At Our Whole Village, we plan meaningful vacations for families who want to create lifelong memories and show their kids the world in a more conscious and intentional manner.
We help families take meaningful vacations so that they can escape everyday life, show their kids the world and make lifelong memories - with care, confidence and peace of mind.
Your (free) guide to the top travel destinations for families with babies, teens and everyone in between.
Sometimes a bucket-list travel plan can appear unrealistic after having children. For example, who would think about taking kids on an expedition to see the world’s greatest concentration of polar bears? But if you’ve written this off as an adventure reserved solely for singles and newlyweds, we’re here to tell you to think again. You can safely bring your kids on a family-friendly sub-Arctic tour, complete with large, fuzzy, white critters.
In the process, you’ll forge incredible memories your family will savor for years to come. Where to see polar bears in the wild? Keep reading as we explore one of our most breathtaking, wild, and family-friendly itineraries to the icy heart of polar bear country.
When it comes to optimal locations for scoping out polar bears worldwide, many people assume you’ve got to trek to the uppermost regions of Greenland and Norway. But you can get an eyeful of one of the planet’s most prolific populations without leaving North America! Instead, head to Canada, where you’ll get your fill of polar bears (along with wildlife like beluga whales) and even chances to view the aurora borealis.
The “Polar Bear Capital of the World” is Churchill, Manitoba, with good reason. Located on Hudson Bay in the sub-Arctic tundra, Churchill is accessible via a small airstrip that services regular flights from Winnipeg. There’s also a train service from Winnipeg, affording your family the experience of a real-life polar express. From mid-June to mid-August, you’ll enjoy incredible views of a 25,000-strong beluga whale migration, with 3,000 visiting the waters off Churchill annually. As for polar bears, the area provides a habitat for more than 800 individuals.
Churchill offers various accommodations and services to intrepid travelers on the hunt for the perfect polar bear adventure. The best way to see them is by heading out in family-friendly tundra buggies specially designed to handle icy, rugged terrain. They provide safe viewing at a comfortable distance, affording intimate tour groups (of 16 at most) countless snapshot-worthy opportunities.
Limited group size is an essential aspect of a great polar bear tour. Travel companies like Nat Hab limit numbers to 16 or less, which ensures an intimate viewing experience. (Check out their detailed itinerary for more information.) These lower group numbers also translate into more room on tundra vehicles and window seats for everyone, a true must when the white-furred ursids start appearing.
Besides Polar Rover excursions, an excellent tour includes cozy accommodations and plenty of other cold-weather experiences. These include dog sledding excursions and opportunities for whale viewing. In the evening, wildlife and cultural presentations will help your family get the most out of your Canadian adventure.
When you opt to work with a travel advisor to plan your ideal Canadian vacation, they can ensure meals are included along with cold-weather gear like snow boots and parkas. The same goes for airport transfers, all activities, entrance fees, taxes, permit fees, and service fees. In other words, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy viewing polar bears and the northern lights.
As for activity level, the most family-friendly polar bear tours rank as easy. They require minimal walking and the ability to handle an occasionally bumpy ride. Travelers should also pack for and expect temperatures that drop well below freezing. This also means packing footwear to combat slippery surfaces.
The best time of year to see polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, is in October and November. This is when the greatest concentration of bears get together, preparing to head out onto the frozen Hudson Bay. These months also usher in the beginning of the bears’ hunting season.
Of course, the locations of the bears ultimately depend on the weather. As a result, the best time to view them may alternate between the beginning, middle, and end of the season from year to end. Typically, the bears head out onto the ice of Hudson Bay starting in December. But they may leave the region sooner if there’s an early cold snap.
If polar bear viewing, beluga whale sightings, and dog sledding sound like your family’s cup of tea, we can help you craft a meaningful, family-friendly adventure. You’ll also have chances to see the northern lights and learn about Canada’s rich indigenous and local cultures.
Are you ready to discover more about where to see polar bears in the wild? We’ve got you covered. We have the best local connections, travel expertise, and family travel know-how to ensure you enjoy the most magical family vacation possible.