School's Out for Summer - What To Do With All This Free Time?

June 30 2011 by Bryson Forbes
Comments (26)

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Let the fun begin! Summer is here and kids across the country are ready to enjoy Canada's long days and warm nights. As we recently learned at the Best Western Leisure Travel Summit in Toronto, vacationers - and the optimism they bring - are back in a big way this year. The result is an action-packed summer full of fun, adventure and new experiences.

Here are my top five things to do with the kids this summer:

1. A good old fashioned road trip. What a great time to get in the car and just go! The notion conjures up memories of my childhood: seeing and learning new things and making memories. To me, the perfect summer road trip is a three-night, three-city getaway. If you're eager to hit the road, consider doing it before August 14th so you can earn a FREE NIGHT voucher with Best Western. My family is planning a trip through southwest Ontario in late July...and we can't wait.

2. A picnic. There's something nostalgic about packing a picnic cooler and spending the day in a park or at the beach. We have plans to hook up with another family and head via ferry to Toronto's Centre Island for a day in the sun. Not only is it a great way to unwind, but for some reason, eating lunch on a big blanket always makes me feel like a kid again.

3. An amusement park. On August 8 we're going to Canada's Wonderland with friends who are visiting from Ottawa (look for my blog post about it shortly thereafter). Though I'm personally not a big fan of rollercoasters, I' m always happy to watch those who are. The carnival atmosphere really pulls me in, and you rarely see someone in a bad mood at an amusement park.

4. Introduce a new sport. This summer, my son's playing t-ball for the first time and it's such a delight to watch a group of six-year-olds learn the basics of baseball. He's also going to attend a weeklong camp that focuses on tennis and golf. Sports provide so many powerful lessons and building blocks to children, so my advice to all parents is to find a sport that your kids can latch onto. It's rarely the first one you introduce them to, so exercise a bit of patience. Before long, you'll get to witness a special transformation in them that's exciting to behold.

5. A local festival. Last but certainly not least, this is another great idea for a summer road trip. Find a local festival and make a plan to check it out with family and friends. My personal favourite is the world's biggest Elvis Festival, held annually in Collingwood, Ont. (an hour north of Toronto) from July 21-24. There are two Best Westerns within 50 km, but you better book now as hundreds of Elvis impersonators will be "in the building" and they'll all need a good place to stay!

Let me know what you have planned with the family this summer in the comments below. See you on the road and safe travels!


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