Award: Family favourite!
Every parent wants to keep their kids engaged and entertained – and for as long as possible without complaints.
Well, you won't hear any whining at Baxter Conservation Area: it delivers hours of family fun, no matter the season.
Located 15 minutes south of Barrhaven along the Rideau River, Baxter offers five kilometres of trails, beach and picnic areas, a unique nut grove and an interpretive centre where outdoor educators offer tons of student programming.
In the summer, the gorgeous sand beach, frog-filled pond and shady boardwalks through the woods will keep the whole family happy.
And if you stick around till the afternoon, you'll probably catch the famous Ice Cream Float, which sells its cold and creamy wares from a pontoon boat at the beach!
BONUS: For even more parental serenity, Baxter offers several weeks of summer day camps, too.
Once school starts in September, family hikes to enjoy the fall colours are a must, and teacher-led PA Day camps will keep kids exploring outdoors on days when school's not in session.
Even winter is awesome at Baxter: the trails are open for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, and there's plenty of open space for snowman-building, snow angels and even a friendly family snowball fight.
PA Day and March Break camps explore nature's winter survival tricks like hibernation, food storage and camouflage. Campers can also try their hand at snowshoeing, identifying animal tracks and other traditional winter activities (campfires and s'mores, anyone?!)
When spring has sprung, prepare for the mud as the kids have a blast chasing all the frogs and toads still drowsy from their long winter's nap. Bring your camera to capture those stunning spring wildflowers filling the woods with vibrant colour, too!
If you're really enthusiastic, binoculars will also help you spot migrating spring birds like warblers, who fill the park with song each year.
And all this for only $7 parking for the day! As far as family fun goes, Baxter offers by far the best bang for your buck – and we'll bet the only whining you'll hear is from mosquitoes.
For all the details and directions, visit https://www.rvca.ca/conservation-areas/fee-required/baxter-ca.
For information about our day camps, visit https://www.rvca.ca/outdoor-education.