No matter how good of a planner you are, going on vacation is almost always a little bit stressful. From trying to remember to pack everything you might need to lining up a reliable dog-sitter, taking care of all the details in the world you’re leaving behind while also ensuring you’ve got everything you need for the one you’re about to enter is a tall order, and pulling it off is no small feat — especially if you need to stick to a budget.
Thankfully, sticking to a budget for your family vacation in Niagara isn’t difficult. Filled with fun freebies, Niagara almost seems tailor-made for the family financier watching her bottom line. In Niagara, the world is still your oyster. Here are some of the ways you can enjoy yourselves when you’re on a family vacation — and on a budget — in Niagara.
Free activities and destinations abound throughout the Niagara region, depending on the time of year you travel here, and they’re every bit as fun as the entertainment that costs money. Here are some of those freebies—a few of which are available all year long:
At just over a hectare, this bird sanctuary and animal petting farm will please little ones of all ages. Set along the beautiful shore of Lake Ontario in Grantham Ward, Happy Rolph’s gives guests a great chance to get up close and personal with a wide variety of animals, birds, and plants. Open from Victoria Day weekend until Thanksgiving Day weekend, this attraction is completely free, although they will accept donations.
The Antique Carousel
In the charming harbor village of Port Dalhousie, you’ll find a fun-filled relic from the past. Choose your magical ride on the beautiful, antique carousel in Lakeside Park. While this attraction isn’t technically free, it might as well be: Rides are just five cents.
A beach on Lake Erie, you and your little ones will love running around the beach’s sand dunes and Carolinian Forest. When the weather and water is warm enough, you can go swimming or wading, and there are plenty of places to enjoy a picnic. You can also spend time hunting for the Fowler Toad, a rare and protected species of toad that calls Nickel Beach home. While it does cost to park at Nickel Beach, if you walk in, the whole experience is yours for free.
This 10-acre park is actually a group of small islands that are joined together by little bridges and footpaths. It’s a great place to play tag or hide and seek, read quietly, or enjoy a picnic.
Short Hills Provincial Park
This 660-hectare park is located along the edges of St. Catharines and Pelham, and it’s a great place to hike and fish. Numerous trails cut through the park, and you can spy everything from waterfalls to wildlife, including white-tailed deer, vole, and coyote. If you and your family are mountain bikers and you’re bringing your bicycles, there is also some great mountain biking in Short Hills.
On a budget? Don’t worry. In Niagara, there is never a shortage of fun to be had by the family watching its financial figure.