British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province, is home to some truly amazing sights thanks to its relatively milder temperatures compared to the rest of the country. This makes the region a prime vacation spot year round, including the winter months when many of these monumental sights all the more enjoyable.
The following are some of the best spots to check out next time you’re planning a winter vacation to this wonderful region so you can better schedule your trip and maybe even discover a new favorite destination.
1. Whistler Blackcomb
Whistler Blackcomb is in many ways the largest ski resort in North America, offering a plethora of fun activities aside from the obvious winter sports, such as golfing, snowshoeing, cable car rides and fine dining. The best way to enjoy its breathtaking views in all their glory is by riding the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, a four and a half kilometer ride joining the eponymous Blackcomb and Whistler mountains. On top of that, Vancouver is just a two-hour ride away, so it is plenty accessible if you just want to make it a one-time stop in your vacation.
2. Vancouver Island
West of Vancouver, just a short flight or quick ferry trip from the coast, lies Vancouver Island, a little paradise home to Victoria, British Columbia’s historic capital. It is a carefree and diverse little paradise that combines picturesque mountains, beautiful shorelines, dense forests and some of the best places in North America for whale watching, year-round surfing and letting the wind sweep your worries into the Pacific Ocean.
3. The Great Bear Rainforest
Perhaps a little more out of the way than most places in this list, it is also one of the most immediately rewarding experiences you can have if you enjoy raw, unbridled nature. The world’s largest temperate rainforest still intact and home to the extremely rare Kermode bear, this amazing relic of Canada’s wild past is commonly referred to as the Amazon of the North. If your idea of a great time is visiting a sanctuary of untamed nature, this is the destination for you.
4. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
Even if you don’t allow enough time to visit all of Vancouver Island, you at least owe yourself a stop at this amazing national park located on the western side of the island, and housing over 100 broken islets perfect for kayaking. Fall and winter bring some of the most dramatic storms watching moments you’ll ever experience. Did we mention the 10-mile beach and 46 miles Wild Pacific Trail? Surfers and hikers beware; you won’t want to leave so easily.
5. Haida Gwaii
Also commonly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, and touted as some of Canada’s few undiscovered tourism treasures, this group of over 150 beautiful islands and islets are remote enough that they’ll make you feel as if you’re standing on the very edge of the world. Coupled with the islands’ natural appeal are their First Nations inhabitants, the Haida Indians, who are thought to have lived here for the past 8,000 years, and are famous today for the skill displayed in the making of their enormous totem poles and argillite carvings.
6. Stanley Park
Vancouver is a beautiful place in and of itself, creating a striking balance of natural and urban landscapes within sight of each other wherever you are in the city. Stanley Park, however, is the cherry on top of Vancouver, allowing you to truly escape the bustle of the city and lose yourself in the green of its giant trees, or stroll along the seawall before grabbing lunch at one of its many, many restaurants. You don’t have to go that far to encounter some great sights in Canada.
7. Muncho Lake Provincial Park
What would a visit to Canada be without enjoying the northern lights? Aside from the usual scenic fare of vast expanses of green forests and clear blue skies, there are two main draws that make Muncho Lake a worthy destination: Muncho Lake, obviously, with over 7.5 miles of crystalline jade-coloured water; and the fact that this park is famous as the absolute best spot to see the northern lights in all of British Columbia.