Welcome to beautiful British Columbia, Canada!
This is our home – when not accidentally getting sand in our suitcases on trips.
Oh, bad joke!
But seriously, having lived in BC for years (first Vancouver, now Victoria), we know the province really well.
And we can tell you that BC is absolutely one of the most stunning places in the world! Many Canadian bucket list destinations are right here in our home province.
So we’re jazzed to share with you all the best places to visit in British Columbia – including popular tourist attractions and lesser-known local spots – in our British Columbia travel guide.
Below, you can find specific BC travel tips plus information on the best places to go in BC, accommodation, restaurants, what to do in various destinations and getting around BC.
Practical BC travel tips
When to visit British Columbia
The best time to visit British Columbia is from May to September.
July and August are the peak months, with warm sunshine and bluebird skies (but also more visitors and higher hotel costs). Early September is ideal.
You don’t really want to visit between November and February. Of course, there are always exceptions.
You could visit the wild west coast of Vancouver Island in February for winter storm watching in Tofino – and be unexpectedly blessed with sunshine and 60 F temps (this happened to us).
And if you like the white stuff, Whistler is famous for skiing and snowboarding in winter.
March and April? That’s when spring blossoms are out in full bloom in Vancouver and Victoria. But you’ll need a rain coat – and you should expect some showers.
Unmissable British Columbia destinations
Located on Vancouver Island, Victoria is the capital of BC.
Tour Craigdarrach Castle. Go whale watching. Step out on these nine easy scenic Victoria walks. Sip afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel.
And don’t forget to explore the Gorge waterway on a fun pickle boat ride with Victoria Harbour Ferry.
Really, there are so many great things to do in Victoria!
Taking the ferry to Victoria?
See our complete guide on the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria.
Learn all you need to know – from the most convenient Vancouver terminal to bus-and-ferry options.
Where to eat in Victoria:
Hungry? But don’t feel like going out?
These 12 great restaurants in Victoria offer takeout and delivery of Indian food, sushi, pasta, pizza and Thai curries.
One of the world’s most beautiful cities, Vancouver is famous for its ocean-fringed vistas, mountain backdrop, fresh local salmon, delightful neighborhoods and healthy outdoor vibe.
(And just to confuse you, it’s not on Vancouver Island, but on the mainland.)
Wander around the cobbled streets of Gastown, possibly Vancouver’s trendiest district.
Maybe catch a musical or play at the historic Stanley Theater?
Cruise from Vancouver:
Vancouver is a major gateway for cruises to Alaska. See what it’s like sailing away from the Vancouver cruise port.
Skiing and snowboarding:
The resort is home to two epic mountains. How to choose? Whistler or Blackcomb: Which has better skiing?
Canoeing and kayaking:
Summer is perfect for canoeing and kayaking in Whistler. You’ll love paddling Whistler’s River of Golden Dreams!
Hike Joffre Lakes, an amazing hike to three beautiful lakes.
Or if you’re looking for a short picturesque forest walk, Brandywine Falls is a walk in the park.
British Columbia gems
Southern Gulf Islands:
Want to hike through forests with fairy houses? What about bioluminescent kayaking at night?
These are just two of the magical things to do in Salt Spring Island.
Close by is Galiano Island, where you can also kayak, hike and go beachcombing.
Sniff, swirl and sip your way through 200+ Okanagan wineries!
Many have seriously good vineyard restaurants overlooking Okanagan Lake, serving organic food with local ingredients. (There are some especially good restaurants in Naramata.)
Parksville and Qualicum Beach:
Hey, you can see goats on the roof on a store in Coombs, splash about in warm shallow waters and explore Horne Lake Caves.
There are more crazy fun things to do in Parksville and Qualicum Beach too.
Kayaking with orcas? Grizzly bear viewing? You bet!
These are just some of the amazing things to do in Telegraph Cove, located at the top of Vancouver Island. Driving Telegraph Cove itself is unique – it’s one of the last boardwalk communities in North America.
BC’s gorgeous gardens
We have lots of beautiful gardens in British Columbia.
And for the mother of all urban parks, don’t miss Stanley Park!
The best way to explore it? Rent a bicycle and go biking around Stanley Park on its oh-so scenic Seawall.
You’ve probably also heard about the famous Butchart Gardens, right? It’s one of the five best gardens in Victoria on Vancouver Island.
More information on British Columbia
See: All our British Columbia posts
BC guide books:
See the Lonely Planet, Fodor’s and other British Columbia travel guides on Amazon. (As an Amazon associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.)