We’ve traveled the world in search of the best family getaway destinations. I always assumed I’d find my favorites in tropical locations; after-all, we love swimming, the sunshine, and warm-weather activities. During a recent search for family-friendly destinations in Quebec, I found Village Vacances Valcartier. With the largest winter playground in North America, a spa with family access on Sundays, restaurants, hotels, and a 102,000 square foot indoor water park, Village Vacances Valcartier is the ultimate family getaway in Quebec.
The Ultimate Family Getaway in Quebec, Canada
You definitely need a few days to explore and experience Village Vacances Valcartier. I’d suggest arriving early on Sunday, maybe after a visit to Quebec City Winter Carnival.
The best part about arriving on Sunday is that Valcartier Spa is open to families on Sunday mornings. You could schedule one of their personalized services in the morning while your partner takes care of the kids in the baths and pool area and then swap for some time with the kids while your partner has their own personalized spa time. The spa area includes 8 care rooms, a steam bath, a Finnish sauna, an outdoor hot bath, 2 cold baths, an indoor/outdoor pool, and a relaxing area with fireplace and tea bar. We opted for a relaxing Swedish massage, which made the outdoor hot tub even more inviting when I finished.
After a morning at the spa, we didn’t even need to leave the property to get something to eat. By the time we finished our lunch, our room was ready to check in. Although the room was basic, it offered everything we look for during a family vacation. It had the ideal set up of a Murphy bed in the living room and a separate bedroom, allowing us to stay up and relax long after Athena went to sleep. The bathroom was huge with a tub and shower in case Athena wanted to take a bath and there were plenty of hooks around the suite to hang both bathing suits and jackets.
After we settled into our room, we got on our bathing suits and headed to Bora Parc. Although we didn’t need to leave the property, it was nice to put our robes on over our suits. Inside the waterpark, there is an area to put your shoes and extras so they are handy.
Everything about Bora Parc screamed the ultimate family getaway and there were options for all age and adventure levels. Our favorite family experience in Bora Parc was the river. The temperature was comfortable and there were unique surprises around every corner. Athena’s face lit up when we rushed under a waterfall and I couldn’t stop smiling when rapids pushed us along near the end.
Save plenty of time for Bora Parc because there is a 4,000 sq ft wave pool, more than 14 slides, a family pool, a river, a double surf wave, and a restaurant-terrace. Although we did stay at the hotel, Bora Parc is open to the public so you don’t need to stay to play.
Also on site, is the Hôtel de Glace. What child doesn’t dream of visiting an ice hotel? (What adult doesn’t dream of it too?) You can visit the hotel without staying or get more adventurous and book a room for the night. The architecture is entirely built of snow and ice and it’s as magical as it sounds. There are cocktails served in a glass made of ice and there is a giant ice slide inside the hotel. With 45 themed rooms and suites it’s a lot bigger than you’d anticipate. We drank from ice glasses and celebrated the ultimate family getaway in Quebec.
We saved the best for last with the Valcartier Winter Playground. It’s the largest winter playground in North America. It has 35 snow slides, skating paths, snow rafting, a children’s playground, 5000 inner tubes, and 17 mechanical lifts. And it’s home to the highest accelerating slide in North America, Everest!
When we first arrived, we grabbed an inner tube and took the first lift we saw to the Central Area. We could immediately tell we were at the largest winter playground. There was no end in site. From the Central Area, you can go in multiple directions and there are more lifts all around.
The most unique area at Valcartier Winter Playground is the Tornado and Rafting area. On the Snow Raft, you speed down the slopes riding in one of their 12 passenger rafts, while the Tornado accommodates up to 8 people and is equipped with a special mechanism that makes it swirl. Even when you stop, it keeps on spinning.
Surprisingly, the Tornado was Athena’s favorite slide. The more we spun and rushed down the slope, the more I worried that Athena was going to be sick. She was tucked into her jacket and I wondered what I’d do if she threw up all over it and us. We reached the bottom and she stood up exclaiming, “That was the best ride ever! Can we go again?” I could tell her adrenaline was pumping because she was running back to the lift. Every time we rode the Tornado, she tucked herself into her jacket and every time we reached the bottom she was bursting with joy.
I’ve never been the biggest fan of winter, but I think it’s because I’ve never been to places that celebrate winter so well. Quebec is a winter wonderland and it’s the best time of year to discover all that the amazing provinces has to offer. At the heart of that celebration is Village Vacances Valcartier, combining my love for water with my love for outdoor adventure. If you’re looking for the ultimate family getaway in Quebec, pack your bags and head to Village Vacances Valcartier.