Wondering what to do with the kiddos this Spring Break so you don’t pull your hair out and wave the white flag by Day 2? If you can’t afford a luxury vacation or Spring Break camps but need something to fill up your time with the kids, here are some of my favourite day trips that will appeal to all ages!
If you’ve ever talked to a local Vancouver Islander about where to go for a day trip they will tell you to go see the goats on the roof in Coombs! Coombs is about a 2 hour drive from Victoria and you can’t miss the Old Country Market (where you’ll find the goats) as you drive through. The Old Country Market has many shops and cafes to indulge in plus great photo opportunities!
If you are looking for other things to do while you’re in Coombs check out The Butterfly World, The Emerald Forest Bird Garden, The World Parrot Refuge, The Hamilton Marsh, The Little Qualicum Spawning Channel, Cameron Lake, Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park, Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, or Mount Arrowsmith!
On the way to Coombs, you will pass Parksville, some people combined these trips into one because of their proximity. Parksville is a great day trip destination because The Parksville-Qualicum beach is every kid’s dream! The playground is filled with swings, slides, water cannons and the beach stretches for as long as the eyes can see! There is a water park, beach volley ball, outdoor fitness gym, skateboard park and of course great beach spots for picnics! If you don’t make it here during Spring Break, be sure to come visit in the Summer for the Parksville Beachfest when the world famous sand sculpture competition takes place! Parksville is about a 2 hour drive from Victoria.
If you want to sneak in some skiing before the season closes, this is a great ski hill that is just 3 hours from Victoria. Often boasting the most amount of snow in Canada, Mount Washington Resort has runs for all ages and abilities from novice to expert and even has a ski school and daycare for the younger ones. There is a lodge with lockers for your belongings and you can pack your own lunch or eat at one of the facilities at the lodge. In addition to skiing you can also go tubing at the tube park! The mountain opens at 9am and the last daytime run is at 3pm, leaving you plenty of time to get home for dinner and bed! If you want to make a mini-getaway out of this trip, the mountain is offering free skiing, tubing and eating for kids with the purchase of a 3 day slope side package.
Botanical Beach Provincial Park is a natural wonder known for its intertidal zone and crystal clear tide pools that are home to many fascinating marine species. The beach is about a 15 minute walk from the public pay parking lot, and is equipped with toilets and picnic tables. This “Class A” provincial park is the perfect day-trip from Victoria. Botanical Beach is the last stop on the Juan de Fuca highway (BC 14-W) in Port Renfrew. It is about a 2 hour drive from Victoria and there are many other beaches and stops that you can make along the way such as China Beach, French Beach, Jordan River, Mystic Beach and Sombrio Beach. Dress warm and bring rain gear, because it is the We(s)t Coast after all and you are entering the rain forest zone.
Salt Spring Island
Perhaps an often overlooked destination because it requires a ferry to get to, Salt Spring Island is one of my favourite quick getaways! The ferry only takes 35 minutes from Swartz Bay and you pay to get on the island, but get to return for free! There are many things to do and see on Salt Spring such as visiting the shops, farmer’s markets (starting the first weekend in April) and restaurants on the bay. One of the things I love to do is visit the local farm stands where you can find almost anything like jams, honey, wine/beer, meat, produce, baking, plants, coffee, cheese and more! There is also great hiking, beaches and lakes as well! The Channel Ridge trail, Chris Hatfield trail, Dunbabin trail and Mouat Park are all child friendly hikes.
Of course our island is home to many more beautiful sights and activities to do, but these are a few of my favourites as a child growing up and now as a mother with her own children! I hope you have a great Spring Break and feel free to leave a comment with some of your favourite day trips or share your experiences of going to any of these fantastic destinations!