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Need to getaway? Make a break for Montreal.

If one day at home with the little cherubs on March Break has you swilling wine tonight, it’s time to consider a getaway.

In all seriousness, I do find it hard to feel like I’ve had a “break” if I don’t leave home, don’t you? And I often think children must feel that way too.

A visit to the Biodome museum's rainforest is better than being at an all-inclusive resort in Costa Rica. (Okay, no really. But it is better than doing laundry at home.)

I’ve got a getaway idea for you that won’t break the bank: Montreal. When I brought my daughter to this city, she really did feel like she’d travelled to another place — new environment, different language and a hotel with a pool! Woohoo! It’s easy to make kids happy, really.

So, from Ottawa, you’re looking at an hour and a half drive. Not much, really. You could do it all in one day, or you could splurge and spend the night.

To give you a feel for how it could all shake out, here’s what I did over a 2-day period not long ago:

  • We packed up a car with two moms and two seven-year-olds.  
  • Drove straight to Auberge Universal, which is a basic but definitely decent family-friendly hotel, in Montreal.
  • The hotel is located right near the Insectarium, the Botanical Garden and the Biodome nature museums and will provide you with a free shuttle service back and forth, to and from.
  • After meadering around and learning and admiring earth’s amazing creations, you then return to the hotel to eat a nice big burger and fries (sure, the hotel restaurant is supposed to be Italian, but whatever. Sometimes a girl just needs a burger.).
  • Once dinner is complete, ensure that the little ones are nice and tired by heading down to the pool for a swim — kids only, of course. Moms can sit leasurely on the side, sipping wine from their Siggs.
  • Head back up to your room. Crash.
  • Enjoy a hearty breakfast at the hotel and then start making your way back to Ottawa.

Monsieur Croc

Penguin Party!

Les Creepy-crawly

All for $185.00! Includes accommodation for 2 adults and 2 children under 10, breakfast, shuttle, parking, and tickets to all three museums. Not a bad little getaway, eh?

Go on — be spontaneous! You know you wannnnnnnaaaa.

Other details on this Montreal trip can be found in this post. For more March Break getaway ideas that are within driving distance, check out this list here.

Questions? Just leave a comment. I’ll be happy to provide any details that I can.


  1. Surprised we didn’t run into each other, we had the same schedule :) Our plan was very similar to yours except we were four parents and five kids – nutty!! It still went smoothly, except that our hotel restaurant was CLOSED and we had no idea – so our plans for dinner and breakfast there were busted. We still had fun.

    Learned a valuable lesson at the Biodome though – just pay the $$$ to check your coat b/c that rainforest is pretty hot and humid :) Within minutes I was carrying 3 small coats over my shoulder and building up quite a sweat!

    So glad you had a fun time, it’s a fabulous little place to visit.

  2. Definitely looks like fun and something we will do once we finally get moved to Ottawa.

  3. What a great idea! We typically try to do a few road trips over the summer with the kids and I think this one would be a huge success. My son would love it. We’re in, thanks for the tips.

  4. Looks like so much fun! My husband & I used to travel to Montreal quite a bit before my son was born – nice to know there are so many kid-friendly things to do there:)

  5. Love it! But all I can fixate on is wine from the Sigg. I like your style :)

  6. Insectarium is fun. You can’t go far wrong in finding food.

    The Japanese area of the botanical gardens was a lovely respite.

    You can get the train for cheaper than the bus by booking ahead. (Our option for Montreal in May since we don’t have a car.)

  7. Fun! Great ideas. We’ve been talking about taking a little trip like that…it sounds perfect for our young kids. The Sigg idea is brilliant too.

  8. My penguins!!!

    I love Montreal really we should go up more often.

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