Quebec City Winter Carnival with Kids? Or something else?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
WaffleCone
Posts: 119
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2015 11:48 pm

Quebec City Winter Carnival with Kids? Or something else?

Post by WaffleCone » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:29 pm

We're thinking of taking a road trip from PA to QC for the Winter Carnival, stopping overnight in upstate NY each way to break up the drive. Four kids, ages 4-10, would be on their first trip out of the country, first time hearing a language other than English spoken as primary, and get to experience an authentic winter wonderland: walk through ice castles, see life size snow sculptures, go ice fishing, go on real sleigh and dogsled rides, toboggans, sledding, tubing, and drink the best-est hot chocolate.

It would be a very unique trip and give the kids a lot of memories. My wife and I went to the carnival about 15 years ago and had a fabulous time. But that's a while ago and things change. Wondering how appropriate it is for kids? We know it's COLD and need to dress accordingly. We'll stay close to the Plains of Abraham so we can easily get back and forth to our hotel to warm-up. Any other suggestions?

Boglehead thinking: It's an economical trip for 6. Canadian hotel rooms under $200 night with a good exchange rate, plus gas, tolls, and passports for my wife and I. The nights in upstate NY are primarily points.

Some would say we're crazy doing this without having done Disney first... quite frankly, kids never even asked for Disney and friends just came back from a highly planned $5000+ Disney World "mob scene". We'll do that in a few years but not in the short term.

Looking to do something a bit off the wall but still awesome and age appropriate. If not QC Winter Carnival, any other ideas? Looking to make it a road trip from the Philly area. Thanks.

User avatar
Pete12
Posts: 292
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 3:17 pm

Re: Quebec City Winter Carnival with Kids? Or something else?

Post by Pete12 » Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:01 am

We took our kids (8 and 11) to Quebec City last February. They have been with us to Disney World a bunch of times and we wanted to do something different. We all had a great time. It was really cold but we bundled up with snow pants, ski jackets, boots, hats etc. and we were fine. The primary language is of course French but we found most locals were super friendly and their English was excellent.

We missed the winter carnival unfortunately, it was the week before we visited. However there was still plenty to do.

In town we visited the Citadelle de Québec, rode the toboggan slide at Terrasse Dufferin, drank hot chocolate at Place d’Armes, visited the Château Frontenac and rode the funicular down to the old town to visit La Petite Cabane à Sucre de Québec (sugar shack- try the maple taffy made with real snow!)

Out of town we visited Village Vacances Valcartier where the Ice Hotel is located. They let you visit the ice hotel during the day which was a really unique experience. At the ice bar we had Champagne served in glasses made out of ice! We did the snow tubing on-site which was thrilling and the kids loved it. We also went to the on-site indoor water park (Bora Parc) which was a nice way to defrost after the tubing! The village is a 25 minute cab ride from downtown Quebec so you could easily visit for the day.

We also went dog sledding at Chenil la Poursuite which is a similar short cab ride from town. They take you on a one hour ride through the woods and let you drive your own dog sled which was amazing.

In town we ate at Aux Anciens Canadiens and Restaurant L'Échaudé, both of which were excellent and very friendly to our kids. At Valcartier we ate at O'Grill restaurant which had very good steaks and a nice kids menu.

It was a great way to spend a few days and do something totally different, and with the exchange rate it was a very reasonably priced trip!

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 22959
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Quebec City Winter Carnival with Kids? Or something else?

Post by dm200 » Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:20 pm

WaffleCone wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:29 pm
We're thinking of taking a road trip from PA to QC for the Winter Carnival, stopping overnight in upstate NY each way to break up the drive. Four kids, ages 4-10, would be on their first trip out of the country, first time hearing a language other than English spoken as primary, and get to experience an authentic winter wonderland: walk through ice castles, see life size snow sculptures, go ice fishing, go on real sleigh and dogsled rides, toboggans, sledding, tubing, and drink the best-est hot chocolate.

It would be a very unique trip and give the kids a lot of memories. My wife and I went to the carnival about 15 years ago and had a fabulous time. But that's a while ago and things change. Wondering how appropriate it is for kids? We know it's COLD and need to dress accordingly. We'll stay close to the Plains of Abraham so we can easily get back and forth to our hotel to warm-up. Any other suggestions?

Boglehead thinking: It's an economical trip for 6. Canadian hotel rooms under $200 night with a good exchange rate, plus gas, tolls, and passports for my wife and I. The nights in upstate NY are primarily points.

Some would say we're crazy doing this without having done Disney first... quite frankly, kids never even asked for Disney and friends just came back from a highly planned $5000+ Disney World "mob scene". We'll do that in a few years but not in the short term.

Looking to do something a bit off the wall but still awesome and age appropriate. If not QC Winter Carnival, any other ideas? Looking to make it a road trip from the Philly area. Thanks.
Never been to Winter carnival there - but have been to Quebec City several times (never with kids) - including winter several times. It was great - IF prepared for cold and snow! This sounds good - EXCEPT if (as is common in these Mardi Gras celebrations) there may be some risks from lots of heavy drinkers and drunks??

btenny
Posts: 5221
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 6:47 pm

Re: Quebec City Winter Carnival with Kids? Or something else?

Post by btenny » Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:34 pm

Take the kids to Ottawa as part of the trip. See the Canada capital and parliament and changing of guards and skate the Rideau Canal Skateway. Every kid I know loves to skate. The Rideau is 4.8 miles long and total fun for all. See below. Then go to Quebec City for the French twist. Enjoy and have fun.

https://www.ottawatourism.ca/events/rid ... -skateway/#

http://ncc-ccn.gc.ca/places-to-visit/ri ... l-skateway

https://ncc-ccn.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Vi ... 5f94890a40

dpm321
Posts: 129
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:04 pm

Re: Quebec City Winter Carnival with Kids? Or something else?

Post by dpm321 » Wed Dec 19, 2018 6:34 pm

Don't forget to bring certified copies of birth certificates for the kids.

peseta
Posts: 116
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 11:40 pm

Re: Quebec City Winter Carnival with Kids? Or something else?

Post by peseta » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:20 pm

It's great and would be fun for kids. There's probably 2-3 days of stuff to do there. However, keep in mind that it gets very, very cold in Quebec City in early February. The average HIGH is about 20 degrees Fahrenheit. So, a "cold" day can be below zero. Make sure you have appropriate clothing, since the point is to be outside for much of the day.

Also, re: driving -- definitely factor in winter weather. At a minimum, make sure you have snow tires on your car. They are mandatory in Quebec during winter for locals, with good reason.

You could easily combine with a trip to Montreal. Montreal is underrated during the winter because the city is designed to handle it (the Metro, underground city, etc.). If you fly to Montreal, you can take the train easily to Quebec City.

peseta

nhdean
Posts: 234
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:07 pm
Contact:

Re: Quebec City Winter Carnival with Kids? Or something else?

Post by nhdean » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:39 pm

Quebec is great. I was there in May with my little one. It was cold then. We stayed at the Hotel Frontenac. Great place. Quebec is in the French area but English is spoken widely. I live not too far from there and have been many times as a kid also. It feels like you are in Europe.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 22959
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Quebec City Winter Carnival with Kids? Or something else?

Post by dm200 » Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:36 pm

nhdean wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:39 pm
Quebec is great. I was there in May with my little one. It was cold then. We stayed at the Hotel Frontenac. Great place. Quebec is in the French area but English is spoken widely. I live not too far from there and have been many times as a kid also. It feels like you are in Europe.
Sure is!!!

Post Reply