Rose Spit, where Hecate Strait meets Dixon Entrance at Haida Gwaii.
Here are the Top 7 trips to explore and embrace the beauty of B.C. Some of these destinations can lead to further exploration — and the possibilities are compelling. We don’t kid ourselves: it was difficult to narrow it down to just seven.1. For culture seekers: Haida GwaiiThe GoHaidaGwaii.ca website invites you to the adventures of this unique archipelago with a gorgeous opening image of Rose Spit (above), where Hecate Strait meets Dixon Entrance: white, sandy beaches strewn with bleached driftwood.This area is unique in part because of the theory that these islands were not included in the last Ice Age, which may explain the rare fauna and subspecies found here. So yes, this is unlike anywhere else on Earth. But for more than a century the rich cultural heritage of the Haida people — who once numbered up to 8,000 — has compelled visitors to see the renowned totem poles on South Moresby Island, or see firsthand where Emily Carr travelled to capture scenes for her watercolour paintings.You can fly direct from Vancouver to Sandspit for about $600. Accommodations include camping and RV sites, B&B options, or beachfront cabins that are off the grid.
Rose Spit, where Hecate Strait meets Dixon Entrance at Haida Gwaii.
Owen Perry /
2. For thrill seekers: Fraser CanyonThe power of nature is a bit of an understatement when it comes to this “awesome gorge,” as explorer Simon Fraser described a canyon that at some points is barely 35 metres wide. When the Hell’s Gate Airtram was constructed in 1969, rope was shot across the canyon with a crossbow in order to attach the cable from the lower terminal to the upper terminal. Board the tram on the Cascade Mountains and cross to the other side of the canyon at the Coast Pacific mountains. Of note, you can catch the award-winning documentary, Run Sockeye Run, pan for gold or head to nearby river rafting tour operators to continue the adrenaline rush.
Hell’s Gate Airtram.
Albert Normandin /
3. For beach lovers: Pacific Rim National ParkWhether it’s Long or Chesterman beaches, Pacific Rim Park is the spot for surfing, for beachcombing, or testing your hiking and camping skills on the famous West Coast Trail.Everyone should visit this magnificent park reserve at least once. Your trip can include paddle boarding, hikes through the rainforest, a canoe trip to neighbouring islands, or a winter storm-watching weekend. This area is all-season but is truly spectacular in the warmer months. Among the options from Tofino or Ucluelet, you can charter a boat to visit the secluded Hot Springs Cove (which is in a neighbouring park) or to fish, dine at award-winning local restaurants, or book a harbour tour by plane. The difficulty will be narrowing down the options — depending on your length of stay.
Long Beach in Pacific Rim National Park.
JF Bergeron /
4. For families: Inside PassageYou’ll get spectacular scenery and wildlife sightings — including pods of orcas — on this route that leaves from Port Hardy on the northern tip of Vancouver Island. You can opt for daytime or overnight ferry schedules for this 15-hour trip that takes you to the province’s northern coast.On board the ferry there is a kids zone, dining options and state rooms, but you’ll be largely checking out the scenery as the ferry threads its way through narrow channels on the way to Prince Rupert, which is a lovely port city to explore and can act as base camp for further travels to the Khutzeymateen Provincial Park, whale watching tours or fishing charters. A great day trip is to nearby Port Edward to see the North Pacific Cannery, a national historic site that tracks this province’s historic fishing industry.
North Pacific Cannery in Port Edward.
Grant Harder /
5. For mountaineers: Kootenay National ParkThis park has something for everyone: camping, fishing and biking, plus Radium Hot Springs and ice climbing and ski touring in winter. In summer months, you can explore the Burgess Shale fossils on a guided tour, explore the Paint Pots — pools of ochre beds that were used for centuries by Indigenous people in both ceremony and for trade. Just east of Radium is a spot on the Continental Divide that straddles both B.C and Alberta. Hiking is rich in sights, such as walls of limestone that rise up from valley floors, forest-fire sites that are now regenerating with endless fields of fireweed, and numerous vantage points to see the turquoise glacial waters that snake through the area.
Hikers on the Rockwall Trail in Kootenay National Park.
Kari Medig /
6. For historians: BarkervilleThis incredible historic town is a testament to the prospectors who arrived in the mid-1800s to search for gold on a trail that took them to Barkerville, as it became known — named after a famous prospector named William (Bill) Barker. More than 125 heritage buildings line the streets in this town that was declared a national historic site in 1924.This is a place in which history is kept alive through storytelling, tours, re-creation of court trials — plus a working blacksmith shop. There are a lot of activities to explore and you’ll definitely need several days to take it all in. If you came here as a child, the experience stays with you — a perfect trip for families, or history buffs. Consider the schedule of events from which to plan your trip: choose from a pie-eating contest or a murder mystery.
The historic town of Barkerville.
Rob Lloyd /
7. For adventurers: Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial ParkHow many places in this province can you go that are this remote? This wilderness area has yet to have its archeological information completed and officials urge that you report a site of interest or artifact to the BC Parks Office (867-634-7043).This is rugged wilderness that is increasingly attracting both kayakers, rafters and canoeists because of its remote location — and you won’t find this place crawling with tourists looking for the best selfie spot. There is walk-in camping, but no facilities. And that is the beauty of it. All trips on the Alsek and Tatshenshini rivers require a permit. This is where you can hike and avoid the crowds lining up for photos. Mountain biking is permitted but you must stick to routes and, because of this remote location, such routes are not as well maintained. Consider the park site warning that it can snow anytime here, so a trip here must be well planned to account for any variables.You might also be interested in …Solo travel: 5 reasons why this is a growing trendAssiniboine Lodge: Enjoy the majesty of the Canadian RockiesBC Travel: 4 trips to get you out of your comfort zoneGirlfriend getaways: Weekend trip ideas from B.C. to Saskatchewan10 reasons why the off-season is the best time to go to TofinoArt museum brings Emily Carr, Bill Reid to the slopes in WhistlerStorm watching in style at Tofino’s Wickaninnish Inn3 easy off-season day trips from VancouverThree days in Whitehorse: What to do in and around Yukon’s capital cityAlberta travel: 6 unique getaways in Southern AlbertaSafe travel: 5 tips to help you back up your passport, travel documentsValentine’s Day idea: Surprise your sweetie with a romantic weekend in Victoria10 tips on how to pack for your next trip5 cheap travel destinations for 2019