If you told your kids they could zip line through a forest in the morning, snorkel through an underwater village in the afternoon and sleep under the stars at night, they would be dragging you to the airport now. The good news for you is that no air travel is required for this family adventure. The parks and campsites along the St. Lawrence River, from Kingston to Cornwall are bursting with family fun. Here are some of the top family travel experiences in eastern Ontario, presented in partnership with Ontario Tourism and the Parks of the St. Lawrence.
Glide through the trees
Located right off the scenic Thousand Islands Parkway is Skywood Eco Adventure, Canada's largest aerial adventure and zip line park offering thrills for kids of all ages. Kids can explore the Treewalk Village, a collection of seven treehouses linked by slides, bridges, ramps and a swing. For older visitors, extensive zip line courses cut through the treetop canopy and above a wetland, offering remarkable views.
Hit the beach
Six beaches along the St. Lawrence River provide endless opportunities to swim, splash, paddle and fish. Bring your bikes and hiking shoes since many of the beaches are next to scenic trails. And don't forget to pack a picnic!
Explore an underwater world
Just west of Cornwall, you can scuba dive or snorkel through one of Canada's most fascinating sites. In the 1950s, nine small communities were intentionally flooded during the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Today, the Lost Villages remain below the waves off Macdonell Island, waiting for visitors to rediscover them. If shipwrecks are more your style, the clear St. Lawrence River waters are full of them, with dive sites from Kingston to Cornwall.
Bring your binoculars
The Upper Canada Bird Sanctuary in Morrisburg plays host to some 200 species of birds throughout the year, from vivid cardinals and shy loons to soaring birds of prey. Get your bearings at the interpretive centre, then explore eight kilometres of nature trails on foot or by bike.
Travel back in time
Do your kids think life is hard when the Internet goes down? Just down the road from the bird sanctuary, Upper Canada Village might just give them a reality check. At the living history village, costumed interpreters bring the 1860s to life. Take a ride on a miniature train, learn how to milk a cow, or sample ginger beer and fresh-baked bread.
Set sail on the river
The region is very accessible by car, but if you'd prefer to arrive by water, the Crysler Park Marina welcomes boats up to 140 feet long. The marina is also a great place to slip into a canoe or kayak. Other prime paddling spots along the river include Jones Creek and Landon's Bay.
Sleep in the great outdoors
Choose from eight gorgeous campgrounds, set among granite outcrops and leafy forests—and all with river views. Bring your own tent or camper, along with the family pet (leashed dogs and cats are welcome). You can make things even easier by booking an "Instant Camping" tent on a raised wooden platform or a furnished waterfront cabin. For an extra memorable experience, stay in a fully furnished treehouse cabin that even comes with its own private beach. And here's an extra perk: You'll get two free passes to a day-use beach, Upper Canada Village or Fort Henry when you camp in a Parks of the St. Lawrence campground.
Plan your next family adventure along the St. Lawrence River where stunning beaches, incredible parks and a host of family-friendly activities are all at your fingertips. Learn more here.