Driving through small town British Columbia
British Columbia is surrounded by stunning natural beauty and regardless what small towns you are driving through you are guaranteed to see something remarkable.
British Columbia is surrounded by stunning natural beauty and regardless what small towns you are driving through you are guaranteed to see something remarkable. Each journey is spectacular in this province and your trip may include mountain ranges, watersheds, thousand-year-old trees, ecosystems, valleys, rivers, and wildlife. These B.C. towns are great destinations if you want to extend your day road trip into a weekend or weeklong getaway.
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Nanaimo is located on Vancouver Island’s east coast and is a great island city to explore. It’s the largest North American Island in the Pacific Ocean located 113 km north of Victoria and 750,000 people call it home. There are several ways to get there, including the B.C. ferry service across the Strait of Georgia. There is the option to rent a car once you are on the island for several unique road trip possibilities. It’s ideal for families as there are over 200 parks and trails to discover and four water parks to cool off in on a hot summer day. You can also visit a farmers market and have a picnic on the beach. Despite being an island there are two-lane highways and it’s known to be congestion free for your drive throughout the island.
The road trip to Lillooet is beautiful and wildlife has been known to pop out and say hello, so drive with caution. It is about a four hour drive from Vancouver along the Trans Canada highway. Mountains surround the community and it’s the perfect opportunity to give rock climbing a try. There is a vibrant arts scene and historical sites to check out for the whole family. The original inhabitants of the land were the St’át’imc First Nations and you can learn about their culture and history all year through various festivals and experiences in this town known as “the Harbour City”.
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Nelson is recognized as the premier small arts town in Canada and a great place to end up after a road trip. This charming city is located in the West Kootenay region in between Vancouver and Calgary and is a half hour drive from the City of Castlegar. Right on the shores of Kootenay Lake in the Selkirk Mountains the natural wonders of this destination are great for photographers to capture. There are parks and beaches for all things nature related and 350 heritage buildings to admire, or take a ride on their fully restored streetcar.
The history of Fernie dates back to 1887 and the coal mining days. This authentic mountain town has no shortage of fun things to do including nature experiences like biking, hiking, and rafting, as well as the local arts and culture and scene. Fernie is a half hour road trip from the Alberta border and three hours from Calgary. It’s located on Highway # 3, the easiest of the highways that go directly through the Rocky Mountains that connect British Columbia and Alberta. This low-key town is a great escape from hectic city life for a laid-back weekend getaway.
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Cowichan Bay is known for its quaint and charming appeal. There are docks and vineyards to explore and lots of outdoor adventures. Located on the Cowichan region of Vancouver Island you can combine this road trip with one to Nanaimo or explore them separately. If you don’t live in B.C., another option is to fly into Victoria and rent a car to drive through Malahat with stunning scenery or take the Brentwood Bay ferry to Cowichan. A unique experience here is the exceptional diving if you want to explore marine life in the Salish Sea. Or choose one of the many beaches for a family picnic or some quiet time alone with a good book.
The population in the small community of Harrison Hot Springs is just over 1,500 people. It’s located 120 km east of Vancouver and is a great summer destination with so many outdoor things to do such as canoeing, sailing and eco-adventures on Harrison River or Sasquatch Provincial Park. If you are looking for an invigorating mineral soak you can visit Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa and take a dip in one of their pools – there are five to choose from – including a family pool. If you are feeling more adventurous you can explore the Fraser Canyon or Hemlock Valley.
Your road trip across British Columbia doesn’t have to stop at these small towns – there are many more adventures to choose from! Visit British Columbia’s website for more travel ideas if you want to plan future road trips to the province whose tagline is “It’s in our nature”.
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