I’m a huge fan of #SundayFunday and love the explosion of adventures and activities that families are partaking in every weekend.
One of my favourite things to do is to pack a backpack with everything we will need for the day and take off with no itinerary. I typically like to choose a new hike, or destination park and go without a schedule or an anticipated time of return. The lack of time restraints allows for maximum exploration options and a better time to be had by all.
So what are destination parks?
After working in the parks department I learned that destination parks are parks that people travel to. They often have a major park feature (water park, view point, gardens, feature playground, etc) or they have a collection of activities that keep people entertained for a while.
So here’s my list of 10 Sunday Family Funday Destinations in the GVRD:
1. Fort Langley Park
Fort Langley Park is one of my favorite destinations when you’re looking for a shady place to play. Located at 9089 Nash St, The actual park next to the pool is great for all ages and the extended park has a lot of options for additional play. A quick walk across the field and you’re at the Fine Arts School Playground, a brand new playground built with fun features.
Why I chose this park as a place to play on my list is because of how the day can extend through the day. You could make your day a walking field trip and head into “town” after the park stopping for lunch or an ice cream and checking out some of the cute stores. Kids love heading to the end of town where you can regularly see a train. There’s the bridge that goes over the Fraser River which is fun to watch the Dragon Boat teams practicing.
Still have more energy to burn? Cross the bridge over to Brae Island park and enjoy the easy stroll next to the river. Not interested in being river bound? Hook a left before you cross the bridge and you’ll be connected with the Fort-to-Fort Trail which starts off with a Pirate themed playground.
No matter how much time you have or what you’re looking to do a day to Fort Langley Park and downtown fort Langley is a great way to spend a Sunday Funday.
2. Houston Trail
Interested in escaping the hustle and bustle of a playground or a town? While not typically a destination park I chose this urban gem for several reasons. This trail is a 4km loop that takes users through a variety of hills and terrain in a beautiful, lush, West Coast forest. Kids love all the hills to run up and down, including one big, huge, ginormous hill. Parents like this trail because they are sure to get a good workout whether they are pushing a stroller or carrying a little one.
I think this park is great for a Sunday Funday if you’re looking for something in Langley and only have a couple hours. Plus you can extend your visit by packing a lunch and heading over to the river afterwards for a picnic. This park is part of the Derby Reach Regional Forest and there are kilometers upon kilometers to explore both in the forest and on the river.
3. Malcolm Knapp Research Forest
One day I was looking for an adventure to go on and this one came highly recommended from a fellow Langley Mom. It’s across the bridge and a bit of an adventure through some back roads to find, however once you’re there you’re in an amazing forest with many great trails to explore. It’s not stroller friendly but perfect for little legs looking for a short loop and a lot of adventure. Check out more details of our visit there here.
4. Mill Lake
Mil Lake is great for what I call “Park Adventure Days” I love the park because it’s an urban oasis. It’s got a huge man-made lake in the middle and the walking paths around it are easily accessible for strollers, wagons and little bikes. When I plan a day at Mill Lake I like to pack a picnic, the kid’s bikes, bathing suits and sunscreen. Then we park and load up and roll. I think there’s a total of five playgrounds to visit as you walk around the park, one of them being an amazing new water park! The lake offers lots of docks and access points if you want to check out the fishermen on the water or the ducks cruising the reeds. There’s often lots of special events in the park so if you are choosing this as a destination park you may be in for an additional surprise!
5. Bird Sanctuary
I had heard about the George C. Reifel Bird Bird Sanctuary and was excited for our visit… but the actual experience was way better than I ever could have imagined. This is the only adventure on this list that has a fee so I wanted to make sure it was worthwhile, and I assure you that it is. For $5 per guest you get bird feed and entrance into a beautiful park.
I would recommend allocating at least 3 hours to tour around this park. There are so many trails and so many birds to see. Whether you’re ducking in and out of the forest, walking along long lagoons and rivers, or climbing up to a bird watching tour, you want to make sure you go with plenty of time to take in the whole experience. We weren’t there long enough and in our short one hour visit we say a great Horned Owl, Blue Herons, ducks galore (and a variety of different species) as well as a lot of different owls that I couldn’t identify.
I highly recommend this! It’s a bit of a drive and way out-of-the-way, but you’ll know it’s worth it as soon as you enter the gates.
6. Deep Cove – Quarry Rock
The popularity of Quarry Rock has picked up over the past couple of years as Instagram photos pop up and people are looking for new adventures. It’s a challenging hike for little legs but I’m proud to say that my three-year-old did most of the hike without me carrying him too much. It’s a great trail with a ton of variety (stairs, bridges, roots to climb) and at the end of it all you get an absolutely beautiful view over Burrard Inlet.
To learn more about our last trip to Quarry Rock check out the link here.
7. Lighthouse Park
Lighthouse Park is another trip that will take you down a windy road and leave you wondering if you’re heading in the right direction. Once you arrive you may find a packed parking lot and no place for your car. Wait it out… it’s worth the drive and the parking challenges… just beyond the gates is an amazing park full of awesome surprises! Check out our Blog Post with all the details and unexpected adventures here.
8. Bear Creek Park
Bear Creek Park is another Destination Park that I enjoy visiting located in central Surrey at 13750 88th Avenue. It has a lot of great attractions including the Bear Creek Park Train, LOTS of playgrounds, water parks, the track, an outdoor gym, a duck pond, and the number one spot in surrey to take wedding photos… Bear Creek Park Gardens! (I’ll bet you didn’t know that?!?)
With so many things to do we never get out of there when we intend to as the kids always want to explore one more thing… which is great. It’s another one where you pack a lunch and head out for the day.
On a side note, if you ever get to check out the annual Surrey Children’s Festival I’d highly recommend it. It’s a great way to explore the arts and high quality activities and experiences.
9. Redwood Park
Redwood Park has picked up in its popularity over the past couple of years… perhaps the brand new playground, the awesome bigger than life treehouse or the huge forest fairy garden are helping with its popularity!
A day trip to this fantastic location is definitely a must! There’s so much to tell you about I had to write a whole separate article about it! Check out details of our latest trip here.
10. Stanley Park
Perhaps it seems too obvious to put on the list, or perhaps you thought it was too far and not worth the travel, or maybe we take it so for granted that we forget to go there and be tourists in our own city. No matter what the reasons for not checking out Stanley Park, I suggest you set them aside and get down there at least a couple of times a year.
I don’t think I could list all of the things to do if I tried… but I’ll try anyways:
– Excellent city playgrounds and lots of them
– More walking trails then one could imagine
– The world-famous seawall
– Several beaches with amazing views and great sand to play in
– Second Beach pool! A HUGE pool right next to the ocean
– Rose Gardens
– Tourist Attractions like the Horse Drawn Carriage Tours.
Want to really feel like a tourist? Take transit to get to the park. Kids love taking the bus/Skytrain and the different method of travel really adds to the overall adventures.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://adventureawaits.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Jami-Savage-1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Jami Savage is a Family Adventure Blogger based out of the Fraser Valley, where she now calls Langley, Home. With a three-year old boy and a six-year-old girl Jami is regularly out on adventures, looking for mountains to hike, lakes to swim in, trails to ride, or hills to board on. Her adventures take her all over the lower mainland and the Pacific Northwest and she shares them weekly on her blog: www.adventureawaits.ca. Jami started the blog as a way to journal her experiences for her children. Her passion for the outdoors and her willingness to try new things quickly garnered her a following. Parents have enjoyed checking in on what Jami’s family is up to when planning a new outing or looking for inspiration. Some of the great features on Jami’s blog are her inspirational stories and quotes, her family and solo adventures, as well as her educational focus on the benefits of recreation and connecting with nature. Overall Jami hopes to encourage families to explore their local communities and challenge themselves both physically and mentally on a regular basis. Follow Jami on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linked In and Pinterest. [/author_info] [/author]