To say that winter has been a bit relentless this year would be a severe understatement. It’s tempting to want to bail for more tropical weather this time of year, but for those sticking it out in this great nation instead, there are a lot of rewarding and family friendly things to see and do during this season. Here are some of the best places to experience March Break in all its Canadian glory.
Whistler, British Columbia
This is clearly one of Canada’s—and possibly even one of the world’s—top winter sports destinations, with free ski or snowboard equipment rental for kids 12 and under (when accompanied by an adult who also rents). In addition to hitting the slopes, there are tons of other things to do here, like ziplining, bungee jumping, ATV or jeep tours, skating at the Olympic Plaza, and exploring a giant village.
Why it’s the perfect March Break destination: The unforgettable, breathtaking views from the Peak 2 Peak gondola—the world’s highest and longest lift that connects Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.
Tofino, British Columbia
March Break is one of the best times to visit Tofino on Vancouver Island. It’s the surfing capital of Canada, with year-round surfing, and it’s a great place in general to soak up some laid-back surf culture. There are ample surf shops offering gear (you’ll need a wetsuit) and lessons, and at this time of year you won’t have to fight the crowds like you would in the summer.
Why it’s the perfect March Break destination: March is the tail end of Tofino’s storm-watching season, where you’ll have the chance to witness dramatic, spectacular 20-foot swells crashing along the shoreline instead.
Another popular winter sports destination, there is snowshoeing, snow tubing, dog sledding and ice fishing in addition to first-rate skiing and snowboarding in Banff. Explore the winter trails in Banff National Park, check out the Cave and Basin National Historic Site—the birthplace of Canada’s national parks, as well as where hot springs were discovered—and then go relax in the mineral-rich waters at the Banff Upper Hot Springs nearby.
Why it’s the perfect March Break destination: There is no better view of the Canadian Rockies than from atop Sulphur Mountain, where a three-course dinner at the Panorama Restaurant includes admission for the gondola ride.
Hôtel de Glace, Quebec
The Hôtel de Glace is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, and 2015’s incarnation of this magnificent structure boasts 44 rooms and suites, outdoor spas and sauna, a chapel, bar, cafe, gallery, sugar shack, and a grand slide. Stay overnight or just take a behind-the-scenes tour to learn about the construction and maintenance of the structure. It’s a marvel of architecture located just 10 minutes away from Quebec City with snowshoe trails, cross-country skiing, hiking, and dog sledding nearby.
Why it’s the perfect March Break destination: How often do you get to experience being inside a hotel made of ice?!
Kings Landing, New Brunswick
Located on the banks of St. John River 20 minutes west of Fredericton, Kings Landing Historical Settlement is an outdoor living history museum that recreates what life was like for the settlers of New Brunswick in the 1800s. Visitors explore the village at their own pace, with the opportunity to churn butter, dip candles, spin wool, interact with farm animals, and ride wagons while learning about the culture and heritage of the area back then.
Why it’s the perfect March Break destination: During the weekends of March 14-15 and 21-22, Kings Landing holds one of its most cherished annual events: Sugar Bush. It’s the time of year when sap is collected and it goes through the boiling process that transforms it into maple syrup. Get a taste of the sweet stuff and enjoy the site’s special activities celebrating maple syrup season and the end of winter.