10 Must Do Activities in British Columbia

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

West Coast Trail

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.

Winery Hopping Okanagan

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.

There are over a hundred wineries in the region, often right next to each other  From internationally renowned wineries like Mission Hill and Quails Gate to smaller family run estates, there are lots of varieties and grapes to taste. There are organized tours available to book, however, it’s easy to organize your own itinerary based on your interests (just make sure you have a designated driver!). Many of the wineries also have fantastic views overlooking Lake Okanagan. Some of my favourite wineries are Vibrant Vine Vineyard and the Rollingdale Winery, but regardless of where you go, you’re sure to have a good time.

Stanley Park

Visit Stanley Park, Vancouver

(Recommended, written, and photographed by Jo Karnaghan of frugalfirstclasstravel.com. You can also find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FrugalFirstClassTravel)

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

(Recommend and written by Travel Outlandish)
Vancouver may slowly be playing catch up with the brewers of Northern California and Portland, but the movement is definitely on the rise. If there wasn’t already enough to love about Western Canada, the budding craft beer ensures that yet another type of enthusiast can love it. Your first stop should be at Parallel 49 where the only thing more creative than the flavours on taps are the names – Gypsy Tears Red Ale and Jerkface 9000, to name a couple. Tasting glasses are exceptionally cheap ($1 in 2014), and you can make yourself a nice flight with just $4 to spare. From there, move on to the very experimental Storm Brewing where all laws of beer are defined with base ales and lagers taking on new flavours when mixed with homemade infusions, juices, and extracts. You can have beers from sex on the beach wheat to a sugary black forest cake ale. Finish off a night of beer tasting at CRAFT Beer Market where you can have any of 100 local and imported beers on tap in a pretty lovely setting.

Beacon Hill Victoria

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 Vancouver

Street Art Tour, Cordova Street, Vancouver

(Recommended, written, and photographed by Lance and Laura of Travel Addicts. You can also find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TravelerAddicts)

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 Peak to Peak

Whistler’s Peak to Peak Gondola

(Recommend, written, and photographed by www.worldtraveladventurers.com)
Whistler’s Peak to Peak Gondola is a must-do experience in Canada’s British Columbia. It offers breathtaking views of Whistler’s stunning landscape and gives access to 50+ km of incredible hiking trails. It is exhilarating to ride the world’s longest and highest lift up Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, and then ride a glass-bottom gondola between the two mountain peaks. Tickets also include an open-air chairlift up to the summit of Whistler mountain for those who want to experience the best views. We were fortunate enough to capture a beautiful rainbow on our visit. We took a hike with jaw-dropping views of the mountains and enjoyed gorgeous alpine flowers along the trail. We also spotted a hairy marmot, nicknamed “the whistler” because of the sound it makes, and after which the village was named. To end our perfect afternoon up in the mountains, we feasted at 6000 feet on the delicious mountaintop BBQ offered at the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler Mountain. The food was great and the view was divine!

Bear Watching Vancouver Island

Bear Watching from a Kayak, Vancouver Island

(Recommend, written, and photographed by Cécile of Nomadic Hippie 2.0. You can also find her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Nomadic_Hippie)
If you’re travelling to Vancouver Island (and you should!), an absolute must-do is a wildlife-watching kayaking trip with Jamie’s Whaling Station and Adventure Centers (https://www.jamies.com/our-tours/kayak-tours/ucluelet-25-hour-harbour) in Ucluelet. The 2.5 hour trip, perfect for first-time paddlers, takes you around the sheltered harbour of Ucluelet, where you won’t have to worry about waves and can focus on enjoying the scenery. This is an ideal adventure for all nature lovers as you get to explore a beautiful, quiet area while watching the wonderful Canadian wildlife, including bald eagles and even black bears! If you’re lucky you might encounter seals and sea lions, too. Getting this close to black bears in the wild is a thrilling experience and it could really be the highlight of your trip to British Columbia. Just make sure you don’t get so excited as to drop your camera into the water!
This kayaking trip is available from the beginning of June to the end of September.
Capilano Suspension Bridge

Capilano Bridge, Vancouver

(Recommended, written, and photographed by Rhonda Albom at Albom Adventures. You can also find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AlbomAdventures/)

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 whales vancouver

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!