With Canada’s 150th upon us, a lot of people have Canada on their mind. From coast to coast, there are so many things to do. Let’s start with British Columbia. After asking a lot of travel bloggers what they feel are must-do activities in BC, this is what they said…
Ten Awesome Things to Do in British Columbia
Hike the West Coast Trail
(Recommended, written, and photographed by Emily of www.seehertravel.com)
The West Coast Trail is famous for so many reasons. The 77km trail along Vancouver Island’s South Western shoreline takes the adventurous hiker through old growth forest, rocky headlands, sandy beaches, and the rainforest BC is well known for. But the hike is not easy! 7 days of mud, roots, beach walking and ladders will have your body hurting but your soul full. Every day on the trail is different, you never really know how the day will turn out. Maybe you will see breaching whales or spot soaring bald eagles high above. Maybe you will swim in Tsusiat Falls and wash your weary feet while enjoying the afternoon sun. Maybe you will get to eat a homemade burger at Chez Moniques! Whatever the trail brings you, you may never totally be the same after reaching the end. After experiencing the harshness of the ocean weather and the terrain of the trail, successfully surviving the WCT makes you feel like you can now conquer anything. Physically you are done, but mentally and emotionally you are so charged up by the beauty of the backcountry that you feel like you can take on anything! The beauty of British Columbia’s West Coast can be seen by anyone from a boat, car or a plane. But by hiking the WCT, you will truly become one with this pristine land and you will have a tremendous appreciation for the animals, the plants and the legends of this very special part of the world.
Wine-Hopping in the Okanagan Valley
(Recommended, written and photographed by Adelina of www.packmeto.com)
Did you know British Columbia is home to a wine region? With the Cascade Mountains to the east, the Coast Mountains to the west, and the nearby Lake Okanagan, the Okanagan Valley has a unique climate that allows this region to be able to grow the right grapes. The Okanagan Valley in the B.C. interior is Canada’s second largest wine region, and in the summer, is the perfect weekend getaway and a must do when visiting the west coast.
Visit Stanley Park, Vancouver
Stanley Park is in central Vancouver but is quite a different view of the city, away from its hustle and bustle. Your first inkling that there is “something” about Stanley Park comes before you even arrive. You’ll see lots of cyclists heading towards the park, as well as bicycle rental shops, one after another.
And yes, the cycling is great, but there is so much more to Stanley Park. If it can be considered a “park” then you will see it in Stanley Park. I particularly loved the very bucolic “rural” views where I felt like I was in the English countryside, but also enjoyed the formal gardens, waterways with birdlife and peaceful spots to stop and enjoy the view, and even a sandy beach on the harbor! Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to enjoy the park’s many forest hiking trails – but I know what I’ll be doing next time I visit.
Craft Beer Tasting in Vancouver
Hike Beacon Hill, Victoria
(Recommended, written, and photographed by Danielle of www.likeridingabicycle.com)
One of my favourite places in all of BC is Beacon Hill Park. It’s a huge park located in the middle of Victoria, spanning several city blocks. The area goes from grassy places where one could have a picnic to rocky lands that resemble (to me, at least) parts of Africa. Bordered by the ocean on one side, you can look out at the gorgeous Olympic Peninsula in the distance. Plus, it has the world’s largest totem pole! A definite must see on any visit to Victoria (which is a must-see on its own!)
Street Art Tour, Cordova Street, Vancouver
Hidden in Downtown Vancouver, just around the corner from Cordova Street, is one of the most impressive street art mural collections we’ve ever discovered. The entire alley is filled on one side with a giant mural created by the Cold War crew. It features inventive perspectives on various forms of art: from Van Gogh to Shakespeare to Cheech and Chong. The other side of the alley features smaller murals with First Nation/native tribal motifs as well as commentary on some political figures. But the alley off Cordova Street isn’t the only place for great street art in town. Vancouver is a world-class destination for street art and graffiti murals, and there are installations through the city.
Whistler’s Peak to Peak Gondola
Bear Watching from a Kayak, Vancouver Island
Capilano Bridge, Vancouver
Think you’re not afraid of heights? Walking across the Capilano Suspension Bridge might change that. At 70 metres above the Capilano River Canyon, it’s both amazing to cross, and interesting to watch others attempt it. Some people simply step on and walk across the swaying 140-meter long suspension bridge. Most, however, walk cautiously, a hand on to the rail just in case someone bounces the bridge a bit beyond their comfort level. Then there are those who seem to start out fine, but irrational fear grips them, and they freeze, terrified to move until a friend offers a helping hand. Whichever category you fall into, the trees on the other side are worth the effort. And bring a camera, the views are spectacular.
Tip from Matt: If you want to avoid the cost of Capilano suspension bridge, you can have a similar experience at Lynn Canyon Park, free of charge.)
Killer Whale Watching, Vancouver
(This is a bonus activity included by Matt of MustDoCanada.com)
There are not many places in the world where you can see killer whales in the wild but Vancouver (and Vancouver Island) is one of them! Although sightings aren’t 100% guaranteed, you have a VERY good chance of seeing them, especially during the spring, summer, and fall. On our lucky day, we saw so many that we lost count. In fact, we saw both resident killer whales and Transient killer whales. It was such a remarkable experience to see these whales breach the surface and it’s an activity I highly recommend if you’re in the area.
So Many Things to Do in British Columbia
Let’s face it, there are so many incredible things to do in BC that this list barely scratches the surface. There are many entire regions not even featured above such as the Southern deserts and the Northern mountains. British Columbia is one of Canada’s most spectacular provinces. Not only is it covered in mountains but it also straddles the Pacific Ocean, opening up a range of scenery and activities unavailable anywhere else in the country. Whether you’re dreaming of adventure on Vancouver Island or exploring the city life of beautiful Vancouver, I hope this list gives you some new ideas.
What would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!