Vancouver With Kids: 15 Super Fun Things They Will LOVE!
Vancouver is, without a doubt, one of the best cities in the world to visit as a family. I’ve been going since I was a kid to visit family and highly recommend it as a family holiday destination because there are so many amazing things to do in Vancouver with kids.
It’s the kind of place where people work to live rather than live to work. It’s all about a great quality of life in beautiful surroundings. No wonder the Canadians are such happy people. You are always met with a friendly Canadian smile wherever you go.
I’ve been in love with it for so long and have often talked about moving there. Writing this has brought back all those feelings!
If you are thinking about taking a family holiday to Vancouver, I really cannot recommend it highly enough. Whether you just have time for a few days in Vancouver or are planning on staying a little longer, there are so many amazing places to visit in Vancouver for families.
First, just a few helpful tips for visiting Vancouver with kids.
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Getting to Vancouver
Flying time from London to Vancouver is around 9.5 hours although this can vary depending on wind direction and weather. The adventure really starts on the flight because the kids will love checking out the Rocky Mountains on the way to Vancouver.
Then they will be mesmerised by the giant jelly fish in the aquarium at Vancouver airport and the enormous totem poles welcoming new arrivals.
With an 8 hour time difference between Vancouver and the UK, expect some jet lag. We had a lot of early morning walks for the first few days while we adjusted. This is fine during the summer months but not so great during the cold, winter months!
Entry requirements for Canada
If you are visiting Canada from the UK, you will need to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorisation eTA Canada before you travel. Once obtained, your eTA is valid for 5 years during which you can take as many flights to Canada as you like. Each member of the family, regardless of age, will need an eTA.
Details on how to obtain a Canadian eTA
You can find more details on the eTA as well as completing the eTA form here.
Best time to visit Vancouver with kids
Vancouver in the summer is just beautiful but it is also a fantastic winter destination with top-class skiing just a stone’s throw away. It’s the kind of destination you can visit all-year-round and always find some great things to do.
Best things to do in Vancouver with kids
There are so many family-friendly things to do in Vancouver so we have narrowed down the choice to ensure that you can have the very best time when visiting Vancouver with kids. First, here’s a map to help you understand better where things are.
Map of things to do in Vancouver with kids
Visit Stanley Park
Stanley Park is a real highlight of Vancouver and one of the best places to visit in Vancouver with kids. There are lots of things to do in Stanley Park and depending on how much time you have, you may not get to do all of them. These are the main highlights of Stanley Park.
Cycle around Stanley Park
Stanley Park is huge and if you are short on time, one of the best ways to explore it is by bike. There are lots of places very close to the entrance of the park where you can hire bikes for the family. There is a cycle track all the way around the Vancouver seawall.
Take a look at these Stanley Park cycling tours here.
Discover the Totem Poles
The First Nations Totem Poles have been in Stanley Park since the 1920s. They are carved from western red cedar and each depict a mythical story. These Totem Poles are located at Brockton Point in Stanley Park but there are a couple more that are only visible when taking the miniature Stanley Park train.
The Stanley Park Aquarium is one of the most visited attractions in Vancouver. I have been in the past when I was a kid and really enjoyed it, but we don’t like to promote seeing animals in captivity, so we haven’t been recently but have heard that they do great conservation work.
We wouldn’t rule it out because it is definitely a fun and educational experience for kids, but there are so many other fabulous things to do with kids in Vancouver that we didn’t feel like we were missing out by not going.
Head up Grouse Mountain
Grouse Mountain, also known as the Peak of Vancouver, is a fun place to go in both the summer or the winter.
In the winter there is skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing, mountain ziplines, a sliding zone for little ones and a beautiful light walk.
In the summer this is a mountain rescue centre which is home to rescued grizzly bears and lumberjack shows which the kids will love. Thoroughly entertaining.
On a clear day, the view on the way down on the chairlift to downtown Vancouver is spectacular.
Granville Island Kids’ Market
Granville Island offers so much for families. As well as the incredible market (make sure to pick up some tasty fresh local produce), view fabulous local arts and crafts on display. There is a water park for summer days and an indoor adventure zone for colder days.
Granville Island is the ideal destination for foodies and if you like your beer, you may want to try a tour of the Granville Island Brewery.
For a fun way to get there, check out our section below on the Aquabus.
Explore Science World
Science World is a fantastic place to take the kids with loads of fun, educational and interactive exhibits. It’s a great option if you are looking for things to do in Vancouver with kids on a rainy day.
I cannot explain just how much fun this place is. Kids can harness the power of wind to score goals with beach balls, use the power of their mind to move objects, feel like a bird soaring over the city with a virtual reality simulator. There is too much to mention.
It is one of the best places of its kind we have ever seen and coming from London with all of the amazing things to do in London with kids, that is saying something!
Take a ride on an Aqua Bus
You could take the public bus around Vancouver or a taxi, but where’s the fun in that? The Aquabus in Vancouver has 8 stops in False Creek and is a fantastic way to see the city and to get around.
If you want to get from Science World to Granville Island, you should can hop on at The Village (Stop 8) and off at Granville Island (Stop 2).
Hang out at the Vancouver Beaches
If you feel like escaping the heat of the city, head to one of the many beaches in Vancouver. Vancouver might not be known for its beaches, but there are plenty to choose from. One of the most famous is Kitsilano Beach (or Kits Beach) but there are also beaches in Stanley Park.
Some of these beaches also have outdoor pools and play areas.
If you head south out of Vancouver towards the US border, you will find some lovely, rugged beaches. Whiterock is a great place for beachcombing. Look out for enormous purple starfish.
Visit Capilano Suspension Bridge
If you aren’t scared of heights, then head to Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver. It is one of the most popular attractions in Vancouver. It is not just one suspension bridge, it is a network of footbridges with platforms high up in the tree canopy, a cliff walk and so much more.
A free shuttle service usually runs from downtown Vancouver so it is easy to get to. You can check their schedule on their website. Alternatively, you can take one of these tours.
As incredible as Capilano Suspension Bridge is, it is expensive and it can get very crowded. If this puts you off, you’ll be pleased to know that there is a cheaper and far less crowded alternative. See below.
Visit Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge
Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is located in Lynn Canyon Park in North Vancouver. There are several hiking trails in this beautiful park, but the main attraction is the suspension bridge. Having the famous Capilano Bridge just a stone’s throw away means that this bridge is often overlooked by the main tourist crowds. We think this makes for a much better experience.
Chinatown in Vancouver is a great place to take the kids to help them discover new and exciting foods. We love the range of dim sum restaurants. There’s a cool buzz around this area that makes it really exciting for kids.
One of the best restaurants we have EVER tried is Bao Bei and highly recommend it. After your meal, you could relax in the nearby Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, a haven of tranquility in the city centre.
It is also worth noting that the ever-so-cool Gastown and the Gastown Steam Clock are nearby here too.
Take a day trip to Bowen Island
A trip to Bowen Island is one of the best day trips from Vancouver. Take a quick 20 minute ferry ride on BC Ferries from Horsehoe Bay (or a 45 minute water taxi ride from Granville Island). Taking the ferry will be such an adventure for the kids and the scenery is just stunning. Make sure to keep a look out for seals swimming around the bay.
Bowen Island is a beautiful destination to discover nature outside of the city. You will feel like you are a million miles from the city.
One of the most fun things to try with the kids here is kayaking. The water is perfectly calm and they may spot a seal or two if they are lucky. There are also lots of sandy bays for swimming and the hiking is great.
Go whale watching
Whale watching in Vancouver is a fun day out for the kids. The main attractions are hump back whales and Orcas. Vancouver is one of the best destinations in the world to see Orcas with a few resident Orca pods totalling around 100 orcas. There are lots of options for whale watching tours.
The best time of year for whale watching in Vancouver is between April to October. Most tours operate around the Gulf and San Juan Islands. You’ll also spot sea lions, dolphins and many sea birds.
If you are staying at the Westin Bayshore (see below in Vancouver Accommodation) – you can try The Prince of Whales – or you can check out some of these tours.
Visit Maplewood Farm
Maplewood Farm is a working farm around 20 minutes out of Downtown Vancouver in North Vancouver. The kids can help out with feeding and grooming the animals and collecting eggs.
This may not be on everyone’s radar for something to do in Vancouver with kids and it is a bit of a hidden gem, but the kids are guaranteed to love it.
We highly recommend a day trip from Vancouver to Whistler. It will only take about 2 hours by bus from Vancouver to Whistler.
Whistler is the adventure capital of Canada and if you are visiting Whistler in summer, one of the best things to do is to hire some bikes and explore the area, in particular along the Valley Trail.
You should also take the gondola to the top of Whistler Mountain for the most spectacular views. Cross the Cloudraker Skybridge if you dare… And then take the Peak2Peak gondola across the valley from Whistler Mountain to Blackcomb Mountain.
Obviously, Whistler is one of the top ski destinations in the world so it is definitely worth visiting in the winter.
There are numerous tours available that will take you from downtown Vancouver to Whistler or you can easily hire a car. Road tripping in Canada was one of the highlights of our Canadian holiday.
Where to stay in Vancouver with kids
If you’re looking for hotels in Vancouver, we highly recommend the Westin Bayshore Vancouver. It is located within walking distance of Stanley Park and Downtown Vancouver. If you get a harbour view, the kids will love watching the sea planes coming in to land.
They also have a lovely outdoor pool and an indoor pool for when the weather is not so good.
For the ultimate tour of Vancouver, take a look at this seaplane tour. The views are incredible.
For more Vancouver hotels and other accommodation options, checking Booking.com.
We really cannot recommend Vancouver highly enough. We would move there if we could. So what are you waiting for? Get booking….but just make sure to sort your eTA before you go!