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8 BEST British Columbia Road Trip Itineraries From 1 to 14 Days

8 BEST British Columbia Road Trip Itineraries From 1 to 14 Days

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British Columbia has an overwhelming number of fantastic places to visit, from lakes and National Parks to surfing towns and sandy beaches on Vancouver Island. Since there are so many epic destinations, I think without a doubt, a road trip is the perfect way to tick off as many as you can! 

Road trips are one of our favorite ways to travel (we even spent four months living in a van!), and we’ve lost count of how many we’ve done in British Columbia. With so many wonderful routes and interesting places to visit, we jump at any chance to hit the road in one of Canada’s most beautiful provinces. So whether you’ve only got a day or two, or an entire fortnight to enjoy your trip, we’ve got you covered with our top 8 British Columbia road trip itineraries. 

About the Best BC Road Trips 

the road with fall colored trees on wither side on the drive to Tofino
The drive to Tofino is beautiful!

All of the road trips we’ve listed in this blog are pretty flexible. There’s no set number of days you have to spend on the road, and you can always skip a few stops or linger for longer in your favorite places. It all depends on preferences and travel style, but we’ve designed the itineraries for you to use as a base to create your own epic road trip. 

Most of the road trips start in Vancouver since it’s a major city with a big international airport. However, a few start in Victoria, which also has an international airport. You can also catch the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria, or even enjoy a seaplane flight and then rent a car once you arrive in Victoria. 

1. Vancouver to Whistler Road Trip – Sea to Sky Highway (1 Day)

Vancouver to Whistler road trip map

Start: Vancouver
End: Whistler
Duration: 1 day
Distance: 121 kilometers (75 miles)

Stops are:

  • Capilano Suspension Bridge
  • Tunnel Bluffs Hike (optional)
  • Britannia Mine
  • Shannon Falls
  • Sea to Sky Gondola
  • Squamish
  • Brandywine Falls
  • Whistler

I highly recommend visiting Whistler, which means a road trip along the Sea-to-Sky highway – yes, please! They say that it’s all about the journey, and this scenic highway proves that that’s totally true.

Start by visiting Capilano Suspension Bridge on your way out of the city to enjoy gorgeous views of the forest and the Capilano River. If you start out early enough, there might even be time for the 4-hour Tunnel Bluffs hike.

One of my favorite stops is Shannon Falls, where you can pause for a mid-road trip picnic, and the Sea to Sky gondola is not to be missed. We also like to fuel up in Squamish, with both gas and the amazing brunch at The Crabapple Cafe. Then it’s off to chase more waterfalls in the afternoon with a quick stop at Brandywine Falls. It’s a short and easy walk from the parking lot, although my tip is to keep walking after the first viewpoint of the falls as there’s an even better one just past it!

Brandywine Falls, Canada
Brandywine Falls is a highlight of this drive!

These are the top stops in a nutshell, but honestly, there are loads more. Make sure to check out our in-depth guide on driving from Vancouver to Whistler for inspiration! 

When you do get to Whistler, hopefully you can stay for a bit. We usually opt for the comfortable but affordable Adara Hotel, but there are plenty of options available. Once you’re checked in, Whistler is your playground! From mountain biking to tackling the Via Ferrata or taking on the crazy Sasquatch® zipline, so many adventurous activities await.

Related Read: If you want to linger in Whistler for a few days, we’ve put together the perfect itinerary for you!

2. Sunshine Coast – Vancouver to Klein Lake and back (2 to 3 days)

Vancouver to Klein Lake back to vancouver road trip map

Start: Vancouver
End: Vancouver
Duration: 2 to 3 days
Distance: 233 kilometers (145 miles)

Stops are:

  • Sunday Cider (On the way to Klein Lake)
  • Secret Cove Falls Recreation Site (On the way to Klein Lake)
  • Klein Lake
  • Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park (On the way back to Vancouver and time with the tides)
  • Vancouver

Next up, we’ve got one for the adventurous and outdoorsy among us! BC’s Sunshine Coast is a beautiful stretch of road between Howe Sound and Desolation Sound. It’s dotted with artsy villages, beaches, and plenty of places to hike, bike, and paddleboard, so load up that roof rack! 

To kick off this road trip, catch the ferry from Horseshoe Bay in Vancouver to Langdale. Happily, the ferry terminal is just a 10-minute drive from Sunday Cider where we like to pick up some freshly pressed cider. Then, drive for another half an hour until you get to Secret Cove Falls Recreation Site to enjoy a scenic little hike to a waterfall. 

Relaxing on the dock at Klein Lake
Relaxing on the dock at Klein Lake
Bailey and Daniel enjoy cider at Sunday Cider on the Sunshin Coast near Vancouver
Sunday Cider!

Now, we promised that this trip would be adventurous, which is why we suggest camping overnight at Klein Lake. This is an underrated campsite right on the lake’s edge, so we think it’s well worth the $18 CAD per night fee. It’s first-come first-serve, so don’t get here too late. Last time we camped here, we were early enough to snag a tent site with its own private dock! 

On the way back to Vancouver, make sure to stop at Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park, to see the crazy natural spectacle that happens when the Sechelt Rapids reverse direction. This phenomenon occurs twice a day, so check the tide timetable to make sure you catch it. 

3. Vancouver to Kelowna (1 to 3 days)

Vancouver to Kelowna road trip map

Start: Vancouver
End: Kelowna
Duration: 1 to 3 days
Distance: 391 kilometers (243 miles)

Stops are:

  • Fraser Valley
  • Harrison Hot Springs
  • Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park
  • Hope
  • Othello Tunnels
  • Merrit
  • Kelowna

After doing this drive several times, I think this road trip nicely showcases the beauty of British Columbia. I’d plan to stay for at least one night in Hope, but you could add an extra night at the Harrison Hot Springs Hotel to enjoy a complimentary soak in the famous hot pools. 

As you head out of Vancouver, stop for a wine tasting (as long as you’re not the designated driver) in the Fraser Valley at somewhere like the gorgeous Mt. Lehman Winery. There’s a lakeside beach I love in Harrison Hot Springs during the summer, and the quick hike to Bridal Veil Falls is well worth stretching your legs on the drive toward Hope. Then, there are plenty of things to do in Hope, like tackling the Hope Lookout Trail, hanging out at Kawkawa Lake, and exploring the Othello Tunnels (although the tunnels closed due to storm damage, so check here for updates on when they open again). 

A lady poses for a photo at Kawkawa Lake in Hope, BC
How beautiful is Hope, BC?

One of my favorite stops on this road trip is Merritt, a small and quirky community that’s known as the “Country Capital of Canada.” As you explore the town, you’ll notice murals of country music stars, and hand prints akin to those found on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. You can even take this free self-guided tour to make sure that you see them all! 

I feel like we’ve only scratched the surface with all of these stops, so be sure to check out our full Vancouver to Kelowna guide for more. And when you arrive in Kelowna, you’re in a prime position to enjoy the best food and drink that the Okanagan region has to offer! Make sure to check out the excellent wineries, and consider booking this wine tasting tour so that you don’t need to drive. You can also hike, relax on the beach, or even try your hand at flyboarding (it feels like you’re a superhero with a jet pack!) for a truly memorable end to this trip.  

4. Vancouver (Or Victoria) to Tofino (3 to 10 days)

Vancouver to Tofino road trip map

Start: Vancouver (or Victoria)
End: Tofino
Duration: 3 to 10 days
Distance: 441 kilometers (274 miles)

Stops are:

  • Victoria (and Butchart Gardens)
  • Malahat Skywalk (On the way to Nanaimo)
  • Nanaimo
  • Parksville
  • Cathedral Grove (On the way to Port Alberni)
  • Port Alberni
  • Stamp River Provincial Park (On the way to Tofino)
  • Ucluelet (On the way to Tofino)
  • Tofino

What we love about this road trip is that it can be long or short, depending on how in-depth you want to go. We think it’s the ideal 10-day Vancouver Island road trip if you’ve got time, but we’ve done it in as little as 3 days and still hit all the stops!

The itinerary kicks off in Victoria, so catch the ferry over from Tsawassen terminal in Vancouver to Swartz Bay, which is a 30-minute drive from the city itself. Ferries run regularly and the crossing takes just over 1.5 hours. I like grabbing a coffee and enjoying the view from the deck of the ferry. It feels a bit like a bonus sightseeing cruise!

Once in Victoria, one of my favorite places is the spectacular Butchart Gardens. If you’re taking your time on this road trip, we also loved this half-day whale-watching tour where we saw a pod of orcas! On your way out of Victoria, climb up the Malahat Skywalk, and when you get to Nanaimo, you’ll definitely want to stuff your face with delicious Nanaimo bars. Yum! 

Bailey walks along a boardwalk enjoying the trees at Cathedral Grove, Vancouver Island
Cathedral Grove is worth a stop!
Bailey sits and enjoys the view from Little Mountain Lookout for Sunset in Parksville
Sunset at Little Mountain Lookout, Parksville

In Parksville, we love enjoying the peace and quiet at Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park. After that, make a quick stop to see the giant trees at Cathedral Grove – they make me feel so tiny! Then it’s onto Port Alberni where I recommend popping into Stamp River Provincial Park, especially in autumn to witness the salmon run. 

The final leg of the road trip takes you to Tofino, but make sure to stop in Ucluelet on the way to hike the Wild Pacific Trail, or at least a section of it. There are also some great trails in Tofino, but Cox Bay Lookout hike is our favorite.

5. BC Wine Trail Loop – Vancouver to Vancouver via the Okanagan (6 to 8 Days)

Vancouver to Harrison Hot Springs to Osoyoos to Penticton to Kelowna to Hop back to Vancouver road trip map

Start: Vancouver
End: Vancouver
Duration: 6 to 8 days
Distance: 936 kilometers (582 miles)

Stops are:

  • Fraser Valley (On the way to Harrison Hot Springs)
  • Harrison Hot Springs
  • Manning Park (On the way to Osoyoos)
  • Osoyoos
  • Peachland (On the way to Penticton)
  • Penticton
  • Kelowna
  • Hope
  • Vancouver

If you love wine as much as we do, don’t pass up the chance to loop around British Columbia’s gorgeous wine country. This road trip starts in the Fraser Valley and ends in the Okanagan, so you get a real taste of the diverse wine offerings across the province. 

On your first day, visit a handful of the awesome wineries in the Fraser Valley – Vista d’Oro is always on my list because of the amazing views! After staying the night in Harrison Hot Springs, head to the adventure hub of Manning Park on your way to Osoyoos. Osoyoos is an optional stop, but wine lovers will appreciate this place because the desert climate creates some seriously good wines. My recommendation is to leave the car behind for a day and visit a bunch of the best wineries on this tour, so no one in your group will have to miss out on the tasting fun! 

Bailey enjoys a glass of wine in the sun in Naramata Bench, Penticton
Enjoying a glass in Naramata Bench, Penticton
Sprawling vines at a winery in Naramata Bench, Penticton
Naramata Bench in Penticton is stunning!

Then, a stop in Peachland is also a must on your way to Penticton. There are tons of adventures on offer here, like ziplining and ATV tours, but wine lovers should leave time to visit the Home Block Restaurant for a wine-paired lunch or dinner.

One of my favorite wine experiences was this wine tasting tour in Penticton that took us to five of the top wineries in the Naramata Bench region. It’s picture-perfect and wine with a view is my kind of day! If you’d rather stop for wine in Kelowna, check out our blog on the various wine tours in Kelowna including our personal favorite! Then, take a break from drinking with some wholesome activities in Hope on the way back to Vancouver.

Related Read: For more route ideas, check out our list of the best road trips leaving from Vancouver!

6. Vancouver Island Explorer – Victoria to Campbell River (10 to 14 days)

Victoria to Campbell River road trip map

Start: Victoria
End: Campbell River
Duration: 10 to 14 days
Distance: 781 kilometers (485 miles)

Stops are:

  • Victoria
  • Sooke (On the way to Port Renfrew)
  • Jordan River (On the way to Port Renfrew)
  • Port Renfrew
  • Lake Cowichan
  • Salt Spring Island
  • Nanaimo
  • Parksville
  • Cathedral Grove (On the way to Port Alberni)
  • Port Alberni and Stamp River Provincial Park (On the way to Tofino)
  • Tofino
  • Ucluelet (On the way to Courtenay)
  • Campbell River

Vancouver Island is perfect for a chilled-out, yet adventurous road trip, which is precisely our speed! After kicking things off in Victoria, we usually visit Potholes Regional Park in Sooke on our way to Port Renfrew and stop for a picnic at Sandcut Beach in Jordan River.

Once in Port Renfrew, you can camp overnight at Lizard Lake, or just make use of the day area. After that, it’s onto one of our favorite destinations on the entire island: Lake Cowichan! We had a blast tubing on the river here. 

Daniel stands underneath the largest tree at Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island
Cathedral Grove is an outdoor wonderland!
Bailey with the famous Hole In The Wall near Port Alberni
The famous Hole in the Wall near Port Alberni

Then our next recommended stop involves a drive to Crofton to catch the ferry over to Salt Spring Island. Its natural beauty has inspired countless artists, so check out some galleries while you’re here. After catching the ferry back, make your way through the outdoorsy cities of Nanaimo and Parksville before reaching Tofino. Check out the old-growth trees in Cathedral Grove on the way, and visit Stamp River Provincial Park to watch the salmon run between August and December. 

After surfing in Tofino and checking out the cute town of Ucluelet, it’s time for a road trip within a road trip. The journey from Courtenay to Campbell River is short, but filled with fantastic natural attractions – my personal favorite is the Oyster River Potholes. 

Dock in Campbell River, BC
The quaint Campbell River

The final destination for this epic road trip in BC is Campbell River, a small but scenic town. By this point, you’ll be able to say that you have well and truly explored Vancouver Island, so make sure you reward yourself with a beer at one of our favorite spots – Beach Fire Brewing Company.

Related Read: If you have a couple extra days, you might enjoy one of these tours in Victoria like a horsedrawn carriage ride or even a seaplane flight!

7. Vancouver to Calgary Via Whistler (10 to 14 days)

Vancouver to calgary road trip map

Start: Vancouver
End: Calgary
Duration: 10 to 14 days
Distance: 1,199 kilometers (745 miles)

Stops are:

  • Sea to Sky Highway (While driving to Whistler)
  • Squamish (While driving to Whistler)
  • Whistler
  • Joffre Lakes (On the way to Kamloops)
  • Kamloops
  • Kelowna
  • Revelstoke
  • Glacier National Park (On the way to Golden)
  • Golden
  • Yoho NP (On the way to Lake Louise)
  • Lake Louise (and Icefields Parkway)
  • Banff
  • Calgary

This scenic road trip takes you through the highlights of Western Canada, right through the heart of the Rockies. Excited yet? You should be! 

The journey starts with a drive along the breathtaking Sea to Sky Highway where you’ll pass through Squamish. This charming town is nestled between mountains and the sea. We find the best way to take in all the scenery is with a scenic Sea to Sky gondola ride, especially if you’re short on time.

Once you’re in Whistler, plan for a little adventure here to take in the best this place has to offer. There’s kayaking, ziplining, hiking or our favorite experience recently was this offroading buggy adventure. We cruised through the Callaghan Valley taking in panoramic views (when we weren’t splashing in the puddles, that is!).

Stop at Joffre Lakes Provincial Park en route to Kamloops, which is famous for its turquoise lakes and picturesque hiking trails. Whenever I’m in Kamloops, I love spending the afternoon hopping between the wineries in the Thompson Valley. And on this road trip, the vino only gets better as you continue on to Kelowna. We had a blast on this wine tour in Kelowna that included 20 tastings! 

View out the window of a car on the Sea to Sky highway outside of Vancouver at sunset
The Sea to Sky Highway!
Bailey walks across the Golden Suspension Bridge in Golden, BC
The Golden Skybridge

After exploring BC’s awesome wine country, Revelstoke awaits. This city is all about outdoor pursuits, like skiing and hiking, as is the scenic town of Golden which is next up – after the drive through Glacier National Park. Before you leave Golden, I recommend taking a couple of hours to see the Golden Skybridge. There’s the epic suspension bridge here, but also walking trails and a park for kids included with admission.

Then, you’ll pass through Yoho National Park and say goodbye to British Columbia as you arrive at Lake Louise, which is practically the poster child for the Rockies! 

From Lake Louise, you can drive the Icefields Parkway, and of course, no visit to the Rockies would be complete without going to Banff. You can tire yourself out with lots of hiking and partying here, and then the journey comes to an end in Calgary, which is a great place to fly out of … or to begin another road trip! 

8. Vancouver to Calgary via Whistler and Jasper (10 to 14 days)

Vancouver to whistler to jasper to calgary road trip map

Start: Vancouver
End: Calgary
Duration: 10 to 14 days
Distance: 1,279 kilometers (795 miles)

Stops are:

  • Sea to Sky Highway (On the way to Whistler)
  • Squamish (On the way to Whistler)
  • Pemberton/ Joffre Lakes (On the way to Kamloops)
  • Kamloops
  • Clearwater and Wells Gray Provincial Park
  • Valemount
  • Mt Robson Provincial Park
  • Jasper
  • Icefields Parkway
  • Lake Louise and visit Yoho National Park
  • Banff
  • Calgary

Okay, this itinerary starts and ends in a similar fashion to the one above, but there’s a big difference in the middle: Jasper! The journey from Vancouver to Jasper takes you through Clearwater, which is a small town that really packs a punch, scenery-wise.

Clearwater’s main attraction is Wells Gray Provincial Park, where there are 41 (yes, you read that right) named waterfalls. It’s not known as Canada’s Waterfall Park for nothing! Spahat Falls is one of the most dramatic in our opinion, but there are so many waterfalls that are easy to get to off the main road.

Scenic road down the Icefields Parkway in Canada
The Icefields Parkway!
A lady at Spahats Creek Falls in Wells Gray Provincial Park, Clearwater, BC
Spahats Falls in Wells Gray Provincial Park, Clearwater

You’ll also visit Valemount, and I highly recommend staying in the Mica Mountain log cabins, because we felt really cozy here. This will be your base for exploring Mount Robson Provincial Park, which we consider to be one of the Rockies’ best hidden gems. In our opinion, the hike not to miss here is the Kinney Lake Trail, which makes up the first part of the Berg Lake Trail.  

After arriving in Jasper, you’ll want a day or two to enjoy everything that it has to offer, and then head along our favorite road ever, the Icefields Parkway, towards Lake Louise. Save time for a day trip to Yoho National Park, especially in July and August when Emerald Lake is at its greenest. Then, the road trip concludes in much the same fashion as the one above: by visiting Banff and Calgary.

Renting a Car in British Columbia

A rural road with Mt Currie in the background
Road trips are the best way to explore Canada!

If you’re arriving in British Columbia via plane, then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. British Columbia is a large province, and traveling between the best places to visit in BC requires transport. Although you can use public transport on some occasions, this means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.

Car rental in Canada isn’t relatively cheap, but it’s not that expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pick-up and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though, depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Discover Cars. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Discover Cars all over the world, including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.

Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic, you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!

Thanks for reading!

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie in Port Alberni, BC
Thanks for reading!

There is so much to enjoy in British Columbia from waterfall hikes and mountain biking to winery tours and charming little towns. No matter whether you just have a few days to explore or a couple of weeks, you’re bound to have an unforgettable road trip here!

If you found this guide helpful, be sure to check out more of our guides to destinations across Canada. Get started with one of the related blogs linked below:

5 BEST Granville Island Boat Tours

10 Things to Know BEFORE Booking a Helicopter Tour in Vancouver

16 BEST Hot Springs in BC, Canada