How to Plan the Ultimate British Columbia Road Trip
Anyone who has ever tried to see all of BC in one road trip will appreciate how challenging it is. At 944,735 km², British Columbia is larger than Germany and France combined, and it has a rich array of different natural spaces, cities, and towns to explore. Unless you have little interest in stopping to admire BC’s great outdoors, we highly advise against attempting to “see everything”. Instead, we recommend taking the time and care to jot down all of the places that interest you most in BC, and then plotting them on a map. Looking at these dots on the map, a natural driving route might start to suggest itself to you. Believe it or not, this process is actually tremendously fun! We’d like to offer some great spots to add to your BC road trip in this guide, and if anything we say inspires you to travel with us, please take a look at our British Columbia Tours and Experiences and our Boutique BC Accommodation.
Choosing Your Vehicle for your BC Road Trip
In a sense, any road trip will be defined as much by your mode of transport as by the changing landscapes around you. Driving by car will be the easiest option as many will already have a car available to them. Cars are great because they allow you to travel relatively light and it’s rarely difficult to find a parking spot. If you fully intend to stay in hotels throughout your trip, then a car is undoubtedly the best option. However, if you’re interested in getting out into the stunning BC wilderness, an RV is a much better option.
RVs allow you to improvise where you sleep at night, and they also help you get right out into some of British Columbia’s wilder areas as you have your accommodation with you at all times. Our Peak to Sea Discovery in a Modern RV could be the perfect BC road trip for you as you can travel at your own pace but with a full itinerary of activities and sights to explore, all while staying in a comfortable RV.
Drive the Sea to Sky Highway
BC’s most famous driving route is famous for a reason. Many who have driven the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Pemberton (north of Whistler) would argue that it’s one of the greatest driving routes in the world. And we wouldn’t disagree. One of the best things about this route is that you can drive it in roughly 90 minutes provided you don’t stop along the way. And this means that you get a real sense of the changing landscapes as you move from the coast up through the Coast Mountain Range. The views are incredible, and you get a different experience, with different sights, on the return journey!
If you’ve just driven the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver, you’ll be more or less in Whistler. We highly recommend taking a little time to explore Whistler Blackcomb — perhaps Canada’s most famous ski resort. Of course, you’ll get more out of Whistler in the winter, but there are also some incredible hikes here in the summertime. In the winter, you can rent some skis or a snowboard and get out on the slopes, then enjoy some fine dining and other luxuries in the resort’s facilities.
Drive to the Okanagan Valley
For a little variety, you may like to visit the enigmatic Okanagan region. The temperate climate and fertile land are perfect for growing grapes, meaning that the Okanagan Valley has become one of Canada’s top wine-producing regions. Park your vehicle for a day or two and enjoy a few vineyard tours and wine tastings in the area. There really is nothing like walking through gorgeous vineyards then tasting the wine they helped produce. The Okanagan is also great for water sports as it has a brilliant lake and a large river. So, don’t miss your chance to get out on the water for a spot of kayaking or sailing. If you’d prefer to have a full experience right in the Okanagan, take a look at Landsby’s 4-Day Okanagan Sustainability Adventure.
Drive to Yoho National Park
If hiking is your forte, then we highly recommend visiting Yoho National Park on the BC-Alberta border. Just on the western edge of the Canadian Rockies. The epic mountainscape will not disappoint — and there are lakes, rivers, and forests to take in as well. Anyone who needs a healthy dose of the great outdoors has to include this national park in their road trip. Look out for Takakkaw Falls, Emerald Lake, and the particularly impressive Lake McArthur. And if you get this far east in BC and you’d like to go further, we highly recommend venturing into Alberta too. Make it an even grander road trip! If you need a little inspiration, take a look at our range of Alberta Experiences.
Drive to the Great Bear Rainforest
Canada’s wild areas are especially rugged, and this means that only the biggest, most impressive animals can live and thrive here. The Great Bear Rainforest is particularly vast, with a fantastic array of native species to appreciate (from a safe distance). The Great Bear Rainforest is very aptly named; while you’re out in the rainforest, keep an eye out for brown bears (grizzly bears), black bears, and spirit bears. You might also spot mountain goats, Sitka deer, sea otters, grey wolves, and a range of whales off the coast, including blue whales and humpback whales. If you are especially interested in seeing grizzlies, you might like to consider our Grizzly Bear Safari.
More Places to Include in Your BC Road Trip
There are, of course, many more things to do in British Columbia, and while we can’t discuss everything in intricate detail, here is a small list of other BC highlights we highly recommend:
Vancouver Island (including its capital city of Victoria)
Stanley Park (Vancouver’s excellent park)
Whale watching off the coast of Vancouver
Kootenay National Park
Glacier National Park
Quadra Island (read our Guide to Visiting BC’s Quadra Island)
Mount Robson Provincial Park (image at the top of this guide)
If you have any questions about the Landsby tours mentioned in this short guide, please feel free to get in touch. Otherwise, we hope we’ve inspired you to finally stop dreaming about your next big road trip and to actually make it happen!