On a whim this year, during a road trip to Revelstoke, we flipped a coin to decide between the ice fields, where Olivia wanted to go – and the ocean, where Violet wanted to go. Violet won, and we made our way through to the scenic route of Vancouver. We arrived a half day later, without a hotel and using hotels.com, happened to book a hotel that wasn’t in Vancouver, but in the beach-town, feeling town of White Rock.
We’re much more beach town than city, so it actually worked out perfectly. White Rock was so wonderful that we’ve already made plans to go back again next summer (on purpose).
What to do (and Where to Stay) in White Rock with Kids
We stayed at Ocean Promenade Hotel, in a renovated King room. Violet slept with us, and we had a cot for Olivia from camping. With short notice, it was the only room that was left for the two nights we were going to spend there, so it worked out well. Comfortable bed, clean, renovated rooms with laminate floors throughout and a balcony with a side view of the ocean – it was a great experience. Parking could be expensive for longer trips, but on the stretch of beach, there was very little free parking to be found (well, we didn’t find it). Instead, we used the hotel parking for $12/day. There are some less than favourable reviews for the hotel – my advice? Get a renovated room – we had a fantastic experience.
The room had a modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances, lots of counter space where you could cook to save a bit of money on the trip (or use the refrigerator to store delicious fish n chip leftovers for a delicious midnight snack and a real oven to warm them up the right way.)
It was just under $200/night, and was within walking distance to the big white rock for the kids to climb on, the pier and all of the shops and restaurants on the ocean front street.
Eating in White Rock with Kids
Wooden Spoon Co. is one of the places I would highly recommend – there’s a playroom for the kids, and upscale (but still casual) brunch for Mom and Dad. They make a great Mimosa, have a good selection of food and the kids meals are generously portioned.
Five Corners Cafe. Diner deliciousness. The yummy, friendly, and fast service made Jamie crave it, after the slower, smaller portioned, more bistro like Wooden Spoon. All those photos on the wall? Those are customers and it’s been in business for 65 years!
Moby Dick Restaurant. If you’re in White Rock, you have to get Fish and Chips. This was suggested to us on Instagram, and it was a solid choice. Huge helpings of fish and chips, order less than you think you’re going to eat because every single dish comes with an extra piece of fish and a giant load of chips. You could eat it in the cool, whale-themed restaurant that is going to keep the kids entertained, while you wait a very short while your food, or take it down to the beach across the road and eat it while you watch the sun set and the crowds pass you by. There are easily accessible picnic tables, and you can conveniently order it to-go, outside the shop.
Entertaining the Kids in White Rock
Ever the beach town, you’re not going to find the place packed with activities and driving like you are in Vancouver. That’s a good thing. You can park the car, explore, take naps and find treasures on the beach as soon as you wake up. What’s there to do in White Rock with kids?
There’s the pier, brave older kids jumped off of it, to the kids delight. There were young kids catching crabs in traps, to which the girls were delighted to be able to watch (and even try themselves). There’s something about the crabs dancing around your feet before you throw them back that brings back memories of my own childhood. At night, it’s beautifully lit-up, and something you have to see. In the morning, the low tide goes out almost nearly to the end, allowing you to walk under the pier and search for treasures, they loved that.
We walked through Sunnyside Acres urban forest, explored a couple of beaches in Vancouver and decided we’re more beach town than city, and took 1001 steps. We spent a lot of time eating gelato and family napping – it was exactly as a beach town vacation should be.
You can have gelato and ice cream. There are no less than ten places to choose from on the beach front in White Rock. Our favorite? Crazy Cow’s Ice cream where I had a delicious, delicious pear creme brulee flavored gelato. Our favorite thing to do with it? Watch the gorgeous sun sets while we eat Gelato on the shore.
You could walk through the town and see some of the public art. While we were there, we spotted three of these pieces (one of which the kids thought immediately was for climbing).
Bring a penny – because the train tracks are so close that you can put it on when the train goes by and flatten it. This was easily one of the most thrilling things for every single kid we witnessed who did it.
Then, there’s the staple of bringing kids in White Rock, the challenge to see if they can make it all the way up the White Rock. We’re going to have to give it a go next year, as both kids were just shy of making it up this time around.