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. It was an easy weekend getaway. Perfect for families and adults wanting a getaway. 

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. 

Things to do at Harrison Hot Springs 

Table of Contents

Note – this post was originally published in July 2019 and updated June 2023. 

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. 

  1. Indoor pool – temperature 32-35°C or 90-95°F
  2. Indoor Hot Pool – temperature 38-40°C or 100-104°F
  3. Outdoor Family Pool – temperature 33°C or 92°F
  4. Outdoor Lap Pool – temperature 28°C or 83°F
  5. Adult Pool – temperature 37°C or 98°F

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 post – 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.

You can also rent jet skis, banana tubes and bumper boats at Harrison Water Sports. The marina is open from May to September. 

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 $40 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. 

You can read reviews about Shoreline Tours here.

Our tour guide working the grill as we approach Echo Island.

The boat docks for 20 minutes so guests can walk to 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! For smaller kids, you might want to consider a wetsuit. We use wetsuits for swimming lessons too.

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 like the ocean beaches found on the coast of the Pacific Northwest. 

Harrison Lagoon

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 

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

  • Saturday & Sunday 10:00 AM to 3:00 pm

Related post – 15 Things to do in Squamish this summer

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

Will be re-opening in 2024!

Tulip Festival location and directions

The Tulip Festival is located at 41310 Royalwood Drive, Chilliwack.

More info – Chilliwack Tulip Festival

Related – 25 Day Trips from Vancouver, Canada

The cherry blossoms 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. 

There is no longer a formal festival, but the eagles still come and it’s a great place to view them. 

Other Harrison Festivals and Events

  • November – Lights by the Lake features the village lit up by colourful Christmas lights.
  • June – Sasquatch Days is a cultural festival that includes canoe races, traditional salmon barbeque, medicine walks, cultural boat tours, arts & craft activities, games and live entertainment.
  • July & August – Summer Harvest Events
  • 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.

Note – Due to changes from the pandemic, it’s best to confirm these festivals are happening.

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 menu here. We dined here and would 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?

The Village of Harrison Hot Springs is located at the southern end of Harrison Lake in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia. It’s about a 90 minute drive east from Vancouver to 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. If you don’t live in Vancouver, you might need to rent a car. Search for deals on car rentals here.

Harrison Hot Springs Directions

Here are driving directions from Vancouver.

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.
  • 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.

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Have you visited Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia?

Share your tips and recommendations in the comments below. Our readers find your feedback helpful. 

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