- The Beaches near Parksville and Qualicum Beach: The sandy beaches near these towns warm in the summer sun, then heat the waters of Georgia Strait when the tides return. Some of the warmest ocean waters in the Pacific Northwest are here, making for good swimming and family vacations.
- The MV Lady Rose (tel. 800/663-7192): This packet steamer delivers mail and merchandise to isolated marine communities along the otherwise inaccessible Alberni Inlet, the longest fjord on Vancouver Island's rugged west coast. Along the way, you may spot eagles, bears, and porpoises. The MV Lady Rose is large enough to be stable, yet small enough to make this daylong journey from Port Alberni to Bamfield and back seem like a real adventure.
- The Okanagan Lakes: Sunny weather, sandy lake beaches, and miles of clean, clear water: If this sounds like the ideal family vacation, then head to the lake-filled Okanagan Valley. Penticton and Kelowna have dozens of family-friendly hotels, watersports rentals, and lakeside parks and beaches. Mom and Dad can enjoy the golf and wineries as well.
- Fort Steele Heritage Town (tel. 250/426-7352): Once a 19th-century frontier boomtown turned ghost town, Fort Steele again bustles with life. Now a provincial heritage site, the town has been rebuilt, other historic structures have been moved in, and daily activities with living-history actors give this town a real feel of the Old West.
- Fort Calgary Historic Park (tel. 403/290-1875): This reconstruction of the Mountie fort on the banks of the Bow River -- and the genesis for the city of Calgary -- has always been interesting, as volunteers have been in the process of rebuilding the original fort. In the last couple years, critical mass has been reached and new/old Fort Calgary is really taking shape: It's gone from a good idea to a great attraction. But what's really cool is that the labor has been volunteer and that all the work was done using tools and techniques from the 1880s. Take the kids and give them a lesson in history and volunteerism!
- The Kicking Horse River: One of the best white-water rafting trips in the Rockies is on the Kicking Horse River near Golden. While it's the treacherous Class IV rapids that give the river its fame, there are also stretches gentle enough for the entire family. Better yet, most outfitters run simultaneous trips on both sections of the river, so part of your brood can run the rapids while the other enjoys a leisurely float through lovely Rocky Mountain scenery.
- West Edmonton Mall (tel. 800/661-8890): Okay, so it's a mall. But what a mall! Within its 483,000 sq. m (5.2 million sq. ft.) are 800 stores and a mammoth entertainment center that contains a complete amusement park, roller coaster, bungee-jumping platform, and lake-size swimming pool with real sand beaches and rolling waves. You can also ice-skate, watch performing dolphins, ride a submarine, attend movies at 19 theaters -- oh, and get your shopping done, too.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.