Sunday, November 25th, 2007 at 10:34 am in Family Travel.
Ah, Vancouver – 800 miles north and a whole different world, says the Neumann family in today’s Times travel section, and what a fantastic place for outdoorsy families. Here’s the scoop on where to stay, what to do and how to do it…plus links.
THE TRAVELERS: Bruce, a mechanical engineer, Julie, finance director for BDA Sports, and their kids Kayla, age 7, and Cody, 4.
THE TREK IN A SEC: This San Ramon family spent five days in Vancouver, British Columbia – plenty of time to get the flavor of the city and explore the beautiful area.
FAVORITE HOTEL: The Westin Bayshore is absolutely the place to stay for families, says Julie. Located in downtown Vancouver, within the Coal Harbour area, “The Westin is a gem. Here are some reasons why to stay at this hotel, and in particular, this area of Vancouver: There are beautiful views of the coastline and the mountains. It is adjacent to Stanley Park (more on that in a moment). Easy access to boat tours of the harbor and seaplane tours – to watch and listen to the seaplanes take off and land all day is very peaceful for adults, fascinating for kids and definitely a ‘Vancouver’ experience. Because of the location, we saw big cruise ships come into port and were able to walk the short distance to see them up close.”
There are few hotels in Vancouver with outdoor swimming pools, says Julie, but the Westin is one of them – a definite plus if you’re traveling in warm weather. And there is no need to rent a car. Everything is walking distance, and the hotel provides conventional and jogging strollers, and umbrellas for the occasional rain shower – this is, after all, the Pacific Northwest.
FAVORITE KID-FRIENDLY RESTAURANT: The White Spot, a local chain restaurant with great burgers and a family-friendly environment.
Stanley Park – The park has “adventures for everyone,” says Julie. “You can walk, run, skate or ride bikes along the seawall, or the miles of trails throughout the park. There is a children’s farmyard, miniature train to ride, picnic grounds, playgrounds, beaches, public pools, a water park, botanical gardens, ‘traffic school’ for kids 5 to 8, and the Vancouver Aquarium. This is why it was great to have access to the jogging stroller through the hotel – we just walked right over to the park to explore all it had to offer.”
Grouse Mountain – Another fun adventure for the outdoorsy family, says Julie, is just 7.5 miles north. “If you don’t want to brave Vancouver’s most famous hike, the Grouse Grind, which takes you 2,800 feet in only 1.8 miles – our daughter did it when she was 5! – take the Skyride tram up to the top of the mountain. The views are beautiful from the top. At the top of Grouse Mountain, you can jump aboard a helicopter tour, hike easy trails, and have a bite to eat at one of the cafes. There is also a lumberjack show atop the mountain during the summer months and it was entertaining for all of us. The show really gets the crowd (and kids in the crowd) involved. I would bet the show was our kids’ favorite adventure.”
If you’re hitting Grouse Mountain in the winter months, you’ll want to check out the sleigh rides, ice skating and “Peak of Christmas” festivities.
Has your family been somewhere wonderful? Share your photos, favorite hotels and outings, and travel tips by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
More family travel posts:
Cancun Family Adventures
London with Teens
New York City & DC with a Theater-Going Family
New York City with a Baseball-Loving Family
California Beach Towns
And Paris avec le bebe.