The campfire burns lower, the coals red and white and ready. The mustard, relish, and, most importantly, ketchup, lay waiting beside the bag of buns. The package of all-beef (a none-too-comforting description) hotdogs is open, beside the veggie-dogs that only you will eat. The roasting sticks, the long ones with the wood handles and double prongs, lean against the picnic table, their many years of use evidenced by their blackened tips. The marshmallows are hidden out of sight, for now. You look around, satisfied that everything needed is there. Oh, except the salad – absolutely required, if only to crush the small tinge of guilt you feel about the hotdogs. OK, got it. Now, you are ready. “Kids! Who wants to roast some hotdogs?”
Campfire cookouts are a great way to pry the kids away from the screen for a while, to get outside and spend some time together with friends or family, and to eat deliciously healthy, or deliciously unhealthy, food. Whatever your motivation, we encourage you to try a campfire cookout. Evenings spent roasting hotdogs and marshmallows and running around with cousins, friends or siblings are childhood memories that can last a lifetime.
There are strict rules preventing open fires within the metro Vancouver area. These rules exist to keep people and public parklands safe and carry heavy penalties if broken. Gas burning portable barbeques designed specifically for cooking are allowed in most parks. But if you want a real campfire, you can legally do so at select Metro Vancouver Regional Parks. Below is a list of legal campfire pit locations in Metro Vancouver where you and your family can enjoy a good old-fashioned campfire cookout! Please read the safe fire practices and booking information from Metro Vancouver at the end of this article and remember that day-use sites are first-come-first-served, but are also available for booking.
Aldergrove Regional Park
Photo Credit: Metro Vancouver Regional Parks
Aldergrove Regional Park straddles the Langley/Abbotsford border. This large park is popular for horseback riding and short family-friendly hikes. Aldergrove Bowl, an old gravel pit, has been reclaimed with a picnic area, trails and marshlands. Exploring one of the many trails with the kids is a great activity before starting your cookout. There is a fire ring at the Blacktail Picnic Shelter, in the north-west corner of the park that can be used on a first-come-first-served basis if it is available.
Firepits: 1 day-use (first-come-first-served) fire ring at the Blacktail Picnic Shelter Municipality: Langley/Abbotsford
Belcarra Regional Park
Photo Credit: Metro Vancouver Regional Parks
Belcarra Regional Park sits on the eastern shore of Burrard Inlet. This park offers oceanside beaches, a large pier, swimming and fishing at Sasamat Lake, and over 22 kilometres of hiking trails. There is so much to explore here, but we recommend the 5km (return) hike to Admiralty Point before settling into your cookout. There is a first-come-first-served fire ring and two picnic shelters available at the Belcarra Picnic Area unless already reserved.
Firepits: 1 day-use (first-come-first-served) fire ring at the Belcarra Picnic Area Municipality: Belcarra/Port Moody
Boundary Bay Regional Park
Photo Credit: Metro Vancouver Regional Parks
Boundary Bay Regional Park is your best bet for a beachside campfire cookout. Four fire rings are available at Centennial Beach, near the southern end of the park. For bird watchers, hiking along the 12 Ave Dyke Trail can be rewarding, as this park is known for the thousands of migratory birds that stop to rest here on their route along the Pacific Flyway. Oh, and if your campfire cookout crashes for some reason, there is a beachside café available during the summer months.
Firepits: 4 day-use fire rings at Centennial Beach Municipality: Delta
Brae Island Regional Park
Brae Island Regional Park is situated on an island in the Fraser River. The island is easily accessed by a short bridge from Fort Langley. Pre-booking is required to use the single fire ring located at the events site. Additionally, each of the 156 campsites and lone group camping site have fire rings for use, though booking is required. While the island has a short network of trails, it is the sandy beach located on a slow-moving side-arm of the Fraser River that attracts most visitors. Kayaking and cooling off in the water are popular activities at the beach. A short stroll across the bridge will lead you to all the amenities Fort Langley has to offer.
Firepits: 1 fire ring at the events site (booking required); 156 fire rings in the campground (booking required); 1 fire ring at group campsite (booking required) Municipality: Township of Langley
Campbell Valley Regional Park
Photo Credit: Metro Vancouver Regional Parks
Campbell Valley Regional Park is located in south Langley and is bisected by the Little Campbell River. With 23 kilometres of hiking, biking, and horse-riding trails, the park offers a great place to get out and explore this unique river valley landscape. Accessed off of 8 Avenue, the Old Orchard picnic area in the south-west corner of the park has a fire ring available on a first-come-first-served basis. For a fun family activity, check out the nearby Campbell Valley Nature House, a beautiful red barn turned education centre and the surrounding Rowlatt Farmstead.
Firepits: 1 day-use fire ring at Old Orchard picnic area; 1 fire ring at Camp Coyote Group Camp (booking required) Municipality: Township of Langley
Deas Island Regional Park
Photo Credit: Metro Vancouver Regional Parks
Just north of Highway 99, near the George Massey tunnel, Deas Island Regional Park is another Fraser River island park. A single fire ring is available at the Fisher’s Field picnic shelter. Additionally, a booking required fire ring is available at the Muskrat Meadow Campground. A number of short trails wander throughout the small island. This park offers some unique nature program activities, including Nature Watch by Canoe and Bats of Burrvilla.
Firepits: 1 day-use fire ring at Fisher’s Field; 1 fire ring at Muskrat Meadow Campground (booking required) Municipality: Delta
Derby Reach Regional Park
Photo Credit: Metro Vancouver Regional Parks
Derby Reach Regional Park, on the banks of the Fraser River, is a favourite riverside camp cookout spot for many families in the Langley area. It offers a large number of firepits, especially during the off-season when the campsites are not fully booked. The Trans Canada Trail and the Canyon to Coast Trail run through the park. A ride along the Edge Farm Trail or, if you want a longer ride, the Fort to Fort Trail or Houston Trail, is a great way to spend some time before dinner.
Firepits: 38 fire rings in the campground (booking required, though they are accessible on a first-come-first-served basis if facilities are not booked); 3 day-use fire rings in the Edge Picnic shelter; 1 day-use fire ring in the main picnic area; 1 fire ring at the Marpole picnic shelter. Municipality: Township of Langley
Additional Information from Metro Vancouver:
Please follow smart burning guidelines at our fire rings:
Use only bundled firewood (don’t burn forest wood, waste wood, garbage or anything else)
Stay with the fire at all times
Extinguish the fire completely before leaving
Metro Vancouver may close fire pits if there are air quality concerns or if the park is in high or extreme wildfire danger rating. Visitors are encouraged to search “fire rating” at www.metrovancouver.org to check conditions before they arrive to see if the fire pit is open or not.
To book any of the bookable campsites, picnic areas and picnic shelters, visit www.metrovancouver.org and search “Reservable Facilities,” or call 604-432-6352.
Need more ideas to add to your list of things to do with the family this summer? Here are some great articles to keep you and your family busy this summer!
Though my life has been blessed with many great adventures, today I took what is most certainly the most incredible one yet: a plane ride to the North Pole! That’s right, yours truly spent the day enjoying all the amazing things the North Pole has to offer, including elves, princesses, cookies, toys, and yes – even the big man himself – Santa!
OK, some of you may be thinking I’ve hit the Christmas Spirit a little too hard. Let me back up and explain…
Today I was fortunate enough to be a guest on Air Transat and Children’s Wish Foundation’s Flight with Santa Claus. Founded in 2004, this annual event runs simultaneously in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, and offers hundreds of young children suffering from life-threatening illnesses the chance to take to the skies in search of Santa Claus.
Photo Credit: Rich Lam / Air Transat
From the moment I arrived at the airport, I knew this would be a flight I would never forget. I could hear the energy and excitement the second I walked in the door, and it continued to grow until I finally reached the “North Pole Boarding Area”.
Photo Credit: Rich Lam / Air Transat
There was a DJ, there were Santacolouringg walls, there were real Disney princesses reading stories, there was a photo booth – it was a true winter wonderland.
Photo Credit: Rich Lam / Air Transat
Eventually, the group came together for a short presentation by Air Transat and Children’s Wish Foundation. You see, the purpose of this event – in addition to bringing joy to these wonderful kids – is to present Air Transat’s annual donation to Children’s Wish Foundation. This year, the company handed over a check for $80,000, bringing their overall donations to over $6 million since their partnership began in 2004!
Photo Credit: Rich Lam / Air Transat
After the check was presented, it was time for the kids to go find Santa! Boarding served as a reminder of what this event was truly all about – bringing joy to those that need it most. Many of these children are bravely battling diseases that limit their ability to walk, and as such a dozen or so had to be helped down the jet bridge with wheelchairs and strollers. While this could have been a heartbreaking moment, it became one of the many incredible lessons we adults were taught today. Even if they had to be helped down the jet bridge, each one of these kids had the world’s biggest smile plastered across their face. They weren’t thinking about their illness or feeling sorry for themselves – they were cherishing the experience and full of joy at the thought of finding Santa!
These kids reminded all of us what it means to be grateful for what you have, and to count your blessings no matter what hardships you are facing.
With boarding complete, the fun of the pre-flight festivities continued, and the plane was buzzing with excitement. The pilots instructed the kids that a trip to find Santa requires an extra boost of energy for takeoff, and so everyone was encouraged to stomp their feet and make lots of noise in order to get the plane up into the sky. And with that, we were down the runway and in search of that Jolly Ol’ Man from the North.
After the children enjoyed more snacks and treats, the pilots came on the PA to make a special announcement. To the left of the plane, just over a snow-capped mountain, there was a slight glimmer of red. Could it be? Yes, it was! It was Santa himself!! And he was flying his sleigh up to greet us.
Photo Credit: Rich Lam / Air Transat
With a thud, Santa’s sleigh landed on top of the plane, and soon he emerged inside the cabin for all to see. The kids went nuts! Santa proceeded to spend the better part of an hour walking the aisles, taking photos, and passing out stockings to each and every child on board. And after much pleading, the kids even convinced the pilots to let Santa stay on board and fly back to Vancouver with us!
Photo Credit: Rich Lam / Air Transat
Photo Credit: Rich Lam / Air Transat
Photo Credit: Rich Lam / Air Transat
Once we returned, the children said their goodbyes to Santa, and he was on his way back to the North Pole to prepare for Christmas. With Santa gone, the kids began filtering out with their parents to begin their own journeys home. And just like that, this magic afternoon came to a close.
Photo Credit: Rich Lam / Air Transat
It’s hard to fully articulate my feelings about the magic of what transpired today. As a mother who is blessed to have healthy children, I cannot begin to express how grateful I am. To see what these families have to endure is heartbreaking. Yet, as I mentioned earlier, you would never know it by talking with these kids. This was the most animated, joy-filled group of children I have ever seen. They were having so much fun and were so appreciative to have this opportunity to meet Santa – you would never know that they have already endured more trauma and hardship than most endure in a lifetime.
It was an incredible lesson about positive attitude, perseverance, and gratitude…and it was coming from kids as young as 3 and 4!
Today was also filled with lessons about using your power and influence to do good things. I can’t begin to fathom the time, energy, and money Air Transat invests in this event. And not just once, but every year for 14 years straight – in 3 different cities to boot! It’s a massive undertaking. Yet they do it every single year. And not only do they do it, but they do it right. They show up. They put in the effort. They deliver on a promise…to bring joy to kids who have been tragically robbed of so much, so young.
Most companies wouldn’t show up the way Air Transat does. And having experienced the magic of the Flight with Santa Claus first hand, I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart. What I witnessed today was something so special and so magical, and I will truly never forget it.
I think the most important lesson I took from today was thinking about what I can do in my own life to mirror the magic of this event. Who can I help? Who can I show up for? We might not all have the same access to people or power or money that Air Transat does, but we all possess the same ability to show up for a group of people that need it most.
I hope all of you are able to show up and share some of your own magic with those in need this holiday season. For when we all do that, the world is a much better place!
For more information on the Children’s Wish Foundation, please visit their website at http://www.childrenswish.ca/. And if you can find it in your heart this holiday season, I strongly encourage you to donate while you’re there. I can tell you first hand that this organization goes above and beyond to bring joy and hope to those that need it most!
Now that we have you in the Christmas spirit, here are some other great articles for the holidays!
The holidays are finally here! And you know what that means…it’s time for some family fun!
Photo Credit: Loft Country
Christmastime is the perfect time of year to create lifelong memories with your family. And if you’re looking for some family-friendly holiday activities in the Fraser Valley, look no further than Langley’s Loft Country Christmas! The perfect holiday adventure for family members of all ages, this winter wonderland blends the excitement of the wild west with the joy of Christmas.
Photo Credit: Loft Country
Featuring something for everyone, Loft Country Christmas has an endless array of fun family activities: Santa rides, bumper cars, a live carousel, petting zoo, Christmas-themed shows, food, games and so much more!
With this many Christmas attractions, Loft Country Christmas is the perfect place for you and your family to celebrate the holiday season, and create memories that will last you a lifetime!
Photo Credit: Loft Country
Tickets for the Loft Country Christmas are $17.24 for Children and Seniors and $23.24 for Adults. But as a loyal Adventure Awaits reader, we’re giving you and your family the chance to attend for FREE! Head on over to our social media pages (Facebook and Instagram) and follow the instructions there and you’ll be entered for your chance to win a family pass (good for 2 adults and 2 children) to experience this amazing Christmas wonderland!
Looking for other ideas to inspire you this Christmas season? We encourage you to check out these holiday articles!
This summer we took off with a goal to explore our beautiful home province of British Columbia (and a bit of Alberta too.) From crashing waves on Vancouver’s west coast, to sky high mountains through the Rockies, to pristine warm lakes in the Okanagan, we put together the Ultimate BC Family Road trip and now we want you to plan your own trip! Take a portion of our adventure or do the whole 7 weeks on the road!
Are you ready? Here we go!
We planned the trip so that it would take you in one big circle throughout BC and Alberta. There aren’t too many spots where the same road was traveled twice, allowing for the maximum number of new adventures! We know that a trip this length would be a huge undertaking for one family (which is why we split it up!), but with the layout and roadways of both provinces, shorter circle routes can easily be executed!
Day 1-3 – Camping in Ucluelet
We started off our adventure on a beachfront campsite at the Wya Point Resort in Ucluelet. It was the perfect place to transition into holiday mode allowing the kids unlimited play on the beach and gave the adults some well needed vitamin sea.
Recommended Adventure – Surfing in Tofino!
We headed up to Tofino to take family surf lessons with the Tofino Surf School. The family lessons were a perfect way for all of us to learn the sport, while my kids got all the support they needed to have a successful day. The only problem? My son has been asking every day to go back! (A great problem to have).
Day 4-6 – Resort Experience at Black Rock Oceanfront Resort
After three days of camping we were ready for fresh linens, hot tubs and a room with a kitchenette. The Black Rock Oceanfront Resort was truly an unbelievable resort, a masterpiece as if Mother Nature built it herself. We swooned over the views and even left our doors open at night so we could fall asleep to the sound of the waves.
During the day we took in local hikes, wandering some trails including the Wild Pacific Trail. We loved strolling through town for some retail therapy and my daughter loved making her own t-shirt at Pina. Lazy afternoons were spent in the ocean side hot tubs watching the waves crash into the huge black rocks.
If transitioning from the west coast you have to stop at Cathedral Cove to visit the towering heritage trees! Be sure to pose for a selfie with the oldest tree in the park, standing strong after 800 years.
Day 7-8 – Horne Lake Caves Regional Park
We restocked our groceries in Port Alberni and made our way inland to Horne Lake Caves Regional Park. There we set up camp right next to the lake! The kids loved being able to swim out in the water, wander and build stick creations and play unlimited rounds of Monopoly Deal with their parents.
Recommended Adventure – Caving!
If you’re in the Horne Lake Region a trip to see Horne Lake Caves is an absolute must! We took part in a guided tour which provides you access to caves that are not open to the public. Whether you’ve got little kids (minimum 5 years) or bigger ones the whole family will love this underground Eco tour.
Point Of Interest
Another must stop visit is Coombs. Famous for the goats on the roof, this market has everything and anything you could imagine from specialty food items, to artisan crafts, to toys for the kids. Go hungry and give yourself time for lunch and touring around. From surf shops to ice cream eateries it’s a destination all in one little town.
Day 9 – Parksville
Originally not scheduled to be on our itinerary, however we moved things around to allow a stop in Parksville and couldn’t be happier that we did! We were only there for 36 hours but cramped as much as we could in and the kids did NOT want to leave! Some of our highlights included the sandcastle competition, community park, huge beaches at Rathtrevor beach and family friendly accommodations at Tigh-Na-Mara. (We highly recommend more than one day in Parksville!)
Day 10 – Ladysmith & Chemainus
Families on a Vancouver Island road trip should definitely include a stop at the Microtel in Ladysmith. Centrally located just off the highway, this family centered property has everything you need to entertain the kids (pool, games lounge) while you do laundry, get in a workout and enjoy a great sleep in comfortable beds. Before you head out for the next day fuel up on the hotels full breakfast and be ready for an adventure filled day.
Recommended Adventure – Birds of Prey!
The Raptors experience surpassed any expectations and any other animal encounter we have ever had. From an up close and personal flying demonstration to a hands on “close encounter” to a “Hawk Walk.” We had intended to stay for one hour and didn’t want to leave after 3! A must do if you’re in the region!
Day 11 – Duncan & Merridale Cidery & Distillery
Take in the ambiance of the Cowichan region and slow down, sip, and savour the family time while on holidays. Our Merridale experience was a glamping retreat like no other filled with amazing food, an abundance of space to explore and an amazing yurt to cuddle into for the night.
Recommended Adventure – Take in the Sights!
Photo Credit: Tourism Cowichan
Central Cowichan is an area that needs to be explored. From educational experiences including the The BC Forestry Museum in Duncan, to walking alongside history with the Chemainus Murals, to strolling across an iconic trestle bridge, there’s so much to explore in Cowichan!
Day 12-13 – Victoria & Bear Mountain Resort
For our final days on holidays we soaked in luxury at the Bear Mountain Resort. Our children loved “The best pool ever” and visited it daily, while my husband and I swooned over the poolside bar and restaurant. From luxury food, to family friendly amenities, to huge soaker tubs to sit back and reflect on the day, our stay at Bear Mountain was the perfect way to wrap up our Vancouver Island portion of our trip.
Day 14-15 – Vancouver
Vancouver is an iconic city with world famous skylines and lots of great places to explore. We recommend an authentic Vancouver experience and an opportunity to connect with what makes us unique by exploring these day trips while you’re in our region!
Day 16-17 – Whistler
Whistler is such a family friendly destination and is full of adventures for the whole family. From resorts right in the village, zip lining, mountain biking, shopping, great eats and ATV adventure tours, there is something for everyone! We never hesitate to stop and spend time in Whistler, as we know we are never disappointed!
Day 18-19 – Search for Gold in Barkerville
As soon as you step into the welcoming visitor centre at the Barkerville Historic Town and Park, you are instantly taken back to 1862 and the booming gold rush days in the Cariboo of British Columbia. As you walk through town you can almost feel the excitement that the gold prospectors felt as they mined the hills in hopes of finding riches. Shows, stagecoach rides, gold panning and sleeping in luxury cottages are just a few of the things to discover here!
Day 20-23 – Tumbler Ridge
Tumbler Ridge should be on the radar for any outdoor loving family! All of the adventures the area has to offer, combined with amazing hospitality, there is no reason why you shouldn’t visit this outstanding town. From exceptional hiking, dinosaur discoveries, camping, mountain biking, golf and waterfalls, this town has it all!
Recommended Adventure – Chasing Waterfalls!
It is no secret that Tumbler Ridge is known for its wilderness adventures, sprawling forests and many waterfalls. Being able to explore waterfalls, especially those off the beaten path, are one of the main highlights for visitors to the region. Wild River Adventure Tours offers jet boat excursions to view the spectacular Kinuseo Falls. This adventure is not one to be missed!
Point of Interest
East of Tumbler Ridge, on the outskirts of Grande Prairie, is the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum. This incredible hands on facility is full of exhibits to entertain the whole family. Kids (and adults!) can pretend to be paleontologists and search for dinosaur bones and footprints. Stand beside full size replica dinosaur skeletons and touch real dinosaur fossils! This is one pit stop that all families need to experience!
Day 24-26 – Jasper National Park
Camping in Jasper National Park has been an activity that families have been experiencing for many years. Whistlers Campground was built in the 1960’s and is ready for some major renovations! It has had upgrades and additions over the years, but the campground is showing its age and it’s time for a HUGE face lift. Big changes are coming for Jasper!
Recommended Adventure – Glaciers!
Imagine stepping out onto a glass walkway 918 feet above a river valley! This is the Jasper Glacier Skywalk, an exhilarating way to experience the Athabasca Glacier and Columbia Icefield. This 1 kilometer long glass walkway allows you have an unobstructed view of waterfalls, river beds, fossils, glaciers and mountains with exposed rock tops. A great family friendly experience!
Point of Interest
Head into the mountains and soak away the day at the Miette Hot Springs. Located an hour drive Northeast of the town of Jasper, this is somewhere not to be missed. Kids will love plunging into the cold pools and then jumping into the hot springs pools to warm back up. Don’t forget to go for a hike after your soak to find the source of the hot springs!
Day 27-29 – Banff National Park
Banff is a popular vacation destination for people from all over the world, on average there are 3.5 million visitors each year. Knowing how busy the park was going to be, we decided to make use of their public transit and Parks Canada shuttle systems to get around and see the sights. It was so convenient and easy to leave our car parked at our campsite and explore Banff by bus!
Recommended Adventure – Banff Gondola!
At 2,281 meters above sea level and surrounded by 6 scenic mountain ranges, a trip up the Banff Gondola truly gives you the feeling of being on top of the world. With breathtaking views, an interpretive centre and a boardwalk hike, this attraction is the perfect addition to your Banff experience.
Point of Interest
If you are going to visit any of the National Historic Sites, make sure Cave and Basin is one of them! It is the birthplace of Canada’s national parks system and visitors can explore the smelly hot springs inside the cave and enjoy the beauty of the bright green waters in the basin outside. Kids, don’t forget to grab your Xplorers booklet when you arrive!
Day 30-33 – Alberta Badlands
From cowboy hats to camping, to living the lake life, we were very fortunate to have the opportunity to experience the diversity of what Calgary has to offer, set against the picture-perfect backdrop of the Alberta countryside. Whether you’re interested in seeing a one-of-a-kind event like the Strathmore Stampede, taking a trip down memory lane or living the lake life, there’s something here for everyone and my only hope is that you fall in love with the Canadian Badlands as much as we did.
Day 34-36 – Kamloops
Photo Credit: Tourism Kamloops / Tamra Jaeger
Often a transition or an “in between” destination, Kamloops is a mecca of outdoor activities waiting to exploited! We spent three action packed days in Kamloops where we rode a Nui for the first time, got lost in an escape room, took my son zip lining for the first time, came face to face with rescued animals including 2 grizzly bears, and also learned about local mountain biking, hikes, and even a theatrical train to explore! Needless To say Kamloops is a destination not just a pit stop!
Recommended Adventures – Everything!
With so many adventures to recommend we can’t choose one! Whether you’re looking to take the whole family on one big SUP, or try zip lining with Treetop Flyers, or spend the afternoon at the BC Wildlife Park, choose the adventure that’s right for your family (or stay a couple extra days and do them all!)
Day 37-39 – Sun Peaks
A European village tucked into the mountainside, we felt right home at Sun Peaks. From my daughter learning how to do her first drops on a mountain bike, to seeing my son get thrown 20 feet in the air in the kids zone, to alpine hiking and voyager canoeing, Sun Peaks is the perfect place for an outdoor family to explore.
Recommended Adventure – Mountain Biking Lessons!
Barely confident standing on her bike my daughter was inspired and quickly connected to our female instructor, Melissa. After lots of great activities, my daughters confidence was up and by the end of the two hour lesson she had mastered her first drop!
Day 40-44 – Vernon
Sandy beaches with warm water that whispers up to you “jump in”! From swimming and paddling on Kalamalka Lake, to looking down on it from Predator Ridge after mountain biking, the scenery and the activities in and around Vernon beg you to stay and explore. When we were spent from physical activity, we took part in a variety of local family friendly activities including shopping for fresh baked pies at Davison Orchards, searching for the queen bee at Planet Bee, stepping back in history at O’Keefe Ranch.d
Recommended Adventure – Turtles & Tunnels!
SUPing with Kalavida! Did you know you can find Turtles in Kalamalka Lake? A short distance from the beach in front of the Kalavida shop, brings you to a side estuary and the best experience of paddling through a tunnel. After going through the hanging willow tree branches, you’ll be on the lookout for turtles sunning themselves in the heat!
Day 45-47 – Penticton
Penticton was made for kids, or at least that’s what my children have said. A paradise for parents, where kids have lots of opportunity for free outdoor playtime combined with modern entertainment centers, family resorts and amenities. If a destination was made for Summer, this…was…IT!
Recommended Adventure – Kayaking!
Hoodoo Adventures has a lot of opportunities to get outdoors, whether you’re looking for an easy afternoon paddle on the lake or looking to make a weekend adventure out of it and try one of their adventure races.
Day 48-50 – Osoyoos
Photo Credit: Tourism Osoyoos
Osoyoos gives families the chance to slow down and spend a lot of time together, doing quality activities in the summer. A quaint, lakeside community begs you to slow down as soon as you enter. With world class resorts and accommodations for every style and budget, Osoyoos is ready for families looking to slow down and spend time together in the summer.
There you have it folks! 7 weeks, over 4,800 kilometers traveled and endless memories made while British Columbia and Alberta were explored! We hope that by sharing our experiences, you have been inspired to plan an ultimate road trip for your family!
Now that you are armed with all the destination information you need, here are some great articles to help you with the logistical side of your road trip planning!
The kids are out of school and you crack open your wallet to discover nothing but dust bunnies. Not to worry, we’ve got plenty of free Spring Break ideas for you! Here are 18 family-friendly experiences that will be sure to give you an ADVENTURE filled Spring Break!
Unlock a Playbox
Photo Credit: City of Surrey
The City of Surrey has a really neat program called the playbox. These boxes are located in 9 different parks and inside is a plethora of sports and games equipment you can use for FREE! Just register for the program and you’ll be able to play with all the equipment when you visit the park. Available at Holly Park, Guildford Heights Park, Hummingbird Park, Hjorth Road Park, Bridgeview Community Centre, Starr Park, Maple Green Park, Bakerview Park, and TE Scott Park. To register visit their website.
Get The Bikes Out
Dig the bikes out of the basement and get them cleaned and tuned up so they are ready to hit the road. Load up a backpack with essentials for the day (food, sunscreen, water, extra layers) and take the kids on a LONG bike ride through the neighbourhood. We like to stop every time we see a park… our record is 8 parks. If you’re looking for a longer adventure why not do a destination bike trip! Perhaps you choose Steveston, or want to hit the bike trails on Fromme mountain? Either way, biking season is officially around the corner!
Hit the Slopes – Use up your Ski Pass, or buy next years and ski this year for free!
If you have a ski pass this is your last month to use it, so gear up the kids and hit the slopes! If you don’t have a pass but think you’ll want one next year, NOW is a great time to buy it. You’ll get next year’s seasons pass purchase out of the way AND be able to ski for the rest of this year for FREE! Check out our article that compares all of the different prices and packages for each mountain here.
Brave a Suspension Bridge
Our region is known for its topography and with that comes a variety of suspension bridges for you to explore. Lynn Canyon is a popular one for locals, offering instagram perfect photos, kid friendly hiking trails around the canyon and and educational ecology centre. If you’re out in the Fraser Valley, Cascade Falls in Mission is a great place to take the kids out. Bring a picnic and you’ve got another adventure filled day!
Walk the World Famous Seawall
Photo Credit: Tourism Vancouver
People from all around the world come and visit Vancouver’s beautiful seawall, but when was the last time YOU headed down there to explore. With beaches, playgrounds, and forested trails to explore, all you need to do is pack a lunch and head down there. Want more of an adventure for the kids? Why not take transit! It’s more cost effective, more environmentally friendly, and kids LOVE to take the bus! (Just ask them and you’ll see!)
Have a Campfire
Many local parks (like Derby Reach Regional Park in Langley) have fire pits for the general public to use. So load up the camping chairs, the roasting sticks, and some firewood. Text your friends to meet you there and grab some marshmallows and hot dogs en route to the park! The kids will have a blast eating s’mores and playing as the sun goes down and the adults can enjoy some much needed social time.
Step Back in Time at the Burnaby Village Museum
Located in Deer Lake Park, the Burnaby Village Museum takes visitors back to the 1920’s and allows guests to explore what a typical tram-stop community would have looked like. Explore the post office, bank, blacksmith shop, general store and school. Don’t forget to complete your visit with a ride on the 1912 CW Parker Carousel (rides are a minimal fee). Pack a lunch and head down towards the lake for a picnic and a walk!
Hit The Beach
We’re surrounded by beaches and yet never seem to explore them enough! Whether you head out to one of Vancouver’s iconic beaches or head to White Rock or to the Fraser Valley to explore one of the riverside beaches, the feeling of having sand between your toes is closer than you think!
Hike Your Heart Out
The number one comment I get on my account is “you’re lucky you get to go hiking so much!”. But this spring break it’s your turn! With so many hikes to explore, spring break is the perfect time to get your legs warmed up and ready for hiking season! Looking for a great family friendly place to start? Check out The Top 7 Family Friendly Hikes in the Fraser Valley and one of our favourites, High Knoll Trail!
Have we given you enough Spring Break ideas yet? Here’s more!:
Explore the Tropics at the Bloedel Conservatory
Located in Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, the Bloedel Conservatory is home to over 120 free flying exotic birds and 500 plants and flowers. Make sure you grab a bird guide and children’s scavenger hunt from the front desk, then enjoy the warmth of the tropics as you explore and have some conversations with some chatty parrots! Take advantage of up to two free admissions with the purchase of a regular price adult ticket from March 1-29, 2018.
Head out on a Night Quest
Metro Vancouver Parks are always hosting amazing programs and on Saturday March 24th they are putting on a Night Quest at Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Little adventurers will love exploring nature in the dark, along a lantern lit trail. Meet up with owls, frogs, coyotes, and other nocturnal creatures. This family friendly event is perfect for those with strollers and takes an hour and a half to explore! Please bring a lantern or flashlight but leave your pets at home. Meet at Park Centre on 16th Ave, 400 m west of Blanca St. To learn more visit their website.
Plan a Picnic
Let the kids be in charge and have them plan a picnic. I’m 100% serious… give them free reign and see what they come up with. Not only will it be entertaining, but potentially educational to see if they make healthy choices, or choose to spoil the family with treats. Either one is a win if Mom and Dad get a break from preparing a meal! Head out to a local park, bring your baseball gloves, frisbees, and soccer balls and get ready for a family filled afternoon of fun!
Go And Visit That Friend!
How many times have you said, “we really need to get together” and yet never make time for it to happen? Whether it’s someone who lives close, or you need to make a bit of a spontaneous road trip, going to visit friends is one of the most cost effective and fun ways to explore an area. Let your friend guide you on local hikes, beaches, and points of interest to explore. So send that Facebook message and start planning!
Explore an Enchanted Forest
Aldergrove Regional Park invites you on a one hour nature quest! On Thursday March 29th from 10am to 1:30pm you’ll find out how trees talk to one another, look for forest spirits and rock trolls. You’re invited to dress in costume and bring food to roast over a campfire. Meet at Blacktail Picnic Shelter by the main park entrance on 8th avenue.To learn more visit their website.
Learn About The Birds
Bring your binoculars and scope out shorebirds, waterfowl, raptors, and more on this 2.5 hour bird watching amble. Suitable for little adventurers ages 9 and up this tour takes place on Wednesday March 14th, 2018 from 9am to 12pm at Boundary Bay Regional Park. You’ll meet at Cammidge House via the Centennial Beach entrance on Boundary Bay Road, in Tsawassen. Register online for FREE here.
Dig Out The Gift Cards
I don’t know about you, but I have a little stash of gift cards that I save for “someday”. However, this spring break I’ll be busting them out and spoiling my kids with a few dinners out after a day of outdoor adventures. I’m also going to use some of the toy store ones to purchase some new outdoor gear before we head out on a park picnic afternoon. My favorite thing to do is a bit of “Spring Cleaning” around the house and then reward the kids with a surprise trip to the store.
Enjoy an Old Fashioned Easter at Historic Stewart Farm
Meet the Easter Bunny, make your own rabbit ears, decorate egg shaped cookies, get your face painted and take part in a scavenger hunt. This is the perfect Easter adventure and it’s free on Saturday, March 31st from 11 am to 3 pm at Historic Stewart Farm (13723 Crescent Road, Surrey).
Follow Footsteps: Explore Animal Signs
Can you be a forest detective? Learn how to identify various animal tracks by shape, size, pattern, gait, and more. Models and photos of different tracks will be on hand and there will be an outdoor walk for explorers to look for actual animal signs. This free program takes place on Sunday March 18, 2018 from 1 pm to 4 pm at Kanaka Creek Regional Park. Meet at 11450 256th St, Maple Ridge.
Fun activities to experience with your family don’t need to break the bank. There are plenty of free outdoor activities available! Have we missed any? Let us know what your plans are this spring break!
Have you started planning your Summer yet? Here are some great ideas to add to your Summer bucket list!
Have you ever said, “We should really plan a family reunion” but no one ever quite jumps to take the lead on it? Well we happen to think family is pretty important so we’ve done the work for you!
We sourced every region around British Columbia and have come up with the best location to host a family reunion in BC this summer!
Strathcona Park Lodge
Photo Credit: Strathcona Park Lodge
Designed for adventurers of all ages, your family will love this resort for its variety of amenities and custom experiences. Stay in one of their amazing cabins or cozy up in the hotel after a long day of playing outside with the family. You can go as active, or low key as you want, as they have a whole variety of activities including campfires, saunas, beach, swimming in the lake, canoeing, hiking, high ropes course, rock climbing, zip lining, and boat and bike rentals! Located just outside of Campbell River, Strathcona Park Lodge has been welcoming guests for over 50 years and is ready to host your family reunion!
Type of Accommodation: Cottages & Hotel Rooms Pool: No (lake) Accessible: Yes, ideally with assistance as there are some gravel roads. Pet Friendly: Yes Capacity: Up to 120 guests. Activities: campfires, saunas, playing on the beach, swimming in the lake, canoeing, hiking, high ropes course, rock climbing, zip lining, boat and bike rentals.
Rathtreavor Beach Provincial Park
Surrounding by old growth trees and sandy beaches, Rathtreavor Beach Provincial Park in Parksville has been one of Vancouver Island’s top camping locations for years. All campsites are within a 5 minute walk to over 2 km’s of beautiful sandy beaches just waiting to be explored by the whole family. The park has 6 group campsites, perfect for family reunions! These sites are located in an open field with picnic tables, fire pits, flush toilets, showers and a new wash station with fresh water. There are also 2 reservable picnic shelters perfect for a big family potluck. Group campsites are open from May 12 to October 15. Reservations can be make through the Discover Camping website.
Type of accommodation: Camping (both tents and RV’s are allowed in group sites) Pool: No (ocean) Accessible: Yes Pet Friendly: Yes, on leash only (pets are not permitted on the beach) Capacity: Group Sites #1-2: max 30 people / Group Sites #3-6: max 80 people Activities: canoeing, cycling, fishing, hiking, interpretive programs, swimming, wildlife viewing, windsurfing, campfires, playground
Cariboo Chilcotin Coast
Mile High Resort
Photo Credit: Mile High Resort
The loons on the lake slowly rise you out of your slumber and as your eyes start to open you remember you’re starting your day in a really amazing place. Mile High Resort is centrally located in Logan Lake (approx. 30 mins South of Kamloops), making it the perfect meeting spot for a family reunion. Families can enjoy a combination of accommodations, either calling one of their 14 amazing cabins home, or bringing their own camping gear and setting up next to the campfire. Kids of all ages will enjoy adventures from mountain biking to swimming, riding your ATV or going for a hike. Those looking for more down time will enjoy a paddle around the lake via SUP or kayak.
Type of accommodation: Cabins & Tenting Pool: No (lake) Accessible: Pet Friendly: No Capacity: Up to 120 guests Activities: campfires, beach, kayaking, SUP, hiking, ATV, snowmobiling, boat rentals
Flying U Guest Ranch
Photo Credit: Flying U Guest Ranch
It’s time to giddy up and grab the family for a reunion at the Flying U Guest Ranch, the oldest guest ranch in Canada (the barn was built in 1849)! Located close to 70 Mile House, this ranch has over 60,000 acres of trails for you and your family to explore. After settling into your 100+ year old cabin, guests are assigned their own horse and tack suited to their riding ability. When you’re not riding, guests can head down to the lake and go for a swim or canoe, play badminton, horseshoes, visit the health spa and hot tub, go for water skiing lessons, play mini golf, go for a walk, or leisurely enjoy the lake in a wooden row boat. Or perhaps you’d like to learn how to square dance, enjoy a drink at the Longhorn Saloon, or shop at the general store. Listen for the bell though as that’s when your next meal is served, where you and your family will enjoy sitting at the traditional long table sharing your stories about the day.
Type of accommodation: Log cabins and 2 large luxury houses. Pool: No (lake) Accessible: No Pet Friendly: Yes Capacity: 125 Activities: horseback riding, swimming, canoeing, row boats, badminton, spa, water ski lessons, golf, shopping, saloon.
Blue Lake Resort
Photo Credit: Kelsey Brown
Located 15 Kilometers north of Boston Bar, or just a short two hour drive from Abbotsford, Blue Lake Resort is the perfect getaway for families looking for a family reunion destination. This campground offers a variety of accommodation offers including tents, rustic cabins, RV’s and sites for 5th wheels and motorhomes, making it a great destination for groups with varied needs. While you’re there enjoy playing in the lake, hiking through mountain trails, renting a boat, or riding your ATV through the miles of available trails. This place is a kid haven with a playground, youth centre, chickens and goats, and even a bouncy castle! With thousands of acres of untouched wilderness, this is the perfect place to start a new family tradition. To make a reservation, visit their website.
Type of accommodation: Cabins & Tenting & RV Sites Pool: No (lake) Accessible: Pet Friendly: Yes (pets must be on leash and are not permitted on the beach) Capacity: Cabins – 50 people total / 100 campsites that accommodate up to 4 people each Activities: swimming, fishing, hiking, boat rentals, bouncy castle, playground, and a youth centre (complete with air hockey & foosball tables)
Nimpo Lake Resort
Photo Credit: Donna King
If your family likes to fish, then this is the resort for you! Known for it’s amazing wild trout and beautiful scenery this small and cozy resort is perfect for outdoor families. Enjoy everything the lake has to offer, from kayaking, canoeing, and swimming, or head on land and enjoy hiking and biking. When your day is done settle down in one of their 5 equipped cabins, perfect for families. To learn more about this great little getaway visit their website.
Type of accommodation: 5 Cabins & 5 Camp/RV sites Pool: No (lake) Accessible: Limited Pet Friendly: Yes Capacity: 20-25 in cabins, plus campsites Activities: fishing, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, hiking, biking, campfires, playground, horse riding and flight seeing available.
Pierre’s Point Campground
Photo Credit: Pierre’s Point Campground
If you’re family loves camping and has their own tents or RV’s (or would rent) Pierre’s Point in the Shuswap may be the perfect place for your family reunion. With 81 sites located right next to the beach, this is the perfect campground for families to swim, kayak, SUP, and play at, all day long! Even your furry family members will love this campground as it includes a beach just for them! Conveniently located 7 km from Salmon Arm, this central destination is a great weekend getaway. To learn more visit their website.
Type of accommodation: Camping (full and partial hookups) Pool: No (lake) Accessible: Yes Pet Friendly: Yes (there’s even a special dog only beach!) Capacity: 81 sites Activities: swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boarding, mini golf, playground, and a general store.
Shuswap Lake Provincial Park
The problem with Shuswap Lake Provincial Park is that the second your trip is over you want to start planning your next one back. This very large provincial campground is the epitome of a “BC Summer Experience” with a long lakeside beach perfect for swimming and boating, kilometers of bike trails and a mountain bike park, a huge field for football and baseball, and lots of campsites for everyone to enjoy. If you’re looking to book a family reunion I’d suggest the group site, where you can all be gathered around one field and enjoy the use of a shelter and pit washrooms just for your group. Sites can be booked up to a year in advance.
Type of accommodation: Camping (tents or RV’s) Pool: No (Lake) Accessible: Yes Pet Friendly: Yes (must be on leash, separate dog swimming area) Capacity: Large Group site (max. 35 people) as well as over 200 individual sites are available. Activities: swimming, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, playground, soccer field, bike park, biking trails, water skiing, and wind surfing. The town of Salmon Arm is an hour drive away and is home to a waterslide park.
Summerland Waterfront Resort
Photo Credit: Summerland Waterfront Resort
Is your family more of a “hotel” type family? One that wants to explore the great outdoors all day but snuggle into a down filled bed at night, and not have to unzip a tent for a midnight bathroom break? Well Summerland Resort Hotel may be the perfect fit for you! Located in Summerland (45 minutes south of Kelowna), this lakefront resort hotel has full kitchens, dining and living areas, fireplace, and most importantly, balconies that look out over the stunning lakefront views. Spend your days on the lake or at the pool. Then head over to the group barbecue area to cook up dinner with ingredients sourced from one of the many local markets. This resort offers the best of both worlds and is centrally located, ideal for families who are located across BC or split between BC and Alberta.
Type of accommodation: Luxury Hotel Pool: Yes, and Hot tubs! Accessible: Yes Pet Friendly: Yes Capacity: Meeting Room capacity of 110 people. Activities: Swimming, beach combing, nearby boat rentals, spa, barbecue area, golf, wine tours.
Salmon Valley Campground
Photo Credit: Salmon Valley Campground
Imagine an intimate family campground where you can all share meals and craft s’mores around the campfire. Salmon Valley Campground in Prince George is the picture perfect background for your family reunion… literally! Not only do they have an amazing campsite to welcome you and your group, they also go above and beyond to offer unique services, like a family camping photoshoot! What a great way to capture your reunion memories. Authentic. Fun. Family. To learn more visit their website.
Type of accommodation: Camping (RV hook up sites and tenting) Pool: No (river) Accessible: Yes, but it depends on individual needs and your own equipment. Pet Friendly: Yes. Capacity: 9 RV hook up sites (water & electrical), plus 35 sites (tenting or self contained RV’s) Activities: wine tours, historic site, Canadian botanical park, general store (with ice cream!), and horseshoe pit.
Fairmont Hot Springs Resort
Photo Credit: Kari Medig
Located in the town of Fairmont Hot Springs, this resort has it all in terms of accommodation types: hotel rooms, cottages and cabins at the main resort as well as an RV resort and a campground. The main resort offers Nordic style hot and cold plunge pools, steam room, sauna and outdoor pool. The RV resort and campground have access to natural mineral hot pools, swimming pool and a covered picnic pavilion, the perfect place for a pot luck family style gathering. At their Activity & Experience centre the kids can jump in bouncy castles, play some mini golf and take part in organized crafts, treasure hunts and bingo! Or sign the kids up for day camps where they will take part in cooperative games, archery, wilderness survival training (building shelters & fires), animal tracking and GPS orienteering. This resort would be the perfect place for a family reunion! Visit their website for booking.
Type of accommodation: Resort hotel rooms/suites, Cottages, Cabins, RV and tenting Pool: Yes (sauna, steam room, mineral hot pools) Accessible: Yes Pet Friendly: Yes Capacity: Multiple resort rooms, Over 300 RV and tenting sites Activities: swimming, hiking, fishing, playground, kids day camps, geocaching, horseback riding, river tubing, zip lining, bouncy castles, mini golf, kayak tours & rentals, biking, bingo, movie nights and more.
Kokanee Creek Provincial Park
Photo Credit: Dave Heath
Kokanee Creek Provincial Park, located 21 km Northeast of Nelson, BC, is home to three campsites on the sandy beaches of Kootenay Lake. Surrounded by old growth western cedar and grand fir, this park has endless hiking trails to get you up close and person with these giant trees! Two group campsites that can accommodate 90 people makes this park the perfect spot for a family reunion. These sites feature an enclosed picnic shelter with wood burning stove, picnic tables, pit toilets, water tap, BBQ and fire pit. A playground, sandy swimming areas and large field areas (perfect for a game of soccer or softball) will keep all the kids busy! For reservations, visit their website.
Type of accommodation: Camping (RV’s and tents are allowed in group sites) Pool: No (lake) Accessible: Yes Pet Friendly: Yes (pets must be on leash, only allowed on pet friendly beach area) Capacity: One group site is max 50 people and the other one is max 40 people. 171 regular sites. Activities: hiking, swimming, canoeing, cycling, interpretive programs, fishing, waterskiing, windsurfing, and a playground.
Vancouver Coast and Mountains
Manning Park Resort
Manning Park Resort is conveniently located only 2 hours outside of Vancouver. This multi facility resort is perfect for family reunions as it offers hotel accommodations, cabins, large group cabins, and even a huge house that will fit 50 people! During the day the family can explore a stunning, family friendly lake where you can kayak, canoe, swim, or hike around the lake! When you’re back at the resort your family can connect in the hot tub and pool, huge games room with pool, ping pong, shuffleboard, play basketball or baseball or soccer, and more! To learn more or book your reunion, visit here.
Type of accommodation: Cabins, hotel rooms, and large house. Pool: Yes (sauna, steam room and hot tubs) Accessible: Yes Pet Friendly: Yes Capacity: 450 people Activities: hiking, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, tennis, playground, grocery store, restaurant, pub, games room, basketball, exercise room and ping pong
Aava Whistler Hotel
Photo Credit: Aava Whistler Hotel
Whistler is one of my favorite places to bring the family (I actually got married there) and Aava Whistler Hotel is my favorite hotels for groups and gatherings. It is centrally located in the village, just steps away from all the action. With group bookings you can get huge adjoining rooms with vaulted ceilings, large living rooms, full kitchens, giving lots of rooms for the whole family to play. Spend the day at the resort, hanging out at the pool or head out into the village or out into the surrounding area to play. Then head down to the pool deck to enjoy the fire bowl or host a cookout on their BBQ patio. Don’t forget to bring your bikes, they offer a 24/7 bike valet team with secure storage and a washing and tuning station (and complimentary bike rentals if you don’t bring your own!). The only problem you’ll have is too many activities to do and not enough time! For more info and to make a reservation, visit their website.
Type of accommodation: Hotel Pool: Yes (sauna and hot tub) Accessible: Yes Pet Friendly: Yes Capacity: Multiple rooms and suites available Activities: Everything you can imagine! Zip lining, golf, mountain biking, hiking, activity zone, peak to peak tour, lakeside activities (SUP, Kayak, canoeing, swimming) and more!
Now that you have the locations, it’s time to start packing!
Make sure everyone knows what to bring! Here’s the “ultimate camping checklist” that you can send to your family members so they don’t leave anything at home.
Are you an outdoor family looking to plan the best adventures this summer? Check out these other articles to help you with your planning!
Is this a sponsored post? This is NOT a sponsored post. The destinations highlighted did not pay to be included. I simply researched the best destinations through the Province, looking at their website and researching what they had to offer. If I felt they were a good fit for families they made my list! Hope you enjoy this round up!
Do you have guests coming from out of town this year? Want to take them on a day trip that they won’t forget? We’ve put together our top 7 Vancouver day trips for tourists (or locals who want an awesome staycation!) Check them out:
A great activity to take in on a beautiful day. During spring break you could get in some skiing or snowboarding and ride down the hill overlooking a world class view. There are other great activities like snowshoeing and sledding as well. It’s a more expensive destination but well worth it.
An iconic “must see” in Vancouver this suspension bridge is fun and a little nerve racking to walk across. Once you’re on the other side be sure to take in the tree top adventures and walk among the giant trees.
***These two activities are located right next to each other so it’s perfect to group them and make a day of it.
Located right on the water, this bustling quay is full of restaurants, shops, open air markets, and street entertainers. From the huge kids store, to the playgrounds, to renting kayaks and touring around the inner harbour, a trip to Vancouver wouldn’t be complete without spending a day at Granville Island.
A 30 minute drive into North Vancouver will bring you to Deep Cove, a unique little ocean-side community. Be sure to do the 45 minute hike up to the top of Quarry Rock and then come down and have lunch at one of the amazing little restaurants. After lunch rent kayaks and tour around Indian Arm. The perfect west coast family day!
Voted one of the top parks in the world, Stanley Park sits at the edge of the city welcoming cruise ships and tourists into Vancouver. Spend the day walking (or rent bikes and ride) around the seawall, which brings you on a self guided full circle tour around the city. Take an educational tour with the Horse Drawn Tours. Stop at one of the many ocean-side playgrounds or head down to one of the beaches and play in the sand. A trip to the Vancouver Aquarium, located in the middle of the park is a great way to learn about the resident locals, including otters, sea lions, sharks, and more.
A 2 hour drive out of Vancouver brings you to the resort town and the host of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler. Take the stunning Sea to Sky highway drive through Squamish. Stop halfway in Squamish at the Sea to Sky Gondola and take in the breathtaking views of Howe Sound. When in Whistler I recommend you stay at the Aava Whistler Hotel, a modest hotel that is centrally located, very affordable, has kitchen units available as well as an outdoor pool and hot tub. Spend your day in Whistler touring around town, taking in the free village activities, or rent skates, go skiing or snowboarding, or take in an adventure. (I recommend zip-lining with Ziptrek Eco Tours) or family snowmobiling with Tag Whistler. For a super cool shorter kid friendly hike check out the Train Wreck hike. For a more challenging, but uber Canadian amazing hike, check out Joffre Lakes. (Far, half / full day trip but worth it!)
A 2 hour ferry ride brings you to our Province’s capital. I recommend you base yourself out of downtown Victoria… my favorite family friendly hotel is the Chateau Victoria. Once in Victoria first spend some time walking the city streets, you’ll tour the harbour, parliament street, and head down government and the side streets for great shopping and eats. Take a water taxi and head over to Fisherman’s Wharf for fish and chips! If you’re looking for kid friendly adventures I’d recommend WildPlay Victoria.
There is no shortage of fun adventures to be experienced in Vancouver. Where will you visit first?
Is this a sponsored post?: No! We get asked all the time for suggestions of where locals can take visiting family and friends, so we put together this list to share with all our followers!
Location: Mount Seymour Provincial Park, BC Distance: 5 km round trip Time: 2 hours Elevation: minimal (some steep sections, well marked trail) Dog Friendly: Yes (on leash) Stroller Friendly: No Washrooms: In the Mount Seymour Resort buildings (far end of the main parking lot) Bikes Allowed: No Horses Allowed: No
Logistics of hiking with kids…
You arrive 20 minutes before the group meeting time because you know a few things to be true:
The kids will have to pee.
The baby needs to be wrapped up.
Someone will be hungry.
And the one who “didn’t” have to go will now have to.
But in the middle of asking yourself if it’s worth all the effort, you remind yourself of your commitment to raise your kids outdoors and quickly realize that getting onto a trail is almost always the hardest part of a hike!
This is where the Dog Mountain comes in… easily accessible at the the top of Mount Seymour’s parking lot, this short 5 km loop brings you all the essentials that a hike needs. It has great terrain, a beautiful lake with stunning scenery, enough elevation to get your heart pumping, and a scenic view that is worth every step.
This well marked trail is perfect for families and those looking for an easy hike. At only 5 km complete round loop this hike gets your heart pumping as hard as you want it to as you’re really free to choose your own pace.
We went snowshoeing on this trail in the winter and as soon as we peaked out of the forest edge we found ourselves walking into the set of The Grinch and Whoville. With candy cane curved trees that were held in places by 6 or more inches of snow, every place we turned had us snapping photos and saying “how” and “wow” back and forth.
The Trail After the Lake
After the lake you progress through to the Dog Mountain trail, a single track line weaves you through big trees, up and down forest trails, and toward the epic lookout over Vancouver city. The overall elevation gain is very minimal making it a very doable hike for families, however there are a few steeper and more challenging sections. Take your time and make sure you’re wearing appropriate footwear!
After one final steeper section, the terrain flattens out and the trees open to a beautiful view over the city below. We were fortunate enough to see the city under a blanket of fog, with only the tallest buildings peeking out above the clouds to say hello.
Watchful Whisky Jacks
Photo Credit : Morgan Green
The beautiful Whisky Jacks were in full force ready to greet you and steal a treat or two if you were willing to share! While very tempting, please don’t feed them! Our food is not meant for their tummies!
Looking for another hike similar to Dog Mountain? Check out our blogs about Quarry Rock in North Vancouver and High Knoll Trail in Minnekhada Regional Park in Coquitlam!
Have you ever seen the vacations being promoted by BC Ferries? From commercials to posters on board I’ve always been curious what those “deals” were all about so I decided to do some investigation, and I quickly discovered a bunch of amazing family holiday DEALS and had to share them (the benefits of having your own blog!).
BC Vacations Headquarters
I quickly discovered that BC Ferries has a whole vacation division! Their goal is to offer visitors a vacation planning service that is personalized, inclusive, and offers guests the most value for their dollar. BC Ferries currently has over 2,100 unique travel packages servicing over 40 destinations… who knew?!
Retail Travel Agency
Did you know that BC Ferries has a Travel Centre in downtown Vancouver? The Vacation Centre opened in 2010 as a way to help visitors understand the ferries, manage bookings, and help them book vacation packages. The beautiful store acts as the flagship for the vacations office and offers guests an interactive media centre, face to face consultations with travel agents, and a retail section.
Calling it a day, surfers, Chesterman Beach, Tofino, British Columbia, Canada Photo credit: BC Ferries
I did some shopping around and found a ton of great deals. From 3rd night free stays, to kids travel for free, to breakfasts and parking included, I was surprised at both the package deal prices (they were actual deals) as well as the bonus items that were included. While BC Ferries aims for at least a 15% savings, (compared to if you had to plan the vacation yourself) I found the savings to be quite a bit more than that. So I had to dig more!
Tip: Each season and holiday BC Ferries comes out with promotions such as the stay 2 get your third night free. The best way to stay in the loop of such deals is to sign up for their bi-weekly newsletter.
The Best Family Deals
I decided to do some hunting to see what deals I could find, and check these out!!!
Victoria Escape – 3rd night FREE at Chateau Victoria!
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada Photo Credit: BC Ferries.
Chateau Victoria is my favourite hotel in all of Victoria for it combines my two most important things, personalized service and location. Chateau Victoria is locally owned and each guest is welcomed as if they were coming home for the day, the staff are absolutely amazing. The location is only steps from Victoria’s Inner Harbour, making it easy to go back and forth to your hotel in between adventures and shopping. Kids will love the huge pool and adults will love watching them from the hot tub. Recommended adventure: Whale Watching!
Package Details: $239 pp
Book by March 26th and enjoy a 3rd night for free.
Kids sail for free between March 15th and April 3rd.
Ucluelet Retreat at Black Rock Resort – 3rd night FREE!
Black Rock Resort is a chic oceanfront hotel built from granite and glass. Guests will enjoy “hanging out” on the water’s edge where they can experience the wild spirit of Canada’s west coast. When you can pull yourself away from the view you’ll find a bounty of things to explore, from the beautiful town of Ucluelet, to beaches, to hiking trails, to adventure activities, there’s no shortage of things to do.
Package Details: $355 pp
Kids sail for free between March 15th and April 3rd.
Three nights’ accommodation at the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort in a Lodge One Bedroom Suite with 3rd night free, max. 4 people.
Complimentary parking for BC Ferries Vacations guests.
Round trip on BC Ferries from Metro Vancouver to Vancouver Island for two adults and one car.
Click here to learn more!
Parksville Family Retreat at Tigh-Na-Mara Resort – 3rd night FREE!
ARND8H Aerial view of Rathtrevor Beach provincial park, Parksville, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada Photo Credit BC Ferries.
Tigh-Na-Mara Resort is an upscale resort complex in Parksville, located on the edge of Rathtrevor Provincial Park. Families can stay in the Jedediah Room within the two-story log building cabin in the middle of the forest. These rooms are centrally located near all resort amenities, features a gas fireplace, and limited kitchen facilities. When you’re not in your room you can explore the 22 acres of forests and beaches that you can explore for hours. Spend your days enjoying the indoor mineral pool and spa, hiking through the forest, or beachcombing on the sandy beach. The resort is located only 4 km from Parksville which hosts a variety of family-friendly activities and places to explore.
Package Details: $239 pp
Kids said FREE and stay FREE when you book by February 12.
Two nights’ accommodation at the Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort & Conference Centre in a Jedediah Room; max. 4 people.
$40 Resort Credit per room.
Family Activity Bundle including a children’s game and snacks.
One of the biggest benefits (other than the deals!) of booking with BC Ferries is the personalized service you get with the booking agents. Each one has visited at least 90% of the properties and destinations that they offer, and therefore are best positioned to offer you the best recommendations for your trip. They are passionate, knowledgeable, and will work hard to find you the best deal for your vacation. They are also open 7 days a week and there to support you on your holiday when you’re travelling. So if you need to reschedule ferries or have questions about your bookings they are always there to help.
Speaking of personalized service, if you happen to find a better deal anywhere else, BC Ferries will price match for you. I love their aggressive approach to making sure their customers get the most bang for their buck! So if you’re looking for the best deal for Spring Break, give BC Ferries a call or visit their website!
Is this a sponsored post?: NO! I honestly came across these deals and wanted to learn more about their services. I set up an interview with BC Ferries to learn more and am so excited about the deals that are to be had that I wanted to share the news right away! As far as I’m concerned, this is a great way to get more families to unique places having adventures, so I’m eager to spread the word!
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The only thing better than a Cirque du Soleil show is watching it through the eyes of a child. While your average adult admires and wows the physical feats and the true talent of the production, children are truly transformed into a place where magic rules the world and anything – absolutely anything is possible. And that’s exactly what Kurios is all about.
When Cirque du Soleil announced their Vancouver show I knew I had to take my daughter. As soon as we entered the grounds we were greeted by a sign that read, “Enter here to exit reality.” and we were officially welcomed into the world of “Kurios” – place where “in order to glimpse the marvels that lie just beneath the surface, we must first learn to close our eyes.” The main character, the “Seeker” was convinced that there exists a “hidden, invisible world, a place where the craziest ideas and the grandest dreams lie waiting.” He and his friends transported us to a different era – a time with steam engines and new flying machines… “where future past a Thomas-Edison meets-jules-verne retro future.”
Butterflies In Our Tummies!
There’s nothing like the feeling of walking into the Grand Chapiteau and getting to see the stage and the set for the first time. It’s all the anxious feelings in all the right ways. I loved my daughter squeezing my hand and my mom looking at me with wide-eyed excitement.
Unveiling Of The Stage
An overload of crooked ideas and things that make you go “hmmm” – the stage was loaded with objects that had us, well, Kurios! What were these things… were they mere props, or part of the show… what did they represent and what was the story that was about to unfold.
Only a few minutes after we got to our seats, the pre-show started. And while Cirque is well known for their pre-show, they really went above and beyond with Kurios. Informal character introductions, regularly picking on guests, and flying paper aeroplanes (watch out!) kept the kids entertained and helped us all ramp up for the show.
11: 11 – Make A Wish
Do you ever make a wish at 11:11? Wel, that’s exactly what the Seeker did and with that, the show had begun. Phones off – all outside responsibilities could wait – it was officially time to do what we came to do – “enter here to escape reality.”
You Won’t Believe Your Eyes
Sound cliche? Well, it’s true. There are performances that make you wonder what you’re seeing and question things you “know” are true, like the fact that gravity exists. Yet act after act Cirque had us on the edge of our seat, my daughter literally hanging over the edge, leaning in and gasping and squealing at every turn.
My Favorite Character
While it’s hard to choose favourites there was one character who really stood out to me. Formally known as the Aviator – James Gonzales showed the balancing skills of an extraordinary performer. What made him stand out so much thought was the size of his smile and his amazing energy. While it was clear that he had to perform his “rola bola” he was oozing with excitement and passion for his art. His smiled and winked at the audience, and his open laughter showed us that he was having as much fun performing as we were watching him.
All the things I won’t tell you…
I won’t tell you about each act divulge every single secret about the show. I really hope you go and see it and experience the wonder of Kurios for yourself… and to make it even better take your child with you… and remember what it’s like to believe in magic all over again! Because at Cirque.. “Reality is relevant…”
Why are the arts important to me as a mother?
Kurios posed the question, “What if – by engaging our imagination and opening our minds – we could unlock the door to an entire world of wonders?”
As a world, we’re facing more challenges than ever – from political unrest to global warming to exploding populations. The future – if faced with trepidation or fear – is beyond comprehension. In order for us to come back together and find solutions for some of these problems, we are going to need to rely on creativity and exploration well beyond the norm. I feel like it will be my daughter’s generation that really embraces this outward thinking and the movement for positive change.
By exposing her to creativity, thinking WAY outside the box, questioning “reality”, and showing her how to embrace change, we can craft progressive leaders of tomorrow. And who better than to push the envelope and show us that anything is possible than the amazing performers and artists from Cirque du Soleil.
How To Get your Own Tickets
To get your own tickets to Kurios visit their website here.
Is this a sponsored post?: While Cirque Du Soleil did invite us to attend their show, this experience and my thoughts are my own. Please note: I did ask Cirque to provide me with the show photos so that I was not breaking their rules and taking pictures during the show! (This is important as its for the safety of the performers!)
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I am a family adventure writer sharing stories about solo and family adventures. I’m an outdoor enthusiast and you’ll find me regularly hiking, biking or boarding, often with my children by my side. I believe in lifelong learning, following your passion and living life to the fullest every day.