Canada is an incredible country to explore. From cities like Toronto and Edmonton to gorgeous spots such as Jasper and the rest of Alberta, Canada is as diverse as a country could possibly be, with the province of British Columbia being no different.
I have a deep and probably overly zealous love of everything Canadian… and I mean everything (well, Maybe I’m not as fond on Justin Bieber but you get the picture). 🤣
This is why I knew I’d love British Columbia during our last visit. 🗻
Vancouver has a reputation for being one of the most pleasant and livable cities in the world, elsewhere in British Columbia, there are other gorgeous and equally lovely towns and cities, such as Victoria or the picturesque town of Gibson… But what makes British Columbia even more special is its staggeringly beautiful nature that seems to hug every place, with its ocean, mountains and temperate forests being amongst the most beautiful in the world.
With its coastline, dramatic mountains and temperate forests being amongst the most beautiful in the world, I have no doubt that you’ll fall head over heels in love with British Columbia. Take a look at some of the very best places you should see on your next visit.
1. Explore the neighbourhoods of Vancouver
Vancouver is one of my favourite cities and easily rivals my home town of London as one of the best in the world (shhhh, don’t tell the others). One of the things I love most about this city is its diversity. There really is so much to do.
Make sure you visit Stanley Park and take a tour with Cycle City to explore the neighbourhoods by bike. It’s so much fun, especially when you head through the trails. Don’t forget to visit some of Vancouver’s amazing neighbourhoods like; Gastown and Chinatown, too.
If you fancy doing something that takes you away from the great outdoors and into the heart of ‘foody’ Vancouver, Granville Island is tough to beat. Both a peninsula and a shopping district it features a large market, art galleries, cafes, a shopping centre and an extensive marina where I promise you’ll eat your weight in delicious food.
Take a look here at the top things to see and do when in the city, right here
2.) Head on a First Nations trek in Squamish
Around an hour, or so drive from Vancouver is the little town of Squamish. Head across to the Shannon Falls (which is the third highest in the province) and also visit Summit lodge via the Sea to Sky Gondola, you’ll get some incredible views of the Howe Sound and be able to trek Stawamus Chief Provincial Park.
Make sure to organise a guided tour with a First Nations resident who will take you around this incredible summit and teach you more about the culture of this beautiful region (you can book this through Sea to Sky Gondola too).
3.) Visit Helmcken Falls, Wells Gray National Park
British Columbia has a huge array of natural sites to see and it can be hard to pin which ones you’ll prioritise. If you’re heading east towards Alberta, make sure to stop off at Helmcken Falls within Wells Gray National Park which is three times as high as Niagra Falls in the east (not that it’s a competition). 🤣
If you want to visit Helmcken Falls, be prepared for a moderate 8 km hike, so take plenty of water, supplies and comfy hiking boots.
4.) Walk the cliffs at Capilano Suspension Bridge
It might be only 30 minutes from the centre of Vancouver but it feels like a million miles! Capilano Suspension Bridge has some epic views (whatever the weather).
Make sure to head on the Cliff Walk, stroll across the wobbly suspension bridge and head into the treetops for a walk in the forest.
It’s a great place to see the stunning nature right on the doorstep of Vancouver.
5.) See Lake McArthur
A few miles from the border with Alberta, Lake McArthur is an incredible place to visit if you’re already in Banff (Alberta) or Yoho National Park in British Columbia.
It’s the perfect place to visit in Summer or Winter, just expect possible road closures in the winter months, especially if heavy snow is predicted.
6.) Witness the beauty of Garibaldi Provincial Park
Garibaldi Provincial Park is too stunning to miss. Especially if you want to see some of the incredible nature of British Columbia during your visit to Vancouver.
We headed across on an amazing tour with the Shangri-La Vancouver hotel who organise a flyover on their day trip itinerary that they run for guests at the hotel. It really was very special.
Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for Diamon Head, Black Tusk, Rubble Creek and Garibaldi Itself.
7.) Wander around Inner Harbour, Victoria
Victoria has gradually been catching up with Vancouver as “the” place to live in British Columbia. Inner Harbour is, arguably, one of the most beautiful harbours around and the centre of Victoria’s historic city.
This means one important thing, you can soak up the culture of the place, gorge at some of the local restaurants that are dotted around and evening enjoy a whale watching cruise too.
Make sure to look out for the old Parliament Building too.
8.) Ski, canoe and hike in Whistler
Whistler is world-renowned for its skiing and amazing slopes but there’s so much more to the area than just that. In the summer months, the slopes turn into hiking and biking trails that are some of the best in the world. If biking isn’t your thing, head out onto the glacial waters of the River of Golden Dreams. It’s a perfect 2-hour canoe tour that is just too incredible to miss, especially on a gorgeous and sunny day.
Don’t forget, Whistler is also home to Peak 2 Peak, a tri cable gondola lift that connects Whistler Mountain’s Roundhouse Lodge with Blackcomb Mountain’s Rendezvous Lodge.
It currently holds the world records (yes that’s plural!) for being the longest free span ropeway tower and highest point above the ground. The majestic view of the surrounding mountains is the stuff of legends.
9.) Discover Butchart Gardens, Brentwood Bay
Located just north of Victoria, Butchart Gardens is a stunning creation and gardens that are beautiful in bloom. Designated a National Historic Site of Canada.
Make sure to visit Ross Fountain, see the Italian Garden and hop over to the Japanese Garden too… you’ll cross continents in minutes! 🤣
10.) Explore the beauty of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is as beautiful as it sounds. It is comprised of three separate regions: Long Beach, the Broken Group Islands and the West Coast Trail. Covering 511km of land and ocean, the rugged coasts and lush Pacific rainforests.
Imagine unspoilt natural beauty that any nature buff will love. Don’t forget, if you fancy catching some waves, this is one of the best surfing spots in Canada, too!
11.) Watch the sunset at Elfin Lakes
Around 20 miles or so from Whistler, Elfin Lakes is a gorgeous place to visit, especially around sunset.
If you’re planning a visit, make sure you don’t follow Google Maps but rather a Topographical map 92-G-14 & 15. 1:50,000 (as recommended by the government).
Elfin Lakes is around 11 km or so from the closest road so it’s best to prepare for an overnight stay. Near the lakes is the Elfin Shelter that has sleeping facilities for up to 33 people. If you fancy camping, you’ll want to head to Rampart Ponds Campground.
12.) Visit Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park
Perched right on the border of Alberta, Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park is filled with some of the prettiest lakes, scenery, glaciers and trails in all of Canada. Make sure to spend a good few days planning the routes you want to focus on (and the glaciers you want to see). Being part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain UNESCO World Heritage Site means that the environment and geology of this gorgeous place are heavily protected.
If you’re planning a visit, always make sure to check out the official website first, during certain times of the year the park has to be closed or sectioned off due to risks of wildfires and/or dangers with snow. No one likes being disappointed, so always check first.