Kid-Friendly Adventures in North Bay

Visiting North Bay with the whole crew? You're in luck—there is plenty to do for all ages in this welcoming city! Here's your ultimate guide to family activities, attractions, parks and more.
A family of four enjoying a heritage carousel ride.

If you’re wondering what to do in North Bay, Ontario with kids, we’re happy to report that this small northern city offers lots of family-friendly activities, venues and places to eat. About four hours from Ottawa or Toronto, North Bay is sure to give you and your family lots of fun options for an adventure-filled vacation. Read on to discover some of our favourite, kid-friendly ideas.

Family-Friendly Outdoor Fun in North Bay

The North Bay waterfront is a wonderful place for walking, but you can also rent family bikes (that you can all pedal together, or the adults pedal and the little ones relax on the double bench), kayaks, SUPs, and canoes. Visit Boathouse Rentals to get started. 

a smiling family riding together in a 4-wheeled multi-person pedal cart along the North Bay waterfront in the late afternoon.
Try Boathouse Rentals on the North Bay waterfront for equipment, rentals and ideas for family fun in North Bay. // Photo credit Tourism North Bay

Be sure to visit the Heritage Railway and Carousel Company too, so your family can ride the mini train along the waterfront or hop on the two beautifully painted carousels. The historic Heritage carousel and the Winter Wonderland feature hand-carved woodland creatures from moose to chipmunk. In July and August, don’t miss the free North Bay Summer Concert Series. Held on the waterfront on Wednesday nights, it’s a fun way to relax, dance and enjoy some snacks. King Cone & King Putt is another local favourite that operates from mid-May to mid-October. Play some mini-golf and enjoy an ice cream cone or a slushie—yum!

Colourful carousel with a blue sky.
  The Heritage Railway and Carousel Company offers train and carousel rides for some old-fashioned fun together.

Do a playground tour and check out some of the city’s 20+ playgrounds to see which is your favourite. Locals love Lee Park on the waterfront (Kate Pace Way) which has outdoor fitness equipment, a retired fighter jet display, a climbing wall and playground equipment that includes accessible swings, seesaws and spinners, plus a skating oval in the winter.

Bring your swimsuit for some summertime fun at one of North Bay’s 43 beach access points. The three supervised (lifeguard) beaches are Shabogesic Beach on Lake Nipissing at the Waterfront, Birchaven Cove, and Olmsted Beach on Trout Lake. The Family of Rotary’s Splash Pad is another must-do for kids who love the water. Or check out one of the eight beaches popular with local families.

Come aboard the Chief Commanda II for a boat cruise, which vary in length depending on your destination. The 1.5-hour Manitou Islands scenic cruise is a good option for families, as you enjoy an afternoon boat ride on Lake Nipissing to learn about its history and wildlife.

The Commanda 2; a large white cruise ship full of people floating on Lake Nipissing Shabogesic Beach; a soft sandy beach at late afternoon, dotted with green trees next to a calm blue lake under a cloudless blue sky. Lee Park; a clean, new playground with multiple slides and climbing apparati surrounded by green trees.
North Bay has plenty of beaches, parks and even cruise opportunities to explore— try The Chief Commanda II, Shabogesic Beach, or Lee Park.

Burn off some energy in Laurier Woods Conservation Area, offering a variety of short (0.8 km to 1.9 km) trails in a wooded and rocky area right in the heart of the city. Kids like the dipping platform at the lower pond to spot aquatic birds and wildlife too. Duchesnay Falls is another beautiful destination, with trails and lookouts to see the falls from different vantage points. In the winter, these trails are groomed and free for the public to use for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and fat biking.

Family-Friendly Indoor Fun in North Bay

If the weather isn’t cooperating, you can still be active by checking out Northern Tikes, an indoor playground and party centre. This indoor playground has lots of climbing, jumping, and exploring, all with plenty of padding and other safety features. Gymtrix, a gymnastics and trampoline center, is another great option. For older kids, check out glow-in-dark 5-pin bowling at Partners!

A colourful indoor playground with a climbing apparatus and a toddler in a red shirt.
Northern Tikes provides a fun, explorative environment for kids to burn off energy when the weather's not so hot. // Photo credit: Tourism North Bay

The North Bay Museum, housed in a restored 1903 train station, has a great blend of interactive activities and artifacts designed to appeal to both kids and adults. Learn about North Bay’s heritage, check out replica storefronts from the 1920s through 1940s, and see visiting or temporary exhibits—one recent one was retro video games! For aviation and history fans, visit the Canadian Forces Museum of Aerospace Defence to get a closer look at some cool informative displays, sit in a jet cockpit or try out a Cold War radar console. Kids will love learning more about North Bay’s key role in NORAD!

See what’s happening at the Capitol Centre. Home to both the Betty Speers Theatre and the WKP Kennedy Gallery, there are regular art exhibits and live performances showcasing everything from acrobats to dinosaurs to breakdancing to magicians. Be sure to watch for listings of all-ages art and dance events and workshops at Aanmitaagzi an Indigenous multidisciplinary artist-run company found in nearby Nipissing First Nation.

Nick’s Place and Gateway to the Arts is a joint venture located at Northgate Shopping Centre where kids and parents can work on arts, crafts, and other activities like a sensory craft session for little ones or beaded bracelets for older kids.

Great Family Restaurants in North Bay

a colourful milkshake in a glass that reads "Ever Cool", covered in whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry. It is sitting on a window ledge next to a pot of pink flowers on a sunny day.
Who doesn't love having a family-fave ice cream shop? // Ever Cool Ice Cream 

Delicious kid-friendly food is definitely an essential part of an excellent family getaway. Ever Cool Ice Cream is a super-cute ice cream shop right next to the North Bay Museum, with lots of hard and soft ice cream, banana splits, floats, and milkshakes. The Field of Dreams food truck is where you’ll find fresh, handmade burgers, fish and chips, and poutines on the waterfront. The Indigenous-founded Twiggs coffee shop has two North Bay locations, with coffee roasted in-house to fuel the adults, and pizza, sandwiches, breakfast items, and baked goods for everyone.

For tasty breakfast and brunch fare, head to Terry’s Place, or consider Syl’s Neighbourhood Kitchen for family dining for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including a kid’s menu. Hoagie’s Diner is a fun blast from the past, with all kinds of 50s décor and quality homemade burgers, milkshakes, baked goods, and more.

a delicious-looking plate of french toast with whipped cream, powdered sugar and bananas. a man and young girl sitting a a table. The smiling man is cutting up some pancakes on a plate and the girl, sitting next to him, is laughing. Field of Dreams Food Truck, North Bay; a blue food truck parked next to two rows of clean wooden picnic tables on a sunny day. A large green tree with a shape that resembles a heart is reaching up above the food truck.
North Bay's array of family diners and food trucks offer fast favourites for everyone to enjoy. You can't go wrong with Terry's Place french toast or Field of Dreams' signature poutines!

A trip to Candy Corner to pick out an assortment of treats is sure to be a hit too. Feel like picking up some fresh local produce and artisan goods? The North Bay Farmer's Market is open year-round and great for kids of all ages.  

Fun Family Day Trips from North Bay

There's lots of family-friendly adventure to be had just a short drive from downtown North Bay. Old McDonald's Family Farm is open for private tours and is a great way to spend the day in nearby Lavigne. The one-hour tour includes up close and personal visits with the resident chickens, ducks, bunnies, mini pigs, and sheep. The John Deere tractor swings are always a big hit! 

Two children smiling and looking at a duck.
Kids can enjoy meeting the farm animals up close and personal with a private tour at Old McDonald's Family Farm. Photo credit: Old McDonald's Farm

The family-owned Von Doehlers Ranch in Rutherglen is the perfect spot for an epic trail ride. The ranch offers various scenic horseback tours for those new to riding (ages 5+) as well as tours for those with more experience (ages 12+). Another day trip option is Leisure Farms in Sturgeon Falls which offers family-friendly fun like pumpkin picking in the fall and strawberry picking in the summer. 

Plan your Family Trip to North Bay, Ontario Today

Spring, summer, fall, and winter, there’s lots for families to enjoy in North Bay.

PS: Did you know? Dozens of movies and TV shows have been filmed in North Bay. To see if one of your family faves is on the list, visit CION and choose “North Bay” in the drop-down menu and then see if you can spot some locations in town!

About Bonnie Schiedel

Bonnie Schiedel is the founder of, which covers fun family-friendly attractions, events and restaurants in Thunder Bay. She enjoys canoeing, hiking, snowshoeing and travel, and you can read more of her award-winning work at

Recommended Articles

Search North Bay