The best summer activities for your toddler throughout the South Coast

Schools out for Summer, or if you child is in daycare like me, maybe it is just a week – but regardless that can seem like a long time with a toddler. Also, if you are anything like me, staying inside and playing trucks all day is just not an option (although I know my little one would love that). Well the good news is there are so many toddler friendly adventures to try along the South Coast and I wanted to share some of my favourites with you.

 

Fraser Valley

  • Taves Family Farm: This is the ultimate farm to take the kiddos and parents alike in the Fraser Valley. What I love is the endless options from UPick fruits to animal viewing. I also love that they have a new cider mill on site so that mom and dad can enjoy a delicious bevy while the kids play
  • Cultus Lake Adventure Park: I recently visited Cultus Lake for the first time and this is the best place to take the family this summer. From the nearby lake to the adventure and waterpark there is really something for all ages of kids
  • Canadian Museum of Flight: If you are a toddler parent – you are probably playing with planes every day, well this is an opportunity to bring that play to life at this hands on volunteer driven family attraction

Vancouver

  • Stanley Park: I always loved exploring Stanley Park, but I didn’t realize how kid friendly it truly is. There are the horse drawn carriages, the aquarium (which is a family favourite over here) and at times the mini train is open for rides. Aside from the attractions around the park, you can also just explore the park itself. Go for an easy nature walk among giant trees, visit the playground, or go get a close up look at some of the boats. Make sure to also keep eyes peeled for some marine wildlife.
  • Granville Island: I love this island treasure, and it is the perfect place to take the kiddos this summer. You have probably been to the Granville Market, but did you know there is also a Kids Market? You can find some unique kids toys here, but my favourite kid friendly activity at the Island is the Water Park (in fact it is the largest free water park in North America). The best part is this is a fun adventure for the kiddos from the beginning, especially if you decide to take a water taxi to get to the spot.
  • Vanier Park: I think Vanier Park sometimes gets a little overlooked, but there are some true gems here for the kids. Our little guy is really into space right now and so we love to visit H.R. MacMillan Space Centre to learn more about the stars and get some live interaction at the observatory.  Also in the area you can find the Maritime Museum where kids can take a turn at the wheel of the boat.

North Vancouver

  • Grouse Mountain: You may think of Grouse as a winter destination, but the Peak of Vancouver is the perfect place to take the family during the summer as well. There are so many activities for the kids to enjoy. Take in the Birds in Motion show, or visit the Grouse grizzlies. You can entertain the kids for hours up here
  • Visit a suspension bridge: Of course there is the famous family favourite Capilano Suspension Bridge, which will take you over a breathtaking river and into an old growth forest where the kiddos can explore the treetop adventures. If you would like to explore a sport that is a little less crowded and a little more affordable, make your way over to the nearby Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. This bridge is a little more rugged, so make sure you hold on tight. There are also some great easy trails for your littles to explore in the area.
  • Maplew0od Farm: This actually happens to be the last remaining farm on the North Shore and they have all the family favourites; goats, pigs, rabbits, chickens, donkeys, and ponies. The best part is the kids can get up close and personal with a lot of the animals and even pet the goats.

Squamish

  • Sea to Sky Gondola: We love a day trip up the Gondola and during the summer there really is so much to see and do. I love the fact that they have a toddler friendly trail where we can spot “animals” along the way and learn more about the wildlife throughout the Sea-to-Sky. During the summer they also have live music, baby and me hikes, and story time available.
  • Britannia Mine Museum: This award winning museum has entertainment for all ages. Kids can take a ride through the mine, go panning for gold, and take in the award winning BOOM show.
  • Visit the new Oceanfront: Finally the Squamish Oceanfront is open for business and they have built a beautiful walkway and park. I could honestly spend everyday this summer here with my little guy. It seems to be a fan favourite for many locals and visitors alike.
  • Visit a local lake: We are so lucky in Squamish to have many swimmable lakes that are easily accessible and I love taking my toddler here for a swim or play in the sand.

Whistler

  • Vallea Lumina: You can enjoy this family friendly activity in winter and summer – in fact we have taken our little one there three times now and it never gets old. It is an incredible interactive light show that takes you on a short walk through a beautiful old growth forest. The displays are truly remarkable and every time we go we discover something new and beautiful.
  • Visit the Family Adventure Zone: In the summer at the base of Blackcomb Mountain you can find the fun filled Family Adventure Zone. It includes mini golf, bouncy castles, and climbing walls.
  • Ride the Gondola: I don’t know about you but my little guy is obsessed with gondolas – last time we were in Whistler he made me ride up and then ride back down – he didn’t even want to get off. Well summer operations offer some easy walks and hikes at the top of the mountain and the Peak to Peak Gondola is always a  fan favourite.
  • Explore one of the easy trails: I am an avid hiker and so I am trying to get my little into hiking as well, well one thing that gets him on the trail is telling him we are hiking to a train. The Train Wreck hike is easy for the whole family with a great reward that toddlers are sure to love.

Pemberton

  • North Arm Farm: I love heading out to Pemby in the summer with my little one because it is a little secluded and quieter. North Arm Farm is the perfect summer destination for toddlers. The farm offers animal feed for the chickens and pigs, Upick fruits, and they have tractors and swings the kids can play on.
  • Visit Narin Falls: If you are looking for a family friendly hike that everyone will enjoy make sure to visit Narin Falls. The hike to the falls is relatively flat and the waterfalls are beautiful – plus it is fully enclosed so that takes away some of the concerns with an active toddler. This is also a great spot for camping with a toddler if you are lucky enough to snag a spot.
  • Have a picnic at One Mile Lake: One Mile Lake is a really relaxing spot and a great place to jump in the lake and cool down on a hot day. Just down the road you can find some of the best burgers I have ever tasted (aptly named Mile One Eating House). Grab a burger and enjoy a day at the lake.

The South Coast offers so many incredible activities that both you and your toddler will love so even if school is out don’t fret. There is lots to do and see, and I promise many ways to tire your toddler out so you can hopefully enjoy a 3 hour afternoon nap.

Happy Summer my friends,

xo,

Mia

 

 

 

5 Top Day Trips from Vancouver

Summer is right around the corner and so it is time to start planning those summer getaways, but here is the best part, I get to live where people vacation and so I don’t have to go far to plan a perfect trip. Here are some of my favourite places to escape that are just a short drive or ferry from Vancouver.

1. Squamish – 45 minute drive from Vancouver

Ok I might be a little biased here since I call Squamish home but this mountain town is the perfect getaway. Just a short 45 minute drive from Vancouver you can be in the Adventure Capital of Canada. For the daredevil in you there are incredible hikes, mountain bike trails, and of course climber routes at the tip of your finger. They also just opened up a new waterfront park so there is also access to the oceanfront. For those that are a little adventure adverse there are some incredible hidden gems in town. Great local restaurants and shops,  lakes to relax at, art exhibits, and the gondola is a must visit.

Must Do

  • Take in an epic view of the Sound: There are some pretty intense hikes in Squamish, but Murrin is one that the whole family can do – and it offers some of the most beautiful views in all of Squamish.
  • Enjoy Taco Tuesday: There are some delicious local restaurants, cafes, and breweries but one must visit is Luz Tacos. It is a very authentic spot.
  • Relax at the Lake: Cat and Alice Lake are beautiful spots, but if you want to get away from the crowds, make your way up to Levette Lake.
  • Go up the Gondola: The Sea to Sky Gondola is a must visit. There are so many different trails with incredible views of Squamish, delicious food, and activities for the whole family.

 

 

2. Whistler – 1.5 Hours from Vancouver

A little bit further up the Sea to Sky Highway is the famous Whistler Village. While it is famous for its winter skiing, you might be surprised to know that they actually get more visitors during their green seasons. I absolutely love Whistler in the summer time. From the world famous bike park, beautiful alpine hikes, gourmet restaurants, and stunning lakes to cool off on a hot day Whistler is perfect for adventure enthusiasts and families alike. I love that you can go up the gondola and explore the beautiful alpine terrain in the summer months.

Must Do

  • High Note Trail Hike: This is one of my absolute favourite hikes in all of BC. The best part is if you take the Peak Chair it takes a lot of the elevation out of the hike making it more accessible.
  • Visit Alta Lake: I love hanging out here in the summer. The park is beautiful and the mountain views are second to none
  • Sip on Sake Margaritas: I love Sushi Village, some of the best sushi I have ever tasted and it is such a  fun vibe.

3. Bowen Island – 1 Hour Ferry Ride

I love that B.C. is so connected via the ferry system that you can be on an epic adventure on an island in an hour. Bowen Island is such a charming place to visit. I love going paddle boarding or kayaking in the area – and make sure to look out for wildlife, I had a chance to swim with the seals. I love cycling around the island as well. They also have some delicious restaurants to check out.

Must Do

  • Go for a paddle: I love paddle boarding and I had so much fun going off the coast here
  • Visit the Snug: I love the fresh coffee and casual breakfast eats
  • Bowen Art Tour: Bowen is filled with incredible artists across the entire island.

4. Fraser Valley – 2 Hours From Vancouver

The beautiful Fraser Valley is located by the Coast and Cascade mountain ranges, offering lots of outdoor adventures, it is also home to the Fraser River, and lots of farmlands – which help nourish the restaurants, craft breweries, and wineries in the area. You can plan to explore the entire area by taking the Circle Farm Tour. This tour directs you to specialty farms, delicious treats, heritage sites, and other special events.

Must D0

  • Stay at the Sandpiper Resort: You will get the full R&R experience at this beautiful resort located right on the river, and if you are a golfer that is a bonus – the resort has a beautiful course. Oh and during the fall months you can spot hundreds and hundreds of eagles
  • Visit the beautiful flowers: The Laketown Flower Festival is the largest in Canada. Wonder among the tulips, lavender, and sunflowers all summer long.
  • Buzz over to Campbell’s Gold Honey Farm: learn about all things bees and honey and you have to sip some specialty honey wine.

5. Pemberton – 2.5 Hours From Vancouver

Pemberton is one of those places that is just too good to be true. Nestled at the base of the famous Mt. Currie. There is amazing hiking and biking in the area and lots of unique farm lands where you can sip local brews and visit some animals. There are also some amazing camping sites in the area, both provincial and recreational sites.

Must Do 

  • Visit North Arm Farm: The kids will absolutely love it. They can feed the animals, pick berries, and grab a bite while staring up at the beautiful mountains.
  • Sip at the Beer Farmers: I love enjoying a beer on this scenic farm
  • Enjoy an epic hike: Joffery Lakes is one of the most special hikes in B.C. visit all three glacier lakes.

We are so lucky to live in a place where every turn and trail leads to breathtaking views, epic adventures, and endless fun for the whole family. And the best part is, you don’t have to travel very far from Vancouver to experience some of the beauty this province has to offer.

Happy exploring my friends,

xo

Mia

Top ski resorts to visit in BC

It is my favourite time of the year, when the blue bird days are plenty, the snow is slushy, and you don’t need a million layers. It is time for Spring skiing. So to get you excited for the most slush-tastic time of the year I wanted to share some of my favourite ski resorts in what I consider the ski capital of Canada.

  1. Whistler Blackcomb

I may be a little biased here, because sure there could be long lift lines, and expensive lift tickets, but this is my hometown mountain, and why would I need to go anywhere else when I have this beautiful landscape just down the street. From the top of 7th Heaven you get the most incredible views of Black Tusk, and you can see some beautiful views as you ride across the Peak 2 Peak Gondola. There are 8,171 acres of accessible terrain, the largest in North America and has something for everyone (including my two year old son who absolutely loves the magic carpet).  I also love that there is unbelievable slack skiing right off piste. The best part is, the ski season extends well into May.

2. Revelstoke

It has always been a dream of mine to ski Revelstoke and this year I finally got the chance. I had always heard about the epi skiing here with the longest vertical in North America, over 1,700m, and trust me it did not disappoint. There is no shortage of snow or terrain here. One thing I really loved was that it isn’t just about the skiing, but also the culture and art. In fact, make sure you keep your eyes peeled as you ski around because ROAM( Revelstoke Outdoor Art Movement) has placed several art exhibits throughout the mountain, including my personal favourite, the MasterPISTE gallery.

3. Fernie

The highway that this ski resort sits on isn’t called Powder Highway for nothing. Fernie is known to get some of the most snow in the province, and even country. I also love that there were five different bowls to chose from, and one of the the most gorgeous views from the alpine that I could ever of imagined. Polar Peak is not for the faint of heart but maybe my favourite run ever. I also loved that 3 people ahead of us was considered a “long line.”

4. Big White

I absolutely loved this family friendly resort as well as the village around it, and there is a ton of ski in ski out options. Oh and here is the best part, the resort sees about 762cm of powder each year and it is the special champagne powder you dream of skiing. Oh and make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the beautiful snow ghosts all around the resort.  I also loved that there was something for everyone, I had a chance to try ice skating on the highest rink in BC, as well as ice climbing.

5. Sun Peaks

Canada’s second largest ski resort that has over 1,728 ha of skiable terrain spread across three mountains. It is a family friendly ski resort with small crowds and lots of options, in fact the three mountains 130 different runs are all connected. But even on a crowded day you can still find pockets of fresh powder if you know where to look – and who better to help you find the hidden powder then Olympic champ Nancy Green who offers guests an opportunity to go skiing together. And if you don’t like to ski, well why not try your hand at a snow limo that can give you a tour of the mountain.

 

 

 

 

Why you need to book a ski lodge this winter

Since I started ski touring it has always been a dream of mine to stay at a ski lodge and experience a full weekend of backcountry adventures. This winter I finally took the plunge and booked a 2 night stay at the Journeyman Lodge in the Callaghan Valley.

Location

Journeyman Lodge is located within Callaghan Valley, which is just south of Whistler. Here you will find over 9,000 hectares of terrain, sandwiched on the Lee side of Powder Highway (so you know you are going to have incredible snow). What  I really loved about this particular ski lodge was that it was easily accessible. You could either ski tour, rent cross country skis, take a snow cat, or snowmobile the 13km to the ski lodge. Being 3 months pregnant I opted for the snow cat.

The experience

We went with a group of eight and what I loved is it was a chose your own adventure. Right outside the lodge is  breathtaking mountain views and  beautiful forests with groomed cross country trails so it is easy to explore close to home. For those that are more adventurous there is endless ski touring terrain. Also a short walk from the lodge is a beautiful  wood barrel sauna situated right above the river and so you can unwind with a circuit of hot and cold plunges. On site there are two hosts to help you organize your day as well as chef that prepares delicious family styled breakfast, lunch, apres snacks, and dinner that will literally serve any dietary restriction, and the food is delicious. When it was time to head to bed, I was surprised at just how cozy our room was. Our group had the entire second floor. Each room had a double bed, with its own bathroom.

Day 1

Our first day at the lodge we had some serious skiers luck – it has been an underwhelming snow season in BC this year, but we got lucky with 50cm of fresh powder and so I knew I had to get out for a ski tour. Due to conditions we decided to stay on relative mellow terrain and set out to the north face of the mountain and stick to the trees. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky making it the absolutely perfect day, blue bird + powder. After a lap my legs were feeling the burn of pushing through the deep snow, it was back to the lodge for some fresh soup, sandwich, and hot chocolate.

From extreme sports, to a calm unwinding spot – the lodge is perfect for whatever you are looking for. In the afternoon I sat by a cozy window with the sun beaming down and read my book before delicious apres snacks were brought in.

Day 2

Another sunny and beautiful day in the mountains, today I decided to explore some of the groomed trails just outside the doorstep on my snowshoes. There is about 6km of trails right outside the lodge to explore and the terrain is quite easy to navigate. It takes you through a scenic forest that then takes you down to the river. Being up here honestly made me feel so small because everywhere you looked were giant mountain peaks.

After a morning of some exercise it was time to head back to the lodge and this time we decided to enjoy some time in the games room, complete with a ping pong table, dart board, and other board games.

As someone who has wanted to get more into backcountry skiing and experiences, but also wants to be comfortable and cozy at night – this was the perfect combination and I cannot wait to explore more of BC’s backcountry lodges.

Happy exploring my friends,

xo

Mia

 

 

 

 

 

A two week itinerary in Portugal with a toddler

When my husband and I were trying to figure out our next big family vacation we wanted to try somewhere new. We also recently have fallen in love with surfing (not that either of us are any good at it) and so we wanted to go somewhere unique where we could hit the waves – and we all know the biggest waves in the world are in Portugal so that’s where we decided to go.

No, we weren’t planning to surf the 100 foot wave, but rather take in the beauty of the Algarve, drink wine in the Duoro Valley, and take in the culture of Lisbon. But there is one thing we had to keep in mind while planning, how will we also entertain our one and a half year old?

The more research we did, we realized Portugal is actually an incredible place to take a toddler. They let you skip the line at most museums and castles, they have a lot of toddler friendly beaches and parks, and lots of delicious food.

I wanted to share our two week itinerary with you – and honestly we fell so in love with this place, it is one of the few I hope I will get to travel back to someday.

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