Sometimes the most appealing destinations can be right in front of you. Canada, for example, offers not only a wealth of family-friendly destinations and activities, but — thanks to brand-new service aboard WestJet’s Swoop, Canada’s first ultra-low-cost airline — also a wallet-friendly vacation experience. The company launched flight sales to some of the destination’s most appealing — and, in some cases, lesser-known — attractions.
Kids old enough to enjoy outdoor sports can explore Canada’s mountains for skiing, camping, cycling and hiking, as well as a host of other high-adrenaline activities. Fly to Abbotsford, British Columbia, for example, for easy access to Whistler, a mountain and ski destination that offers a less-crowded alternative to Lake Tahoe. An added bonus is Mom and Dad can enjoy the drive through wine country on the way from the airport.
Or fly to Edmonton, located in the Rockies, where you can visit Elk Island National Park for an up-close-and-personal look at wildlife. You might even spot bison, elk and specimens from the 250 or so bird species that live there as you wander the hiking trails. The park also offers picnic tables and family-friendly campsites. Another option is Jasper National Park, Canada’s largest, with its natural glaciers and more than 6,835 square feet of glacial lakes and forest.
More outdoor fun is available near Hamilton, Ontario, about 50 miles from downtown Toronto. Known as the Waterfall Capital of the World, this area features more than 100 waterfalls located within minutes of downtown. Favorites include the Devil’s Punchbowl, known for its unique rock formations; Sherman Falls, a tiered waterfall in a woodland setting; towering Tews Falls, Ontario’s tallest; and scenic Webster’s Falls.
Even kids who don’t think they like history will likely get a kick out of the 19th-century citadel in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which woos youngsters with a variety of age-appropriate adventures. Here, children can don costumes and play soldier, complete with marching drills and flag-raising; spy adventures have youngsters cracking codes and following clues; and an Xplorer program offers mini-quests and games of hide-and-seek.
Halifax is also a hub from which to explore Dartmouth, a town that dates from 1750, via ferry, as well as public gardens and the oldest maritime museums in Canada.
Finally, parents and young adult children can sip their way through British Columbia’s Abbotsford and Fraser Valley, otherwise known as Ale Trail, which offers tasting opportunities of beer and wine.
Flights start at $99, and service includes free in-seat power, WiFi and TV/movie streaming.