Taking a family getaway with young children shouldn’t be a hassle, but oftentimes once the accommodations are booked, little thought is given to “what will we do when we get there?”
Resorts and accommodations along British Columbia’s Gold Rush Trail offer the chance for worry-free family vacations, where you can simply set down your bags and settle in – as family-friendly activities are close at hand. So where should you head for a worry-free family winter vacation? Here are 10 recommendations, presented in no particular order:
#10 Spring Lake Ranch
In the winter months, family-friendly options at Spring Lake Ranch near 100 Mile House are endless. Borrow cross-country skis or snowshoes and explore around the lake. Grab a toboggan and take to the hills, or strap on some skates and start up a game of pond hockey! Sleigh rides are also available for a fun way to enjoy the winter scenery for families of all ages. The comfortable, family-friendly lodgings include chalet family suites, log cabins and a lodge heritage home – all including kitchens so as long as you bring some groceries or stop at 100 Mile or 108 Mile on your way in, you’re all set!
#9 Big Bar Guest Ranch
Skating rinks, snowshoe and cross country skiing trails plus ice fishing are just a few of the winter activities families can enjoy during a stay at Big Bar Guest Ranch in Clinton. The serene, snow-blanketed landscape offers peaceful afternoons of warming up by the outdoor fire with a cup of cocoa or a s’more before embarking on more adventure.
Big Bar’s Coyote Lodge is ideal for family get-togethers, or their four log cabins offer comfortable facilities complete with kitchens – grab your groceries in Clinton and you’ll be all set for a family getaway.
#8 Echo Valley Ranch & Spa
What could be better for busy families than a relaxing, all-inclusive winter experience? The winter guest ranch experience package at Echo Valley Ranch & Spa includes lodging, all meals and snacks, refreshments, and daily guided walks or snowshoe excursions (equipment provided). Spend time with the ranch animals and horses, explore the grounds, and get away from it all. Parents needing a little time for themselves can take turns making snowmen with the kids while the other sneaks away for a signature spa treatment. Then following, everyone can watch the stars come out while enjoying a steaming hot cup of cocoa before bed.
#7 Ten-ee-ah Lodge
Semi-Inclusive. Winter Season December 20th – January 5th
As one of the leading wilderness resorts in Western Canada, Ten-ee-ah Lodge is truly a place to get away and reconnect with family. Surrounded by hilly countryside and vast areas of forest, guests can make use of snowshoes and cross-country skis to explore the grounds, cozy up in your cabin or log home, or visit the recreation room for a leisurely afternoon.
Packages at Ten-ee-ah include a breakfast buffet and a three-course dinner, so you don’t have to worry about meals! Just bring a few things for snacks and lunch (or head to the restaurant for European-inspired West Coast cuisine). If purchasing an accommodation package, kids 6 and under stay and eat free! The deluxe cabins and luxury log homes all have full kitchens as well.
#6 Mount Timothy Recreation Resort
Have an incredible family adventure waking up in a log cabin to fresh snow outside, and skiing right out your front door. Mount Timothy Recreation Resort offers amazing snow conditions, no line ups and diverse terrain, with a triple person chair lift, T-Bar, and two magic carpet lifts offering areas for all ski levels. If downhill skiing isn’t for everyone in the family, there are also cross-country ski trails and areas for snowshoeing, or hop on your snowmobile right from their parking lot with access to the Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail via the Mount Timothy Connector Trail. Warm up in their lodge, and enjoy a bite to eat or drink in their licensed restaurant. Enjoy small crowds, and have a relaxed, fun getaway at their family-friendly ski hill.
#5 Loon Bay Resort
The beautiful, natural setting at Loon Bay Resort in a quiet bay on Sheridan Lake is ideal for relaxing, renewing, and spending quality time together. Fun winter activities are in ample supply and you can rent snowshoes or ice fishing gear. If you’d like to cross-country ski, 100 Mile Nordics is not too far away and offer rentals.
Located just 30 min from 100 Mile House, you can easily grab supplies and head out Highway 24 to your lakeview, chalet-style cozy log cabin. Grab a bundle of firewood at the resort office so you can have a campfire at the end of the day!
#4 Messy Owl Inn & Eco Haven
Run by mother-daughter duo Iris and Audrey Mes-Low, the Messy Owl Inn & Eco Haven is ideal for busy families looking to slow down. The Aerie Suite offers accommodations for up to four people, while their Coffee Branch cafe provides specialty hot drinks and boasts a selection of locally sourced goods and wares. As for activities, nearby EcoTours-BC has you covered with guided events, while the town of Likely and surrounding area is perfect for afternoons of exploration.
#3 Wettstone Guest Ranch
There’s so much to see and do at Wettstone Guest Ranch, you’ll start planning a return trip before you’ve even left! Outdoors you can cross-country ski, snowshoe, ice skate, play ice hockey, go ice fishing, or take a sleigh ride! At the end of the day, toast some hot dogs or s’mores on the fire, just remember to BYOS (bring your own stick).
Stay in the Rustic Ranch House (kitchen access available) or Lakeview Chalet complete with kitchenette and grab anything you need from the Bridge Lake General Store, just 9 minutes away in Bridge Lake.
#2 Wolf Valley Guest Ranch
Snowshoe, cross-country ski, or just relax with a cup of hot chocolate in this unique piece of wilderness, where you’ll share space with horses and Highland cows. Wolf Valley Guest Ranch is off-grid and offers cabins with lake views that sleep up to four people with a cozy wood-burning stove. Take advantage of their all-inclusive package pricing that comes complete with three meals per day as you snowshoe, cross-country ski, and offers unlimited wifi in the Lodge, or simply enjoy spending time together in the wilderness.
Located just minutes from Canim Lake (perfect for ice fishing), explore 220 acres of trees and Eagle Creek, 7 km (4.3 mi) of trails and unlimited backcountry, with Kayanara as your home base. Stay in a cabin composed of rescued blue pine beetle wood, furnished with pieces made handmade from wood right off the property. The cozy woodstove will keep you all toasty warm after returning from your explorations. Two general stores are nearby to stock up on supplies, or the ranch can provide some basics. Nearby 100 Mile Nordic and Mt. Timothy Ski Resort can provide families with ample opportunities to get out into the snow, or simply take it easy and explore Kayanara’s property at your leisure.
For a worry-free family winter vacation, head along the Gold Rush Trail and set down your bags, and settle in. If you’d like to continue planning and exploring, begin your journey along the Gold Rush Trail or grab a copy of the Gold Rush Trail Guide for additional inspiration and trip-planning ideas.