There is a place where the Pacific Ocean meets the mountains, as “The Chief” towers over the lapping waters of Howe Sound, yachts dot the bay at Nexen Beach. The town of Squamish, along the #99 Highway (and less than an hour’s drive from Vancouver) is Winter’s best kept secret, and the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada. The winter holidays can present a challenge for families. Apart from all the festivities of the Christmas season, children long for excitement and entertainment over the holidays. Squamish is an affordable solution, and there are many wonderful adventures, and hidden treasures to discover.
The town maintains several public parks and heritage sites around the bay of Howe Sound, and mountains wrap around the beach on three sides. In winter, the snow-capped slopes are not only magnificent to look at, but provide vibrant entertainment. There are marked trails that identify “family friendly” routes for snowshoeing through the alpine terrain (equipment can also be hired). The Sea to Sky Gondola offers a 10-minute ride to the mountain summit, where the restaurant overlooks the ocean. From this vantage point, guests can take in the view from an out-door fire-pit or even attempt a climb the Via Ferrata.
For those who long for sporting activities, they will be spoiled for choice in Winter. The most popular backcountry skiing and snowboarding slopes can be found at Paul Ridge in the Garibaldi Provincial Park. Snowmobile tours and mountain biking count as extremely popular activities, including the exhilaration of downhill mountain biking in the snow! And lest you forget the hilarious fun of winter tubing? They’ve got that too at Sea to Sky Gondola!
Squamish also attracts many angling enthusiasts from across North America, where fishing guides offer tours, and master-fishing classes. Boating, yachting and kayaking present a unique experience for children and parents, and are mild enough for families. The hills at the bottoms of the mountain slopes are breathtaking, and there are guided hiking, climbing and horse-riding tours, including Eagle-spotting. Dirt biking is a very popular offering among older children, while the indoor climbing facility is a favourite for all ages.
August Jack Motor Inn is the perfect accommodation for a family holiday in Squamish. Just 3 minutes from the main highway, its central location serves as the best resting place after a day of wild, winter action. August Jack is situated on the main road in Squamish, and within walking distance of restaurants, cafés and shops. It is also walking distance from the harbour and local parks.
The Polar Express
Nothing quite matches the magic of a train ride through green, snowy slopes, including hot chocolate, cookies and Christmas stories! This is an absolute must for children and adults who want to meet the big guy in the North Pole. The Polar Express runs on December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18 for 2016.
There’s something very special about a small-town Christmas parade, and the Squamish Santa Clause Parade on December 2 proceeds down Cleveland Avenue with all the colour and excitement you could imagine! (not to be missed)
Photos with Santa
Also on the 2nd of December, don’t miss the Santa photo opportunity at the Ledge Community Coffee
House from 3 – 9 Pm!
Christmas Carol Cruise
The Squamish Yacht Club annual Christmas Carol Cruise will once again light up the harbour with a parade of lights from the docks to Nexen Beach on December 12th at 6:30pm.
Pop Up Market
The INDOOR Christmas Pop-Up Market on December 2nd will be hosted at 38162, Cleveland Ave. and promises to offer beautiful, unique, and tasty gifts and treats!