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

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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 too

Vancouver 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 nice

Kits 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 Mountain

Breakfast with the bears on Grouse Mountain, Vancouver

Trek across the Capilano suspension bridge

Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver, Canada.

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

Vancouver Canada sunset

Related: Looking for more adventures in North America?

Use the interactive map to find vacation rentals and hotels in Vancouver


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! Don’t miss these stunning photo stops along the way.

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 Squamish

View of an Empty Cable Car with a Magnificent Scenry in Background

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 

Whistler-Blackcomb peak-to-peak tram

Check out these unique souvenirs to buy in Whistler

Take the ferry to Victoria (at 4hrs each way for ground and water transportation, you might consider staying a night or two!) Even better, make it a longer trip on Vancouver Island by spending some time in stunning Tofino. Check out this ultimate guide to Victoria if you plan to visit!

Beautiful view of historic parliament building in the citycenter of Victoria with colorful flowers on a sunny day, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Check out this amazing list of must-visit destinations across 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!

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

Science 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!

Check out even more ideas for your trip to British Columbia. If you’re looking for more family-friendly vacation ideas in Canada, be sure to check out this list! If you’re visiting from Australia, check out this review of Air Canada’s economy service from Brisbane.

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.

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19 thoughts on “Family-friendly British Columbia: Things to do in Vancouver with kids and day trips from Vancouver”

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

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  2. I love your blog! Great tips for family vacations πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚ this is amazing! xoxo – Mariella

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    • 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 πŸ™‚

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    • 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.

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  3. 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!!

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  4. 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.

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    • Thank you πŸ™‚ 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.

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  5. 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!

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    • 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.

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  6. 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!

    Reply

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