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British Columbia

Yoho National Park showing a lake or waterhole and a bridge as well as a couple

Travel through Canada’s southwestern province to see the largest Pacific island in North America and one of the continent’s biggest ski resorts.

British Columbia encompasses every inch of Canada’s 15,985-mile (25,725-kilometer) Pacific coast. Much of the province has Pacific rainforest and glacier-lined mountain ranges. British Columbia also features two of Canada’s largest cities. Enjoy their history and culture before making your way into the subarctic terrain.

Start out in British Columbia’s largest city of Vancouver. This Pacific coast metropolis features a Downtown area surrounded by extensive parks and miles of pleasant oceanfront. Rent a bike and ride along the 17-mile (28-kilometer) Seaside Greenway, a path running along Vancouver’s English Bay and False Creek shoreline. Begin your ride in the beloved Stanley Park, featuring the Vancouver Aquarium with its 9,000 sea creatures. End at Kitsilano Beach, a popular beach surrounded by countercultural attractions.

From Vancouver, take a ferry to Vancouver Island, North America’s largest Pacific island. Explore British Columbia’s capital, Victoria, where the grand British Columbia Parliament and extensive Royal BC Museum tower over a delightful harbor town famous for its gardens and British culture. Outside Victoria, the island is much less civilized. Drive up the west coast through Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, consisting of forests, temperate beaches and hundreds of islands. The nearby resort town of Tofino allows you to boat between islands and join a whale-watching tour.

British Columbia features two massive mountain ranges: the Coast Mountains and the Kootenay Rocky Mountains. Ski at Whistler Blackcomb, which features over 8,170 acres (3,300 hectares) of trails in the Coast Mountain range. Alternatively, travel to the Kootenay Rockies, where four British Columbia national parks are located. Glacier National Park has a variety of scenic drives through picturesque passes surrounded by snow-covered peaks, while Kootenay National Park on the border with Alberta has large hot springs.

Fly into Vancouver to begin your British Columbia exploration. Rent a car once you arrive so you can get from the Pacific coast to the highest reaches of the Kootenay Rockies.

Popular cities in British Columbia

Stanley Park showing a city and a river or creek
Known for Dining, Shopping and Port
A North American destination that truly offers something a little bit different, Vancouver BC is the ideal city for people who like to do it all.

Reasons to visit

  • Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
  • Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal
  • Queen Elizabeth Park
Inner Harbour featuring skyline, a bay or harbour and a coastal town
Known for Port, Walking and Garden
Surrounded by water, British Columbia’s capital is famous for its marine life and harbor, but there are also excellent museums and heritage buildings to explore.

Reasons to visit

  • Victoria Harbour
  • Victoria Clipper Ferry Terminal
  • Royal BC Museum
Port Alberni which includes a marina
Known for Port, Ferry and Island
Take a ferry to one of British Columbia’s oldest cities and enjoy its cosmopolitan mix of a college town, a waterfront resort and an old mining boomtown.

Reasons to visit

  • Parksville Beach
  • Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park
  • Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park
Whistler Ski Area featuring a small town or village, street scenes and snow
Known for Small Town, Cross-country Skiing and Mountain
Come to quaint Whistler and enjoy its skiing, mountain views and sports.

Reasons to visit

  • Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club
  • Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort
  • Whistler Mountain
Quails\' Gate Estate Winery featuring farmland and a river or creek
Known for Lake, Sport and Winery
This picturesque city on the banks of Okanagan Lake is famous for its beach parks, golf courses, nature trails and wineries.

Reasons to visit

  • Kelowna General Hospital
  • Prospera Place
  • Kasugai Gardens
Bridal Veil Falls showing forest scenes and a cascade
Known for Lake, Hot Spring and Mountain
Some towns have Mother Nature as their dominant attraction. This one has used its charm to maximum advantage. Relax and participate in numerous outdoor events.