Families could easily fill an entire vacation with activities and events in Vancouver, but what about the rest of this beautiful Canadian province? There are so many things for families to do in British Columbia, no trip would be complete without taking at least one of the following day trips from Vancouver with kids.
Winter or summer, families will have a blast visiting Whistler, British Columbia. Only an hour and a half from Vancouver, Whistler is easy to visit for a day. In winter, world-class skiing awaits, along with tubing, ice skating, and snowshoeing. Families skiing at Whistler can explore the two connected mountains and spend time in Whistler Village shopping and dining. Take the world-famous Peak 2 Peak tram between Blackcomb and Whistler mountain. Look for on-mountain play areas on each peak where kids can slide, climb, and explore wintery playsets. In summer, mountain bike, hike, horseback ride, or zip-line in this outdoor oasis! Whistler is definitely one of our favorite day trips from Vancouver with kids.
Where to stay: If you want to indulge, a stay at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler is like a fairy tale come true. The Fairmont pampers with an on-site ski valet, an indoor-outdoor pool, and hot tub complex. It also has great proximity to Whistler Village dining and shops. Plus, they’re within steps of Blackcomb skiing! For additional lodging options, check out Whistler lodging page.
Getting there: Whistler is an easy hour’s drive from downtown Vancouver on the beautiful Sea to Sky Highway. En route, stop at breathtaking vistas and overlooks, or take the time to visit the Britannia Mine Museum.
Harrison Hot Springs
Harrison Hot Springs is another do-not-miss on our list of day trips from Vancouver with kids. Under a two-hour drive from Vancouver, Harrison Hot Springs sits on the shores of the beautiful Harrison Lake. Taking this day trip means you’ll be rewarded with incredible scenery and the chance to visit the mineral hot springs.
Where to stay: If you feel like extending your stay at Harrison Hot Springs, Harrison Hot Springs Resort is an oasis for families. The resort offers fishing tours, nature tours, kayak rentals and even bumper boats. Families can stay in a guest room or choose from a variety of suites or cottages.
Getting there: Take Highway 1 east to Rosedale, then Highway 9 to Harrison.
To get to Harrison Hot Springs take Highway 1 east. Take exit 135 for BC-9 toward Agassiz/Harrison/Hot Spring Road.
Known for English gardens and elegant tea time, Victoria is more than meets the eye. Not that you’ll be complaining about what you see: this beautiful city is full of blooms, trees, and beautiful architecture. Take tea in the Fairmont Empress Hotel or learn about Canadian government at the British Columbia capitol and the Royal BC Museum. Families will want to take a day trip to visit Butchart Gardens, filled with rose gardens, quarry gardens, a children’s garden, and more. With three active boys, I didn’t realize we’d have so much fun in Victoria!
Where to stay:
The Royal Scot Hotel and Suites is a great option for families looking to stay close enough to the downtown areas of Victoria while staying within a reasonable travel budget. Families can walk to the harbor locations from the Royal Scot, plus get suites instead of rooms (allowing for different bedtimes or simply room to spread out) and an indoor pool.
Getting there: It’s an easy and fun ferry ride from Vancouver to Victoria, BC through Nanaimo, then a short drive down Vancouver Island to Victoria. Leave early in the morning and return at night to get the most out of your day trip to Victoria or stay a few days to explore this beautiful area.
Parksville and Tofino, Vancouver Island
Families with more time on their hands will want to stay on Vancouver Island to explore this region’s beautiful and surprisingly warm beaches. Start in Parksville, where the public beaches span for miles, revealing amazing sea life and shells at low tide. The Parksville community park is a great place to spend an afternoon, as is the Morningstar Golf Course. Rent beach gear or try your hand at kayaking, or just enjoy stunning sunsets on the Strait of Georgia.
If you’re more adventurous, cross Vancouver Island to Tofino, where families can beach comb on windswept, wild beaches and enjoy whale watching or storm watching. The drive to Tofino takes a few hours from the east side of Vancouver Island, but the scenic landscape makes it seem much faster. Once there, explore tide pools at Chesterman Beach and discover seals, eagles, and whales with Remote Passages, one of the best tour companies we’ve ever experienced.
Where to stay:
In Parksville, a stay at Tigh-Na-Mara Resort is a must. This full-scale family resort offers cabins and lodge rooms, beach access, an indoor pool, playgrounds, tennis courts, and a full children’s program, including nature classes, off-site golfing clinics, and more. Devote at least two days!
In Tofino, the Mackenzie Beach Resort offers rustic and affordable cabins right on the beach. Mackenzie Beach is well-known for sunsets and tide pools, and its protected cove is a great swimming location for small kids.
Getting there: The drive across Vancouver Island is very straight-forward. Parksville is an easy drive from Victoria or Nanaimo (where BC Ferries delivers you from Vancouver), and Tofino is straight across the island on Highway 4.
Day trips from Vancouver with kids
Want more information about visiting Vancouver with kids? Check out these posts from Trekaroo.
Attractions in Vancouver: Things to do in Vancouver BC with kids
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