In August I had the opportunity to get off the beaten track a bit and explore the city of Prince George, BC. Located just above the 54th parallel, it’s a small town in the interior of British Columbia, surrounded by lush green forests and fresh air. Central Mountain Air now flies direct from Edmonton International Airport to Prince George Airport, and the flight is just over an hour, making it a quick and easy getaway destination. There’s a ton to do with the family in Prince George, including lots to explore outdoors. The city is surrounded by numerous Provincal Parks offering lakes to swim in, trails to hike, fish to catch, hills to ski and tons of opportunities for camping and family time. Throughout my weekend in Prince George we explored some of the best places the city has to offer. I left my children at home for this trip (first time in 3 years!) but I got to have a lot of fun checking out all local activities I knew they would love.
Ohh Chocolat Cafe . I felt like a kid in a candy store- but it’s really more like a mix between a chocolatier and a delightful coffee shop. I enjoyed the amazing Mayan Hot Chocolate (is it bad to say I liked it better the hot chocolate I’ve actually had in the Mayan??) and a pastry. Kids would go crazy for a s’more bar, a tart or really any of the chocolates on display. Definitely a not-to-be-missed cafe in Prince George.
The Exploration Place. Prince George is home to a playful science museum with a large “hands-on” area for kids- including a interactive dino-dig pit, a giant paddleboat to climb upon, a large water table and a lots of opportunities for dress-up play. The museum is also home to many other exhibits for both children and adults including the Biome (which houses lots of little critters that come out for meet and greets every day). I enjoyed actually reading the exhibits through the museum- something that doesn’t happen often when I’m browsing a museum with my kids in tow 😉
The Little Prince. Near Exploration Place there’s a real working miniature steam engine train and it’s incredibly adorable. Kids who love trains would be obsessed and admission is only a couple of dollars- it’s a beautiful ride along the river. If you’re in the mood for a treat, there’s Frozen Paddle Ice Cream, locally made in Prince George, right at the train station. I think that’s a pretty perfect afternoon.
Betulla Burning. If you love Pizza definitely make Betulla Burning a priority for dinner. Fresh hand made pizza are cooked to perfection in a gorgous wood buring oven right in front of your eyes using local ingredients whenever possible. The kitchen is front and centre in the this restaurant, making it ideal to bring the family- kids will love watching their pizzas being made, parents will love the modern and beautiful decor. We also indulged in a 3 foot long charcuterie board- definitely one of the most delicious parts of the trip.
Northern Lights Estate Winery. Although wineries don’t usually scream “family friendly” this fruit vineyard is a wonderful place to bring the family. They offer child-friendly tours of their orchards throughout the week and there’s also tasting available in the wine bar (complete with juice for the kids!). The resturant offers views of the river valley, along with delicious tapas and food. It was a definite highlight of our trip to Prince George. They also occasionally show movies outside in their natural amphitheatre. If you’re into beer, Pacific Western Brewery also offers tours of their brewery, long with tastings for the adults and their craft soda (mmmm root beer) for the kiddos as well.
The Ancient Forest. Just outside the city of Prince George is the only inland rainforest in North America. Gigantic cedars tower along the universal access boardwalk trail, perfect for tiny feet or those with reduced mobility. Some of the trees are amazingly over 2000 years old and they’re surrounded by green ferns and lush vegetation. It’s absolutely stunning. The trails lead to a waterfall and a creek, perfect for exploring with kids. There’s no elevation climbs and the trails are well marked making it an easy family hike. I could have spent all day taking in the greenery- it’s well worth the drive out of town.
Two Rivers Art Gallery. Downtown Prince George is a hub of activity. There’s free family friendly walking tours that depart from the library during the summertime. There’s also a beautiful art gallery. The Two Rivers Art Gallery has a permanent gallery and several changing exhibitions. And best of all, on Thursdays the gallery has free admission. It’s a great day to check out the place with children- and always check their website for upcoming programming for families. We walked by children creating masterpieces within a class and it looked like a ton of fun.
Mr PG. Well I may have originally thought the trip organizers were joking about their gigantic mascot, but Mr PG is definitely no joke. He’s 8m tall and worth the stop for the selfie- every town needs their gigantic photo op spot, right? He’s basically a selfie celebrity- after all, he was featured on a Canadian postage stamp! He was located right across the street from our hotel- a great place to stay with kids, complete with swimming pool and waterslide and a delicious attached restaurant. Prestige Treasure Cove was a great place to stay on our visit to Prince George.
If you have longer then a couple of days in Prince George, there’s a lot more to discover- an indoor rec centre with a waterpark, a drive in theatre, numerous parks and playgrounds, historic towns, and a working ranch to visit. And with everything a quick non-stop flight from Edmonton, it’s a very easy destination to discover.