Canadians and visitors alike can visit over 148 national parks, national historic sites, national marine conservation areas as well as national urban parks, all without incurring the standard entrance fees for the whole year of 2017 (January 1st to December 31, 2017). Whether you’re looking for a day trip excursion on the weekend or a summer week long getaway, you’ll find a great variety to keep the family entertained. And no entrance fee certainly makes it affordable for any family travel budget.
To inspire you I’ve put together our picks for families to celebrate Canada’s 150 with Park Canada’s free Discover Pass.
Top 10 Park’s Canada Discover Pass Activities for Families:
- Play vintage games in the lighthouse and explore the bunkers and gun batteries of this coast artillery fort, Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse (Victoria, BC).
- Visit the underground thermal pools, venture on the boardwalk over the marshlands and enjoy a lantern tour of the dark caves during the summer months at the Cave and Basin (Banff, Alberta), birthplace of Canada’s national parks.
- Celebrate a cheer around the kitchen fire or try your hand at blacksmithing, dying, woodworking, weaving and more as you interact with Vikings at the recreated base camp of L’Anse aux Meadows (St. Luniare-Griquet, NL).
- Take a self-guided ecotour scenic drive through the Grasslands National Park (Val Marie, Saskatchewan) where you may see Prairie Dog colonies, bison and archeological sites. Or maybe take a wagon ride or camp out in a tipi.
- Visit the world of Anne of Green Gables – the Haunted Woods, the site of the schoolhouse, Lover’s Lane and babbling brook – at the Green Gables Heritage Place (Charlottetown, PEI) that inspired Lucy Maud Montgomery’s famous novel.
- Board the HMCS Haida (Hamilton, Ontario), and discover for yourself what life was like on a Tribal class destroyer. Twenty-seven were built but only one still survives, the HMCS Haida.
- Experience the World’s Highest Tides at the Bay of Fundy and then walk the bottom of the bay at low tide. You can experience high and low tide two times a day. Plan an overnight visit and enjoy a sea of stars as the Fundy National Park (Alma, New Brunswick) is a designated Dark Sky Preserve.
- Try your hand at Geocaching at Point Pelee National Park (Leamington, Ontario) or take to the 1km Marsh Boardwalk loop offering up amazing panoramic vistas of the area.
- Enter the world of the Fortress of Louisbourg (Louisbourg, Nova Scotia), once one of the busiest harbours in North America and key trade center for France in the New World. Enjoy the walking trails, discover the life of a solider, even join in on folk music circle.
- Pack up the bikes to pedal the Lachine Canal’s 14.5km path (Montreal, Quebec), one of the oldest paths in the Montreal area and ranked the third most beautiful circuit in the world (Time magazine, 2009). Then visit the Canal Lounge floating café for a quick snack or drink.
These are just a handful of ways to take advantage of the Park Canada free Discovery Path this year as part of Canadais’ 150 celebration. Don’t forget to checkout the Xplorers program giving the kids their own activity guide, complete tasks and earn a certificate as well as an official collectable souvenir.
You can order your family’s pass online at Parks Canada and have it delivered to your door. If you can’t wait for the 6-week delivery window because you want to get out and explore now, no worries. You can pick-up your free pass at any of the participating locations. And If you’re looking to stock up on some outdoor adventure gear, like a new tent or maybe a day pack, you grab that and your park pass at your local MEC store. I might even convince my family to sign-up for the MEC Learn-to-Camp program when they start up again in spring.
We’re looking forward to weekends filled with discovering our own backyard, well the Ontario portion of it that is. Do you have some Canadian travel planned in 2017 to celebrate Canada’s 150th?