Best Places to Visit in Western Canada
The western region of Canada is a destination for any type of traveller – whether you’re an active explorer, a cultural history buff, or a no-hassler traveller, these best places to visit in Western Canada will satisfy your wanderlust. Frankly, there is so much to see and explore in this region – it may be overwhelming when planning your itinerary. Whether you’re visiting for a limited time, or simply want to know what the best attractions are, our guide below will make your travel planning easier.
We want to help you have amazing experiences wherever you go. If you’re travelling to Western Canada on your next trip, consider visiting the following cities:
One of the most beautiful cities in the world, Vancouver has the vibrancy of a city but with natural charm and picturesque scenery. In the urban center, you will experience the multicultural city first-hand through delectable restaurants and unique art museums, such as the Vancouver Art Gallery. The many neighborhoods that surround Vancouver are also worth exploring, each offering their own attractions. You can visit the local boutiques at Granville Island, dine on a patio at Yaletown, learn about the steam clock in Gastown and take in beautiful views at Kitsilano Beach.
With a mild climate year round, you can visit Vancouver any time of the year and have plenty of sights to see and adventures to take part in. The many outdoor activities available keep locals and tourists busy throughout the year. From hiking to skiing and everything in-between, there’s always something to do in Vancouver. Many popular activities include hiking up Quarry Rock, visiting the Capilano suspension bridge and biking around Stanley Park.
If you’re looking for peaceful wine country, head to the Okanagan, a valley east of Vancouver. A popular tourist destination during the spring and summer, the Okanagan is known for its sunny climate and winery estates. If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, be sure to tour the local wineries including Mission Hill, Quail’s Gate and Gray Monk Estate Winery.
This area of British Columbia is also known for its relaxed lifestyle, so if you’re craving low-key adventure fit for the whole family this is the place to be. The valley is home to the vast Okanagan Lake, an area made for swimming and water activities, including stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, and boating. This part of the region also offers breathtaking landscapes and trails perfect for hiking, biking and outdoor yoga. Aside from activities and worthwhile sights, the Okanagan Valley is also known for its fresh produce. Be sure to grab a taste of their local fresh fruit, vegetables, and artisanal goods at the Kelowna Farmers’ and Crafters Market.
If you prefer spending most of the day exploring the wilderness, visit Kootenay, one of Canada’s leading destinations for outdoor activities. This region, made up of lakes, beaches, meadows and snow-capped mountains, is the perfect destination for nature lovers. At the Wadey Forest Recreation Site, spend your day exploring the stunning surroundings with outdoor activities including hiking, paddle boarding, and whitewater rafting. For a fun and therapeutic experience, visit the hot springs at the Fairmont Hot Springs, Ainsworth Hot Springs or Lussier Hot Springs.
Kootenay also serves as a natural stunning location for art inspired projects, especially for photography and painting. A popular spot to capture “wow” moments include Trout Lake, Upper Arrow Lake, and Kootenay National Park, where you’ll get a peak of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
For a trip of discovery and activity, visit the region of alpine lakes, diverse wildlife and inspiring scenery otherwise known as the Canadian Rockies. For breathtaking mountain landscapes and picture-perfect sights and activities, make sure to visit Yoho National Park, Banff and Jasper National Park. These locations are also great for outdoor recreation year-round. During the summer, you can enjoy hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking and fishing. In the cooler months, you can enjoy skiing, skating, and dog sledding.
After spending your days filled with adventure, spend the evenings unwinding and dining in Banff or Canmore, two areas known for their unique shopping experiences, compelling art galleries, and delicious dining scene.
To explore the very west of the Pacific Coast, visit Vancouver Island, a region with a diverse ecosystem and a temperate climate. On Vancouver Island, you’ll come across unspoiled wilderness and beautiful coastlines, featuring rainforests, lakes, and meadows. When exploring the depths of the island, you’ll meet a vast number of natural species including orcas, salmon and local birds.
The natural beauty of the island has inspired great art over the years and you can witness it by visiting the locally celebrated Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. While visiting Victoria, you’ll get a sense of the British heritage at the Parliament Buildings and at the Empress Hotel, a Fairmont hotel known for its High tea and Death by Chocolate.
For a culturally inspired trip, visit The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, a vast landscape stretching from the Pacific Coast to the Cariboo Mountain. Known for its First Nations & Pioneering history, Cariboo is home to a historic small town named Barkeville. This town, which you can find by following the Gold Rush Trail, features over 125 heritage buildings. To learn more about the early frontier days, when the miners took over this region in the 1800s, visit the many local events, museums and galleries that display historic art and culture.
For some daytime adventure, Cariboo is known for its outstanding outdoor recreational activities, including kayaking, canoeing and whitewater rafting at the Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit. Through your excursions, you’ll witness the region’s diverse landscapes and rich history.
If you’re looking to spend your days filled with adventure, art and culture, make sure to visit these popular cities. Whether you’re travelling as a family or going on a trip solo, this part of the country has many diverse and beautiful areas worth exploring. If you’re planning to visit but don’t know which time of year would be best for you, let us help: read our last post featuring the best time to visit Western Canada.