Friday, April 20, 2012

18 of my kids' favorite places around the world

The world is full of wonderful places. My family has gone to some of those wonderful places, and I hope we will go to many more. Here, in no particular order, are 18 of the places my kids have loved, and still love to go.

1. Burvik, Sweden
This is where my parents have a summer place, and this is where we've spent almost every summer for the last 5 years. There's water, there's a small beach, there's frogs and fish and flowers, and sometimes a hare outside the window in the morning. Doesn't get much better than that.

2. Leos Lekland, SkellefteƄ, Sweden
The only indoor jungle-gym in my Swedish home-town SkellefteƄ. When we visit in the winter, this is a great place for the kids to burn off some energy without freezing their noses off. Bouncy-castles, ball-rooms, giant inflatable slides, corkscrew slides, tiger slides... It's a zoo, but it's a fun one.

3. The Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver
Otters, belugas, bats, spiders, jellyfish, sharks, tortoises, parrots, baby wolf-eels... and that's not even the half of it. This place is so kid-friendly and my children just love getting up close and personal with all the critters. The Aquarium is definitely a place they love to go, anytime of the year, whatever the weather.

4. Science World, Vancouver
Interactive and educational fun, where the exhibits are made to be touched, climbed, squeezed and generally handled by kids. We always have a blast here, and I think the recent renovations improved a lot on an already fantastic place to take the kids.

5. Stanley Park, Vancouver
Going for a walk, playing on the playgrounds, looking at the squirrels... there's always something to do and see in this park.

6. On board the Skytrain, all around Vancouver
My kids love to ride this public transportation anywhere and everywhere. Not a bad way to spend a day. 

7. On the ferries of the Sunshine Coast, British Columbia
Traveling, as in actually being in the process of going somewhere, can be an adventure in itself. Going on the ferries up the British Columbia coast is definitely fun in itself: the views are spectacular, and it's just a great ride.

8. Steveston, BC, Canada
Whether we end up walking around Garry Point, or hike the waterfront through the village of Steveston, this is always a great place with the kids.

9. Lynn Canyon, North Vancouver
My family's favorite weekend-hiking spot right now. The suspension bridge adds some drama, and the trails are great for kids: not too easy, and not too challenging either. 

10. Centennial Beach, Tsawwassen
A fantastic playground next to an amazing beach. It doesn't get much better than that.

11. Third Beach, Vancouver
One of my favorite beaches. Stunning views, nice water, and often some wild-life to watch, whether it's barnacles on the rocks, eagles high above, stranded jellyfish and crabs, or a seal poking its head out of the water. 

12. Playa Ingles, Gran Canaria
This very popular beach in Gran Canaria became our favorite spot when we were there in the spring of 2011. Great sand, great waves, brilliant sunshine. Our kind of beach. Sure, it's crowded, but that's because it's a nice beach! 

13. Baby Beach, Maui
When we visited Maui in 2009 this was the perfect beach for us. The kids could go in the water without getting knocked over by the waves, which meant that the grownups could relax and enjoy the sunshine and the ocean. Next time we go to Maui, they might be too big for this beach, but it was perfect for toddlers and preschoolers.

14. DT Fleming Beach Park, Maui
Another fantastic Maui-beach. Great sand, rocks with all sorts of aquatic life clinging to them, waves (too big in spots, but the kids still enjoyed the water's edge), and turtles swimming further out.

15. Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Mineral-rich, Geo-thermally heated hot springs to bathe in, right in the middle of Iceland's amazing landscape: that was really something special for the kids to experience. My daughter can still mention how she thought the steam rising off the water might have been dragon's breath.

16. Point Roberts, WA, USA
Fantastic beaches for beach-combing and gathering beautiful rocks. Also a perfect place to fly a kite.

17. The pool
Meaning any pool, anywhere. There's a reason my family always travels with swim-suits: you just never know when they'll come in handy!

18. Our backyard
As I'm writing this, it's mid-April and the kids are discovering the joys of the backyard again after the winter. Trampoline, the garden, the grass, the earth-worms, the plants... it's a great place, and no airplane tickets needed to get to it either.

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