October is fall in British Columbia, with cool weather in many parts of the province. As at other times of the year, there's a lot of variation in British Columbia's climate from north to south and the coast to the mountains. In fall, inland areas tend to have crisper mornings but might still be warm in the day, while coastal regions are damp. And while the leaves are at their most colorful in many southern areas this month, the north of the province will feel quite wintry.
Coastal areas tend to be mild in October. For example, Vancouver, on the southwestern coast, has a minimum October temperature of 46°F (8°C) and a maximum of 55°F (13°C). Temperatures drop inland, too, despite being warmer than the coast in the summer. Kelowna, for example, has a low of 37°F (3°C) and a high of 57°F (14°C). In northern parts of the province, temperatures start to feel rather wintry in October; Fort Nelson, at roughly the same latitude as Juneau, Alaska, has a minimum of 26°F (-3°C) and a maximum of 41°F (5°C).
Crowds & Costs
October is the shoulder season for travel in British Columbia, after the busy summer and before the long ski season of winter. The moderate temperatures, general lack of travelers, and lower costs make this a great time to visit the province. You can generally expect lower prices for accommodation and a little more peace in the more popular spots, especially Whistler, Squamish, and Tofino.
Where to Go
Head off into the remote wilderness of the west coast of British Columbia with a multiday stay at Nimmo Bay Resort. The homely family-run resort, located on the coast of the Great Bear Rainforest, is surrounded by pristine wilderness. The resort offers a variety of adventures for guests to participate in, from sea kayaking to grizzly bear viewing to helicopter tours. There's also a cedar-paneled hot tub beneath a waterfall and a floating sauna that you can paddle to.
If you'd like to explore this general area but don't want to stay put in one place the whole time, take a road trip along the Great Bear Rainforest and Chilcotin Coast. Spend between two and four hours driving each day, taking advantage of viewing spots along the way. Stay a couple of nights in the beautiful Bella Coola Valley to unwind and recharge before taking the long ferry sailing through fjords and inlets to the northern end of Vancouver Island.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
October offers some of the best wildlife-viewing opportunities around coastal British Columbia. Orcas and humpback whales can be seen on tours from Vancouver and Vancouver Island. For a good chance of spotting a bear foraging for a pre-hibernation meal, including fresh salmon, head to the Great Bear Rainforest. Look out for white Kermode bears (spirit bears); only a minority of this subspecies are white, but many live in this rainforest.
Lovers of good food and drink might also want to visit the Okanagan Valley. The region is known for its vineyards and fruit orchards and is a great place to stay early in the month when the grapes are harvested. Winery tours and tastings run out of Kelowna, which also hosts the Kelowna Fall Wine Festival in late September/early October. Visitors to the Okanagan can also enjoy farm tours, visits to lavender farms, and farm-to-table meals at top-notch restaurants.
Events in October
Okanagan Fall Wine Festival, Okanagan Valley. British Columbia's primary wine region celebrates harvest time with more than 100 wine-focused events, including tastings, seminars, wine-stompings, and paired dinners.
Sunshine Coast Art Crawl, Sunshine Coast. Fall is a good time to visit the Sunshine Coast region northwest of Vancouver to see fall foliage and check out the more than 300 artists showcasing their works in galleries, studios, and street venues in small coastal towns.
Canadian Thanksgiving, nationwide. This annual Canadian holiday and harvest festival is held on the second Monday in October. It's a public holiday in most parts of the country, so expect closures.
Traveling to British Columbia in October? Check out these great itineraries
Okanagan Valley Road Trip: Wine & Outdoors - 6 Days. This journey through the Okanagan Valley is perfect for wine and outdoor enthusiasts. It begins in Vancouver before traveling the winding Crowsnest Highway through forested parkland to reach Kelowna.
West Coast Wilderness at Nimmo Bay Resort - 8 Days. Head off into the remote wilderness of the west coast of British Columbia with a multiday stay at Nimmo Bay Resort. You'll immediately feel at home at this family-run resort on the coast of the Great Bear Rainforest. Surrounded by pristine wilderness, you can choose from a variety of adventures each day.