British Columbia On a BudgetThe westernmost province in Canada, British Columbia, is four times the size of Great Britain with less than one tenth of the population. This is due to the vast mountain ranges just ready to be tackled including the Rockies, Selkirks and the Coastal Range. With vibrant cities and ambitious outdoor activities, British Columbia is ready for any traveler.
SightsThose who love the comfort of Mother Nature will love the beauty of British Columbia's Yoho National Park. On the western side of the continental divide separating Alberta and British Columbia, Yoho is full of lakes, waterfalls and, in the winter, it is a haven for ice climbing and other snow sports. Expect to see everything from bears to elk to mountain goats, but be sure to keep your distance and travel in groups.
For just as much beauty, with a bit more danger, visit the Glacier National Park. Located in the Interior Wetbelt region of British Columbia, this park experiences a large amount of precipitation in a year including snow. This area is dangerous wilderness with near constant avalanche danger. Be sure to explore this magnificent region with the help of a guide.
And let's not forget the draw of the young and fun city of Vancouver. The capital of this province is full of historical buildings, art galleries, refined restaurants, spectator sports and so much more. Just imagine anything you can do and see in a major, international city, and you will find it in Vancouver.
RegionsThis large province is divided into several regions. Vancouver Island is home to British Columbia's capital city Vancouver, while Lower Mainland includes world-class skiing in Whistler. Beach lovers will want to visit Thompson-Okanagan, and Kootenays provides more nautical fun with lakes, hot springs and rivers. The Canyons and the Cariboo is home to history and ranchlands, while the North and Central Coast is mostly untouched wilderness famous for fishing. Lastly, Northern British Columbia is a large area of mountains, forests and wildernesses with the start of the Fraser River.
ActivitiesBritish Columbia is home to some of the top winter sports areas in the world. Skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing, you name it you can do it in British Columbia. Try the skiing at Whistler-Blackcomb, the largest ski resort in North America. There's also Kimberley, Fernie, Nelson, Kelowna and Rossland.
For a challenging and scenic hike, follow the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail through the Commonwealth Nature Legacy Park. With over 3700 acres including a continuous hiking trail along 47 kilometers of coastline, this eerily beautiful trail is known as the "Graveyard of the Pacific," given the amount of shipwrecks that happened here.
And if that's just not enough for you, visit one of the most famous sites in the entire rock climbing world the Stawamus Chief of Squamish. This towering, granite has over 600 established routes in the area. Most of them are traditional, but some are known as sport routes including scaling the giant boulders at the base of the Stawamus Chief.
Food and DiningGiven the vast area of British Columbia, you're likely to find different dishes in different areas. Given the amount of tourists the larger cities entertain every year, it's unlikely you'll go hungry.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Pacific Northwest is freshness. Chefs meet fishing boats every morning to select the day's catch. In western Canada, chefs are very particular about letting their customers know where their food is from which farm, which orchard, what bay, etc. Don't miss out on any locally sourced food in British Columbia especially the seafood!
TransportationThe most convenient way to get around British Columbia is by air, but it's certainly not the most economical. Getting from the travel hub of Vancouver to anywhere within the province can be as expensive as getting to Europe.
Many of the places you'll want to visit are not accessible by public transportation. Some bus service is available within the cities, but it seems the most popular option is renting your own car. In this region, be sure to use your headlights both day and night. Also, provincial law requires that you prepay for your gas, and many don't accept cash.
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