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Welcome to British Columbia

Travel writers regularly heap praise on British Columbia both for its sophisticated cities and natural splendor. It’s easy to see why. Ancient rainforests, snow-blanketed peaks and sophisticated urban areas set before wild backdrops inspire unbridled adventures of every kind. From carving alpine skiing bowls and surfing mighty waves to watching orcas breach and savoring award-winning wines, British Columbia will excite your soul with its considerable charms.

Small blues bird with mohawk close up

Provincial Bird: Steller’s Jay. Getty Images

Culturally Diverse Cities

Vancouver enjoys a sterling reputation as a hotspot for fine food. Thanks to its multicultural population, the city overflows with authentic sushi bars, Italian eateries and Middle Eastern establishments. It’s also a wonderland for outdoor recreation just a stone’s throw from urban attractions. Swimming at Kitsilano Beach, strolling the Capilano Suspension Bridge, cycling along the Stanley Park Seawall and snowboarding at nearby ski resorts are just some of the fun activities you can do here. Play outside and then have dinner in the shadows of skyscrapers — all on the same day.

Wine Country and the Rocky Mountains

Panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains never end in Yoho National Park. See the peaks in all their glory along with cascading waterfalls, glacial lakes and fossil beds by traversing a myriad of hiking trails or driving scenic routes around the park. In the Okanagan Valley, relax on sandy beaches, tee off at championship links and roam romantic vineyards at over 200 wineries. Boating and canoeing on Lake Okanagan are also popular pursuits with many visitors eager to spot the Ogopogo, a fabled sea monster that’s said to be 82 feet long.

Victoria Vision

From Vancouver, Victoria is just a short drive and ferry ride away. The provincial capital is known for its rich colonial heritage, which can be experienced at the neo-baroque parliament buildings, Butchart Gardens, Royal BC Museum and the iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel.

Wild Whistler

Whistler Blackcomb has consistently rated the best ski resort in North America and it’s easy to see why. Boasting two mountains, three glaciers, 16 alpine bowls and 200 marked runs, this resort lets you explore more terrain than anywhere else in North America. In the summer, trade in your skis for hiking boots and trek to the nearby Brandywine Falls and turquoise waters of Joffre Lakes.

Four adults with skis and snowboards walking and talking

Getty Images

Whale Watching and Angling Oasis

The waters around Vancouver Island are home to many pods of humpback, Pacific gray and killer whales. Towns along the island’s coasts offer whale-watching tours so you can come face-to-face with these magnificent creatures. You can also catch your fill of salmon, halibut, red snapper and lingcod in places like Port Renfrew, Ucluelet and Nootka Sound. Head to Haida Gwaii if you want to reel in the big one. This archipelago north of Vancouver Island is situated along the migratory path of some of the largest Chinook salmon on the globe.