British Columbia and Beyond – The 2020 Bucket List
Need some ideas for a British Columbia Road trip – here are our top 11 places to visit in British Columbia and Beyond in 2020
From exploring Vancouver Island – voted in CNN Travels top 20 places to visit this year to the iconic and majestic Banff National Park in Alberta.
11. Harrison Hot Springs
Located just over an hour from Vancouver, Harrison Hot Springs is a small, world-renowned resort town made famous by its geothermal hot springs. Settlers are said to have ‘discovered’ the hot springs in 1858 while enroute to the gold fields. Their boat capsized, and expecting to meet their doom in the frigid waters, they instead discovered that the lake at that spot was not freezing but rather warm
Things to do (other than the hot springs)
- Harrison’s Floating Water Park
- Scenic and Wildlife Tours by Jet Boat
- Relax on the Beach
- Rent a Quadracycle
- Relax at the Spa
- Paddle Harrison River
Seven of the Park’s waterfalls originate on the Murtle River, but perhaps none are more famous than Helmcken Falls. This 141m water fall cascades down into the canyon below and a short hike along Rim trail will lead you to a stunning view of the falls. Although you can also take in this spectacular view form the viewing platforms provided, we do recommend the hike, not only is this incredible natural wonder in this park but a total of 39 fantastic falls that you can visit.
The additional top 5:
- Dawson Falls – stretches its watery veil 90 m (295 ft) across ancient lava beds.
- Moul Falls – if you’re really adventurous, you’ll continue down to the base of the chute where you can slip between the falls and the canyon and take a peek behind the falls.
- Spahats Creek Falls – Volcanic rock deposits form the layer-cake-like canyon at Spahats Falls, making it one of the most dramatic waterfalls to photograph in the Park.
- Mushroom Bowl – just downstream from Dawson Falls, watch the Murtle River split in two as it makes its way around Cambrian rock formations.
- Silvertip Falls – At 168 metres, this is one of the tallest falls in Wells Gray Park, hidden under Trophy Mountain.
9. Sunshine Coast
The sunshine coast spans the area between the entrance of desolation sound to the northwest and Howe Sound on the south east. Its flanked by rugged mountains that border these inlets and cut off from direct road connect with the rest of the province settled by the Coast Salish peoples for centuries, the Sunshine coast is a fantastic area of diverse cultural arts and foods along with a multitude of eateries and breweries.
- Hike the famed Sunshine coast trail
- Bike of waterfalls
- Sip beer on a farm brewery
- visit 1 of the over 100 artist studios dotted along the area
- Tour first nations totem poles
- Soak in the scenery as you drive around the area and hop from ferry to ferry
8. Okanagan Wine Tour
The Okanagan Valley is famous for its eclectic mix of wineries and restaurants coupled with some fantastic wines that have been winning awards around the world – check out 12 new wineries to visit
If adventure activities are your thing then head to Squamish for an action packed few days of adrenaline sports and good food.
This small town is dominated by the chief mountain peak and the Howe Sound, a worthy activity is to take the sea to sky gondola up to the top and enjoy the incredible views over the Howe sound, downtown and the chief mountain.
If adrenaline isn’t your thing, there are plenty of casual hikes or paddle boarding opportunities to keep you busy around Squamish before enjoying a well cooked meal and drink in the Squamish downtown.
Sea to Sky highway overlooking the Howe Sound
Take a walk back in time with this historical town, the main focal point of the Gold rush that helped to build BC
with over 125 heritage buildings, you will get a true impression of what life was like back in the gold rush boom of the 1800’s
5. Vancouver Island
Located in the North east Pacific Ocean, Vancouver Island has so much to offer that we created its own Bucket list.
From rugged old growth rainforest to delicious west coast eatery’s this island is a must stop on any itinerary to British Columbia and easy to see why it is on CNN Travels top 20 places to visit this year.
4. Great Bear Rainforest
The Great Bear Rainforest (also known as the Central and North Coast forest) is a temperate rain forest on the Pacific coast of British Columbia, Canada comprising 6.4 million hectares. It is part of the larger Pacific temperate rainforest ecoregion, which is the largest coastal temperate rainforest in the world
As seen in the incredible iMax documentary the Great Bear Rainforest is home to a huge diversity of wildlife most famously the white spirit bear.
Things to do there
- Learn about the traditions and history of Aboriginal culture.
- Wildlife tours – You may catch a rare glimpse of the elusive spirit bear.
- Take an adventure cruise. Navigate fjords where 4,000-foot high cliffs rise above you.
- Kayak the coast line.
- Go fishing.
- Go whale-watching.
- Walk in a rainforest and a wildflower meadow.
Access to the Great Bear Rainforest is limited with the main routes through Port Hardy, Bella Bella and Bella Coola. For more information, get In touch with one of our team.
Whistler, sits at the feet of two immense mountains: Whistler and Blackcomb. Together, these impressive peaks form the biggest winter sports area in North America.
Whistler Blackcomb is one of the largest ski resorts in North America and offers a huge range of activities from Skiing and snow to tobogganing, snow shoeing and alpine hiking.
Spectacular views from atop the peak are only matched by the phenomenal peak2peak gondola ride. If you like a bit of adrenaline then take advantage of the superb mountain bike opportunities during the summer. Or simply take in a beer from the Whistler brewing companies diverse range of seasonal brews.
- Whistler Mountain: Take the gondola up to the top and enjoy some of the guided alpine hikes around.
- Peak2Peak Gondola: The Peak 2 Peak Gondola provides an elevated ride between the two mountains. Though the distance covered is a record-breaking 4.4 kilometers, the ride takes only 11 minutes. On a clear day, the view is superb and looks out to snow-capped mountains, alpine lakes, and dense coniferous forests. A glance down to Fitzsimmons Creek is also awe-inspiring – at points the gondola is nearly half a kilometer above the valley floor.
- Garibaldi Provincial Park: The park’s natural beauty and rugged landscape, combined with its proximity to urban centres, have made it a popular destination for outdoor recreation
- Brandywine Falls Provincial park: A great photo op for its stunning 70-meter-tall waterfall. Also worth including in this day trip is a visit to the “Train Wreck,” the location of a group of abandoned 1950’s boxcars accessible along an easy trail that includes a cool suspension bridge over the Cheakamus River.
- Mountain Biking: Mountain biking is certainly the most popular summer sport in Whistler Village, and visitors will see legions of armor-clad bikers heading up the slopes by chairlift to Whistler Mountain Bike Park, rentals are on offer throughout whistler village.
- Audain Art Museum: One of the newest cultural attractions in Whistler, the exquisitely designed, wood-clad Audain Art Museum opened in 2016 and has become a fast favourite among tourists and locals alike. With a mandate to feature British Columbian art and artists from the late 1700’s onwards, the museum’s permanent collection is certainly impressive.
- Whistler Museum: This small but ambitious museum telling tales from Whistler’s early days should definitely be added to your list of things to do. The museum’s interesting exhibits introduce local characters, including early settlers and lodge owners, quirky area artists, and the many world-class athletes who have trained on the slopes. A few interactive exhibits let visitors dress up or touch pieces of Whistler history, and there’s a large focus on Olympic memorabilia.
- Lost Lake: Lost Lake is a year-round destination for activities, be it mountain biking, hiking, and bird-watching in summer, or snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in winter. From the shoreline, trails fan out, allowing visitors to explore the surrounding quiet forests filled with British Columbia wildlife. The small lake features a beach area and is generally one of the busier spots on a hot summer day, especially as there is a shuttle from the village.
- Bobsleigh: Take a passenger ride on a bobsleigh
- Take a wildlife tour: Take a tour to hunt for the famous bears of Whistler and enjoy the surrounding wildlife.
Jasper, a smaller and more rustic cousin to Banff, is the commercial centre of Jasper National Park and is located just over the BC border in Alberta. Amid the snow-capped Canadian Rockies, the park has glacier-fed lakes, forests and rivers. The Jasper SkyTram climbs to the summit of Whistlers Mountain, with views of downtown. The Jasper Yellowhead Museum and Archives presents exhibits on the fur trade, railway and early exploration of the park.
- Savour the local flavour: Explore Jasper’s culinary scene. From hearty mountain breakfasts to an elegant alpine dinner for two — friendly pubs to charming cafés, this is creative Rocky Mountain cuisine at its finest.
- Evil Dave’s Grill is a funky, upbeat, family-owned restaurant with a globally inspired menu. They make “wicked food” with fresh ingredients and creative flare! Start off with a Sinful Starter before diving into an Evil Entrée like the signature Malicious Salmon, Diabolical Tenderloin, or Hell’s Chicken. And don’t forget to save room for a Deadly Dessert!
- Jasper’s National Park Brewery. Six signature beers brewed on-site.. Visit their pub and enjoy your favourite sports action on one of their seven plasma TV’s or relax and dine with your family in the restaurant.
- Food Tours: Meeting daily at 2:30pm at the Visitor Information Centre lawn, the 3-hour Downtown Foodie tour will take you to four local joints, visiting points of interest and taking in some of Jasper’s tastiest tales along the way. At each restaurant, guests will try a top dish and a perfectly paired boozy drink to experience the real taste of Jasper’s food scene.
- The Jasper SkyTram whisks you up Whistlers Mountain to an elevation of 2,263 metres, showing you stunning vistas over mountain ranges stretching up to 80 kilometres away. On a clear day, you can even see the white pyramid of Mount Robson in nearby British Columbia.
- Horse Riding: Horses are welcome in many areas of Jasper National Park and have been used to explore the park for a long time. Early outfitters established much of the park’s 1,200-kilometre trail network, which is now managed by Parks Canada.
- Mountain Biking/Hiking: Take the opportunity to enjoy some of the stunning biking or hiking opportunities around.
Banff is the resort town and the gateway to Banff National Park, Canada’s first national park and now one of the most visited destinations in Alberta and Canada as a whole as people take in its majestic beauty set in the Canadian Rockies and the huge arsenal of activities on offer. Banff is definitely a must on anyone’s British Columbia bucket list.
- Bow falls: Large waterfall in the glacier-eroded valley
- Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies: Paintings and exhibits on the Rockies history
- Banff Park Museum: Located in downtown Banff, is an exhibition space associated with Banff National Park. The museum was established in 1895 to house an exhibit of taxidermy mounted specimens of animals, plants and minerals associated with the park.
- Tunnel Mountain drive: This is a scenic route to drive around. There is a viewpoint where you can see town of Banff. Often you will find wildlife (Deer, Elk, sometimes a Bear) on this road. There are also plenty of trails along here.
- Gondola Ride: Banff’s only Gondola takes you up to the top of Sulphur Mountain and you will have a panoramic view of the Canadian Rockies. The Banff Sightseeing Gondola ride takes about 7 minutes and there is a cafeteria and restaurant at the top as well as a gift shop.
- Mountain Biking: Fun terrain and sweeping views await riders who want to tackle mountain biking in Banff. Although just 200 kilometres of biking trails are open in Banff National Park, the areas that do allow bike access are a blast to ride! There are plenty of bike rental shops in Banff.
- Lake Louise: Lake Louise is a hamlet in Banff National Park known for its turquoise, glacier-fed lake ringed by high peaks and overlooked by a stately chateau. Hiking trails wind up to the Lake Agnes Tea House for bird’s-eye views. There’s a canoe dock in summer, and a skating rink on the frozen lake in winter. A short drive from Banff.
- Lake Morraine: Moraine Lake is a glacially fed lake in Banff National Park, 14 kilometres outside the Village of Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada. It is situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks,
- Water sports: Rafting, Paddle boarding and Kayaking are all on offer throughout the surrounding areas of Banff.
- Hot Springs: Explore one of Banff’s hot springs.