Ontario’s motto is “Yours to Discover.” For budget-friendly family getaways, the province has no shortage of fun and unique experiences year-round. For most families, it’s important to find great destinations that are not only entertaining for everyone, but that are also affordable. You can find many such vacations throughout Ontario.
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As the oldest provincial park in Canada, one of the best activities you can do here is canoeing. Several companies in the area rent out canoes at very affordable rates so you can take the entire family paddling across the open expanses of water and view the surrounding pine forests and stunning rock outcroppings.
Take in the sweet serenity of nature, as there are also many developed and backcountry campsites, making it easy to get back in touch with nature and explore all Algonquin has to offer. The Logging Museum Trail, Hardwood Lookout Trail, and Fire Tower Trail are ripe for exploring.
It is very affordable at just $10/person admission, and $4 per pound to keep whatever you find on your dig. The mine is open from mid-May through mid-October and its one of the Inexpensive Family Vacations in Ontario.
Related Blog: Best Stargazing in Ontario
In Eastern Ontario, Canada’s capital city has a canal that is listed as both a National Historic Site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was constructed after the War of 1812 as a lynchpin in a series of rivers, lakes, and locks to create an alternative route between the cities of Kingston and Montreal, in the event the American’s decided to invade the St Lawrence River.
Today, it is a lovely urban waterway lined with bike paths and trees. For about $50 a day you can rent a canoe, or a bicycle for about $10. During the winter months, the canal is transformed into the world’s longest ice skating rink.
The canal also has a strong history that makes for a wonderful educational experience for the kids.
This railway operates a very popular one-day scenic train ride leaving Sault Ste. Marie (or, ‘the Soo’) heading north through a granite-ridge wilderness and diving into the Agawa Canyon. Once the train reaches the bottom of the canyon, riders are encouraged to get out and stretch their legs for a while and explore the nearby hiking trails – one of which leads to a waterfall – or settle onto a picnic table for lunch.
The trains have wide windows equipped with monitors that show the “engineers-eye-view” from front-of-train mounted cameras. Snacks are offered on board. Single day or multi-day packages are available.
Depending on your interests, it is easy to exceed your budget at Niagara Falls, but you don’t have to! There are plenty of options for a fun and low-cost vacation at this most world-famous of Canadian natural wonders. You can view the stunning falls for free from several vantage points in the area. When the sun goes down, don’t miss the Niagara Falls Light show – fireworks shows are also held on occasions, especially during the summer months.
Other free activities in the area include hiking or biking the Niagara River Recreation Trail and hiking at Niagara Glen. Or consider taking a boat trip underneath the falls on board the classic Hornblower. Combine learning and fun for the kids by seeing the cascading water up close and personal.
For something a bit more unique, head to the bike trails along the Niagara River, or the Butterfly Conservatory, or the Bird Kingdom Aviary, all within the Niagara Parks system. For some good old fashioned fun, visit the main street in Niagara Falls, where you will find Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Hershey’s World of Chocolate, midway rides, and haunted houses.
Nestled perfectly between Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa, this is a quaint rural community rich in natural beauty and history. It has laid-back, unpretentious vibes and is an ideal destination for families young and old looking to escape the city. You will find no large chain hotels here! Instead, adorable inns and B&B are the norm.
While the Prince Edward area is known as a foodie and wine destination with its incredible restaurants, wineries, farms, and local food producers, it’s so much more than that! Activities the whole family will enjoy are antique shopping, bicycle tours, or a farm experience. Yes, you can book a local farm tour for a fun and educational day. Learn about where our food comes from, go on horse rides, meander through a corn maze, and feed the baby farm animals.
Located in northern Ontario, this major provincial park lies just east of Thunder Bay. Encompassing 244 sq. km on the Sibley Peninsula, it offers a breathtaking glimpse into gorgeous natural landscapes in this remote area.
Families can take part in a variety of activities, including guided nature walks, group campfires, summer programs, and movies in the park’s amphitheatre. There are plenty of opportunities for fishing, cycling, boating, and over 100 km of hiking trails.
In the winter, cross-country skiing is available and the park maintains over 50 km of the trails. Over 200 campsites are available with modern amenities such as indoor washrooms, shower facilities and a laundromat.