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5 Vancouver Island Activities for Families

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Diverse and dramatic, Vancouver Island delivers all that active families look for in a holiday destination. The island's coastal rainforest and beaches draw nature lovers and adventure seekers of all ages. From the sea to the land and the sky, here are five Vancouver Island activities for families you won't want to miss.

Bald eagle taking flight at the Pacific Raptor Center (Photo credit: Jody Robbins)
Bald eagle taking flight at the Pacific Raptor Center (Photo credit: Jody Robbins)

Pacific Northwest Raptors

Want to see the fastest animal on the planet? Simply head to Pacific Northwest Raptors, a center for birds of prey to watch peregrine falcons soar overhead before dive-bombing mere feet from where you sit. Home to over 120 birds including bald eagles, vultures, and owls, fantastic flying demonstrations take place twice a day during summer months and run until the end of October.

Parksville Beach
Parksville Beach (Photo credit: Jody Robbins)


There are loads of laid-back family activities at Canada’s warmest beach, Parksville. Blessed with 22 kilometers of beachfront, when the tide comes in over the hot sand it produces bath-like temperatures, making a swim in the Pacific more palatable. The shallow coast is ideal for skimboarding and beachcombing for sand dollars, starfish, and even crabs.

Camping options near Parksville abound, but The Beach Club Resort is where you want to be. Many rooms come with fully equipped kitchens, fireplaces, and laundry facilities. Best of all, during the summer, there’s a Kid’s Club for the 5- to 12-year-old set.

Yurts at Merridale Estate Cidery
Yurts at Merridale Estate Cidery (Photo credit: Jody Robbins)

Merridale Estate Cidery

Typically wine tasting plus children is not a combination that pairs well, but spending an intoxicating afternoon at a cidery is an entirely different matter. At Merridale Estate Cidery families can wander along a wood-lined path in search of fairies that are rumored to roam the property. You’re sure to spot a few of their wooden homes and learn a bit about the flora and fauna of the region during a well-signed self-guided tour. While parents sample a flight of ciders (many international award-winning), kids can tuck into homemade cinnamon buns and pizza fresh out of the brick oven. Work off the calories running through the orchard and searching for trout in the quarry pond. Give in to temptation and stay overnight at one of the two well-equipped yurts on the premises—glamping at its finest!

Touch tank at Shaw Ocean Discovery Center
Touch tank at Shaw Ocean Discovery Center (Photo credit: Jody Robbins)

Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre

Kids will be hooked upon entry at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre. Families descend in a tricked-out elevator that invokes a submarine being submerged into the sea. Lights flash, the floor rumbles, and all the bells and whistles go off until you arrive at sea level. Devoted to discovering the recently renamed Salish Sea, this aquarium offers more than the usual tanks and fish-feeding frenzy. Children interact with the ocean through a number of different stations including microscopes to watch minuscule marine life and a touch tank where you can get handsy with starfish, sea urchins, and anemones.

Kayaking lesson near Vancouver Island
Kayaking lesson near Vancouver Island (Photo credit: Jody Robbins)

Exploring Victoria’s Inner Harbour by Kayak

There are plenty of ways to explore this quaint capital city, but your best bet is to take to the water. Not only will you get a unique perspective of Canada’s garden city, but you’ll be able to get up close and personal with a wide variety of aquatic life. Kayaking in Victoria is an easy water sport for kids to grasp, and gliding across the water sets a tranquil pace for the rest of your day. Combine this bit of exercise with the fresh air, and you’re pretty much guaranteed a peaceful slumber. Head to Ocean River Adventures for both urban and island family kayaking (and paddle-boarding) tours.

What are your favorite Vancouver Island activities for families? Let us know in the comments below!

A Note from The Saucy Travel Mama: Thank you to Destination B.C., Tourism Victoria, Tourism Vancouver Island,  Parksville & Qualicum Beach Tourism, Merridale Cidery, The Beach Club Resort, Pacific Northwest Raptors, and Ocean River Sports who hosted these opportunities. As always, my opinions are my own. 

About Jody Robbins, The Saucy Travel Mama

After a career in international marketing and a few years spent living the high life as an expat, Jody now resides with her family in Calgary, Canada. Figuring travel writing was a good way to combine her wanderlust and parental duties, she’s spent the past few years working with both print and online media, contributing to the Calgary Herald Travel and Real Life sections and blogging about her adventures at Travels with Baggage ( When not circling the globe with her precocious children (one daughter, one husband, one dog), she can usually be found snowboarding or pretending to enjoy hiking. Find Jody on Twitter at @Jody_Robbins.

  1. The Washington Coast says

    Great ideas! Thanks for all the good info and of course your usual great photos! Vancouver Island is a wonderful destination.

  2. A cousin of mine told me that British Columbia is the most beautiful place in the world (he has traveled around the world four years). I will take my daugther there, I´m sure. Nice blog.

  3. Alisha Marshall says

    I loved your post.I wanna read more similar post from your blog. I have found some important travels info from Vancouver travel blog. Your post also fine so please keep it up.

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