I need a vacation! While your friends or co-workers may be planning some warm-weather getaways out of the country this winter season, you and your family might be staying in Canada because you’re on a tight budget and understand the importance of frugal living. Luckily, the Great White North is beautiful this time of year, and we've cooked up some fun winter staycation ideas that will keep you in Canada and won’t cost you a fortune. When all is said and done, you’ll have some great memories and money to spare, long after your friends’ tans have faded.
6 Winter Staycation Ideas for Canadians
We know our country is a big one, second only to Russia. So while some of these staycation ideas may require some travel, at least you’ll be staying within our borders. Others, on the other hand, should be available just about anywhere you are. Here are six winter staycation ideas for Canadians.
1. Sledding, Snow Tubing, and Tobogganing
Unless you have your own skiing gear, rentals can get costly (not to mention the lodging expense). That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the slopes! Sledding is fun for the whole family, and costs next to nothing. Plus, sledding doesn’t have to be just a two-hour diversion. Retailer Airhead has come up with five ways to make a whole day of it. And, if you’re wondering where the best sledding, snow tubing, and tobogganing destinations in Canada are, the Toronto Sun has the answer.
2. Dog Sledding
If sledding doesn’t sound exciting, how about adding some huskies to the mix? Dog sledding used to be one of the main ways people got around in Northern Canada during the winter months. Now it’s a great recreational activity that’s part of our culture. While it’s possible to spend a few days on a dog sledding excursion, you can also set out for just an afternoon. Dog sledding is available in most areas in Canada that get significant snowfall, but you can check out some of the best locations for dog sledding adventures at Culture Trip.
3. Pond Hockey
Frozen ponds throughout Canada are great for pond hockey, a simpler version of ice hockey. You can play if you’re so inclined, otherwise just bring the family, a thermos, and cheer them on. In fact, pond hockey has become so popular that each year, Plaster Rock, Brunswick hosts a World Pond Hockey Championship, inviting over 100 teams to compete from around the globe!
4. Ice Fishing
Canada offers the perfect climate for ice fishing. Okay, ice fishing may not be for everyone, as it requires time and patience. But, it’s a great way to enjoy our country and commune with nature. And, while you’re waiting for a bite, it’s a good way to get your family talking and away from technology. Are you the type of person who prefers “glamping” over camping? Then you might be interested to know that luxury ice fishing shacks are a growing trend. These comfy quarters offer TVs, toilets, and more! Check them out in this CBC story.
5. Light Festivals
While some Canadians hibernate during the winter months, others are out creating beautiful light displays that will have you and your family mesmerized. Here are just a few of the best light festivals taking place across Canada:
- Winter Festival of Lights, Niagara Falls
- Christmas Lights Across Canada, Ottawa
- Toronto Christmas Market, Toronto
- Airdrie Festival of Lights, Airdrie (22 miles from Calgary)
- Montréal en Lumière (Montreal in Lights), Montreal
6. Hot Springs
Who says you have to stay cold just because you stay in Canada this winter? Take the chill out of your bones by heating up at one of Canada’s many natural mineral hot springs. This is one of our favourite ideas for couples, but the whole family can enjoy it too. Many of these hot springs are free, or cost next to nothing unless you stay overnight at a resort, so you’ll just need to day trip to the location. Travel Triangle reviews nine of their favourite Canadian hot springs, but if these are out of reach, do your research and you can probably find one closer to your location.
Save Money by Staycationing!
It may not seem as glamorous as jetting off to the Caribbean for a week, but relaxing at home—or at least in Canada—you can feel good about yourself and your budgeting prowess. And who knows, with the money you’ve been saving up, perhaps you can make your own getaway sooner than later. Is travel a necessity this winter to visit family or friends? Be sure to check out our blog 7 Tips For How To Travel This Holiday Season On A Budget. And if you have some staycationing ideas of your own, please share them with us in the comments. Otherwise, enjoy your staycation!