Person viewing Howe Sound fjord and the Coast Mountain range from atop a Sky Pilot Suspension bridge.

BC Adventures That Will Leave You Speechless

Share  Facebook Twitter pinterest logoPinterest
Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish | @entre2escales

Some experiences are difficult to put into words. The freeing energy of the ocean. The reverence of an ancient rainforest. Heartfelt connections with local cultures and community. You might not be able to fully describe your BC experience, but you’ll certainly feel it, deeply.

Soak up the vibrancy of a lively city surrounded by nature in Vancouver, Victoria, or the mountain town of Whistler. Museums, galleries, Indigenous experiences, and restaurants abound in these urban areas, and you’re never far from the magic of the outdoors.

These BC adventures might leave you speechless, but that’s all the more reason to give them a try.

Grouse Grind in North Vancouver | Mike Seehagel

Enjoy Mountain Adventures, From Sea to Sky

Vancouver’s North Shore, Squamish, and Whistler are surrounded by vast wilderness and within a 30-minute to 1.5-hour drive of Metro Vancouver. The aptly named Sea-to-Sky Corridor is where the emerald waters of the Pacific Ocean collide with the lush rainforest and jagged peaks of the Coast Mountain range. The Átl’ḵa7tsem/Howe Sound watershed, which begins at Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver and stretches north to Black Tusk on the outskirts of Whistler, is so ecologically unique and rich with biodiversity it has been given a prestigious designation as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Experience the beauty for yourself: The Sea-to-Sky is a hub for outdoor activities. Take to the trails for hiking, running, and mountain biking or head out on a heart-pumping rafting excursion. Reach a distant summit by way of a scenic gondola ride at Grouse Mountain, the Sea to Sky Gondola, or Whistler Blackcomb, and cap off the trip with a warm drink and refreshments in a cozy lodge with alpine views (Christine’s Restaurant on Blackcomb Mountain is a must).

Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre | Logan Swayze

Learn About Deep-Rooted Indigenous Culture

Connect with and learn about rich and diverse Indigenous cultures through a wide range of authentic experiences.

Greater Victoria on Vancouver Island is located on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen-speaking Peoples. The area now known as Beacon Hill Park is the site of an ancient Songhees village and is now home to one of the world’s tallest, free-standing totem poles carved from a single log. Delve further into Indigenous culture with an Explore Songhees walking or canoe tour near Ship Point in the Inner Harbour. Leaf Modern Gallery on Bridge Street offers a glimpse of striking contemporary Indigenous artwork. And, if you feel like a little road trip, drive one hour North to Duncan to take the self-guided Totem Tour Walk.

On the mainland, Metro Vancouver, the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Peoples, is also a hub for Indigenous experiences. Sample specialty cuisine at Salmon ‘n Bannock (they now have a second location at Vancouver International Airport). Book a tour with Talaysay Tours and Takaya Tours, both of whom connect visitors to a deeper understanding of the area, from traditional plant knowledge to place names, and legends to landmarks.

Continue north to Whistler (a 1.5-hour drive from downtown Vancouver), where you can learn about the shared territory of the Lil’wat and Squamish Nations. Stop at Cultural Journey kiosks along Highway 99 on the way to learn about important Indigenous cultural sites, culminating in a fascinating visit to the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler.

Juan De Fuca Trail | @_mattracy

Stroll the Rugged Coastline

BC beaches are as unique as the shiny pebbles that dot their shores. Sandy enclaves with secret caves and oceanside walks amongst old-growth trees offer a glimpse of the rugged west coast.

The spring herring spawn is a signal of changing seasons. Sea lions, whales, marine birds, and seals flock to inlets and islands on the hunt for these keystone species, creating a cacophony of sound and buzzing activity. Bust out the binoculars and watch it all unfold.

On Vancouver Island, which is about a 3.5-hour journey from downtown Vancouver via BC Ferries, the urban comforts of Victoria are never far from the ocean, with easy access to city beaches and a short drive to the wilder seaside of Juan De Fuca Provincial Park. Across the Salish Sea in Metro Vancouver, you can leave footprints in the sand at numerous oceanside parks. Tip: Head to Iona Beach Regional Park in Richmond for spectacular sunsets and birdwatching. 

Wild Blue in Whistler | @wildbluerestaurant

Sample the Bounty of BC

There’s always something sizzling at local restaurants. BC has a global reputation for innovative cuisine and a flare for fresh, sustainable ingredients (case in point: The new MICHELIN Guide Vancouver). Pair your visit to local restaurants with a vintage from one of the province’s nine wine regions or locally brewed craft beer (the BC Ale Trail is a must for beer aficionados).

The table is set for culinary adventures, from fresh spot prawns plucked from the Pacific to seasonal produce harvested from fertile valleys. Get an introduction to family-run farms, local provisioners, and regional wine with a self-guided Circle Farm Tour of the Fraser Valley or Victoria’s Flavour Trail. Become a gastronaut, travelling neighbourhood by neighbourhood to sample local fare; the Richmond Dumpling Trail, Surrey Spice Trail, and Vancouver’s Flavourhoods are a must.

You’ll even find fine dining options in the heart of the mountains. Just a 1.5-hour drive up Highway 99 in Whistler, newly minted Wild Blue has been named one of the most exciting local restaurants to open in a decade, joining long-standing Alta Bistro as an ingredient-driven staple in the foodie community.

Sailing tours on Howe Sound | @canadiancoastal

Explore the BC Coast By Watercraft

Spring is a great time to get out on the water. Sail, float, or paddle through archipelagos, fjords, and peninsulas as you take in waterfalls, rainbows, and plenty of marine life.

Beginning in March, you can book a whale-watching trip departing from Vancouver, Richmond, or Victoria. Hop on a stand-up paddleboard or kayak to get closer to the action and view the shore from a new perspective. There are plenty of tours, lessons, and rentals available. One unforgettable way to get out onto the turquoise waters of Howe Sound is a hands-on sailing trip with Canadian Coastal, where you can hoist the main and steer the boat.

Show Info
Hide Info

Getting Here And Around

Journeying to and around British Columbia is part of the adventure. Find out how to get to must-do experiences in Vancouver, Whistler, Victoria, and southern Vancouver Island.

Learn More
Vancouver | Nina Vis

How to Get to BC From California

Direct, non-stop flights into Vancouver International Airport (YVR) are available from San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, and Sacramento.

Vancouver is just 25 minutes from YVR and easily accessible. Rent a car at the airport or take public transit, a taxi, Uber, or airport shuttles into the city. If you plan to travel beyond Vancouver, consider Harbour Air which runs direct seaplane flights to Victoria and Whistler.


At the time of publishing $1 USD = $1.34 CAD. Confirm the most recent exchange rates with the Bank of Canada.

Always be prepared when you venture out on land or the water. Follow the AdventureSmart 3 Ts: Trip Planning, Training, and Taking the Essentials.

Start Planning Your BC Vacation

Need to Know

Find key travel information to help you plan your trip to BC.

Get Info
Travel Deals

Explore the latest special offers and deals in British Columbia.

See Deals
Book Your Stay

Discover places to stay across BC, including hotels, B&Bs, campgrounds, and more.

Find Accommodations