Outdoors enthusiasts will love the varied opportunities for adventures in British Columbia. Some can be enjoyed in just a day (plus travel time), but many of the activities involve multiple days to complete. Mix and match from the following highlights to create your own adventurous getaway.
Hike the West Coast Trail
Suggested Trip Length: 4-6 Days
Experienced backcountry hikers won’t want to miss the rugged and remote West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island. This self-sufficient four- to six-day coastal trek starts west of Victoria and ends near the remote village of Bamfield. The majority of hikers leave their vehicles at one end of the trail and return to their starting point by scheduled shuttle. If you don’t have the time for the famed West Coast Trail, get a taste for the adventure in Juan de Fuca Provincial Park, where short trails lead to wild coastal beaches or the Wild Pacific Trail day hike near Ucluelet.
Dive in the Strait of Georgia
Suggested Trip Length: 1-2 Days
The shallow waters off Nanaimo are renowned for artificial reefs created by ships that have been sunk especially for wreck diving. Tell the experts at Ocean Explorers Diving that you want to try a dive, and let them choose a site that best suits your experience, whether it be the 442-foot-long Saskatchewan or the popular snorkeling with seals option. Nanaimo’s Buccaneer Inn is the best divers’ hangout.
Surf at Tofino
Suggested Trip Length: 1 Day
Surfing at the beaches off Tofino is made easy by Live to Surf, who will outfit you with a wetsuit and surfboard for an hour or so of fun in the local breakers. Take a lesson if you’ve never surfed before. Pacific Sands Beach Resort is designed especially for outdoorsy types like yourself.
Camp in the Kootenays
Suggested Trip Length: 4 Days
For camping adventure, concentrate on the Kootenays. Here, amid forests, mountains, and lakes are dozens of delightful provincial park campgrounds. Try Gladstone for its warm water, Kokanee Creek and Wasa for family-friendly beaches, and Whiteswan Lake for fishing and hot springs in their natural state.
Hike in the Canadian Rockies
Suggested Trip Length: 3 Days
Many locals spend a lifetime hiking in the Canadian Rockies. Three days is just enough time to get a taste for the region, with a full day spent at Lake O’Hara and another on the lofty Iceline Trail. Spend the third day combining shorter hikes such as Stanley Glacier and Emerald Lake.
Kayak in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve
Suggested Trip Length: 6 Days
Hop aboard a charter boat or floatplane to access this remote archipelago, famed for its abandoned Haida villages and fallen totem poles. Local outfitters supply kayaks and all the camping equipment you’ll need.
Drive the Alaska Highway
Suggested Trip Length: 10 Days
You could drive from Dawson Creek to the Yukon and back in under a week, but to fully experience this one-in-a-lifetime destination, 10 days is more appropriate. This allows time to explore the wilderness of Kluane National Park and the gold rush history of Dawson City. Stop for a soak in Liard River Hot Springs along the way.
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