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Planning a Trip to BC? Start Here!

Tofino, where to visit in BC blog header

For anyone looking to explore nature and the outdoors, few places rival British Columbia (BC). Often making the lists of best cities to live in around the world and ranked as an outdoor adventure capital, BC is full of opportunity. 

With BC trip ideas ranging from North America’s largest ski resort in Whistler, to whale watching on Vancouver Island, world-class wineries in the Okanagan Valley, and incredible scenic highways in between, a trip to BC is sure to be one you won’t forget. 

Getting Here

Thanks to Vancouver International Airport (YYC) and Victoria International Airport (YYJ), arriving in BC is easy and accessible from around the world.

Located a short drive from their respective city centres, with easy access to public transport and surrounded by hotels that often include complimentary shuttle services, travellers can take much of the guesswork out of beginning their adventure in BC. 

If an incredible road trip or beautiful ferry ride has always been on your list, there are overland options to drive from either other parts of Canada or the United States, and full-service ferry sailings between Anacortes in Washington State and Sidney on the Saanich Peninsula of Vancouver Island. 

Getting Around in BC

What makes BC a standout place to visit is the incredible natural landscape—from the ocean to the mountains, taking a drive along the province’s world famous highways is a beautiful experience.

If you’re keen to relax, take in all the sights, and let a seasoned expert be your British Columbia travel guide, consider a luxury car or limo service, bus trips, or even a ticket with the Rocky Mountaineer train that travels from coast to coast. 

If you’d prefer to take the adventure into your own hands, there are multiple transportation options including car rentals, RV rentals, or ferry service around the coast. Once you have your timeline in mind, ferry reservations are highly recommended to take some of the stress out of your travel days. 

Need to Know: Money and Documents

Cash and Tips

Once you have your list of BC travel ideas set, it’s important to make sure you have all the travel requirements covered depending on where you’ll be travelling from.

While using a credit card as your main form of currency will work most places, it doesn’t hurt to have some Canadian cash with you as well, particularly for smaller businesses that only accept major credit cards or to tip your guides if you choose guided adventures.  And yes, tipping is widespread across all service industries in Canada.

Visa Requirements

If you’re travelling from another country, there may be visitor visa requirements prior to taking flight. A general guideline is to ensure you have at least six months left on your passport before renewal, and there are government resource pages that can help you figure out which visa or travel requirements you need to meet prior to entering the country. Some of these may be subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Driving License

Another aspect to consider that may not be included in your British Columbia travel guide are international licence requirements before you hit the road. If you’re curious whether your international driving licence will allow you to drive in Canada, or if you’ll need an International Driving Permit (IDP), there is a guideline that covers licence and insurance requirements on the Government of Canada website

Depending on your BC trip ideas, there may be a couple extra things to check off of your list when renting a vehicle. While snow tires are not required in some parts of Canada, like the lower mainland of Vancouver, they are very much required in order to drive areas like the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler during the winter months, making it important to request snow tires on your rental vehicle. 

Must-See Destinations in Beautiful BC

Choosing among the many BC trip ideas can be difficult, with must-see destinations across the province.  Many activities can be a great fit for travellers of all ages. Depending on your timeline, there are some standouts you’ll want to add to your British Columbia travels.

Vancouver Island and the Coast

A peaceful and serene getaway from the city, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands are filled with pristine natural destinations along the coast. From the Great Bear Rainforest, the largest coastal temperate rainforest in the world, to surfing in small beach towns like Tofino, deep sea fishing, or visiting British Columbia’s capital city, Victoria, the coast of Vancouver is not only an incredible travel destination but a place to reconnect with nature. 

a body of water with a mountain in the background, vancouver Island

Big oceans, big waves, and beautiful forests abound on Vancouver Island

Sea to Sky Region and Whistler

A world-renowned adventure capital for hikers, climbers, and fishermen, and featuring North America’s largest ski resort, Whistler is a go-to destination for millions of travellers every year. With world-class restaurants for the foodies in your group, to beautiful hotels and spas if you need time to recharge, and guided activities ranging from ATV tours to zip lining, or even helicopter tours, there are no limits to the outdoor adventures available to you in the Sea to Sky area. 

Okanagan Valley

With some of the driest weather in Canada, the Okanagan Valley is becoming famous for its wineries, featuring award-winning vineyards that often offer fun excursions like bicycle tours between wineries. BC’s wine scene is sure to make the enthusiasts in your group happy.

Also known for its beautiful lakes, renting a boat, or even a house boat for a bit of extravagance, can be a memorable BC trip idea to top off your summer vacation. 

a body of water with a mountain in the background - okanagan, bc

Vancouver’s summer playground, the Okanagan is spectacular wine and lake country.

Alaskan Highway

Starting in Dawson Creek, BC, and ending in at the Delta Junction in Alaska, the Alaskan Highway is an incredible 2200-kilometre journey at the top of the bucket list for many adventurous travellers and road-trippers.

Featuring beautifully rugged scenery, remote roadside campsites, lookouts, and destinations, and a great way to see Canada’s wildlife, be sure to take a British Columbia travel guide or road map and make the most of your road trip of a lifetime. 

Canadian Rockies

Bordering both the province of British Columbia and Alberta, the Canadian Rockies are no stranger to lists of the top most beautiful places around the world.

For outdoors trekkers and adventure enthusiasts, there is no shortage of hiking or climbing trails and activities in the Canadian Rockies. From pristine lakes like Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, to the scenery and wildlife of Banff and Lake Louise, the Rockies are sure to take your breath away. 

Canadian rockies, mountains, forests

If you are looking for epic mountain vistas, head to the Canadian Rockies

Discover Beautiful British Columbia

An outdoor mecca filled with culture, nature, and world-class food and wine, the hardest part of filling your British Columbia travel guide will be choosing which BC trip ideas are right for you. Whether you’re looking for a place to relax by the ocean or are craving an adrenaline high, beautiful British Columbia is sure to be an adventure you won’t forget.