Planning a vacation that the whole family will enjoy can be challenging. Especially if you have teenagers in the mix. Convincing them to put down their phone or to take a break from video games and engage with the family is easier when they are excited by the activities planned.

Ontario’s Southwest is full of fun, opportunities to learn, and ways to spend genuine quality time together. To help you with the planning, we’ve created three separate lists that are packed full of suggestions to build a perfect family vacation.

For the most part, these suggestions work best for trips in warmer weather, however, there are many options that you can pick if you’d like to visit in the colder months. If you see "❄" beside a suggestion, that means that it's open in the winter as well as the summer. "✿" indicates that you can only do those activities in the spring. 

A Grand Vacation


Spend time together in Grand Bend and the surrounding area! Grand Bend is a destination well-suited for family fun, waterfront sports, and activities in nature.


Where to Stay in Grand Bend


Two places stand out as fit for a family vacation in Grand Bend, the Colonial Hotel ❄ and Oakwood Resort ❄.

The Colonial Hotel has recently been renovated into a modern boutique hotel with suites that are luxurious and comfortable. Choosing this as your home base for the trip provides you with access to a full kitchen, wet bar, Jacuzzi, in-room fireplace, access to the outdoor firepits, free parking near the beach, and a view of Lake Huron sunsets.

The Oakwood Resort has everything that you could want in a resort including a spa, golf course, multiple restaurants, live music, proximity to the beach, and events. The Oakwood Resort is turning 100 this year, which means that they are very experienced in providing excellent customer service, but don’t worry, their rooms are up to date with everything a modern family needs.

Colonial Hotel

  • 1 Main Street West
  • 5192384000

Hotels in Grand Bend won’t be seen the same way. In the heart of Grand Bend, Ontario, Canada you will find our newly built…

Oakwood Resort

  • 70671 Bluewater Highway
  • 18003872324

Oakwood Resort, located by the shores of Lake Huron, is a 127-unit Resort consisting of 98 Deluxe rooms in 4 modern lodges…

What to do in Grand Bend


Fun, fast-paced, and teenager-approved things to do in Grand Bend:

  • Enjoy a day of learning at the Lambton Heritage Museum. ❄
  • Feel like you are on a tropical vacation with these waterfront experiences:
  • Catch a race at Grand Bend Motorplex.
  • Spend quality time out in nature in these popular locations. Travel tip: Conservation Areas and Ontario Parks are very busy on weekends. Plan to visit on a weekday to avoid the crowds.
  • Visit the adorable farm animals and take part in an Alpaca Walk at S.A.M.Y’s. ❄ This suggestion is located about 30 minutes away by car but is well worth the drive.
  • Even if you aren't staying there, your family can still enjoy a day golfing at Oakwood Resort.

The Pinery

Photo taken at The Pinery.


Where to eat in Grand Bend


There is something for everyone to enjoy in Grand Bend. Here are some suggestions perfectly suited for a fun-loving teenager:

A Charming Trip to Chatham-Kent


Chatham-Kent offers a mix of educational, recreational, and cultural experiences. With a deep-rooted history in the underground railroad, beautiful lakefront views, and prosperous agriculture, there is something for everyone. 


Where to Stay in Chatham-Kent


Willow Barrel Retreat ❄ and The Retro Suite Hotel ❄ are two unique accommodations that will stand out in your teenager's memories. Each offers a unique blend of comfort, style, and adventure, ensuring your family's stay is anything but ordinary.

Willow Barrel Retreat is perfect for the adventurous family. Located in Erieau, Willow Barrel Retreat offers a variety of cottages and suites on the shores of Lake Erie. This is the ideal location if you have a teen who is eager to explore the outdoors. With kayak, paddleboard, bicycle, and canoe rentals available, the opportunities for adventure are endless.

The Retro Suite Hotel, on the other hand, is a celebration of creativity and nostalgia. From motorcycles to sports, each room has a unique theme and whimsical design that will have your teen asking to return to try out a new room. 

Willow Barrel Retreat

  • 17655 Erieau Rd.
  • 15196762238

Ideally located on the shores of Lake Erie and Rondeau Bay, Willow Barrel Retreat is a great accommodation option to…

Retro Suites Hotel

  • 2 King St. West
  • +15193515885

Offers individually-designed suites intended to bring excitement, elegance and style to your overnight experience…

What to do in Chatham-Kent


Your family may want to extend your vacation to make time for all of these exciting activities:

Buxton National Historic Site

Where to eat in Chatham-Kent


See why it's beneficial to vacation close to where your food is grown:

Love Local in London

Learn why London is the place to create memories for all ages! London has cool and photo-worthy attractions that teenagers love. Plus, many suggestions included in this list are available all year round. 

Where to Stay in London

Both the Best Western Plus Lamplighter Inn ❄ and the Park Hotel ❄ stand out as great options for family-friendly vacations.

The Best Western Plus Lamplighter Inn has the feel of a tropical destination. Make sure that you get a room with a balcony overlooking their bright and beautiful atrium with an indoor pool so that it can be patio season all year long. 

The Park Hotel, located in Downtown London, offers spacious and trendy suites, with a mini-kitchenette area, a flat-screen cable TV in both the bedroom and living room, and plenty of USB plugs so all devices can stay charged.

The Park Hotel London

  • 242 Pall Mall St.
  • 15196424444

Welcome to The Park Hotel London, a modern boutique hotel located in the heart of the city! For today’s contemporary…

What to do in London

Check out these fun adventures any teenager will be excited about in London:

  • Enjoy a hot air balloon ride with Sundance Balloons. To help protect these breathtaking views for the future, consider incorporating offset activities into your visit that will reduce your carbon footprint. From purchasing carbon credits to enjoying a plant-based meal, you can find some great ideas here.  
  • Visit an educational and fun exhibit at Museum London. ❄
  • Try axe throwing and play games at the Rec Room. ❄
  • Go bowling at Palasad SocialBowl. ❄
  • Visit the interactive Fanshawe Pioneer Village. ❄
  • Try out outdoor activities such as skiing, tubbing, mountain biking, yoga, or a treetop adventure at Boler Mountain. ❄
  • Visit 100 Kellogg to:
    • Enjoy the trampoline park, high-ropes, or ziplines at the Factory. ❄
    • Play mini-golf, bocce ball, or try out one of the Multi-Sport Simulators at The Club House. ❄
  • Experience the interactive digital experience all over London with the Engage App. ❄
  • Watch a race at the Delaware Speedway.

The Factory High Level

Photo taken at the Factory.

Where to eat in London

London is filled with restaurants that purchase Ontario-grown ingredients. 

If you want to check out a local market with your family, the Covent Market ❄ always has an excellent variety of shops and vendors and lots of local food. Upgrade your visit by having a friendly local insider show you around the market by booking the Covent Garden Market Experience by Forest City Experiences. 

It’s important for families to have fun and make memories together and Ontario’s Southwest has many vacation options that are perfectly situated to all ages. If this blog post was helpful to you when you’ve been planning a trip, please let us know by sharing on social and using the hashtag #OntSouthwest.