1. Watermark Beach Resort

Set on the sandy shores of Lake Osoyoos (reputed to be Canada’s warmest lake), this resort prides itself on catering to families, so everything is easy-peasy from the minute you arrive. Spacious suites provide all the home away from home comforts, including full kitchens, a private four piece bath, plus a washer and dryer. If you can tear yourself away from the beach, there’s a waterslide, pool and plenty of indoor and outdoor games to amuse active families.

2. The Cove Lakeside Resort

Lush orchards and sparkling lakes provide the perfect backdrop for alfresco fun in this sunny region known as Napa of the North. The Cove sports a beautiful private beach, where firepits and barbecues beckon. There are also two pools (including a kiddie pool and waterslide), in addition to a 18-seat movie theater, tennis courts and bikes for rent. No family member is excluded, as pets are welcome and babysitting is available for an additional charge.

3. The Beach Club Resort, Parksville

Trolling the 22-km stretch of sand in front of The Beach Club Resort, mini-marine biologists search for treasures that include sand dollars, starfish and crabs. The big draw here is an endless stretch of coastline, where water temperatures in summer can reach 21°C, making it the warmest sea water in all of Canada. Take in the sweeping views from your room’s floor-to-ceiling windows, pick up some fresh seafood from nearby Qualicum Bay (famed for its scallops) and if you have a suite or the penthouse (ooh la la!) you can prepare a feast in your fully equipped kitchen.

4. Waterton Lakes Lodge Resort

No need to go on lengthy outdoor excursions in the hopes of spotting wildlife each day. Dozens of deer graze on the massive green space surrounding Waterton Lakes Resort. Waterton is one of those resort towns with that 1950s, Dirty Dancing vibe. Set in postcard pretty Waterton Lakes National Park, families can unwind on easy day hikes or just by kicking around the tiny town. The resort sports the village’s only pool (indoor and heated), a games room and a fitness center. Be sure to check out the new playground and waterpark in the townsite, just a few minutes from the property.

5. Pocahontas Cabins

Reach your Rocky Mountain high at this secluded spot in Jasper National Park. Opt for a kitchenette cabin to make your stay more affordable or saddle up to the on-site cafe when you don’t feel like making meals. There are miles of pristine wilderness to explore, with deer, elk and mountain goats all calling this area home. Plunging into the heated outdoor pool is the best way to refresh yourself after romping around the mountains or hit up nearby Miette Hot Springs and let its thermal waters wash away your cares.

6. Lake House

Perfectly positioned on Clear Lake in Riding Mountain National Park, the Lake House lures families looking to get away from it all. Nature lovers are spoiled for choice with aspen parkland, prairie and the boreal forest right at their fingertips. The resort is located close to the beach and there are loads of water activities to dive into. Sprinkle your stay with wildlife viewing and a visit to the on-site ice cream shop (that makes scrumptious made-to-order ice cream sandwiches), and you’ll return home thoroughly refreshed.

7. Shamrock Lodge

Welcome to the cult of “The Shammy”! If you go to this intimate, all-inclusive, family-owned lodge on Lake Rosseau for the first time, it may feel like you’re the only family in the room who isn’t returning for what seems like their millionth year in a row judging by the way everyone is greeting and high-five-ing each other. The Shamrock’s small size and friendly staff (many of them members of the Bryant family, the owners) means that it feels less like you’re at a resort and more like you’re at your cool uncle’s extended cottage compound. By the end of the weekend you’ll know many of the other guests’ names and your kid will have made seven new best-friends-for-life. There’s all-day kids’ programming for ages 4 and up (plus morning programming for ages 0-3). Waterskiing, tubing, boat tours and the use of kayaks, canoes and paddle boats are all available to enjoy, but Shamrock’s primo spot in the Explorer’s Edge region (Muskoka, Parry Sound, Algonquin Park and the Almaguin Highlands) means you can also just kick back and stare at the pretty lake while your kid whips everyone’s butt at shuffleboard. Bored of all that relaxing? Head into nearby Bracebridge for a trip to Santa’s Village for a little Christmas in July.


9. Viamede Resort

This laid-back property on Stoney Lake in the Kawarthas welcomes all your babies—including your fur babies for those who wouldn’t dream of leaving Peanut out of the family vacation (they’ll even provide dog beds, treats and leashes from their secret stash if you forget yours!). A stay at this wildflower-speckled resort includes buffet breakfast, indoor and outdoor pools, a fenced-in dog run, a beachfront playground, free fishing excursions and easy access to a small fleet of kayaks and canoes. It’s also surrounded by six kilometres of private hiking trails. New kids’ programs include the 11am-3pm “Little Acorns” for kids aged 6-13 ($30) or an evening program from 5pm-9pm where the kids get to gobble pizza and watch movies so parents can sneak away for a shmancy tasting menu at the adjoining Mount Julian restaurant. (More casual bistro-style food is also available for lunch and dinner at The Boathouse restaurant.) While there are a variety of accommodations available, including standard hotel-style rooms, all of the simple lake-facing cottages come with a beautiful view, and most come with kitchenettes and access to your own barbecue.

10. Severn Lodge

This family-owned hideaway has been welcoming overheated city slickers since the 1800s. Just an hour-and-a-half outside of Toronto in Port Severn, families flock to this low-key, old-school lakeside resort. Parents will appreciate the gorgeous pine-treed view and large swath of pristine waterfront, but the kids will be too busy swimming, jumping on the trampoline, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boating, horseback riding, water skiing, tubing and wakeboarding to notice all the silly beautiful nature. During the summer there are daily, supervised kids programs for ages two and up, and babysitters are available in the evening, too, for an extra fee. You can buy an all-inclusive package that includes meals, or, if you want to save a bit, book a cottage with a kitchen to make your own.


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