3 Family Activities to Try in Squamish BC

We recently had the opportunity to visit the outdoor recreation capital of Canada; Squamish BC. Squamish is about an hour and a half away from where we live in Surrey and is close to Whistler (it’s slightly more well known neighbour). We’ve driven through Squamish on our way to Whistler a number of times, and even stopped at Shannon Falls.

The thing is, we aren’t really ‘outdoorsy people’. We are more sandy beaches and swim-up bar kind of folks (particularly embarrassing because we live in British Columbia). Now that our kids are getting older though we want to give them a variety of adventures and opportunities – introduce them to things we didn’t do as kids. Neither Mr. T or I grew up in a family that went camping or did much more outdoors than bbq at the beach. (I do have to say that his family was a lot more active than mine though).

So, taking our new goal into mind, we’ve been getting outside and exploring more. One of our explorations led us to Squamish where we discovered a new love – hiking! (Well at least 3 of us loved it;)

Here are our top 3 family activities to try in Squamish BC.

Hike the Stawamus Cheif with Kids{At the starting point & On top of the world! (Balancing Rock)}balancing rock stawamus cheif

1. Hike (part of) the Stawamus Chief

The Stawamus Chief hike is a strenuous hike to the top of a granite mountain – in fact, there are signs at the starting point that actually read; this is not a walk in the park! It is a real hike, with rocks and boulders, and A LOT of stairs. We had planned to hike to the first peak, but came back from the Balancing Rock which is about 350 metres of climbing. If you have young kids (ours are 10 and 7), and are novice climbers, this is a great point to plan your hike to. The view is gorgeous, you can stop and have a lunch break, and then prep for the trip down. My little one who is 7 did struggle more on the way down than on the way up, and needed a lot of support from me so I was glad we stopped at Balancing Rock. They were wiped by the time we made it down! The best part about hiking the Chief (after the scenery of course) was the sense of accomplishment we felt as a family, it was amazing. I think the kids will remember that as a win for a very long time.visiting squamish bc with kids{This is flashback pic from our Squamish trip in 2013}

1b. Shannon Falls

Shannon Falls is located right next to the Stawamus Chief trail and is a gorgeous series of waterfalls (third highest in the province). You can walk up to a viewing platform and take some great pictures. We decided to skip the falls this time because we saw them last year and didn’t want to add the walk to our hike day, but if you haven’t seen them, they are a must. If your kid’s are really little, the walk to view the falls might be enough of a hike for them!

alice lake provincial park{Alice Lake – image courtesy Tourism British Columbia}

2. Walk a Nature Trail and Picnic in a Park

The best part of Squamish is all the natural beauty, everywhere you look you can see the mountains and greenery. We highly recommend shutting off your phone and spending an afternoon just wandering through one of the many trails to take in the natural beauty of this place. There are three provincial parks in Squamish; Alice Lake, Stawamus Chief, and Brackendale Eagles Provinical Park. We had planned to walk Alice Lake but the weather didn’t hold out, however, we will definitely go back for a picnic and nature walk in the summer.

britannia mining museum

3. Britannia Mining Museum

This one is technically just outside of Squamish in an area called Britannia Beach, but it’s a must visit for families. The Britannia Mining Museum is a national historic site with over 100 years of history to explore.

We found that it was really good for our kids, but there was a few people that had toddlers and it was a bit over their heads. We explored the exhibits, talked about the history of the mining town, and tried our hand at panning for ‘gold’. The best part though – going underground into the actual mines and learning about the history of mining (from a girl, might I add). It could be a little scary and loud for really little ones underground, in my opinion, the Britannia Mining Museum is great for kids that are 4 and older if you want them to get the full experience. Or you can bring them when they are toddlers and enjoy the play stations and bring them back in a few years for a history lesson.

On a side note, if you are a fan of the ABC show Once Upon a Time (I’m a die-hard) you can totally geek out, because this is the actual mine you see in the show! I can’t say with certainty, but I bet other scenes in the show are shot in areas around Squamish too.

If you live in the Vancouver area, Squamish is only 45 minutes from the downtown core, and definitely worth driving up for a day – or even better spend the weekend and make it a staycation.


1 Comment

  1. May 13, 2014 / 9:49 pm

    Looks like a lot of fun and so much to do!

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