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Introducing British Columbia

British Columbia covers a huge territory, with around 16,000 miles (26,000 km) of Pacific coastline that rises inland to the dramatic glacier-topped mountains of the Canadian Rockies. While British Columbia is the perfect destination for outdoor adventure, you'll also discover great wine in the Okanagan Valley, a rich indigenous heritage and gold rush history, and a vast pristine wilderness to explore.

When is the best time to visit?
There are two main seasons for traveling—the winter season, which is best for skiing at resorts or in the backcountry or visiting hot springs, and the spring-through-fall season, which is best for road trips, urban exploring, and hiking, biking, and sea kayaking in the outdoors. Learn more

Where should I go in British Columbia?
For a true wilderness experience, head to northern British Columbia to explore a sparsely populated region full of wildlife, remote lake chains, mountains, and countless rivers to canoe or raft. Southern British Columbia is more developed and thus has more options for road trips: for dramatic mountains, head to the Canadian Rockies; for great wine and food, head to the Okanagan Valley; and for coastal rainforest, head to Vancouver Island and the Great Bear Rainforest. Learn more

How many days do I need?
People are often surprised by the scale of British Columbia (it's twice as large as California). It takes multiple weeks to cover more than one region without feeling too rushed, so plan your trip accordingly. If you have 3-7 days, stick to one region. With 2 weeks, you can combine 2-3 regions, and with a month or more you can visit the main highlights of the entire province. Learn more

Getting around British Columbia
The best way to get around British Columbia is by rental car or RV. There are numerous routes, campgrounds, and amenities that make this easy and car ferries will shuttle you between islands. Expect to take multiple ferries if you're exploring the coastline or chartered floatplanes if you're flying into the more remote regions. Domestic flights are also a great way to combine regions that are far apart.

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British Columbia Tours & Itineraries

Get inspired by trips other travelers have loved
Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park
Map of Canadian Rockies Road Trip: Banff, Lake Louise, & Jasper - 7 Days
Canadian Rockies Road Trip: Banff, Lake Louise, & Jasper - 7 Days

One week is just enough time to explore the Canadian Rockies without feeling too rushed. Designed for those looking to get up into the mountains, this route starts and ends in Calgary and focuses on providing the best access to amazing trails as well as lesser-known regions that evade the crowds. The ideal season for this route is May through September. 

Tod Lake near Sun Peaks Resort
Map of British Columbia Circuit: Whistler, Shuswap, & Okanagan Valley - 7 Days
British Columbia Circuit: Whistler, Shuswap, & Okanagan Valley - 7 Days

A week-long road trip, featuring British Columbia's Coast Mountains and the wine region of the Okanagan. Starting and ending in Vancouver, you'll drive through Whistler, Sun Peaks, and then south through the Okanagan Valley to Kelowna and back to Vancouver. This route is relatively fast-paced and best suited for those who are short on time but want to cover the main highlights of the Coast Mountains and Okanagan. 

Trail to Helen Lake, Banff, National Park
Map of Canadian Rockies Road Trip: Banff, Lake Louise, & Jasper - 5 Days
Canadian Rockies Road Trip: Banff, Lake Louise, & Jasper - 5 Days

With just three full days, this is the minimum amount of time you'll want to get a great feel for the Canadian Rockies. Besides two longer days of driving, you'll be able to focus your time exploring the countless trails and viewpoints along the scenic Icefields Parkway. After returning to Canmore on your last night, it's a short drive to Calgary for your onward journey. 

A vineyard overlooking a Kelowna subdivision
Map of Okanagan Valley Road Trip: Wine & Outdoors - 5 Days
Okanagan Valley Road Trip: Wine & Outdoors - 5 Days

Undertake a quick 5-day trip through the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia's premier wine region. A five-hour drive away from the dynamic west coast city of Vancouver, you'll weave your way alongside the Similkameen River and through the forested parkland's of the Crowsnest Highway to reach the "Napa of the North." You'll have one night in Kelowna, the perfect jumping-off point for the surrounding vineyards, restaurants, and outdoor adventures.

Osoyoos rests at the south end of the Okanagan Valley
Map of Okanagan Valley Road Trip: Wine & Outdoors - 6 Days
Okanagan Valley Road Trip: Wine & Outdoors - 6 Days

This 6-day itinerary through the Okanagan Valley is perfect for wine and outdoor enthusiasts. It begins in Vancouver, where you can walk or bike Stanley Park's Seawall before driving the winding Crowsnest Highway through forested parkland to reach Kelowna. Tour a wide variety of vineyards and sample local wines after a morning spent biking, hiking, and swimming around the Okanagan.

Two Jack Lake at the gulf of Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park
Map of Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip: Banff, Revelstoke, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 15 Days
Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip: Banff, Revelstoke, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 15 Days

From craggy snow-capped peaks to icy-blue glacial lakes and rushing streams, this epic road trip features a trio of Canada's famed national parks—Banff, Yoho, and Revelstoke—that highlight the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Starting in Calgary, you'll pass through the mountain resort town of Banff and Lake Louise before venturing into the dramatic landscapes of the less explored (and equally stunning) national parks of the Kootenays. Then you'll trace British Columbia's southern border and spend time in Canada's only desert, Osoyoos—the perfect locale to drink wine and discover Okanagan wine country—before ending your trip in Vancouver.

Make the Most of Your Time in British Columbia

Have a fixed number of days? Maximize the things to see and do during your visit

Our Latest British Columbia Content

Lake front views from Sandifer Lake Cabin
Fly-In Wilderness Adventures around Smithers

Departing from Smithers in northern British Columbia, hop on a floatplane flight to access a number of wilderness adventures in the nearby mountains and backcountry. You'll find cabins, lake camping, and beautiful alpine basins to explore on foot with friends or family. Most of these places can be reached by a 20-60-minute flight.

Aerial view of the town of Banff (Paul Zizka)
Best Things To Do around Banff in Summer

Serving as the eastern gateway to Banff National Park, the town of Banff serves as a great basecamp for exploring the park as well as the numerous highlights surrounding the town, itself. In the summer months, the most popular activities range from hiking, mountain biking, and paddling the lakes and rivers to more scenic helicopter flights that take you high up into the Rockies. Whatever you choose to do, head out early to beat the crowds and make the most of your time in the mountains!

Paddleboarding off the coast of the Great Bear Rainforest
Map of West Coast Wilderness at Nimmo Bay Resort - 8 Days
West Coast Wilderness at Nimmo Bay Resort - 8 Days

Head off into the remote wilderness of the west coast of British Columbia with a multi-day stay at Nimmo Bay Resort. You'll immediately feel at home at this family-run resort which is located on the coast of the Great Bear Rainforest. Surrounded by pristine wilderness, you can choose from a variety of adventures each day, from sea kayaking to grizzly bear viewing to helicopter tours.

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Trip Reviews for British Columbia

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