Quirky Attractions in the Kootenays
Unique, historic, and cultural gems to visit.
Looking for a quintessentially British Columbian experience? Here are the top five things to do in BC for under $150.
Hop on a bike for this iconic waterfront ride, which offers spectacular views of the North Shore Mountains and the Vancouver skyline. It’s free if you have your own wheels, or you can rent a bike (four hours for about $20) for the nine-kilometre (5.5-mile) loop. Take your time and stop for selfies under the Lions Gate Bridge, or linger over a grilled salmon Caesar salad ($22) at the Teahouse in Stanley Park.
Witnessing the grace and power of an orca breeching is a thrill that you’ll remember forever. Opportunities abound in peak season from May through October. It’s possible to see whales year-round in the waters off Victoria, which are home to over 80 resident orcas (killer whales) in three pods. Visitors may also spot grey, humpback, and minke whales. Prince of Whales Whale Watching offers zodiac tours ($105 per person) with high-speed thrills, as well as excursions on an indoor/outdoor vessel ($130 per person) staffed by naturalists who provide insight on the marine wildlife.
Spanning Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondoladelivers spectacular views of the valley and surrounding glaciers. Hop on to ski both mountains in the winter, or for sightseeing year-round. Options during the summer include scenic walking trails, alpine hikes, and wildlife viewing, or just relax at the summit with a barbecue on the deck of Whistler’s Roundhouse Lodge. This is your chance to photograph the iconic Whistler Mountain Inuksuk with its panoramic mountain backdrop. Buy tickets online in advance ($53.95 per adult) for discounts.
Get a First Nations’ perspective on the waters surrounding Tofino (the southern section of Clayoquot Sound) from a 7.6-metre (25-foot) handcrafted cedar canoe. From March to October, T’ashii Paddle Schooloffers coastal tours (from $65 per person) through Tla-o-qui-aht territory with a Nuuchahnulth guide offering insight on the history and culture. The Meares Island tour (from $89 per person) features a rainforest walk on Big Tree Trail, where you can marvel at the 1,000-year-old red cedars.
Looking for adventure? Rafting on the Kicking Horse River is an adrenaline-pumping ride. From its base in the Rocky Mountain town of Golden (30 minutes west of the Alberta/British Columbia border), Wet N’ Wild Adventures offers a full-day tour ($149 per person) that covers 22 kilometres (14 miles) of the canyon. Families can get a tamer taste of the rapids on a three-hour introductory tour ($89 per adult) that floats down a scenic 11-kilometre (seven-mile) stretch.
Opening image: Orcas off the coast of Vancouver Island. Photo: Adrian Dorst.
Updated from original publication April 5, 2017
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