March Break ‘staycation’ ideas bring the delights of travel home

March Break is a hugely anticipated holiday for kids. For them, it means a whole week of relaxation and non-school-related fun.

However, for parents, the thought of restless children stuck inside the house for a week with nothing to do can be terrifying.

But never fear, Ottawa parents—there are plenty of great family-friendly “staycation” activities to be enjoyed right here in the Ottawa area that will keep everyone entertained.

While some parents may shy away from sugary treats (unless the kids are heading off to their in-laws’ for the day), others embrace the opportunity to indulge in some maple sweetness by heading to an area sugar bush. After all, Lanark County, just west of Ottawa, is considered Ontario’s maple syrup capital, with a concentration of sugar maple trees.

For an ideal springtime day trip, your family can enjoy outdoor festivities that often include free self-guided tours of the farm, a children’s playground, horse-drawn sleigh rides and, of course, pancakes and a variety of other maple treats.

March Break is often prime syrup making time and at many of the Ottawa-area sugar bushes, you can learn all about the process through demonstrations.

Another great Canadian activity for March Break is skating. There are many free outdoor rinks in the Ottawa area, including a very famous one. Did you know the Rideau Canal, in the heart of downtown Ottawa, is the world’s largest skating rink? Take your kids to enjoy this wonderful (and free) landmark this winter and don’t forget to stop for another Canadian treat: BeaverTails!

Too cold outside? There are many great indoor skating rinks in Ottawa as well. Tim Hortons sponsors free skates at various arenas in the Ottawa area, visit for the schedule.

Still too cold? There are many other great staycation ideas for those times when the thermometer drops below tolerable.

Museums are a fun way to spend an afternoon and they’re educational too (but don’t tell your kids that).

This year the Canada Agriculture Museum, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum and the Canada Science and Technology Museum have teamed up to offer a great deal. They are offering a three-day pass that grants free admission to each museum for $34 per family. For a complete list of Ottawa museums and information on each, visit

Libraries are another great place to spend a day with your kids. They hold fantastic programs and events for all age groups.

Events such as the Avalanche to Zombie workshop—a “survival guide to natural disasters and unnatural phenomena”— and the Fairytale Survival Kit are held at Ottawa libraries during March Break. Search for fun workshops held by libraries near you at 

So March Break is nothing to be afraid of, parents. Take advantage of your beautiful hometown this year and make some lasting memories for your family.


Author: Kelly Kent

Photo: NCC / CCN