Squamish is an outdoor enthusiasts playground and the adventure capital of Canada, and it has so much to offer families of all sizes and ages. Wondering what to do this summer in Squamish with kids? Squamish offers a plethora of activities for thrill-seekers and laid-back folks, alike. Whether you’re looking to work up a sweat, enjoy killer views, relax on a lake, or sharpen your artisan shopping skills, Squamish has something to offer. These 10 things to do with kids will make Squamish a destination hot spot for your family this summer!
1. Ride the Sea to Sky Gondola
Take a ride up the newly opened Sea to Sky Gondola to capture amazing views, walk above the trees on the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge, get access to six new hiking trails, and take part in some incredible adventures like mountaineering, rock climbing, and mountain biking. After working up a sweat on the trails, reward yourself and your family with some nourishment at the Summit Lodge, where you can take in the stunning sunset with a glass of wine!
2. Camping at Alice Lake
The campgrounds at Alice Lake Provincial Park guarantee outdoor fun for families of all sizes! Alice Lake offers amazing hiking and biking trails, and a great playground and bike skills park for kids to ride on, which is partially shaded. Slap on the sunscreen and have a cookout on the beach, play in the sand and splash around in the lake! If tanning isn’t your forte, rent a canoe and go fishing on one of the four lakes that are found within the park or rent a Stand Up Paddle Board!
3. Go Kiteboarding on the Spit
Come summer, the Howe Sound is filled with colourful kiteboards and it is an absolutely exhilarating family activity for those in Squamish with kids ages 12 and up. Kiteboarding is an opportunity to connect with nature, enjoy the ocean in a new way, and have an unbelievably good time while doing it! There are various kiteboarding schools in Squamish (here, here, and here) that provide lessons and all the equipment you need to try out this awesome sport.
4. Mini-Putt & On The Farm Market
A fun activity for kids of all ages, and a more laid back ‘sport’, Whistle Punk Hollow is a delightful adventure golf course. With visual features like a waterfall, and a train still on its’ tracks, you can play the game of golf as competitively or as relaxed as you like! There are a ton of unique picture opportunities and a lot of memories to be made here! Just down the street is the charming On The Farm Country Market, where pop-up shoppes, food vendors, local artisans and gardeners thrive! Grab food at the Locavore Food Truck, which offers a variety of delicious and healthy food (I love the quinoa & cauliflower salad!). Let the kids play at the playground while you peruse the garden centre, local food market, stock up on paleo-friendly jerky from Black Tusk, check out the lovely and kid-friendly Toy Corral and grab an ice cream cone and a coffee at the Cloudburst Cafe.
5. Go For a Bike Ride
For more of an adrenaline rush, grab a bike and head into the trails with the kids! Whether you’re a professional downhill mountain biker, a cross-country trails biker, a road cyclist or a BMX enthusiast, Squamish has become a world-famous mecca for those who like to ride on two wheels! Start your day by heading into one of the local bike shops (Tantalus, Corsa, or Republic) to grab a SORCA trails map (or download the app), the latest cycling gear for you and the kids, and some insider info on the local trails! There are loads of mountain biking trails in Squamish, with varying difficulty levels. For some easy-to-intermediate riding trails check out the trail network in Brackendale (home of the Ore Crusher) and the trails around Alice Lake. For down-hill mountain biking families, the Half Nelson is a must-try for bikers of all abilities. For BMX lovers there is an awesome BMX track for kids of all ages at Brennan Park that hosts weekly meet-ups and races. Are you a newbie? The Sea to Sky Adventure Company offers bike rentals and fully guided bike tours for the whole family!
6. Climb the Chief
Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, simply called ‘The Chief’ by locals, is the second largest granite monolith in the world and offers a great, easy-to-follow, intermediate hiking trail that takes you to the top of the peak. Doing The Chief in Squamish with kids seems like a daunting task, but I’ve known children as young as four do it (very slowly!), and parents are often seen with babes on their back in hiking carriers. There are a few tricky parts for the newbie hiker, with ‘rope-assists’, ladders, and steep sections. For older children and adventure seekers, rock climbing the front face of the Chief might be your most thrilling route to get to the top!
7. Downtown Shopping, Farmers Market & Oceanside Picnic
In the mood for a more chilled-out Saturday? Grab the kids and go for a stroll or bike ride on the downtown strip in Squamish. Start your morning with a specialty coffee at the Ledge Cafe or organic smoothies at the Zephyr Cafe. Check out some beautiful stores like kid-friendly toy & clothing store Kaos Kids, Fetish for Shoes or Funky Monkey Boutique for the fashionista, and Stock Home Design for modern home decor. Head over to the Squamish Farmers Market (at the corner of Cleveland & Victoria) and choose from an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, local artisans and bakers to create your own picnic basket. You can also choose from the yummy food truck vendors on site. Across the street is Stan Clarke Park, a popular playground and pump track for the kids to enjoy, which offers a soft grassy spot for a picnic. Or take your trip further to the end of Cleveland Avenue and do the Nexen Beach trail to enjoy your Farmer’s Market picnic basket on the Oceanfront – a perfect end to a perfect Squamish day!
8. Whitewater Rafting
Take your family down to Sun Wolf in Paradise Valley for an exciting rafting excursion. Children from ages 5 can join in on the Cheakamus Family Adventure, a fun splashy ride down the wave trains of the Cheakamus River where you bounce and spin your way through Class II rapids or cruise downstream enjoying the stunning views of Paradise Valley. Stop at Fergie’s Cafe for a fresh and locally-sourced brunch, and extend your stay by renting one of the cozy riverside cabins for an authentic forest getaway experience.
9. Go For a Hike
There are seemingly endless hikes to choose from in Squamish with kids, from oceanside trails, to hikes through the forest, or up mountainsides. Some easy hikes for beginners or families with small kids include: Shannon Falls, the trails around the Oceanfront & Four Lakes Trail at Alice Lake. For a bit more advanced hikes check out Petgill Lake & the Elfin Lakes that are great for older kids. There are also trails that take you along the Mamquam River through Squamish, offering great bird-watching and salmon spawning (when in season). Be sure to research your chosen trails and pack accordingly to have an awesome wilderness adventure!
10. Summer Festivals
Summers in Squamish are synonymous with outdoor festivals and events – from bike races and marathons, to artisan food and music festivals! Kick off the season with the Summer Solstice Festival at the Sea to Sky Gondola, join in the excitement at the Squamish Days Logger Sports Festival, enjoy the breeze with the Squamish Wind Festival, climb with the Squamish Mountain Festival, and be a total groupie at the Squamish Valley Music Festival. For bike enthusiasts, there is a bevy of races to participate in or cheer on from the sidelines, including: Test of Metal, BC Bike Race, Hot on Your Heels, and the famous end-of-summer race, the GranFondo. Most of these events cater to kids of all ages, and offer face-painting, balloons, and age-appropriate fun!
What Else Can I Do in Squamish with Kids?
Summertime in Squamish is full of things to do with kids! Explore the variety of playgrounds for your kids, check out the Brennan Park Rec Centre for their large indoor pool and child-friendly activities, the Squamish Library has many child-focused events throughout the week, and if you’re truly stuck, head to the Adventure Centre for some inspiration! At the Squamish Adventure Centre your kids can enjoy a free movie or spend some time in the play area, while the parents can enjoy a delicious coffee and snack while perusing all the activities this town has to offer!