Once the snow falls and the temperature cools, it’s not uncommon for winter blahs to set in. Avoid becoming couch potatoes in the cold winter months by enjoying some of these outdoor themed family activities that are both fun and wacky! We guarantee they’ll make some memorable experiences, and some are even low cost or no cost beyond the trip to get there.
Enjoy the Ice and Lights of Niagara Falls
Can you believe that many Ontarians have never visited Niagara Falls in the winter? These early-dark hours make it a great time to go! While the trip can be a chilly one (make sure everyone has warm clothes!), it’s also a very memorable experience and not to be missed. There are ice sculptures that form from the mist off the fences and light posts. There’s a glowing, colorful lightshow that they shine on the icy glazed rocks of the falls. And the trip behind the falls can be an interesting treat too!
Additionally, Niagara Falls has also extended the annual Winter Festival of Lights all the way to Family Day so people can enjoy the winter wonderland throughout the winter season. Aside from the cost of parking, it’s free to go! They have several routes planned through what they call the WFoL, some of which are stroller and family-friendly.
Pick up Some Snowshoes and Take a Hike
A huge number of provincial parks and conservation areas are beautiful places to try out a highly underrated winter activity: snowshoeing! The Dundas Valley Conservation Area, Bronte Creek Provincial Park, Algonquin, Bruce Peninsula, and Gatineau are just a few of the highly-rated trails. You may want to do some research on which trails have a difficulty suitable for your family. Many trails have equipment rentals nearby, but not all of them, so you may also want to seek a shop if you’re not planning on buying.
Drive North of Toronto to Drive a Dogsled
Unfortunately, opportunities to dogsled are rare south of Barrie, but if you don’t mind taking a daytrip, you’ll find a really wacky winter activity that’s sure to be a really memorable experience! There’s many excursions available, and we recommend you have a look to find the appropriate one near you!
Get Your Skates on in Kitchener, Huntsville and Ottawa
Most cities have ice skating rinks you can locate on their websites, but if you’re looking for a place with maximum ice skating, Kitchener’s where it’s at. The city’s known for having as many as 30 volunteer-maintained outdoor rinks. You can subscribe to get an alert when they open for the season.
If you liked the idea of winter trails but not snowshoes, Arrowhead Provincial Park maintains an ice trail that weaves through the forest. And once you’re done with the 1.3km skate trail, there’s dozens of other outdoor activities to enjoy there!
But there’s a real bucket list ice skating opportunity every year if you happen to be heading near Ottawa: skating on the Rideau Canal. This is a great thing to do anytime it’s cold enough to have frozen over, and not just during Winterlude!
Find a Festival
There are so many festivals that happen throughout the winter months, it would be impossible to list them all. Likely, there are ones happening even in your hometown. But here’s a list of renowned ones that might be worth the extra effort of the drive!
- Canada’s Wonderland WinterFest (November-December)
- Bracebridge Fire and Ice Festival (January)
- Bloor Yorkville IceFest (February)
- Ottawa’s Winterlude (February)
- Cochrane Winter Carnival (February)
Whatever your family gets up to, we hope you have a blast!
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