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Hamilton’s current reputation has been shaped by a mix of snafus in local politics, great food, and Arkells’ albums. These are all totally relevant to the reality of life in the city, but one particular area deserves more attention. Hamilton is a city that offers families many opportunities to explore the great outdoors within minutes of their front door. Did you know that there are 156 waterfalls within the city limits? This almost hard to believe but entirely true number makes Hamilton the waterfall capital of the world. With many parks, hiking trails, and recreational activities, families will never run out of ways to stay busy outdoors in Hamilton. We are going to highlight some of Hamilton’s best outdoor activities for you and your family:
Gage Park is a 30-hectare park located southeast of Gage Avenue and Main Street East. Built-in a style reflective of the Canadian City Beautiful movement of the 1920s, Gage Park is one of Hamilton’s most iconic, historical, and cultural landscapes. This community hub offers something for everyone, including two playgrounds, a splash pad, a wading pool, a pump track, and some spectacular cherry blossoms.
In addition, Gage Park is also home to the Gage Park Greenhouse. This 14,000 sq ft, fully accessible greenhouse is filled with subtropical plants and palm trees. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a turtle relaxing on a rock next to the koi ponds. It hosts impressive flower shows in both the spring and fall. The Gage Park Greenhouse is a great place to explore with your family year-round.
The park is home to many annual food and music festivals, including the long-running Festival of Friends. This yearly event celebrates music, art, and culture and features live performances, food vendors, and a marketplace. Whether you’re looking for a place to picnic or a spot to enjoy some live music and entertainment, Gage Park is the perfect place for families to spend an afternoon.
Albion Falls is a must-visit destination in Hamilton if you’re looking for a scenic hiking trail. Beautiful forrested trails surround this stunning waterfall. It’s the perfect place for active families who love to hike. The 6km trail around the falls is well-maintained and offers beautiful views of the waterfall and the surrounding area.
Bayfront Park is an excellent place for families who love the water. This beautiful park close to downtown Hamilton offers stunning views of Hamilton Harbour and Lake Ontario and a waterfront trail perfect for walking, running, or biking. There’s also a large playground, a splash pad, and a water feature that’s perfect for cooling off on a hot day. Hutch’s Harbour Front, located nearby, is a Hamilton institution serving all things fried and delicious. The waterfront in the North End of Hamilton is undergoing a major revitalization project, including a new boardwalk and outdoor event spaces – the outdoor movie series is a must-see.
Royal Botanical Gardens
The Royal Botanical Gardens is a beautiful destination for families who love nature. This stunning garden is home to over 2,700 acres of gardens, nature sanctuaries, and walking trails. A children’s garden is also perfect for families with younger children. The gardens offer a variety of events and programs throughout the year, including guided hikes, educational workshops, and gardening classes.
The City of Hamilton Recreation Department offers a variety of programs for families. These programs are designed to promote physical activity, creativity, and socialization for children. The summer camps offered by Hamilton Recreation are incredibly popular. These camps provide a variety of activities, including sports, arts and crafts, and outdoor adventures. Kiddos can make new friends and try new things in a safe and fun environment. Are you looking for something less structured? Many rec centres offer drop-in play for little ones in tandem with the EarlyON program. The weekly play session at the natural playground at the Bernie Morelli Rec Centre is favourite among the toddlers of the neighbourhood.
Dundas Driving Park
Dundas Driving Park is an impressive park west of the city centre. This space offers family-friendly activities year-round, including a great playground, splash pad, wading pool, ice rink, pavilions, and tennis courts. The park itself is gorgeous, with lots of parking nearby. The park is a must-visit during the annual Cactus Festival – it’s the perfect place to rest and escape the crowds.
Hamilton Amateur Athletic Association Grounds
The H.A.A.A., located in the Kirkendall neighbourhood in central Hamilton, is the oldest “sports park” in Hamilton, dating back to the 1870s. It has a playground, splash pad, basketball courts, and plenty of running space. It’s also a short walk to Donut Monster – a local favourite serving donuts and coffee that will taste extra satisfying after a long day spent running around the park.
Farm Crawl is a summer tradition in Hamilton. This non-profit organization partners with local farmers to open their farms to the public. Visitors can learn more about the farms that feed our community. Farm Crawl prides itself on providing an authentic farm experience to visitors of all ages.
Whether you’re looking for a place to hike, meet your neighbours, or relax and enjoy the sunshine, Hamilton has something for everyone. From Gage Park to Albion Falls and everything in between, there are endless possibilities for family fun in Hamilton’s great outdoors.