Family-friendly British Columbia: Things to do in Vancouver with kids and day trips from Vancouver
We love Vancouver! Now that that’s out of the way.
Vancouver (and the rest of British Columbia) has so much to offer families – a mix of city life, quiet leafy streets for strolling, restaurants serving cuisine from around the world, and more outdoor activities than you could ever tackle on one trip. We love it so much that we’ve gone twice in the last few years and we would love to go again. So what to do in Vancouver with kids? Glad you asked. Below you’ll find our favorite fun things to do in Vancouver with kids, plus a few we haven’t tried (yet) but that come highly recommended by friends and family.
(We’ve been lucky to visit during the beautiful summer weather! Bad weather got you down? Explore great things to do with kids in Vancouver in the rain with native Vancouverite Erin from Erin at Large.)
Best things to do in Vancouver for nature-lovers
Bike the sea wall around Stanley Park – make sure to stop to learn about the totem poles, collect sea shells at the beach and watch the geese roaming. We’ve had a good experience renting from Spokes, including bikes, helmets and a trailer. They make it easy to bike Stanley Park with kids! We’ve done it twice now – it definitely tops our list of “cool things to do in Vancouver”.
Visit the Vancouver Aquarium – the sun can be brutal near the outdoor exhibits, so make sure to bring a hat and check out the cool indoor exhibits too
Lounge on Kitsilano Beach (“Kits Beach”) if the weather is nice
Run through the misters at Roundhouse Community Center in Yaletown
Take a boat ride in search of Orcas – many tours leave from Steveston, about 40min south of the city. If you’re visiting British Columbia with kids, this has to be on your itinerary!
Ride a gondola, eat breakfast with grizzly bears and watch a lumberjack show on Grouse Mountain
Trek across the Capilano suspension bridge
Enjoy the long days of sunlight (I took this picture at 9:50pm)
Best day trips from Vancouver
Drive the scenic Sea to Sky Highway, with stops along the way to read markers about the First Nations – one of our favorite Vancouver day trips!
Take an easy nature walk to see Shannon Falls – the trail is perfect for even the youngest nature-lovers!
Check out the Britannia Mine Museum near Squamish. You can tour the old mine and processing building, pan for “gold” and explore some retired mining equipment.
Ride the Sea to Sky gondola in Squamish
Take your train lover to the West Coast Railway Heritage Park
Soar across mountains on the peak-to-peak tram and play in the snow at Whistler-Blackcomb – we even saw bears playing on the slopes below
Take the ferry to Victoria (at 4hrs each way for ground and water transportation, you might consider staying a night or two!)
Vancouver for urbanites
Poke through the shops, galleries, workshops and Public Market on Granville Island – don’t miss the Kids Market or the huge, free water park too! Adults can stop for a refill at Granville Island Brewing.
Explore the shops on 4th Ave in Kitsilano, maybe buy yourself some Canadian swag at Roots – and make some new friends in the process thanks to the legendarily nice Canadians
Eat great Chinese food – there are some amazing restaurants in Vancouver!
Visit Science World for hands-on activities for all ages, especially great if the weather doesn’t cooperate – there’s even an Omnimax theater
Bonus: Vancouver activities for Canada Day (and the week before)
Picnic in David Lam Park while you listen to the free Jazz Festival concerts on the main stage. Make sure to check out the huge selection of food trucks and the nearby playground, from which you can still hear the performances while the kids burn off some energy. It’s a great opportunity to hear live music in Vancouver in a family-friendly setting.
Watch the parade and enjoy other festivities on Granville Island
Enjoy your trip! If you’re looking for more family-friendly vacation ideas in Canada, be sure to check out this list!