We were tired and worn out after our long trip from Toronto to Lihue. We hadn’t gotten to bed until about 1 AM, and when the alarm rang for our 9 am visit to Lydgate Farms the next morning, hitting (or possibly even violently smashing) the snooze button became a real possibility. I’m really glad that I held back because our chocolate and fruit tour at Lydgate farms became the perfect antidote to our jetlag.

We shoved some leftovers into our face, piled into the car and made the 10-minute drive from our short-term rental in Kapa’a to the Kauai chocolate tour at Lydgate farms. We were greeted with smiling faces and an all-you-can-eat bowl of crack-yourself Macadamia nuts (which I had to keep stopping 5-year-old D from serving to the chickens).

The Lydgate farms tour was amazing. It was run by an energetic, and enthusiastic guide who shared her passion for the agro-tourism industry with us. The kids were kept engaged not only by her personality but also by the hands-on exploration of the amazing fruit and cocoa trees that fill the Lydgate Farms property. There were copious amounts of local Kauai fruit to taste paired with useful information on the best Kauai markets to buy them and how much they should cost.

Our bellies were happy with the amazing selection of local Hawaiian fruit when we reached the cocoa trees and chocolate tent for our Lydgate Farms chocolate tasting. This is where young kids in Kauai may start getting restless, just like D did. C was more than happy to sit through the chocolate tasting and placed himself last in the line of seats so that all the chocolate bowls would end with him. D however, was more than happy to wander off to the nearby kids’ tent to spend his time coloring and playing lego. It’s pretty awesome that this company had taken the time to think of their little visitors enough to provide this.

A visit to Lydgate Farms is high on our list of Kauai things to do for families. The family is very passionate not only about their product, but about the island as well. We left happy, full, and with a much greater appreciation for the flavors of Kauai and the agro-tourism that helps keep it so popular.

Kayak To The Fern Grotto Or Combine It With The Smith’s Garden Luau

Kauai is the only Hawaiian Island that has a navigable river. And what a river it is! The Wailua river snakes through the interior of the island and has helped support the indigenous people as well as shape some of the most spectacular landscapes of Kauai. Much of this is now protected by the Wailua State Park.

The Fern Grotto is a picture-perfect lava cave decked in ferns and other plant life with a sprinkling waterfall that pours steadily over the entrance from the cliffs above. The Fern Grotto has become a popular place for weddings, engagements, and special occasions due to it’s near perfect tropical paradise vibe. However, be warned. Many of the photos you see of the Kauai Fern Grotto show people exploring the cave and walking among the ferns. This is no longer possible. Hurricane Iwa and the closing of a nearby sugar plant have caused some deterioration of the attraction and now it can only be viewed from a platform below.

There are two ways to visit the Fern Grotto, the first is to rent kayaks at Kayak Kauai near the mouth of the river and make your way up the river stopping at waterfalls and taking in the stunning scenery along the way. The second is to join Smith’s Motorboat Tours or the Smith’s Island Luau. We knew that we’d be very tired after our first day in Kauai, so we opted to skip the Luau (we would be experiencing one on Maui) and just do the motorboat tour. In retrospect, I wish that we had done the kayak journey. The river is calm, and the ability to stop at will and see the sites, as well as enjoy the Fern Grotto without 60 other people jammed onto the small platform would have been worth the extra effort.

One very nice part about the Smith’s tour was the onboard entertainment that included dancing and music both at the Fern Grotto and during the return boat tour. As we were on the last boat tour of the day, nearly everyone on board was on their way to the Smith’s Garden Luau afterward. In fact, we were the only ones who took the $25 tour just for the Fern Grotto alone.

Kilauea Lighthouse And Wildlife Refuge

Kilauea is a former plantation town. It is a really popular destination for sunsets (you can read about that further down) and the famous Kilauea Lighthouse. This gorgeous white Kauai lighthouse is perched at the top of a towering bluff. The Kilauea Lighthouse is the northernmost point of the inhabited Hawaiian Islands. The Lighthouse is shown in the Disney movie Lilo and Stitch, and the sequel, Stitch! The Movie.

You can access the lighthouse through the Kilauea Wildlife Refuge for $10 per person (children 15 and under are free). The park is closed on Sundays and Mondays and after 5:00 PM. Although, if you arrive after hours, you can still get a great view of the lighthouse and many of the seabirds from the parking area.

Mountain Tubing With Kauai Backcountry

Our second morning exploring Kauai for kids took us to the mountains. It took us deep into the property of America Online founder  (You’ve Got Mail!), Steve Chase. He purchased a huge swath of the interior of Kauai with the idea of keeping it relatively free from development. Since then, Kauai Backcountry Adventures has begun offering an incredible mountain tubing adventure that pours through an old sugar cane plantation for several miles. It is definitely one of our top things to do in Kauai with kids.

Our day started out with a short drive from Kapa’a to Hanamaulu. Here, we registered with the helpful Kauai Backcountry team before being fitted for gloves and helmets. To help kill the time before we left there were a few games of cornhole setup. This was appreciated since it helped all the different mountain tubing families bond a little before we left for the adventure. Before long though, we were loaded into an open-air truck for the bumpy drive into the Kauai interior. We rode through farm fields filled with cows, who sometimes blocked the road. Then we arrived at a spectacular overlook of Mount Waialeale Crater, one of the rainiest spots on earth.

After a brief stop, we continued to our starting point on the banks of a small river. We had a short safety briefing and loaded into our tubes and began the tour through the old irrigation ditches that used to provide water to the different areas of the farm. The water is chilly, and we were very glad that we packed a wetsuit for D, who was quite comfortable for the trip. C, who opted not to wear his wetsuit, was shivering a bit by the time we finished. But cool or not, this Kauai adventure was worth it.

We zipped down small waterfalls and through narrow paths through the plantation. There were several tunnels, one of them was a mile long. Hearing about how these tunnels were hand dug over 10-years was fascinating. There was a lot of spinning, a lot of bumping into one another, and for those who might get motion-sickness, I recommend a dose of Dramamine or Gravol before you go. But the views along the way are spectacular, and the warm Kauai sunshine is a great pairing to the cool waters for this family-friendly Kauai activity.

Shipwreck Beach

Shipwreck Beach in the resort town of Poipu is a popular beach for locals who love surfing and body surfing. It would be a postcard-perfect destination if it wasn’t for the sprawling Grand Hyatt Hotel that takes up most of the inland view. The surf of Shipwreck Beach is pretty strong (causing the end of the wooden ship that sank off of its shores), so swimming here is not advised.

But Shipwreck Beach is a great place for exploring, beachcombing, and watching the beautiful Kauai sunsets. But the real draw is as a starting point for the Makawehi Point hiking trail to Maha Ulepu Beach.

Hanapepe Swing Bridge

The historic town of Hanapepe was an easy stop on our way to exploring some of the best beaches for kids in Kauai. This small town is a “blink and you miss it” destination. But, making the turn off of the Kaumualii Highway is worth the short detour. The town of Hanapepe is dotted with small cafes, art studios, and handmade furniture shops. But the real draw is the historic Hanapepe Swing Bridge that crosses the river to Hanapepe Valley.

The Hanapepe swinging bridge is a popular spot for those in Kauai with kids. It offers a fun combination of adventure and thrills. The bridge bucks and sways along with the movement of those walking across. There isn’t much to see once you make your way across the swinging bridge in Hanapepe, but it’s about the journey, not the destination!

Salt Ponds Beach

Salt Ponds Beach, just past Hanapepe, is considered by locals and visitors to be one of the best beaches in Kauai for Keiki. The calm water and somewhat protected from the surf. The..

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Camping with Kids – Useful Tips For Family Camping

Family camping has become one of the most beloved past times of my family. We’ve always loved the outdoors, but when I first went camping with kids back when my oldest son C was two, I realized that all of those tips for camping with children I’d read were right. It really isn’t all that hard. Since then we’ve taken every opportunity to hit the road and find some of the best parks near our home in Ontario, and around the world.

It’s funny looking back, especially since our first camping trip was actually accidental. We got stranded when our car broke down on a road trip to the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec. Christina was 8 months pregnant and C had just turned two. We ended up having three nights camping with a toddler while we were waiting for a new transmission to arrive at the repair shop in the middle of nowhere. But that was all it took for us to get hooked.

Since that fateful day, we have embarked on some epic camping adventures, including a 2-week road trip through Ontario where we camped in three of Ontario’s five National parks. Because there isn’t much not to love about camping. It’s a great way to experience family travel on a budget. And one of the best ways to experience the great outdoors.

How To Prepare For Camping With Kids

If you’re thinking of taking the kids camping, there are a few things to sort out before you load up the bags, pack up the car and hit the road. These tips for camping with kids are the prep work that will help make sure your family camping adventure runs smooth as silk. Most of these were learned through trial and error, and a few I picked up from friends along the way.

Pick Your Camping Location And Setting Expectations

Before you head out into the wilderness, make sure you set your expectations realistically before you go. Within 200 km (120 miles) of my house, there are dozens of places to camp with kids. Each one of them offers something unique, and sometimes drastically different experiences.

Make sure that you know your camping style and comfort with “roughing it” before you head out. Are you into glamping like we did in Wadi Rum Jordan and Prince Edward County Ontario? Are you looking for car camping, the most popular form of camping that we’ve done in Pukaskwa National Park? Or, are you super ambitious and looking for some backcountry adventures involving long hikes or portaging canoes and kayaks?

Knowing what kind of camping you’re looking for will help you know what kind of gear to pack, what kind of time you’ll need, and what kind of emergencies to prepare for. For this article, we’ll focus on car camping since that is the most popular form of family camping adventure. However, many of the tips and advice here can be used for most types of camping involving children.

It’s also important to know what type of activities you are interested in taking part in during your family camping experience. Will you be kayaking or canoeing, playing at the beach, or taking part in some epic hikes as we did in Killarney Provincial Park? Make sure you map our your camping activities before you go so that you know how much time you have to work with and what you might need to do to prepare before you go.

Distance And Amenities

Knowing how long it will take you to get to your destination, and what the creature comforts available to you are once you get there is important when traveling with kids. If you only have a weekend available for you, choosing a destination a 10-hour drive away might not be feasible. It’s also helpful to choose a destination that you can reach while still having time to set up your camp before the sun goes down.

Our family is all about trying out new destinations. So we are always pushing the limits and arriving at our camps later and later. I barely remember the last time that we set up camp during the daylight hours. And setting up a tent when it’s dark can be a massive pain.

You also want to make sure you know what amenities are available at your campsite. Are there restaurants or stores nearby in case you forget something? Are there playgrounds for the children? What about washrooms, running water, and electricity? Having a clear understanding of what you need to camp comfortably with your kids will help take a lot of the anxiety out of family camping.

Government Parks (Provincial/State/National) Vs. Private Campgrounds

If you’re unsure of what kind of environment you’re looking for when you camp with kids, you may need to weigh the benefits of private campgrounds vs. government campgrounds. Government campgrounds are located in Municipal, State/Provincial, and National Parks. There are generally ample campgrounds and large swaths of land to explore. Government campgrounds tend to be less expensive, but harder to book, especially for the most popular destinations.

Private Campgrounds, however, tend to be smaller and more intimate, but sometimes offer more amenities such as swimming pools and organized activities. One isn’t necessarily better than the other. We have stayed in amazing private campgrounds on Manitoulin Island and Au Sable NY. We took advantage of the great experiences that they had to offer. We’ve also loved camping in government parks across Canada and the United States. In the end, it really comes down to the camping experience that you want to have.

Find Expert Groups For Your Chosen Park

There are groups out there for just about everything! One of my favorite places to check for details on a certain park is on Facebook or Reddit. I’ll look up the park that I want to go to, introduce myself and ask some questions. If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that there are many people who are INCREDIBLY passionate about their favorite campgrounds. And many LOVE sharing their tips and ideas for making the most of it.

Expert camping groups and camping with kids groups can also help you get an idea for how far in advance you might need to book your site. Generally, full-service (water and electrical) sites book up fastest. As do prime sites near the waterfront if you are camping near a lake. But don’t be discouraged if your site isn’t available. Often, people book sites and then cancel them. Sometimes even the best spots can open up closer to your camping date.

Do A Test Run For Camping With Kids

Camping doesn’t always have to be done in the wild. Prepare for a night outdoors by pitching the tent and sleeping in your living room or backyard. Having a family campout at your house is a great way to spend some time bonding and testing out your gear before camping with toddlers or kids.

Make Sure You Have The Right Family Camping Gear

Once you have chosen your campground and your site booked, it’s time to do an inventory of your gear for camping with kids. Here is a rundown of the basics for what you need to go camping with your family.

Family Camping Checklist
  1. Tent – Not surprising, having access to a great tent is important. Whether you borrow one, rent one, or buy one depends on your future plans for camping with children. For car camping, having a nice, big two-room tent for privacy can be a great feature. It’s also good to have a tent that has a little entrance area so you can leave your shoes and other stuff outside so the inside of the tent doesn’t get super gross.  Something like this tent can be great for families with 3 people. While tents such as this tend to work well for families of  4-5 people. Keep in mind that when you are looking at tents the number of people that it says it can hold is calculated with bodies only. Not anything else.
  2. Sleeping Bags – If you are using full-sized air mattresses for camping you may not need to worry about this. However, if you are camping with kids on small camping mattresses or on the floor of the tent, having a comfortable sleeping bag is important.  Make sure the temperature rating of the sleeping bag you choose matches the air temperature you’ll be camping in. You don’t want a -40 sleeping bag if it’s hot outside. For summer camping, I like these sleeping bags for adults and these sleeping bags for kids. If you want a double bag for parents to share, these ones are great.
  3. Food – After sleeping (or before if you’re hungry) you need to think about camping food for families. If you’re new to camping, keep it simple. Things like sausages, toast, spaghetti, and oatmeal are easy to prepare campfire-friendly meals. If you have access to a camping stove (and propane) than things open up a little. Bring some pots and pans ( I use a nesting set specifically for camping) and you can whip up anything you might want to cook at home. Make sure to keep anything perishable in a camping cooler with ice. Also make sure you know about whether there are bears in the area. If there are, hang your food using rope and a rock from a high tree branch. You don’t want a bear scratching your car or coming in your tent looking for a late night snack.
  4. Campfires – Sitting around a campfire is one of the best things about camping with the family. To help you set up your camp, make sure you bring along some old newspapers, firewood, and kindling (smaller, thinly cut pieces of wood). I like to use fire startersLightning Nuggets N100SEB N100SEB-Super Economy Box Fire Starter, 100 Count Tanto help on those days that might be a little wet.
  5. Lighting – Camping for families almost always means late night bathroom runs. It’s important to make sure you have lighting to help you find your way in the dark. Many people like the convenience of flashlights. They’re small, light and new LED flashlights can got a long time on a battery. Personally, I prefer an LED headlamp. It keeps my hands free in case I need to help my kids along. These are great for any age, so make sure the kids have one as well. For inside the tent and around the cooking area I like to use a lantern style light. These tend to offer a wider beam and they are great for inside the tent as well.

Get Packing For Your Family Camping Adventure

You’ve chosen your destinations and have the gear you need. Now it’s time to get backing for camping out with kids. If you’re car camping, this part isn’t that tough. Although, sometimes it may be hard to find room in the car for everything. I like to pack most of my gear for family car camping into transparent plastic binsthat I can stack easily in the back of my car. I pack the gear that I need for camp set up in one pack, food in another, and other camping gear in another.

Camping With Children Packing Strategy

One camping trick I’ve found that’s very useful is reverse packing everything. Pack your car opposite to how quickly you’ll need access to your camp gear. I put the play stuff in first followed by clothes, then food and cooking gear followed by tent supplies. That way when I get to the campsite with the kids, I can get the camp set up quickly without having to dig through the whole trunk. This camping tip is especially important during bad weather. If it’s raining, you’ll want to get that camp set up as quickly as possible.

Expect to get dirty when you’re camping. Children love to run and play, and the outdoors is the perfect place for it. Make sure you pack enough underwear and socks for your whole stay. If your campground has laundry facilities, you may be able to get by with less as long as you don’t mind spending some time at the camp laundromat.

Getting The Kids Involved In Packing For Camp

If you’re wondering how to pack for family camping, my first suggestion is to get the kids involved. Ever since my kids were 4-years old, we’ve had them lay out their clothes and gear for our family travel adventures. Not only does this make them feel like they are a part of the planning process, but it also helps to keep them busy while Christina and I are doing the heavy lifting.

Kids love to get involved. And having them lay out and pack their own gear. Gaining responsibility is part of our tips for making travel fun for kids. You can also have children help set up the camp. Putting together tent poles and laying out tarps and organizing the camp.

Setting Up Camp For Families

Once you arrive at your camping site it’s time to get set up. I like to get the tent set up first. It tends to offer the biggest challenge, and it gets more difficult as the sun goes down. Pick your tent site carefully. You’ll want to make sure that the tent site is free from rocks and roots. Choose a site that is as flat as possible and far enough away from the campfire that the tent won’t be damaged by stray sparks. Personally, I like to lay camping tarpsunder the tent to help keep the moist ground from caking to the bottom of it. This help with cleanup afterwards and ensures the tent can be packed straight into the pack rather than need to be wiped down first.

Once your families tent is set up, I like to get the cooking area organized. Your camp kitchen may vary if you’ll be cooking over the fire or with a camping stove. Most car camping sites have picnic tables to use. Although it’s important to make sure that any of your hot cooking gear doesn’t touch wood of the table for risk of burning it. Keep your dishes clean using a small amount of dish soap and water. I always bring a collapsible bucket with me to help with dishes at sites that don’t have a dishwashing area.

Enjoy Your Time Camping With Kids!

You’ve prepared, packed, and arrived. Now it is time to relax and enjoy camping with kids. Take in the fresh air, the beautiful scenery, and the smell of the fresh campfire wafting through the trees. It’s time for the kids to play, hike, and explore within the worlds greatest classroom. Spend your time exploring with them and taking in the magic of the outside. Because it’s not just camping for kids. It’s camping for the whole family.

Have you ever gone camping with kids? Tell us about your favorite destinations and activities in the comments below. Or, you can swing by our Facebook page and share a photo of your adventure. We’d love to share in your experiences.

Wandering Wagars is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.ca. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

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Ontario Roadtrip! What To See On A Toronto To Montreal Drive

Taking a Toronto to Montreal drive is one of the greatest ways to experience some of the coolest and most accessible attractions in Ontario. In fact, this Ontario road trip between Montreal and Toronto passes so many attractions that this 5-hour drive can easily be extended to a week or more if you try to hit all of the sites. A drive from Toronto to Montreal brings travelers near some of the coolest things to do in Ontario. And even locals might be shocked at just how incredible this trip can be.

Canadian road trips are one of our favorite ways to see the country. And, Toronto and Montreal are two of Canada’s most iconic cities. But in terms of atmosphere, they are worlds apart. Toronto is Canada’s largest city and Ontario’s capital. This sprawling metropolis is home to the CN Tower, a beautiful stretch of the Lake Ontario waterfront, epic music festivals and much more. Montreal is the largest city in the province of Quebec. Although it’s not the capital, it is the center for much of the culture, business, and passion in the province. Montreal is home to some of the nations most incredible music, comedy, and cultural festivals. Quebec is Canada’s only province where French is the official language, although many locals also speak English, although knowing a little French does help.

So if you are looking for road trips from Toronto to Montreal, drive along HWY 401 and check out all of these amazing attractions. If you do, you’ll never look at HWY 401 the same way again. You can also use this as a guide for a road trip between Montreal and Toronto. Just flip the directions and start from the bottom.

What Is The Distance Between Toronto And Montreal?

The most direct distance between Toronto and Montreal is about 541 km (336 miles). It typically takes about 5 and a half to 6 hours to make the trip. This depends quite a bit on traffic though. Traveling from Toronto to Montreal by car can mean some notorious traffic. Although, once you get out of the cities traffic usually runs pretty quickly. If you are planning on exploring what to see between Toronto and Montreal, expect to take longer, up to a few days.

In this Ontario road trip guide, I’ll lay out the best things to see between Toronto and Montreal and give an idea of how long each attraction can take. That way you can plan the most epic drive between Toronto and Montreal. You might even have so much fun that you continue on up along the St. Lawrence River to spectacular sites like Quebec City, and one of my favorite Quebec destinations, Perce Rock and Bonaventure Island.

Tips For A Drive From Toronto to Montreal (or Montreal to Toronto)

If you are looking at travel from Montreal to Toronto, here are a few road trip tips to help you stay happy and comfortable. These tips for road trips are helpful whether you are looking for a straight bomb between the two cities, or if you are looking at checking out the best attractions between Montreal and Toronto.

  • Before you start out on your road trip between Toronto and Montreal, make a plan. But, keep it flexible. You want to be able to stop and see something cool if it catches your eye.
  • Pack a map of Ontario. Sure, a GPS is great, but there is something far better about having a real map. You can mark it up with a Sharpie and show off all the cool places you stopped along the way. Your friends will NOT believe that this trip was in Ontario!
  • If you want to escape the traffic near Toronto if you are traveling around rush hour you can take the HWY 407 toll road. You won’t be missing may Ontario attractions by taking this route, but it can save hours if you are driving at rush hour. The 407 is an electronic toll route. You won’t need cash and you’ll receive the bill in the mail.
  • Stay entertained. Long road trips can get tiresome. And although there are plenty of stops between Montreal and Toronto to keep you occupied, you don’t want to get bored on those stretches in between. Check out our epic list of road trip jokes (family-friendly!). Pack up some CD’s or load up those MP3’s and let the tunes flow.
  • There are lots of gas stations along the Toronto to Montreal drive. Along HWY 401 there are the On Route stops that combine gas, food, and washroom facilities. However, once you get off the main road it’s good to keep that gas tank filled up.
  • Bring a camera! You are going to see some amazing things on this road trip. Make sure you capture those memories and share them with family and friends.

The Best Things To See On A Toronto To Montreal Drive

So you’re starting your Toronto to Montreal road trip and you want to see the best sites along the say? Well, the first part is checking out the sites in Toronto. Things like Casa Loma, the Distillery District, the Lakefront, CN Tower, and more should be on your list. But once you get in the car it’s time to make some ground and get this Toronto to Montreal drive in gear.

Click To Read: 5 Stunning Ontario National Parks To Visit This Summer

Step 1: Escape the Greater Toronto Area

Getting out of Toronto is the first step on a drive from Toronto to Montreal. You can either head to the 401 and brave the traffic (it sucks all day, but is especially bad heading East in the afternoon between 3:30 pm and 8:00 pm) or head further north to HWY 407 ETR. HWY 407 skirts the worst of the traffic between Toronto and HWY 412 in Whitby. Between Toronto and Whitby there really isn’t much to see, so choose the root that’s best for you and crank up the tunes (or, in our case, audiobooks) and make some ground.

Toronto to Montreal Stop 1: Port Hope Transformers, Oddities, And Old Towns

Just after you reach HWY 115 (about 45 minutes East of Toronto with normal traffic), the gateway to Peterborough, Silent Lake Provincial Park, and the Kawartha Lakes cottage country, you’ll reach HWY 28 and the exit to Port Hope, Ontario. From the exit, hang a right and right again onto HWY 28 towards Peterborough. A short drive down the road and you’ll see one of the coolest shops in Ontario, Primitive Designs. You won’t be able to miss it. Just look for the massive Optimus Prime Transformers and massive metal dinosaur sculptures.

Photo used under Creative Commons license. Photo by Bill Paulin.

Primitive Designs

Primitive Designs (2762 County Road 28, Port Hope, L1A 3V6) sells some of the coolest stuff I have ever seen. From intricate stone sinks to sculptures, to crafts and artwork imported from around the world. Find a parking spot and explore the store for a while. It’s easy to get lost in here and find that you’ve spent hours examining weird, wonderful, and downright crazy trinkets and designs. Kids (and adults) will be blown away by the life-size transformers and dinosaurs on display in the parking lot. You can check out the Primitive Designs website here.

Downtown Port Hope

If you prefer a small town feel to gigantic robots, instead of heading right on HWY 28, turn left and head towards downtown Port Hope. There are quaint antique shops, great restaurants, and more to explore. Downtown Port Hope is a great place to stop for a coffee and people watch for a while. If you are visiting in the fall you can also try to catch the Port Hope salmon run that makes its way up the salmon ladder at Corbett Dam near McKibbon St.

Where To Stay In Port Hope

If you become so enchanted with the town of Port Hope that you opt to spend the night here, check out The Waddell hotel. This Heritage District, dating from 1845, is a short walk from the Capitol Theatre. The hotel looks out over the Ganaraska River for pretty sunset views.

Click To Read: How To Enjoy A Muskoka Steamship Adventure This Summer

Toronto to Montreal Stop 2: Apple Pies and Beautiful Beaches

Once you’ve finished exploring Port Hope, hop back on the 401 and make the 40-minute drive towards Presqu’il Provincial Park on the shores of Lake Ontario. But getting to Presqu’ile Provincial Park is half the fun on this Toronto to Montreal drive.

The Big Apple

You can’t miss the exit to reach Presqu’ile. It’s marked by the Big Apple pie factory. And when I say big apple, I really mean HUGE. This enormous apple shaped viewing platform is an Ontario icon. But it’s worth stopping into the Big Apple pie factory to snack on one of their famous pies. Or, you can grab some treats to take with you on your road trip to Montreal. I am a big fan of the caramel apple crumble myself. You can pick your pies from their website here.

Presqu’ile Provincial Park

After you exit on HWY 25 for the Big Apple, head south and turn left on HWY2. After a right on Union Rd and left on Lakeshore, you won’t be able to miss the entrance to Presqu’ile. Presqu’ile is one of our favorite Provincial Parks in Ontario. This small, but beautiful piece of shoreline has excellent swimming, especially with the warm waters of late summer.  Check out the lighthouse, the long stretches of beach, or just grab some grass in the beautiful picnic area and relax for a while. If you want to do some camping on your road trip between Toronto and Montreal, this is a great place as well.

Where To Stay Near Presqu’Ile Provincial Park

If you don’t plan on camping in Presqu’ile, but want to spend a few days exploring this beautiful park, check out the Motel 6 in Trenton. The rooms are big and airy, and it’s close to the park so you can get back to exploring as quickly as possible.

Toronto To Montreal Stop 3: Wineries, Beaches, And Mountain Lakes

About 45-minutes up the road from Presqu’ile is one of Ontario’s prime wine regions, Prince Edward County. But it’s not just wine in Prince Edward County. There are so many things to do in Prince Edward County that you could end up spending a few days here and still not see it all.

Hit The Beaches Of The County

Prince Edward County has some of the best beaches in Ontario. Whether you’re looking for the scenic tropical feel of North Beach Provincial Park or the epic dunes of Sandbanks Provincial Park, you’ll have no trouble finding a spot to put up your umbrella and soak in the sun.

Wine And Breweries, and Food Tours

PEC is famous for its wineries and breweries. There are more great places to grab a drink popping up each year. Head to the county and visit the amazing vineyards, awesome craft breweries, or taste some of the incredible local cuisine and artisanal cheeses.

Where To Stay in Prince Edward County

Prince Edward County is a big place and there are a lot of great places to stay. We love spending the night glamping at Fronterra Farm near North Beach Provincial Park. In Wellington, try to book a place at the beautiful Drake Devonshire. It has amazing food, and one of the best waterfronts in the county. If you prefer to stay close to Picton, then the Waring House hotel is a classic and much-loved hotel that is close to all the great Picton attractions.

Click To Read: The Best Things To Do In Prince Edward County

Toronto To Montreal Stop 4: Drive Through History Along the Loyalist Parkway

From Prince Edward County you can either head back to the 401 and continue on towards Montreal, or you can make your way across the Glenora Ferry along the historic Loyalist Parkway. The Loyalist Parkway, or HWY 33 skirts the coast of Lake Ontario through some of it’s most scenic and historic towns. Many of the towns were settled by the United Empire Loyalists that settled here in 1784.

The route is dotted with majestic colonial homes, quaint bed & breakfasts and cozy diners and restaurants. There are many places to stop along the route, whether you are looking to take in the views of the lakes and properties, or read the many historical plaques that identify many of the archeological and heritage sites along the way. Traffic moves slowly along the parkway. But there is so much beautiful scenery, you probably mind.

Toronto To Montreal Stop 5: The Historic Town Of Kingston, Ontario

The Loyalist Parkway ends just inside the borders of the town of Kingston. This lovely lakeside city has been a hugely important town in Ontario’s history due to it’s proximity to both Montreal, Toronto, the St. Lawrence River, and Upstate New York. In fact, Kingston was the original capital of Canada from 1841 till 1843. Kingston makes for a great spot to spend the night and break up your Toronto to Montreal road trip.

You can explore the town on the classic Kingston Trolley tours, visit the home of Canada’s first Prime Minister, take a tour of the notorious Kingston Penitentiary and much more. Grab a bite at some of the great local eateries like Chez Piggy or Wooden Heads before heading off to explore Fort Henry built to protect the city from American attacks during the war of 1812.

Where To Stay in Kingston Ontario

Kingston is a classic Canadian City. It has been the birthplace of some of the most important historical events, and even some of it’s most important music. So, it’s worth it to pick a great classic hotel in Kingston. The Rosemount Inn fits that bill to a tee. This boutique hotel offers the perfect combination of luxury and history.

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This Is Why Everyone Loves Silent Lake Provincial Park In Ontario

I’m going to lay it out right at the start. Silent Lake Provincial Park is one of my all-time favorite Ontario Provincial Parks. As for why, I’ll get to that in a little bit. But Silent Lake PP ranks right up with Bon Echo, Killarney, and Arrowhead as an amazing getaway for solo campers, couples, or families. This Provincial Park near Bancroft, Ontario checks off all the bucket lists of what a great campground should be. And whether you are looking at enjoying the Silent Lake yurt or campground experiences, or just go canoeing or swimming, there is a reason that the visitors to Silent Lake keep coming back again and again.

Silent Lake Provincial Park was a park that was introduced to me by my oldest friend Aaron when we were teenagers. I couldn’t get over how often he raved about it. And it wasn’t just how close Silent Lake was to our childhood city of Peterborough either. Once I finally took Aaron’s bait and joined him for a weekend of camping at Silent Lake, I was hooked too. Since then I’ve returned several times myself, and it’s always a park I recommend to people looking for an amazing Ontario camping experience.

What You Need To Know About Silent Lake Provincial Park

Silent Lake Ontario Provincial Park is located about 2.5 hours from Toronto. It sits about 50 minutes from Peterborough and less than 20 minutes from the picturesque town of Bancroft, Ontario. Whether you are looking at camping, canoeing, or hiking, Silent Lake has a huge range of activities for everyone. You can even take advantage of some of the Silent Lake Yurt campgrounds for some cozy accommodations.

Silent Lake Ontario has great hiking and mountain biking trails and one of the most scenic lakes in Ontario. There are no motors (gas or electric) allowed on Silent Lake, so it stays true to its peaceful name. There are two beaches, and a great selection of campsites to fit the needs of novice to more advanced campers. During winter in Silent Lake Provincial Park, there is a huge selection of cross-country ski-trails like those we enjoyed in Arrowhead Provincial Park in Huntsville recently.

Click To Read: Discover Puksaskwa – Ontario’s “Other” National Park

Tips For Silent Lake Park Camping

Silent Lake is a beautiful site that I highly recommend for anyone wanting to explore the Kawartha Highlands. There are a few things to know before you go that will help make your Silent Lake camping experience as fun as possible.

  • Book early – Campsites and roofed accommodations at Silent Lake can book up fast. But, you can beat the crowd by booking up to 1-month ahead on the Ontario Provincial Park online booking system. You can access that here.
  • But don’t give up – Many Ontario campsites book up early. But many also have last-minute cancellations. If you don’t mind last minute planning, keep checking the Ontario Parks site to see if there are any late openings. Sometimes this is the best way to get a prime site.
  • Plan the weather – Watch the weather forecasts before your Silent Lake camping trip. And always prepare for the worst. You never know what could happen without warning. Pack tarps for covering your gear, mosquito repellent, and, of course,sunscreen for all that time outdoors.
  • Don’t move firewood – This can be a hard one to swallow since the Ontario Parks aren’t known for providing the best firewood. But moving firewood from one destination to another can cause devastation. We saw this first hand in MacGregor Point where huge swaths of forest had been to cut down due to the Emerald Ash Borer beetle invasion.

Silent Lake Provincial Park Camping

Silent Lake Camping is very popular. Since so many visitors return year after year, the campsites in Silent Lake tend to book up quickly. This is especially true for any of the electrical sites. The Silent Lake cabins and yurts are also very popular, especially for families and small groups.

Silent Lake Campgrounds

Silent Lake has a great selection of car camping and walk-in campgrounds. The Pincer Bay and Granite Ridge campgrounds at Silent Lake have nice forest settings with large sites. The Granite Ridge campground has a few electrical sites that book up very quickly. There are also a small number of double campgrounds with a single fire pit for larger groups.

If you are looking for something a little quieter, the walk-in campgrounds in Silent Lake are where we often stay. Both Pincer Bay and Granite Ridge campgrounds have very nice walk in sites. The longest walk is about 500m, so you’ll never have to haul your gear too far. The sites in Pincer Bay can be reserved ahead of time. However, the Granite Ridge walk-in campsites are on a first-come, first served basis.

Click To Read: Experience The Best Of Georgian Bay Islands Camping

Silent Lake Yurts and Cabins

If sleeping in a tent isn’t your thing, there are 10 Silent Lake cabins and 8 Silent Lake Yurt accommodations. These roofed accommodations at Silent Lake are open year-round and are a great way to experience winter in Silent Lake Provincial Park while still staying warm at night. We’ve stayed at cabins in Arrowhead Provincial Park and they are a treat. Both the cabins and the yurts are wheelchair accessible.

The Ontario Provincial Park cabins sleep up to 5 people and have a screened in porch, kitchenette, dining table and chairs. Outside, the Silent Lake cabins have a bbq, picnic table, firepit and Muskoka chairs for lounging. The yurts at Silent Lake are another great way to stay in comfort. There are 8 Silent lake yurts. Each yurt sleeps up to 6 people. We did n Ontario Provincial Park yurt stay at MacGregor Point PP and loved it. The yurts have most of the same amenities and are more spacious than the cabins. But, they lack the indoor kitchenette.

The Best Things To Do At Silent Lake Provincial Park

As beautiful as the park is, it’s the amazing things to do at Silent Lake Provincial Park that keep bringing people back each year.

Canoeing At Silent Lake

If you’re anything like us, you just can’t be unhappy with a day on the water. Even if you have a “rough” boating experience, you still end up with great memories and a lot of laughs. Well, Silent Lake canoeing is a must if you love the water. You can either bring your own canoe or kayak or rent one from the park during the summer.

Silent Lake itself is a manageable 2.5 km (1.5 mile) long and there are no motorized craft allowed on the lake. There are also some river systems and canoe paths to explore if you want to spend as much time on the water as possible. From the park, you can also reach Quiet Lake and Soft Lake via a short portage. Our eldest son, C is a huge lover of fishing, so if you bring your fishing poles you might snag some of the massive trout that live here.

Mountain Biking and Hiking At Silent Lake Ontario

There is a great series of trails at Silent Lake for those who love to stay active during their Ontario camping experiences. During the summer the hiking and biking trails offer a combination of relaxing forest walks and challenging ups and downs to appeal to explorers of varied experience. During the winter, many of these trails are converted to cross-country ski trails.

Mountain Biking At Silent Lake Park

It was mountain biking that first got me excited about Silent Lake Provincial Park when I was in my teens. Where many parks tend to frown on mountain biking, Silent Lake has embraced it. There are two mountain bike trail loops at Silent Lake PP. The first is a 13 km, moderately difficult that makes for a fun, fast and entertaining ride.

The second Silent Lake mountain biking trail is a 19 km loop that is considered difficult. The trail is mostly flat, however, there are some challenging ups and downs to keep things interesting. For both of the Silent lake trails, the forest offers a great ambiance. However, it can get buggy at times, especially during the early summer.

Hiking In Silent Lake Ontario

Hiking is one of my favorite things to do in Silent Lake park. There are three trails that wind through the park, the Lakehead Loop Trail, Bonnie’s Pond Trail, and the Lakeshore Hiking Trail. None of the Silent Lake hikes are extreme, however, the 15 km Lakeshore Hiking Trail is considered moderate to difficult.

Hiking in Silent Lake opens up the beautiful forest wilderness of the Ontario. The Lakehead Loop is an easy 1.5 km hike It has a very nice lookout over Silent Lake. Bonnie’s Pond Trail is a slightly longer 3 km trail that offers a great taste of the peaceful ambiance of Silent Lake.

Whether you are an ardent hiker, a nature lover, or just out for a family stroll, you’ll find a hiking trail at Silent Lake that suits you. Each of the three trails has the same underlying qualities – the tranquility and solitude of the natural environment. Each one will expand your wilderness experience at Silent Lake and introduce you to the ecology and history of the park area.

Swimming and Beaches at Silent Lake Park

You can’t visit a beautiful lake without having a chance to go swimming. Luckily there are two great sandy beaches at Silent Lake park. The smaller beach by Pincer Lake campground has a sloping sandy bottom and a roped off swim area for younger children and new swimmers. There is a rocky edge surrounding the bay that is often full of sunbathers and rock jumpers.

The day use area is a larger beach with a shallower slope offering a lot of room for families to play. The day use area also has a large grassy field that is perfect for picnics and spending a long day at the Silent Lake beach.

Things To Do Near Silent Lake Provincial Park

If you are spending more than a weekend at Silent Lake Provincial Park you may want to take the time to explore some of the great things to do near Silent Lake. Since Silent Lake is right among some of the most spectacular attractions of the Ontario Highlands there are many great places to explore.

Click To Read: Everything You Need To Know About Tobermory Camping in Bruce Peninsula National Park

Bancroft Ontario

Bancroft Ontario is a small town less than 20 minutes from Silent Lake Provincial Park. Bancroft is famous for its local rock and gem scene. If you are visiting Silent Lake in August, it’s worth checking to see if the popular Rockhound Gemboree is going on. This huge rock and gem show takes over the town and attracts people from around the world. The rest of the year Bancroft has a lot going on as well. You can explore Egan Chutes Provincial Park, get some culture at the Art Gallery of Bancroft or visit the converted train station that now houses the Bancroft Mineral Museum.

Petroglyphs Provincial Park

Petroglyphs Provincial Park is about 45 minutes from Silent Lake Provincial Park. Petroglyphs Park contains some of Ontario’s most incredible indigenous history and is worth visiting for a day trip. The hiking trails in Petroglyphs PP wind through beautiful Highlands forests. But, the real gem is the collection of 500-1,000-year-old petroglyphs.

Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park

Just 27 minutes from Silent Lake is the sprawling Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park. Kawartha Highlands is second only Algonquin Provincial Park as the largest provincial park in Ontario. Kawartha Highlands doesn’t have many of the facilities that many Provincial Parks in Ontario have, but it does have tremendous beauty and a lot of wilderness to explore. One of our favorite places to visit here is the Bottle Lake campground.

Silent Lake Provincial Park For Families

If you are looking for a great spot for family camping in the Kawartha’s, Silent Lake is amazing. From the soft, sandy beaches and the sparkling lake waters to the amazing hiking trails and spacious campgrounds, visiting Silent Lake with kids is a treat. It’s a place we have been several times and will be visiting again as often as we can.

Have you ever visited Silent Lake Provincial Park? Tell us about your experience in the comments. Or, head over to our Facebook page and share a photo of your trip. We would love to share in your travels.

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Check Out These Incredible Things To Do In Niagara Falls With Kids

Exploring Niagara Falls with kids is amazing! This region is ripe with incredible family-friendly attractions. Niagara Falls is just an hour from our home, and we seem to always find ourselves looking for amazing things to do in Niagara Falls with kids. Whether we are on one of our epic New York State road trips or traveling up the 401 to Toronto or Ottawa, it seems like family-friendly activities in Niagara Falls always end up on our radar.

In fact, our eldest son constantly questions us if we will be doing a family trip to Niagara Falls for his birthday each year. And usually, if we aren’t on one of our epic trips around the world, we make our way back to see what’s new in Niagara Falls this year. So, if you’re looking for the best things to do in Niagara Falls with kids this year, strap in and hang on tight, because there’s a world of adventure to be had!

Because of the proximity of Niagara Falls to amazing towns like Rochester, Buffalo, Toronto, and Niagara-on-the-Lake, it’s easy to get sidetracked with all the things to do near Niagara Falls. But for this article, we’re going to stick to the Falls and the two towns on either side of the border. Because there are more than enough things to do in Niagara Falls with kids here.

Tips For Summer In Niagara Falls With Kids

There are two sides to Niagara Falls, the American side and the Canadian side. If you are hoping to visit both, you’ll need to bring passports for the family. There are certain cases where young children can cross with just a birth certificate but the border rules are always getting more strict. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. You can check out which side of Niagara Falls we love the most here.

We’ll focus here on what to do when visiting Niagara Falls during the summer. It’s the most popular time of year to visit Niagara Falls with kids. That’s not to say that Niagara Falls in winter is bad. In fact, as you can see here, Niagara Falls in winter is pretty awesome. But for this article, we’ll just focus on summer attractions in Niagara Falls.

What To Pack For Visiting Niagara Falls With Kids

You don’t need to empty the bank to set up your family travel to Niagara Falls packing list. Most of the attractions in Niagara Falls are pretty straightforward. However, there are a few things you don’t want to leave behind or you may end up paying inflated tourist area prices to pick them up in town.

Dress in layers. Summers in Niagara Falls can get pretty hot. It’s not rare for temps to go higher than 30 C (86F) in July and August. However, if the sky clouds up, or the mist from Niagara Falls is really spraying, things can cool down. Make sure you have a long sleeve shirt and pants on hand just in case. You should also make sure to pack sunscreen to keep the hot summer sun at bay.

If you plan on taking in some of the amazing hikes in Niagara Falls, bring a decent pair of running or hiking shoes. Your ankles will thank you. It’s also a good idea to bring a pair of flip flops, especially if you’ll be doing some of the up-close an personal experiences at Niagara Falls with kids. They often supply flip flops, but the quality and fit aren’t great, especially for kids. Our kids love their croc sandals and bring them everywhere they can.

Bringing a light rain jacket for Niagara Falls is also a good idea. There is a LOT of spray from the falls, especially if you are doing some of the closer attractions. You will get wet.

The Best Things To Do In Niagara Falls With Kids – Canadian Side

For a lot of people visiting Niagara Falls with kids, the Canadian side is where it’s at. It has the theme parks, the wild rides, the best views. If you’re looking for which side of the falls to visit for the wildest experiences, the Canadian side should grab your attention. But, it’s not all haunted houses and Ferris wheels in the land of the maple leaf either. There is a huge variety of things to do in Niagara Falls Ontario outside of kitschy attractions. You can save some money on your Niagara Falls Canada attractions by picking up the Niagara Adventure Pass.

Hornblower Cruise

There are two Niagara Falls cruises, the Hornblower and the Maid of the Mist. Both are essentially the same experience, but the Hornblower leaves from the Canadian side of the falls near the visitors center while the Maid of the Mist departs from the American Side below the viewing platform. Both cruises take you along the edge of the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls for some epic views. Then riders on the Hornblower and Maid of the Mist cruises are brought to the base of the epic Horseshoe Falls where the “mist” part really comes into play.

If you take the Niagara Falls cruise, you will get soaked. The rain jackets are merely a formality to help you protect any precious electronics. But there is so much water pouring down the falls that it will find every crack and crevasse and fill it with clear Niagara water. I recommend bringing a waterproof pouch for your phone or camera if you are doing the Niagara Falls cruise with kids.

Journey Behind the Falls

The Journey Behind The Falls is one of the classic Niagara Falls attractions. It’s an easy, guided, or self-guided walk into the tunnels dug out by the Hydro companies that have harnessed the massive power of the falls to generate much of the power for southern Ontario and northern New York State. This 30-45 minute tour includes a visit to the 13-story Niagara observation deck. Visitors to the Journey Behind the Falls in Niagara can also explore the series of 130-year-old tunnels directly behind the Horseshoe Falls in Niagara. Just a warning though, you will likely get wet. So if you’re doing the Journey Behind the Falls in Niagara Falls with kids, make sure you have a rain jacket or change of clothes handy. The Journey Behind the Falls is another attraction covered by the Niagara Adventure Pass. This attraction isn’t as thrilling as the Cave of the winds on the American side, but it is the closest you can get to the falls on the Canadian side.

Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory

I always recommend a visit to the Niagara Falls Butterfly Conservatory for those bringing family to Niagara Falls. Taking a stroll among the colorful butterflies is like a trip through a magical flying garden. And it will be sure to delight parents visiting Niagara Falls with children. A visit to the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory is also included in the Niagara Adventure Pass. You can find out more about the Niagara Falls Butterfly Conservatory here.

Bird Kingdom Niagara Falls

The Niagara Falls Bird Kingdom is another great attraction covered by the Niagara Adventure Pass. The Bird Kingdom Niagara Falls is a fantastic family-friendly Niagara Falls attraction. The Niagara bird aviary is three floors of fun that include up-close encounters with reptiles, bats, turtles and more. Bird Kingdom Niagara Falls also includes one of the most beautiful aviary attractions we’ve experienced. A Niagara Adventure Pass lets you experience waterfalls, rock walls, and beautiful foliage. And the whole experience is filled with thousands of birds flying all around. You can find out more about the Niagara Falls Bird Kingdom here.

White Water Walk

The White Water Walk along the edge of the Niagara Gorge is the best place to experience the power of some of the roughest Class-6 rapids in the world. The walk takes you on a lift to the base of the cliffs where you can walk on an easy (and safe) boardwalk. Here you can see how the waters of the Niagara River go from calm and clean to a roaring terror of foam in just a short distance.

Children in Niagara Falls will love seeing the epic waves tossing up and down just a few meters from the relaxed boardwalk. Along the way, there are interpretive platforms and plaques talking about the unique geology, plants, and animals that live in the Niagara Parks.

Niagara Glen Nature Areas

If you want to get up close and personal with the Niagara Falls Rapids, but don’t mind getting a little dirty, a visit to Niagara Glen Nature Area is a must. The Niagara Glen nature area is just a short distance down the road from the White Water Walk, but the experience here couldn’t be more different. The Glen hiking trails are accessed from a picnic area off of the Niagara River Parkway. From here you must take a long set of stairs to the base of the gorge.

The Niagara Glen is one of the most unique places in Ontario. At the base of the cliffs, the vegetation becomes lush and reminds me more of our travels in the rainforests of Costa Rica than of anywhere else in Canada. You can follow the trails that spiderweb throughout the forest and get right up close with the Niagara rapids along the way. But watch your step and make sure to wear shoes with good tread here. The ground can be very slippery.

Clifton Hill

Clifton Hill is the center of fun for families in Niagara Falls. Kids will love the series of haunted houses, mini-golf courses, arcades, mirror mazes, upside-down houses, the Mario-Kart style Niagara speedway and much more. Visiting  Clifton Niagara Falls for kids is like combing a whole bunch of theme parks into one wild ride.

Clifton Hill is a place we try to skip when we are in Niagara Falls, just because it’s so overwhelming. But it’s also a place that will drag you in (sometimes kicking and screaming) and then you’ll find yourself caught up in the fun. It’s easy to spend an entire day or more at the Clifton Hill attractions in Niagara Falls alone. But bring your wallet, because it can get expensive. You can save some money on the Clifton Hill attractions with the Clifton Hill Fun Pass.

Dufferin Islands Park

Dufferin Islands Park is one of our favorite places to picnic in Niagara Falls with kids. This peaceful 10-acre park is a wooded paradise with small, stone footbridges connecting dozens of small islands. There are many birds and small animals that make the park home, so it is always teeming with life and excitement. Kids in Niagara Falls Ontario will have a blast watching the fish off of the island ledges, chasing squirrels around the huge willow trees or just relaxing in the shade while enjoying some munchies.

Niagara Falls Zipline

The Niagara Falls Zipline is one of the newest Niagara Falls attractions. Kids in Niagara Falls over 7-years old can ride the Mistrider Zipline run by Wildplay Niagara along the gorge, past both the Bridal Veil and the American Falls to a platform 670 meters (2,200 feet) away. The Mistrider Zipline isn’t a thrill-a-minute high-speed trip though. In fact, the Niagara Falls Zipline is one of the most relaxing ways to experience Niagara Falls. Plus, you won’t have a busload of tourists blocking your view! I did the zip line with a few of my fellow travel writer friends from our web series Wait, What!? You can check out the video for that below. You can find out more about the Wildplay attractions here.

Wait, What?! Wildplay Mistrider To The Falls - YouTube

Other Things To Do On The Canadian Side of Niagara Falls Queen Victoria Park and the Floral Showhouse

Queen Victoria Park is a large tree-filled park just across from the Table Rock Center and Niagara Falls Visitor Centre. During winter in Niagara Falls, this is the heart of the yearly light show. But during the summer it is a serene, shady area that many people visit as a relaxing break from the crowds across the road. Within Queen Victoria Park is the Floral Showhouse, a 70-year old indoor botanical garden. Kids will flip over the indoor waterfall and toy train snaking through the floral displays. Everyone will love the delicious smells and a relaxing atmosphere.

Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens

The Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, which are just past the Butterfly Conservatory off of the Niagara Parkway, is a 99-acre garden that is one of the best places for a relaxing stroll during summer in Niagara Falls with kids. The Botanical Gardens feature everything from vegetables to over 2,400 roses throughout the accessible trails.

Whirlpool Aero Car

If you are looking for a unique view of Niagara Falls with children, the Whirlpool Aero Car is a great option. This Niagara Falls attraction is open to any age, those 5 and travel for free. This 100-year-old attraction is a cable car that spans Niagara Gorge overtop of the swirling Niagara Whirlpool. The round trip takes about 10-minutes. You can book the attraction here.

Fallsview Waterpark

If you’ve had enough of the outdoor fun in Niagara Falls with kids then a trip into the Fallsview Waterpark is a great way to spend a day in Niagara Falls. Although it can get busy, especially during the weekends, the Niagara waterpark is a great place for families in Niagara Falls. The waterpark has a collection of waterslides, tubes, splash zones and much more. You can often find deals paired with the attached hotels like the Crowne Plaza Fallsview.

Best Hotels In Niagara Falls Ontario For Families

There are some amazing family-friendly hotels in Niagara Falls Ontario. Some offer incredible views of Niagara Falls, while others have great amenities that are perfect for those visiting Niagara Falls with kids.

Great Wolf Lodge Niagara is one of the most popular hotels in Niagara Falls for families. This theme-style hotel combines activities, a waterpark, and even themed rooms that are perfect for a relaxing family getaway.

The Crowne Plaza Fallsview has great rooms, especially the family-style suites. Many of the rooms have excellent views of the Horseshoe Falls. The Crowne Plaza breakfast buffet also offers one of the best restaurant views of the falls.

What Are The Best Restaurants In Niagara Falls, Ontario?

Niagara Falls, Ontario is not I would call a “foodie destination.” For truly unique creations (and amazing wine pairings) many people make the 20-minute drive to the wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake. But, if you are looking for some great dining at some of the best restaurants in Niagara Falls, Canada, you are still in luck. And there are great Niagara Falls restaurants for every interest. To help you choose where to eat in Niagara I’ve laid out a few options based on what makes them stand out.

Restaurants With Great Views of Niagara Falls

Surprisingly, there are only a handful of restaurants overlooking Niagara Falls. For breakfast, check out the Fallsview Buffet Breakfast at the Sheraton at the Falls Hotel. It’s definitely pricey for what you get, but those morning views of Niagara Falls are breathtaking. Lunch is decent at the Skylon Buffet, which we mentioned earlier. For dinner, the best views are from The Keg at the Fallsview Embassy Suites is where you want to be. Here you can watch the night show light up the falls from one of the best seats in the house. And pair it with steak!

Niagara Falls Casual Dining

For something classy yet, family-friendly checkout Brasa Brazilian Buffet on Fallsview Blvd. This restaurant has an incredible selection of Brazilian-themed foods, meat served and carved at the tables, and..

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Things To Do in Prince Edward County – Experience A New Side Of Ontario

Those looking for incredible things to do in Prince Edward County are in for one heck of a ride. This picturesque peninsula near Belleville, Ontario is less than a 3-hour drive from Toronto, but Prince Edward County is a world away from the big city. Whether you are looking for great Prince Edward County things to do such as relaxing on the beaches of Lake Ontario’s sparkling blue waters, sampling wine at some of the province’s most spectacular vineyards, or exploring one of the most relaxed and beautiful regions in Ontario.

Prince Edward County Canada is one of Ontario’s most incredible destinations. It offers a similar experience to the Niagara region, but at a much more relaxed pace. And yet, with the miles of incredible beaches, there is an angle to visiting Prince Edward County that can’t be replicated anywhere in the province. PEC, as Prince Edward County is often referred to locally, is one of Ontario’s prime travel destinations, and with all of these things to do in Prince Edward County, you’re sure to understand why.

PEC is one of our favorite travel destinations in Ontario. It’s a destination that Christina and I would visit long before we had children. And since our family has grown, we’ve come back to Prince Edward County with kids many times to share the beauty of this Lake Ontario attraction with them. So whether you are traveling by yourself, as a couple, or as a family, know that there are Prince Edward County attractions for everyone.

Where Is Prince Edward County?

Prince Edward County Canada is a large peninsula jutting into the blue waters of Lake Ontario. It covers much of the area between the towns of Brighton and Kingston. Prince Edward County is a popular stop on road trips between Toronto and Ottawa and Montreal. The PEC peninsula is actually very large, so if you’re looking at doing a day trip to Prince Edward County, you’ll need to limit yourself to one or two towns.

But, if you are looking at spending a weekend or a long-weekend in Prince Edward County, you can experience a good chunk of the best Prince Edward County things to do. PEC is about 2 hours and 45 minutes from Toronto it’s about the same distance from Ottawa to Prince Edward County. The main towns in Prince Edward County are Picton, Wellington, and Waupoos. However, there are a number of small communities that make up the entire Prince Edward peninsula.

The Best Things To Do In Prince Edward County

You don’t have to dig deep if your searching for what to do in Prince Edward County. As soon as you cross over onto this picturesque peninsula, it becomes obvious that this is someplace special. The landscape changes to mostly flat, grassy farmland. The cars that were once tearing recklessly down HWY 401 slow to a comfortable pace, and all around you the landscape takes on the most beautiful shades of green, yellow, and gold.

Click To Read: Discover These Can’t-Miss Attractions On Manitoulin Island Ontario

Hit The Beach At Sandbanks Provincial Park

Without a doubt, Sandbanks Provincial Park is the top attraction in Prince Edward County. In fact, Sandbanks Provincial Park is one of the most popular attractions in Ontario. We love our Ontario beaches. Whether we are soaking in the sun at Sauble Beach, or splashing in the shallows of Bon Echo Provincial Park, we are always looking for amazing beaches in Ontario. And Sandbanks stands out as one of the top beach destinations in Ontario.

There are three beaches at Sandbanks Provincial Park. They mix golden sand with the bright blue waters of Lake Ontario. There are amazing camping sites here as well but book early because campsites at Sandbanks fill up very quickly. Even compared to nearby Presquile Provincial Park, Sandbanks stands out as one of the best parks in Ontario for sunbathers. The beaches here are incredible.

Sandbanks is about 30 minutes from the town of Wellington in the southwest corner of Prince Edward County. If you are traveling from Picton it’s only about a 25-minute drive to Sandbanks.

Sunbathe Between Two Lakes At North Beach Provincial Park

North Beach Provincial Park is one of the Prince Edward County hidden gems. To visit North Beach, a newcomer might think that they are lying somewhere in the Caribbean. This thin stretch of golden sand has the picturesque Lake Ontario on one side, and the calm waters of North Bay on the other.

Although North Beach Provincial Park is often referred to as “Little Sandbanks” by locals, this beach offers a far different experience than it’s more famous neighbor. There are 1.2 km (.8 miles) of sandy beach perfectly dotted with shady tree’s. North Beach Provincial Park has excellent picnic areas and toilet facilities. And, there is car parking (directly on the beach) for $14.50 per car. There is an option to park outside the park and walk in for $2 per car.

North Beach Provincial Park is just south of the town of Consecon and about 45-minutes northeast of Sandbanks Park.

Pro-Tip: On windy days the Lake Ontario side of North Beach Provincial Park can have a dangerous undertow and large waves. The North Bay side .is much calmer but has a sharp drop-off in depth.

Explore The Prince Edward County Millenium Trail

Most of the landscape of Prince Edward County is flat. This makes biking in PEC a hugely popular activity. And there are few places better suited for biking (or walking) in Prince Edward County than the Millenium Trail (currently only the 11 km near Wellington is smooth gravel, the rest is a bit of a rougher ride). This 48-kilometer (30 mile) converted railroad line winds through farm fields, marshes and forests from Picton to Wellington.

During the spring and summer, the trail is brightly colored by wildflower beds. For those who don’t want to head out on their own, the Sip and Cycle wine tour takes guests along an 18km route through the Millenium Trail that visits a few of the local Prince Edward County wineries along the way.

Enjoy Some Of The Best Prince Edward County Wineries

It’s nearly impossible to look for what to do in Prince Edward County without considering all of the incredible PEC wineries. Prince Edward County is among Canada’s newest wine regions. The region has only been VQA designated since 1999, but there are now over 42 wineries in Prince Edward County. Whether you are exploring Prince Edward County with kids or with a group, the wineries of the county are wonderful for everyone.

Prince Edward County Wineries are a far different experience than those further south in Niagara-on-the-Lake. They are more spread apart, and there isn’t quite as much variety, but I, for one, prefer the wines that come out of Prince Edward County more than the ones in Niagara. You can opt for a locally run Prince Edward County wine tour, or do it yourself with a drive through the idyllic countryside. Depending on where you are visiting in Prince Edward County, these wineries should be ones that you put some focus on:

Waupoos Estate Winery

Waupoos is one of the most classic Prince Edward County wineries. Their outdoor gazebo is one of the most popular restaurants in Prince Edward County and the Waupoos Estate tasting room has incredible views of Lake Ontario and the vineyards. Waupoos Estate Winery is located just west of the town of Waupoos along HWY 8.

The Grange of Prince Edward Winery

The Grange of Prince Edward Winery is located just north of the town of Wellington. They have a raw, natural barn wood tasting room that gives a classic vintage feel. There is an excellent selection of wines at the Grange winery, and the ambiance makes it a perfect place for the whole family to explore.

Three Dog Winery

If you are looking for a small, intimate winery where the people you chat with at the tasting bar are often the same people making the wine, then Three Dog Winery is for you. Their tasting room only opened in 2014, but this northeast Prince Edward County winery has been growing fast. You can make a visit to Three Dog Winery a meal experience too by grabbing one of their classic

Sandbanks Estate Winery

Sandbanks Estate Winery is one of the most prestigious wineries in Prince Edward County. While we often enjoying visiting smaller wineries, Sandbanks Estate is definitely worth a visit if you are looking for great things to do in Prince Edward County. They have a huge selection of wines and the grounds of Sandbanks winery are beautiful.

Click To Read: Glamping Prince Edward County At Fronterra Farm

Take A Walk Around The Lake On The Mountain

Lake on the Mountain Prince Edward County is an unusual phenomenon. This picturesque lake sits 62 meters (203 feet) above the Bay of Quinte near the town of Picton. It has no known source of water,  yet has a steady flow of clean, fresh water that eventually tumbles over the escarpment into the Bay of Quinte. There are boardwalks, picnic facilities, and more to help you enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

Stop in at the Inn on the Mountain for some great food on their garden patio. You can also taste some of the local Prince Edward County craft beers here.

Enjoy Some Of Ontario’s Best Craft Breweries In Prince Edward County

It’s not just the wineries that make Prince Edward County a popular tasting region. There are incredible craft breweries here as well. You can combine a wine tour with a beer tour of Prince Edward County, or stick to your favorite drink of choice. Your call!

Barley Days

If you want to delve into the history of craft beer in Prince Edward County, look no further than Barley Days. For a long while, Barley Days was the only brewery in Prince Edward County that you could actually purchase (and take away) beer. But don’t think that they have been lost with the times. As competition in the area ramped up, so did their offerings. Barley Days now offers live music on Saturdays and has a food truck to pair your brews in the front.

Lake On The Mountain Brewing Company

If you want to know my favorite brewery in Prince Edward County, it’s Lake On the Mountain Brewery. Not only do they craft excellent brews, but it’s paired with some of the best scenery in all of Prince Edward County. Kids will love the garden outside and the classic Model A car at the edge of the road. But stay for the food and enjoy the scenery at Lake on the Mountain Brewing Co.

555 Brewing Co.

Breweries in Prince Edward County don’t get much more central than 555 Brewing Co. This startup is right in the heart of Picton. On top of a great selection of brews, but they also have tasty wood-fired pizzas. If you love to hang out in cool, historic towns, 555 Brewing Co. is the perfect stop for you.

Click To Read: Everything You Need To Know About Visiting Lake Superior Provincial Park

Nibble On Some Cheese At Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Company

Located on the far eastern arm of the peninsula, just past Waupoos, Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Company is one of the best-tasting things to do in Prince Edward County. Not only does Fifth Town Cheese create world-class cheese products, but it does so using an environmentally friendly  Platinum LEEDs certified production facility. They also offer on-site sourced honey, juice, and fruit (depending on the season).

Grab An Ice Cream Cone At Slickers In Bloomfield Or Picton

I don’t want to know what it’s like to visit Prince Edward County Ontario and not stop for an ice cream cone at Slickers. Slickers is often hailed as one of the best ice cream places in Ontario, and some think they are even better than that. They craft their Slickers ice cream in small batches from locally sourced ingredients. Slickers also has a huge selection of flavors such as toasted, and burnt marshmallow, apple pie, and passionfruit.

There are two Slickers ice cream locations. One is in Picton, while the original Slickers location is on Main St. in Bloomfield.

Go Antiquing At Dead People’s Stuff

There are a lot of places to go antiquing in Prince Edward County. But, there is only one place that is blatantly obvious about where those antiques came from. And that is Dead People’s Stuff in Bloomfield. Here you can pick up pine furniture, old collectibles, and other fine antiques old enough to have belonged to those who have passed before us. If you are looking for great antiques in Prince Edward County, you should not miss Dead People’s Stuff.

Take In The Stars While Glamping At Fronterra Farm

We spent a few nights staying at Fronterra Farm in Prince Edward County Ontario. This beautiful series of frontier-style tents is just a short canoe ride from North Beach Provincial Park and is one of the most unique accommodations in Prince Edward County. Whether you are staying up to watch the stars twinkle in the dark skies of the county, or just..

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Check Out These Fun Things To Do In Quebec City This Summer

A trip to Quebec City is like taking a deep dive into Canada’s most magical and incredible history. There is a great range of things to do in Quebec City, and the cliche that a visit to the city is like experiencing Europe without leaving North America is actually true. And, whether you’re exploring as a couple, solo, or visiting Quebec City with kids, you are guaranteed to find it fascinating and beautiful. We are lucky enough to live within an 8-hour drive of Canada’s oldest city and have been here a number of times. And the truth is, the charm of Quebec City never wears off. Any visit to the province of Quebec just wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the city.

Not only is Quebec City old, established back in 1608, it’s also beautiful. The city sits on a high plateau overlooking the gorgeous St. Lawrence River. And Quebec City’s combination of old-world charm and new world flavors make it one of the most sought after destinations in the world. We stop here on our road trips along the St. Lawrence towards the beautiful Gaspe Peninsula. And sometimes we’ll head here just to experience some new things to do in Quebec City.

What Makes Quebec City So Incredible?

Quebec City offers one of the best tastes of the old-world within the Americas. There are no other cities in North America that come even close to the style and atmosphere of European cities than Quebec City does. Quebec City is also the capital of the Province of Quebec, the only province in Canada where the first official language is French rather than English.

Quebec City’s position on the cliffs above the St. Lawrence River made it a perfect point of defense during the cities early battles with British and American forces. And the walled city of Old Quebec City was a safe haven for businesses and civilians closer to the water.  Quebec is a year-round destination. During the winter people flock here for great Quebec City things to do such as Carnival, the largest winter festival in the world.

But a visit to Quebec City in the summer is an entirely different experience. Winters in Quebec can be frigidly cold. But the summers are spectacular. Temperatures are comfortable, days are often bright and sunny, and the long Quebec days make it easy to pack in as many things to do in Quebec as you can handle.

Don’t Miss These Incredible Things To Do In Quebec City

Quebec City is a place that is best explored on foot. When you are searching for amazing Quebec City attractions, a good chunk are located in the tightly concentrated area of Old Quebec City. But, there are a few things to do in Quebec City that require access to either transit or a car. We usually visit on a road trip to Quebec City, so it’s rare that we don’t have our car with us. But, luckily Quebec also has a decent transit system to help you out if you need it. Here are some of our top places to see in Quebec City for the whole family.

Click To Read: What To See In Perce And Bonaventure Island In Quebec

Relive Ancient Battles On The Plains Of Abraham

Quebec City is home to some of the most epic and important battles in Canada’s history. In 1759 the battle on the Plains of Abraham was a turning point in the 7 Year War war between the British and the French. While many battlefield locations of those days have been paved over or returned to farmland, the Plains of Abraham have been transformed into a 243-acre city park. The Plains of Abraham act as a focal point in both the Carnival celebrations in the winter and massive music festivals during the summer.

This beautiful piece of land is a great place for scenic walks and hikes, picnics, and just lounging around and taking in the sounds and smells of Quebec City. You can even get up close and personal with some of the ancient cannons that were once used on the Plains. For a deeper understanding of the history of the Plains of Abraham, make a visit to the Discovery Center. Here you’ll learn about the rich history that helped shape Quebec City and the province of Quebec.

The Plains of Abraham are to Quebec City what Central Park is to New York City and Hyde Park is to London. It’s where the city gathers, celebrates, mourns, and relaxes.

Copyright Luc-Antoine Couturier. Used with permission from Tourisme Quebec

Protect The City With a Tour Of The Citadelle of Quebec

La Citadelle de Quebec or the Citadelle of Quebec can’t be missed if you are looking for amazing things to do in Quebec City. This historic fortress overlooks the city offering one of the best views of Quebec City and Chateau Frontenac that you can ask for. To top it off, The Citadelle of Quebec is still an active military base. It also contains one of the official homes of Canada’s Lieutenant General.

The Citadelle of Quebec contains a fascinating museum documenting the local regiments history through wars dating back to WWI. You can also go on guided tours through the Quebec City military base. The tours must be guided as this is an active base. What makes the Citadelle tour one of the best things to do in Quebec is the sweeping views of Old Quebec from the top of the fort walls. You can even check out the massive cannons designed to protect the city from attacks down the St. Lawrence.

Wander Through History Inside The Walls Of Old Quebec

Old Quebec is one of the coolest places to visit in all of Canada. There is simply no other place where the rich history of the country is on such a dramatic display. During the summer, the streets of old Quebec are lined with horse-drawn carriages taking families and couples along the cobblestone streets of Canada’s oldest city. The streets are filled with cafes, art displays, and many hidden sculptures that tell the story of Quebec’s diverse history.

Take a stroll to Parc Montmorency between Cote de la Montagne and Rue Port-Dauphin (not to be confused with Parc de la Chute Montmorency) where the Parliament of Lower Canada and Quebec was situated from 1791 till 1883. You can also find the oldest house in Canada. Built in 1675, this beautiful red-roofed building on rue Saint-Louis has been transformed into a restaurant called Aux Ancien Canadien. Although if you truly want to step back in time, we recommend you dine in lower Quebec. You can read about that a little further down.

Take In The Most Photographed Hotel In The World – Chateau Frontenac

Another must is a walk along the walls of Chateau Frontenac, the most photographed hotel in the world. This castle-themed hotel is gorgeous from every angle. But we love exploring along the boardwalk lining the St. Lawrence River. Here you can find the fascinating, underground Lieu historique national des Forts-et-Châteaux-Saint-Louis. This was the official residence of the French Governor of New France (as Quebec was once called). It is one of Canada’s newest National Historic Sites, having just been registered in 2002.

For a closer look, you can walk within the arched parkway of the Chateau Frontenac. It’s accessed off of Rue Saint-Louis. This is the main entrance for those staying who are staying at Chateau Frontenac, and it is one of the most dramatic hotel entrances around.

Listen To The Chorus In The Basilica Of Notre Dame

Catholicism has played a huge roll in the history of Quebec, and there is no better place to explore a bit of that history than at the Basilica of Notre Dame in Quebec City. Notre Dame Basilica has been standing since 1647 and has born witness to nearly the entire history of modern Canada. It has been gutted by fire a few times in its history. This includes once in 1922 when Canada’s Ku Klux Klan attacked the church.

In 2014, to celebrate Notre Dame’s 350th birthday, it was given a holy door. This holy door is only the 8th of its kind worldwide. The door is currently sealed by mortar and cement and is scheduled to be unveiled again in 2025.

Visit Musée de la Civilisation (The Museum of Civilization)

The Musee de la Civilization is one of the most popular museums in Quebec City. This highly engaging and interactive museum has a heavy focus on Canadian First Nations history but also touches on Canadian and popular culture. The Musee de la Civilisation is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. Adult rates are between $17-$22 depending on the current exhibits. There are reduced rates for children 18 and under, and children under 11 are free.

What To Do At Winterlude In Ottawa and Gatineau

Take A Ride On The Funicular To Lower Quebec City

There are a few ways to get from upper Quebec City to Lower Quebec City. You can either take the stairs or, you can opt of the scenic route on the Old Quebec Funicular (Funiculaire du Vieux Quebec). The Quebec City funicular takes visitors between Dufferin Terrace near Chateau Frontenac and Quartier Petit-Champlain in lower Quebec City.

The Quebec City funicular runs from 7:30 am to 10:30 pm most weekends and from 7:30 am to 9:30 pm during the week. It costs $3.50 per person each way.

Take In The Artwork And Antiquities In Lower Quebec City

Lower Quebec City is perfect for those who just can’t get enough of the old world vibe when looking for things to do in Quebec City. From the iconic Blvd. du Champlain, to the second oldest restaurant in Canada (and in our opinion, one of the coolest), Lower Quebec City is perfect for those looking to shop, explore, and get a taste for one of Canada’s oldest neighborhoods.

The Petit Champlain district is lined with stores housed in centuries-old stone buildings. There are even some archaeological sites where even older houses and buildings are being excavated. During summer in Quebec City, these streets are dotted with street artists, magic shows, and many more family-friendly activities.

Make sure to make a stop at Bistro Le Papes Georges on Rue du Cul de Sac. This pub is Canada’s second oldest restaurant. And simply walking inside gives a mind-blowing look at how these restaurants were run centuries ago. There is one small stove located behind the bar. The staff are fun and love to share stories about the history of the restaurant. You can also walk to the back room where you can watch the water pour down the inside wall, which is one of the rock faces leading to the upper city. You can find more about Bistro Le Papes Georges here.

Take A Ferry Across the St. Lawrence To Levis For A Unique View Of The City

The Quebec City ferry terminal is located just steps away from Lower Quebec. The Quebec to Levis ferry is a great way to take in the view of Quebec City with the St. Lawrence River in the foreground. The Quebec City ferry itself isn’t a thrill-a-minute-ride. But, it’s worth the short 20-minute one-way trip for the views alone. Before you go check out the ferry schedule on their website here.

Walk Under The Sea At the Aquarium du Quebec

The Quebec City Aquarium is just 15 minutes from downtown Quebec City. This is one of the most popular attractions in Quebec City due to the 10,000 different marine animals that are housed at the Aquarium of Quebec. The fun isn’t limited to the inside of the aquarium either. There is a tree-top walk, water games and outdoor walking trails along the St. Lawrence River.

Incredible Things To Do Near Quebec City

The best things to do in Quebec City don’t stop at the town borders. There are lots of things to do near Quebec that are both easy to access and loads of fun.

Click To Read: Hit The Road Eh! 12 Amazing Road Trips In Canada

Zipline Through The Mist Of Montmorency Falls At Parc de la Chute-Montmorency

Parc de la Chute-Montmorency is an outdoor park just 15 minutes from downtown Quebec City. The Parc de la Chute Montmorency is where you’ll find the spectacular Montmorency Falls. This dramatic 83-meter (272 foot) waterfall is visible from the highway. From within Montmorency Falls Park, you can take a panoramic cable car from the base to the top.

Other great activities at Parc de la Chute-Montmorency are walking across the dizzying suspension bridge above the falls, speeding along a zip line through the mist of the falls, and enjoying the many viewing platforms of the Montmorency Panoramic Stairs. During the summer you can also test your courage on the Via Ferrata. The Via Ferrata is a series of suspended cables along the cliffs of Montmorency Falls Park that offer some of the most amazing views of the falls and the surrounding area. You can find out all you need to know about visiting Parc de la Chute-Montmorency here.

Go On A Wine And Art Tour Of Ile d’Orleans

The scenic Ile d’Orleans is connected to Quebec City by a single bridge that is dramatically positioned at the base of Montmorency Falls. The island is a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike for its variety of wineries, farms, and heritage homes. At one end, take in the views from the Saint Francois observation tower. On the other end of the island, check out the Ste Petronille vineyard.

Dotted throughout the island are great examples of the rich creative history of Ile d’Orleans. One of our favorites is the sculpture field that is just a short drive from the bridge along HWY 368. You can also stop for a visit at many of the artisan outlets and the fruit and vegetable stands throughout the island.

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