10 BC Experiences to Add to Your Bucket List


The province of British Columbia in Canada is an outdoor paradise – there’s something for every adventurer, whether you’re interested in mountains, rainforests, wildlife, lakes, rivers, or the ocean. The terrain can be gentle, such as the rolling vineyards of the Okanagan, or it can be extreme, like the backcountry skiing near Whistler. And the great thing is there’s always a BC guide who’s more than willing to show you around. To tell us more about this amazing province, we enlisted the professional help of Carlo Alcos, the managing editor of online travel magazine Matador. This is what he writes:

Born and bred in BC, I know full well the breadth of beauty of this western-most Canadian province. As an outdoor enthusiast, there is plenty to keep me occupied, whether by myself, with friends, or, when necessary, with a guide. It’s what I love about this place. Here are the 10 quintessential BC experiences to add to your bucket list:

#1. Kayaking with Orcas in Johnstone Straight

I’ve been on whale watching tours and I’ve travelled on a small boat in Southeast Alaska, but I have yet to see orcas in the wild. Just my luck I suppose. What an experience it would be to hang out with them at their level in a kayak. Johnstone Strait is among the best places in the world to kayak with killer whales. They return to these waters to feed and enjoy themselves near the beaches of the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve. Besides orcas, you’ll also likely see dolphins, eagles, and black bears, among other wildlife.

#2. Watching Bears in the Great Bear Rainforest

Off the north-central coast, just touching Alaska, is around 32,000 square kilometers of protected wilderness, one of the largest remaining tracts of unspoiled temperate rainforest left in the world. It is home to the Kermode (“Spirit”) Bear, a Black Bear subspecies with a recessive gene that causes its fur to be white. Other wildlife to stalk with your cameras and binoculars include: spawning salmon (which you can snorkel with), cougars, wolves, brown and black bears. The area is best explored by hiking and from the water on a boat or kayak as there aren’t any “roads” to speak of.

#3. Hiking in the Kootenays

I’d be remiss to leave out my home area. The Kootenays region in southeastern BC is home to serious rugged mountain terrain and some of the best views on Earth. Get off the beaten path with some backcountry hikes to truly experience the wilderness. Bag peaks, frolick in wildflowers, hike along a glacier – if you’re looking for a challenge with the rewards of what nature can offer, this is the place for you.

#4. Taking a helicopter tour in Revelstoke

Revy, as it is colloquially known, is home to one of Canada’s top ski resorts and the area has plenty of off-piste terrain as well. Drop into untouched powder on a heliskiing tour for a true BC experience. If the slopes aren’t your thing, there’s still plenty of exciting bird’s-eye views: mountain peaks, lush valleys, alpine lakes, and glaciers. It’s even possible to to go heli-fishing and heli-golfing!

#5. River Fishing in the Fraser Valley

As far as game fishing goes, the Fraser River white sturgeon is the biggest BC has to offer – they can weigh as much as 1,000 pounds and grow to 12+ feet in length. This is an all-year event although the best times are between March and November. If it’s salmon you’re after, the world-renowned Fraser River salmon runs are where you want to be. Depending on your time of visit, you’ll have the chance to catch one or more of the five types of Pacific salmon: Chinook, Sockeye, Pink, Coho, and Chum.

#6. Skiing the Whistler backcountry

You’d be hard-pressed to meet anyone who hasn’t heard of Whistler, site of many of the alpine events in the 2010 Winter Olympics. While the resort has some of the best terrain and technology in the world – including the “Peak-2-Peak Gondola” connecting Whistler and Blackcomb mountains (the world’s longest free span from tower-to-tower at 3km, and the highest at 436m) – there’s no substitute for getting into the backcountry and away from the crowds.

#7. Sailing in Vancouver

There are many options for getting onto the water in Vancouver, but a quintessential way to take in the beautiful city skyline and surrounding islands is to go on a single or multi-day trip, either on a public cruise or private charter. There are plenty of choices that depart from numerous ports in and around the city.

#8. Biking in Victoria

There are many beautiful biking routes in Victoria, Vancouver Island. You could strike out on your own, or look for a local bikinggroup or evena guide to take you on a scenic bike tour!

#9. Whitewater rafting…anywhere!

I’ll always remember my first whitewater rafting experience on the Thompson River, about three hours from Vancouver. There’s nothing like the rush of frothing waters while you and your raft-mates dig in with your paddles with ferocious intensity, trusting that your guide will get you through the rapids unscathed. There are uncountable options throughout BC accommodating all experience and comfort levels.

#10. Interpretive sightseeing around Vancouver

Not everything needs to be physically demanding. Sometimes you just want to sit back, let others do the work for you, and learn in a comfortable environment. Choose from “flightseeing” in a float-plane or helicopter over the Sunshine Coast, or going on a tour to sights such as the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Whistler Village. If you need to move a little bit, there are plenty of guided walking and cycling tours to choose from to learn about Vancouver’s history. If you’re looking for something romantic, it would be hard to beat a horse-drawn carriage around Stanley Park!

What’s your favourite thing to do in Beautiful British Columbia?

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  • kishbgoh

    An amazing places to visit for the enjoyment of life, thrilling to monotonous human life.

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