With the start of summer comes the anticipation of summer activities: days at the lake or the beach, scoops of moon mist ice cream, falling asleep to the sound of crickets (or the whirr of the A.C.) and legendary visits to amusement parks that will figure into every story your kids tell until next summer.
Get ready to lose your voices as you scream along with every loop, plunge and twist! We’ve chosen to feature Canada’s favourite amusement parks and paired them with a nearby hotel pick for out of towners or even staycationers who want to make a weekend of fun out of their park visit.
Go Round the Merry-Go-Round at La Ronde
La Ronde – Montreal, Quebec
La Ronde is located right next to downtown Montreal, in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, giving it a really unique vibe in comparison to parks located on the outskirts of a city. It’s reachable via metro from stations Jean Drapeau (+ shuttle 767) and Papineau (+ shuttle 769) meaning you can easily enjoy the city and the amusement park within the same weekend. What’s more? Up to five kids aged 11 and under travel free on an adult fare over the weekend across Montreal’s STM transit network. La Ronde adds a new ride every year and for the 2018 season, they’ve introduced Le Tourbillon; it spins and dips its riders in a frenzy. It joins their classic wooden Monstre coaster along with others thrill rides like Goliath, Le Vampire and Ednör – L’Attaque.
Hotel Near La Ronde
Hôtels Gouverneur Montréal
The Hôtels Gouverneur Montréal is located in the high-rise building right above the Berri-UQAM metro station. From here, families can easily access all directions of the city, including the yellow metro line straight to La Ronde. The central location is within reach of the cobblestoned streets in Old Montreal as well as trendy Avenue du Mont-Royal. There’s an indoor saltwater pool and many of the rooms have a view over the city.Check availability »
Cool Down In the Slides of Magic Mountain
Magic Mountain- Moncton, New Brunswick
Located right outside of Moncton near Magnetic Hill, Magic Mountain waterpark is the best way to spend a hot day in Atlantic Canada. It’s the region’s largest waterpark and home to several impressive slides that will have you hustling to the top of the slide stairs for your next ride down. The Kamikaze hurtles you down 100 feet at 60 km/h and is the fastest slide at the park but competitive types will prefer the ProRacer, where you go head to head with your partner to see who makes it first to the bottom. Once you are content to just float around, the lazy river is a good place to catch your breath in anticipation of mastering bodyboarding the swells of the wave pool. Post towel-dry, classic amusement park rides like Tilt-a-Whirl and the WaveSwinger await along with arcade games and mini-golf.
Hotel Near Magic Mountain
Amsterdam Inn and Suites
Just a five minute drive up the road to Magic Mountain waterpark, Amsterdam Inn and Suites is the perfect stay to accompany your day at the park. You’ll arise fresh as a daisy from your peaceful slumber to a free hot breakfast. It’s a family-friendly stay with free WiFi plus kids 12 and under are welcomed to stay for free– and the hotel is pet-friendly to boot.Check availability »
Scream your way up the Wooden Roller Coaster of Upper Clements Park
Upper Clements Park – Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia
If you’re from Nova Scotia or nearby, you’re likely holding onto some fond memories of Upper Clements Amusement Park and its beloved Tree Topper wooden roller-coaster. While it may not reach the top speeds of coasters elsewhere, you’ll still get an exhilarating rush from the disconcerting sounds of its creaks and groans as you ride up and down its waves. I’ve always preferred the water log ride where the finishing splash of cool water is a blessing on a hot day. There’s also an adventure course through the forest where you zip line in between treetop platforms and manoeuvre your way like a ninja.
Hotel Near Upper Clements Park
To make your Upper Clements Park trip into a real vacation, stay just 20 minutes down the road in the seaside Hedley House. The property has expansive lawns and gardens that lead you to the sandy tidal beach that’s perfect for a few days of swimming, beachcombing and sand castle making. Each room has its own private deck with Adirondack chairs looking out onto the Bay of Fundy where you can spot humpback whales or just watch the sun sink into the water.Check availability »
Amusement at Calway includes the small kids!
Calaway Park – Calgary, Alberta
Perfect for families with small kids, Calaway Park is just on the outskirts of Calgary. Unlike many other amusement parks where the knee-highs are left out, Calaway has plenty to offer the wee ones from log rides to small roller coasters, charming carousels and bumper cars that shoot water– all without the nasty disappointment of a height restriction. Many of their thrill rides including the Free Fallin’ drop and the Wave Rider are still accessible to young kids as long as they are accompanied by an adult. If you get dizzy from the action, there’s also a 3D cinema and loads of midway games– at Plink, Lucky Duck and Fried Frogs you win every time!
Hotel Near Calaway Park
Aloft Calgary University
If you’re in town not only to enjoy Calaway Park but also Calgary itself, the Aloft Calgary University is located 20 minutes from both the amusement park and downtown, accessible by the C-Train across the street that takes you straight into the city without the hassle of looking for parking. The modern, punchy decor is sure to appeal to kids and adults alike plus the convenience of free WiFi and a free continental breakfast means you have two less things to worry about during your stay. If anyone is hankering for a snack, 24/7 Re:fuel has loads of healthy and tasty options at any hour of the day– midnight snack anyone?Check availability »
Historic Charm at Playland
Playland – Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada’s oldest amusement park has been providing giggles in Vancouver’s Hastings Park since 1910. One of its most adored rides is the wooden coaster, the oldest in Canada, that has been lovingly maintained in pristine condition since its inaugural ride in 1958. It’s not just old-time charm that brings in the crowds, however; modern, gut-wrenching ride updates include the Revelation, which sends riders into manic speeds normally only reached by G-force fighter pilots and Hell’s Gate, that swings and shoots you 360 degrees in both vertical and circular movements– hold onto your glasses! The Corkscrew roller coaster has a double helix inversion that is so awesome it was featured in TV show Smallville as well as the movies Final Destination 3 and Diary of A Wimpy Kid. There’s even a special kids area restricted to those under 90 cm.
Hotel Near Playland
The Skwachàys Lodge is Canada’s first Aboriginal arts boutique hotel located in trendy Gastown and only 20 minutes by public transport to Hastings Park. Each room is a suite, meaning families have extra space to spread out. It’s more than just a beautiful hotel, but carries an educational purpose, serving as an excellent opportunity to familiarize the kids with our country’s rich Aboriginal cultural past with each of the one-of-a-kind suites having been decorated by indigenous artists. Particularly beloved by kids are the suites with tribal depictions of West Coast animals.Check availability »
The most fun you can pack into a day
Canada’s Wonderland – Vaughan (Toronto), Ontario
Canada’s Wonderland is our biggest theme park and with its gargantuan size comes plenty of thrilling rides. Home to Canada’s biggest and fastest roller coaster, the aptly named Leviathan (pictured above), it will send the heart of the most seasoned coaster riders up to their own throat. It’s not the only exciting roller coaster on the premises; adrenaline junkies can spend the day trotting between Behemoth, Flight Deck and a bunch of other coasters that guarantee blood-curdling screams. Equally enticing are the thrill rides– even thinking about the anticipation of dropping from the Drop Tower or enduring the twists and plunges of the Shockwave is enough for me to decide to keep my feet solidly on the ground. I prefer cooling down during the hot Toronto summer on the Splash Works slides– the waterpark is included in your park admission.
Hotel Near Canada’s Wonderland
Best Western Parkway Toronto North
If you’re travelling from outside of Toronto, or even the province, and your top priority is to experience Canada’s Wonderland, the Best Western Parkway Toronto North services all of your family’s needs with a budget-friendly price-tag. Free parking and free hot breakfast save a couple loonies and toonies for Beavertails and pizza at Wonderland. Kids under 12 stay free and many rooms come with pull out sofa beds. The ultimate stamp of approval for the kids will be the pool selection: two of which are indoors and one outdoor. The ultimate parental stamp of approval will be the Canada’s Wonderland package that includes two general admission passes to Wonderland along with your one night stay.Check availability »
Coming with multiple kids in tow?
Guaranteed Amusement Park Fun, Fun Rain or Shine
Galaxyland – West Edmonton Mall, Alberta
Holding onto the second place world record for the largest indoor amusement park, Galaxyland is located in West Edmonton Mall, Canada’s largest shopping mall. We’re not done talking about world records yet as the amusement park also has the largest indoor triple-loop coaster! Visitors can defy the laws of gravity on the Zero Gravity ride that puts you in charge of how fast you go upside down or you can stomach the plunge of the world’s tallest indoor tower ride, Space Shot. The benefit of an indoor amusement park is that neither rain nor shine (and the heat that accompanies it) can kill your park day plans, guaranteeing the fun you promised to the kids.
Hotel Near Galaxyland
Fantasyland – West Edmonton Mall
The mall encompasses not only over 800 retail shops, an amusement park, a hockey rink, a waterpark but also two hotels, including Fantasyland, a destination hotel. Their theme rooms send you straight into another era or place, meaning you can spend the night in space, an imperial Roman chamber, the Wild West or a Polynesian paradise before your day at Galaxyland. Sure, it’s a bit kitschy but all in good fun!Check availability »
Cool off At Canada’s Biggest Waterpark
Calypso Park- Limoges, Ontario
When the hot summer days dampen your will to sightsee on your family vacation to Ottawa, head east to Calypso Park, the biggest waterpark in Canada. We summon daredevils to face up to the mighty challenge of tackling the Summit Tower, one of the highest water slides in North America. If you don’t dare to walk up to the Summit, there are plenty of gentler thrills on the Zoomerang and Turbo Lab as well as several lazy rivers and the biggest wave pool in the country. The Fast Track, pictured above, pins you against your nearest friend (or foe) for race straight down atop a speedy mat.
Hotel Near Calypso Park
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Ottawa East – Orleans
If you’re planning on tackling the Calypso Park slides over the course of two days, getting a good night of sleep is essential. The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Ottawa East are purveyors of a quality night of shut-eye thanks to their blackout curtains, plush duvets and a pillow menu that guarantees you won’t wake up with a crick in your neck. What you will wake up to is a buffet breakfast, where you can eat to your heart’s content, before piling the whole family in the car to head to Calypso to show off those cannonballs you perfected in the hotel’s indoor pool the night before.Check availability »
A Ferris Wheel With a View Of The Beach
Sandspit Cavendish Beach – Cavendish Beach, PEI
While its rides may not be as exhilarating as some others on our list, the small town charm and beachside location of the Sandspit Cavendish Beach amusement park makes it an essential component of any PEI itinerary. It’s home to the Cyclone, the biggest coaster in Atlantic Canada, as well as a Ferris wheel with a view onto the ocean. Entrance is free and you can pay as you ride, so if Dad only wants to ride the bumper boats and Mom wants to sit out entirely, you don’t have to commit to buying passes for the whole park. Aside from the classic amusement park rides, there is also go-kart racing and mini-golf.
Hotel Near Sandspit Cavendish Beach
Spend some extra time in Anne of Green Gables country with a stay at Cavendish Maples Cottages. Each of the rustic pine cottages comes with a full kitchen, WiFi, TV and DVD players and sofa beds to accommodate visiting families comfortably. The property has several playgrounds for the kids to romp around and fire pits for s’more making under the stars.Check availability »
Which amusement park is your favourite?