Some kids, like my imaginative youngest daughter, can find adventure in a bare backyard. Others, like my eldest two, need a little more encouragement and structure to inspire them to climb, run and explore.
On a recent trip to Kamloops, British Columbia, I constantly caught myself thinking, “The kids would love this!” Nicknamed “Canada’s Tournament Capital,” for the many tournaments held in this city of 90,000, Kamloops is a hub for adventure if you take the time to leave the arenas and discover the wilds of the region.
Little explorers will love Kenna Cartwright Nature Park, the province’s largest municipal park encompassing nearly 800 hectares of Mount Dufferin. Over 40 kilometres of trails, with varying difficulty levels, cover the mountain. The terrain isn’t too challenging, and kids will enjoy keeping their eyes peeled for deer, chipmunks and other wildlife. The trails are multi-use, so if you have any mini mountain bikers, bring their bikes and helmets. It’s a multi-season park too – with appropriate winter wear and boots, most trails are doable for kids.
School-aged kids will love nearby Treetop Flyers, where they’ll get a chance to leap off a 50 foot Flying Fox tower using a QuickJump device and shriek across ziplines high above the beautiful Chase Falls.
With so many lakes nearby, it’s no surprise water activities are a popular choice for locals and visitors alike. Guided Voyageur canoe tours are available at McGillvray Lake at Sun Peaks (or you can rent canoes and paddle around the lake at your own pace). At nearby Heffley Lake the whole family can rent Stand Up Paddleboards, with lessons if needed, from Paddle Surfit. If a board on wheels is more you kids’ style, longboarders have two tracks to choose from at the world’s first longboard park right in town.
Just 45 minutes from Kamloops, Sun Peaks Resort offers kids the chance to try a wide variety of activities designed to get the heart pumping whatever the season. In the summer, the biggest thrills start at the top of the Sunburst chairlift 6,000 feet above the Shuswap Highlands. Five of the 16 hiking trails are rated easy, while a further eight trails are marked intermediate, and might be more appropriate for families who have taken their kids on more challenging hikes before. For the more timid little ones, you can walk or bike one of the trails that start from the village, and still be rewarded with incredible views. In the winter, skiing, snowboarding and cross country skiing is available for every level of adventurer.
Sun Peaks also offers a wide variety of other fun activities, including bungee trampoline, dog sledding, off-road Segway tours, mountain cross carts, dog sledding, a tube park and more. Some activities are more suited to older kids – nearly everything at the resort can be booked through Central Reservations, and they can recommend the most age appropriate activities for your family.
If you’ve only ever stopped in Kamloops to let the kids stretch their legs, it’s time to let the city show your kids how they can really stretch their wings.