Basically, if you enjoy outdoor activities and a fresh-air lifestyle, why don’t you live here already? Of all the places I’ve visited (out of Canada and other sides of it) British Columbia is my favourite, and has so many spectacular adventures to offer.
I’ve put together a list of all my favourite Southern BC adventures, because this is where I grew up, and this is what I know. Keep in mind I saw this over a number of years, and had the privelege of living in some of these places, there is no way one could see and do all of this in any less than two months. At least, while enjoying one’s self.
Ten Epic Adventures in Southern British Columbia
- Ponder life at Whytecliff Park. Home to 200+ marine animal species, the flat white cliffs overlooking the ocean make for one of the best picnic spots in the city.
- Climb or hike the world’s second largest granite monolith, the Stawamus Chief near Squamish.
- Hike Garibaldi Lake. Turquoise lakes, babbling brooks, and glaciers make for a killer mountain weekend. Wear wool! If you’re into photography, this place is a playground.
- Camp at Alice lake and enjoy the casual hiking trails, bird watching, and quiet camping with outhouses, fire pits and picnic tables. A good place to escape from the rush of the city.
- Ferry to one of the Gulf Islands and experience the utopia that is farmer’s markets, community hitchhiking programs, ocean-view hiking, and real seaside backpack camping.
- Tour wine and fruit country. The Okanagan Valley is home to some of the world’s best wineries, and some incredible fruit crops during the summer months. Kelowna to Penticton is a great wine route, with incredible lake views, bright desert landscapes, and fantastic summer weather. On the fruit side of things, Keremeos has an amazing selection of fresh peaches, pears, strawberries, plums, apples, and you get the picture.
- Play Rambo in the woods. Rambo: First Blood was shot in the quaint little town of Hope, British Columbia. Hollywood fame aside, Hope offers incredible mountain views, hiking, fishing, camping, mountain biking trails and river rafting, along with some creepy little shops, and a delicious diner-style burger joint. Everything you need for a weekend away.
- Relax in a mountain paradise. Nelson, British Columbia is nestled in the heart of the Kootenays, surrounded by glacier-fed lakes, rocky peaks, and thick forests. If you’re a hiker, this is where you want to be. You could hike for days on maintained trails, or get lost on winding mountain paths on your way to Kokanee Glacier. This is by far one of my favourite places in Canada, no comparison. Sure the outdoors is fun, but don’t forget to grab a yerba maté (and the best breakfast sandwich of your life)at The Preserved Seed when you get back into town.
- Hotspring Treasure hunt! The hotsprings are the treasure. While you’re in the Kootenays, there is nothing more relaxing than a private skinny dip in a hot pool in the cool, misty mountains. Pick up your treasure map (this book), and hit the road. There are a number of hike-in “hidden” hotsprings with makeshift campsites at them, as well as commercial ones with cabins or camping available.
- Ferry to Vancouver Island. If you can make it out here, I can guarantee very little disappointment (except at the price of the ferries if you’re not on foot). The ferry ride in itself is an amazing adventure. If it’s a sunny day, grab yourself a seat at the bow (the front) and enjoy the windy and sunshine. The view from up there is second to none. It’s usually a good place to meet people, talk adventure, spot whales, sea otters, sea lions, seals, catch a wicked view of the coastal islands, get pooped on by seagulls, get a tan and think about all the fish and chips you’ll eat when you land.