Dreaming of a family holiday where the kids finally put down their iPhones and venture into the great outdoors? You can’t do better than British Columbia.
Holidays in British Columbia are so exhilarating that the whole family will let loose in no time. Mum will be zooming along a zipline through the cedars. Dad will be capsizing his kayak into a crystal-clear lake. And the kids? They’ll be braving the 70m heights of a rope bridge and gasping as the fluke of a whale disappears into the ocean.
Adventures here range from hiking to mountain biking to horse riding, with everything in between. And the best part? We promise the kids won’t check Instagram once.*
(*OK, maybe once. These scenic spots are crying out for a selfie, and although Canada’s hotels might be in the great outdoors, they still have great Wi-Fi.)
6. FlyOver Canada in Vancouver
Ages: All ages – young and old – will enjoy this. Children must be at least 102cm tall to ride.
Opening times: Daily from 10am – 9pm
Prices: Adults (13-64) – $28.05 / £16.34, Children (up to 12) – $19.55 / £11.39
This indoor ride isn’t quite the Great Outdoors yet, but it will certainly get everyone in the adventuring frame of mind. The FlyOver Canada 4D experience offers an exhilarating ride across Canada’s most stunning beauty spots. Strap yourself in and soar over mountain peaks, feel the spray from Niagara Falls and smell the sweet hay of the Prairies.
Vancouver is the ideal gateway to exploring British Columbia, and FlyOver Vancouver is the perfect way to get geared up for the adventures to come.
5. Giant cedars on Vancouver Island
Ages: All ages. Some walking required, but the trails are good.
Opening times: Open 24/7
British Columbia has swathes of pristine, temperate rainforest home to some of the most impressive trees in the world. MacMillian Provincial Park, in central Vancouver Island, is home to the famous Cathedral Grove of trees. These towering Douglas firs and cedars are around 800 years old and can be more than 9m in diameter. Kids and grown-ups alike will love trying to hug one of these giants – and feeling dwarfed in comparison!
4. Kayaking on Vaseux Lake
Ages: Older children should be fine for this but check with you hire operator.
Opening times: 12pm – 9pm Mon-Fri, 10am – 7pm weekends
Prices: $35 / £20.40 single kayak, $45 / £26.20 double kayak for a half day
This stunning little lake is nestled in the Okanagan Valley – a warm, dry, sunny region that’s perfect for outdoor activities. Clean, clear Vaseux Lake is ideal for a day of watersports like kayaking or SUP (stand up paddle-boarding). You can hire kayaks from outfitters like Hoodoo Adventures in nearby Penticton. Take a picnic with you and stop for lunch at a little island or beach. The kids will love paddling and keeping an eye out for wildlife life bighorn sheep.
The Okanagan Valley also has the added bonus of being one of Canada’s best-renowned wine regions. A vineyard tour and wine tasting will definitely keep mum and dad happy!
3. Capilano Suspension Bridge
Ages: All ages
Opening times: 9am-5pm or later in summer
Prices: Kiddie (under 6) – free, Child (6-12) – $14.95 / £8.70, Youth (13-16) – $27.95 / £16.25 , Adult (17-64) – $46.95 / £27.30
On the scenic North Shore of Vancouver, the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is one of the most popular attractions in the city – and in British Columbia. There is a suspended tree-top walkway and a gravity-defying Cliffwalk. The illuminating Story Centre is where interpretive guides from the First Nations community give an insight into the fascinating history and culture of the region. But the undoubted main attraction is the suspension bridge.
The bridge stretches 450 feet across the canyon and 230 feet above the Capilano River. Test your mettle as you walk across the bridge, feeling it bounce beneath your feet with the rushing river below. It’s a thrilling experience!
2. ZipTrek tours in Whistler
Ages: 6 years and up
Opening times: Daily, year-round. Book in advance from the office in Whistler, open 8am to 7pm daily.
Prices: Child (6-14) – around $99 / £57.60, Adult (14+) – $119 / £69.20 depending on tour
What better way to enjoy the beautiful temperate rainforest surrounding Whistler than by zooming over 7,000 feet of it at 100km/h? ZipTrek is the pioneer of zipline tours in North America and while their tours aren’t for the faint-hearted, there is something for all abilities (and nerve levels!). The aforementioned Sasquatch is the longest zipline in North America but there are plenty of other ziplines to choose from.
Pick your package with the ziplines and canopy walks that suit you. The best part is that all tours come with an award-winning ecological curriculum which helps visitors of all ages learn more about the incredible eco-system of the temperate rainforest.
1. Whale watching in Victoria
Ages: 6 years and up
Opening hours: 9am–5pm, April to October
Price: Infants (under 3) – free, Child (3-12) – $80 / £46.50, Youth (13-17) – $90 / £52.30 , Adult (18+) – $120 / £69.80
Off Victoria, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, the straits of Juan de Fuca and Haro are home to over 70 resident orcas. A whale watching trip with Orca Spirit is an unforgettable experience. You’ll get to see these majestic creatures in the natural environment, along with humpbacks and other species if you’re lucky too.
Older kids will love the thrill of a zodiac boat ride as it zooms along the ocean waves. Younger children might be more comfortable in the warmth and shelter of a covered vessel. You’ve got the choice of either, so you can make sure the tour is something that the whole family will love.
Has British Columbia got you intrigued? BC is Canada’s most westerly province and has one of the most enviable locations of any region in the world. The Rocky Mountains fence the province to the north, with the wild Pacific Ocean to the west. There are dozens of incredible parks in BC, from Yoho National Park in the Rockies to Glacier National Park by the active town of Revelstoke and stunning Garibaldi Provincial Park near Whistler. Needless to say, there is so much to keep families entertained on holiday here.
We have plenty of holidays across the province, so why not look at our tours for inspiration?