Windsor: Easy Family Canadian Getaway

Wanting a quick family getaway? Maybe one in another country? Well hello Canada! Spring, summer, fall or winter, families can experience an international adventure in Windsor! With a flash of a passport or enhanced license, a lot of excitement awaits you across the border.


Wondering how easy it can be? We used Crossing Made Easy to make sure we had proper documents and also information on wait times and what we could bring across the border. We made our plans just a few days ahead and this website was hugely helpful. With our itinerary in place (of course I made it flexible with a lil guy!), my first stop was Verizon. We all wanted to use our phones in Canada and not be charged a fortune. For $2 per day, the International Travel Plan allows you to carry your data plan across the border. It ends as soon as you cross back into the U.S.! After that I packed things I never travel without – resealable bags in many sizes for snacks and meals, car toys and different toys for hotel room, special food and drinks, and a cooler. 

Crossing into Canada was a breeze in late morning traffic! Moms, if you’re traveling with passports request a stamp. It makes a great memento of the trip! Before we checked into our hotel we went straight to River Canard Canoe Co and rented a canoe (make sure to call ahead for a reservation).


Canoe rental includes a quick safety lesson, and everything you need for a trip down River Canard. We packed snacks and water and enjoyed the quiet and the wildlife. The rental fee is for 8 hours, but you won’t feel bad if your littles only last an hour because it’s so reasonably priced! 

We spent the rest of the day at Heritage Village, a property containing more than 20 buildings from late 1700s to 1920s creating a historical walk through Canada’s heritage. They’re filled with artifacts and great signage, so you can easily do a tour on your own. I loved the cabins, and my son loved the General Store. So many things to explore!


On the same property is the Canadian Transportation Museum, an amazing collection of antique and vintage cars.  Even if you’re not a car enthusiast, it’s an interesting slice of history!


After our busy day, it was so nice to collapse into a comfy hotel room. I can’t recommend the Best Western Plus Waterfront Hotel enough! It sits on the waterfront and every room has a view of the Detroit River. My little guy loved watching boats and barges pass by and the Ambassador Bridge lighting up at night was a big hit. The hotel has a gym and pool with a waterfront view. And…free continental breakfast in the morning! Moms, it’s pretty nice to grab fresh fruit and yogurt for the family in a quick elevator ride.

Outside the hotel’s front door is Windsor Sculpture Park – literally a museum without walls. It’s a gorgeously landscaped walk right along Detroit River with 31 large-scale pieces of art. This was a big hit with the whole family: we discussed our favorites, enjoyed the fresh air walk and loved looking at the Detroit skyline from Windsor.


The hotel’s location in city center means it’s surrounded by museums! We left our car in the lot and walked everywhere. Mason Francois Baby House (out the hotel’s back door) is a small museum about Windsor’s French roots and the War of 1812. Great small museum for kids and a scavenger hunt makes it a lot of fun.


Chimzuk Museum has an amazing children’s area with lots of interactive things to do like dress up, building, crossing a mini Ambassador Bridge, and exploring how cars and boats travel between USA and Canada. Padraig loved building bridges across the Detroit River. Want to check it out? A temporary exhibit on Ice Age Mammals is running until December 31st!


Inside the museum is Art Gallery of Windsor, a collection of almost 4,000 pieces of artwork telling local stories and also housing both temporary and permanent exhibits spanning the globe. Running until January 22 is a retrospective on Brenda Francis Pelkey


Behind the hotel is an INDOOR waterpark! Adventure Bay is endless amounts of fun. A wristband allows you to come and go, making it easy to go to the hotel for a nap or meal. 


After an afternoon here of water cannons, wave pools, slides, and an incredible splash zone, the whole family will sleep like babies!


We are already planning a Fall and Winter trip to Windsor. The weather is still gorgeous for outdoor exploring! And in the dead of winter or even on a rainy weekend, we can’t wait to explore indoor museum and waterpark fun.

The question for you? Not when will you go, but what will you do when you get there?

Safe travels!


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Erica Owens
Erica lives in Oak Park. She's married to Matt and they have an inquisitive and charismatic six-year-old son named Padraig. Erica has worked in the fiber arts industry for years and is currently a knitting instructor at her local yarn shop in Berkley. She has a thirst for knowledge and a passion for exploring new places. By 30 she had traveled to all seven continents. She still has that spontaneous, adventurous spirit and so does her little guy. Her family loves to do anything at the drop of a hat and enjoys exploring the local areas. You'll find them in and around Detroit at museums, unique restaurants, festivals and sporting events. Erica loves to share local finds on Instagram (@FrugalOnTheFly) so more families can join in the fun!


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