Technically, November is late fall in British Columbia, but in many places, the conditions are more like winter, especially later in the month. There's a lot of variation across the large province, with coastal areas usually milder and wetter than inland, mountainous, or northern areas, which are colder and have more snow.
Vancouver, on the southwestern coast, is relatively mild this month but still a bit chilly, with a minimum temperature of 41°F (5°C) and a maximum of 48°F (9°C). Inland areas are a few degrees colder again; for example, Kelowna, in inland southern British Columbia, has a low of 30°F (-1°C) and a high of 43°F (6°C). Northern parts of the province enter winter mode in November. For example, Fort Nelson, in the northeast and at roughly the same latitude as Juneau, Alaska, has a minimum of 5°F (-15°C) and a maximum of 17°F (-8°C).
Crowds & Costs
The ski season generally starts in British Columbia in mid-to-late November. When it does, popular snow-sport areas will see an influx of visitors, and prices will increase. However, as it's never quite clear when the ski season will begin in earnest, November isn't the busiest and is more of a shoulder-season month.
Beyond the popular ski resort towns, November is a quiet time for travel. Some tourist facilities in access towns for hiking or kayaking in provincial parks, such as information centers, may be shut down for the season. You'll still find plenty of facilities open in the cities though, and you may find some good deals on accommodation.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Where to Go
The ski season generally starts in British Columbia in mid-to-late November. If you want to ski (or enjoy other snow sports) but want to wait and see what the conditions are like after you arrive, it makes sense to base yourself in Vancouver. There are excellent ski fields nearby (Whistler, Grouse Mountain, Squamish, and Cypress Mountain, to name a few) that you can head to if and when the conditions look good. If the snow comes a bit later, you can enjoy Vancouver's restaurants, galleries, museums, and shops in the meantime.
Snow or no snow, Whistler is a great place to head this month, especially if you're a foodie. The resort town north of Vancouver hosts the Cornucopia food festival in mid-to-late November. Local and international chefs showcase the best of British Columbia's food and drink, from street food to haute cuisine. As well as tastings and bar/restaurant events, visitors can join seminars, talks, and stage presentations. The core event runs for around 10 days, but there are also a few more days before and after dedicated to winery dinners.
What to Do
With plummeting temperatures in the mountains, why not warm up at a naturally heated thermal pool? Most of Canada's natural hot springs are in British Columbia or just over the border in neighboring Alberta. If you're spending time on Vancouver Island, check out the beautiful Hot Springs Cove at Clayoquot Sound, with very hot water that falls into pools cooled by the ocean. There are also dozens more hot springs options throughout the province, including in the Kootenay Rockies, greater Vancouver area, Coast Mountains, Queen Charlotte Islands, and beyond.
Bird and wildlife enthusiasts can watch bald eagles in the Fraser Valley, northeast of Vancouver, this month. Visitors to the region can independently (or on private tours, including boat tours) go looking for the magnificent birds. The area is home to the largest wintering population of bald eagles: thousands of the birds gather along the edge of the Fraser River to feast on salmon carcasses in November and into December.
Events in November
Cornucopia, Whistler. This late fall food feast on the streets and in the restaurants of Whistler Village celebrates the bounty of British Columbia and the talents of local chefs.