10 ways to get the family outside more this summer

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Stankey Park Vancouver skyline / Shutterstock

Vancouver is spectacular, and summer is a great time to get outside with the family and rediscover the joys of nature with an abundance of activities all within an easy drive. This list will keep your days filled with adventure and is sure to inspire other ways to get active. There’s no shortage of them in the summer.

Fishing

Does anything say “at one with nature” like a quiet day on the lake (or river, or stream) fishing? You don’t have to be a fishing expert to benefit from the serenity that comes with casting a line. Head down to Capilano River for some coho fishing and enjoy a quiet afternoon with family. Cook what you catch for a memorable family dinner.

Fishing Tour

If you want a slightly different fishing option—maybe one that involves a private boat and a guide—purchase a guided fishing tour. Sure it costs money, but it creates the sort of memories that last a lifetime. Plan a day trip up the Fraser River with a guided fishing service and catch a huge sturgeon that you’ll tell tales about for decades.

Picnicking

Vancouver has lots of beautiful park space perfect for a picnic or bbq. Round up the family, grab some delicious food, and enjoy a meal or two in the park or on the beach. Vancouverites love picnicking at Stanley Park, but if you don’t mind a drive, you could also head out to Deer Lake Park in Burnaby. If you’re looking for a dog-friendly park—who doesn’t want to take their loyal buddy for a picnic?— Charleson Park is off-leash before 10:00 p.m. Just don’t forget your sunblock.

Paddleboarding

Why not have the whole family try something new? Paddleboarding is a great way to get outdoors while exploring Vancouver’s waterways and coastlines. You can make your session as intense or zen as you like, depending on how much of a workout you want.

Hiking

If relaxing isn’t your thing, how about hiking the Grouse Grind? The Grouse Grind is a 2.9 kilometre trail up Grouse Mountain, taking around 1.5 hours to complete. You might not have a lot of breath to share stories on the way up, but you’ll enjoy the breathtaking view once you get there. And you can chat during the gondola ride down.

Biking

Okay, we know the Seawall is likely too busy most days, especially if it is a beautiful day. But it’s busy for a good reason—the scenery is magnificent. Bikes are available for rent from morning to dusk at various outlets nearby, such as Spokes Bicycle Rentals, if you don’t have any of your own. If you want to make it a truly family affair, rent tandem bikes.

Zip lining

If you want a touch of adrenaline without throwing yourself out of an airplane, ziplining at Grouse Mountain may be for you. Explore Grouse Mountain from a different perspective by zooming above and through the forest. Then head out for dinner and talk about what an awesome rush it was.

Camping

Canadians love camping, and weekend camping trips are a great reason to get back to nature. There are campsites along the Fraser River, or you can camp at Golden Ears Provincial Park or Garibaldi Provincial Park. Enjoy a weekend of technology-free family time and maybe learn a fun card game or two while you’re out there. Don’t forget ingredients for s’mores!

Kayaking

Vancouver’s spectacular coves are one of the many reasons to spend the day in a kayak. Take the family down to Deep Cove for a kayak rental or a guided tour. Tours are available for people of all ages and abilities, with some offering educational components as well.

Fruit Picking

Okay, so this one might take you out of Vancouver, but who doesn’t love a story involving a leisurely Sunday drive? Hop in the car and drive out to the Fraser Valley, where you can visit local fruit farms and pick your own fresh fruit. Stop by local farms for strawberries and raspberries. Then have a delicious picnic complete with fresh fruit, or head home and make a scrumptious dessert.

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