Family Day is coming up fast, and as parents’ thoughts turn to what kind of fun will keep the grown-ups as entertained as the kids, here are our picks for the top ten family-friendly activities on Vancouver’s North Shore. From exciting outdoor adventures to engaging indoor pursuits, discover the perfect blend of entertainment for both adults and kids.
Outdoor skating doesn’t get much prettier than on the North Shore. Whether you’re making the rounds at Shipyards Commons’ skate plaza against the spectacular views across the water of Vancouver or high above it all on Grouse Mountain’s 8,000-square-foot frozen pond, the beauty of the West Coast is always on full display.
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is the perfect mix of adventure, history and Indigenous culture to explore amidst the majesty of an ancient West Coast rainforest, “capped” by the ultimate thrill of crossing the canyon on a 450-foot swaying footbridge. From now until February 25th, you can find Love Lights, where there will be illuminated displays throughout the entire park.
Photo Courtesy of @capilanosuspensionbridge
Biking remains one of the North Shore’s preeminent activities all year round. Rain or shine, cycling along the North Shore Spirit Trail is an awe-inspiring ride alongside the water and through lush greenways, decked out with enchanting public art all along the way. Or, get your thrills flying downhill at some of the best mountain biking trails in the world, designed and maintained for all skill levels. No wheels? No problem! Stop by one of the many North Shore bike shops for mountain bike, e-bike, or cruiser rentals.
If the weather doesn’t cooperate, you can always spend the day at one of the many art galleries and museums for inspiration or fashion your own “culture crawl” through a few. There are even kid-centric educational programs like the Kids First at Polygon Gallery, where families can create an in-house art project, online events by MONOVA, or the Artists for Kids program at the Gordon Smith Gallery. If the weather is nice, a one-day public art walk is planned for you here.
With so much to see and do on the North Shore, you and your little adventurers are bound to work up a healthy appetite. To satisfy every particular craving in your family, take a walk through The Quay Market and Food Hall, where you’ll find a veritable smorgasbord of restaurants, food stalls, and freshly made treats among its local vendors.
For those for whom a holiday means “no plans,” a casual stroll along the Spirit Trail to The Shipyards is a great way to appreciate all the natural and creative beauty of the North Shore. Complement your urban exploration with a hot beverage from Shipyards Coffee or Caffe Artigiano, or visit Welcome Parlour for their hot chocolate topping bar.
Various hiking trails for all skill levels crisscross the North Shore, from seaside strolls to the urban wilderness to mountaintops with incredible views. Some kid-friendly hikes include the Rice Lake Loop around a gorgeous, tranquil forest lake and Lighthouse Park’s primarily flat, winding trails with the vast Pacific Ocean as a backdrop.
Lynn Canyon is another great spot for hiking with little ones, especially around the Lynn Canyon Loop. This 5.1 km round trip takes you up through lush green forest before coming back along the rushing water of Lynn Creek, which you can cross on the crown jewel of the park, the 40-meter suspension bridge, swinging 50 meters above the beautiful clear pools below.
Photo Courtesy of @petitesizebigappetite
On Vancouver’s North Shore, we take a lot of things seriously: hiking, mountain biking and craft beer, to name a few. We also take brunch very seriously. BLVD Bistro, Tommy’s Cafe and Raglan’s Bistro, to name a few, are North Shore staples, and rightly so if you’ve ever brunched there before. But you also can’t go wrong with any brunch spot. We might be biased, but brunch on Vancouver’s North Shore is pretty tasty.
Finally, for the cute and cuddly animal lovers (which is every kid?) Maplewood Farm is the last remaining farm on the North Shore, home to over 200 animals and birds. Kids get up close to all kinds of barnyard friends like goats, chickens, cows, sheep, and pigs. Pack along a lunch to enjoy at the many picnic tables on hand, and don’t forget to pack some carrots for the rabbits!
Photo Courtesy of @kidsworldvancouver
If the snow arrives on our North Shore Mountains, we would add skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing to the agenda this Family Day long weekend, too!
Can’t fit everything in one day? Check out our fabulous hotel package deals, where you can enjoy special deals at your favourite local attractions this season. For more information on these and more family fun on Vancouver’s North Shore, visit vancouversnorthshore.com.