Family-friendly British Columbia: Things to do in Vancouver with kids and day trips from Vancouver

Whistler-Blackcomb peak-to-peak tram

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”.Stanley park bike ride with kids


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 tooVancouver aquarium in Stanley park


See the forest in a new way at the Greenheart Tree Walk at the UBC Botanical Garden (we found discounted tickets on Groupon!)  UBC Canopy Walk in vancouver


Lounge on Kitsilano Beach (“Kits Beach”) if the weather is niceKits Beach Vancouver


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!whale watching in Vancouver


Ride a gondola, eat breakfast with grizzly bears and watch a lumberjack show on Grouse MountainBreakfast with the bears on Grouse Mountain, Vancouver


Trek across the Capilano suspension bridgeCapilano Suspension Bridge


Enjoy the long days of sunlight (I took this picture at 9:50pm)Vancouver Canada sunset


Related: Looking for more adventures in North America?

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!

Sea to Sky Highway in British Columbia


Take an easy nature walk to see Shannon Falls  – the trail is perfect for even the youngest nature-lovers!Shannon Falls Squamish Canada


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.Britannia copper mine squamish canada


Ride the Sea to Sky gondola in SquamishSea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, BC


Take your train lover to the West Coast Railway Heritage ParkWest 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 Whistler-Blackcomb peak-to-peak tram


Take the ferry to Victoria (at 4hrs each way for ground and water transportation, you might consider staying a night or two!) Check out this ultimate guide to Victoria if you plan to visit!Parliament building in Victoria Canada

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!Chinese food in Vancouver Canada


Visit Science World for hands-on activities for all ages, especially great if the weather doesn’t cooperate – there’s even an Omnimax theaterScience World British Columbia



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.Vancouver jazz festival in David Lam Park


Watch the parade and enjoy other festivities on Granville Island

Stay up late (really late) to watch the fireworks at Canada Place or Kits Beach

Canada Day fireworks at Canada Place


Enjoy your trip! If you’re looking for more family-friendly vacation ideas in Canada, be sure to check out this list!


What are your favorite things to do in Vancouver BC?

Check out the top family-friendly activities in Vancouver for your next trip to British Columbia with kids.



  • Harmony,Momma To Go

    I’ve never been to Vancouver, in fact I’ve only been to Canada once! To see Niagara Falls of course!

    June 19, 2017 at 7:59 pm
  • Miranda Knudtson

    The tree walk at the botanical gardens sounds fabulous!! Though.. not sure how I feel about that suspension bridge–yikes!!

    June 21, 2017 at 8:36 am
    • Melissa

      We haven’t done the suspension bridge yet, but I think my husband and son share your feelings!

      June 21, 2017 at 8:42 am
  • thefabulousscript

    I love your blog! Great tips for family vacations 🙂 Keep on the good work. I don’t have kids yet but I always felt that once I have them I wont be able to travel the world, but you just proved me wrong 🙂 this is amazing! xoxo – Mariella

    June 21, 2017 at 9:59 am
    • Melissa

      Thank you so much! We love traveling with the kids – it gives us a very different perspective and often facilitates more interpersonal connections since everyone wants to come play with them 🙂

      June 21, 2017 at 11:41 am
  • Jenn

    The Greenheart Tree Walk and Suspension bridge looks like so much fun. I’m going to have to check some of them out.

    June 21, 2017 at 10:12 am
    • Melissa

      We haven’t done the bridge, but we love the Tree Walk so much that we’ve done it twice! The guides provide great information on the local flora and fauna too.

      June 21, 2017 at 11:47 am
  • Kelly

    I had no idea there was so much to see and do. I would love to do the trail walk and check out the aquarium. Aquariums make me so happy!!

    June 21, 2017 at 10:14 am
    • Melissa

      There’s even more! This is just a sampling of what you’ll find in Vancouver 🙂

      June 21, 2017 at 11:48 am
  • theitalianchica

    Wow it seems you can’t really get bored in Vancouver! Really nice suggestions! 🙂

    June 21, 2017 at 10:22 am
    • Melissa

      Never! There are always more places to explore (or favorites to re-visit).

      June 21, 2017 at 11:48 am
  • Theresa Ladner

    As a Vancouverite, I can agree with your choices! I used to live in a spot where I could see the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Very entertaining watching people cross!

    June 21, 2017 at 10:29 am
    • Melissa

      That would be an awesome spot for people watching! I’m sure my family members with a fear of heights would be good entertainment for you 😛

      June 21, 2017 at 11:51 am
  • FoxintheForest117

    First of all, your children are adorable. I’m so glad you travel with them! It’s important to be exposed to all sorts of new places as a child. I have always wanted to visit Vancouver, mostly because I’m a huge nature nerd. The places you visited look stunning. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it out there and see such wonderful scenery.

    June 21, 2017 at 10:57 am
    • Melissa

      Thank you 🙂 And Vancouver should definitely be on your list if you’re a nature lover! There is an endless list of things to do outdoors in British Columbia.

      June 21, 2017 at 11:53 am
  • alicefordllc

    These are great activities for solo travelers too, as I did almost all of these when I was staying in Vancouver. Glad you’re family had so much fun.

    June 21, 2017 at 7:56 pm
  • Melissa Bitz

    I also really enjoy Vancouver. I went once last year, but didn’t do nearly as much as I hoped – we didn’t have enough time.. I need to go back and do more adventurous exploring!

    June 21, 2017 at 9:53 pm
    • Melissa

      I feel like there are *always* more activities in and around Vancouver! We’re looking forward to a third visit and might have an all new slate of things to do.

      June 27, 2017 at 9:25 pm
  • Megan Bannister

    Who knew that Vancouver was full of so many outdoor adventures! I’ve never been to Canada but more and more I’m realizing that there’s so much to see there. Thanks for sharing such a comprehensive list!

    June 22, 2017 at 10:10 am

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