We have this thing with Fernie, BC. We honeymooned there, we vacation there multiple times each year, we’ve even named our cat Fernie. This place has our hearts. The pace is slow but there’s nothing boring about it.
So when Tourism Fernie reached out and asked if we’d be game for a three-day visit, we jumped at the opportunity. This is literally my dream. For Mark to be hired to take photos, for me to be hired to write, and for our family to travel and share experiences together.
Although this post is technically ‘work’ for me, it’s written straight from my heart. I am writing to you as a friend telling you about the best spots to hit up in this cute little town, just a 3-hour drive from Calgary.
Something for everyone
My husband & I have very different ideas about what is and isn’t fun. He skis, I do yoga. He hikes, I sip coffee in cafes. He eats steak & potatoes, I eat green salads. And that’s exactly why we love Fernie. It’s small enough that we don’t lose track of one another but big enough to allow for all our picky boxes to be ticked.
In late November, we went to Fernie for a three-day trip and I want to highlight all the amazing things this town has to offer. So, consider this your guide to the softer side of Fernie – the family-friendly, the chill, the peaceful side of Fernie.
We’ve stayed at a lot of places in Fernie. While Fernie 901 is, in some ways, considered the new-kid-on-the-block, it’s quickly become one of our favourites. It’s a converted schoolhouse that was built in the early 1900s and recently renovated into high-end accommodations. It has maintained its history while still being a comfortable and luxurious place to stay.
There was plenty of space for the four of us, laundry, a massive kitchen, and best of all, it’s located in the heart of downtown. We were able to walk to all the shops and restaurants in a matter of minutes. There is also a spa in the same building – Spa 901 – which I didn’t have time to experience this last go-round but I hear it’s amazing. Fernie 901 represents the essence of this mountain town and has perfect, unobscured views from its huge balconies. Click here to see availability and book directly through Fernie Central Reservations.
There are SO many great restaurants in this little town, but here are our top family-friendly picks in Fernie.
My kids loved it here. Freshly baked bagels you can get in mini form, sandwich form, panini form, you get the point…
This is a really easy restaurant to hit up for a family dinner. They have colouring pages for the kiddos, the service is fast, and their salads are delicious 🙂
I don’t wanna be biased… but everyone’s gotta favourite. Curry Bowl has been my go-to restaurant since forever ago. Oftentimes, I will call them when we’re in the Crowsnest Pass and order three curries to go. They’re located right on the highway into Fernie, so you can easily pick up your dinner, head to your accommodation, and settle in with a hot, healthy meal. 9 times out of 10, I order the Green Curry – it’s phenomenal.
Fresh, wholesome ingredients when you want to take the kiddos for an Ice Cream treat. If you’re gonna go all out, might as well make it a good quality treat! Fun fact – the owner of this ice cream shop, Dan, was on Chopped Canada! So you know it’s amazing.
We went here 3 times in 3 days. I cannot get enough of The Loaf! Again, very kid-friendly but also very adult-friendly with a phenomenal wine list, healthy delicious food, an addictive atmosphere, and live music every Friday night.
A great pit stop to make when you’re looking for something fast but really healthy. Their gluten-free and vegan options are extensive and SO good. I have always ordered their bowls and have never been disappointed.
Rusty Edge (this is for the skiers)
The perfect spot to take the kids after a day of skiing. Perched right on the hill, this lodge-type restaurant is open every day the ski hill is open starting at 11 am.
LOVE this place for breakfast. They serve organic coffee, smoothies, fruit salads, and breakfast bowls. They also have couches you can lounge on and a section dedicated to kid’s toys.
This is one of the newer restaurants in town and they are killing it! If you love Latin American food, this is the place to go. Of course, their tacos are excellent, but their mezcal margaritas are to die for!
Located on the highway just as you enter into town, this sushi restaurant is a must-eat, must-stop, must-devour stop. Yamagoya has regular seating and traditional Japanese seating, making your experience that much more special. Speaking of special, this was the first-ever restaurant we took Henry to when he was just 3 weeks old. I love their gomae salad, veggie rolls, and tasting all the delicious wines they have to offer on their list.
The athlete in you
This is a special place for me. I felt my baby move for the first time (when I was pregnant with Henry) during a yoga class here. The owner changed my view on how powerful our female bodies truly are and has taught me so much – both in yoga and in life. The studio has just undergone a recent renovation where they opened up the bottom floor for washrooms, showers, and a change room. They also sell really beautiful yoga gear, lounge clothes, and host an array of cool workshops. The last workshop I attended was on Valentine’s day for a couples yoga practice. I’ve honestly considered moving to Fernie full-time just so I could go to Essential Yoga every day.
I’m not a skier, so this is definitely my husband’s domain. But my little guy, who is just 3 LOVES it, so I think it’s safe to say I’ll be leaving this activity to the boys in my life. I do know that Fernie Alpine Resort has a well-deserved reputation for some of the best terrain and snow year after year in Canada though. There are numerous runs making the hill suitable for all levels with a quaint village at the base with shops, rentals, and restaurants… this is where you’ll typically find me 😉 There are also a lot of accommodations on the hill but it’s only a 10-minute drive from the town of Fernie. The season typically opens in late November and is open until early April.
In the summer, Fernie Alpine Resort transitions into lift-access mountain biking, hiking, and camping. We took the kids up the chair lift this past summer and played in the sand, walked some trails and hung out in the hammocks. It’s such a unique experience!
The Fernie Aquatic Centre has an epic kid’s pool with foam toys, floaties, and slides. They have lanes as well, so if you’re wanting to get some laps in, you always have that option. We love going there after a day of activity, especially if it’s cold outside. They have a large hot tub and steam room, which feels great on sore muscles and cold bones. Entry is something like $6 and a family pass is $15, so an excellent deal for what you’re getting to use.
In the summertime, there’s a splash park located just in front that is free for the public to use and a very popular spot to hit up!
Fernie is incredibly rich in its history, and you’ll find all the backstory here. It’s a two-level historic building with the upper level being an exhibition that changes every few months to showcase local artists. It’s also very kid-friendly with a crawl-through tunnel and train set for the kids!
Shopping in Fernie is my favourite thing to do. I’ll grab a coffee and go door to door along the main street to hit up all the cute & kitschy shops. Here are the shops I’ll visit in Fernie without fail each time.
All. The. Pretty. Things. All in one store. If I could, I’d furnish my entire home with the gorgeous accents they carry here. Everything from Turkish towels, witty birthday cards, wooden sunglasses, and colourful totes – this store is dangerously stylish.
This is a large space that they’ve divided into two different sections. On the one side, you’ll find really beautiful clothing and on the other side, you’ll find handbags and shoes. The last time I went shopping there, I was with my girlfriend, who now lives in Paris. She was so excited to see a walking boot there that she had only ever seen in London before. Ghostrider brings in such amazing brands that are so unique.
If I had to pick a favourite shop in Fernie, this would be it. This store is filled with the prettiest housewares you’ve ever seen. Green Petal, as the name would suggest grew out of a love for beautiful plants and half the store is well… plants – terrariums, little and big house plants and gorgeous flower arrangements.
I’ll usually save this store for last when the kids are in tow because they never want to leave. Grow is a toy store with a great selection of products but also a bunch of play areas for kids. Including a wooden block building table, lego table, and a teepee with stuffed animals and couches for parents to hang out on.
The last time I was in here, I got to speak directly with one of the artists who’s paintings were beautifully displayed around the store. This store is filled with paintings, cool crafts, and practical items (like natural cleaning solutions) made by local people! It’s so neat to walk in there and know that the items you’re looking at have been made with care and love and probably by the person standing right next to you!
All the latest and CUTEST clothing trends in one place. I’ve never stepped out of this store without a new item in hand. They have Lack of Color Hats, Vero Moda coats, insanely cute shoes, and accessories. I LOVE this store.
This bookstore has a corner dedicated to children’s books and toys so while the kids play, I can peruse and get inspired by the latest and greatest books.
Hello Instagram! There are a ton of picturesque locations in Fernie thanks to Mother Nature. But the buildings are just as beautiful. Not only are most of them historic and have really neat stories attached to them, but some are being decked out with some really cool local art.
This mural on the side of Beanpod (a local chocolatier) is PERFECT for grabbing a shot in front of. The artist, Michael Hepher, is a local in Fernie and I truly hope they continue these beautiful murals around town!
Within the town of Fernie, the Annex is a popular trail that runs along the Elk River. This gorgeous green space hosts a number of cool events, like Wapiti (a life-changing music festival), the Fernie Half Marathon, and is also a perfect picnic spot in the summer.
One of the first buildings you’ll see on the right-hand side when entering town, Fernie Brewing is quickly becoming an iconic landmark. I don’t even drink beer (I leave that to my husband) but I still love going there. It’s a warm and inviting space with a huge tasting room and colouring papers & crayons for your littles. They have really nice merchandise too (I own a ton) like FBC hats, sweaters, mugs, and more.
This is one of the most kid-friendly libraries I’ve ever been to. They constantly run free drop-in kids programs in the basement that I love taking the kids to. If you’re dropping in to play or for one of the programs, you don’t need a membership unless you’re wanting to take out any books.
This is a favourite spot among locals to skate in the winter and swim in the summer. You feel like you’re in the complete wilderness but it’s actually super central. Located just behind the Canadian Tire, there are walking paths all around that are easily accessible, flat, and so perfect for children.
Here, you’ll find an extensive trail network, great hikes, snowshoeing, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing. It’s located halfway between town and the ski hill, on the road to Island Lake Lodge. There’s a beautiful river and waterfall and a popular campground in the summertime. The trails and the waterfall is super accessible with kids too. It took us all of 100 ft to get from the lot to the waterfall and is a great place to get your fill of nature in, even when you’re in a pinch.
A home away from home
Fernie doesn’t just hold a special place in our hearts but is truly part of who we are. Every time we drive out, no matter what time of year, we both let out a collective sigh – the Elk Valley effect I guess. Long hot summer days, lush green trails, gin-clear rivers, and fresh mountain air are all part of why we love Fernie. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, with every level of adventure at your fingertips, coupled with amazing food, super friendly locals, and great shopping, this is one town that we just can’t seem to get enough of. Who knows, you might just head out for a weekend to see what we’re talking about, fall in love, and turn into one of those friendly locals yourself.
Love, peace & mountain gems