About 90 percent of Canada is uninhabited, so it’s the perfect place to teach your kids about the environment. So why not pack your bags and embrace the ecotourism trend with your family this summer?
Wide Open Spaces of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, British Columbia
Tweedsmuir Provincial Park is one of the best places to teach your kids what ecotourism is all about. At 981,000 hectares, it’s the largest provincial park in British Columbia, yet it’s largely undeveloped. That leaves plenty of wide open natural spaces, as well as a diverse selection of flora and fauna, for your family to discover.
However, connecting with nature is just one side of ecotourism. The other most common aspect of this tourism trend is a respect for the environment achieved through minimal human interference and sustainable practices. Nechako Lodge, on the park’s border, embraces this ecotourism principle, minimizing its carbon footprint with wind generators and an outdoor wood furnace powered by found driftwood.
There are just four self-contained cabins, five guest rooms, and a handful of campsites so the area’s never overrun with people or cars. Kids love this place, as organized children’s activities in the lodge complement all the fun they can have outdoors.
If you’d prefer to rough it away from the lodge, Tweedsmuir Provincial Park also has 42 wilderness campsites. No matter where you stay, your children will appreciate the wonders of the natural world as they enjoy catch-and-release fishing, canoeing on Knewstubb Lake, or spotting caribou, grizzly bears, and native bird life on the park’s walking trails.
Historic Eco Adventure in Banff National Park, Alberta
Image via Flickr by Don DeBold
Established in 1885, Alberta’s Banff National Park is Canada’s oldest national park, and one of its best. Kids will love riding the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain and looking out for grizzly bears as they hike the trails of the Rockies. After a busy day in this natural paradise, there’s nothing like soothing your muscles with a soak in the Sulphur Mountain Hot Springs.
Banff has plenty of modern accommodation options, but if you really want to drive the nature lessons home, why not stay in the park? There are 13 campgrounds around the ground, including sites near Lake Louise, Johnston Canyon, and Rampart Creek. A maximum of two vehicles, two tents, and six people are permitted on each site to minimise the environmental impact.
Cree Culture at Cree Village Eco Lodge, Ontario
Learning about and preserving Indigenous cultures are also important parts of ecotourism. That’s why a place like the Cree Village Eco Lodge on Ontario’s Moose Factory Island makes an excellent family vacation spot. The 20-room lodge owned by the MoCreebec people was the first Indigenous-owned eco-lodge in the Northern Hemisphere.
Children will love joining Cree craft workshops and sampling traditional cuisine. Many of the plants used in the dishes can be found on the Moose Factory nature trail, which winds its way from the Cree Village Eco Lodge’s tour. Kids will also learn more about the environment and our impact on it as they observe the lodge’s organic herb garden, composting toilets, and organic bedding.
Animal Adventures in St. John’s, Newfoundland
Image via Flickr by Zippo S
St. John’s is more urban than the other vacation destinations outlined above, but that doesn’t mean this city can’t teach your children about the natural world. This city takes its conservation efforts seriously, and its commitment is bound to rub off on your kids.
They will love seeing the puffin colony at nearby Witless Bay and taking a whale-watching cruise. The family can also take a day trip to Salmonier Nature Park, where injured moose, lynxes, arctic foxes, eagles, and other local wildlife are rehabilitated before being released back into the wild. St. John’s isn’t just about animals, though. Kids can learn more all aspects of the natural world at St. John’s interactive Geo Center.
Many of St. John’s hotels are conscious of green practices, but your kids will learn more about the environment if you ditch the creature comforts for a campsite in Pippy’s Park. Encourage your children to look for native animals and plants while they explore the park’s walking and hiking trails.
Canada has miles of gorgeous natural environments ready and waiting for you and your kids to explore this summer.
Guest Post by Miles Young