The Lower Mainland is packed full of so many different things to do and places to go. Everywhere you turn, there is an adventure waiting for you!
I have compiled a list of things that I want to do this summer – either solo, as a date with the husband or as a family adventure. There are quite a few things on my list that will have to wait until next year when I am not pregnant though. Something tells me that my husband won’t let me climb The Chief while pregnant…
At The Beach [completed]
Sunset, White Pine, Jericho or White Rock. Any beach will do for building sandcastles, dipping our toes in the water, combing for seashells and enjoying a picnic. Or perhaps hot dogs from the amazing hot dog vendor by Sunset beach?
A friend of mine went last summer and I am pretty interested in going this year! I did some berry picking on an aunts orchard years ago (at least 10 years ago!) and would love to stockpile the freezer with some frozen berries for the year to come! There are so many different farms – check out the link for a list from http://www.findfamilyfun.com!
I know, many people are against the zoo for ethical reasons. I’m not for bringing animals into captivity, but I am all for teaching my son about animals and helping to foster a love of all things furry, fuzzy and scaly. Debating aside, I want to take Dean to the zoo. Between the train and the animals, I think he will have a blast! It will be a fun and educational experience.
Again, animals. It’s a great little farm just off the highway in North Vancouver. It has cows, sheep, rabbits and many other animals! They are easily accessible from transit (though if you are coming from further than Burnaby, it’s definitely a commute better done by car – and they have free parking!) It’s stroller friendly and isn’t too bad when it’s been raining, but you’ll still want to wear your mud boots!
Capilano has come a long way in the past ten years. When I went as a child, we went across the bridge, looked around and were done within twenty minutes. Boring! But now they have a ton of interesting things for those that like heights! The bridge is still the main attraction, but now they have also included the Cliff Walk, Tree Top Adventures and a few other sights and activities, included in the admission! Also, for the price of a single visit, BC residents (with proof of address) can get a membership for an entire year! Score!
Lynn Canyon is another suspension bridge, located in North Vancouver. It has many more paths and trails than Capilano so it would make for a better day of hiking, rather than more strictly sightseeing. Admission is free! Can’t get cheaper than that! It’s best to chose a route before you begin – there are many different routes of different skill and distances. We usually have one in mind but end up getting lost along the way when we stop paying attention. It’s a large park so, as usual for hiking, come prepared for twice the length of a hike as planned with extra water and food!
A Day on Granville Island
There’s so much to do here! There’s the spray park and playgrounds. The Kids’ Market. Adventure Zone, if your kids are old enough and you want to browse for an hour or two, sans children. Food Market, where you can grab some picnic lunch items and sit along the docks outside (though, watch out for the Seagulls, they can be a bit feisty!) or out on the grassy fields while flying a kite.
Parking can be hard to find during the summer weekends but it’s not impossible! Just be prepared to dodge pedestrians while scouting a spot. Pay parking is a bit easier to come by, if you’re up for spending some money to do so.
There are plenty of buskers around the Island so you can usually catch a performance or two – anywhere from music to a man juggling fire while riding a unicycle balanced on a suitcase, stacked on top of a baseball bat…
I think Dean is a bit young for this still. And I can’t go on any of the rides, since I am pregnant. But I still wanted to include it on the list as a “maybe”. While I would love to go spend the day walking around and exploring the exhibits and watching the shows (and I’m sure Dean would, too, depending on how crowded it is!) I just don’t know if it’s worth the admission costs. There are tons of exhibits happening this year, including Game of Thrones, Kidz Discovery Farm, Timber! – A Stompin’ Lumberjack Shindig, ToonTown – Interactive Play Area and other exhibits, plus nightly concerts included in admission. It’s definitely worth it for the cost – but I’ll have to debate if it’s worth it for the cost with a
toddler who is a bit of a wildcard when it comes to open areas, filled with thousands of people, that he can’t run free in!
Geocaching Treasure Hunt Day
My husband and I got into geocaching last year. If you haven’t heard of it, you should check it out. It’s a modern spin on a treasure hunt. But there isn’t any actual treasure involved, just bragging rights!
We stuffed Dean into an Ergo last Spring and walked around Lynn Canyon with my in-laws and found a few caches. In one of them was a Travel Bug (I won’t go into details but check out Wikipedia’s page to GeoCaching for explanations) We took that Travel Bug with us to Hawaii, where we ended up finding two more (one of which, I regret to admit that we still have an need to get rid of but the caches we’ve found since Hawaii haven’t been big enough to place yet!) Geocaching makes for a fun, adventurous day! It gets you moving and out of the house – and exploring little nooks of your city that you normally wouldn’t even think to pay attention to!
Create a geocache of our own
This was our goal last summer but after getting busy with moving in August and some household renovations, we didn’t get a chance to make one before the weather turned wet and cold. Anyone can make one and list it. You just need some creativity and a few household items! Check out the link for all the information you need to start your own.
A Visit to La Casa Gelato
Have you heard of this place? They have an insane amount of gelato in flavours you can’t even imagine. Curry gelato, anyone? I love the Hazelnut gelato, along with about half of the flavours. The best part is that you can try a few samples so if you are having troubles deciding if the Wasabi gelato is your thing or not, you can get a taster before ordering a double scoop cone!
Lots of local hiking/trail walks
I got into hiking the summer before we got married. I love the scenery and the serenity of it. A friend and I would go hiking every other weekend or so to various trails around the Lower Mainland. Check out the website for a list of many, many trails – you can sort by level, distance, transit friendly or by area. One of my favourites is Admiralty Point, though Deep Cove’s Quarry Rock is a close second! I’m hoping to get out with Dean for some trail walking this summer – maybe some of the easier/shorter ones will be better for us though so he can walk it and I can survive it!
Visit a Farmers Market
There are many Farmer’s Markets in the lower mainland. And quite a few vendors tend to rotate through a few of them as they are on different days. A couple favourites of mine are Royal City Farmer’s Market in New Westminster, where I used to take the kids I nannied (pre-Dean) after school for a treat and to wander the park and the Burnaby Farmer’s Market at Deer Lake Park. Check out the link below for a market near you!
Make a Salad from Ingredients I Grew
Yes, here I go talking about my garden again… This list isn’t all about places to go and things to see, you know. I’m looking forward to a fresh-from-the-garden salad that we can put together for dinner one night, complete with strawberries from the garden for dessert! (Now to just hope that everything is ripe at the same time to make this happen!)
Whistler Day Trip
I want to pack up the car for the day with picnic things, sand pail, towels and changes of clothes and hit the road for a fun day-long adventure. Along the way to Whistler are various stops for sightseeing and activities. Horseshoe Bay has the ferry terminal, where we can see them sail in and out. Porteau Cove is a family hot-spot. Jason spent many summers camping there with his family. We usually stop there to stretch on the drive, walking along the water or having a picnic. Britannia Mines are shortly after that, but while we may stop to check out the GIANT dump truck (with wheels as tall as me!) we will likely skip the tour of the gold mine and building until Dean is a bit older. After Britannia Mine is Shannon Falls and The Chief. The walk to the Falls is nice and it’s another good stretching point for certain little active boys who love to explore nature. Or we may continue to Brandywine Falls, which also has a few trails and views worth checking out. And then, finally, is Whistler. There’s a lot of activities that are focused on the older children (biking is a big one with a few skate parks and things like Go-Karting and mini-golf) but walking the Village and some of the beginner level trails are more suited for us with our little man (and my pregnant belly)!
A Day at Dinotown
I have childhood memories of my grandma and grandpa loading up the grandkids and taking us to Dinotown. I’ll be honest, when returning to it as a teenager with the daycare I worked at, I was a bit disappointed. It wasn’t as amazing as I remembered but the memories I have from there are still wonderful! It was recently relocated and it’s been spruced up a bit. As Dean is starting to get into dinosaurs and he’s just happy to go exploring, I think this will be a hit.
Attend a City Festival
There are so many cities that hold festivals throughout the summer. Sapperton and Surrey Fusion Fest are two of the top-recommended ones that I’ve come across. There are plenty of different ones with their own unique spin on the focus and all feature a few family oriented activities and events. Check out your cities website for dates and locations near you!
New Westminster Quay Day!
We go so often that crossing this off the list won’t be hard! It’s a fun-filled boardwalk that is close to skytrain and easily accessible by car. We love to spend the day there. The River Market (aka Quay) has many delicious food places to eat at. There’s a circus school upstairs that has some drop-in slots, but even if you aren’t attending, it’s fun to go and watch a class that is running. They have Farmer’s Markets and Artisan Markets (check their website for dates and times) There’s tons to see and do outside of the River Market, along the boardwalk. There’s three great parks (two to the NE end, one to the SW end), along with sand volleyball courts, grassy areas and the fun tug boat play structure and World’s Tallest Tin Soldier. Dean loves to watch the choo-choo’s chug along the train tracks on one side of the boardwalk while the boat’s speed along on the other, plus you can watch as the skytrain’s cross the bridge!
Science World and the Vancouver Aquarium
I wasn’t going to include these two locations on the list as these are both places that we have memberships for so aren’t really a “summer” thing – especially as it gets much more crowded than during the school years when day camps bring children in. I try to avoid these places, but I’m sure we will likely still be attending at one point or another.
Burnaby Central Railway
At Confederation Park, located near Willingdon and Hastings, is a miniature train. It’s perfect for those train-lovers that are borderline obsessed. Dean will have a blast riding the rails on miniature steam engines. Rides are approximately 10 minutes long and tickets are $2.50 each, or a book of twelve (no expiry) for $25.
Confederation Park has a spray park, playground, running track and a library and indoor pool if looking for an escape from the outdoors.
Spray Parks, Wading Pools and Playgrounds
There’s plenty of different parks that I want to go to, but don’t want to list them all individually. Just a few, including ones that I listed above, are :
- Queens Park, New Westminster (Spray park, petting zoo, playground, gardens)
- Grimston Park, New Westminster (Wading pool, playground)
- Blue Mountain Park, Coquitlam (Spray park, wading pool and playground)
- Central Park, Burnaby (Playground, outdoor pool, pitch and putt, walking trails)
- Confederation Park, Burnaby (Spray park, playground, running trail, train, walking trails)
- Bear Creek Park, Surrey (Spray park, playground, outdoor pool, running train, train, gardens)
- Green Timbers, Surrey (Walking trails, dock with wildlife, fishing)
- Stanley Park, Vancouver (Spray park, playground(s), outdoor pool, walking trails, train)
Anything you plan to do this summer that isn’t listed? Let me know! I’m always looking for new adventures!!