5 Reasons To Visit Squamish, BC

I must confess, I've driven through Squamish more than a handful of times and have used it as nothing more than a bathroom stop on our way up to Whistler to ski. I had no idea that it had such an amazing amount of outdoor activities to participate in, local gourmet food to enjoy and some of the most beautiful rugged landscape I've ever seen. I set out to explore on a mother/son trip with my 14-year-old son Owen and I must say, we had no idea this little bathroom stop had so much adventure in store for us! Squamish, BC is a hidden gem that gets overshadowed by Whistler, but there is no shortage of sparkle from this quaint former logging town. Here are my top 5 reasons why you should make time to explore Squamish, BC.

5 Reasons to Visit Squamish, BC 

Watch this video with highlights from our trip!

1. Getting there is half the fun!

If getting there is half the fun, you aren't going to want to miss a trip to Squamish, BC! Squamish is located halfway between downtown Vancouver and the alpine hills of Whistler. Highway 99, or as it's known, the Sea to Sky Highway was upgraded for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. It's one of the most scenic drives in the world!

Sea to sky highway views

Seattle to Squamish: 183 miles (295 km) or about 3 hours and 45 minutes
Downtown Vancouver to Squamish: 39 miles (64 km) or about a 55-minute drive
Whistler to Squamish: 36 miles (58 km) or about a 45-minute drive

Don't miss my Ultimate Travel Guide to Squamish, BC

dahlias and fall flowers at golf course with mountain view

2. Explore like never before!

Why hike the trails when you can mountain bike with a guide from Dialed in Cycling. This mountain bike school has something for all ages and ability levels. You'll find mountain bike coaching, private guides to help you explore, group lessons and camps from experienced cyclists who love what they do. 

squamish, bc trails

I'd suggest a guided tour for your family. There are over 300 different trails to explore and Squamish is home to some of Canada's best mountain biking trails. It can be a bit overwhelming to head into the forest in unknown terrain, so leave it to the professionals! 

Dialed in Cycling offers two different family guided packages. Both tours are catered to your families needs and ability levels, but for those with more adventurous {ie all the teenagers who have zero brain cells} bikers, selecting the tour with two guides allows you to have time together as a family, as well as time to test your skills individually based on your comfort level.

Leave the trail map at home, and explore the forest like never before!

rappelling from platform

3. Get out of your comfort zone

One of my greatest fears is drowning. I've had the opportunity several times to go white water rafting and every single time I've turned it down. Why would I intentionally put myself in a situation that even the thought of made me uncomfortable? For my kid, that's why. 

My son Owen was born part fish. From day one he's loved to spend as much time in the water as humanly possible. He loves adventure, so why not combine both of his loves? 

Canadian Outback Rafting picked us up from the Executive Suites Hotel where we were staying {they also offer shuttle services with Vancouver or Whistler pick up} and we were ready for our day-long adventure. No prior rafting experience is required, just an adventurous spirit ready to take on one of the most thrilling rides this side of a theme park. 

For someone that was taken far out of my comfort zone for this one, I felt well taken care of. The guides put me at ease and were professional, yet fun and you could tell safety was their number one priority. Several safety kayaks accompanied us, which gave me an added sense of security on the rapids. 

The Wet and Wild Elaho Exhilarator rafting trip took me out of my comfort zone as we navigated class 3 and 4 rapids. My ultimate goal was to stay inside the boat and I accomplished that. I also stepped out of my comfort zone and was pretty darn proud of myself for taking on a fear of mine. 

Also, buy the video from the guides. I regret not having a single picture or video from the day!

dialed in cycling guided tour

4. Share some quality time with your kids

I'm a huge advocate for family travel, especially as your kids enter into those pre-teen and teen years. It can be more difficult to take time away from everyone's busy schedules, but the quality time you get from traveling is priceless.

Read more: The Many Benefits of Family Travel

Why not show your kids what you are made of on the Rope Runner Aeriel Adventure Park? It can be hard to find something that the whole family can enjoy, but I'm fairly certain this park is one of them! 

adventure ropes course Rope Runner

You set your own course, so all ability levels can experience the park together. Endless route options on the 50 different obstacle course elements will help your family have one of the most fun shared experiences. 

If you only intended Squamish to be a bathroom stop, this is the one activity I'd recommend you do before you travel on. Sessions run every 30 minutes and last for two hours, so it's a great way to get active, stretch your legs and explore together if you don't have a lot of time. 

5. Experience history 

My mom was an elementary school teacher, so any and all of our family trips as a kid usually had some educational element to it. I'm a storyteller at heart, so I connect with places that have history and a story to tell. Squamish, BC has quite the history! 

Britannia Mine Museum

The Britannia Mine Museum is the perfect place to start learning more about the area. This National Historic site has something for everyone. You can go on a guided underground tour and discover what it would be like to be a miner. My kids loved panning for gold and gemstones at the gold panning pavilion {it's restocked daily!} and the new multi-sensory live-action attraction BOOM! is not one to miss! 

underground mine museum train

BOOM! tells the story of the mine and the mill and I'm not going to lie, it's probably the best thing the Britannia Mine Museum could have added. Our family happened to stop by at the museum {yep, you guessed it, on a bathroom break} on our way to Whistler about six years ago, and BOOM! wasn't a part of the exhibit. I got far more out of our visit because of this attraction than I did years ago on our previous visit. 

Pin now, so you can plan later!

aerial ropes course

Don't take my word on it! Check out the Ultimate Travel Guide to Squamish, BC and start planning your own trip!

disclaimer: I got to experience and explore Squamish, BC as a guest of Tourism Squamish. As always, all my opinions are my own. I wouldn't tell you about something I didn't love. Promise.

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