As we gear up for British Columbia’s first ever Family Day, families all over the region are planning things to do and where to go. Personally, I have a check list of things that my family is looking for when choosing where to go. We’re looking for family focused, authentic experiences, family friendly accommodation, outdoor winter activities for the whole family, museums or heritage sites that will appeal to even our littlest traveller. After a little research, I’ve discovered that the perfect destination is just up the road from Metro Vancouver. Squamish is an easy 45 minute drive from North Vancouver and checks all of our boxes!
Deep in the tunnels of the Britannia Mine Museum | photo credit: Britannia Mine Museum
Museums and heritage sites? Squamish has 2 of the most family friendly attractions in the region with the Britannia Mine Museum and the West Coast Railway Heritage Park. At the Britannia Mine Museum you can take a guided tour to learn about the history of this National Heritage site (my son loved the explosives simulation in the interpretive centre) and then climb aboard a mine train and rumble into an authentic tunnel. Entertaining guides (we loved Marshall), describe the workings of drills and tools from the past century, and everyone got the chance to pan for gold! At the West Coast Railway Heritage Park you don’t have to be a train buff to enjoy the park. Visitors enjoy exploring the historical trains, and interactive displays and kids, of all ages, love the mini-rail ride around the park.
Photo Credit: Sunwolf Rafting
Every winter in Squamish, Brackendale hosts one of the largest populations of bad eagles in the world. The Family Day long weekend would be the perfect time to watch these magnificent birds feeding on the salmon that spawn in the Squamish and Cheakamus rivers. And there are lots of great places to view the eagles from – the Eagle Viewing dyke in Brackendale or, and we highly recommend this option, take to the river on an eagle viewing float trip with Sunwolf Rafting or Canadian Outback Adventures and get a completely different perspective of the eagles. The rafting is easy and suitable for almost all members of the family. Feel like you need to get even more in synch with the eagles? Head to the skies and experience the sights of Squamish from an eagle’s perspective with a scenic flightseeing trip from Glacier Air or Blackcomb Aviation.
Eagle viewing float trip | photo credit: Tourism Squamish
If you can’t wait to head outside for Family Day, Squamish is the perfect place! With a promise of authentic family experiences that allow you to escape & reconnect, the Callaghan Valley, just north of Squamish, is a winter wonderland of outdoor activities. Spend the day with the whole family tobogganing, snowshoeing, classic or skate skiing and when you’re worn out, take a break at the gorgeous Callaghan Country Lodge.
Nordic skiing at Callaghan Valley | photo credit: Tourism Squamish
Once your day is done, and you’re ready to sit back and relax, you’ll be pleased to know that staying the night (or two) in Squamish is ideal for families. There are many family friendly accommodations to choose from complete with pools, waterslides and DVD and xBox rentals.