What we love about B.C. is that there's a whole slew of amazing things to do in the winter! Our province is home to prime skiing and adorable small towns rich with history that are magical in the Winter.
Whether you feel inspired to go on a road trip this Winter or find a nearby small town to enjoy sitting fireside, this list is full of places to see in British Columbia that epitomize Winter Wonderland!
These towns around the province have their own winter festivals, carnivals, ski resorts, and lights festivals that bring on the charm. You won't want to miss out on a single one of these towns this Winter!
Winter is the most magical time to check out Harrison. Sure, Summer on the lake is great, but the icy weather means that snow and icicles make the place look like a veritable Winter Wonderland! Plus, there's nothing like dipping into hot springs when it's snowy! Not to mention it's healthy for you. This year, Harrison is hosting a Lights on the Lake event sure to draw many people looking for a magical experience this Winter.
When you think of cutesy magical towns in our province, Kimberley jumps to mind. Kimberley is like a little slice of Bavaria. They have Canada's largest freestanding cuckoo clock that looks simply enchanting covered with snow! Kimberley is fast becoming an elegant European-style ski destination. They even have a place called the Old Bauernhaus Restaurant that was built in Germany in 1640 and then was brought to Canada and put up in Kimberley! You'll magically get all the perks of an alpine ski vacation with none of the jetlag.
The picturesque town of Fernie is breathtaking in the Winter. There's an alpine ski resort where you can hit the slopes, but it's in the centre of town where you'll find all the charm! Their downtown is full of well-maintained heritage buildings. Imagine walking in the snow through the historic town all decorated and lit up for the season! In town, you'll also find their heritage library and their museum where you can warm up between shopping and going out for lunch.
Climb to the top of Teapot Mountain in Prince George in the afternoon and camp out, waiting for the perfect opportunity to see the Northern Lights! PG is nothing short of magical in the Winter. Imagine clear, sunny skies in the morning and catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights after midnight. In December, Prince George has holiday lights events that make the chilly Winter nights warm right up with cheer.
Victoria might be the Captial City of British Columbia, but it will always be a town in my eyes! In the Winter, the inner harbour and historic downtown become absolutely magical. I love the lights and the old architecture and the way Victoria leans into its British heritage. Around every corner, you'll find an adorable street corner decked out in holiday decor and lights! You can also check out Butchard Gardens for a spectacular lights display in the Winter, or just sip hot chocolate outside the Parliament Buildings lit up like a postcard.
If you hear the mountains calling, then they're calling to you from Golden! This town has a spot called the Edelweiss Village where the Canada Pacific Rail built Swiss chalets for their employees who were Swiss expert mountain guides. These homes are over 100 years old now and make great material for Instagram! Explore the nearby mountains for yourself and hang out in the mountain lodges and chalets when you need a break.
Fort Nelson is where you want to go to fully experience the magic of Canadian Winters. You have a chance to encounter an incredible array of wildlife in Fort Nelson. Plus, Liard Hot Springs is not far away and we can't get over how amazing those hot springs are! Fort Nelson is so far north that you'll also get to see the enchanting Northern Lights on your visit.
Vernon is magical in the Winter because you can do basically every snow sport imaginable, plus ride a horse-drawn sleigh! This town also has their own magical Winter Carnival that dates back to 1893. SilverStar Mountain resort is one of the top Nordic Ski destinations in the Province and its colourful little buildings just look adorable!
Revelstoke in the Winter is pure magic! There's so much to see and do in addition to skiing at the resort. Visit Mt. Begbie Brewery where they supply Revelstoke with wintry craft beers and wander the streets of downtown, skiis over your shoulders, admiring the lights spiralling on the trees.
Ashcroft is a gold rush town and apart from the extreme high arctic zones, it's the dryest place in Canada. That means that when this desert-like ranch land is covered with snow, you'll magically feel like you've stepped into an actual Western! If you're lucky, you might even spot big horned sheep while you're here.
A little ways past Osoyoos and right along the border with the United States, Grand Forks is an incredible town worth checking out in the Winter. In the town, you'll find tree-lined streets and heritage buildings just like in a scene on a Christmas card. One thing definitely worth checking out is the Pride of the Valley Flour Mill run by members of the local Doukhobor community where you can learn about the history of the town and the people that make it so special!
Clearwater is a town worth visiting, but only for those die-hard Winter fans! It's right next to Alpine Meadows Resort and Wells Gray Park. It's difficult to access some of these trails, but with the right equipment and a certain amount of crazy Canadian determination, you'll be treated to nothing short of pure Winter magic.
You might have driven past Princeton on your way to wine country before! In the Winter, this town becomes a haven for people seeking peace, quiet, and good times with friends. Skiiers can check out the China Ridge Trails where you'll get cinematic views of the Coquihalla Mountain Range and their icy snow-capped mountains.
Keremeos is one of many towns in the Similkameen valley that loves Winter. Rivers and ponds ice over, creating outdoor ice rinks and there are plenty of trails to explore for snowshoeing and skiing. Keremeos has a two-day Christmas Light Up event in December where you can have a rare chance to visit wineries, shop from local artisans and join in the spirit of the town!
At the centre of Yoho National Park, you'll a magical little town called Field. Only about 200 people call Field home. If you head up to Field, then you have to stay at Emerald Lake Lodge. Inside, you'll find a reclaimed bar from an 1890's saloon! This spot is magical in the winter because it's right on the lake shore and you can see the dramatic Rocky Mountains nearby.
Dawson Creek is way up north in B.C. and you can begin a journey on the Alaskan Highway here or bundle up and watch the gorgeous Northern Lights. The peppy town of Dawson Creek makes a great place to stay while you explore the nearby skiing and historical sites. Because Dawson Creek is actually flat ranch land, it's perfect for watching the Northern Lights because you have wide open sky.
Greenwood is Canada's smallest city and what it lacks in size it makes up for in character! This place reminds me of Stars Hollow, especially because they have their own Founder's Day Festival and a wild history—Greenwood was a mining town that almost became a ghost town. In February, join in their WinterFest celebration or spend your time skiing on nearby Phoenix mountain. The town itself is pretty small so it's easy to explore in an afternoon!
Valemount is a quaint small town with plenty to offer. Adding to its charm are its museum inside an old railway station! In February, the town will have their annual Winter Festival complete with a dogsled ride through town, snowman contests and a bonfire.
Nelson is charming no matter the season. When you visit in the Winter you are in for a treat. The heritage streets are lively and filled with independent shops. You'll feel like you're in a modern-day fairy tale while you stroll down Baker Street in the falling snow! Like any good town worth its salt in B.C., it's an amazing destination for Winter sports, too! Nelson also has Winter markets worth checking out and a pretty sizeable downtown where you can explore at your leisure.
Castlegar in the West Kootneys region is a totally underrated destination in the province. It's also one of the best places for Nordic skiing because it isn't all that cold here even in the middle of winter! Outdoorsy folks can check out the Columbia & Western Railway or lace up and hit the outdoor skating rink. The town super proud of their Sculpturewalk, where you can walk around downtown and see works from local and international artists. Castlegar's magical scenery and small-town vibes will totally win your heart this Winter!
Pemberton is the cooler and more laid back version of Whistler. The town centre is adorable with the mountains in the backdrop and snow all around. Pemberton hosts Winterfest, a celebration of the town's Winter culture where you can see all the town has to offer at once! It's not just one of the best places in the world for skiing, it's also home to many artists and agriculturalists that make the whole vibe of the town inviting. Experience the magic for yourself this Winter and make sure to check out Winterfest!
It's no secret that Tofino is one of the best destinations in the province. You can splurge and dine at the renowned and romantic Wolf in the Fog restaurant and stay in a luxury oceanfront hotel. Or you can be a winter beach bum on the cheap! Drinking beers from Tofino Brewing Club and munching down at the OG Tacofino. In the Winter, they also have a lights display called Winterlights that will get you in touch with the magical side of Tofino.
There's a reason why Fort Langley keeps cropping up on our radar. It's the magical little town that has everything. In the Winter, when the heritage buildings and lazy roads are dusted with snow, you can get cosy inside Wendel's Bookstore and Cafe. The food offerings in Fort Langley really set it apart from other small towns where there can be slim pickings. You'll find a totally unassuming vegetarian restaurant called Veggie Bob's worth checking out for lunch, and if you have any room left, find yourself at the Blacksmith Bakery for an out-of-this-world treat. Fort Langley is a great place to go hang out this Winter for a magical good time!