Every experience in life can be an adventure if you bring your child-like wonder to it.
Children are brimming with a natural curiosity and desire for play. And play comes in all sorts. Bowen offers a plentitude of outdoor adventure sports, however, there are many other types of activities to engage kids of all ages and interests. Here are a few suggestions for summer pastimes on Bowen:
Explore tidal pools at Cape Roger Curtis
Spend your morning visiting the area surrounding Bowen’s iconic landmark, the lighthouse at the Cape. On this side of the island, the seas are slightly wilder and create the perfect conditions for wave-hopping at the beach. When the tide is out, venture onto the rocks and explore the pools that teem with sea life. Be sure to bring your swimsuit as a short stroll along the SeaWalk Trail leads you to Pebbly Beach, a more sheltered bay with a sandy bottom, great for a dip on a hot day. Roger Curtis Beaches at the Lighthouse on the Cape.
Frolic at the playground at Bowen Island Community School
Referred to by locals as BICS (pronounced “bicks”), this elementary school is the hub of family life on Bowen. It features a modern playground with swings, slides, and climbing structures. There are also soccer fields with plenty of room to run and tennis courts to whack a ball around. Let your young’uns roam free and ensure a restful night’s sleep for everyone. 1041 Mt. Gardner Road.
Enjoy ice cream on the marina boardwalk
Take a snapshot of island living as boats and planes come and go at the busy marina operated by the Union SteamShip Company. Stroll the boardwalk alongside the great lawn where you can play catch or set up for a game of croquet. Mind the gaggle of geese, however. At the ice cream window, choose your favourite from a variety of options. Whether you pick old-fashioned vanilla or caramel cookie swirl, pull up a seat on a bench and gobble it up before it melts. 431 Bowen Island Trunk Road.
Pick wild berries all over the island
The roads and forest trails on Bowen are bursting with wild berries during the summer months. In June, you will begin to see delicate salmonberries, in July come the sweet-tart huckleberries, and in August are the big, juicy blackberries. As you wander, it’s great fun to search for these treasures of the edible kind. These areas are also great for wildlife spotting as birds and animals depend upon these berries for nutrition. Be sure to share the bounty and leave plenty for others. It is important to be able to identify what is edible. If you are not sure about a berry, don’t eat it!
Have a restful read at the Bowen Island Public Library
The Bowen Island Public Library is housed in one of the original commercial buildings on Bowen and retains its historical charm. Upon entering, it feels as though you have been embraced by a warm hug. The friendly librarians will be happy to make recommendations on favourite children’s books. Curl up in a comfy chair and while away the afternoon. Note this library is child-friendly, meaning not always so quiet. You may hear an excited voice or two every once in a while. 430 Bowen Island Trunk Road.
Watch birds and bats flutter about the causeway
The causeway is a brief 5-minute walk from the ferry and links the Cove with the residential neighbourhood of Deep Bay. On this bridge between the fresh-water lagoon and the ocean lives flocks of birds including ducks, geese, herons, eagles, and you might even catch a glimpse of Bowen’s resident white swan. Perch on the bench and take in the view of the North Shore mountains (it never gets tiresome). As dusk sets in and the mosquitos come out, the feeding bats put on an airshow sure to provoke squeals of delight. At the end of Union Road.
Load up on sweets at Candy in the Cove
While it proclaims to be the “smallest candy store in the world”, what it lacks in square footage, it makes up for with its huge selection. Your eyes will pop at the abundance of sugary confections available ranging from nostalgic goodies to current favourites. If you’re lucky, you will arrive during music trivia time and have a chance to win free candy. It might be best to follow up this activity with a run about at BICS (see number 2 above) to burn off some of that energy. 449 Bowen Island Trunk Road.
Tinker with the newest toys and games at Phoenix
Bowen’s toy store features a well-curated selection of the latest playthings for kids of all ages. In summer, the specials include water floaties, super soakers, and beach toys. It is the place to shop for finding a unique gift for a birthday party on-island or snagging a colouring book for the car-ride home. In addition to toys, browse a great sampling of books, cards, and puzzles, plus hand-made gifts from makers on Bowen. You probably won’t leave without hearing at least one “Mom/Dad, can I have…?” 209 Village Square.
Spot wildlife at Killarney Lake
A walk around Killarney Lake provides an alternate, more serene view of water life on the island. The shoreline is covered in lily pads most of the early summer providing cool shade for fish and tadpoles below. Above the surface, the trails are rife with critters. Have fun by creating your own game to see who can spot the most dragonflies, frogs, and squirrels. Other animals of note you may encounter are deer, slugs, and the occasional slithery snake (don’t worry, they’re the harmless kind).
Pump up at Bowen’s bike park
Hop on your BMX or mountain bikes and ride the waves at Bowen’s newest outdoor playground. Built by the local community, this forested pump track is a continuous circuit of dirt rollers and jumps that loops back on itself, suitable for riders of all ages and abilities. Located on the BICS Trail.