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Things to do in Vancouver with Kids

10 Things To Do in Vancouver with Kids

We feel so lucky to call Vancouver home. Our city, nestled between mountains and shores, has endless amazing places to explore. The weekends never seem long enough to fit in all our adventures, but we sure try to make the most of them!

Here are 10 of our favourite things to do in Vancouver with kids:

We love an urban adventure just as much as one in the wilderness!  Some of our favourite ways to pass the day in Vancouver involve taking public transit.

1. Explore False Creek

Take an Aquabus or the False Creek Ferry. Hop on a boat at the Science World end and sail over to Granville Island. We love checking out the city from this vantage point! Head over to the Granville Island Market and grab lunch at one of the many awesome places to eat inside the Public Market. We love to check out the Kids Place Market and the playground. In the summertime, the splash pad and water slide is an awesome way to cool down!

2. Walk the Sea Wall

Explore Vancouver’s Sea Wall. We often walk or ride our bikes from Granville Island to Science World. We start our journey from the playground, hit an ice cream shop along the way, and end at Olympic Village. There are multiple parks, playgrounds and even public art displays (sometimes even a piano!) to explore along the way.  There is a fun little island near Olympic Village that is always a hit to explore. With so much to look at kids are distracted by the distance and it’s a great day spent enjoying some of Vancouver’s best views! End your walk or ride in Olympic Village with something to eat on one of the great patios in the area.

3. Boat Over to the Lonsdale Quay

Another favourite adventure of ours is to take the Skytrain to Waterfront Station, and then take the Seabus over to Lonsdale Quay. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a front row seat and maybe spot some wild sealife on the way across! Once in Lonsdale Quay, check out the Public Market for some lunch or a sweet dessert at one of the many bakeries inside or ice cream shops in the area. The Shipyards area has some great outdoor spaces to explore. You can ice skate in the winter or run through the splash pad in the summer. Or if you prefer, take a walk along the waterfront path to look for some of the Biennale Public Art Installations and find a playground to stop at.

4. Visit the New Westminster Quay

Another option for your little transportation lover is to head over to New Westminster quay. There are some great places to explore and on weekends they often have lots of free public entertainment, and of course lots to eat! We love to explore the Fraser River Discovery Centre. This museum has amazing hands-on activities that teach kids all about the Fraser River and its impact on the community. We also love to check out the little Q to Q ferry that takes you on a quick trip over to Queensborough Landing. Kids are delighted to watch all the happenings on the river from fishing boats to tug boats. You can find a great little playground at Queensborough landing to hop off and play at for a bit before heading back to the Quay. The ferry runs daily every 30 minutes.

If you’re looking to head out of the city for an adventure, Vancouver area has so many options! We are literally surrounded by beaches, so pick a beach, any beach!  Here are some of our favourites to explore:

5. Visit Ambleside Beach and John Lawson Park

Ambleside Beach and John Lawson Park has been a long-time favourite of ours. This playground has it all- awesome playground for both the big and little kids, a beautiful ocean view, spray park and water features, and a great seawall and beach to explore. Pack a picnic and spend the day until the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean – you’ll be glad you did!

6. Go Out to Iona Beach

Iona beach in Richmond near the airport is another great place to spend the day. This place has it all! There is a great bike path and jetty for a long beach walk or ride. This beach is also home to some amazing bird spotting! Bring your binoculars and keep your eyes open and see how many different birds you can spot. Finally, our favourite part of this park is the fantastic beach. There are always lots of big logs washing up on shore that kids can spend hours balancing on, jumping off and even building their own beach shelter. We let our imaginations (and spirits!) run wild on this beach exploring it from end to end. Added bonus: this place is awesome for your airplane-loving kiddos as you get a great view of planes taking off at the airport from here!

7. Take a day Trip to Garry Point

Garry Point Park in Steveston is a great day trip. We love to bring our bikes and ride along the Dyke trail from Garry Point Park to Terra Nova Rural Park. This is a relatively easy 5km bike ride (10km round trip) on a wide, flat, gravel path that is great for beginner riders. We ride from Steveston to Terra Nova, hop off and spend some time at the playground before riding back. If you’ve never checked out Terra Nova Rural Park, it is an amazing playground with fantastic climbing options for those big kids with lots of energy in a beautiful rural setting. The playground includes options for little kids too, as well as 2 zip lines! Garry Point Park has some awesome beaches to explore and is our favourite spot to enjoy fish & chips. There are almost always kites flying in the area to watch which makes it the perfect location for a weekend adventure!

8. Check Out Britannia Ship Yards

Another great place to explore in Steveston is the Britannia Ship Yards. This historical site has a free online scavenger hunt you download and follow on your own device. The Scavenger hunt leads you from Britannia shipyards to the Straight of Georgia Cannery. Along the way you search for clues and learn all about the history of the fishing and canning industry in the area. We loved the walk along the waterfront and learned so much along the way!

Finally, if you’re looking for more of a forested adventure, the North Shore is home to so many amazing trails that vary in levels of difficulty. It is hard not to name them all, but some of our favourites include the following:

9. Take a Hike Around Rice Lake

Rice Lake is a great starting walk for little ones. A relatively flat and an easy 3km circuit, this lake offers lots to explore along the way. You can even bring your fishing rod and try your hand at catching something in the lake! The lake is stocked with trout by the fisheries department and is a popular weekend fishing hole. While in the area, there are many side trails you can explore from here. We have loved the Homestead trail that leads down along the river to explore an abandoned homestead and over bridges. The Lynn Canyon trail network in the area also leads to a suspension bridge if you’re brave enough to cross it!

10. Learn about Salmon at the Capilano Hatchery

The Capilano Fish Hatchery has an awesome network of kid friendly hikes. You can explore the Capilano river area, get a view of the dam from above, check out the hatchery when the fish are spawning, and learn all about the life cycle of the salmon. There are lots of trails in the area that vary in difficulty. Most of the trails are fairly short and lead out from the parking lot and back in a nice loop. Lots of great shady trails to explore on a hot summer day!

If you are lucky enough to live in, or plan to visit the Vancouver Area this summer, you will find yourself no shortage of things to do with kids! I hope this list has inspired you to check out a new place to explore this weekend. If it's looking a little too rainy for a big expedition, I encourage you to still try to get out to explore close to home! No matter the weather, Vancouver offers endless opportunities and options to explore. Have fun!

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