Must See Places in British Columbia

Updated on Mar 07, 2024 | Canada eTA

Situated on Canada’s West Coast, British Columbia is surrounded on one side by the Pacific Ocean and on the other by the famous Rocky Mountains. It is divided into three main regions, the Lower Mainland, the Southern Interior, and the Coast. One of the most populous provinces in Canada, British Columbia consists of some of the most metropolitan cities of Canada, such as Victoria and Vancouver, Vancouver is one of the largest metropolises in the whole Pacific Northwest. British Columbia is also home to some of the most popular tourist destinations in Canada and is the Canadian province that is most visited by tourists from all over the world. From oceanside metropolitan cities to the rural interior to places like Whistler which turn into winter wonderlands, British Columbia has a wide range of places and experiences to offer to tourists.

Whether you want to witness the beauty of mountains, lakes, lush forests, ocean fronts and beaches, sightsee in scenic cities and quaint little towns, or go on skiing, hiking, and camping adventures, you can do it all in British Columbia. If you’re looking to spend a varied vacation in Canada, British Columbia is your place. Other than the most well-known places such as Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Yoho National Park, and Whistler, here is a list of all the other places that you should explore in British Columbia.

Okanagan Valley

Part of the Okanagan County that extends well into the United States, the Canadian part of the County is known as the Okanagan Valley and is surrounded by the Okanagan Lakes and the portion of the Okanagan River that comes under Canadian territory. Boasting dry, warm, sunny days, Okanagan Valley’s lakeshore landscape and such activities as boating, water sports, skiing, hiking, etc. bring tourists to the Valley from around the world. On the eastern shore of the lake is the city of Kelowna, the main city in the Valley, whose name in the indigenous language of the area means 'grizzly bear'. A metropolis in its own right, Kelowna is surrounded by other small towns such as Peachland, Summerland, and Penticton. The valley as well as these surrounding towns are famous for their pleasant summers, thus making it a perfect retreat for tourists in British Columbia.


This town is located in Vancouver Island, at the edge of the famous Pacific Rim National Park. Mainly a coastal town, it is also most visited during the summer. You can participate in many activities here that nature lovers would love, such as surfing, hiking, bird watching, camping, whale watching, fishing, etc. Tofino's picturesque, sandy beaches, such as Long Beach, its hot springs, and the waves crashing on its shore keep tourists happy in this little town.

Its remoteness and distance from the city mean it functions like a much-needed retreat for many tourists. They come here to enjoy its oceanfront and the myriad activities offered here, as well as to spend a relaxing, quiet vacation in its sea resorts. Even during the winter, though it’s not frequented by many tourists then, it still offers a tranquil holiday away from city crowds.


Nestled in the snowy Selkirk Mountains, Nelson is known as Canada's Queen City. It is located near the Kootenay Lake in British Columbia’s Southern Interior, which includes British Columbia’s non-coastal regions. Nelson is one of the most popular small towns in Canada. Once a gold and silver mining town, it is now quite famous for the historic Victorian buildings that have been carefully preserved and restored over the years. The town is also famous for being a kind of cultural centre, with a downtown area full of restaurants, cafes, art galleries, and theatres.

It is popular amongst tourists for its skiing resorts, hiking trails, and also for other recreational activities that it offers, such as snowboarding, mountain biking, rock climbing, etc. If you are spending a vacation in Nelson, you must also make sure to visit the Kokanee Glacier Provisional Park nearby, which was one of the first provisional parks to be built in British Columbia.

Barkerville Historic Town

This town has a fascinating history of a gold boom back in 1858 when overnight it turned into a gold-digging town. Known as the Cariboo Gold Rush, because of Barkerville's location next to the Cariboo Mountains, one single man's discovery of gold deposits in the fluvial sand of a river here spread by word of mouth among so many people that all of a sudden the town became dedicated to gold mining. The town burned down 10 years later, putting an end to the gold boom even though it was immediately rebuilt. But today the town is preserved and protected as a historic town with as many as 75 historic buildings, costumed actors acting out the town’s history as if it were a period drama, and such places as the smithy, the printing work, the general store, the barbershop, etc., all looking as if they were authentic 19th century places.

Tofino, British Columbia Tofino, British Columbia

Fraser Canyon

When the Fraser River, the longest river in British Columbia, descends through some of the most impressive gorges in Canada, it forms the landform that is known as Fraser Canyon. The Canyon is millions of years old, first formed in the Miocene period. It also covers a huge area and distance, as much as 270 kilometres. One of the spots in the Fraser Canyon that is the most famous is called Hells Gate where the Fraser River abruptly narrows to a passage surrounded by rock walls that is only 35 meters wide. Hells Gate used to be a popular fishing ground but now it’s also a popular tourist destination in British Columbia, especially because of an air tram from which you get a spectacular view of the Fraser Canyon.

The Neighbourhoods Of Vancouver

Vancouver is one of the most visited cities in Canada as there are many lovely activities to do and numerous tourist spots to explore. The first and foremost location in Vancouver that should be explored is Stanley Park. Here the visitor can book a tour of Cycle City. And make the most of their trip to the neighbourhoods on a bike. Some of the most recommended Vancouver neighbourhoods to visit are- Gastown and Chinatown. If you wish to explore the foody side of Vancouver, then a trip to Granville Island will be worth it. You can visit a huge market, art galleries, coffee houses, shopping centers, etc. It is similar to a combination of a peninsula and a trading district. Furthermore, if you want to get the best bites in Vancouver, you should surely check out Savio Volpe or Market by Jean Georges.

Inner Harbour Victoria

Along with Vancouver being one of the most visited cities in Canada, Victoria has also started to become one of the most desirable cities to live in the country. Victoria has undoubtedly achieved a higher place in the list of locations in British Columbia that exhibit the historical significance of the country. The Inner Harbour in Victoria is a stunning one, which makes Victoria look even more charming and elegant than it already is! In this location, visitors from all parts of the globe will be able to indulge in some of the most lip-smacking foods at local eateries, know more about the cultural and traditional diversity of the city, and enjoy whale-watching shows from a cruise at night time. Another fantastic location to visit in this city is the iconic Parliament building.

We have already written about Top skiing locations like Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia and The Rockies and national parks in British Columbia in previous articles.

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