Family Adventures along the Crowsnest
People have been making family road trips on the Crowsnest Highway 3 for generations. It might be the natural beauty, it might be the quirky communities along the route… whatever it is, families cannot seem to stop coming back! The scenic Crowsnest Highway is filled with fun suitable for the whole family, you just have to know where to look. Come find out what makes the Crowsnest such a great road trip for families.
Camping has long been a staple for family bonding. Maybe it’s the simplicity of a camping adventure that encourages connection. Or is it the freedom of responsibility and worry that allows each family member to truly focus on their loved ones? It doesn’t really matter what the reason is, we just know camping & family go hand in hand and there is a ton of great camping opportunities along the Crowsnest!
Take your family’s camping experience to the next level by staying at a campsite that is on the banks of a river or a lake. Lakeside and riverside camping expand opportunities for both fun and relaxation! Boundary Country is dotted with campgrounds like Jewel Lake, which has both Provincial Park camping sites and a Resort to cater to your camping desires. Chill on the beach or rent a couple of stand-up paddleboards or kayaks for the day and explore the emerald-coloured lake and its forested shorelines. There’s also camping along the Kettle River! A couple fantastic spots are at Old Cowboy Ranch in Westbridge or at Rock Creek Riverside Campground. Cast a line, float along, dip your feet, or just listen to the flowing water, river camping is amazing. In Boundary Country you’re never too far from the iconic rail trails, which offer loads of family adventure opportunities for hiking and cycling together, especially perfect for when the temperatures start to dip and the leaves start to change colour.
Osoyoos has several lakeside campgrounds for your family to take advantage of the beautiful weather in Canada’s Only Desert. Cabana Beach Campground & RV Park is a family-oriented campground that has been helping families make memories for nearly 50 years. Families can get a little extra comfort here with a bedroom cabana that sleeps 4 right next to the lapping waves of Osoyoos Lake. Nk’Mip Campground & RV Park is on the edge of the Sonora Desert and Osoyoos Lake with a great proximity to downtown Osoyoos. Drop the kids off at the Rattlesnake Canyon amusement park and grab a couple of margaritas at the Footprints Beach Bar and Grill. Or after your morning bacon & eggs, head down the beach to Wake Pilot and take out a boat for the day!
The Similkameen Valley has some of the best camping of all, with both lake and riverside camping options! Bromley Rock Provincial Park is possibly the region’s best kept secret. Bromley is tucked away just off the Crowsnest between Princeton and Hedley. Get the full Similkameen River experience here and bring floaties for a relaxing river float or make some memories teaching your children how to cast a fishing rod in search of the night’s dinner. Allison Lake Provincial Park is a little off the beaten path, but it is sure worth the journey. Families can swim, fish or paddle here all in the shadow of spectacular aspens which explode into a golden sea in the Fall.
Quirky attractions and other fun and unexpected things to do with the family…
Family road trips are made fun by, well… doing fun stuff! Finding fun activities and adventures along the Crowsnest like hikes, bike trips, and swimming holes is easy. Here are a few suggestions to make your Crowsnest family road trip extraordinary!
Yes, you are reading that correctly! Wine tasting can be a full family outing in the Similkameen Valley. While the younger members of the family may not be able to participate in the actual ‘tasting’, they sure are able to enjoy everything else wineries offer. At Crowsnest Vineyards, Friday is pizza & music night (during the summer). After parents enjoy their wine tasting and purchase a bottle of their favourite, the whole family can sit down among the grapevines with delicious, wood fired pizza. After the pizza has vanished, prepare the dancing shoes to get groovy with the locals also taking in the live music. Wineries like Corcelettes Estate Winery and Liber Farm & Winery have patio tasting experiences available so everyone can drink in the lovely Similkameen views while the parents sip the Valley’s flavours.
The Similkameen Valley has a rich prospecting history, having experienced a gold rush in 1860. Your family can catch their own case of gold fever and pan for gold in the Similkameen River. Avoid being a claim jumper and stop in at the Princeton Visitor Centre to collect the directions to your river claim and the equipment needed to strike it rich! If a hard morning of prospecting doesn’t prove to be fruitful, you can always enjoy a picnic at Two Rivers Park.
Along Highway 3 is Canada’s Desert – perfect for families who like a little adventure. At Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, a state-of-the-art interpretive centre, families can learn about the fragile desert habitat and local Indigenous history and culture, tour a replica Indigenous village and walk among antelope-brush and sage along the centre’s desert trail. For even more desert fun – head to the Osoyoos Desert Centre to experience the incredible 1.5 km elevated boardwalk trail which takes you on a journey through all of the spectacular flora and fauna.
Experience the Arts
The arts can be an acquired taste for some but discovering the art of a region is a great way to connect with family and the area you are visiting. In Boundary Country there is a robust arts scene interwoven with the culture. Tour the rotating exhibit at Gallery 2 in Grand Forks for some ambitious art installations that feature local, regional, and national artists. Ooh and Ahh with the family and see how each family member absorbs the art differently. There is also a gift shop that features local and regional hand-made crafts and artwork. Collaborate with your crew and find a new treasure to decorate your home with. After completing a tour of Gallery 2, walk downtown Grand Forks and see how many murals you can discover painted on the sides of the buildings! These airbrush murals are perfect for an Instagram photo op. There’s even a set of crow’s wings to get a photo with, perfect to cap off your Crowsnest adventure. While you’re on the mural hunt, don’t be afraid to stop at one of the beautifully decorated outdoor pianos and tickle the ivories.
A family road trip along the Crowsnest is the perfect way to bond with your squad. These family activities mentioned are just a few of the attractions that make this stretch of Highway so special. There is so much to discover. Laughs will be had, adventures will be conquered, but most importantly, memories will be made. Just be careful, you might find the Crowsnest road trip turning into an annual event.