Bowen Island is a great place to take kids for the day. For starters, visiting Bowen, a small island only 20 minutes from the Horseshoe Bay Ferry terminal in West Vancouver, gives you a chance to ride a BC Ferry without going far and without spending much money.
If you don’t take a car, and you don’t need one on Bowen Island, the ferry costs only $9.55 round trip for adults and $4.80 for children.
Ferries go to/from Bowen Island nearly every hour between 6:10am and 9:35pm with a gap around noon. You can get more information about Bowen Island ferries from the BC Ferries website.
Although Bowen is small, about 20 square miles, it has 23 miles of coast line and is home to a surprising variety of wildlife, including eagles, grouse, herons, cormorants, mink and deer. It’s human population numbers just over 2500.
A short walk from the ferry terminal is Crippen Regional Park and Killarney Lake. The trail around Killarney Lake takes about 45 minutes, and the terrain is neither steep nor especially rugged. Killarney Lake is a good place to picnic. If you’d rather swim, Bowen Island has excellent beaches and warm water during the summer.
Right in Snug Cove you’ll find Bowen Island Kayaking where you can rent kayaks, rent bikes or rent a hiking guide. You can also sign up for kayak lessons, tours, including sunset and full moon tours, bike tours and special summer kayak camps for kids 8-12. See the Bowen Island Kayaking website for more information.
You may want to sign up for a kayak tour before coming to Vancouver. That way you can combine a Bowen Island excursion with an evening or day time paddle.
Bowen Island is home to many artists, some of whom display their work at Artisan Square a short walk from Snug Cove. Have a local point you in the right direction.
There are several good restaurants on Bowen Island including The Snug, as cosy as its name implies, the Mik-Sa with an outdoor patio, Chi, an East Indian restaurant with take out as well, The Village Baker, the Tuscany Restaurant, Bowen Island Pub, Blue Eyed Mary’s and Doc’s Restaurant and Pub.
For fantastic French fare, try Artisan Eats in Artisan Square or for the best in chocolates, try Cocoa West, located in Artisan Square as well, with its frozen hot chocolate in summer.
Children will find something they like in any one of these restaurants.