The moment the final school bell rings in those last days of June, parents across the country are filled with conflicting emotions. They welcome the warmer months and days free of the usual school day grind; but while they look forward to seeing more of their children, they dread all of that extra time too. “How on Earth will I keep my kids busy this Summer?” echoes throughout households near and far.
Unfortunately, most families these days require dual incomes to survive, making it challenging to find ways of incorporating quality time with the kids while working through the Summer.
More often than not, grandparents are coming to the rescue, taking on the role of primary caregiver with the added bonus of being able to step away at the end of the day. Still, even nana’s best grilled cheese and the prospect of unlimited screen time can become tiresome to the most easily pleased of children.
So, on those days when you’re feeling at a loss with what to do with the little ones in your life, or you’re just looking for a quick adventure close to home, try any one of these amazing ideas from our top 20 list of things to do in the Summer.
Berry Picking (various locations throughout the Valley)
Various locations from Ladner to Hope, particularly throughout Langley and Abbotsford. Be sure to check out Krause Berry Farms for their trademark pies and waffle breakfasts, and Maan Farms with their wide array of family attractions including a zip-line, estate winery and giant inflatable bubble jump.
Hiking (various locations throughout the Valley)
Throughout the Fraser Valley there are hiking opportunities for all levels of hikers, whether with children or not. From Discovery Trail in Abbotsford to Mount Cheam in Chilliwack, you’re sure to find beauty along your way. Visit the Vancouver Trails website for detailed reviews of some of the best hiking trails throughout Southwest B.C.
Bicycle tours are a great way to explore an area together as a family, with there being numerous family-friendly trails throughout the Valley. Most municipalities, including Abbotsford and Langley, maintain comprehensive lists and maps for their local cycling routes.
Camping (various locations throughout the Coast)
No Summer is complete in B.C. without at least one overnight camping trip. Reservations are highly recommended as sites go as quickly as they open up. Check out Discover Camping for more information.
Vancouver Food Tour
Discover Vancouver through your taste buds and embark on a delicious food tour with Taste Vancouver Food Tours. Taste organic maple syrup treats on their Gastown Food Tour or indulge your secret Italian side with the Little Italy Food Tour. Private and special event tours are also available.
Circle Farm Tour
A Circle Farm Tour is a road map directing you to a variety of specialty farm-gate vendors, open air markets, charming eateries, heritage sites, fairs, and other special events. These self-guided tours allow you to travel in your own car and at your own pace. Each community has about twelve venues, all of which are related in some way to agriculture and the area’s farming heritage.
Hop on an authentic 100-passenger paddlewheeler, and discover the Fraser River from a different vantage point. Paddlewheeler Riverboat Tours in New Westminster offers cruises, tours and events all year round.
Fraser Valley Wine Tour
With over half of B.C.’s agricultural activity centered in the Fraser Valley, it’s no wonder that it is home to nearly 30 vineyards and 15 wineries. Visit the Wines of British Columbia website to create your own self-guided wine tour, and taste some of the most acclaimed wine labels in British Columbia.
The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Vancouver’s Chinese Garden was built in 1985-1986 using the time honored principles and techniques of the original Ming dynasty garden. Rain or shine, step back in time to 15th Century China and enjoy this breathtaking and soothing “window to another world”.
Horseback Riding Tour
You can’t drive too far in the Valley without passing by stunning horses grazing on vast farmland, or large, tell-tale horse trucks in transit. Visit one of the many horse ranches on both sides of the Fraser River for an experience you won’t soon forget.
Visit Larry Berg Flight Path Park at YVR
There’s something quite thrilling about having a giant plane fly right over your head, and the city of Richmond knows it. Directly in line with the end of Vancouver International Airport’s south runway, this great picnic spot has a giant globe celebrating YVR’s role in connecting BC proudly to the world, Trails and runway paths that reflect the markings and lights of real runways, and Tail wings telling the story of why we have become known as one of the best airports in the world.
Cooking Classes at Lepps
Lepp Farm Market, at the corner of Highway 11 and Clayburn Road regularly boasts outdoor BBQ events, children’s face painting, and live music. Share their passion for locally-grown food by signing up for any of their classes and taking home a fabulous meal for your family! Hurry though – as their classes fill up quickly!
Summer is the best time to get your fireworks fix in B.C., and not just on Canada Day. In addition to various July 1st celebrations throughout the province, you can catch more explosive action at the Abbotsford Agrifair, the Vancouver Honda Celebration of Light, and even from White Rock Beach as our U.S. neighbours celebrate their 4th of July.
Celebrate Canada Day
Wherever you happen to be on Canada Day, there will be a major celebration near by. Some of our favourite all-day events include the biggest Canada Day celebration in Vancouver at Canada Place, Surrey’s festivities at the Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre, Canada Day in Fort Langley, Mission’s Canada Day Celebrations at Fraser River Heritage Park , Canada Day at Spirit Square in Maple Ridge , and of course, Abbotsford’s own Canada Day Family Festival and Parade.
First built in 1889, the Capilano Suspension Bridge has grown into one of Vancouver’s most popular tourist attractions; but did you know there are numerous other local (and FREE) suspension bridges in the region? There are: Lynn Canyon (North Vancouver), Hell’s Gate (just north of Hope), Buntzen Lake (near Port Moody), Radium Lake (Chilliwack) and Cascade Falls (Mission).
Metro Vancouver farmer’s markets have become so much more than just a place to buy local produce, and these days it’s pretty easy to find one close by. Try Abbotsford Farm & Country Market (Saturdays, 9am to 1pm), Langley Community Farmers Market (Wednesdays, 12 to 4:30pm), Chilliwack Farmers Market (Saturdays, 9am to 2pm), or Vancouver’s oldest and most well-known market, the Trout Lake Farmers Market (Saturdays, 9am to 2pm).
Movies in the Park
Outdoor movies have taken off over the last few years and are always a favourite with the kids. From Vancouver to Chilliwack, these FREE movie events run regularly throughout the Summer, complete with popcorn, entertainment and fun activities. Check out Fresh Air Cinema and Prospera Credit Union for schedules and locations. Donations are welcome.
Historical Granville Island is a buzzing hub of arts, culture and culinary delights. Spend a day here shopping, eating and enjoying the incredible atmosphere, then cap off your day with a 25 minute mini cruise through False Creek on Vancouver’s much loved Aquabus.
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s Outdoor Concert
The VSO’s annual FREE concert takes place at one of Metro Vancouver’s most beautiful outdoor concert venues, Deer Lake Park. Bring a picnic blanket or chair and enjoy popular classics during a wonderful evening with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival
The annual Vancouver International Jazz Festival is the largest of its kind in British Columbia. Held at parks, community centres, concert halls, clubs, public plazas, and in streets of various neighbourhoods throughout Vancouver, you’re sure to find something for everyone during the 11 day festival that includes over 100 free events.
There’s no shortage of fun Summer things to do in the Fraser Valley and beyond, that are all easily accessible from the Residences at Gateway. For more fun events and activity ideas, visit back often! You can also connect with us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.