There is no shortage of things to do when vacationing to Vancouver and Canada’s west coast. A 3-day vacation to the area can be jam packed with activities, restaurants and tourism and you still will have only caught a small portion of the area.
Wondering Which Places to Go in Vancouver with Your Family?
I have created a 3-day itinerary for you and your family. It includes some of best places to go in Vancouver including local favorites, great hikes, and more.
Day 1: Explore Vancouver
Head to Medinas for breakfast, a local gem and one of the best places to go in Vancouver's downtown area. This trendy eclectic restaurant famous for it's waffles is often associated with lengthy wait times however the food is definitely worth the effort.
After breakfast, make your way to the famous Stanley Park sea wall to explore the variety of trails and beaches. Expect to pass a replica of The Little Mermaid statue in Denmark, the famous Siwash rock and prospect lighthouse. If your family is up for the extra activity then bike, walk or run the 9 km sea wall. Rent your bikes at one of the many rental shops located on Denman and West Georgia.
*Make sure to pack a lunch and your swim suits so that you can spend the afternoon at Second Beach to take in the ocean views.
After exploring Stanley Park, enjoy a picnic lunch and the aftenoon at Second Beach. Choose to relax and dig at the beach or head next door to Second Beach's swimming pool.
Next, make your way to Hornby Street beside the Burrard Bridge and take the Aquabus on a tour of False Creek. The tour is only $15.00 a person for the day. Children over 3 are $13 and children under the age of 3 are free. Stop at Granville Island to check out local artisans, shops and have dinner. In the summer you will find musicians playing music in the various squares and the occasional street performers. Pick up some local snacks for the rest of your vacation including fresh fruit, pastries and homemade bread.
Buy dinner from one of the many food options on Granville Island Market or head to Edible Canada for a truly divine food experience.
Day 2: Hike the Trails
Wake up and head to the Red Wagon Café for a mouth-watering breakfast. My favourite dish is their pulled pork pancakes with their sweet Jack Daniel's infused maple syrup. This place can get extremely busy but is a local favourite. It's also where I insisted our family eat on Mother’s Day while I was pregnant with my second daughter.
Work off the hefty breakfast and take the drive up to North Vancouver and Deep Cove to complete the 3.5 km round trip hike to Quarry Rock. With only 100 metres of elevation, this hike takes you through gorgeous deep grove forest and ends with a stunning view of Deep Cove while standing on Quarry Rock.
Once you have completed the hike, make sure to visit the famous Honey’s Donuts for some mouth-watering treats and enjoy them beside the harbour.
No need to head anywhere to enjoy the water. Take a tour or rent a Kayak or SUP board from Deep Cove Kayak company . Explore close to the shore or head to one of the nearby islands within 60-90 minutes. Tours are also available. If you children have never been on a SUP, here are a few tips for paddleboarding for kids.
Day 3: Road Trip
Grab an early breakfast and take the 57 minute ocean drive to Squamish. The drive will resemble a James Bond movie and your only wish will be that you were driving in a convertible.
Option 1: Work for the View
Take the grueling hike up the Stawamus Chief that starts with a series of stairs, large rocks and ends with a couple of ladders and chains. This hike will get your heart rate up but gives a good dose of adventure for the whole family and expansive view of the Howe Sound.
Take the Sea to Sky Gondola up the adjacent mountain to catch the views of the Howe Sound. At the top you will find a series of accessible trails which means that all abilities including those using a wheelchair or babies in strollers can join in the fun. Choose to eat lunch at one of the Sea to Sky restaurants or pack your own.
If you have extra time, stop at Shannon falls. The short walk to the base of the 3rd highest falls in the province formed by a series of cliffs is stunning. There is a picnic area and washrooms which make it a great rest stop.
For supper head into Brackendale, BC for a bite before driving back to Vancouver. The Watershed Grill is famous for its stunning ocean view patio.
Feel like you need more activities and places to go in Vancouver for your trip?
- Ride the gondola or hike up the grueling Grouse mountain Grind trail. At the top, visit Grinder and Cooler the resident bears. Please note that you do have to take the gondola down the mountain even if you hike up.
- Visit Kitsilano beach in late afternoon/evening and enjoy a stunning sunset at the beach or have dinner at the Boathouse and watch the sun set while enjoying some fresh BC fish.
- If the kids are restless and need some extra activity then take the kids to the Telus science world or the Vancouver Aquarium.