He is a Democrat and a Christian, and his hobbies include tennis, travel, skiing, running, billiards, reading, and guitar. In 1962, he graduated from high school at Linsly Military Institute in Wheeling, West Virginia and he received a BA in Chinese History in 1966 from Harvard University and an MEd at University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1973. In 1971 he married Judith Ohlbaum, with whom he had two children. In 1978 he was named Outstanding Young Man of America by the U.S. Jaycees. On September 9, 1978, he married Georgia Lee Noble, with whom he had a son. They divorced in December 1999. On July 4, 2001, Canfield married for a third time to Inga Marie Mahoney.