Discover The Best Places To Visit In British Columbia: Explore the Hidden Gems And Scenic Beauty Of The Pacific Province

Discover the top destinations to explore in British Columbia. From the majestic peaks of Whistler to the tranquil waters of Vancouver Island, explore the top attractions and experiences that showcase the province’s natural beauty and cultural depth.

A car driving through the mountains-exploring the best places to visit in British Columbia
Original Photo credit: Northern BC Tourism/Shayd Johnson

Canada’s westernmost province is a wonder to behold. The province where the Mountains meet the ocean, British Columbia, is one of the most exciting provinces in Canada.

I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled through much of British Columbia from Vancouver and Victoria through the Okanagan Valley and to many of the province’s incredible ski resorts. I’ve even taken some of British Columbia’s epic train journeys through the majestic Rocky Mountains up into the Yukon Territory.

It seems that every time I travel to the province, I discover new and unique places to visit in British Columbia that I had never known about before.

After my father moved back to my home province of Ontario after 15 years of living in the city of Kelowna. And I feel that his departure from the province has made me even more anxious to explore all of the nooks and crannies of Canada’s Pacific gem.

So come with me on a journey to showcase some of my favourite experiences in British Columbia as well as more of B.C.’s top attractions that are still on my bucket list.


A woman walks along a suspended bridge at Capilano Suspension Bridge near Vancouver British Columbia
A woman walks along a suspended bridge at Capilano Suspension Bridge near Vancouver, British Columbia – Photo credit: Destination Vancouver/Rishad Daroowala

When I first stepped foot into the city of Vancouver after a seven-day Alaskan cruise, I was blown away by the city’s unique blend of modern architecture and natural beauty. Part of a massive urban area that blends into several surrounding municipalities, Vancouver somehow manages to pull off big-city living without losing its unique combination of mountain town and ocean living.

Surrounded by mountains and dropping off into the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver is one of the best places to visit in British Columbia. It’s an easy home base for exploring the south of the province, and let’s face it, the city itself is packed with some world-class wonders.

Stanley Park is a sprawling urban park that introduces visitors to lush coastal forests, kilometres of sea walls, and some of the best views of the Vancouver skyline. I’ve spent many days cycling through the park’s network of trails and wandering among the towering Indigenous totems that have helped make the park so famous.

Grouse Mountain is a hotbed for local fitness enthusiasts with it’s gruelling, near-vertical hike to the summit. But it also offers outstanding year-round experiences, including ropes courses, ziplines, a wildlife refuge, and a kid’s canopy village. If you want to take this kind of experiences to the next level, the popular Capilano Suspension Bridge lies just 15 minutes outside of Vancouver.

Outside of its urban parks, Vancouver is a hotbed for food and culture. The city is home to Canada’s largest Chinatown and the restaurants and cafe’s of Gastown make for one of the most exciting and trendy places to explore.

Granville Island is one of the most popular things to do in Vancouver. I make a stop almost every time I visit the city to explore the markets, craft breweries, and eclectic restaurants. If I’m with my kids, Lee’s Donuts on the island is a must-stop for some freshly made treats.

You can read our guide to the top things to do in Vancouver here.


Colourful buildings of Fisherman's Wharf in Victoria, British Columbia
Colourful buildings of Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria, British Columbia – Photo credit: Shawshank66/Pixabay

While many people might be under the impression that Vancouver, the largest city in B.C. is the province’s capital, that honour is actually held by the city of Victoria, a short ferry ride away on Vancouver Island.

Stepping off of the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria is like stepping into another world. This city blends historic elegance with modern functionality and exudes history, charm, and natural beauty in a far different way from its sister city across the water.

One of the first things that most visitors to Victoria will be blown away by is its bustling Inner Harbour. This iconic location is home to some of the city’s most impressive landmarks such as the Fairmont Empress Hotel as well as the beautiful British Columbia Parliament Buildings.

One of my favourite things to do in the harbour is to watch the countless floatplanes taking off and landing amidst a backdrop of sailboats and city scenery.

Wandering the streets of Victoria, B.C., is an absolute treat. The narrow lanes of Fan Tan Alley are packed with local shops and restaurants, and the colourful buildings lining Fisherman’s Wharf are the perfect place to get lost for a little while. The city also boasts some incredible festivals, including one of my favourites, the Great Canadian Beer Festival.

What truly makes Victoria one of the best places to visit in British Columbia is its close connection to nature and the great outdoors. The city is surrounded by glorious landscapes that include rugged coastlines and lush gardens. Whether I’m whale watching in the Juan de Fuca Strait, cycling along the Galloping Goose Regional Trail, or marveling at the vibrant blooms in the world-renowned Butchart Gardens, Victoria’s natural beauty never fails to inspire awe and wonder.

The city is surrounded by some of the most incredible things to do on Vancouver Island as well. In fact, it’s just a 30-minute drive to the famous Butchart Gardens, the 100-year-old Canadian National Historic Site.

You can read all of the best things to do in Victoria, B.C., here.

Haida Gwaii

A man hiking among moss covered trees in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
Hiking among moss-covered trees in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia – Photo credit: Destination BC/Ian Holmes

Haida Gwaii is one of the top destinations in B.C. and I have been wanting to visit here ever since I heard about it back in high school.

Also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, Haida Gwaii is as much a pilgrimage as it is a tourist destination. This remote archipelago off of the northern coast of British Columbia is land of raw, untamed old-growth rainforests with towering cedar and spruce trees blanketed in moss.

The rugged coastlines of Haida Gwaii are relentlessly bashed by waves from the North Pacific, creating unreal scenery along its rocky shores and dramatic sea stacks.

But Haida Gwaii’s allure goes far beyond its natural beauty. It is the culture and history of this island chain that set it apart from anywhere else in Canada.

The Haida Nation, one of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples have had a presence in Haida Gwaii for more than 12,500 years. Their homeland is steeped in centuries-old traditions and stories that have been passed down through generations.

A visit to Haida Gwaii isn’t complete without immersing oneself in local Haida Villages such as SG̱ang Gwaay (Ninstints) and Skedans. Engage with the local Haida community and be humbled by the craftsmanship of the towering totem poles and historic longhouses.

Haida Gwaii has two main islands: Graham, the main population centre in the north, and Moresby in the south. There are numerous smaller hamlets and attractions throughout. And not a single traffic light, shopping mall, or Starbucks mars the landscape. 

You can read more about what it’s like to visit Haida Gwaii here.

Joffre Lakes Park

Woman backpacking in front of a mountain lake in Joffre Lakes Park
Woman backpacking in front of a mountain lake in Joffre Lakes Park – Photo credit: makyvontravel/Pixabay

One of the most beautiful places to visit in British Columbia lies just two and a half hours north of Vancouver in Joffre Lakes Park. The iconic Joffre Lake has been called B.C.’s Lake Louise. An emerald green glacier lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains.

Towering fir and cedar trees offer shelter to hikers as the trail climbs steeply toward the lakes, and the view of the sparkling waters framed by towering peaks will make any fatigue wash away. It’s a postcard-perfect destination that is worth all of the effort to get there.

The Joffre Lakes trails wind around three seperate lakes, Lower, Middle, and Upper Joffre Lakes. Each one is more beautiufl than the last. If you’ve ever wanted a truly immersive mountain experience, this is the place to do it.

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

A woman with a red backpack hikes among towering cedars in Pacific Rim National Park
Hiking among towering cedars in Pacific Rim National Park

Located on the western shores of Vancouver Island, the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is one of the most stunning coastal landscapes in British Columbia. The park features untamed beauty marked with endless stretches of sandy beach backed by ancient Pacific coast rainforests.

A visit to this wonderous destination can entail many experiences, from hiking the West Coast Trail through temperate rainforests to paddling the quiet waters in search of starfish and seals. You could even strap up a hammock and lounge along the sandy shores of Long Beach.

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is a peaceful natural sanctuary where the rhythm of the tides meets the whispers of the forest, and that’s what makes it one of my top attractions in British Columbia.


Surfing in Tofino
Surfing the waves in Tofino, B.C. – Photo credit: Hans Temagami

Surf’s up at British Columbia’s most righteous surf hub on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

This island hotspot is world-famous for its epic waves on Cox Bay and its natural beauty. But there is far more on offer in this coastal town than just riding the perfect curl. The tidal poos at Chestrman Beach are perfect for those looking to lounge out and enjoy a peaceful escape, and the hikes through the coastal rainforests are absolutely magical.

What captivates me the most about Tofino is its laid-back atmosphere. This town is famous for its exciting arts scene and thriving cafe culture. There’s a eclectic collection of galleries, boutiques, and local artisan shops that offer up an atmosphere that invites creativity.

If you’re looking for a place to enjoy freshly caught seafood at a waterfront restaurant, browse local artwork at a gallery, or simply soak in the laid-back vibes of this coastal gem, Tofino offers a unique blend of relaxation, adventure, and cultural immersion that makes it one of the top places to visit in British Columbia.

You can read our guide to visiting Tofino, British Columbia, here.

Great Bear Rainforest

A black bear mama with her spirit bear cub in the Great Bear Rainforest
Mama Black bear & cub & Spirit Bear on a log in the Great Bear Rainforest Asset Expires Feb 27, 2025

Immersing yourself in the Great Bear Rainforest is like stepping into a land untouched by time. Located on the western shores of the Central British Columbia coastline, the Great Bear Rainforest owes much of its pristine beauty to its remoteness.

The land is blessed with a staggering wealth of biodiversity marked by towering old-growth cedars, mist-shrouded fjords, and a rugged coastline that has been home to some of Canada’s most majestic wildlife. The forests are home to Grizzly Bears, wolves, bald eagles, and dramatic salmon runs. But its most famous resident is also one of its most elusive.

This sprawling rainforest is home to the mysterious Spirit Bear, a rare type of black bear known for its rare white or creamy fur. They live deep in the remains of one of the last intact temperate rainforests on Earth.

What truly sets the Great Bear Rainforest apart is its cultural richness and connection to the Indigenous peoples who have called this land home for millennia. The First Nations communities of the region, including the Heiltsuk, Haisla, and Kitasoo/Xai’xais, have long stewarded these lands and waters, living in harmony with the natural world and preserving traditional ways of life. Immersing myself in the culture and traditions of these Indigenous communities, I’m welcomed with open arms and invited to participate in cultural experiences such as storytelling, traditional feasts, and guided tours that offer insights into their deep spiritual connection to the land and sea. Whether I’m embarking on a wildlife viewing excursion, kayaking through pristine estuaries, or simply basking in the tranquility of this remote wilderness, the Great Bear Rainforest offers a transformative and unforgettable experience that ranks it among the top places to visit in British Columbia.


A skier shreds through powder soft snow in the backcountry of Whistler-Blackcombe Ski Resort
A skier shreds through powder-soft snow in the backcountry of Whistler-Blackcomb Ski Resort – Photo credit: Destination BC/Randy Lincks

British Columbia is known for its world-class ski scene. But Whistler takes this reputation to an entirely new level. Consistently ranked the #1 ski resort in North America, there are many who say that Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort is the best in the world.

Whether you love skiing or snowboarding like me, Whistler is legendary. The resort spans the summits of two jaw-dropping mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb. And the two are connected by one of the worlds most incredible transits, the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola.

Whistler is home to Canada’s most legendary apres-ski gatherings and boasts a world-class culinary and nightlife scene. Pair this with luxury spas, art galleries, and majestic mountain views, and it doesn’t take long before you look up property prices.

But it’s not just the skiing and lifestyle that makes Whistler one of the best places to go in British Columbia. I love road trips, and in my opinion, getting to a destination is at least half the fun. The Vancouver to Whistler drive may be among the most beautiful road trips in Canada. It’s been dubbed the “Sea-to-Sky Highway,” and it follows rugged coastlines before making a steep but scenic climb up to the mountain village.

You can read about the top things to do in Whistler right here.

Okanagan Valley

Winery overlooking Okanagan Lake in Kelowna, British Columbia
Vineyard overlooking Okanagan Lake in Kelowna, British Columbia – Photo credit: Kevin Wagar

Outside of the Vancouver region, the Okanagan Valley is one of the places where I have spent the most time in British Columbia. My father moved here after travelling abroad to settle into the mature, relaxing atmosphere of one of Canada’s greatest fruit and wine regions.

I can visit Okanagan at any time of the year and have an unforgettable time there. The cities that make up the Okanagan region, such as Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon, Armstrong, and Summerside, are built around the lush agricultural land that the region’s unique microclimate affords. Year-round warm weather and fertile land make it the perfect location for orchards and vineyards.

During the summer, touring along Lake Ogopogo to visit the numerous wineries for tastings is a favourite. It’s also the time of year that the region’s many championship golf courses are at their busiest.

During the winter, the mountains surrounding Okanagan, where some of Canada’s greatest ski resorts, come alive. Among the incredible powder, two of my top picks are Big White in Kelowna and Silverstar near the town of Vernon.

Alaska Highway

A herd of bison wander along the edge of the Alaska Highway in northern B.C.
A herd of bison wander along the edge of the Alaska Highway in northern B.C. – Photo credit: Destination BC/Andrew Strain

If you’re like me and the journey is half of the adventure, the Alaska Highway is truly one of British Columbia’s best experiences.

This epic journey winds for 2,288 kilometers from the town of Dawson Creek, British Columbia, to Delta Junction in Alaska. More than 1,000 kilometres of this historic route are in the province of British Columbia.

The route passes through valleys and tunnels of the towering Rocky Mountains and through glorious wilderness that has been left almost untouched by human hands. Along the drive, it’s possible to encounter herds of massive bison, bighorn sheep grazing along the side of the road, moose, and even bears.

The Alaska Highway offers a peak into the pioneering spirit of those who traveled this historic route from the days of the gold rush, where treasure seekers trudged through the wilderness, to cities such as Dawson City in the Yukon.

The highway was built during World War II in an effort to connect the contiguous United States to the state of Alaska, and it makes for one of Canada’s most incredible road trips.


A mother and daughter ride a mountain coaster at Revelstoke Mountain Resort in BC
A mother and daughter enjoy The Pipe Mountain Coaster at Revelstoke Mountain Resort in Revelstoke, BC. – Photo credit: Destination BC/Kari Medig

The first time that I drove into the tiny town of Revelstoke when I was on my way from Kelowna to Calgary, it struck me as the perfect mountain town on which I’d ever laid eyes.

Revelstoke is tucked away deep into the Rocky Mountains along the banks of the Upper Arrow River. Its remote location and jaw-dropping terrain have drawn thrill-seekers from around the world and transformed it from a scenic stop to one of Canada’s adventure capitals.

During winter in Revelstoke, the sheer, vertical mountains are a haven for skiers and snowboarders, welcoming them with North America’s longest vertical descent at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. The untamed and nearly endless backcountry terrain serves up pristine powder and endless opportunities for heli-skiing and snowmobiling adventures.

If you travel to Revelstoke during the summer, the rugged landscape is at its most accessible. Ski trails transform into epic mountain biking routes, and the Colombia River, where the Upper Arrow empties into Lake Revelstoke, becomes one of the most thrilling whitewater rafting experiences in B.C.

Revelstoke’s casual and laid-back downtown is dotted with charming shops, excellent cafes, and high-quality local B.C. breweries. The town hosts an amazing collection of festivals that focus on food, music, and the arts, which makes for the perfect contrast to its adrenaline-filled outdoor activities.

Yoho National Park

Whitewater rafting in Yoho National Park
White Water Rafting in Yoho National Park – Photo credit: Destination BC/Ryan Creary

Situated along the border with Alberta and just a scenic road trip away from the sister towns of Banff-Lake Louise sits the stunning Yoho National Park. This incredible National Park is home to an astounding 28 mountain peaks over 3,000 metres and more than 400 kilometres of hiking trails.

Yoho National Park lies just outside of the city of Golden, B.C., and is often visited with one of B.C.s best road trips that take travelers through Banff and Lake Louise in Alberta, as well as the Radium Hot Springs and Kootenay National Park in British Columbia.

One of the biggest draws of Yoho National Park is its epic waterfalls, which include one of Canada’s tallest, the 254 metre-tall Takakkaw Falls. The glacier meltwater that feeds these gorgeous waterfalls are also responsible for the impossibly rich turquoise blue of the parks most famous lakes, Emerald Lake and Lake O’Hara.

History lovers will get a kick out of Yoho National Park as well. The park is home to the Burgess Shale, which is one of the world’s richest fossil deposits on the planet. So far, more than 120 unique marine species, dating back up to 515 million years, have been found here.

The Kootenays

People enjoying the pools at Nakusp Hot Spring in the winter.
People enjoying the pools at Nakusp Hot Spring in the winter – Photo credit: Destination BC/Kari Medig

From the emerald waters of the Vermilion River to the dramatic peaks of the Rockwall, Kootenay National Park’s wild terrain invites exploration. This park is a favourite among hikers and mountain bikers who want to make their way through ancient mountain forests or along the scenic Kootenay Highway past emerald green lakes where bighorn sheep graze.

The Kootenays aren’t just about outdoor adventures, though. Radium Hot Springs, one of the Rocky Mountain’s mineral-rich geothermal regions, is just a short drive away. This park, along with the famous Fairmont Hot Springs hotel, makes the Kootenays a popular wellness destination known for its healing properties.

Are You Ready To Explore British Columbia For Yourself?

British Columbia stands as one of the most diverse and naturally rich provinces in Canada. It’s a destination that seamlessly blends mountains, valleys, cities, and ocean coastline into a blend of some of the country’s most magical experiences.

Explore these places to visit in British Columbia for yourself and discover the Pacific Province for yourself.

Do you have a favourite attraction or restaurant in Canada? Head over to the We Explore Canada Facebook Community and join the conversation! You’ll find an amazing group of people in Canada who are passionate about travel and love to share their local secrets.

You May Also Like To Read:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *