Vancouver, Coast & Mountains

The western part of southwestern B.C. is comprised of hundreds of miles of rugged coastline, from Greater Vancouver on up the Sunshine Coast to Desolation Sound.  Northeast is Sea to Sky Country and the famous resort area of Whistler Blackcomb and Garibaldi Provincial Park. East from Vancouver is the historic corridor of the Fraser Valley where the mighty Fraser River flows through the countryside.

Further east still is Rainbow Country stretching from the Vedder Canal in the west to Manning Park in the southeast and the Fraser Canyon in the north.

And we must not forget Vancouver, a sophisticated city in a spectacular setting on the ocean. The vast array of attractions in and around Vancouver will amaze you. Visit the historic fishing village of Steveston near Richmond or the Reifel Bird Sanctuary in Delta. The Royal City of New Westminster has museums and heritage sites as well as a delightful Quay and Public Market. Burnaby is the home of Simon Fraser University, the Burnaby Village Museum and Art Gallery and Central Park. Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam house a multitude of recreation facilities including Pitt Lake, the largest freshwater tidal lake in the world. Port Moody is known as the “City of Arts” and offers theatrical productions and festivals year round. Tropical flowers and peacocks are an unexpected pleasure in Langley's Sendall Gardens. In North and West Vancouver, are Cypress, Grouse and Seymour mountains, as well as the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Park, Lonsdale Quay Public Market and picturesque Deep Cove.

Vancouver itself has lots to entertain you, including a wonderful array of stage and theatre events, fine dining on the waterfront or high in the sky. Walk through historic Gastown and Chinatown, and enjoy the gardens, lush forest and activities in Stanley Park. Visit the Art Gallery, Aquarium, Planetarium, museums and much more.

If the sea and coastline is your camping choice, take a trip up the Sunshine Coast.  Explore the unspoiled wilderness and marvel at the magnificent scenery. Just 40 minutes by B.C. Ferries from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale, the area has an abundance of recreational opportunities. Take a "mini Alaska" cruise to Princess Louisa Inlet, fish for salmon or trout, dig for clams or oysters or enjoy canoeing, hiking, diving or golfing. Take another 50 minute trip on B.C. Ferries across Jervis Inlet and on to Powell River where more outdoor activities await you.

Perhaps the mountains draw you to British Columbia. Explore the easily accessible area of Sea to Sky Country. Travel the 285 km (130 mi) paved highway from North Vancouver to Whistler and on to Pemberton. You will be amazed at the spectacular scenery along the way. Visit Shannon Falls Provincial Park near Britannia Beach and enjoy the many recreational activities at Squamish. For the ultimate challenge in rock climbing, scale the Stawamus Chief monolith or the Smoke Bluffs.

Garibaldi Provincial Park is popular for its hiking trails and wilderness camping, and Whistler Resort features superb skiing. Summer recreation abounds at this year round resort with golfing, heli skiing, hiking, hot air ballooning, watersports, mountain biking, sightseeing, tennis and horseback riding. Travel on up to Pemberton and take the Hurley River Road to Gold Bridge or drive Hwy 99 through Mount Currie and Lillooet. Follow Hwy 12 to Lytton, then join Hwy 1 for the drive south through the splendour of the Fraser Canyon into Mighty Fraser Country.

Travelling east from Vancouver you enter the Fraser Valley. Here the Fraser River meanders through gently rolling hills and lush, green forests. The area is home to many heritage sites and museums, the most famous of which is Fort Langley National Historic Park. Take in the Abbotsford International Air Show.

In Mighty Fraser Country lakes and rivers are plentiful for the fishing enthusiast, while sailing and watersport activities abound on Harrison and Cultus Lakes. Golfers have their choice of several excellent courses in the area and hikers will enjoy the climb to alpine meadows in the backcountry of Manning Park. In Harrison Mills, take a trip back in time at the authentic 1920s Kilby General Store Museum. For excitement try river rafting down the Fraser Canyon through Hell’s Gate, or thrill at the ride in the Hell’s Gate Air Tram as it swings across the canyon. Enjoy the beauty of Minter Gardens. You can go gold panning near Hope or walk through the huge Othello/Quintette Tunnels carved out of solid rock. In the winter, experience cross country and downhill skiing at Manning and Hemlock. For rest and relaxation dip into the famous mineral pools at Harrison Hot Springs.

British Columbia