Summer vacation rituals are great, but occasionally it’s fun to shake things up with a few days away that are completely unexpected. This summer, Hamilton Halton Brant’s huge crop of family-friendly fun makes it the perfect destination for a vacation switch-up. The following three itineraries will help you narrow down your options by having your family choose between activities based on the themes of water, land, or air.
Family Fun Theme: Water
Start your day off with breakfast on the beach. Some of our favourite morning sand and snack pairings include:
- Fifty Point Conservation Area in Hamilton and fresh bagels from 50 Point Market
- Christie Lake Conservation Area in Dundas and Chelsea Buns from The Village Bakery
- Pinehurst Lake in Ayr and warm buttery croissants from Paris Bakery
- Waterfront at Downtown Burlington and doughnuts from The Sunshine Doughnut Company
- Bronte Village and Harbour in Oakville and cupcakes and other morning sweets from Black Forest Pastry Shop
For the afternoon, shake off all the sand by spending a few hours in Wild Waterworks’ huge heated wave pool, six crazy waterslides and relaxing Eazy River. Smaller children will have a blast in the wading pool with slides, mists, spray and fountains. Consider renting a Cabana for the ultimate experience. FunSplash Hamilton at Binbrook Conservation Area is another fantastic outdoor waterpark option. The family will have a blast competing on 25 different inflatable obstacles set on the Lake Niapenco reservoir.
A hotel with a pool is a prerequisite for any family holiday that’s all about water-based play and there are lots to choose from in Hamilton Halton Brant,
For your second day, enjoy some time out on the water instead of in it! Want to hit the Grand River for a few hours of care-free floating? The Five Oaks to Brant Park is Grand Experiences’ shortest Turbo Tubing trip at about two hours of paddling. The trip is perfect for families with young children and people wishing to see what tubing is like before doing a longer float.
Other options for day two include climbing aboard the Hamiltonian for a sightseeing tour of one of North America’s most noteworthy harbours or loading everyone into a canoe to explore Kelso Reservoir, but there are dozens of more ways to explore the region’s shorelines.
Family Fun Theme: Land
If your family prefers finding fun that allows everyone to stay dry, this itinerary is for you. Begin your land-based adventure with a stroll that will allow everyone to stretch their legs after your drive. Excellent family-friendly options include:
- The Six Nations Nature Trail, which is home to Canada’s largest stand of Carolinian forest.
- Dundas Valley Conservation Area’s Heritage Trail, which showcases beautiful forests and the Niagara Escarpment.
- Crawford Lake Conservation Area’s Lake To Longhouse experience, which includes a tour through the reconstructed Longhouse Village and gardens.
- Oakville’s Bronte Village, where a collection of 100 At Home In Bronte hand-painted Muskoka Chairs await, each with a hidden lighthouse icon waiting for eager eyes to spot.
- Royal Botanical Garden’s Seeing the Invisible Augmented Reality Art Exhibit, which allows guests to walk into and around 13 larger-than-life artworks placed throughout the gardens.
After a few hours of outdoor exploring, spend your afternoon stepping back in time. Fun ways to play within a different time period include:
- Taking a historic streetcar ride with a stop for ice cream at the Halton County Radial Railway
- Touring the kitchen gardens at Dundurn Castle
- Exploring the 35 beautifully restored historical buildings at Westfield Heritage Village
For your second day, do some land-based cruising by bike:
- The Hamilton section of The Waterfront Trail splits into two sections: The Hamilton Waterfront Trail and the Hamilton Recreation Beach Trail. Both trails are mainly off-road, 6m wide, paved asphalt, and offer a smooth, wide surface that’s perfect for newer bikers and rollerbladers. If you don’t feel like bringing your own bikes, tap into the network of rental bikes from Hamilton Bike Share.
- If your family prefers terrain that’s a little more rugged, mountain biking trails at Hilton Falls, Kelso and Mountberg Conservation areas won’t disappoint. Take advantage of the on-site mountain biking school at Kelso Conservation Area to help boost the confidence of new riders.
- Brantford’s Rotary Bike Park is a must-try biking experience for riders who like to try a few tricks. The Cycling in Ontario Guide referred to the Brantford Rotary Bike Park as one of the best outdoor bike parks in Ontario.
Family Fun Theme: Air
Look up, way up, and set your sights on the sky for this two-day adventure.
On your first morning, trade the busy amusement park scene for some more nature-based ways to play that will get your adrenaline pumping just as effectively as any roller coaster! Fresh air families will love:
- Trekking from tree to tree on suspended bridges, Tarzan swings, swinging logs, cable traverses, and ziplines at Hamilton’s Treetop Trekking.
- Trying Kelso’s Conservation Area’s Challenge Course, which includes the Escarpment Walk Aerial Course and the Vultures View Climbing Tower.
- Rock climbing at Rattlesnake Point, Kelso or Mount Nemo Conservation Areas.
For the afternoon, give your crew a taste of the excitement of skydiving at iFly Toronto’s convenient Oakville location. The vertical wind tunnels offer a safe, seamless skydiving experience that gives you the feeling of freefall as you float on a smooth cushion of air.
For your second day, celebrate the magic of flight. Airplane enthusiasts will adore exploring the incredible collection at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, which has almost 50 different aircraft on site.
For families who would prefer to send things sailing through the air, take a few hours to introduce your crew to the fun of disc golf. A disc golf course is very similar to a traditional golf course, but the goal is to land flying discs into baskets located throughout the fields and forests instead of hitting a golf ball into a hole. Consider giving these courses a try:
- Christie Lake Conservation Area in Dundas
- Bronte Creek Disc Golf Course in Oakville
- Cedarvale Park Disc Golf Course in Georgetown
- Dwayne Bereziuk Memorial Disc Golf Course in Paris
- Hamilton Park Disc Golf Course in Hamilton
- Mohawk Park Disc Golf Course in Brantford
- Tiffany Creek Disc Golf Course in Ancaster
Wrap up the final day of your air adventure by stepping into one of these four very cool open-air art experiences offered in Hamilton Halton Brant or having a nose-to-beak experience with the winged wonders living at the Mountsberg Conservation Area’s Raptor Centre.