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British Columbia is Canada’s westernmost province. BC offers quite a diversity of climate and scenery, making it a beautiful, diverse area to explore.
But where do you even start? There are so many amazing places to visit in BC that it can be overwhelming. That’s why I decided to craft a list of the 22 BEST places to visit in BC, Canada.
I have spent many years exploring BC, and I even have plenty of family who lives there – I grew up in the Okanangan! So, I definitely have had plenty of time to experience what this province has to offer. From the wineries in Kelowna to Granville Island in Vancouver, regardless of what you’re looking to experience during your trip to BC, you’re sure to find a place that piques your fancy on this list!
Not only does this post round out the 22 best places to visit in BC, but I’ve also included some of the best things to do at each destination as well as some restaurant and accommodation recommendations.
I hope that by the end of this post you have decided which places in British Columbia best suit what you are hoping to experience on your trip!
22 BEST Places to Visit in BC
Vancouver is one of Canada’s most vibrant cities. For outdoor enthusiasts, adventure lovers, or even those who are interested in food and culture, Vancouver has something exciting to offer!
Being from Canada, I have been to Vancouver countless times. Each time I visit I cross a few different activities off my Vancouver bucket-list. Since so many people call Vancouver “expensive” (and it can be) I’d like to point out there are definitely activities which are cheap or even free things to do in Vancouver – so even those on a budget can enjoy this amazing city!
Some of the most popular things to do in Vancouver include:
- Hike through Lighthouse Park in North Van – As a coastal city, there is no end to gorgeous beaches and walkways alongside the Pacific Ocean. One of our favorite places to enjoy the seaside is Lighthouse Park in North Vancouver. There are a lot of trails in this area, where you can see some of the largest Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir trees. The trails are fairly easy with minimal elevation gain. The walk to the lighthouse is just about 10 minutes along a wide path. There are plenty of picnic tables to have a view while taking in the gorgeous scenery!
- Explore Granville Island – No trip to Vancouver is complete without checking out Granville Island. For those who don’t know, Granville Island is a small island accessed by either boat or car right in the downtown area. On Granville Island, there are a few different things to do and explore, my personal favorite though is the markets. Other things to do on Granville Island include shopping, watching street performers, going to the Kids Markets, or even checking out the brewery.
- Visit Grouse Mountain – Grouse Mountain is a mountain located right in Vancouver. You can either take the cable car to the top or hike the trail called “The Grouse Grind”. From the top, you’ll get views of Vancouver as well as have access to a variety of different activities. You can skip the line if you buy your admission tickets to Grouse Mountain (including the gondola ride and other included activities and shows) online here! This is definitely an easy day hike in Vancouver!
Where to stay in Vancouver:
This is just a shortlist of the activities you might want to try and squeeze into your Vancouver itinerary! If you want to stay a few days to try and squeeze everything in check out Times Square Suites for a beautiful hotel close to Stanley Park. It’s very hard to fault this hotel and the location is perfect. It is a good mix between being affordable as well as a very nice hotel.
There’s also The Cambie Hostel Gastown for a budget hostel option. The location is in the heart of Gastown and close to lots of bars and restaurants, and attached to the hostel is a very lively bar too.
For more hotel options and info about the best neighbourhoods, check out our blog about where to stay in Vancouver.
Victoria is the capital of British Columbia. Although smaller than Vancouver (Victoria has a population of approximately 100,000) and located a ferry ride away on Vancouver Island, it’s extremely popular with tourists. That’s because Victoria sure does pack a punch in terms of prettiness and things to do.
Not only is downtown Victoria exceptionally pretty, especially in Fall when the tree-lined streets are an explosion of color! There are also lots of unique stores, cafes, and great restaurants such as Il Terrazo on Johnson Street and Bodega on Broad Street here. From the harbor, you can choose to go in search of Orcas on a boat cruise, or why not go on a guided bike tour to some of the best breweries in Canada.
Some of the best things to do in Victoria include:
- Whale Watching – The water surrounding Victoria is not only home to Orcas (aka ‘Killer Whales’), but also humpback whales and dolphins. The best time to see the whales is from May to October. This particular 3-hour tour is in an open-top boat is the most highly-rated whale wathcing tour in Victoria.
- Butchart Gardens – This 55-acre garden is a Victoria icon and has been open to the public for over 100 years. Featuring over 900 plant varieties, you’ll find a Rose Garden, a Japanese Garden, and even an Italian Garden. It’s so colorful here, especially in Spring, and if you visit over Christmas be sure to check out their epic light display!
- Guided Bike Tour with Beer Tasting – This 3-hour tour includes beer tasting at three different local breweries, so it’s perfect for beer-lovers! Plus, you can cycle off all those beer calories along the pedestrianized Selkirk Trestle on this tour.
- Royal BC Museum – This museum is an easy way to spend a few hours learning all about British Columbia’s history. The museum has been open since 1886 and showcases artifacts and documents that detail the region’s natural and human history.
Where to stay in Victoria:
I highly recommend spending a few nights in Victoria and some of the best places to stay in Victoria include:
Fairmont Empress Hotel – known as ‘Canadas Castle on the Coast’, this iconic hotel has been open since 1908. With no less than 464 luxurious hotels, an on-site Spa, three restaurants, and a gym, this is surely the best place to stay in Victoria.
Best Western Plus Inner Harbor – is a reasonably priced option that overlooks the harbor. The rooms here are clean and comfortable and some come with a separate kitchenette.
Known as ‘Canada’s surf town’, Tofino is one of the most popular and beautiful destinations in British Columbia. On any given weekend and especially during the summer months, this small town of fewer than 2000 people increases its population ten-fold. Tourists flock here to experience insane sunsets, learn to surf, go whale watching, and try the unique activity of storm-watching during the winter. In fact, this is one of the best places in the world to go storm-watching!
Tofino is, without a doubt, one of my favorite places to visit in all of Canada! Some of the best things to do in Tofino include:
- Learn to Surf – would you believe there’s over 35 km of beaches in and around Tofino and it’s exposed location means the surf here is epic! If you’re a beginner, head to Cox Bay, which is where you’ll be sharing the waves with the locals. A good way to learn is on this 2-hour surfing lesson with an experienced guide.
- Eat awesome seafood – In a town surrounded by the Pacific Ocean you would expect awesome seafood, and luckily Tofino has fresh seafood in abundance. Salmon is the most common fish caught here, especially King and Coho varieties, as well as halibut – so expect these to feature heavily on menus in town. One of the best places to try seafood at is Ice House Oyster Bar at West Street.
- Go on a whale watching tour – Nearby Clayoquot Sound is known for its large population of orcas, humpback whales, and gray whales which hunt in these waters from February to October. On a whale-watching tour from Tofino, you’re likely to spot all of the above as well as seals, sea lions, otters, dolphins, and a variety of unique birdlife. You may even spy the elusive bald eagle if you’re lucky! This is easily one of the best things to do in Tofino if you’re traveling with kids too.
- Storm-watching – One of the most unique things to do in Tofino during the winter months is to go storm-watching. Tofino is, in fact, known throughout the world as one of the best places to go storm-watching. That’s because it’s so exposed – would you believe the next landmass across the Pacific is Japan! It’s also exceptionally windy here in winter, as anyone who’s visited will attest to – this wind results in waves of up to 20 feet high at Tofinos beaches! The best place to watch a storm is at Chesterman Beach.
Where to stay in Tofino:
Spending a few nights in Tofino is a must especially if you’ve traveled from Vancouver to Tofino. This spot really is a Canadian gem. Some of the best places to stay in Tofino include:
Duffin Cove Resort – Perched above Duffin Cove, this resort is one of the most scenic and luxurious properties on Vancouver Island. Most rooms here come with a sea view.
Tofino Resort & Marina – conveniently located on Clayoquot Sound waterfront and just a 10 minute walk from central Tofino, this is a comfortable and reasonably priced option that’s popular with families especially.
4. Pacific Rim National Park
At a huge 511 km², Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is easily one of the best places to visit in British Columbia. It’s claim to fame is the West Coast Trail, a 75 km multi-day hike that is a bucket-list item for hikers worldwide. As well as that, there’s also lots of sandy beaches and over 100 sheltered small islands that you can kayak to. It’s an area of incredible natural beauty and is a must-visit on Vancouver Island.
Pacific Rim National Park is also an area rich in indigenous history – the native Nuu-chah-nulth people have called this National Park home for hundreds of years.
Some of the best things to do in Pacific Rim National Park include:
- Hike the West Coast Trail – this 75-kilometer West Coast Trail will take between 6-8 days to complete and it’s incredibly difficult. Along the way, you must climb more than 100 ladders, wade through mud and fast-flowing rivers as well as deal with the notoriously wet and windy West Coast weather. The challenging hike is worth it if you’re fit enough though as it passes beautiful secluded beaches, photogenic suspension bridges, as well as many rivers.
- Go kayaking – this is one of the parts of Canada to go kayaking in and a kayaking tour to the Broken Group Islands is an extremely popular activity in British Columbia. See whales, sea lions, and dolphins from your kayak and stop off at some secluded beaches to take in the stunning scenery.
- Learn about the Indigenous history of the region – learn about the culture and history of the first nations Nuu-chah-nulth people on this informative tour which includes a nature walk and fascinating stories of their ancestors.
Squamish is an awesome city and a great place to stop for a visit, or even stay overnight. Squamish is located only about an hour drive from Vancouver. It’s known as heaven for the outdoorsy crowd, with a lot of people attracted to the outdoor lifestyle, with plenty of hiking, rock climbing, and windsurfing enthusiasts living here – there are lot of fun things to do in Squamish!
If you’re just stopping for a bite to eat or a drink, try the Howe Sound Brewery or Zephyr Café – both fun, local stops to relax at for a bit. If you want to check out some culture and history, try the Railway Museum of British Columbia!
It’s also fun to just walk around the downtown area, as there are a ton of cute little shops to check out.
While in Squamish, make sure to drive out to the Squamish Spit, located at the tip of the Howe Sound near the Squamish Estuary. The main draw here is to check out the windsurfers! The natural environment here is perfect for wind sports, like windsurfing and kiteboarding. It’s pretty cool watching these athletes catch some major air and surfing the waves!
Don’t miss out on the Sea to Sky Gondola (pictured above)! The views were out of this world and the gondola ride was very affordable considering how far up the mountain it took us! For only $60 CAD you can catch the gondola up to a ridge next to Mount Habrich.
Where to stay in Squamish:
Sandman Hotel and Suites Squamish is a great mid-range option. It is 3.2 km (2 miles) from downtown, has a gym, suites with microwaves and refrigerators, and even has an indoor pool and waterslide!
Related Read: Squamish is one of the best stops for anybody driving from Vancouver to Whistler – read about all the other must-visit roadside attractions!
Whistler is an awesome city, no matter what season you go in. Obviously, Whistler is known as a world-class ski and snowboard destination, but there is so much more to do in Whistler than just that. Some highlights include:
- Ride the Peak 2 Peak Gondola – A fun fact about BC is that Whistler is home to the longest in the world! The Peak 2 Peak Gondola takes you between Whistler and Blackcomb’s peaks. It has seriously epic views.
- Check out the Audain Art Museum – Here you can see some amazing local artists. It’s also a great activity if you want to escape indoors for a little bit.
- Eat, drink, repeat -There are tons of great bars and restaurants to check out in Whistler Village! Be sure to pamper yourself and visit some of the fine dining options (perfect for couples visiting Whistler and those on a honeymoon!).
- Have a beach day at Lost Lake – it’s a great spot to chill out and go for a swim.
Where to stay in Whistler:
There are tons of choices when it comes to hotels in Whistler if you decide you want to stay a few days! Hi Whistler is great for those on a budget (it’s one of the few cheap options). Although a hostel, the place is very clean and comfortable and they also have private rooms. A great place to meet travelers and enjoy your time in Whistler.
If you don’t mind splurging a little Delta Hotels by Marriott Whistler Village Suites provides an amazing luxury stay. For Whistler, it’s still a great value hotel and has a swimming pool, bar, fitness center, and restaurant. The rooms a very nice and for groups they have 2 bedroom apartments.
Of course, if you’re going to Whistler for a ski holiday, then there may be better accommodation options!
Related Read: Did you know Whistler is a festive place to visit leading up to the holiday season? Read our blog about visiting Whistler in December for more info on annual events and special seasonal activites.
7. Joffre Lakes
The highlight of the hike through Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is Lower, Middle, and Upper Joffre Lakes with stunning turquoise blue water. The color is due to “rockflour” or glacial silt that lies suspended in the water and reflects the blue and green wavelengths from sunlight – it’s breathtaking! It’s very clear why this place makes the list for the best places to visit in BC!
The hike is about 10 kilometers (6 miles) long and goes uphill as you work your way to Upper Joffre Lake. Along the way, you’ll see the three amazing lakes, creek crossings, great views of the mountain range, a waterfall, and the Matier Glacier at the top overlooking Upper Joffre Lake. To get back, simply retrace your steps and enjoy the easier hike down and a second look at these stunning lakes.
In the summer, this is a super popular destination and parking can be a problem. The parking lot often fills up and you’re not allowed to park on the road. Sometimes they run shuttle buses from a nearby overflow parking lot, but this isn’t always true.
To avoid having any problems getting a parking space, get here at sunrise to get a spot in the parking lot. You’ll also be one of the first ones on the trail and enjoy it in peace (this is exactly what we did when we visited last summer).
I recommend staying a night in the nearby Pemberton the night before to ensure you can arrive early to the parking lot before all of the day trippers arrive from Whistler and Vancouver.
Incredible wine, fresh fruit, and gorgeous beaches – the best things to do in Kelowna, BC are all about indulging.
Every year thousands of visitors travel from across Canada and across the globe to see what the Okanagan has to offer. And oftentimes, this means spoiling yourself and having a very relaxing holiday full of food and booze. Kelowna is a city at the center of it all, making it a top choice for a place to base yourself in this gorgeous region.
Here are a few suggestions for activities you don;t want to miss in Kelowna:
- Ride the Kettle Valley Trail at Myra Canyon – This route was once a railway that trains passed through. But now, all of the tracks have been removed and what is left behind is one very scenic trail perfect for cycling or walking. Along the way, you’ll cross lots of wooden bridges and even pass through some old tunnels. If you want to visit Myra Canyon on a guided tour, this specific tour includes a guided hike at Myra Canyon Park as well as a picnic lunch with local wine AND visiting wineries!!!
- Wine tour – Speaking of wineries, a Kelowna wine tour really is a must here. Kelowna is one of the best places in Canada for wine. There are so many wineries in Kelowna to choose from you may have to do a few (I did!)! The wine region around Kelowna is famous for Riesling and Gewürztraminer but there is a much larger variety that includes favorites such as Pinot Noir and amazing Rose. You can’t go wrong with this highly-rated wine tour.
- Go fruit picking – If you wanted to know where to get the freshest fruit in the Okanagan, I would have to say it’s at the self-pick farms! Straight from the tree to your mouth (and bucket), you can pick some of your favorite fruit and berries at a discounted rate. You can find plenty of these farms around Kelowna.
- Walk the water front – One of the best free things to do in Kelowna is simply walking the waterfront. Head to downtown Kelowna and go for stroll along the water’s edge. Visit the marina, waterpark and playground, Hot Sands Beach, and of course the iconic bear statue! For a little longer walk, walk the Waterfront Boardwalk to Tugboat Beach – it’s beautiful at sunset!
- Hit the slopes – Kelowna is absolute perfect destination in the winter too. Hit the slops at their ski hill called Big White.
Where to stay in Kelowna:
We’ve stayed at our fair share of hotels in Kelowna, but last time we stayed at the Coast Capri Hotel and loved it! Our pool-view room was perfect with a huge balcony. Plus, it was very close to lots of the best breweries in Kelowna (the craft beer scene in Kelowna is exploding!)
For a budget stay right in the heart of Kelowna, I recommended the Royal Anne Hotel. This gorgeous property is located right downtown and offers beautiful rooms at an affordable price. For a more luxurious stay, the Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort is a top option right on the waterfront.
I definitely wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to stay a while in Kelowna! Check out the best areas and hotels to stay in for your trip.
Vernon, BC, Canada holds a special place in our hearts. In fact, we have family who call this small-town home, and as such, we visit the area all the time!
Vernon, Canada sits only a 40-minute drive from Kelowna. Both places share many great activities but Vernon has a few of its own things to do that make it worth the visit! On every visit we make to Vernon, we love to get out and see the sights. This last time we were there during the beautiful Okanagan summer!
But regardless of when you visit there’s always plenty of things to do in Vernon. From visiting the ski fields to cooling off in the stunning lakes, here are a few of the items at the top of our list:
- Spend a day at Kalamalka Beach – Kalamalka Lake is easily the most beautiful lake in the Okanagan. It shines many shades of green and Kal Beach is the perfect place to enjoy the cool water on a hot summer day. Kal Beach is located on the north side of Kalamalka Lake in Vernon. At the lake, there is a large sandy beach area, and a jetty at the lake.
- Visit Davison Orchards – Davison Orchards is my favorite place to try amazing food in Vernon. The Orchard is home to a bakery and other shops that include the sale of jams, juices, fresh fruit, cakes, pies, and so much more! They also provide a huge range of free samples so you’re bound to leave with a full belly regardless of whether you buy something or not! After you’ve tried all the food you can stomach, head to the back of the property to walk through the animal barn. Here you can feed sheep, chickens, and goats! There is also a paid tractor ride around the orchard which kids typically love!
- Shop at the Farmer’s Market – It’s so fun to walk around a good framer’s market, looking at all of the artisan goods and getting to know the locals. The Vernon Farmer’s Market has a wide variety of products, including in-season produce, bread, pastries, meat, in addition to fresh-cut bouquets, homemade pottery, and other expert handicrafts.
Where to stay in Vernon:
If you’d like to stay in Vernon check out Days Inn for a mid-range hotel with updated rooms. It’s superbly located with modern rooms and amenities.
Fairfield Inn Suites is what I consider the best value hotel in Vernon! It has a pool and a hot tub. It also includes breakfast and the reviews are awesome. At around $150 a night, this is the place I’d stay!
Related Read: If you love a good meal then you’re in luck because there are some really amazing restaurants in Vernon!
10. Shuswap Lake (Salmon Arm and Sicamous)
Salmon Arm and Sicamous are both towns located on the edge of the stunning Shuswap Lake. You can visit one or both destinations on your trip around British Columbia.
I actually lived in Salmon Arm for a many years. There is so much to do in Salmon Arm, especially if you love the outdoors! Explore stunning natural attractions, or spend a relaxing day at Shuswap Lake right next to town.
Aside from the outdoor activities, there is also plenty of amazing food (lots of fresh produce!) and even delicious wine. On the off chance I haven’t quite sold you yet, check out some of the top things to do in Salmon Arm:
- Go hiking – This region has some pretty stellar hikes if you’re ready to get outside and get active. One of my favorites is Mt. Ida, which is a large 1,564-meter mountain south of Salmon Arm. There are a few routes to take up the mountain, but if you are up for a challenge, try the Mount Ida Loop. It’s a 33km loop with 1,598 meters of elevation gain – quite the trek, but so worth it. If you are looking for a more low-key hike, try out Raven Trail or Shuswap North Rail Trail, both of which are fairly easy, and go around Shuswap Lake.
- Visit the most Northern winery in BC – Larch Hills – You absolutely cannot visit this region of BC without trying out some local wines. Larch Hills offers some of the most delicious wines, and you can try them out during a free cellar door tasting. Once you’ve learned a little about the wine, how it’s made, and what your favorite is, you can go to the tasting room, enjoy a glass and take in the stunning views from their property.
- Walk the largest wooden Wharf in North America – I bet you didn’t think going to Salmon Arm meant visiting a record-setting wharf! As the longest wooden wharf in North America, it’s got a pretty interesting history. You can enjoy walking on the wharf year-round, taking in the scenery of Shuswap Lake. If you’re around during the summer, you’ve got to go and enjoy some live music and meal from food trucks! It’s got a fun, community feel to it, so make sure to get in on the action.
Sicamous is another small town about 45 minutes from Salmon Arm and is the houseboat capital of Canada with people coming from all over to visit the beautiful lakes in the area. Houseboating on Shuswap Lake is a unique way to spend a few nights out on the water enjoying this area.
Houseboating season goes from June until October. While there will be lots of houseboats especially in July and August, this is a big lake with 1,000 kilometers (over 600 miles) of shoreline, so there’s lots of room.
If you’re here in the winter, the community borders four mountain ranges and has been voted as having the best snowmobiling in western Canada. There are also some nice local trails for snowshoeing.
Stop by for fresh milk, ice cream, and cheese from D Dutchmen Dairy where everything is produced on-site. It’s a small family-owned farm in Sicamous that focuses on high-quality ingredients. The milk is sold in glass containers to keep it cold for longer and you can even buy egg nog here at Christmas!
Where to stay in Salmon Arm:
If you feel like you want more time in this area (totally understandable!), stay overnight at one of Salmon Arm’s hotels. The Hilltop Inn is a popular choice especially with the larger rooms that can fit small families. This hotel also has a pool, free parking, and breakfast included.
If you’re traveling with your significant other or are after a luxury stay The Inn at the Ninth Hole Bed & Breakfast is really the only option. The rooms here are beautiful and surprisingly cheap. Of course, this place includes an exceptional breakfast and is in a beautiful area outside Salmon Arm.
Osoyoos makes it on the list of best places to visit in BC because of its beauty and surroundings. It’s surrounded by desert, vineyards, and mountains, and has Osoyoos Lake which is known for its warm water, beaches, and water sports facilities. Osoyoos Lake is actually the warmest lake in Canada!
A few suggestions while you’re visiting Osoyoos:
- Check out Rattlesnake Canyon – Rattlesnake Canyon is a fun, western mining-themed amusement park located off Main Street in Osoyoos. They have activities like go-karts and bumper boats, an arcade, and rides like the Tornade which is 30 swing chairs ready to take you on an aerial tour of Osoyoos. There is no admission fee, you simply purchase tickets individually for any attraction you want to experience. They also offer all-day passes for $59.95 CAD.
- Visit Osoyoos Lake – This is probably Osoyoo’s biggest attraction (literally and figuratively). You will find several peaceful, sandy beaches along the shoreline. There are several ways to enjoy this lake including swimming, canoeing, fishing, or water skiing, just to name a few! Regardless of how you choose to enjoy it, it’s sure to be a lovely time on one of the most popular lakes in the Okanagan Valley!
- Golf at Fairview Mountain – Osoyoos is home to several amazing golf courses, but Fairview Mountain tops them as it’s one of the most popular golf courses in all of British Columbia. What better than a golf course in the heart of Canada’s wine country? Tee off with views of vineyards beckoning in the distance.
- Be amazed at Spotted Lake – I know that I said each lake was different from the last, but this lake truly is like no other lake you have ever seen in the Okanagan Valley. Spotted Lake quite literally looks like a polka-dotted lake. The lake has several rich mineral deposits such as magnesium sulfate, sodium sulfates, and calcium. When temperatures rise causing some of the water to evaporate, the concentrated mineral deposits create what appear to be large spots on the surface of the lake. The spots are different colors and shades depending on what particular combination of minerals are in that specific area.
Where to stay in Osoyoos:
If you want to stay in Osoyoos, there are a lot of affordably priced hotels including Westridge Motor Inn which features an outdoor pool, grilling facilities, and a great location. The rooms are also very clean and cozy. Prices start at $99 CAD per night.
Walnut Beach Resort gives you a luxury feel at an affordable price. Rates start at just $139 CAD per night and you will be staying on a beachfront property that has its own private beach. They have rooms with lagoon or mountain views, and even have airport transport available.
Nakusp is a small, off-the-beaten-path town in British Columbia that we just love! This small village is built on picturesque Upper Arrow Lake and is surrounded by the Selkirk and Monashee mountains – so, it’s pretty as a picture (especially in winter when the mountains have a dusting of snow!)
Besides all of that, Nakusp was the first place in Canada to become a Fair Trade Town, which means it is heavily committed to Fair Trade practices.
Some of the best things to do in Nakusp include:
- Nakusp Hot Springs – One of the best-kept secrets in Canada, Nakusp Hot Springs has some of the clearest mineral pools in the country. The two pools here are fed by mineral springs in the nearby forest. There’s a Hot Pool and a Warm Pool with the Hot Pool maintaining an average temperature of 39 Celsius (102 Fahrenheit) and the Warm Pool is kept at 37 Celsius (98 Fahrenheit). There’s also some hiking trails which start from the Hot Springs, as well as rustic-style cabin accommodation on-site, should you wish to stay the night.
- Go golfing – there are three golf clubs in Nakusp, so you’ve plenty of choice if you’re a keen golfer. The best time to golf here is in Spring or Summer. The Nakusp Centennial Golf Club is a 9-hole course located just outside town on Highway 6. It’s a par 34 course. Second, is the Fauquier & District Golf Club which is a little further from town at a 45-minute drive; it’s a 9-hole par 33 course. Finally, the Slocan Lake Golf Club is a popular 9-hole course, a 40-minute drive from town.
- Have a beach day – in the downtown area there’s a lovely sandy beach, ideal to spend a few hours on a sunny day. There’s a large green area to relax on, which has some shade in the trees to escape the heat as well as several picnic tables.
- Have fun in the snow in Winter – in winter in Nakusp you’re spoiled for choice with fun things to do – why not try out sledding in the valley near the Tenderfoot Glacier. There are also several cross-country ski trails, the best ones are at Nakusp Hot Springs and the Jackrabbit interpretive trail in Wensley Creek. The small Summit Lake Ski Hill is also located close to town and has a few downhill ski runs and a tube park.
Where to stay in Nakusp:
It’s a small town, so there are just a few accommodation options in Nakusp. Two of my favorite places to stay in Nakusp include:
The Lodge at Arrow Lakes – is a cozy accommodation option just outside of town. Past guests have noted it’s excellent value-for-money. There’s also an on-site Tavern serving up food and drinks.
Nakusp Hot Springs Chalets & Campground – located at the Nakusp Hot Springs, these rustic cabins are a very popular option for families.
Nelson has been nicknamed the “Queen City” because of all the restored heritage buildings in downtown. These have been restored from the Silver Rush days back in the 1890’s. The best place to see these historic buildings is on Baker Street, which is where you’ll also find some of the town’s best restaurants and stores.
Just outside of town is locals’ favorite Kootenay Lake which is a popular place to swim and kayak in the summer. Beware though, the water here is cold! There’s also a playground, tennis courts, as well as plenty of picnic tables.
Some of the best things to do in Nelson include:
- Touchstone Museum – Touchstone Museum on Vernon Street is a beautiful stone building from 1902. It’s a great place to spend a few hours learning all about the city’s history. There are also some art exhibits that take place here.
- See the colorful murals in downtown – a great way to see Nelson is to go in search of the many colorful murals that are dotted throughout downtown. There are new murals being added all the time. You can check out a map of all the murals here.
- Hop on a historic streetcar – I bet you didn’t know that Nelson has a historic streetcar that you can ride for a short 15-minute journey along the lake in town?! It typically runs from May until Thanksgiving. In fact, the Nelson streetcar was once an important part of the historic Nelson Street Railway that served locals from 1925 to 1949.
Where to stay in Nelson:
Nelson has some great hotels, and some of the best places to stay in Nelson include:
The Prestige Lakeside Resort – this 3-star hotel overlooks Kootenay Lake and is just a 10-minute walk to Baker Street. The rooms here are stylish and comfortable.
Cloudside Hotel – is set in a historic Victorian building on Victoria Street. It also features a lovely sundeck and garden.
Revelstoke is hands-down one of the most beautiful places to visit in BC, and all of Canada! It has everything you could want – mountains, lakes, glaciers, vast forests, and friendly people!
It’s all about the outdoors here. For my nature lovers out there, Revelstoke is a paradise waiting to be explored. From hiking trails to beautiful scenery it can be a little overwhelming when deciding what to do. Here are some of the best things to do in Revelstoke:
- Take the gondola up at Revelstoke Mountain Resort – It’s easily one of the best views in Revelstoke with the added bonus of not having to walk up! Don’t get me wrong, I love hiking but sometimes you just want to take it easy. There are two gondolas at the resort. The first takes you to the top of the mountain coaster. This second gondola is a good 10-minute ride, and at the top, you have breathtaking panoramic views of the valley!
- Ride the Pipe Mountain Coaster – This cool gravity-fed roller coaster is one of the top attractions in Revelstoke. If you want to, this coaster can fly down the hill, and it’s actually super fun and gets the adrenaline going. Of course, you can go as fast or slow as you want and the coaster actually has brakes – so it’s great for kids too. The Mountain Coaster is located at the top of the first gondola at the Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
- Hit the slopes in winter – Revelstoke, BC is famous for the number of awesome things to do in the winter. It’s not hard to see that this small mountain town is a winter paradise! Revelstoke is famous for huge yearly snowfalls and steep mountainous terrain that could challenge even the most skilled. But, if you’re like me and are more suited to green or blue runs then they have that too!
Where to stay in Revelstoke:
Stoke Hotel is a very good budget option that includes breakfast. It’s located right in town and has really good reviews!
Coast Hillcrest Hotel is a highly rated hotel that offers guests a comfortable stay at a reasonable price. They have an onsite fitness center, sauna, hot tub, as well as a restaurant. The location is central and the large selection of room types means there is something suitable for everyone including families.
Related read: Check out the best places to stay in Revelstoke.
15. Mount Revelstoke National Park
Mount Revelstoke National Park is located just outside of the town of Revelstoke. It is one of the most accessible national parks in BC because you can drive right into the park and even up to the summit of Mount Revelstoke. Once here, I recommend parking in the summit parking lot and hiking on one of the many trails.
Try out the Eva Lake trail to see the mountain peak reflected in the clear waters. The hike here is about 12 km (7.5 miles) round-trip and is great for spotting bears. This park is also famous for its wildflower meadows that you just have to see – bring your camera!
Another great hike here is the Giant Cedars Boardwalk – it’s located about 30 km (18.6 miles) east as you head away from Revelstoke town. Look for the Giant Cedars Picnic Area sign on the road and then start the hike from the parking lot. The entire trail is on a wooden boardwalk making it an easy walk for all levels of hiking. Many of the trees here are more than 500 years old!
16. Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is a great place to spot bears, mountain goats, and other wildlife. The ancient forests here with old cedars and alpine meadows make for beautiful hiking scenery.
Make sure to stop at the Rogers Pass National Historic Site inside the park. Here, you can hike along the now-abandoned railway line that first connected Canada from coast to coast. The visitor center here is great and has lots of info about the history of the area.
On the drive, you’ll go through the Rogers Pass which I think is one of the most beautiful stretches of highway in the entire country.
There are also some nice spots for short hikes in the area including the Hemlock Grove Boardwalk, which is good for the whole family as it’s a series of boardwalks through the forest. If you want to see a waterfall on a relatively easy trail that isn’t too busy, visit Bear Creek Falls. It’s only about a 15-20 minute hike with a really impressive waterfall at the end.
Note: Mount Revelstoke National Park and Glacier National Park are located right next to each other. Many people explore both parks in one day as they drive between Revesltoke and Golden. This highway goes right through the middle of both national parks.
Golden, British Columbia is a small town of just around 4,000 people in the Canadian Rockies. But what it lacks by way of population, it absolutely makes up for in terms of epic things to do! This small town is surrounded by a bunch of national parks and mountain ranges, so there are endless outdoor activities to enjoy.
The town of Golden also has some amazing restaurants, shops, bars, and cultural attractions to offer as well. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Golden many times both in the summer and winter months allowing me to create an epic list of things to do in Golden, but here are some highlights:
- Walk the Golden Skybridge – Why not start off with Golden’s newest attraction? The Golden Skybridge is Canada’s highest suspension bridge and it only just open in the summer of 2021! At 130 meters (426 feet) above the canyon, you’ll experience such a thrill walking over it and taking in all the amazing views of the Columbia Valley. If walking along a suspension bridge is not enough for you, there is also a zipline experience and ropes course. I also hear rumors that a canyon swing will open one day too – how cool!
- Go whitewater rafting on the Kicking Horse – The best way to experience the river is to go whitewater rafting! Whitewater rafting on the Kicking Horse River is such an adrenaline rush. With grade 3-4 rapids, it’s one of the best rivers in Canada to go rafting. There are a number of tour groups that you can join, such as this full-day tour. For $112 CAD, you will get a 5-hour experience out on the river. All equipment is included, along with a buffet lunch! You will also have an expert guide leading the way and keeping you safe.
- Explore downtown Golden – You’ll be pretty busy with all the different outdoor recreation activities around Golden, but don’t forget the town itself! Downtown Golden is a quaint, historic-looking town with a bunch of things to do! A good place to start your exploration is 9th Avenue, which has a lot of shops, cafes, and restaurants to explore. You can learn more about the city at the Visitor Centre or Golden Museum.
Where to stay in Golden:
Best Western Mountainview Inn is a great choice if you’re looking for something in town. This hotel is clean and comfortable and has everything you could want including an indoor pool and an included breakfast. The reviews are great and the price is modest.
Related read: If you aren’t quite ready to leave Golden just yet, check out the best places to stay in Golden.
18. Yoho National Park/Emerald Lake
Yoho National Park, with the community of Field in the center, is an amazing place to explore – be prepared to spend at least a few hours here if not a whole day! The park is known for its towering waterfalls, crystal clear lakes, and the huge variety of activities that can be done in all seasons. Plus, there are shops, restaurants and more to see in Field.
A must-see is the stunning Emerald Lake with its vivid waters that are true to its name. You can easily walk around the entire lake in about an hour or snowshoe around it in the winter. It’s a great way to see wildflowers including wild orchids that grow around here as well as bald eagles, moose, and loons. You can also canoe or kayak on the lake with its calm and clear waters. Spoil yourself and stay a night at the Emerald Lake Lodge on the edge of the lake.
Another impressive sight is the Natural Bridge – an ancient rock formation over the Kicking Horse River. It’s easy to get to by car as it’s only 3 km (1.9 miles) from Field along Emerald Lake Road. You can also take a guided hike to fossil beds in the area where there are fossils from 500 million years ago.
Fernie is one of the most beautiful towns in British Columbia, but it’s often left off the typical Canadian bucket list.
In fact, even I always assumed places such as Banff, Whistler, and Revelstoke were the ultimate winter destinations. And although they are, Fernie rivals them with awesome winter activities, gorgeous scenery, and of course, an epic ski resort that can challenge even the best skiers and snowboarders.
Don’t get me wrong, Fernie is beautiful year-round, but if you have the chance to visit Fernie in the winter, I highly recommend it.
Fernie is also home to one of my favorite restaurants in Canada, cute boutique stores, and even its own brewery and distillery. It’s safe to say I feel right at home when I visit Fernie. Here are a few things you gotta check out!:
- Hit the slopes at the Fernie Alpine Resort – Without a doubt, the most popular winter activity in Fernie is downhill ski and snowboarding. Fernie Alpine Resort is Fernie’s local ski hill and one of the best in Canada. The resort is huge and home to over 2,500+ acres of skiable terrain as well as 10 chairlifts, a 1082 meter verticle rise, 140+ runs, and its longest run is over 5 kilometers.
- Hike to Fairy Creek Falls – Enjoy the short hike up to Fairy Creek Falls. This gorgeous waterfall is beautiful no matter the season. If you visit in the winter it sits frozen in time and is the perfect place to visit even on a beautiful winter day.
- Wander the many art galleries and local street art – The Fernie Art Walk is another self-guided tour around Fernie that’s completely free and another tour you’ll find in the Fernie and Elk Valley Cultural Guide. Pick up the guide online or at the visitor center and explore downtown Fernie’s art trail completely free. There are a ton of places to explore such as famous murals, art galleries, and even painted dumpsters.
Where to stay in Fernie:
Stay in Fernie to experience all that it has to offer! The Park Place Lodge stands out as a great hotel only a few blocks from the historic area of Fernie. The rooms are certainly more luxurious although you’re mainly paying for the location and the included breakfast. The hotel also has a gym and pool as well as a bar downstairs (The Pub Bar & Grill).
20. Kootenay National Park
The stunning Kootenay National Park is another epic park in British Columbia. Seriously, you will not be able to put your camera away during this visit.
Kootenay National Park is located right next to the Alberta border between the town of Radium and Banff National Park (you’ll pass through it when driving from Calgary to Radium). From Radium town, get on Highway 93, which runs right through the middle of the park. You can explore it through an hour-long scenic drive, where you can get out at different viewpoints and enjoy the sights. Some highlights are the Vermillion River and the massive 11,234-foot Deltaform Mountain.
If you’re looking for something more active, there are tons of backcountry trails to try out. Marble Canyon is our favorite. It’s just about 1.5 hours to complete, and you are rewarded with a view of the magnificent Tokkum River, carving through the canyon in a way that is just spectacular.
There are plenty of different attractions to check out in Kootenay National Park.
Note: As part of Parks Canada, there is a fee to enter all national parks mentioned in this blog. It’s either $10 for the day, or you can purchase a Discovery Pass for just under $70, giving you access to all national parks for a years’ time. We promise – it’s totally worth it for a day in this gorgeous place! There are also group rates available. Check rates and buy your pass online here.
Invermere, BC is one of the most beautiful places in BC. Surrounded by mountain peaks, two stunning lakes, more golf courses than one can handle, and a huge range of natural and manmade attractions, Invermere is a paradise that needs to be explored.
Despite the area’s beauty and the sheer number of things to do in Invermere, the town has remained off the beaten path for international visitors. Instead, the area is enjoyed by local Canadians who come for summer fun on the lakes, or the ski hills and hot springs in the winter.
Although small, the town is vibrant. You’ll find plenty of delicious cafes and restaurants in Invermere, as well as a local craft brewery and a craft distillery (that was once featured on the TV show Dragon’s Den!)
Overall, this combination makes Invermere a must-visit and one of my personal favorite places to visit in all of BC!
If you’re a first-time visitor and need some personal recommendations, here are a few:
- Columbia River float – This is by far the most beautiful river float I’ve done in Canada and a highlight of my time traveling the world (I know that’s a big statement, but this river float is seriously stunning!). The river float starts in one of two locations and has you drifting at a slow pace on the Columbia River through the town of Fairmont along the golf courses and houses. The entire way there is breathtaking views of the mountains.
- Book a tubing/wakeboarding tour – If renting your own boat sounds a little stressful you can also book this Airbnb experience with our Airbnb host named Mike. That way you can relax while someone else does all the hard work. He has a beautiful ski boat and their experience costs only $200 per person for 4 hours of fun on Columbia Lake. The boat is much nicer than the rentals and you won’t need a designated driver or need to rent extra equipment for wakeboarding and tubing. Because the tour is on Airbnb Experience it’s much cheaper than you’d expect to pay elsewhere. The best part? You only need two people to book the tour.
- Go skating or cross-country skiing on Lake Windermere – If you’re in Invermere during winter, skating or cross-country skiing on Lake Windermere is (literally) a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! It holds the Guinness Book of Records for the longest skating pathway in the world, so you can’t find anything else like it.
Where to stay in Invermere:
Copper Point Resort is located on the Copper Point Golf course and is a great mid-range option for travelers. Although a few kilometers out of town, the views are spectacular and the hotel has really good reviews.
You can browse all of the hotels available in Invermere here!
22. Mt Robson Provincial Park
Without a doubt, one of the most popular places to explore in BC is Mount Robson Provincial Park. This provincial park is home to BC’s tallest, and most impressive mountain, Mount Robson. Most people explore the park while staying in the nearby town of Valemount, however, you can camp in the park too.
Of course, the most famous attraction is the iconic Berg Lake Trail but even visitors without a few days can visit some pretty spectacular places within the park. For those short on time, be sure to head to the Mt Robson Visitor Centre to not only read up on the park but to admire those breathtaking views of Canada’s tallest peak in the Rocky Mountains.
If you want to get closer to the action, then consider riding or hiking to Kinney Lake. This 7-kilometer (each way) journey starts near the visitor center and leads to a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. You can enjoy your packed lunch here and even go for a swim (if you dare!) If you ride a horse, it only takes 45 minutes each way, and hiking is around 2 hours each way.
Not a hiker? Then take a drive a little further to Moose Lake. Here, there is a pullover bay where you can enjoy the gorgeous mountain views and on a calm day, mirror-like reflections!
2023 Update: Berg Lake Trail is currently closed due to flooding that damaged the trail in 2021. A portion of the trail to the Kinney Lake Campground will reopen in 2023. Check for updates here before you go!
Related read: Visiting Mt Robson is also one of the best things to do in Jasper!
Renting a Car in British Columbia
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 is relatively cheap, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pickup and drop-off in different locations is around $70 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!
Canada Travel Essentials
Before you decide to head off and explore the gorgeous mountains, lakes, towns, and cities around Canada it’s important to have the right equipment. Of course, it’s likely you’ll have most of the basics already but there are some common items people forget that I never travel without.
Crampons: In winter, crampons are super handy, but what people don’t realize is that they come in handy in summer too. In fact, up until mid-July, you can still expect icy conditions in the mountains. The pair I use is only $37 CAD and they have lasted me 3 seasons so far!
Waterproof shell: Most people will have this item but I thought I’d include it anyway since it’s so handy in Canada. The Columbia waterproof jacket is a lightweight windproof jacket that will seriously save you in many situations. The best part, though? It comes in pink!
Scent-proof bag (for bears): Most people think you only need to keep the smell of food away from you when you’re overnight camping. However, bears can smell the food in your bag while you’re hiking and the best way to avoid an encounter is to use a scent-proof bear bag. Basically, you put your food in the bag and the bear cannot smell it while you’re hiking. This is one item most people never have (I never hike without it) but it could save you and the bear.
Buff: I love my buff! Seriously, I go nowhere without it both in winter and summer. There are a few brands around but I always buy the original Buff (you know, the one from Survivor!) They’re a little more expensive but the material is good quality and both breathable and quick drying.
Dry bag: I have expensive camera equipment, so I always travel with a dry bag large enough to fit some of my equipment. It can be a camera, book, binoculars, or even my keys. Regardless, a dry bag gives me peace of mind! The MARCHWAY bag is really good quality, and when not in use, takes up only a small amount of room.
Binoculars: I love my binoculars! Seriously they have come in handy so many times, especially when I’m looking for wildlife. The best part is, I use a set that only costs $25 CAD and they serve my basic needs without any issues!
Before you go…
There are so many beautiful places to visit in BC! I have been lucky enough to have gotten to experience so many of them, and I hope that you get the chance to do the same. Each of these places listed truly does have something unique to offer.
Which place are you most excited to check out?! Be sure to check out our other British Columbia blogs as well as some other popular posts: