Summer is about having the time of your life, whether singing along to your favourite band at a Canadian music festival or travelling the world. From spending time in a remote floating sauna to riding a water bike across a lake, summer is also the perfect time to make unforgettable memories and try out water activities you’ve never had the chance to enjoy before. To help you get out there this summer, we’ve compiled six places every family will love visiting this summer.
1. Tofino Restort and Marina, British Columbia
The West Coast Sauna Experience takes you out to a remote floating sauna, deep in the Clayoquot Sound, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This is the territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, far from Wi-Fi or cell service. On the way out to the sauna you might see sea lions, otters, black bears… The staff set it all up and then leave you to enjoy it. You can swim in the ocean, then pop in for a sauna, then back in the ocean, or opt to spend some time in the hammocks. The choice is yours. It’s a six-hour experience, costs $1000 and covers four guests. Plus, you can add on a package that lets you drop crab and prawn traps (with the help of the captain and purchase of a fishing licence) on the way out to your sauna, and then on the way back you pull them in. You hand over your catch to Chef Phil Tees and his team at 1909 Kitchen + Bar at the resort and they prepare your dinner that night!
Yukon Wild Water Bikes is First Nation-owned and run by a family, and they take you out on Chadburn Lake, which is about a 15-minute drive from downtown Whitehorse. The bikes themselves work just like a regular bike, you pedal they move, but you’re on floaters in the water that work almost like training wheels. You don’t have to know how to ride a bike to use one. They describe Chadburn as one of the “warm” lakes which means after you’ve had some fun on the bike you can pop into the water for a refreshing dip. The bikes are $35 hr for adults and $30 per hour for youth, and you can even get a tandem bike for $60 per hour.
Red Deer River Adventures Tours offers a new perspective on the prairies. You head out on the Red Deer River in the middle of the Alberta Badlands for a guided kayak or canoe tour. The area has an impressive amount of wildlife. You can spot bald eagles, blue herons, deer, moose, beaver and more! They have a wide selection of outings that range in length and difficulty so whether you’re out there looking to sight-see or really work it out, they’ve got you covered. Tours start at about $70 per person.
Have you ever gone StandUp Paddleboarding? Why not paddle with Beluga Whales?!?
People often think of Churchill, Manitoba as the polar bear capital of the world, and it is definitely that, but in the summer months it’s also the spot where you’ll find a ton of Beluga Whales! Frontiers North offers opportunities to get into a kayak and go out and meet them. The whales migrate to these waters in the summer to give birth and feed, and it is not uncommon for them to bump your kayak or come close for a curious peek! The trip is an add-on option to any of the company’s longer trips (many of which also include zodiac tours to see the whales as well) which makes sense since it isn’t an easy spot to get to, and you’ll want to make the most of your time there. If you really want to get to understand the whales, consider their brand-new tour, Conservation Journey: Beluga Whales. On that trip guests encounter the Hudson Bay beluga whale population alongside a cetacean expert, Dr. Valeria Vergara, and get a behind-the-scenes look at the Beluga Boat which live-streams the underwater behaviours and antics of beluga whales to audiences worldwide via explore.org. The Conservation trip with the kayak add-on comes in at about $6000 for the six-day trip.
If you’re looking to lean back, enjoy the water and enjoy some luxury, the Muir hotel in Halifax is the newest hotel on the Harbour and the first true luxury hotel in the area. They’re really focused on having an environmentally supportive footprint and everything from their locally sourced cuisine to their choice of materials inside your suite is chosen with that in mind. And they have some incredible offerings including a guests-only speakeasy on site and an offering that gets you out on the water that is at their doorstep. For a splurge, Muir guests can head out on the Halifax Water in either their 36-foot yacht “Little Wing” or 24-foot speedboat “Reach”. The $500 fee for a two-hour sail includes a captain who can showcase the area and help you get your bearings. Plus, you can arrange to have drinks and snacks on board.
When it comes to water play, Bridal Veil Falls is your go-to option. The Falls are part of a trail system, but it’s perfect whether you’re a beginner or looking for more of a challenge. There is an easy-to-walk route to the falls from the parking lot and when you get there you are met with 35-foot tall cascades. At the bottom, there’s a natural pool perfect for a splash or swim. When my family visited, we also took some photos behind the Falls which was a cool way to experience the area. There’s no charge to enter and when you’re done, if you’re looking for more of a challenge you can explore more of the trail. Or if you want less of a challenge, head into the villages and check out some cute shops, public art and heritage plaques that help you connect to the area’s history. Have a few days to spare and looking for an adventure? Head out with Wikwemikong Tourism to explore the traditional canoe routes of the Anishinaabe People in Georgian Bay. Their multi-day tours include Indigenous meals, traditional storytelling, and lodging in Killarney Mountain Lodge on the mainland.