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.
British Columbia Travel Insights
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!
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.
An hour's flight north of Vancouver takes you to two of British Columbia's most remote landscapes—Tweedsmuir Provincial Park and the Great Bear Rainforest. Setting up basecamp at two luxury wilderness resorts, disconnect yourself from the outside world and become fully immersed yourself in the mountains and coastal rainforest. Spend your days choosing from a variety of outdoor and wellness activities and your evenings dining on fresh gourmet meals.
This two-week road trip takes you through some of the most beautiful landscapes of the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island. You'll base yourself in four main locations: Desolation Sound, Strathcona Park, the Pacific Rim, and Salt Spring Island. Activities range from sea kayaking to waterfalls hikes to exploring the galleries and farmers' markets of Salt Spring Island.
Located in the remote wilderness of northwestern British Columbia, this is one of the most beautiful and rewarding treks in Canada. A sacred landscape for the Tahltan First Nation, visiting this plateau was both a rite of passage and journey of purification. Accessible only by floatplane, hike for five days across the alpine tundra against the backdrop cinder cones, glaciers, and the mighty Coastal Range.
With two weeks, we recommend undertaking a road trip across southern or northern British Columbia, where you can take in a diverse range of highlights. Alternatively, you can also explore some of the province's more remote regions, such as the Great Bear Rainforest or one of the vast tracts of remote wilderness accessible only by floatplane.
With 10 days, you can opt to see it all with a faster-paced road trip across British Columbia or enjoy a slower-paced trip that focuses on two regions. Vancouver and Calgary both serve as great starting points depending on whether you want to focus on the coast or the mountains. Here, we've outlined a number of our favorite routes that can be customized based on your interests.
With 8 days, you can start to combine multiple regions of British Columbia for a more diverse experience. Follow a circle route through the Coast Mountains and Okanagan's wine country. Or, combine both the Sunshine Coast and the Pacific Rim for the ultimate coastal experience. For those keen on an outdoor adventure, you can also undertake a multi-day hike or multi-night stay at a remote wilderness lodge.
This short adventure to the Pacific Rim is a great way to escape the city for a few days. To make the most of your time, you'll catch a floatplane flight from downtown Vancouver which takes you directly to Tofino and to your lodge along the coast. Within the park, you can hike, bike, paddleboard, or sea kayak your way through the coastal rainforest and island chains. In the evenings, choose from a variety of world-class restaurants, galleries, and local craft breweries.
With one week in British Columbia, it's the perfect amount of time to immerse yourself in the unique experiences of a specific region. If you don't mind faster-paced trips, you can combine two regions—such as mountains and coastline—but expect a couple of longer days of driving. Here's a list of some of the more popular routes which can be customized to help you get off the beaten path while still getting to see the highlights.
With six days, choose one region to explore so you don't feel rushed and have the time to seek out hidden gems and more remote highlights. We've put together a selection of routes, below, that can be customized to avoid the crowds while still taking in these popular destinations. All of these itineraries can be done by car or campervan, with a focus on staying in smaller towns and beautiful parks along the way.
Starting and ending in Vancouver, this road trip takes you to the rugged coastline of Pacific Rim National Park. Base yourself in a wilderness lodge or cozy B&B along the coast and spend three days exploring the beaches and rainforest around Tofino and Ucluelet as well as the remote islands of Clayoquot Sound. This trip is ideal for those looking to combine beautiful coastline with outdoor adventure.
With 5 days, you'll want to focus on a specific region of British Columbia given the first and last days of your trip will likely be spent getting there and back again. You'll then have three full days to really enjoy the experience without feeling too rushed, whether your goal is to base yourself in one location or experience a new destination each day. Each of the following routes focuses on a different region and can be further customized to create the perfect adventure.
With 4 days, there are a number of road trips to choose from to escape the city, whether you're looking to head into the mountains, explore the coastline, or enjoy the laid-back vibe and great breweries of small towns. All of these can be customized based on your interests, where each explores a different side of what British Columbia has to offer.
Escape the city and hit the countless trails of the Coastal Mountains near Vancouver. You can choose from short day hikes that take you to waterfalls and scenic viewpoints or opt for longer treks to the alpine lakes in and around Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park. In the evening, enjoy the great restaurants, breweries, and spas in Squamish and Whistler.
This itinerary is very fast-paced, designed for those who want to experience the Great Bear Rainforest and Chilcotin Plateau in a short amount of time. You'll have 2-4 hours of driving each day, with two nights in the beautiful Bella Coola Valley to unwind and recharge before taking the long ferry sailing to Vancouver Island. You'll also get a brief feel of the historical Gold Rush Trail, as you overnight in Cache Creek.
In just 9 days, you'll drive the vast distance between Calgary and Vancouver, taking in the main highlights along the way. This specific route will have you spend two days in the Canadian Rockies before heading into the heart of the Kootenay Rockies to explore its small, historical towns. From there, finish your trip with a couple of days of enjoying the great wineries and restaurants of the Okanagan Valley before departing from Vancouver.
This fast-paced road trip takes you from Calgary to Vancouver in 8 days. You'll pass through the dramatic landscape of the Canadian Rockies, the picturesque towns of the Kootenays, and the laid-back wine country of the Okanagan Valley. This itinerary is designed for people who don't mind driving long hours in order to cover a vast region with numerous highlights.
This quick adventure features two of coastal British Columbia's most popular destinations—Whistler and the Pacific Rim. Skipping Vancouver, you'll head straight to Whistler for two days of exploring the mountains, lakes, and stunning outdoor scenery. From there, it's a long day of driving and sailing over to Tofino and the Pacific Rim on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Here, follow trails through coastal rainforest and along storm-swept coastlines or simply relax in your beach-side cottage while enjoying the views. It's also the perfect place to spot whales while sea kayaking to remote islands.
Follow the scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway to the resort town of Whistler, your base for two days of outdoor adventure. Explore nearby alpine lakes and mountains by day and enjoy great local restaurants and spas by night. After you've had your taste of the mountains, sail to Vancouver Island for two more nights along the windswept coastline around Tofino, surrounded by coastal rainforest. Finally, head to Victoria for your last night in the city.
Base yourself in Whistler and the Pacific Rim to get the most out of your 8 days along the coast of British Columbia. This itinerary is designed for those who love the outdoors and want to immerse themselves in two of the region's most popular destinations. In Whistler, you'll find countless hiking and biking trails along with great restaurants, breweries, and spas. In the Pacific Rim, you'll be surrounded by dense coastal rainforest and island chains only accessible by kayak and floatplane.
Combine the mountains and the coast on this 9-day road trip. Starting and ending in Vancouver, you'll first head to the mountains and lakes around Whistler where you'll find countless hiking and biking trails. Then, taking the ferry over to Vancouver Island, you'll have a day on the beach before heading to the Pacific Rim, a beautifully rugged stretch of coastline that's famous for both adventure and relaxation. End your trip with a day to explore the great restaurants and neighborhoods of Victoria.
With 10 days, you'll have plenty of time to explore the mountains around Whistler and the rugged coastline of the Pacific Rim on Vancouver Island. Starting in Vancouver, follow the scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway to Squamish and Whistler where you'll base yourself for a few days. From there, take the ferry to Vancouver Island where you can hike, sea kayak, or take day adventures to remote islands and hot springs. Finally, wrap up your adventure in the provincial capital of Victoria.
Visit two of the most popular destinations along coastal British Columbia—the alpine paradise around Whistler and the dramatic storm-swept coastline of Tofino and the Pacific Rim. You'll by following the iconic Sea-to-Sky Highway to Squamish and Whistler before taking the ferry to Vancouver Island. On the island, spend three days exploring the coast by foot and by kayak before visiting Victoria, British Columbia's provincial capital.
Explore the diverse landscapes of Vancouver Island where you can easily spend days hiking through the backcountry, paddling endless coastline, or relaxing at cozy retreats next to the beach. You'll pass through prime wildlife viewing habitat and have plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and sea kayaking. This is a great route for those looking to experience all that Vancouver Island has to offer without feeling rushed.
This itinerary includes two of Vancouver Island's best wildlife viewing locations as well as a diverse range of landscapes—from islands to rugged mountains to coastal rainforest. You'll have ample time to explore by paddle and by foot and to relax in cozy lodges perched along the coast. Finally, end your trip in Victoria before heading back to Vancouver for your departure.
If you love local markets, laid-back island charm, as well as outdoor adventure, this itinerary combines the best of both worlds. First, you'll head to Salt Spring Island (imagine Matha's Vineyard meets the Pacific Coast) where you'll stay in a beautiful B&B and check out the local art galleries, orchards, and wineries. After Salt Spring, head to the Pacific Rim, a wild stretch of coastline interspersed with beaches and backed by coastal rainforest along Vancouver Island's eastern shore. Here, spend your days sea kayaking, hiking, and exploring the coastline.
This fast-paced road trip takes you across British Columbia on a popular route from Vancouver to Calgary. You'll have 2-3 hours of driving most days, with a couple of free days to immerse yourself in the Okanagan Valley's wine country and Kananaskis Country, the hidden gem of the Canadian Rockies. This itinerary is best suited for those who enjoy great food and wine and want to combine this with outdoor adventures.
With 10 days, experience the best of British Columbia's wine country and the Canadian Rockies. You'll start in Vancouver and spend the first half of the trip wine tasting and getting out on the great biking and hiking trails of Okanagan Valley. From there, head north into the mountains to some of Canada's most dramatic national parks—ending your trip in the spectacular (and underrated) hiking region of Kananaskis Country.
Follow one of British Columbia's most popular road trips, crossing the province from Vancouver to Calgary. While there are a few different routes to choose from, this itinerary takes you through the wine region and lake country of the Okanagan Valey before finishing your trip surrounded by the epic scenery of the Canadian Rockies. You'll have short driving days for most of the trip so you can maximize your time in the outdoors.
In 12 days, follow this popular drive across British Columbia from Vancouver to Calgary. This particular route focuses on two main regions—the wine hills of the Okanagan Valley and the dramatic mountains of the Canadian Rockies. You'll have ample time to explore both regions, as you'll have two nights in most locations. This drive is best done between May and October.
After a couple of days in Vancouver, head east to the dry interior of the Okanagan Valley, home to hundreds of local vineyards, fruit orchards, and lake parks. Split your days between mountain biking and hiking in the local mountains and visiting the wineries and restaurants in the afternoon. From here, the second half of your trip focuses on the dramatic peaks and alpine trails in the Canadian Rockies before departing from Calgary.
With 2 weeks, this itinerary covers the best of British Columbia's wine region and the Canadian Rockies. You'll have short driving days and will base yourself in a number of great locations for multiple nights, where you can immerse yourself in the surroundings. This route is a great option for those looking to combine great wine and food outdoor adventure and dramatic scenery.
With 15 days, you'll have enough time to explore the hundreds of wineries and fruit farms of the fertile Okanagan Valley and immerse yourself in the dramatic scenery of the Canadian Rockies. Along the way, go swimming in freshwater lakes, hike through cedar forests, and drive along some of the most iconic roadways in Canada. Finish your trip by exploring one of the Rockies' most underrated regions in Kananaskis Country.
With 20 days, get ready for a true adventure into the remote and sparsely populated landscape of the Chilcotin Plateau and Great Bear Rainforest. After taking the iconic Sea-to-Sky Highway north into Gold Rush Country, you'll veer west on Highway 20 for one of the most memorable drives of your life. Here, the frontier spirit converges with one of the best-preserved and most densely populated wildlife habitats of the Pacific Northwest. Finally, end your trip at one of the cozy coastal lodges along the Pacific Rim on Vancouver Island.
With 13 days, this is the minimum amount of time you'll want to explore the wild and remote Chilcotin Plateau and Great Bear Rainforest without feeling too rushed. Take your time following Highway 20 to Bella Coola along a narrow ribbon of asphalt that winds its way through a sparsely populated wilderness scattered with lakes, historic ranches, and prime grizzly bear and wildlife habitat. Here, you'll discover one of the most unspoiled and spectacular landscapes in North America. Finally, end the trip with a couple of days of relaxation on Vancouver Island's Pacific Rim.
Two weeks is just enough time to complete a road trip through the vast Chilcotin Plateau and Great Bear Rainforest without feeling too rushed. With relatively short drives each day, most of your time will be spent in the outdoors, where you can truly appreciate this unique and dramatic corner of British Columbia. This route is best suited for those who are looking for an adventure away from the crowds.
This itinerary takes you through four regions in 15 days, with the bulk of your time spent exploring the vast wilderness of the Chilcotin Plateau and the Great Bear Rainforest. Designed for those seeking to get away from it all and have a truly memorable experience, you'll pass through some of the most diverse and unique landscapes of British Columbia that are largely devoid of human settlement. Finally, end the trip with a couple days of relaxation in the famous Pacific Rim of Vancouver Island.
Spend 16 days driving through some of the most unique and remote wilderness in southern British Columbia. After a quick visit to Vancouver and Whistler, you'll slow down the driving as your make your way on Highway 20 from Gold Rush Country to the coastline of the Great Bear Rainforest. En route, hike, raft, go horseback riding, and take to the sky to fly over one of Canada's largest waterfalls. End your trip with some relaxation and comfort in the Pacific Rim of Vancouver Island.
With minimal time in the city, this itinerary focuses on the unique beauty and diverse landscapes of the wild Chilcotin Plateau and the Great Bear Rainforest. After following the Sea-to-Sky Highway to Whistler, you'll head north for a true Canadian adventure across a vast, sparsely populated landscape. From there, it's a full day's ferry sailing to Vancouver Island, where you'll end your trip along the wild coastline of the Pacific Rim.
This epic road trip takes you into the heart of British Columbia's ranchlands and coastal rainforest, through some of the most accessible remote wilderness from Vancouver. After passing through Whistler and Gold Rush Country, you'll head west along Highway 20. Here, you'll spend less time driving and more time exploring the vast Chilcotin Plateau and trails of the Great Bear Rainforest. Finally, end your trip on Vancouver Island's rugged pacific coast before returning back to Vancouver.
Get ready for a road trip adventure of a lifetime. This route takes you away from the crowds through the remote Chilcotin Plateau and Great Bear Rainforest before ending with some relaxation and comfort on Vancouver Island's west coast. Pass through a vast, raw wilderness dotted with lakes and historic ranches that transforms into dense temperate rainforest that has one of the world's highest concentrations fo grizzly bears.
With 10 days, you'll have just enough time to drive across British Columbia without feeling too rushed. You'll start with a few days of exploring the iconic Canadian Rockies before heading into the heart of the Kootenay Rockies, famous for its beautiful mountain towns and historic communities. End the trip with a couple of days of wine and relaxation before departing from Vancouver.
Spend the first half of your trip exploring the mountains and lakes of the Canadian Rockies before veering south through the beautiful wine region of the Okanagan Valley. Here, hit the bike trails, beaches, and check out the great local wineries in this desert-like region of Canada. Finally, end your trip with a couple of days to shop and eat out in Vancouver.
This route takes you through the best of the Canadian Rockies to the wine country of the Okanagan Valley, where you can relax and unwind after your adventures in the mountains. Along the way, you'll pass through historic communities and the natural hot springs around Nakusp, Kaslo, and Nelson. Finally, end with a couple of days to explore Vancouver's great dining scene and local neighborhoods.
Starting with a few days in the Canadian Rockies, venture south through the peaceful communities and impressive landscapes of the Kootenays. After long days in the outdoors, head to local hot spring resorts or backcountry pools where you can soak away the fatigue. This route covers a vast distance and involves driving most days, so is best suited for those who don't mind a faster-paced adventure.
Discover the best of the Kootenay and the Canadian Rockies on this 10-day circuit. You'll have time to explore the mountains or paddle the lakes and rivers as you pass through some of British Columbia's most spectacular parks. In the evenings, head to the local hot springs and enjoy the peaceful vibe of the smaller, lakeshore communities. This route is perfect for those looking to combine both adventure and relaxation.
Explore the spectacular mountain scenery of British Columbia’s southeast corner, dotted with alpine towns and lakeshore communities. Besides a couple of long days of driving near the end, the majority of your trip will be spent on mountain trails or soaking in the highly-mineralized springs of resorts and riverside pools. You'll also learn about the region's rich mining and railway history which attracted early settlers.
In 12 days, combine the best of the Canadian Rockies with the hot springs and lakeshore communities of the Kootenays. This route is perfect for those looking for an active holiday with time to relax and sit back, as well, without too much driving. You'll pass by numerous hot springs, historic communities, and lake valleys surrounded by dramatic peaks. You can undertake this route year-round, given the numerous winter and summer mountain resorts en route.