Hit the Road

These five must-see B.C. destinations will make for a breathtakingly beautiful summer of adventure.

Haida Gwaii, B.C.

You don’t have to look very far these days to find enticing travel deals, offering to jet set you away to a tropical paradise, on a European excursion or a wild weekend away in Las Vegas.

While such getaways have much to offer in the way of excitement, the arrival of summer on the west coast presents the perfect opportunity to hit the road and explore what our province has to offer.

While road trips take a little extra time – and a lot of planning – they also offer the chance to take in every little magnificent detail, and show you why our province is called Beautiful British Columbia. There’s no shortage of places to visit in B.C., however, Indulge has selected its Top Five Must-See destinations for the ultimate summer road trip.

Tofino

While getting to the western coast of Vancouver Island takes a little time, effort and money – the trip includes a ferry ride from the mainland, followed by a 200-km drive – what awaits you on the other end is well worth the journey.

Endless beaches, surreal landscapes and ancient rainforests make Tofino a destination for nature lovers, surfing enthusiasts, hikers and foodies alike.

Some visitors may choose to while away the hours with their toes in the sand, enjoying the saltwater breeze on their faces. But if you’re more inclined to partake in all the area has to offer, there is plenty to keep you busy.

Surfing, whale watching, kayaking, fishing, hiking, zip-lining and ‘flight’ seeing are just a few of the activities close at hand in Tofino.

And with the appetite you’re sure to work up after embarking on some of the aforementioned adventures, the village has a variety of fine-dining establishments, casual eateries, pubs and cafes to choose from.

Whistler

Well-known as a world-class ski and snowboard destination, Whistler is also a popular summer spot for travellers from all walks of life.

Boasting the world’s longest free-span gondola – the Peak 2 Peak, at a length of 4.4 km, connecting Whistler and Blackcomb mountains – a ride aboard this landmark offers stunning 360-degree views of the village, mountain peaks, lakes and forests.

Whistler is also one of North America’s top mountain-biking destinations, with a dedicated bike park that offers vast terrain for bikers of all abilities, consisting of more than 200 km of lift-serviced trails. For even more adventure, check out the local zip-lining and bungee-jumping companies that operate out of the area.

When it’s time to relax after a day of sightseeing and adrenaline, Whistler Village has an array of restaurants, pubs, clubs, shops, spas and cafes to unwind in.

Okanagan

Perhaps one of the province’s most diverse locales, the Okanagan – comprised of several towns including Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon and Osoyoos – offers something for everyone.

Mountain landscapes, desert terrain, lakes, rivers and valleys – this area, approximately four hours from the Lower Mainland, has it all.

Take a dip in the infamous Okanagan Lake or climb aboard the historic Kettle Valley Stem Railway in Summerland, built in 1915, that chugs along the famous trestles 238 feet above the canyon floor.

One of the area’s biggest draws is its vast collection of wineries – more than 130 licensed vineyards. There are several tour companies that offer day-trips of several local wineries, or you can embark on your own wine-tour adventure (just make sure you have a designated driver.)

Haida Gwaii

This destination is by far the most remote in the province – a series of islands located on the western-most point of northern B.C. – but ranks atop the must-see list for adventurous travellers.

Ancient temperate rainforests with unimaginably huge old-growth trees, quaint villages steeped in culture and history and secluded inlets and beaches make up this remote part of the province, formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands.

The villages of Massett and Skidegate are home to several world-renowned Haida artists, many of whom work out of their homes that are open to the public. A visit to the Gwaii Haanas National Park and Haida Heritage Site offers a plethora of outdoor activities, including kayaking, bird watching, fishing and sailing.

Getting there is the tricky part – by road, you drive to Prince Rupert (close to 17 hours) and then take a seven-hour ferry to Skidegate. Alternatively, you can take a ‘circle route’ aboard BC Ferries’ inside passage route, from Prince Rupert south to Port Hardy. For a time-saving trip to Haida Gwaii, Air Canada offers flights out of Vancouver daily.

Alaska Highway

This historical landmark was originally built in the 1940s as a supply route to support North American defense efforts in the Second World War.  It is now known as one of the province’s most scenic drives, with rolling hills, diverse forest landscapes and terrain dotted with turquoise-blue lakes.

Dawson Creek in northeastern B.C. is home to Mile 0 of the highway, which winds its way through Fort St. John, Fort Nelson and Steamboat, B.C. before arriving at Summit Lake in Stone Mountain Park (Mile 370), the highest point of the journey at 1,295 metres.

Muncho Lake Provincial Park (Mile 454) is a must-see, with jade-green lakes and sheep, moose and caribou roaming the terrain. Liard River Hot Springs (Mile 496) is home to Canada’s second-largest natural hot springs.

For those embarking on the B.C. stretch, the terminus point is usually Watson Lake, YT (Mile 649), however the highway carries through to Alaska, stretching an impressive distance of 2,232 km in total.

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