British Columbia Travel Guide

Tofino showing a lake or waterhole and tranquil scenes
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 Ports
This thriving Pacific Northwest city offers an alluring mix of cosmopolitan culture, an excellent restaurant scene and craft beer bars as well as wonderful natural scenery.

Reasons to visit

  • Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal
  • Canada Place
  • Granville Island Public Market
Inner Harbour featuring skyline, a bay or harbour and a coastal town
Known for Ports, Walking and Gardens
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
  • Royal BC Museum
  • Victoria Fisherman's Wharf
Whistler Ski Area featuring a small town or village, street scenes and snow
Known for Small town, Skiing and Mountains
Come to quaint Whistler and enjoy its skiing, mountain views and sports.

Reasons to visit

  • Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club
  • Whistler Mountain Bike Park
  • Whistler Village Gondola
Quails\' Gate Estate Winery featuring farmland and a river or creek
Known for Lakes, Sports and Wineries
This picturesque city on the banks of Okanagan Lake is famous for its beach parks, golf courses, nature trails and wineries.

Reasons to visit

  • Waterfront Park
  • City Park
  • Summerhill Pyramid Winery
Penticton which includes a house, tranquil scenes and a lake or waterhole
Known for Lakes, Wineries and Festivals
Discover the heart of Okanagan’s wine-growing region in this pretty little city, situated between two lakes in the cradle of vineyard-clad highlands.

Reasons to visit

  • Skaha Beach
  • Okanagan Beach
  • Penticton Ikeda Japanese Garden
Kamloops showing snow and mountains
Known for Rivers, Mountains and Culture
Enjoy all four seasons in this friendly Canadian sports center which has more than 2,000 hours of sunshine annually and fun outdoor activities every day of the year.

Reasons to visit

  • Tournament Capital Centre
  • Riverside Park