Include a B.C. park in your spring break plans

A family snowshoeing at Munday Alpine Snowshoe Park on Grouse Mountain

A family snowshoeing at Munday Alpine Snowshoe Park on Grouse Mountain

Whether you plan to stay close to home or roam around the province during spring break, incorporating a B.C. park into your plans is a great way to get some exercise, explore and teach the kids about conservation.

British Columbia’s incredible system of provincial parks offers experiences as unforgettable and diverse as the province’s natural landscape.

Explore sandy beaches and majestic forests, investigate snowy trails or paddle down peaceful rivers.

BC Parks offers campsites, day-use areas, and thousands of kilometres of trails as a low-cost way to explore the province.

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is a fun activity for the whole family, suitable for a variety of ages and fitness levels. And it can be done at dozens of parks around B.C. – all you need is snow.

Manning Provincial Park and Strathcona Provincial Park offer snowshoe rental and lessons for newbies.

Skiing

B.C. is home to some of the best ski areas in Canada.

Silver Star Provincial Park, in Vernon, recently hosted the top skiers in the world at the Sparkling Hills Masters World Cup 2011 cross-country ski championships.

The North Okanagan and Columbia regions were among the first areas in B.C. to offer cross-country skiing and ski jumping — long before chairlifts and downhill skiing became popular. Apex Mountain Ski Resort is only a 30 minute drive from Penticton.

If speed is more your family’s style, try downhill skiing at Cypress or Seymour Provincial parks.

Hiking

Whether you want to trek the kids through the backcountry or sit with them on a bench overlooking the ocean, there’s a parks hiking destination suitable for your family.

A day at the beach

Take the kids to one of hundreds of lake, river and oceanfront parks around the province for a chance to poke at shells, surf, or kayak.

For example, Juan de Fuca Provincial Park offers 47 kilometres of spectacular Vancouver Island coastline, with a number of spots perfect for surfing.

The China Beach day-use area also has picnic tables, washrooms, an easily accessible beach, and running water if you prefer to watch the waves from the comfort of shore.

Make it a day at the park

Want to encourage your kids to be more active?

Or teach them about nature — like how animals use camouflage to protect themselves from predators?

Print a one-page activity guide from the BC Parks website to make the most of your park experience. Activities are sorted by age and include instructions.

There are also downloadable games and colouring pages if bad weather or a sick child are keeping you at home on spring break: www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/education/dwnld_activities.html.

Plan a camping vacation

Gather the family around the computer and plan your next camping holiday.

BC Parks online camping reservation service opens the virtual reservation window for front-country camping on March 15. All campsites, maps and amenities can be viewed and booked at www.discovercamping.ca.

Reservations can also be made through the call centre at 1 800 689-9025.

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