Kids In Vancouver: A Local Family’s Summer Bucket List

Summer bucket list

Summer hiking in Vancouver | Photo: Inside Vancouver Flickr Pool

Vancouver is known for its stunning sea-to-sky adventure scene – from zig-zagging down the ski slopes of the local mountains, to trekking up the tree-lined mountain trails, to kayaking and paddle boarding along the city’s coastline – the city has something to offer for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages.

While my family is fortunate to have been born and raised in the picturesque city of Vancouver, there are a number of local adventures that we have yet to try. That’s why each Summer, we put together a bucket list of new local gems we’d like to explore. Here’s what we’ve added to our Summer bucket list for this year.


Joffre Lakes | Photo:

Hike To Joffre Lakes

This one’s a bit of a jaunt from downtown Vancouver, but I’ve been told that the 3-hour drive is more than worth the trip. It takes a 10-11km round-trip hike from the trailhead to see all 3 lakes, making it more of a full-day hiking trip than a quick trek. Reviewers say that the hike can be strenuous with a steady incline on the way up, so we’d likely leave our little ones at home for this one and just take our 9-year-old. Before heading out, I’d study this detailed hiking guide on what to expect.

Harbour Air Vancouver

Harbour Air Sea Plane Tour Flying Above Vancouver | Photo:

Take a Seaplane Flightseeing Tour of Vancouver

I’ve always wanted to enjoy a bird’s-eye view of my favourite city, and have watched on with envious eyes as the little white-and-yellow seaplanes have ascended from the water’s surface. Harbour Air, the world’s largest seaplane airline, offers a wide range of flightseeing tours of Vancouver, Whister, Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. With prices as low as $85 (per adult), and $49 (per child), this would be a special treat for adventure-seeking families looking to experience Vancouver from a new perspective.

Squamish Sea To Sky Gondola

Sea To Sky Gondola | Photo: Inside Vancouver Flickr Pool

Take The Sea To Sky Gondola To Summit Lodge

Since its opening in May of 2014, the Sea To Sky Gondola in Squamish has become one of the most-talked-about tourist attractions in the Vancouver Area, and while it’s only an hour’s drive from downtown, we have yet to explore this breathtaking, sky-high adventure!  Featuring a suspension bridge, hiking trails, viewing platforms, food & beverage options, and a Summer sunset concert series, this sounds like the perfect spot to spend a full day with the family.

Playland Coaster

Playland’s Wooden Roller Coaster | Photo: Playland

Ride Playland’s Wooden Roller Coaster

While this quickly became my oldest daughter’s favourite Playland attraction last Summer, I haven’t ridden the rickety ride since my early childhood days. My goal is to build up the nerve to ride it once more this Summer. I hope that its 58-year-old wooden frame will cure my fear of fast-falling coaster action!

Grouse Mountain Skyride

Grouse Mountain Skyride | Photo: Mohit J. Flickr

Take A Skyride Up Grouse Mountain

While many prefer to climb Grouse mountain via the heart-pumping Grouse Grind hiking trail, I’d prefer to enjoy the picturesque views in a more relaxing way. The Grouse Mountain Skyride, North America’s largest aerial tramway system, transports visitors to the “Peak of Vancouver”, where they can enjoy a wide range of activities in the serene mountaintop setting. From bird watching and guided walking tours, to ziplining and paragliding, Grouse mountain offers a range of activities to satisfy all interest levels.

Brandywine Falls Flickr Justin Kenneth Rowley

Brandywine Falls | Photo: Justin Kenneth Rowley Flickr

Chase Waterfalls Up The Sea To Sky Highway

The Sea To Sky Highway isn’t just a north-south artery that connects Vancouver to Whistler, it’s also the perfect route to chase waterfalls up the mountainous coastline that connects BC’s most world-renowned destinations. Featuring half a dozen breathtaking waterfalls (such as Brandywine Falls pictured above), a drive along the Sea To Sky Highway would be the perfect way to chase waterfalls all day. I’ve found this great guide on waterfalls to help plot out my stops.

North Van Slide The City

Slide The City North Vancouver | Photo:

Slide The City In North Vancouver

A favourite Summertime memory from my childhood is of sliding along the slippery surface of a slip n’ slide in my neighbour’s backyard – it was the perfect way to cool off and cavort with friends on hot Summer days. Last year, North Vancouver made a splash with the first-ever Slide The City event in Metro Vancouver, and it’s returning again this August! Imagine a larger-than-life slip n’ slide – 1,000 feet of inflated vinyl – lining the corridor of Lonsdale Ave., set against the backdrop of the Vancouver downtown skyline. Sign me up!

Join me in checking off these adventure-seeking activities from my Summer bucket list, and make your Summer in Vancouver truly epic.

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