British Columbia

British Columbia is a wild place where nature, not man, creates the boundaries. Range after range of glaciated mountains, pierce the sky. The Pacific Ocean claws at the shoreline, cut by hundreds of impossibly deep, blue fjords. Whales thrive offshore, while bears, moose and dears wander free in lush rainforests. Amid this beauty, multi-cultural urban cities offer a splash of cosmopolitan chic. Comprising six distinct, yet complementary regions, British Columbia’s incredible diversity brings with it a wealth of holiday options.

Vancouver Coast and Mountains, The Vancouver and Gulf Islands, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, Thompson Okanagan, Kootenay Rockies and Northern British Columbia…six distinct regions, six distinct characteristics, one incredible province. Immense diversity sets British Columbia as an ever-popular tourist destination for visitors of all ages and all interests. With thousands of miles of coastline, soaring mountains, lush landscape and multitude of islands it’s an outdoor destination experience. Take to the water for kayaking, sailing, fishing white water rafting and whale watching or explore the land on a biking, hiking, bird watching, golfing or skiing adventure.

Vancouver Coast & Mountains

The Vancouver, Coast & Mountains region, sitting in the southwest corner of mainland British Columbia, is home to the province’s biggest city of Vancouver, as well as perhaps its best-known resort of Whistler. This region is also rich in scenery, offering some of BC’s best road trips. The Sea-to-Sky Highway, for example, winds past waterfalls, historic sites, and the adventure-sports town of Squamish on its way to Whistler. Don’t miss taking a glimpse of The Fraser River, which surges through a dramatic canyon before flowing past the wineries and organic farms of the Fraser Valley. The Sunshine Coast is a quick ferry journey from Horseshoe Bay, which sits just north of Vancouver. Although part of the mainland, this stretch of mountain-backed coastline is only accessible by sea or air, giving it the quiet pace of an island.

Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island, North America’s largest west coast-island, is a land of old-growth rainforests, wave-swept beaches, snow-capped peaks, rolling farmland, lush vineyards, and friendly seaside towns. The Island’s many parks and protected areas are prime destinations for outdoor pursuits, from surfing, kayaking, whale-watching, and fishing to hiking, mountain biking, and skiing. And, with Canada’s mildest climate, the Island supports a wealth of wineries and organic farms. Highlights include the historic sites and gardens of Victoria, BC’s capital city; the wineries of the Cowichan Valley; the sandy beaches of Parksville and Qualicum Beach; and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve located on the Island’s west coast.

The Thompson Okanagan

British Columbia’s Thompson Okanagan region extends from the ranchlands of the west to the Monashee Mountains in the east, and from Mount Robson in the north to the US border in the south. At its heart is a long, fertile valley running north-south along Okanagan, Skaha, Vaseux, and Osoyoos lakes, where vineyards, orchards, and forests of ponderosa pine blanket the hills above a string of warm, beach-fringed lakes. This region is home to over 170 wineries and more than 50 golf courses, as well as four major ski resorts and some of Canada’s most dramatic wilderness parks.

Kootenay Rockies

A spectacular alpine destination in British Columbia’s southeast corner, this stunning region of lakes, glaciers, jagged peaks, natural hot springs, and offbeat, charming towns won’t be BC’s best-kept secret much longer. Lying along the western flanks of the Rocky Mountains, the region is home to four national parks as well as some of Canada’s highest peaks, which provide a hiking, mountain biking, and rafting playground each summer. Highlights include the lakeside town of Nelson, named Canada’s best small arts town; the living history at Fort Steele Heritage Town; and the areas seven natural hot springs.

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast

This vast, sparsely populated region of central British Columbia encompasses three distinct landscapes: the forests and ranchlands of the Cariboo; the snowy peaks and high plateau of the Chilcotin, and the fjords and islands of the Coast. Together they form one of BC’s least travelled, but perhaps most striking, regions. Highlights include Barkerville Historic Town, the biggest heritage attraction in western North America; Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, BC’s largest park; the challenging Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit; and, on the coast, the Great Bear Rainforest, the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest.

Northern British Columbia

At almost 200,000 square miles, Northern British Columbia is a land of towering mountains, pristine rivers, ancient forests and abundant wildlife. Rich in First Nations heritage and scattered with small, friendly towns, this explorers’ paradise boasts some of Canada’s greatest road, sea and rail journeys.

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