Exploring Canada and Alaska As a Family

I’ve started to think about the future, in particular, my 40th birthday on the horizon. I’m not sure how I feel about approaching 40, but I know it’s a good excuse to celebrate. We love celebrating with travel. Traveling gives us memories and experiences as individuals, as a couple and as a family. I’ve even got more money in the budget because we had to cancel our 2020 cruise due to the pandemic travel restrictions. We’re not going let that stop us from thinking about how we can travel in the future though and we’re picking North America, specifically Canada and Alaska.

I’ve travelled to America quite a bit, from Boston down to Florida but my travel plan for our 40th involves something epic and totally different. Exploring Canada and Alaska. We haven’t made specific plans yet but I’ve been exploring the options for wildlife holidays, from a cross-country drive, to rail journeys and of course, my ultimate favourite, cruising. We are definitely going to take on a cruise from Canada to Alaska along the glacier strewn inside passage, where I hope we’ll see whales, bears and eagles from the water. It’s a bit daunting trying to plan such an epic trip, but I’ve found there are some great Canada holiday packages that will make most of the plans for you, leaving you stress-free and in the hands of the experts.

5 Reasons to Pick Canada and Alaska for a Holiday

Scenery

5 Reasons to choose Canada and Alaska for a family holiday.

Canada is a diverse and exciting country. It has almost 10 million square kilometres making it the world’s second-largest country in area, much of it completely untouched by man. I want to see all the incredible natural wonders there are to see, from the popular tourist location of Niagara Falls to the remote beauty of the Nahanni National Park and the awe-inspiring Banff National Park and the Rocky Mountains. It has oceans, rivers, waterfalls, forests, mountains and snow – more than you could see in a hundred trips. That’s why I want to take a cross country trip by rail, followed by a cruise along the Canadian Coast and to the Alaskan glaciers.

Wildlife

I’ve worked with animals for twenty years, but I work with animals in captivity. I believe that captive animals is an important sector, from pets to conservation and breeding projects of endangered species. But there’s nothing quite like seeing animals in the wild and wildlife is the highlight of most our travel trips, even those to the cities. Canada and Alaska both offer an array of wildlife that I am already so excited about.

On a Canadian and Alaskan Cruise you’re likely to see eagles and bears as well as wild mountain goats on the shore. Sea birds will abound, but the bald eagle has to be one of the most exciting. In the water you’ll see sea otters, harbour seals, stellar sea lions, killer whales and of course, the biggest one – humpback whales.

5 Reasons to choose Canada and Alaska for a family holiday.

In Canada it shouldn’t be hard to see wild deer and the massive moose, but if you’ve got a wildlife wishlist, it has to include the polar bear migration in Northern Manitoba, that sees polar bears make their way from land to the ice of Hudson Bay. The tiny town of Churchill opens itself up to tourists every October and November, guaranteeing you an experience up close and personal with a polar bear, from a caged tundra buggy. Now that has to be a memory you won’t forget.

5 Reasons to choose Canada and Alaska for a family holiday.

City Life and Culture

It’s not all wilderness and mountains, Canada also has a diverse set of cities filled with culture. Each city has a distinct culture and personality and Canadian history takes influence from many different places that make it unique. Cities you might want to visit include Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary (famous for the Calgary Stampede, an annual rodeo that attracts over a million people!), Niagara Falls (home to the waterfall as well), Montreal, Quebec, Halifax and Victoria, with its long-standing aboriginal community mixed with a rich British history.

5 Reasons to choose Canada and Alaska for a family holiday.

There is no way you will be able to visit all the cities in one trip, but you can easily tailor your schedule to fit in one or two of the must-visit places that interest you the most.

Family

You might be reading all this and wondering what there is for children to do. Whilst Canada and Alaska in themselves aren’t perhaps the first place you’d think of for family entertainment, I think there’s something to be said about introducing the family to the wilderness and the open world. This is an authentic, cultural destination where the whole family can be awed by nature. It’s not Mickey Mouse and rollercoasters, it’s a different pace, a different way of life and a very different holiday, that is still suitable for everyone. In fact, we fully plan on taking our son, who will be just five years old when we make our epic Canadian and Alaskan journey. Some people might think that to celebrate our 40th birthdays we’d want to have an adults-only holiday, but I want our memories to include him and the family together. I want him to experience the wonder with us.

If you decide on taking a cruise to Alaska from Canada as we plan to, you’ll find a lot on board to cater to children and I’d definitely recommend spending seven to ten days cruising to break up your trip. You can add on some time on land before and after the cruise to fit what you want to see, but this allows the kids to enjoy the children’s club full of entertainment on board, as well as things like theatre shows, cinemas, swimming pools and more.

5 Reasons to choose Canada and Alaska for a family holiday.

You’ll find lots of family friendly outdoor activities in Canada too, hiking, canoeing and kayaking, skiing and snowboarding, mountain biking, fishing and more.

Affordability

Finally, Canada and Alaska are very affordable destinations to travel to. All four seasons can offer something unique and in fact, some of the experiences, like the Northern Lights and Polar Bears can only be experienced later in the year, when you might find flights and accommodation are cheaper. Because Canada is so large, the climate is very diverse all around the year and you can usually be fairly flexible about when you visit. Canada doesn’t have the inflation and overpriced accommodation and food that I have come to associate with some of the more popular destinations in the USA. Having looked at prices of flights, package holidays to Canada, accommodation, cruises, train trips, attractions and activities and food, it definitely seems like an affordable destination.

I can’t wait to get out there!

Looking for your next family holiday? Somewhere unique and epic? I've got just the thing for you - explore Canada and Alaska with the family.

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This post was written in collaboration with Canadian Affair.

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