5 great day trips for families near Metro Vancouver

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Alice Lake Provincial Park in Squamish (Christopher Porter/Flickr

Every now and then it’s fun to get the family together to do a little exploring – but without going too far from home. With so much to see and do just minutes outside the city of Vancouver, families with kids young and old have plenty of options for where to spend the day doing some learning, eating, shopping, adventuring or roaming.

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Here are five great day trips for families near Metro Vancouver.

South Delta

Reifel Bird Sanctuary (Matthew Grapengieser/Flickr)

Reifel Bird Sanctuary (Matthew Grapengieser/Flickr)

Located about 45 minutes south of downtown Vancouver, the two communities that make up South Delta – Ladner and Tsawwassen – offer plenty for families to do for a day or two. On sunny days, make a splash at the shore at Centennial Beach: tiptoe in the tide to cool off, soak up some rays, grab a bite a the beachside café and make time to go wild on the impressive – and inclusive – playground. For more water-centric options, hit up the slides at Splashdown water park, or even the cool push-button splash pad at Diefenbaker Park.

Nature lovers will want to flock to the Reifel Bird Sanctuary, and there are plenty of farms for u-pick in berry season (or pumpkins, come fall). If you wind up in Ladner on a summery Sunday, you may also enjoy a stroll through historic Ladner Village when the Market is on; it runs every-other-week. Have more time or want to cover more ground? Pack your passports to explore Point Roberts, Washington or hop a ferry to the Island.

Squamish

There’s plenty to do on the road to Whistler, which is why it’s great for families to plan some time to enjoy what Squamish has to offer. Adventure-seekers will love white water rafting on the Elaho River (for kids 12 and up), and the younger explorers will enjoy the Cheakamus River and all it offers. Climb all aboard at the West Coast Railway Association train museum, or have fun on two wheels at the Sorca Bike Skills Park.

There’s also the nearby Alice Lake, which offers visitors to this provincial park picturesque activities like swimming, hiking, and mountain biking. Also on the way to Squamish is Britannia Beach, and its cool Mine Museum.

Fort Langley

Families who love to learn about B.C.’s rich history will delight in what Fort Langley has to offer for visitors of all ages. There’s the Fort Langley National Historic Site, which celebrates the origins of the British Columbia colony. See what life was like for a 19th century voyager in Canada’s earliest days. For another chance to learn about beautiful B.C., the focus is on agriculture at Aldor Acres Dairy Centre, where kids young (and adults young at heart) can milk a cow and tour the farm.

Speaking of farms, the B.C. Farm Museum in Fort Langley happens to have the province’s largest collection of pioneer-era and agricultural artifacts–geek out and have fun while exploring their impressive collection. If you and the family are yearning to spend more time outside, the Fort to Fort Trail offers lots of options for exploring nature, from easy walks to more rigorous trails.

Bowen Island

Grab the family and head to Bowen Island for a day of fun and exploration. It’s a mere 20 minutes by ferry from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, and with plenty to see and do upon landing at Snug Cove, you can even just leave the car at the ferry terminal and walk on. If it’s outdoor activities you’re after, Bowen Island offers plenty: hiking, golf, kayaking and mountain biking, to name a few.

Pack a picnic and head to Killarney Lake, where you can wander around on foot, and keep an eye out for all sorts of flora and fauna. Foodie families will find plenty to eat in Snug Cove, as well as cultural spots to explore, like the Bowen Island Musuem, as well as shops and galleries.

Cultus Lake

Cultus Lake, located south of Chilliwack, is a beloved B.C. destination for families. Central to the visit is Cultus Lake Park, which offers kids and adults plenty to see and do. Rent a boat, grab the boots and go on a hike, take a swim, do some golfing, waterski, or just kick back and relax here. The Park is also home to its most popular attraction: Cultus Lake Water Park and all its wet wonders.

Inside Cultus Lake Park there are plenty of places to eat, or you can pack up the gear and head into Chilliwack proper – where there also happens to be a ton to see and experience for gown ups and kids, too.

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