Last updated on March 8th, 2018 at 08:53 pm
Vancouver, British Colombia is one of my favorite places to visit. A sparkling city with mountains to the East and the Pacific Ocean to the West, Vancouver has it all: beautiful coast and beaches, world-class skiing and hiking trails, and incredible shopping and restaurant options. Not to mention all of the epic playgrounds, waterparks, and boat rides!
It’s the perfect getaway for families looking for big city adventure and epic outdoor fun all in one! There’s no better place for families to stay and access the best of both worlds in Vancouver then Downtown.
There is so much for families to enjoy in the center-- Granville Island, Stanley Park, and a myriad of cheap fresh food all accessible by bike, train or public transit. I have put together a list of favorite hotels to fit a variety of budgets. And a few fun things for families to do as well. I hope this makes planning your family trip to Vancouver a little easier!
The Westin Bayshore, Vancouver
The Westin Bayshore Vancouver is right on the edge of Stanley Park. The hotel has a walking path right in front; head one way to the Vancouver Aquarium and water playground or go the other to the Coal Harbour playground and Italian ice-cream shops! Kids enjoy complimentary kid’s packs with toys and treats, and a free in-room movie. The outdoor pool is incredible on nice days or you can play in the indoor pool on cooler days. The Westin Bayshore is a more expensive stay but worth the money if you are looking for something special.
You can’t talk about Vancouver without mentioning Stanley Park. This massive urban oasis sits in the heart of the city. It offers tons of family fun including two family-friendly beaches aptly named First and Second Beach. Each beach is equipped with washrooms, parking, and many concession stands to grab snacks and drinks.
Here are the some of the highlights for families in Stanley Park;
- Four playgrounds; Ceperley, Second Beach, Rose Garden, and Train Station playgrounds.
- The world-famous Vancouver Aquarium is located in Stanley Park too! Here you can see all sorts of marine species from belugas to sea otters.
- A waterpark; the Variety Kids Water Park is located at Lumberman's Arch next to the Stanley Park Seawall. It's within short walking distance to the Train Station playground and Vancouver Aquarium.
- English Bay Beach- or First Beach is Downtown Vancouver's beach. It can be accessed via the Stanley Park Seawall to the East. It boats more of an urban beach experience. First Beach highlights include lifeguards on duty (May- September), a big slide located out in the water on a raft, beach volleyball, and kayak rentals to paddle around English Bay.
- Second Beach is right in Stanley Park, and best known for its forest meets ocean shores. This beach offers more than just sand and sea, there's a heated lifeguard supervised pool right beside the ocean! The pool offers slides and gradual depths great for new swimmers!
Something to keep in mind is Stanley Park is really big! A great way for families to get around the park is riding bikes along the iconic Stanley Park Seawall. There is a selection of bike rental places near Stanley Park. They offer a variety of rentals including bikes for little kids, baby seats, and bike trailers. Be warned the bike path along the Seawall is only one way and nine kilometers in length. There's no turning back, so make sure you plan accordingly.
Granville Island Hotel
This hotel is right in the heart of vibrant Granville Island! Here you will find a market for kids, children’s theater, many fresh and cheap restaurants, a water park, and playground. Do you travel with your family pet? The Granville Island Hotel offers pet-friendly rooms as well. A great way to enjoy the area is by bike when the weather is good; you can rent bikes at the hotel, making it easy for your family to get out and explore Granville Island. This hotel is more expensive, but nearby attractions and access to budget-friendly dining options make it more affordable.
Here are a few more details on the kid-friendly highlights available at Granville Island;
- The Kids Market is filled with toys, costumes, arcades, candy, magic, and crafts! An absolute blast for kids and adult of all ages!
- The Granville Island Waterpark offers two big slides and oodles of water squirting and spraying fun!
- Sutcliffe Park Playground is just south of the waterpark. It offers kids the chance to climb, slide and swing.
- The Adventure Zone is an exciting multi-level indoor jungle gym! A great place for the kids to play on rainy days or if you need a bit of a break from the sun.
Blue Horizon Hotel Vancouver
This hotel is excellent value for families! Located right on Robson Street, the Blue Horizon Vancouver boasts stunning views of Downtown and the West End. Blue Horizon offers rooms specifically geared toward families looking for more space and is close to public transit to get your gang to major attractions around the city easily and inexpensively.
Times Square Suites
Time Square Suites is one of the best Vancouver family friendly hotels that has everything I love for a comfortable stay! It is conveniently located right next to Stanley Park and includes amenities like a full kitchen, washer/dryer, and separate sleeping for kids and grownups. This cheap to mid-priced hotel is not posh, but it gets top marks in my book for comfort, convenience, and price. Time Square has everything families need to enjoy a fantastic vacation.
Downtown Vancouver Hampton Inn and Suites by Hilton
This family-friendly hotel is steps away from B.C. Place and Vancouver’s Central Library. Granville Island Market and Stanley Park are also close by. Free conveniences at Hampton Inn and Suites by Hilton Downtown Vancouver include bike rentals, hot breakfast and shuttle service to the Downtown area. The Sky Train is also within walking distance from the hotel, making it quick and easy for families to get around the city.
Here are two more family-friendly highlights around downtown;
- Telus World of Science offers families a chance to explore everything science! Cool shows, exhibits, and hands-on activities make for a fun and educational way to spend a day.
- The FlyOver Canada Experience is an awe-inspiring ride that simulates flying over the entire country! There are some restrictions for height, weight, and health so check out their website before going to take a ride.
These are our favorite family-friendly places to stay in Vancouver! The list of fun things for families to do mentioned above is just a few ways for families to make amazing memories. There are way more unforgettable experiences to be had in this great Canadian city!
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