'Tis the season to go on a road trip, and while many Canadians are lured in by our southern neighbour when planning their journey-by-automobile, no one should forget the splendour our own nation has to offer. From natural landscapes to local culture, Canada is a wide expanse of fun and excitement every citizen should experience.
Now, while one could easily map out a road trip by pinning where each major city is located, why not make things a tad bit more exciting? Instead of making your trip focused on cities or landmarks, go for thrills and plan your road trip according to Canada's many amusement parks.
With a park in almost every province, you can traverse Canada and see the nation all while trying out some of the best coasters and rides in the country. Whether you're looking to stay somewhat local, head out to Atlantic Canada, or go all the way west, travelling to the nine Canadian amusement parks below will get you there.
As a kid who grew up in the GTA, and in Vaughan for a while, Canada's Wonderland used to be my jam. Me and my family all used to get a season passes and go every weekend, which says something about the quality of this amusement park. While Canada's Wonderland has surely changed since my heyday, I'm sure it's still quite large with classic attractions like the sky-high Dropzone, backwards rollercoaster The Bat, and the SplashWorks waterpark. Definitely worth mentioning is the recently-opened Leviathan coaster, the tallest and fastest in all of Canada.
A mere hour away from Montreal, Calypso doesn't offer much in terms of road trip action but certainly provides plenty of fun ways to beat the heat. With the largest wave pool in Canada, loads of water slides, a jungle river ride, and a white-water rafting simulator, Calypso is rife with exciting watery attractions. Anyone looking to keep things a bit more relaxed (and less kid-centric) will also be pleased to know that Calypso has its own VIP sections and a beach bar where you can sip on cocktails in the sun.
Upper Clements Park
Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia
Seeing the beauty of Nova Scotia should be on the to-do list of every Canadian, and Upper Clements Park lets you do that while checking out a sweet amusement park. About two hours from Halifax, specifically situated on the Annapolis Basin, Upper Clements combines the fun of 30 different amusement park attractions with nature's beauty. The Tree Topper Adventure Park section is a prime example, letting you explore the area with tons of interactive obstacles and zip lines. Be sure to also check out local Annapolis Valley attractions when you're in the area, too, like whale watching.
Otherwise known as the second largest indoor amusement park in the entire world, Galaxyland is housed within the gigantic West Edmonton Mall and boasts a fun-level on par with any outdoor park. And while Galaxyland itself comes second in terms of size, it does boast two world record-breaking attractions, namely the Mindbender and Space Shot, the longest indoor roller coaster and tallest indoor tower ride, respectively. 22 other rides/attractions are also part of Galaxyland's menu of fun, and since it's all held indoors, you can visit any time of year (nor worry about it being too hot in the summer).
Fallsview Indoor Waterpark
Niagara Falls, Ontario
Passing through Niagara Falls should be on the to-hit list of any roadtripping Canadian, and while you'll wish you could safely ride down the falls themselves, Fallsview provides you with the next best thing. A full three acres in size, Fallsview is the largest indoor water park in all of North America, with a wave pool, 16 water slides, and hot springs inside. If your car is getting a bit too stuffy, then Fallsview is certainly the answer to your "I'm way too hot and bothered" woes.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Don't let the fact that Playland is Canada's oldest amusement park deter you from checking it out, because this is one hub of entertainment that has definitely kept up with the times without losing its historic appeal. For a taste of both, try out the Wooden Roller-Coaster, still functioning from 1958, and The Beast, a high-intensity pendulum ride where you're swung high into the air. Playland's Midway is also a pretty sweet feature of the park, giving you the chance to play all of those classic amusement park games you used to love as a kid. If you can, try to visit Playland during the Pacific National Exhibition (which is held on the same grounds), for while the lines for rides will be longer, the energy and activity will be next level.
Magic Mountain Water Park
Moncton, New Brunswick
Even though we've already featured a couple of waterparks on this list, perhaps none compare to Moncton's Magic Mountain in terms of thrilling excitement. The largest waterpark in Atlantic Canada, two rides stand out among Magic Mountains many aquatic attractions, namely the Torpedo and Turbo Tunnel. The former is a "skybox drop capsule" that makes you feel like you're in zero-gravity (the only ride of its kind in Canada) and the latter is an intense high-speed body slide that takes you on a 720 degree figure-eight ride.
Western Canada's largest amusement park, Calaway Park is just outside Calgary and offers a mix of relaxed and high-octane attractions. In total, Calaway has 33 rides, which are divided into family-friendly and more extreme, with the double corkscrew coaster "The Vortex" and the 40' drop tower "Free Fallin'" rides definitely falling into the latter category.
Sandspit Cavendish Beach
Cavendish, Prince Edward Island
In comparison to some other amusement parks, Sandspit Cavendish Beach may seem a little tame, which might be totally okay to some folks. Providing more of a relaxing/classic amusement park experience, Sandspit also has the benefit of being incredibly close to Cavendish Beach and Green Gables, and since the park doesn't require an entrance fee, you can go in-and-out to check out other nearby attractions at your leisure. Plus, you can even bring in your own food or barbecue on-site.
But, if you are looking for a bit of a thrill, Sandspit does have the "Cyclone," the largest coatser in Atlantic Canada.