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In British Columbia’s beautiful Fraser Valley, you’ll find the cozy little town of Harrison Hot Springs. It’s close to the majestic Harrison Lake and of course one of the best hot springs in BC that the town is named for of course!
This small town may only be home to a few locals, but every year visitors from far and wide pack the streets and beach to enjoy the sunshine and ski activities nearby – myself included!
Of course, it’s the lake that draws thousands of tourists every year, not to mention the dozens of hiking trails through the mountains. This is one of the main reasons summer is the most popular season to visit!
With that said, winter adventurers are definitely not out of luck. Sasquatch Mountain is only a 45-minute drive away and it’s one of the top skiing destinations in the area.
So, no matter what time of year you visit, there’s something to do at Harrison Hot Springs!
To help plan your upcoming trip, regardless of the season, here are the 25 best things to do in Harrison Hot Springs including all other info you need to know before visiting. This is your ultimate guide to Harrison Hot Springs!
About Harrison Hot Springs, BC
The town itself was officially settled in 1886, but before that, mining camps were located in the area. It was these miners who discovered the hot springs and paved the way for the town you see today.
Home to approximately 1,700 people, the town’s visitors every year certainly dwarf that. With an estimated 750,000 visitors per year, it’s safe to say Harrison Hot Springs is a popular place! Most of the local population work in the hospitality business, and for generations, they’ve managed to make their town one of the best vacation spots near Vancouver.
Despite receiving so many visitors, Harrison Hot Springs has remained pristine, and with a huge lake at your doorstep and nature all around, I’d say this is one of the top places to visit in BC!
Day Trip to Harrison Hot Springs from Vancouver:
Harrison Hot Springs is less than 2 hours away from Vancouver, so it’s an easy destination from Vancouver for a little mini getaway. Have all the details taken care of with this private day trip. You’ll visit Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park, an old railway museum, Fort Langley National Historic Site as well as have lots of time to enjoy the hot springs.
Transportation from Vancouver is included along with all the tickets and admission fees. You can just show up and enjoy! The tour takes approximately 8 hours and costs $790 CAD per person.
Things to do in Harrison Hot Springs
1. Have a beach day
If you’re here in the summer, don’t miss out on a beach day! It can get packed around the water, but only because this town is famous for its many water activities on the lake.
A beach day in Harrison Lake is very different from a beach day in the Caribbean or other tropical areas if you’ve never taken a dip in a Canadian lake before. For starters, the water can be quite cold! With that said, it’s crystal clear and so refreshing! You just won’t be swimming all year round.
Although you can swim in the Harrison Lagoon (a small man-made lagoon along the beach), it’s not the freshest water. Instead, you should either go to the left or right of Harrison Lagoon. We particularly love the right side (facing the lake) because it’s usually less busy and there’s more room to enjoy. There are roped-off swimming areas at both beaches.
There is also a pretty nice picnic spot with plenty of tables and grass along Esplanade Ave. Very family-friendly but a little bit too crowded during high season (something to keep in mind if you prefer calmer, more quiet places).
2. Satisfy your sweet tooth
Who doesn’t like ice cream and chocolate? Whenever we are craving a sweet treat while vising Harrison Hot Springs, the Chantilly Gelato & Cafe and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory are our go-to places.
This town is pretty small, so everything is nearby. After a beach day, on our way to our hotel, we always stop by Chantilly Gelato & Cafe. It’s a little bit pricey, but the quality is superb. They offer many different flavors and won’t mind at all if you are indecisive and wish to try 15 different flavors before making your decision (lucky for me!). We went several times and the staff always greeted us with a big smile.
There are only a few things in this life that a giant cookie can’t make better. Located right in the center of Harrison Hot Springs, you will find the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, home of the most delicious monster cookies in Canada.
This fun little store draws a lot of tourists and particularly children because they have quite an original collection of chocolate figurines and all kinds of sweets with fun presentations. They also serve ice cream (generous portions) and I have to say the waffle cone dipped in fudge is already a delight by itself.
3. Play in the waterpark
Harrison Watersports is a fantastic inflatable waterpark where you and your family can have lots of fun right on the lake. It’s usually advertised for children, but I assure you anyone can have a blast at the park with its trampolines and bumper boats.
There are 2 different packages to choose from here. The first one is $40 CAD ($31 USD) for a 2-hour pass to the waterpark (wetsuit not included, but you can rent one for around $6 CAD). The second package is $57 CAD ($44 USD) and it includes a 2-hour pass, transportation to and from the waterpark, a wetsuit, and a 30-minute bumper boat ride.
The water in the lake is pretty cold, so I definitely recommend the use of a wetsuit, plus it helps you slide! Kids are allowed by themselves from the age of 10. From 5 to 9 years old, they have to be accompanied by an adult.
4. Visit the Harrison public hot springs
While the lake water can be a bit frigid, warm up with a dip in the natural mineral waters this area is known for. The Harrison Hot Springs public pool is centrally located in town and available for everyone – you don’t need to be staying at a local hotel.
The hot springs that feed into this pool were used by Sts’ailes First Nations for thousands of years as a healing place. The warm mineral waters were later discovered in the 1850s by Europeans headed to the gold fields. Apparently, when their boat capsized, they discovered the water wasn’t cold like they expected!
The public pool water is actually cooled down to a balmy 38°C (100°F) which feels amazing after a day of hiking. Admission is about $10 CAD per person. Hours and days of opening can be a bit hit or miss, so make sure to check ahead of time before you go.
5. Stay at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort
Give yourself time to explore and savor this part of BC by staying a night or two. You’ll not only get to explore the numerous hiking trails, see magnificent mountain views, and enjoy all the fun activities on the lake, but you’ll have plenty of time to soak in the magnificent hot springs.
If you do want to spend the night, the Harrison Hot Springs Resort is an excellent choice. You’ll have unlimited access to the 5 (yes 5!) heated mineral pools located both indoors and outdoors. The water here has among the highest concentrations of dissolved mineral solids of any mineral spring!
Only hotel or spa guests are allowed to use the mineral pools here, so it pays to stay at this resort as opposed to the others in town. Prices are too bad either, and you can get a room for as little as $229 CAD per night.
There’s also golfing on the beautiful course nearby and a nice cafe that’s open for breakfast and dinner. This resort is popular with people from Vancouver and celebrities including past guests like Clark Gable, John Wayne, Michael Bublé, and Liam Neeson.
6. Go on a boat cruise
Get some of the best views of Harrison Hot Springs from the water! Harrison Lake and Harrison River here are true wonders of nature and one of my favorite ways to really appreciate the beauty of this area is on a boat tour.
Shoreline Tours has something for everyone from private tours (available all year round), delicious BBQs on the water, speed boats for more adventurous people, relaxing cruises with guides that will tell you all about the different parks you’ll sail through, and much more. The cruises are around $70-80 CAD per person and private charters are by the hour at $750 CAD.
Related Read: If scenic cruises are calling your name, this Sunset Dinner Cruise in Vancouver is our pick! Amazing views, stellar food – count us in!
7. Visit Clear Creek Hot Springs
Natural hot springs are the best and there’s no shortage around here! Clear Creek Hot Springs is located an hour and 15 minutes north, so you can easily plan a day trip here.
One of the best ways to see the hot springs is on a half-day tour where you’ll get to drive there on an ATV with an expert guide along with you. You’ll stop at some breathtaking viewpoints to really get a grasp of the size and beauty of the lake.
The tour is $215 CAD and takes about 6 hours to complete. Make sure you bring some snacks, extra water, and enough battery on your phone to snap some pretty amazing pictures.
Of course, you can visit on your own, but I’d highly suggest a high-clearance 4wd vehicle! Even with that, lots of people park a few kilometers before the springs and walk as the road gets really bad around 5 kilometers out. It changes every year depending on the landslide caused in the spring.
8. Rent a jet ski
Riding a jet ski (or sometimes called a sea-doo) is a really fun way to zip around the water for quite the adrenaline rush. This was one of our favorite experiences on our trip! You wouldn’t believe how fast an hour goes by while driving jet skis with such beautiful scenery surrounding us.
On Harrison Lake, you can rent a jet ski with 2 seats for $110 CAD ($85 USD) for an hour from Harrison Watersports. You’ll have a 25 km (15.5 mile) area to explore in front of Echo Island. If you opt for a 2-3 hour rental, you can venture a bit further around Echo Island and into Cascade Bay.
Make sure you are at least 19 years old and have a driver’s license if you want to be in the driver’s seat of a jet ski. Passengers can be younger and don’t require a license.
This is an opportunity you can’t miss!
9. Paddleboard or kayak on the lake
If you already did the jet skis and want to slow things down a bit while still feeling adventurous, you can rent paddleboards or kayaks to glide along the lake.
Asking around town, we found out that the best company to rent these from was Killer’s Cove Boat Rentals so we went straight to them.
The equipment was in great shape, the staff taught us all the safety measures and gave us a quick guide to visiting the best spots nearby. The cost of renting kayaks and paddleboards is $50 CAD ($39 USD) per hour for the first two hours and then $10.50 CAD ($8 USD) for each additional hour.
They also offer season passes if you are staying for a while and plan to be out on the water often.
10. Enjoy a patio drink with a view
A comfy rooftop with a nice view is the perfect spot to have a drink and if you happen to like Greek food, have I got the place for you! At Milos Greek Taverna, they serve traditional dishes in generous portions and at a reasonable price. Excellent service as well!
It’s one of the busiest restaurants during the summer, so you will probably need to make a reservation. They have a rooftop with views of the lake and the mountains, and a lovely selection of wines, local and international beers, plus traditional cocktails. They are open every day from 11 am to 9 pm – just look for the blue and white building. You can’t miss it!
Related read: If wine is your drink of choice, you’ll find some of the best wine in Canada in the Okanagan Valley!
11. Visit Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park
This is one of my very favorite stops when I’m making the drive from Vancouver to Jasper, but it’s so close to Harrison Hot Springs that you have to pop by while you’re here.
Bridal Veil Falls is located only 20 minutes away from Harrison Hot Springs. The waterfall is 197 feet (60 meters) and cascades over a giant rock face – creating an effect that looks like a bridal veil. This impressive waterfall is actually the 6th largest in the entire country!
From the parking lot, you just have to walk around 10-15 minutes to get to the waterfall. It’s quite an easy walk on a well-marked path, but I still recommend using decent walking shoes. The high levels of humidity and the constant stream of water coming from the falls make the terrain quite muddy.
They have a picnic area, so you could easily make a day out of this trip. You will be deep in the forest, but there are signals everywhere to help you navigate the different trails. There’s a loop you can complete within half an hour that will take you back to the parking lot.
The base of the waterfall is amazing for pictures, and there’s even a little natural pool where you can submerge your legs for a bit (this is particularly refreshing during the summer!).
Note: The falls are only open during the summer.
Related read: See even more incredible waterfalls (dozens of them!) with a visit to Clearwater, BC.
12. Bridal Falls Waterpark
Very close to the falls, there is Bridal Falls Waterpark that’s perfect for kids with water slides and pools galore.
It’s a very popular attraction during the summer, especially because you can bring your own food and spend the day in a comfortable picnic area while the kids have a blast sliding and swimming around. You only have to buy tickets if you are going into the water. The picnic area is free and you can purchase food at the venue.
A day pass is $29 CAD ($22 USD) or drop in for the last 1.5 hours of the day for only $8 CAD ($6 USD). It’s best to buy your tickets online ahead of time if you can because they do have limited occupancy.
13. Play golf at one of Canada’s best golf courses
During one of our trips to the Caribbean, we ended up playing a friendly match of golf with another couple (they were serious golfers). I remember they said something like “we love to play golf during our vacation, it doesn’t matter where we are staying. It’s like another little vacation in the middle of our trip!”
For serious golfers or for those who simply want to take a vacation from their vacation, the Sandpiper Golf Course is considered the best golf course in the Fraser Valley. It has 18 holes and it has some of the best vistas I’ve ever seen on a golf course.
You can rent a room at the clubhouse if you wish to stay the night and they also have a nice restaurant. It’s only 20 minutes away from Harrison Hot Springs.
Even closer to town, there’s another golf course. It might not be an award-winning course like the Sandpiper, but the Harrison Resort Golf Course is perfectly fine for a relaxing match of golf (it’s 9 holes). Only a short 5-minute drive from Harrison Hot Springs.
14. Go skiing
We’ve mentioned several summer activities already, but winter sports are huge in Canada and some of the top activities in BC can only be done during the colder months. So it’s time to talk about skiing near Harrison Hot Springs.
At the Sasquatch Mountain Resort, you can enjoy different snow activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. They offer lessons for all ages, and equipment rentals. If you bring your own skiing equipment, they can give it a tune-up for you as well. It’s also located only a 45-minute drive from Harrison Hot Springs.
Day passes range from $49-$89 CAD ($37-$68 USD) for adults. Depending on the weather, these passes also include night skiing which is a unique experience, very different from regular skiing during the day!
Related read: Check out our recommendations for where to stay in Whistler if more epic skiing is in your plans!
15. Visit Sasquatch Provincial Park
Sasquatch Provincial Park is extremely well managed and there are lots of different kinds of activities you can do here. Freshwater fishing, kayaking, biking, hiking, and much more. If you are traveling with your dog, there are off-leash areas where they can roam free and enjoy the mountain air while playing with other dogs.
There are several trails you can take during the winter, starting right in the resort. You can rent snowshoes and enjoy the magic scenery of the mountains with the level of difficulty of your choosing, guided or not. Even under heavy snow, the paths are perfectly marked, just make sure you take a trail suited to your hiking experience so you can make the best out of it.
Most activities don’t require a reservation, however, if you are traveling with a group and plan to camp or stay with an RV vehicle, there are some steps you need to go through, plus some fees (nothing too crazy) to be able to use the facilities at the park, such as the picnic areas and picnic shelter.
16. Stay in a log cabin
We spent a weekend on the top of Sasquatch Mountain and we were surprised by the different options available, even during high season. You can check a website like Booking.com to find family cabins with 2 or 3 bedrooms, Wi-Fi, multiple amenities and located really close to the Sasquatch Mountain Resort.
You can also stay next to Harrison Lake in a luxury cabin fully equipped for every season of the year. The Treehouse at Harrison Lake has a beautiful deck built into the lake where you can sit and enjoy a magical breakfast in the fresh mountain air. This cabin is within walking distance of the little port where all the best tours of the lake set sail.
17. Have a spa day
The minute you enter the spa, you will start feeling better. I don’t know if it was the soft music, the gentle voices of the staff, the dim lights, or the delicious, yet subtle, scents coming from the spa rooms, but I was instantly relaxed.
My favorite thing was the fact they tailor the treatment based on your requests and also make the best recommendations. Before or after the treatment, you can bathe in the mineral spring surrounding the spa. This would be a magnificent way to begin or end your stay at Harrison Hot Springs.
18. Go hiking
Nothing beats an invigorating hike through the mountains with fabulous views. The Harrison River has countless paths surrounding it for an easy stroll.
Near town, there are several trails for amateur hikers who simply wish to take a walk in the woods and rest at a beautiful viewpoint. The Spirit Trail, for example, is only 1 km (0.6 miles) and it takes 30 minutes to finish.
For a moderate hike, you can take the Bear Mountain Flats trail. It’s 4.3 km (2.6 miles) and takes approximately an hour to finish.
Taking half a day to complete a more difficult hike can also be a really rewarding activity. The Harrison Grind takes about 6 hours to finish at a constant pace. It’s very famous in the area with an excellent viewpoint at the top where you can see Harrison Lake from above.
Related read: One of the most well known trails in BC is the hike to Garibaldi Lake. Picture turquoise blue water surrounded by snow-capped mountains – gorgeous!
19. Try your luck at fishing
Fishing is one of the most zen activities in the world if you ask me (and if you have the patience for it). The thrill of catching a fish is unmatchable, especially if you are surrounded by friends and family.
While you’re in Harrison Hot Springs, check out BC Sportfishing Group for equipment rentals and professional guides who can accompany you and show you the best fishing spots.
Salmon, trout, sturgeon … you name it! Make your reservation online and remember to let them know how experienced you are so they can accommodate the trip to your skill level. This is also a great opportunity to learn how to fish with different techniques!
20. Work out at the outdoor gym
Don’t worry about missing leg day while on vacation! Work out with a view at the outdoor gym overlooking Harrison Lagoon.
The equipment is on a platform here with a great view of the lake. It’s completely free – no gym membership needed. It can get busy though, so if you want to get in your reps, come early in the day and avoid weekends.
21. Kilby Park
A nice destination only 20 minutes away from town, Kilby Park has a lot to offer. This is quite a busy place with a gorgeous beach, picnic tables, and camping areas. It draws people from all over, especially from Vancouver. It has a little farm with extremely friendly animals that you can feed and pet during the day (kids love this!).
I’m not sure if it was because of the season we went to this park, but there were many campers and tents in some areas. Nevertheless, everything was very clean and well maintained. The park personnel was always around, and they were super friendly and helpful with everyone (one of my favorite things about Canada!).
There’s a mandatory stop at a historic site where there’s a museum and original artifacts from the early 1900s. It feels like traveling to the past for a little while. Stop for coffee at the Kilby Cafe & Gift Shop or even for lunch if you find the time (fair prices and good portions!).
22. Rent a speed boat
Speed boats are super fun and Harrison Lake is big enough to truly enjoy the power of some of these machines. Renting one can be expensive if you are traveling only with your partner, but if you have a large group, this can be an unforgettable experience.
At Killer Cove’s Boat Rental, they offer a variety of boats with different horsepower. From a small 8-seat Bow Rider 190HP to a 17-seat Bennington TriToon 300HP. You can also rent fishing equipment if you want to go on a fishing trip with your group, or the staff can point you in the direction of the best swimming spots on the lake, even some hidden coves where tourists don’t normally go.
Expect to pay around $200-$300 CAD per hour, depending on the type of boat you choose.
23. Play a round of disc golf
Have you ever heard about this sport? This was news for us, actually. It’s golf with a frisbee! We had to try it when we went to the Sasquatch Mountain Resort.
Apparently, this sport is getting bigger and bigger in Canada and it’s all over the world now. It’s probably not as hard as golf, but I assure you it’s quite complicated to make some of the shots.
At the resort, they have a 9-hole (more like a 9-basket) course and it’s a unique activity where you can be sure you’ll have a good time with your family and friends. You have to bring your own discs/frisbees, which you can purchase at a little store near the course and it makes a fun little souvenir from your trip … if an actual sasquatch doesn’t steal it mid-game (that’s what the guy at the store told us!). There’s no course fee and the course is dog-friendly.
23. Rent a BBQ boat for a unique lunch
You’ve definitely had a BBQ lunch before … but on the water? We really want to try this the next time we are in Harrison Hot Springs.
Apparently, this idea stemmed from a couple of guys grilling some steaks and sausages in front of a lake for their friends and family. Suddenly they decided that was way too easy and comfortable and started to think about different places they could install a grill to make the BBQ experience more difficult, challenging, and dangerous. They came up with the unique idea to install a propane grill in the middle of a tiny circular boat for 6 people and enjoy their meal in the middle of a lake.
Now you can rent a BBQ boat and have a BBQ like never before. It’s $349 CAD ($268 USD) for 3 hours, which is plenty of time to enjoy your meal and relax while listening to music (the boat includes Bluetooth speakers). Truth is, it’s not dangerous at all and it’s a very popular activity in the area. Just remember to bring your own food!
25. Enjoy the local produce
If you’ve been following our blog, you are probably wondering why we haven’t talked that much about food in Harrison Hot Springs. Well, we decided to mention our favorite restaurants in the area with a special section at the end of this blog. However, we had to include the local produce on our list because we were surprised by the sweetness and perfection of some of their fruits.
Walking around town, you will find fruit stands with a lot of colors that are beautifully organized. They all sell pretty much the same thing, but it doesn’t matter where you stop, you will find some of the best fruit you’ll ever eat.
Many of these stands are attended by the owners and I love how proud they are of the produce they harvest and sell. The berries are out of this world, but my favorite (by a lot) was the peaches.
Where to Eat in Harrison Hot Springs
Muddy Waters Cafe
If you love brunches as much as I do, Muddy Waters Cafe is the place to go. Order anything with fruit, it’s unbelievable how tasty and fresh their produce is. They offer a varied menu with plenty of vegetarian dishes, delicious salmon, and even better coffee.
Black Forest Steak & Schnitzel
Black Forest is the best restaurant in town. It’s a little bit pricey, but they serve very generous portions. The breaded beef steak with mushrooms is one of their most popular dishes, but they serve some traditional German sausages and roasted pork that are very good.
No restaurant list is completed without pizza. Since this is a small town, Village Pizzeria is the go-to place for pizza and it’s usually quite busy. They also serve salads, pasta, hot dogs, and some pretty tasty wings.
Maison D’ La, Poutine House
In the mood for french fries? You have to go to Maison D’ La Poutine House. They have a wide selection of toppings for your fries, the portions are fantastic and even when it gets really busy they manage to deliver your order in record time. The cheese and the gravies … so delicious! Probably not the healthiest restaurant, but I guarantee they will put a smile on your face!
Old Settler Pub
At Old Settler Pub, they serve excellent food all day long (ask for the specials!). Friendly staff, great local beer, fantastic atmosphere, what else could you ask for? This is the town’s pub so it’s the meeting point for locals and tourists from all over the world.
Where to Stay in Harrison Hot Springs, Canada
Whether this is a getaway from Vancouver, a stop on your road trip, or your final destination, spending a bit of time in Harrison Hot Springs is a great way to relax. While this is a small town, don’t worry about finding accommodations. There are lots of places to choose from.
These are our top picks for a variety of budgets!
Harrison Hot Springs Resort – $$$
Of course, the Harrison Hot Springs Resort has to top our list. The views are spectacular with the property located right on the edge of Harrison Lake. But the big selling point is unlimited access to all five hot mineral springs pools! The rooms have excellent views and fluffy robes to use after a dip in one of the pools. Rooms here start around $200-250 CAD per night.
The Lodge on Harrison Lake – $$
Just two minutes outside of town, The Lodge on Harrison Lake is that tranquil escape perfect to recharge your batteries. It’s located right on the lake with a private beach, dock, and picnic area. Or try out their brand new wood barrel sauna! You can book a room in the lodge for around $190 CAD per night or there are guest suites available if you need more room.
Harrison Beach Hotel – $
Staying in Harrison Hot Springs on a budget? The Harrison Beach Hotel has you covered with affordable accommodations right in the middle of town. You’re super close to all the restaurants and things to do mentioned in this blog, so you can walk out the door and explore. The rooms have mountain or lake views and some even include kitchenettes. Expect to pay around $100-$130 per night here.
Thanks for reading!
While Harrison Hot Springs is a small town in BC, it definitely packs in a lot of things to do! You can easily spend a few days here taking a dip in the mineral waters, exploring the great outdoors, and getting out on the lake. It’s a great road trip stop if you’re driving across Canada too – a must on our Vancouver to Edmonton itinerary.