British Columbia is filled with an abundance of beautiful areas to explore, and with such huge geographical diversity it is no wonder that it offers everything from deserts to dense forests.
Amongst the more popular destinations to explore in BC, there are also several lesser-known spots that give stunning views as well as some that offer peaceful isolation. These places will show you a side of BC that you have never seen before, so be sure to add them to your bucket list!
Where: Vancouver Island
Tofino is a great idea for anyone who is interested in surfing - not only are the beaches relatively quiet (who needs crowded beaches?), you get a great laid back surfing culture of like-minded avid surfers. Known as the surfing capital of BC and only a short flight from Vancouver, it is estimated that 50% of individuals who call Tofino home surf on a regular basis.
Where: Port Renfrew
Botanical Beach really is an amazing location for visitors - a natural wonder known for its intertidal zone and crystal clear tide pool formations. These tide pools are home to various fascinating marine species, and from the shoreline you never know when you may see grey whales, orcas, harbour seals, or sea lions!
Where: Powell Rover
BC's Sunshine Coast is located a short ferry or plane ride from Vancouver, and still remains under the radar as a vacation destination. The coast offers breathtaking scenery, and many outdoor activities such as kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, and more.
Where: Okanagan Valley
Did you know there is a desert right in Canada? Located in the Okanagan Valley, known for its bold red wine, Osoyoos is surrounded by vineyards and mountains. Not only that, but it is known for its warm water, as well as its beautiful beaches.
Great Bear Rainforest
Where: Gribbell Island
As the name suggests, this forest is home to a black bear species called the Kermode (or ‘spirit’) bear. This type of black bear has a recessive gene which actually gives it a white fur coat! The Great Bear Rainforest is one of the largest coastal rainforests in the world, and is utterly unique.
Parkhurst Ghost Town
Although Squamish is a well known destination for travellers interested in hiking and exploring, Parkhurst Ghost Town definitely ranks as one of the most unusual, exotic, and interesting hikes in the area. Previously a small logging town perched on the edge of Green Lake, it is now an abandoned area where you can find dilapidated houses and tractors.
Hatley Castle is a gorgeous 1908 castle-style residence surrounded by lavish gardens, where numerous movies and television episodes have been filmed. Most famously, it was the set for Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters in the 2000 superhero movie 'X-Men'.
If you are feeling particularly adventurous, head to the Train Wreck located in Whistler - a collection of seven abandoned train cars that derailed decades ago on Whistler’s south side. Dramatic graffiti art has transformed the wreckage into a work of art that is sure to amaze any explorer.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
This Ming Dynasty-style garden is tucked away from the streets behind protective walls in the heart of Chinatown in Vancouver, and will transport you to a whole different country. Take note - there is usually an admission fee to enter the garden, however on Chinatown Cultural Day in Vancouver (April 22), admission to the garden is complimentary throughout the day.
Where: Powell River
Savary Island offers the warmest water north of Mexico, thanks to the warm southern tide. With gleaming white sand beaches, beautiful crystal clear waters, and stunning ocean and mountain views, it really is a little piece of paradise close to Vancouver.
VanDusen Garden's Elizabethan Hedge Maze
This hedge maze is only one of six in North America, and is made of 3000 pyramidal cedars - all planted in the autumn of 1981. There is also an observation deck for those who are less adventurous to view the maze!
The Enchanted Forest
The Enchanted Forest is a fairytale land with over 350 fairy folk figurines hidden amongst the centuries-old cedar trees, created by Artist Doris Needham and her husband Ernest. This beautiful serene forest boasts enchanting creations from fairytales and nursery rhymes, and you will feel like you are transported to another world.
Where: Northern BC
Haida Gwaii is made up of a series of islands at the most westerly point of Northern BC, and is home to temperate rainforests, quaint villages, and beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see. Its number one attraction is the Gwaii Haanas National Park, which contains its unique species of flora and fauna, and is definitely worth a visit.
Located in Chilliwack, the Chipmunk Caves are a series of small limestone caves along the shore of the Chilliwack River. There is an easy 10-minute trail walk to the caves - make sure to bring a flashlight with you as there are several small crawl spaces in this particular cave once you have entered.
What are you waiting for?! There are countless places to venture out to in British Columbia, and with the rainy weather slowly coming to an end, there is no time like the present to begin exploring.