British Columbia is a stunning province on Canada’s west coast, known for its natural beauty, diverse culture, and outdoor adventures. From the rugged coastline and towering mountains to the vibrant cities and charming towns, there is something for everyone in British Columbia. British Columbia has it all, whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures like hiking, skiing, and surfing or cultural experiences like exploring museums and galleries. In this guide, we will explore some of the top things to do in British Columbia, from exploring the vibrant cities of Vancouver and Victoria to discovering the natural wonders of Banff and Jasper National Parks. So, let’s get started and find the best in British Columbia!
Things To Do In British Columbia
1. Explore the Vibrant City of Vancouver: Visit popular attractions such as Stanley Park, Granville Island, and Capilano Suspension Bridge, or take a stroll through the trendy neighbourhoods of Yaletown and Gastown.
2. Discover the Natural Wonders of Banff and Jasper National Parks: Hike or ski through the stunning Rocky Mountains, visit the turquoise waters of Lake Louise, and soak in the hot springs.
3. Experience the Coastal Beauty of Tofino: Surf, kayak, and whale watching in this charming coastal town, or explore the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
4. Go Wine Tasting in the Okanagan Valley: Sample award-winning wines and enjoy stunning views of the mountains and lakes in this famous wine region.
5. Visit the Historic City of Victoria: Explore the British-inspired architecture, visit the famous Butchart Gardens, and enjoy afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel.
6. Ski or Snowboard in Whistler: Hit the slopes of one of North America’s top ski resorts, or enjoy the summer activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and ziplining.
7. Experience First Nations Culture: Visit museums and galleries showcasing the art and history of British Columbia’s Indigenous peoples, or participate in cultural tours and events.
8. Explore the Gulf Islands: Take a ferry ride to the idyllic Gulf Islands and enjoy hiking, kayaking, and beachcombing in this serene island chain.
9. Visit the Historic Gold Rush Town of Barkerville: Step back to the 19th century and experience life during the gold rush, complete with period costumes, demonstrations, and tours.
10. See the Northern Lights: Head to the northern regions of British Columbia to witness the spectacular aurora borealis, a unique natural phenomenon.
The Best Tourist Attractions in British Columbia
1. Visit the world-famous Victoria Falls. The falls are located in Zambia and Zimbabwe and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
2. Take a scenic drive around Vancouver Island. The province has some of the most beautiful natural landscapes, from lush rainforests to rugged peaks.
3. Explore the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Museum in Regina. This museum tells the story of Canada’s mounted police force, which dates back to 1873.
4. Take a hike or bike ride in Banff National Park. This stunning park is home to towering mountains, raging rivers, and wildlife.
5. Visit British Columbia’s wine country. There are dozens of wineries scattered throughout the province, each with its unique wine lineup.
6. Check out some of the provinces’ impressive historical sites, such as Fort Langley or Horseshoe Bay Naval Base.
7. Witness some spectacular natural phenomena at one of BC’s many parks – from glaciers to active volcanoes!
The Best Things to Do for Kids in British Columbia
There are so many things to do in British Columbia for the family that it’s challenging to decide which ones to include on this list. Whether you’re looking for beaches, parks, museums, or activities that will entertain the whole clan, BC has plenty of options. And with so many things to see and do in the province, you will indeed find something that appeals to everyone in your clan.
Here are some of our favourite things to do as a family in British Columbia:
- Drive down the Pacific Coast Highway and enjoy the rugged coastline and sparkling ocean waters.
- Visit one of Vancouver’s many attractions, like Stanley Park or Granville Island Gardens.
- Visit one of the numerous ski resorts in the province, like Whistler Blackcomb or Banff Sunshine Village.
- Explore Victoria’s lush rainforest and fascinating downtown core. Visit one of BC’s many national parks, like Sea-to-Sky Gondola Park or Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park.
- Check out one of BC’s world-famous wineries, like Chateau Ste. Michelle or Okanagan Vineyards.
Things to do in Southern BC
Southern British Columbia offers a variety of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. Here are some popular things to do in the region:
1. Visit Vancouver: Vancouver is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city with many attractions, such as Stanley Park, Granville Island, and the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Visitors can also explore the city’s museums, galleries, and restaurants.
2. Explore Victoria: Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia and offers a mix of historic architecture, gardens, and museums. Popular attractions include the Butchart Gardens, the Royal BC Museum, and the British Columbia Parliament Buildings.
3. Go wine tasting in the Okanagan Valley: The Okanagan Valley is one of Canada’s premier wine regions, with over 200 wineries. Visitors can enjoy wine tasting, tours, and scenic drives through the valley.
4. Visit the Kootenay Rockies: The Kootenay Rockies offer stunning mountain scenery and outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, skiing, and hot springs. Popular attractions include the town of Nelson, Kootenay National Park, and Fernie Alpine Resort.
5. Go skiing or snowboarding in Whistler: Whistler is one of North America’s top ski resorts, with over 8,000 acres of skiable terrain. Visitors can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities in the summer.
6. Explore the Gulf Islands: The Gulf Islands offer a serene and idyllic escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Visitors can enjoy hiking, kayaking, and beachcombing in this island chain.
7. Visit the Osoyoos Desert Model Railroad: This unique attraction features a miniature world of model trains, villages, and landscapes, all set in the desert landscape of Osoyoos.
Things to do in British Columbia in winter
Winter in British Columbia offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. Here are some popular things to do in the province during the winter season:
1. Ski or snowboard: British Columbia is home to some of the best ski resorts in the world, including Whistler Blackcomb, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, and Sun Peaks Resort. These resorts offer a variety of terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all levels, as well as off-piste and backcountry skiing.
2. Soak in hot springs: British Columbia is dotted with natural hot springs, many accessible in the winter. Famous hot springs include Harrison Hot Springs, Radium Hot Springs, and Ainsworth Hot Springs.
3. Ice skating: Many cities in British Columbia, including Vancouver and Victoria, offer outdoor ice skating rinks during the winter months. These rinks are often located in scenic settings, such as Robson Square in Vancouver.
4. Snowshoe or cross-country skiing: Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are popular winter activities in British Columbia, and there are many trails and parks to explore. Popular destinations include Cypress Mountain in Vancouver, Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre in Vernon, and Whistler Olympic Park.
5. Watch wildlife: Winter is a great time to see wildlife in British Columbia, as many animals are easier to spot against the snowy landscape. Popular wildlife viewing destinations include the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary and the Northern Rockies Lodge.
6. Attend winter festivals: British Columbia hosts some winter festivals, including the Vancouver Christmas Market, the Whistler Pride and Ski Festival, and the Chinese New Year Festival in Vancouver’s Chinatown.
These are just some of the many things to do in British Columbia during winter. The province offers a variety of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy, no matter what their interests may be.
Things to do in British Columbia in the summer
Summer is a great time to visit British Columbia, as the province offers various outdoor activities and cultural experiences. Here are some popular things to do in British Columbia in summer:
1. Explore the outdoors: British Columbia is known for its stunning natural landscapes, which offer a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, biking, kayaking, and fishing. Popular destinations include Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, and the Pacific Rim National Park on Vancouver Island.
2. Go wine tasting: The Okanagan Valley is one of Canada’s premier wine regions, with over 200 wineries. Visitors can enjoy wine tasting, tours, and scenic drives through the valley.
3. Visit the beaches: British Columbia has a long coastline with many beautiful beaches. Famous beaches include English Bay Beach in Vancouver, Long Beach in Tofino and Parksville Beach on Vancouver Island.
4. Attend music festivals: British Columbia hosts several music festivals during the summer, including the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, the Pemberton Music Festival, and Shambhala Music Festival.
5. Visit the cities: Vancouver and Victoria are two of British Columbia’s most popular cities, offering a mix of urban and natural attractions. Visitors can explore the city’s museums, galleries, restaurants, and shopping districts.
6. Go whale watching: British Columbia is one of the best places in North America to go whale watching. Visitors can see a variety of whales, including orcas, humpbacks, and gray whales, on tours from Vancouver, Victoria, and Tofino.
These are just some of the many things to do in British Columbia in summer. The province offers a variety of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy, no matter what their interests may be.
The Best Places to Visit for Wildlife in British Columbia
If you want to see some of the most iconic wildlife in British Columbia, you need to look no further than the province’s parks and reserves. Plenty of places to spot these creatures in BC exist, from bears to eagles. Here are four of the best:
- Mount Robson Provincial Park: This park is home to some of the province’s most iconic wildlife, including grizzly bears, eagles, and mountain goats. It was here that Canada’s first grizzly bear cub was born in 1914.
- Kootenay National Park: Located in the heart of British Columbia’s Columbia Mountains, this park is home to various mammals and birds, including black bears, cougars, wolves, and hummingbirds.
- Garibaldi Provincial Park: Another popular park for hikers and nature lovers, Garibaldi is home to big horn sheep, red deer, elk, and bald eagles.
- John Day National Historic Site: This park has many wildlife, including pronghorn antelopes, bighorn sheep, and American black bears.
How to Get Around When Visiting British Columbia?
When visiting British Columbia, one of the best ways to get around is by bike. Bikes can be rented from many businesses and are a great way to see the province while getting some exercise. Some trails run through the province, making biking an option for anyone looking to explore.
Another great way to see the province is by car. The roads in British Columbia are well-maintained, and drivers are usually courteous. Plus, you can stop at any time to take in the beauty of the landscape. If you have a driver’s license from another country, check if your license is valid in Canada before leaving home.
If you don’t want to drive or bike, there are plenty of other options for getting around. Bus lines run frequently throughout the province, and tickets can be bought at most convenience stores. Ferries also make trips between various islands and mainland British Columbia. And last but not least, there is always hitchhiking!
What are the two main attractions in British Columbia?
It isn’t easy to narrow down the main attractions in British Columbia to just two, as the province has so much to offer. However, here are two of the most iconic and popular attractions that draw visitors from all over the world:
1. Stanley Park in Vancouver: This 405-hectare (1,001-acre) park is one of North America’s largest urban parks and a must-see attraction in British Columbia. Located in the heart of Vancouver, Stanley Park offers stunning views of the city skyline, the North Shore Mountains, and the Pacific Ocean. Visitors can explore the park’s many trails, gardens, beaches, and attractions, such as the Vancouver Aquarium.
2. Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort: Located just two hours north of Vancouver, Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort is one of North America’s largest and most popular ski resorts. With over 8,000 acres of skiable terrain, the resort offers something for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. Visitors can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities in the beautiful alpine setting in the summer.
These are just two of the many attractions in British Columbia, including natural wonders such as Banff and Jasper National Parks, the Okanagan wine region, the historic city of Victoria, and the rugged beauty of Tofino on Vancouver Island, among many others.
What is British Columbia popular for?
British Columbia is popular for a variety of reasons, including:
1. Natural Beauty: British Columbia is known for its stunning natural scenery, which includes towering mountains, pristine lakes, lush forests, and a rugged coastline. Visitors come from around the world to explore the province’s many parks, beaches, and outdoor recreation areas.
2. Outdoor Adventure: With its diverse landscape and mild climate, British Columbia offers various outdoor activities, including hiking, skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, kayaking, fishing, and surfing. The province is also home to world-renowned ski resorts such as Whistler Blackcomb.
3. First Nations Culture: British Columbia has a rich Indigenous history and culture, with many First Nations communities still practicing their traditional ways of life. Visitors can learn about Indigenous art, history, and spirituality by visiting museums, galleries, and cultural centers throughout the province.
4. Cosmopolitan Cities: Vancouver is one of the most vibrant and multicultural cities in Canada, offering a diverse range of dining, shopping, and cultural experiences. Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia, is known for its historic architecture, gardens, and museums.
5. Wine and Food: British Columbia is home to a thriving wine industry, with over 300 wineries in the Okanagan Valley and other regions. The province’s cuisine is influenced by its diverse cultural heritage, with seafood, Asian cuisine, and farm-to-table dining among the popular options.
What is the best season to visit British Columbia?
The best season to visit British Columbia depends on the type of experience you are looking for. Here is an overview of the seasons in British Columbia:
1. Summer (June to August): Summer is the peak tourist season in British Columbia, with warm weather and long daylight hours. This is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, and water sports. Popular destinations such as Vancouver Island, the Okanagan Valley, and Tofino are especially busy during this time.
2. Fall (September to November): Fall in British Columbia is a beautiful time to visit, with cooler temperatures and autumn foliage. Visitors can enjoy hiking, outdoor activities, harvest festivals, and wine tastings in the Okanagan Valley.
3. Winter (December to February): British Columbia offers world-class skiing and snowboarding opportunities, particularly in Whistler Blackcomb and other ski resorts. The province also offers other winter sports, such as snowshoeing, ice skating, and dog sledding. The holiday season is also a popular time to visit, with festive events and holiday markets.
4. Spring (March to May): Spring in British Columbia is a transitional season, with snowmelt and blooming wildflowers. This is a great time to visit for outdoor activities such as hiking and wildlife watching. The season can also bring rain, particularly on the coast.
Travelling in British Columbia
Travelling to British Columbia can be a wonderful experience, as the province offers various attractions and activities. Here are some tips to help you plan your trip:
1. Transportation: British Columbia is a large province, and getting around can be challenging, especially if you want to explore different regions. The main cities, such as Vancouver and Victoria, have sound public transportation systems, including buses, trains, and ferries. Renting a car or taking a guided tour may be the best option for exploring other parts of the province.
2. Accommodation: British Columbia offers many accommodation options, from luxury hotels and resorts to budget hostels and campgrounds. During peak tourist season, booking your accommodation in advance is best to ensure availability.
3. Weather: British Columbia’s weather can be pretty variable, depending on the region and season. Summer is generally warm and sunny, while winter can be cold and snowy, especially in the mountain regions. Packaging appropriately for the season and bringing layers is essential, as temperatures can change quickly.
4. Safety: British Columbia is a safe place to travel, but it’s always important to take basic safety precautions, such as locking your car and accommodation, not leaving valuables unattended, and being aware of your surroundings.
5. Activities: British Columbia offers a wide range of activities, from outdoor adventures such as hiking, skiing, and surfing to cultural experiences such as visiting museums and galleries. Planning your activities and ensuring you have the appropriate gear and equipment is essential.
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