8 BEST Places to Visit in British Columbia

British Columbia (BC) is the most western province in Canada and is situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains, making it one of the best places to explore in the world. BC is home to great views, people, and food.

BEST Places to Visit in British Columbia

Here are some of the best sites and activities to partake in for those visiting British Columbia:

1. Great Bear Rainforest

British Columbia is actually home to the world’s largest coastal temperate rainforest known as the Great Bear Rainforest. Today, this area is a protected wilderness in order to preserve the forest's wildlife and beauty. In fact, this is one of the only places in the world where you can see the rare all-white Kermode bear along with grizzly bears, eagles, whales, dolphins, sea otters, and other forms of marine life.

The Great Bear Rainforest feels untouched by civilization. It makes you feel transported back into a different time. As the forest stretches over 250 miles and covers almost 16 million acres, it brings a sense of peace and isolation that is tough to find in modern times.

You can engage with the Great Bear Rainforest’s profound nature by kayaking, fishing, or hiking through its old-growth forests. There are a variety of ways to enjoy its serenity. When traveling to this forest you will need to plan ahead as there are few roads that travel all the forest so most people visit by boat or floatplane.

2. Okanagan

Okanagan Valley is often not given the credit it deserves. Amongst all of Canada’s powerful natural beauty, the soft and calming nature of this area is commonly overlooked by tourists. However, Okanagan Valley offers pristine sparkling lakes with sandy beaches accompanied by vibrant green farmland.

Although this area is known for its calm and tranquil nature, it is a popular destination for young Canadians as it offers a wide range of outdoor activities. Okanagan Valley offers hiking, mountain biking, championship golf courses, and a variety of water activities at the lakes. Additionally, Okanagan is home to some international-award-winning wineries where you can enjoy a wine tasting amongst its beautiful agriculture.

3. Whistler

The Whistler Olympic Park hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics and after the Olympics, the facility remained public for sports fans to visit. While the park is an ideal stop for skiers in the winter with its high-quality slopes, it is equally fun to visit in the summer. The park offers mountain biking, hiking, golfing, and the interactive Summer Biathlon Experience.

In fact, Whistler itself is an underrated summer destination. Whistler is known most famously for its fabulous skiing, but Whistler can be just as breath-taking in the summer. Biking, hiking, taking in the bucolic views -there's simply never a bad time of year to go; enjoyment is almost certain.

After visiting the Olympic Park, you can head back into the city to enjoy the local farmer’s market. Visit the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Center, and relax. Alternatively, for adventure seekers, Whistler offers rafting, ziplining, gondola rides, and more thrill-inducing activities in the summer.

This park still offers some of the highest-quality trails and slopes amongst the spectacular landscape. In the winter, you can enjoy cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and biathlon. In the summer, you can experience the Olympic legacy and its sports through hiking, the interactive Summer Biathlon Experience, or even golfing.

4. Victoria

The Butchart Gardens is one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. Just behind the sunken garden is the Ross Fountain, one of the most important attractions of the park.

Nanaimo bar is named after the city in British Columbia but well-known nationwide. This is a sort of no-bake square consisting of three layers: a chocolate and coconut graham-crumb base, butter and custard middle and a chocolate ganache top, made as a big sheet and cut into individual-size rectangles like you would with brownies.

Nanaimo bars are a staple of dessert spreads at nicely catered events like weddings and conferences. Sweeter and more decadent than an actual brownie.

Probably the Howe sound area up to Squamish is among the most breathtaking regions and is only a short drive from Vancouver (50 miles). Unfortunately coastal British Columbia also gets an over abundance of cloud cover, blocking this beauty much of the time. The mossy, damp vegetation of B.C.’s north coast forests are stunning. Also the towns are filled with beautiful native art and totem poles.

5. Tofino

Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island in Canada, and bathed by the Pacific Ocean, Tofino in British Columbia will immediately captivate you. Take advantage of the low tide to discover thousands of mussels and barnacles stuck to the rocks. And do not forget to look for the colorful starfish in Chesterman beach.

Tofino is well known for surfing. Hundreds of people visit this area of the Vancouver island to catch waves and enjoy their surfboard. There are many surf schools in Tofino. The Tofino area and the Pacific Rim National Park were the territories of the first Nuu-chah-nulth natives, an indigenous community of the Canadian Pacific. Their lands are full of magic and history.

Then there is the valley of the Cowichan River, dotted with small, cozy farms and wineries. One of the most spectacular views of the south of Vancouver Island you will get from the top of Lone Cone. For those who are not convinced with surfing but want to try the feeling of climbing on a board in the famous waters of Tofino, nothing better than paddle surfing. The black bears go out to look for food (small fish, fruits and crustaceans) when the tide falls in Tofino.

In Tofino live highly valued bird species such as puffins. But undoubtedly, the protagonist is the bald eagle. Nothing better than exploring the islands of Clayoquot Sound by kayak. Find the hidden treasures of Tofino from the water!

6. Kelowna

Being an excellent combination between urban and rural, culture and nature, Kelowna has a lot to show. Excellent for a trip of friends, a romantic getaway or family vacation. Located in the Okanagan Valley in the interior of the province of British Columbia, Canada. The name comes from the term Grizzly Bear in Okanagan language.

Kelowna is located 390 kms from Vancouver, so if you go by car the trip will be about 4 hours and something. If you have ever heard of Kelowna it must have been for its wines, as it is the birthplace of wines from the province of British Columbia. There is a desert in Canada. In a nation known for cold weather and snow, this comes as a surprise.

7. Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park

Our planet is a beautiful and amazing place, and humans are lucky enough to get to share it with some amazing creatures. One of those creatures is the grizzly bear, the largest predator in North America. And while sightings of grizzlies are never guaranteed, some places offer a pretty high chance –like Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, in northern British Columbia.

Here's everything you need to know about the laid-back lodge where you can spot grizzlies from your front porch or see moms with cubs on shore while you paddle down a salmon-filled river. But maybe the best thing about Tweedsmuir Park Lodge is the price – we normally expect remote wildlife lodges to be much more expensive.

8. Osoyoos

The semi-arid Okanagan Desert is located in British Columbia around the town of Osoyoos.

Another visit that you can not miss on your trip to Kelowna is to visit the Vineyard Mission Hill Family Estate. Located in the heart of the wine region of the Okanagan Valley, this family vineyard has a beautiful establishment where they invite everyone to experience the nature and art of winemaking by walking through its vineyards and visiting its underground cellars.

There you have the possibility to taste fine wines by the glass, marvel at the sight and reflect on a process that is almost as old as time. If you dare to take a tour, you can visit the wineries and taste the wines they offer. They will also explain the whole wine making process at Mission Hill Family Estate, as well as all the details that make the Okanagan Valley so special for making them.

Venture and visit the underground wineries and experience the art collection that is there, which includes unique sculptures. Each tour culminates with a personalized tasting of the award-winning wines of Mission Hill in one of its private tasting rooms.

As one of the most important family wineries in Canada, Quails Gate Winery has been involved in the development of the wine industry for more than six decades, focusing on making the Okanagan Valley a true culinary destination. In the winter, the temperature usually hovers around the -5C mark with a week or two of below -10 and the snow usually lasts about 3 weeks on the ground.

Winter activities usually involve ice fishing, hockey, sledding, skiing, and snowboarding. It also has the second-longest coastline in the whole world, along with the amazing freshwater lakes and rivers which make it the best place if you enjoy watersports. There are so many trails that you can hike on like the Orange Corners Trail in the North which is the TransCanada Trail along with some of the most famous ski resorts in the world.

However, the real magic of the Okanagan is the summertime. We’re blessed to be surrounded by lakes, wineries, orchards, and heat (summer ranges between 26–38C). During the night, it cools down from the lake breeze.

British Columbia offers something for everyone as it is home to uniquely beautiful scenery, culture, food, and history. There are many great stops to make along the way in this Canadian territory that offer a sense of serenity, fun, and adventure.
Kalyan Panja