Harrison Hot Springs with kids
Located on the shores of Harrison Lake and surrounded by evergreen mountains, the quaint Village of Harrison Hot Springs in British Columbia is a perfect family getaway for Vancouverites. We’ve known about it for years (it’s a recommended day trip from Vancouver), however, this was our first time visiting Harrison Hot Springs with kids.
As I reflect on our 4 day trip to Harrison Hot Springs, I’m questioning why it took so long for us to visit? I’m not sure what we were expecting, but we were pleasantly surprised.
Harrison Hot Springs has a similar laid-back vibe as many of the tourist towns on Vancouver Island. The village is small and charming, the air is fresh and clean, and everything is centered around nature.
We’re actually kicking ourselves for waiting so long to finally visit Harrison Hot Springs. We returned home feeling relaxed and refreshed. It’s an easy and convenient mini-vacation from Vancouver.
Things to do at Harrison Hot Springs
Note – this post was originally published in June 2019 and updated June 2020.
Harrison Hot Springs Resort
The main tourist attraction is the iconic spa resort, aptly named Harrison Hot Springs Resort. This resort dates back to 1886 and is currently home to five mineral hot pools.
The spa resort has expanded several times over the years. Guests now have the option to stay in the East Tower, West Tower, West Wing, Heritage Building or private Cottages. See room options here.
We were advised to stay in the East Tower (see photo above) because the rooms are bigger and more ideal for families. Our room was quite spacious and we had a lake view balcony (see photo below).
Our friends stayed in the Heritage Building and they said the room was quite old and dated. They said it was fine, but the walls are thin and it was loud during their stay (there was a rowdy wedding party on the same floor). When they visited our room in the East Tower, they said it was much nicer than their room in the Heritage Building.
Search for Harrison Hot Springs Resort deals here.
Above – lake views from the balcony of our East Tower hotel room.
Harrison Hot Springs Resort Pools
Soaking in the soothing hot pools is the reason to visit the town of Harrison Hot Springs.
While there are other Harrison Hot Spring hotels in the village, only Harrison Hot Springs Resort has mineral hot pools located directly inside the resort. More info here.
The resort features five different hot spring mineral pools, each kept at a different temperature.
- Indoor pool – temperature 32-35°C or 90-95°F
- Indoor Hot Pool – temperature 38-40°C or 100-104°F
- Outdoor Family Pool – temperature 33°C or 92°F
- Outdoor Lap Pool – temperature 28°C or 83°F
- Adult Pool – temperature 37°C or 98°F
Here’s the Harrison Hot Springs Resort Map.
Pictured above and below is the Outdoor Family Pool. More photos here.
Note – I captured these photos before the pools open. They are not this quiet. The outdoor pools get quite busy during the day, especially on the weekends.
Above is another view of the Outdoor Family Pool. The building to the left is where you will find the Indoor Pool and Indoor Hot Pool. I was not able to get a good photo of the indoor pools because they were often full of people.
The Adult Pool is pictured above and below.
You will notice the room balconies in the above photo. That is the West Tower at the Resort.
The covered walkway pictured above separates the adult pool from the family pool.
The outdoor lap pool. This pool was the most refreshing out of the five resort pools.
Related – 25 Things to do in Vancouver
Get on the water!
Aside from the hot spring pools, the other big attraction is Harrison Lake. This is the largest lake in the southern Coast Mountains of British Columbia. Harrison Lake is 60 km in length and almost 9 km at its widest point.
You can rent kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards, pedal boats, pontoons and powerboats to explore the lake at your leisure. Rentals can be picked up at the dock located directly in front of the resort. More info and rates can be found at Killers Cove Boat Rentals.
Harrison Lake Water Park
Harrison Lake is home to an impressive inflatable water park. The floating water park is open from early June until early September from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM daily. Weekend rate is $38 per person.
Visit this website for more info and photos of the Harrison Lake Water Park.
Harrison Lake Boat Tour
Another fun way to experience the beautiful scenery of Harrison Lake is to take a boat tour with Shoreline Tours. We went on the 2.5 hour Harrison Lake Waterfall Cruise aboard the Laroan, a 62 foot cruise boat with an open upper deck and enclosed lower deck.
Tours depart from the docks in front of the resort. More info and rates here.
Fortunately, we lucked out with the weather during our lake cruise. We enjoyed a BBQ lunch on the boat while we cruised around the lake and soaked up the spectacular views.
Our tour host working the grill as we approach Echo Island.
The boat docks for about 20 minutes so guests can witness the beauty of Rainbow Falls. It’s only a 5 minute forest walk to reach the waterfalls. More photos can be found here.
A rare moment with all four of us captured in the same photo.
Relax on the lake beach
The sandy beach at Harrison Lake is located directly in front of the village promenade. It’s a public beach that will get quite busy during the summer months.
We must warn you that the waters of Harrison Lake are glacier fed, so it’s cold. Don’t let the nearby hot springs fool you. This water is very refreshing!
We enjoyed walking on the beach in the evenings. Our boys like flipping over rocks and driftwood in search of small crabs. Even though we explained that it’s a mountain lake, not the ocean, they didn’t seem to care.
It actually looks and feels a lot like the ocean beaches found on the coast of the Pacific Northwest.
Get up to $70 credit for AirBnB accommodations here.
Harrison Lagoon is an artificial water body located directly in front of the Village on the southern tip of Harrison Lake. It is separated from Harrison Lake by a man-made sand bar and walking path.
The lagoon is a popular swimming spot during the summer because it’s shallow and gets quite warm.
The Village Promenade
The Harrison Hot Springs Village promenade connects the beach, spa resort, retail shops and restaurants. It’s a paved walkway the runs parallel to Esplanade avenue.
Along the promenade are large grassy fields, colourful gardens and big shady trees (pictured above). We enjoyed walking up and down this promenade multiple times each day.
More travel tips at Tourism Harrison Hot Springs here.
Harrison Village Playgrounds
There are a few kid’s playgrounds located directly on the beach. The playground pictured above is well suited for younger kids. Our boys enjoyed running around this playground with their toes in the sand.
If you look to the right, you’ll see a grassy field. This is a great area for family picnics on the beach. If you’re visiting Harrison Hot Springs with kids, you will find yourself frequenting these playgrounds.
Harrison Hot Springs Hikes
Harrison Hot Springs is surrounded by old forest and mountains, so there are plenty of hiking options for all hiking levels. The best time to go hiking in Harrison Hot Springs is between April and September.
Spirit Trail is a short walk through a beautiful cedar forest that is very accessible from the Village. What makes this trail so special is that a local resident and artist has decorated many of the cedars along the trail with beautiful masks. More info here.
Distance: 1 km / Time: 30 minutes / Level: Easy
Whippoorwill Point Trail / Sandy Cove Trail
The Whippoorwill trail (aka Sandy Cove Trail) offers a nice escape from the crowds and is a short 4km hiking trail that passes the hidden Sandy Cove beach and offers several views of the Harrison River. More info here.
Distance: 4 km / Time: 1.5 hours / Level: Easy
Campbell Lake Trail (aka Harrison Grind)
Harrison Lake’s answer to the Grouse Grind is a route that climbs up the side of a steep mountain along the Campbell Lake trail and offers a great view of Harrison Lake at the top. More info here.
Distance: 7 km / Time: 6 hours / Level: Difficult
Bear Mountain Trail
The Bear Mountain hike is one of the most challenging hikes in the region (along with the Campbell Lake Hike). The trail has an elevation gain of 3,200 feet, so it can be a leg burner. The scenic mountain views at the top are a nice reward for your effort. More info here.
Distance: 18 km / Time: 7 hours / Level: Difficult
Sasquatch Provincial Park
Located on Harrison Lake, about 8 km from the Village of Harrison Hot Springs, Sasquatch Provincial Park is home to a series of lakes, unique forests and scenic mountain ridges.
Here’s the Sasquatch Provincial Park map.
Hicks Lake Trail
The hiking trail around Hicks Lake in Sasquatch Provincial Park offers a nice, peaceful loop that passes along the lake shores, over several small streams, and returns via a gravel road. More info here.
Distance: 6 km / Time: 2 hours / Level: Easy
Harrison Hot Springs Public Pool
If you aren’t staying at the main spa resort you can visit the public pool to enjoy the soothing Harrison hot springs with kids. The Public Pool is centrally located at the junction of Hot Springs Road and the Esplanade (pictured above).
Harrison Hot Springs Public Pool Hours
- Monday to Thursday 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM
- Friday 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM
- Saturday 9:00 AM to 9:00 pm
- Sunday 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Harrison Hot Springs Public Pool Rates:
- Adult (age 15 to 64) $10.00
- Child (age 5 to 14) $7.75
- Toddler (age 4 and under) Free
- Senior (age 65+) $7.75
- Family (2 adults and 2 kids) $28.75
Chilliwack Tulip Festival (Seasonal)
If you plan to visit Harrison Hot Springs in the spring, we recommend you visit the annual Chilliwack Tulip Festival. It’s said to be Western Canada’s largest and most recognized Tulip Festival.
More photos from our visit can be found here.
Chilliwack Tulip Festival Hours
Early Bloom: April 10 – April 18 (Daffodils and Hyacinths)
Tulip Bloom: April 19 – April 30 (with possible extension)
Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays – 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Monday to Friday – 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Tulip Festival location and directions
The Tulip Festival is located at 41310 Yale Road in Chilliwack.
If you’re driving from Vancouver, take Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) east towards Chilliwack. Once you pass Abbotsford, get off at Exit 109 (Yale Road West). After the exit, you will turn right onto Yale Road.
The entrance to the festival is at the corner of Yale Road and Royalwood Avenue.
More info – Chilliwack Tulip Festival
Note – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chilliwack Tulip Festival will not move forward this year in 2020. For more information please visit our blog here.
Related – 25 Day Trips from Vancouver, Canada
The cherry blossoms were in full bloom during our visit in mid-April.
Photo credit Tourism Harrison blog
Bald Eagle Watching at Harrison Mills (Seasonal)
Harrison Mills is said to be the home of the largest concentrated bald eagle gathering in the world. The eagles are drawn to the region by the millions of spawning salmon that swim up the Fraser River to tributaries, such as the Harrison River.
In mid-November, the annual Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival celebrates this incredible natural phenomenon with nature walks, eagle viewing, educational exhibits and entertainment.
Other Harrison Festivals and Events
- December/January – Lights on the Lake features Christmas illuminations and Sasquatch-themed light displays between the lake and Esplanade Avenue.
- April – Harrison Uncorked is a wine festival featuring over a dozen local wineries.
- June – Sasquatch Days is an cultural festival that includes canoe races, traditional salmon barbeque, medicine walks, cultural boat tours, arts & craft activities, games and live entertainment.
- July – Canada Day celebrations and live fireworks from the lake.
- July – Harrison Festival of the Arts is a 10-day festival featuring art, workshops and concerts.
- September – Bands on the Beach is a free music festival on the Labour Day holiday weekend.
- October – Harrison Beer Fest celebrates BC Craft Breweries and is comprised of 3 events: Cask Night, Beer Festival and the Oktoberfest Dance.
Note – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ever changing landscape, it’s best to confirm these festivals are happening in 2020 and beyond.
Harrison Hot Springs Restaurants
Although the Village is not very big, there are enough restaurant options to choose from. Most of the restaurants and cafes are found on Esplanade Avenue.
Popular restaurants in Harrison Hot Springs:
- The Black Forest Restaurant – German cuisine specializing in schnitzel and traditional European cuisine. See full menu here. We dined here and would highly recommend it.
- Morgan’s Bistro – Sophisticated Canadian dishes and cocktails. Beachfront location with an unobstructed view of the lake from a second floor patio.
- Milos Greek Taverna – Authentic Greek cuisine. We dined here and would recommend it.
- Muddy Waters Cafe – Informal bistro serving burgers and classic breakfast options.
- Old Settler Pub – Informal tavern serving classic pub grub, with a liquor store, in an old-timey log building. See full menu here.
- The Copper Room – located inside the spa resort offering traditional fine dining and cocktails with live music and dancing.
Classic Vienna Schnitzel at The Black Forest Restaurant.
Harrison Hamburgers on a sunny afternoon in April. Read reviews here.
Lakeview Restaurant and Lakeview Gelato House. Read reviews here.
Milos Greek Taverna. Read reviews here.
Where is Harrison Hot Springs?
We recommend you drive to Harrison Hot Springs. While you can take public transit, it’s not easy and it will be very time consuming. Use this affiliate link to get a 10% discount on car rentals.
Harrison Hot Springs Directions
From Vancouver International Airport to Harrison Hot Springs, take Highway 99 south to Highway 10 through Langley, following the signs to Highway 1 east to Hope. Stay on Highway 1 until exit 135. Follow street signs to the resort. This drive will likely take 2 hours, depending on traffic.
Harrison Hot Springs Map
Here are a few maps to help with your trip planning.
Harrison Hot Springs weather
Generally, the climate in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland is mild in the winter and warm in the summer. It will likely rain in the winter months, so plan for it. Check the weather report here.
Travel tips for Harrison Hot Springs Resort
- It’s wise to book your accommodations in advance, especially on holiday weekends. We recommend you stay at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort. Search for hotel deals here.
- If you are visiting over a holiday weekend, expect long lines at check-in between 2:00-5:00 PM. We waited in line for 45 minutes. It was frustrating because we were not prepared for a long line. Consider yourself warned.
- Complimentary tea and pastries are served in the resort lobby at 4:00 PM.
- Stay hydrated while soaking in the hot mineral pools. Bring bottled water with you.
- Adult robes are included, but there are no robes for kids. It’s a good idea to bring a robe for your kids if you have one. Our boys have this robe and love it.
- The outdoor family pool has a shallow section for little ones. For the deeper areas it’s wise to bring water wings or life jackets. We use this puddle jumper life jacket for our youngest boy.
- Parking is an additional charge. At the time of our stay, the price for parking was $10 per day. There is a large parking lot behind the resort. It’s best to drop off your luggage at the lobby first, then find parking afterwards.
Have you visited Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia?
Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below. Our readers find your feedback and experiences helpful.
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