Best Places to Visit in British Columbia
British Columbia’s mountains, lakes, islands, rainforest, beautiful coastline, picturesque cities, charming towns and world-class ski resorts make it one of Canada’s most popular destinations.
Most visitors to British Columbia start in Vancouver, which is an excellent starting point for exploring the province. From here, a short flight or ferry will take you to Vancouver Island and the state capital, Victoria. Less than two hours from Vancouver is the resort and ski resort of Whistler. Located in the interior of British Columbia, the Okanagan Valley is another year-round hotspot with beaches, golf courses and numerous ski resorts on the shores of Okanagan Lake.
Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in British Columbia and make your trip enjoyable.
Top 10 Best Places to Visit in British Columbia
Below are the Top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in British Columbia:
Located at the foot of Whistler and Blackcomb, Whistler is the heart of Canada’s largest winter sports district. In 2010, this world-class ski resort gained international attention when it hosted the Winter Olympics and alpine ski events.
Although closely associated with skiing and snowboarding in Canada, Whistler is a year-round destination with hiking trails, mountain biking trails, golf courses and beautiful scenery to explore in the summer. Visitors don’t even need to ski or actively enjoy this beautiful town. One of the main attractions is the Peak 2 Peak Gondola which connects Whistler and Blackcomb. The distance traveled is a record 4.4 km. It is just 11 minutes drive away and offers stunning views of the area.
Whistler Village is a modern upscale town with luxury hotels, upscale shopping and gourmet restaurants. You can still find casual restaurants and regular retail and grocery stores, though.
The town is close to Vancouver and only a two-hour drive from the city, making it easily accessible. The journey from Vancouver to Whistler on the Sea to Sky Highway is beautiful. Popular stops on this route include the communities of Squamish and Shannon Falls.
2. Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island, off Canada’s far west coast, is home to the lovely town and capital of Victoria, along with stunning coastal scenery, mountains, lakes, and other natural attractions. Coastal beaches offer year-round surfing, particularly around the popular tourist town of Tofino and nearby Pacific Rim National Park.
Vancouver Island is the largest island on the Pacific coast of North America. Most are very remote and have limited access. If you take the time to explore the island, you’ll find some incredible hiking trails, including the epic few-day West Coast Trail. Campers can find a variety of excellent campsites on the island.
Vancouver Island is located west of the city of Vancouver and can be reached by a short flight or ferry. A ferry or plane will take you to Victoria’s regional area or to Nanaimo, another popular town on the island.
3. Okanagan Valley
Located in the interior of British Columbia, the Okanagan Valley, often called the Okanagan, is a lush, sunny valley with lakes, beaches, rolling mountains and orchards. The region’s center is Lake Okanagan, which is 120 kilometers long, and the city of Kelowna is on the lake’s eastern shore. Other popular towns in the area include Summerland, Peachland, Penticton and Vernon.
With its hot, dry summers and mild winters, the Okanagan is a popular retirement and summer getaway for people in British Columbia and neighboring Alberta. Some of the most common summer activities are boating, golf and spending time at the beach.
During the winter months, many people come here to enjoy some of the best ski resorts in British Columbia, including the Great White Ski Resort and Silver Star Mountain Resort.
4. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
This tourist town on the edge of the Pacific Rim National Park Preserve is the perfect place for nature lovers looking for a coastal getaway. The vast beaches attract surfers year-round, but many come here simply to watch the waves, watch storms in the off-season, or walk miles on hard sand.
Outside of the beach, visitors can hike through ancient forests or camp along the beach in some of British Columbia’s most stunning coastal scenery.
Couples often come here for a romantic getaway and relax in one of the luxury beach resorts and charming cottages. The area also offers a variety of tours, from kayaking in the Clayoquot Sound to whale watching.
Tofino feels extremely remote, but getting in from places like Victoria or Nanaimo is relatively easy. Nearby Ucluelet is another town for a pleasant day trip from Tofino.
Located on Vancouver Island, Victoria is the capital of British Columbia and one of Canada’s most scenic cities. Away from the mainland, the city has a small-town feel but is packed with attractions and activities.
Downtown for locals and tourists alike is the Inner Harbor, dominated by the magnificent Queen Hotel, built for the Canadian Pacific Railroad in 1908. The area is packed with tourists and locals enjoying the quayside, especially in the summer when restaurants open terraces for al fresco dining and buskers take to the sidewalks.
If you’re looking for something to do, there are incredible mountain and ocean views from Victoria and the surrounding hiking trails. For something less strenuous, consider having afternoon tea at the Queen Hotel or taking a stroll around the Capitol.
6. Haida Gwaii
Haida Gwaii is one of Canada’s undiscovered treasures. These remote islands are rich in culture and natural beauty, but are often overlooked by tourists. Haida Gwaii, formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, is an isolated group of more than 150 islands at the western tip of the Pacific continental shelf. The two main islands, Graham and Moresby, are located approximately 50 kilometers and 150 kilometers from the British Columbia coast, respectively.
The local Haida people are thought to have lived on the islands for at least 8,000 years. They were called proud warriors and brave sailors. In their magnificent 20-foot canoe, they sailed the length of the Inland Waterway south to Puget Sound.
Today, they are known for their skill and mastery in carving. Totem poles and fine mud carvings can be found in every ethnographic museum on Canada’s Pacific coast.
7. Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park and Mount Revelstoke National Park a few miles to the west is a scenic areas favorite by mountaineers and hikers. These parks are located in the Selkirk Mountains, one of Canada’s most challenging mountains, in the almost inaccessible northern Columbia Mountains.
The landscape is one of the jagged hills, steep descents, and narrow valleys that run deep into the rock. There are about 400 glaciers in and around Glacier National Park. At lower levels, down to about 1,300 metres, the dense forest is home to some large old trees – western red cedar, hemlock, and fir – as well as a ground cover of ferns. Goats, woodland reindeer, black and grizzly bears are some of the wildlife that can be found in the park.
Most visitors just drive through, but there are plenty of hiking trails and camping facilities. The Rogers Pass National Historic Site is located within Glacier National Park.
Official website: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/glacier
8. Salty Spring Island
On the Gulf Islands between Victoria and Nanaimo, Salt Spring Island is sparsely populated and known for its laid-back bohemian lifestyle. This scenic island is surrounded by artist studios and farms selling cheese and homemade products. Quirky shops sell clothes and trinkets you can find in Southeast Asia.
The main town on the island is the Ganges, where visitors will find ice cream parlors, cafes and restaurants, as well as more traditional retail establishments and souvenirs. There is a provincial park with hiking trails, camping areas and daily use areas on the beach. The island also offers hotels and other accommodation options.
Ferries depart from Tsawwassen, Swartz Bay (Victoria) or Crofton (Nanaimo) on the mainland (Vancouver).
9. Kootenay National Park
Kootenay National Park is located in southeastern British Columbia, adjacent to Banff National Park and Yoho National Park, and sits on the spectacular west side of the Canadian Rockies. The main mountains of Kootenay National Park rise above 3,000 meters above sea level, and the landscape includes rugged rocky ridges and jagged peaks, snow-capped mountains, cirques, glaciers, hanging valleys, and narrow canyons deep in marble limestone.
Most of the park’s day hikes pass through some of these unique sites and natural features. Kootenay’s main attractions are the narrow Marble Canyon canyon, which hikes around Sinclair Pass and Stanley Glacier.
Official website: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/kootenay
Nelson is a beautiful location on the west side of Kootenay Lake, surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of the Selkirk Mountains. This former mining town grew in the late 19th century and quickly turned into a tourist destination. The town still has a number of well-preserved Victorian buildings that give it its distinctive charm. Nelson is also known for attracting artists and young people interested in alternative lifestyles.
Nearby is the wild Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, with many picturesque mountain lakes. Most of this pristine mountain is located at an elevation of more than 2,100 meters above sea level. At 2,774 feet, Kokanee Peak rises majestically above the rest of Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park. Also nearby is Kokanee Creek Provincial Park, with its sandy beaches and campgrounds.
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in British Columbia. If you think there are some more best and most beautiful places to visit in British Columbia, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.