You don’t have to travel very far for a big adventure. Get some inspiration with our top staycation ideas for every province across Canada.
Please note: We know that travel is very difficult right now. But alongside the latest COVID-19 travel advice and updates, we want to continue to inspire you with new travel content so that when the world opens up again, you’ll be ready.
What is a staycation?
A mix of staying home and a vacation, a staycation is basically a planned getaway that doesn’t involve long-distance travel. A staycation can be anything from having a picnic with friends by the river in your own city, exploring the local sights downtown, or taking a long weekend getaway to a provincial park nearby. 2020, among other things, was a year of staycationing, where we took some time to get to know the areas around us a little better.
If you’re not comfortable venturing outside of your neighbourhood at the moment, there are still plenty of staycation trips you can do. You can have a vacation from home by doing some outdoor activities this winter like snowshoeing, skating, or cross-country skiing at your local park. Not that into winter sports? Put on your base layers, tuque, and mitts, and discover a new hiking trail in your home city. To make the most of those cozy nights in, plan a talent show or have a theme night at home inspired by your favourite travel destination.
These staycation ideas offer a little something for everyone. But before booking any trip, make sure to check the local government guidelines for the latest health and safety news and updates.
Best Canada staycations for families
Waskesiu Lake, Saskatchewan
Take the kids on a much-needed weekend getaway in Saskatchewan and explore the wonderful Waskesiu Lake. This is a Canadian staycation where you can go hiking in the northern boreal forest or plan an overnight camping trip. Waskesiu Lake is located in Prince Albert National Park, one of the most beautiful parks in Saskatchewan, filled with trails and shoreline ready to be explored any time of year. The months of August, October, and December are also a great time for stargazing, so plan your trip during one of these months and you’ll catch an awe-inspiring meteor shower. Check the park site for more travel information.
Spruce Woods, Manitoba
Approximately a two-hour drive from Winnipeg, Spruce Woods Provincial Park is an underrated weekend getaway in Canada offering plenty to see and do. Go camping during the summer months at Kiche Manitou Campground and enjoy the beautiful Kiche Manitou Beach with the family. Don’t forget to plan a day of hiking at one of the many Spruce Woods trails, where you can do things like walk the rolling sand dunes on the Spirit Sands Trail–what more could an adventurous heart ask for? Find out more about visiting Spruce Woods Provincial Park here.
Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park, Ontario
Looking for a staycation near Toronto? The stunning Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park is a great family weekend getaway that’s a 2.5-hour drive from Toronto, and about three hours if you’re coming from Ottawa. Managed by Ontario Parks, Kawartha Highlands has everything you need for a fun-filled family staycation in Ontario. This is the second-largest provincial park after Algonquin, and offers a lot of outdoor excursions and camping opportunities without as many crowds. The park is open year-round, so you can explore the backcountry any time of year. Try canoeing, fishing, and boating in the summer or scenic cross-country skiing during the winter months.
Camping tip: Natural repellent can also work nicely to deter pesky mosquitoes. Bring a little portable diffuser (including tea tree oil or lavender oil) on your camping trip, turn it on in your tent at night, and let it work it’s magic! Garlic is also said to be a natural mosquito repellent, so cook up lots of garlic with your camp dinners.
Best Canada staycations for friends
Silent Lake Provincial Park, Ontario
Opt-out of the crowds headed down to Simcoe County and enjoy a relaxing staycation at Silent Lake in eastern Ontario. Located in Bancroft, this is a great friend or family staycation from Toronto or Ottawa. There are some heated camp cabins and yurt services available for the winter season, and while not all regular events for this park are a-go, there’s still hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing (rentals available) for a perfect Canadian winter staycation.
If you don’t want to spend an overnight here, the park is open every day for outdoor activities any time of year. Put on your winter gear and get ready for an adventurous day trip with some of your closest friends. Take advantage of the cross-country ski and hiking trails, stopping at some of Silent Lake’s most beautiful lookout points along the way.
Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland
Newfoundland is filled with endless beauty, and once it’s safe to travel again, Atlantic Canada will welcome you with open arms. The Avalon Peninsula is the easternmost region of Canada where you can experience the first sunrise in all of North America, and that’s only the beginning! This section of the province is home to the capital city of St. John’s, but we recommend getting out of the city and heading down the coast for your staycation. Drive south on what’s known as the Irish Loop and book a small-group guided tour of the historic Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve, one of Newfoundland’s four UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Best Canada staycations for couples
Medicine Hat, Alberta
Destinations like Medicine Hat in southern Alberta are where you can discover Canadian city life in the Prairies. Affectionately known as ‘The Hat’, this city is a great alternative from the ever-popular spots of Banff and Jasper. Discover impressive hiking trails and bike trails along the South Saskatchewan River, historic attractions, and amazing food and drink. The Medicine Hat Mural Fest is typically held every summer in the downtown area, and is always a favourite among locals and visitors alike. For some delicious eats, try the Medicine Hat Brewing Company or Fatumas Ethiopian Cafe.
If you’re an Albertan up near Edmonton, try one of the four trails of the Edmonton River Valley for a mini staycation this winter.
Mont Rigaud, Quebec
If you’ve been stuck in Montreal and want to take a little escape from the city with your partner, go on an adventurous staycation to the Quebec/Ontario border region! Less than an hour’s drive from the city, start your day at Mont Rigaud. The tiny mountain (574 feet) is perfect for beginner skiers. The winter season is planned for 2020/2021, and you can check their website for the latest guidance.
Afterwards, head over to the charming town of Vankleek Hill and grab some local craft beer at Beau’s Brewery. They are currently open for pick-up and delivery, and you can check their website for the latest updates. Cross back into Quebec and end your day with a stroll in Hudson, where you can enjoy beautiful views of the Ottawa River in Jack Layton Park.
Crystal Crescent Provincial Park, Nova Scotia
Scenic Nova Scotia has no shortage of hikes, so spend a romantic staycation exploring the trails (with some white-sand beaches along the way) of Crystal Crescent Beach Provincial Park. The trails here are easy to moderate, so you can take your time just breathing in the ocean air and enjoying the view. Located only 30 minutes from Halifax, this makes for a great day trip or weekend getaway.
Best Canada staycations for solo travellers
Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia
The best affordable wilderness staycation in Vancouver can be found right in the centre of the city. Stanley Park, Vancouver’s own ‘urban oasis’ is huge, and you can easily spend a full day or more wandering the trails. Entrance to the park is always free, and there are so many trails to be found here that even if you’ve been to Stanley Park before, there’s bound to be a spot that’s new to you. Go owl-spotting, learn all about the native trees, and watch the geese at the Lost Lagoon. Vancouverites are so fortunate to have such a natural wonder literally in their own backyard!
St. Andrew’s by-the-Sea, New Brunswick
Located in New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy region, the town of St. Andrew’s by-the-Sea is a great city getaway in the Maritimes. Wander along the historic Main Street to discover all the boutique shops, then grab a lobster roll from a local vendor and head to the picturesque Centennial Park. If you’re feeling adventurous, go on a road trip to explore the natural wonders of the Bay of Fundy, including the Hopewell Rocks.
Robinsons Island Trail, Prince Edward Island
Bike sales have increased significantly in 2020, as we’re opting for wellness staycation options in lieu of a plane trip or other forms of public transportation. A trip along the Robinson Island Trail Loop in Prince Edward Island National Park is a perfect little getaway from the city and will leave you inspired, rested, and rejuvenated for days. Featuring five kilometres of trails and a number of scenic spots throughout, this trail can also be done on foot. Be sure to pass through the charming city of Cavendish on your way out. Note that even though Prince Edward Island National Park will be open for outdoor fun during the winter months, the facilities at the park are closed.
For all of these staycation ideas, remember: safety first. Be sure to explore these Canadian destinations with your small travel group, and keep physical distance when coming in contact with others — and don’t forget your mask!
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