Recently I looked through my travel content and realized I have not written much about Vancouver or BC. When I’m doing travel research, I really trust the opinion of people who live in the area. So I thought I’d do the same and write about travel destinations in British Columbia! This post will feature the most popular and iconic destinations to visit. I’m also planning follow up posts to share more hidden gems of our province!
Iconic Travel Experiences: Fantastic ski slopes and back country for intermediate to advanced skiiers. The Whistler Village is an European style village with lots of apres ski activities. For a taste of the olympics you can find the Olympic ring statue and also the go down a skeleton track Olympic Park. Scandinave spa. Mountain biking and hiking in the summer. Other adventure activities such as Bungee Jumping, Ziplining, Whitewater Rafting.
When to Visit: The resort usually opens for skiing towards the end of November and stays open until late April. It’s usually very busy and expensive during the Christmas holidays and any long weekends from January-March. I actually love visiting in the summer time because the village is still busy but accommodation is much cheaper (see how I score last minute deals to Whistler). Plan for 2 days if not skiing and 3+ if skiing.
How to Get There: It’s about a two hour drive from Vancouver on the Sea to Sky highway. Although the road is quite windy, the lanes are nice and wide and well lit. Alternatively, there are several bus companies that provides transportation from Vancouver to Whistler (Epic Rides, Whistler Rides, Pacific Coach). This is pretty good if you’re staying in the village as everything is in walking distance. If you’re feeling luxurious, there’s also a plane ride option through Harbour Air during the summer time.
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There’s something so childlike about it snowing. No matter how old I get, I can’t help catching snowflakes on my tongue 😛 ❅ Who else can relate? ❄️ January has been a month of showing you a true Canadian winter but I’m just about done with the cold ❅ The 7 day countdown is on until I’m on the beach celebrating my birthday with some of my fav babes and eating endless amounts of guac! 🥑🌮💃🏻 #vacationcountdown #iamcanadian #catchingsnowflakes #whistler #birthdayvacation 📷: @laurareidd
Iconic Travel Experiences: Wineries and wine tasting. There are so many wineries in Kelowna and also in Penticton and Naramata. If you don’t want to drive, there are plenty of tour operators providing wine trips. Other activities that are unique to the area: the Myra Canyon., Pet kangaroos at Kangaroo Creek Farm, U-Pick fruit farms, water sports on Okanagan Lake. A little away from Kelowna is Sparkling Hill resort for a romantic retreat or a girls get together.
When to Visit: The best time to visit Kelowna and the Okanagan area would be June – September. You’ll be treated to lots of sunshine and beautiful views. Not only will it be rainy during the winter, many wineries are not open for tasting. Plan for 3 days and check out my guide for a perfect weekend in the Okanagan.
How to Get There: It’s about a four hour drive from Vancouver on I5 + Coquillhala highway. There’s sections of the highway where the maximum speed is 120km/h and I remember driving very slowly because I had an old car and it was quite a steep incline. It’s an okay drive in the summer but be very careful driving in the winter. There are also some flights that land in Kelowna airport but you’ll then have to rent a car to get around.
Iconic Travel Experiences: Visiting the Parliament building and the Fairmont Empress hotel. You can also do high tea at the Fairmont Empress hotel which used to be visited by the Royal Family. There’s Butchart Gardens 30 minute drive away if you’re a fan of flowers. Royal BC Museum. Whale watching tours. Lots of great farm to table restaurants (Agrius, 10 Acres, Nourish)
When to Visit: The best weather would be June – August but the shoulder seasons would be great timing to take advantage of less tourists and better pricing. If you get lucky, sunny weekends in Spring and Fall would be a fantastic time to stroll through the city. You can also duck into cafes and restaurants if it’s raining! Plan for 2 days.
How to Get There: The most common way to get to Victoria from Vancouver is with BC Ferries from Tsawaasen to Swartz Bay. The ride is very scenic although expensive if you have a vehicle. From Swartz Bay, it’s about an hour drive to Victoria. Alternatively, you can take a float plane that lands directly into downtown Victoria.
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Great to see you again Victoria! You are just as beautiful since I last saw you 2 years ago! – Did I mention the people are so friendly and they complimented my fairy light umbrella every time when I brought it out? Anyway this time with @tourismvictoriabc we get to explore more cute places and historical landmarks and I will soon share more about our getaway. – #explorevictoria
Iconic Travel Experiences: As the largest city in British Columbia, definitely plan to stay in Vancouver. Bike around Stanley Park. Walk the waterfront and enjoy the mountain views and the sails of Canada Place. Go to Kitislano Beach. Enjoy cheap and delicious sushi! Choose from a huge array of Asian cuisine in Richmond. If you like outdoor activities, do the Grouse Grind, hike Deep Cove, and check out Capilano Suspension Bridge. Shop at cute boutiques in Gastown, Main Street, and Kitsilano.
When to Visit: Again, summer time in July and August are the best times to enjoy the weather! But if you come prepared for the rain, you can still enjoy many of the great things to offer in Vancouver! Plus, eating the wide variety of restaurants should be a top to do in Vancouver and that can be enjoyed yearround. Plan for 4 days.
How to Get There: The Vancouver International Airport has flights connecting most major cities around the world! Take the Canada Line (our skytrain system) into downtown Vancouver in 30 minutes.
Iconic Travel Experiences: Surfing in the Pacific Ocean. Whale watching tours. Exploring the great outdoors and the Pacific Rim Park. Lounging and relaxing in B&Bs and rustic resorts. Tacofino.
When to Visit: Surfing is available year round but you better have a good wetsuit if you’re going outside of July and August. However, that is the busiest and most expensive time of the year. If you are not planning on Surfing, you can still enjoy a rain free weekend (fingers crossed) in May, June, and September. Plan for 2 days.
How to Get There: Enjoy the journey there as it’s beautiful but long. Take the ferry from Vancouver to Nanaimo and then drive for about 3 hours on the Pacific Rim Highway. It’s a stunning route though so it’ll maek the time go fast. You can also take Harbour Air which flies directly into Tofino.
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Sunsets, surf and wild ocean hair. This is my happy place ✧ . Last week’s stay at the @pacificsands resort in Tofino was such a dream! Waking up to the sound of the ocean and having this quite literally on our doorstep was something else 💫 Anyone else in love with Tofino too? . . Pic by @mchutch5 | Stay in partnership with @pacificsands
I hope this gives you some new ideas for weekend trips this year! I’m also planning on doing a follow up post with 5 MORE destinations to visit in BC that are more hidden gems and less well known. Tell me what your favorite spot in British Columbia is!