Whether you live in the West or are a visitor, there's no shortage of activities and sites for your family to enjoy.
You can lose yourself for days in Stanley Park. Rent some bikes or walk about but don't forget to spend an afternoon at the aquarium where you can watch Beluga whales and sea lions in the underwater viewing area. The adorable sea otters -- one rescued from the Exon Valdez oil spill -- will steal your heart!
This popular tourist destination has as much to offer families in the summer as it does during ski season. Hiking, walking and biking trails abound and there are skateboard and mountain bike ramps near Lost Lake. If you are looking for a bit more adventure, try the exhilarating zip trek ride that comes with a great eco tour. You'll soar up to 200 feet off the ground on five lines.
The Caribou Chicot Coast Region
Looking for something off the beaten track? This is the place to go. Located in the centre interior region (about one-third of the way up the province) this region boasts more than 45,000 square miles of diverse territory, and with a population of only 73,000, you can be sure there are no crowds.
The unique terrain features rugged mountain views, serene valleys, rainforests, gorgeous lakes and arid, almost desert-like landscape. You can:
• Travel the Gold Rush Trail (752 km from Langley to Prince George);
• Spend some time in Barkerville (a restored gold rush heritage site with guided tours and live theatre);
• Visit Quesnel Lake (the deepest fjord lake in the world) and Hunlen Falls (the third largest in Canada);
• Take in a First Nation's pow-wow, or the Williams Lake Stampede (the second largest in Canada) and hopefully spot a white Kermode or Spirit Bear.
• There's plenty of hiking, rafting, fishing, swimming and camping opportunities, and the local hospitality is heartwarming.
For more information, visit Landwithoutlimits.com.
BONUS: Explore The Great Bear Rainforest (the largest intact coastal rainforest in the world) along the central and northern coast of BC -- 15.5 million acres -- home to diverse wildlife including the Spirit Bear.
The Jasper Tramway takes you into alpine tundra (Whistler's Mountain, named after the distinctive sound the Hoary marmots make) where you'll literally feel like you are on top of the world. This is the longest and highest aerial tramway in Canada and the view looks out over six mountain ranges, green glacial-fed lakes, Alberta's longest river, the Athabasca, as well as the town of Jasper.
• Athabasca River rafting: Guides take you down this long and winding river surrounded by mountains. There are numerous outfitters and some offer free passage to kids under age 6.
• Jasper National Park: A World Heritage Site; this is the largest park in the Canadian Rockies. Ice explorers allow you to walk around glacier ice formations and taste glacial water. The Columbia Icefield Centre and campgrounds (about 90 minutes outside of Jasper) are not to be missed; campgrounds are open from early May until early October. or 1-877-737-3783
• Dinosaur Provincial Park: Venture 75 million years back in time in the Alberta badlands, about two hours outside of Calgary. You'll find yourself in a whole other world where dinosaurs once roamed the now fossil-rich region; unique land formations rise up in beautiful terra cotta and bronze hues.
• Drumheller: Home to the world's largest dinosaur, a T-Rex you can actually walk into; the viewing platform is located in the beast's mouth more than 70 feet off the ground.
For more information on any of these sites or excursions, visit Travelalberta.com.