I have found my new favorite town and it is positively charming. We stumbled upon Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario, Canada via Google, while I was researching where to stay for our trip to Niagara Falls. It sounded lovely so we decided to split our nights in half, and do one in Niagara Falls and one in Niagara-on-the-Lake. One, ladies and gentleman, was not enough. I could have spent several days in this gorgeous town soaking up the views, shopping the adorable main street and eating my weight in their many ice cream shops. This town is meant for lovers, a complete romantic escape. We came with a 2 year old and 6 year old, and we still managed to fall in love.
When: One night in July 2017
Where: Oban Inn & Spa
Weather: Highs in the 80’s and lows in the 70’s – warm but lovely
Wear: Comfortable clothes for daytime (sleeveless dresses or shirts/shorts), bathing suit for pool, summer dresses for evening
Ages: Our son was 2 and our daughter was 6
Our Hotel – Oban Inn
We spent one night at the alluring Oban Inn & Spa and loved our stay. The hotel is perfectly located in Niagara-on-the-Lake. While it is not on the main street like some of the other hotels, I actually preferred its location off the beaten path for two main reasons: noise and proximity to their beach. It is about 4 blocks from the main street, making it a quick and beautiful stroll passed these darling cottages that line the road, giving it sound protection at night from all the tourists. It is also a short walk from the peaceful rock beach on Lake Ontario. There is a walking path by this beach that would make for a stunning stroll in the morning, but with the kids we just decided to sit on the beach and watch the sailboats come out onto the lake in masses. It was so much fun!
We stayed in a double bed room with its own private porch, which was a huge bonus with kids. You can see the lake from the porch, so after the kids went to sleep, we sat out on the porch and enjoyed a glass of wine (or two). I could have sat here for hours.
The hotel has a gorgeous pool, huge hot tub and several comfy chairs for sunbathing. The pool area screams “serenity”, so I was worried about the kids and their noise level, but luckily we were the only ones there.
Included in your stay is an ample continental breakfast (even eggs and sausage were included) in their elegant dining room. The dining room has wonderful views of their gardens, which were in full bloom while we were there.
While this hotel doesn’t scream “kid-friendly”, it worked wonderfully for our family. The room was perfect and spacious and the pool was a huge bonus. We even saw another family staying there during our time. My only concern the whole time was making sure my kids weren’t too loud as the place just radiated relaxation. I would definitely come back, and plan too!
Activities with Kids
Niagara-on-the-Lake is like the Napa Valley of Canada, so while it might seem like a place to avoid with kids, we found some great kid-friendly activities and really enjoyed our time there with ours!
Since this is Canada’s wine country, we had to visit at least one winery and chose Konzelmann Estate Winery. Not only is this winery stunning, as it is situated right on Lake Ontario, but we loved the tour and the wine! Our guide was incredibly knowledgeable, friendly, funny & great with the kids. He even gave the kids grape juice to try when we had our tasting!
When we go in places with a group, I am always aware of my kids behavior as I don’t want to ruin anyone else’s time. To make this tour enjoyable for us and our group, about half way through Easton was done, so we strapped him in his stroller and gave him his kindle. Never head a peep from him again! While I hate to pull screen time a lot, some times you just have too. Emmie, on the other hand, loved seeing the machinery and vineyards and really took in what our guide was saying.
It was fun to experience a Canadian winery and try ice wine for the first time! While it is incredibly sweet, I loved it!
We loved spending the morning at the small rock beach on Lake Ontario by our hotel. The kids threw rocks in the water, played in the sand, and watched the sailboats on the lake. It was lovely!
Since we only had one day, we didn’t get to visit any other wineries, but I would have loved to have seen one more. We also didn’t visit the Chocolate F/X, which is chocolate factory that I heard is great with kids, but there is always next time!
On the way up to Niagara-on-the-Lake we passed the most adorable country store, Walkers Country Market. We were looking for a great place to stop for lunch, and this place was perfect. They have cute picnic benches outside next to a darling little chapel that the kids loved playing in
The have a wide selection of seriously delicious and fresh fruit that we feasted on. My husband and I loved our sandwich, but I wished the offered more variety as there wasn’t much for the kids. Seeing as how its hard to stop sometimes with Emmie’s dairy restriction, I always carry peanut butter and crackers, so I whipped those out and the kids were happy.
This place is the place to go for dessert – fresh pies, ice cream and pasties. I fell in love with this chocolate peanut butter brownie dessert, and grudgingly shared it with my kids.
This market made for a perfect quick and easy stop with kids!
For dinner, we walked along main street looking for a place that looked suitable with young kids. Believe it or not we stopped at Corks Winebar & Eatery. While the name might throw you off, the owner was very friendly and accommodating. He even made room for our stroller on the porch. We sat in their covered porch and enjoyed a glass of wine while people watching everyone on main street.
I fell in love with Niagara-on-the-Lake in less than 24 hours, and I cannot wait to come back. While this town is really romantic and lovely, there are a lot of tourists (for that reason), so be prepared to share the space. And even though I might have enjoyed it more if I was just there with my husband, I still loved every minute of it with my kids. I am so glad we decided to make the stop so I could experience this Canadian beauty!