I don’t think I’m alone in saying that my daughter’s spring break melded into what has become one extra-long summer vacation (with some subpar home schooling sprinkled in there). Now that we are officially in full on summer vacation mode, I have a few ideas to keep your kiddos entertained in and around Prince George.
My favourite swimming spots around town are West Lake and Salmon River, both about 25 km from town. West Lake has a great beach, and shallows slowly which is ideal for little ones. There’s a nice grassy area behind the beach, picnic tables, pit toilets, and a boat launch as well. There is a privately owned campsite opposite the entrance to the provincial park if you’re looking to enjoy a few days of beach lounging.
Salmon River is a fun place to explore with kids, and offers an amazing campsite as well. Last summer we had a great time floating down sections of it in a blow up boat with our kiddos. Parking is at the rest stop just after the bridge on the right. There are pit toilets, but no official picnic area. Bring a blanket or some fold up chairs and trek on down to the rocky shores to swim and explore.
Prince George Farmers’ Market
From the time my kids were babies, this has become a frequent Saturday morning ritual. We moved here from Vancouver Island where there was an amazing farmers’ market. We were happy to see that Prince George has lots to offer as well. We have heard talented musicians playing throughout the summer markets, had some delicious lunch, and enjoyed supporting local businesses. The market has farm fresh fruit, veggies, meat, baked goods, and hand crafted items. More than once, my daughter has adorably saved her money and searched vendors for the perfect item. A crocheted owl and necklace have been her favourites.
Hiding and searching for painted rocks
After moving to town almost two years ago, I had made it a goal to get out and explore as many parks, trails, and outdoor adventures as I can. In some of the closer, more child friendly parks we started discovering painted rocks hidden here and there. Both my three and six year old have totally gotten on board with this. Since COVID started, it’s so great to see how many more kids are participating, especially at Cottonwood Island Park. It’s amazing how talented some people are. My kids are always more eager to go if we have our own rocks to hide, and enjoy creating them at home. We use acrylic paint and spray or coat them with a clear varnish. Check out the PG Rocks Facebook group, as members often post where they’re hiding them for kids to find and share great pictures of their creative rocks.
There are no lack of places in and around Prince George for little ones to learn how to fish. Our favourite kid friendly fishing place is Shane Lake. There are two docks to choose from, with the one on the far side of the lake being a bit better (as it’s easier for little fishers to cast into deeper water). The walk from the parking lot isn’t too far for little legs and has a great picnic area as well. The Nechako Riverside Park just north of the Foothills Boulevard Bridge is one of Prince George’s newest parks and it’s a nice short walk down to the river as well. Patience is a virtue, and our kid-friendly fishing trips never last too long. I think it’s important to teach these skills young, even if it’s a short lived experience. Getting out in the fresh air with the prospect of possibly catching a fish is enough for me (and my little ones)!
My daughter reached the milestone of being able to ride her bike without training wheels this spring. It was like a newfound freedom. She gained so much confidence and it was great to see her so proud of her accomplishment. There are a few ideal places around town for bike riders of all ages. Ginter’s Meadow has a great flat, paved pathway. If it’s too busy with dog walkers close to the meadow, head back towards Foothills and it’s usually much more quiet. The riverfront walkway in front of Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park has a beautiful view, and a nice paved pathway as well. The CN Centre parking lot is another option for early bike riders. My kids felt safe with such a huge space to ride around and figure out their new bikes.
I’m thankful that Prince George has endless outdoor places to explore, all within such a close proximity to where we live. I look forward to spending my second summer here, enjoying and discovering more places with my little ones in tow. My daughter’s extended spring break, turned summer break hasn’t been so bad — living life through the eyes of little ones truly is the best.
Where should I explore next?