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British ColombiaOur family looks forward to spending time together, and I really enjoy those special times. We all have hectic schedules, and sometimes I think my life consists of ferrying kids to soccer practice or something like that. So we all gather at some point during the fall – to check the calendar and pick a destination for our spring break getaway. Choices – boy, do we ever have a lot of those when looking around British Columbia for a family vacation.

Snow Skiing
Typically spring break falls in the middle of March – just perfect for catching some great snow skiing before the season ends. Whistler and Big White are both outstanding resorts, and during the spring break holidays, have free skiing and rentals for the kids, which is great for a family on a budget. Only too soon they won’t be “kids” any more and won’t qualify for kid rates, but we’ll take advantage as long as we can.

Of course, the new thing is snowboarding, and the kids are all quickly becoming experts. We made them take lessons before they went out, but the instructors said they were naturals, so I watched them head up the lifts with only a bit of hesitation, which proved unfounded. My husband Ed wanted to try snowboarding, so he went with them, and came back all excited, declaring how proud he was of the boys – he thought they were amazing. My daughter and I were very content with the regular green (easy) ski slopes, thank you very much.

Pirate Adventures
Sometimes the kids decide to go the other direction, and head south to Victoria for our family getaway. They fell in love with a place called Pirate Adventures a couple of years ago. First the pirates gave all the kids pirate names. They dressed the kids up in bandanas and drew little moustaches and beards on them (yes, it washed off – I asked first), and even gave one of the boys a fake hook. When they took the pirate ship out into the harbour, the kids went nuts. They went on and on about the movies Hook and Peter Pan. Two of the crew engaged in a sword duel, swashing and buckling all over the ship. It was like a ride from Disneyland. I got a big kick out of it myself, even though I had to go take a nap at our Victoria hotel after we were through.

Bike riding
One year the kids decided they were really into cycling, and I found a couple of suitable trails near Victoria. I had to ask someone where the name of the Galloping Goose Trail came from. It turned out the trail runs along an abandoned railway line, and the noisy gas rail-car which took passengers from Victoria to Sooke back in the ‘20s sounded like – yes, a galloping goose. It was perfect for a family ride – a composition trail with just a few gently rolling hills that were easy on the legs, with forests on either side, streams and the occasional waterfall. It was very relaxing, and such a wonderful way to have the family spend time together.

Whale watching
If we go to Victoria, it’s almost assured we’re going to take a tour to see the whales. The kids love it, the whales are plentiful, and it’s a wonderful family adventure. My boys are getting to that age where they try to act nonchalant and “cool,” but that goes away when we’re out on the whale boat and they spot a plume of spray from a whale surfacing. The sight of the orca whales is really impressive, and the tour guides have tons of great information about the habits and nature of whales. We have a great time any time we do this. We always have choices when it comes to our family spring break getaway – sometimes we have to just pick a direction to see which way we want to go this year. But variety – it’s never a problem – enjoyable family activities are always available. We come back from our adventures a bit tired, but always more bonded as a family.

Carol Atkins has been traveling the world for much of her life. She enjoys of all types of travel adventures including island hopping, cruising, hiking and being lazy on the beach :). Her recent BC road trip was so much fun she can’t wait to do it again!

Follow her on twitter @atkins_carol

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Photos made available under Creative Commons license:

Flickr User: Kyle Simourd

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