Home Canadian News What to do in B.C. this spring? 8 road trip worthy destinations

What to do in B.C. this spring? 8 road trip worthy destinations

What to do in B.C. this spring? 8 road trip worthy destinations

From Whistler to the Columbia Valley and in between B.C.’s shines in the spring

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The promise of warmth and sunshine brings us all out of hibernation mode, and there’s no better way to rejuvenate the senses than with a quick getaway. From Vancouver Island’s rainforests to the Rockies, there’s much to explore in our backyard. Put a spring in your step by exploring these vibrant B.C. getaways.

Campbell River

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Outdoor adventures in this coastal community are similar to what you’d find in Tofino – minus the crowds and big wave surfing. Pick your on-the-water adventure by renting kayaks or paddle boards to explore Vancouver Island’s sheltered east coast.

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Stick to shore with easy rambles in one of the five nearby provincial parks. Sarasota Beach, a long stretch of creamy white sand with a shallow shoreline, is free from powerboats and is perfect for swimming.

Campbell River Golf Club
The Campbell River Golf Club is a par 70 18 hole course. Photo by Naturally Pacific Resort

If you need another reason to go, the onsite Campbell River Golf Club, an 18-hole par 70 course, just might swing it. Fuel up afterwards with Scandinavian-style Viennoiserie at Freyja Croissant Bakery and wet your whistle with refreshing ales and stout at Beach Fire Brewing.

Want to see wildlife? Indigenous-owned Homalco Wildlife & Culture Tours offers spring tours in the Bute Inlet, where you can witness black bears foraging along the water’s edge. At the same time, humpback and orca whales return from tropical climes.

Campbell River is also set to receive a significant style injection when Naturally Pacific Resort opens on May 11. The boutique hotel will bring a dose of luxury to the region with its custom mineral pool, full-service spa, and virtual driving range.

Carve Kitchen & Meatery, the resort’s signature restaurant, presents a fresh take on the classic steakhouse (think: island blue cheese mousse gussying up wedge salad, and tallow whipped potatoes accompanying 20-oz ribeyes and 50-oz tomahawk steaks). Onsite horticulturalists work with the kitchen team to get the 10,000-square-foot garden ready for summer pickings.

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When you think of cities in B.C., Cranbrook may not be top of mind, but it has one big advantage: location. Smack dab between the Purcell and Rocky Mountain ranges, daily direct flights from Vancouver make getting here easier than you think.

The main hub in the eastern Kootenay Rockies, Cranbrook is becoming a well-known gravel bike destination, hosting the Cranbrook Gravel Grind in late May. Of course, there are plenty of single-track routes as well, but Cranbrook’s abundance of gravel roads, low traffic, and variety of terrain make it a favourite for cyclists who like to maintain a relatively fast off-road pace.

golf resort
St Eugene Golf Resort and Casino has a spring deal available from April 12 to May 16 – $259 for a one night stay and a round of golf. Photo by Kari Medig

Plus, there’s golf. Cranbrook boasts seven championship courses within a 24 kilometre radius. Those used to city green fees will be pleasantly surprised at how affordable the Kootenay Rockies are, not to mention incredibly beautiful with those jagged pine-clad peaks swelling up from wildflower-filled meadows.

Minutes outside the city lies St. Eugene Resort, a former residential school turned Indigenous-owned resort. Visitors can participate in cultural experiences of the Ktunaxa Nation. There’s also an on-site interpretive centre and KOA campground, where restaurant meals can be delivered to your campsite via room service.

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Growing up in dusty Alberta, my family always made a beeline to Vancouver Island each spring for a dose of green. Parksville was one of our favourite spots, and it still holds nostalgic appeal with its go-karts, mini golf, and warm-water beach.

Wildlife Recovery
A volunteer holds Quinn the owl at North Island Wildlife Recovery Association.

Spring heralds the migratory return of thousands of brant geese making a pitstop between Mexico and their nesting grounds in the Arctic. While the Brant Wildlife Festival wrapped up on April 8, you can still spy the birds feasting on herring roe at local bays and sheltered beaches around the town. A 10-minute drive from Parksville lies the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association, where you can visit injured and orphaned wildlife such as eagles, falcons and black bears.

If you need a spot of pampering, Grotto Spa at Tigh-Na-Mara Resort was recently named the #1 Spa in Canada by Spas of America. The accolade is timely, as the spa reopened in February after a full renovation. Diffuse city stressors in their new cedar-barrel saunas, outdoor showers, and spa garden.

Columbia Valley

Neatly wedged between the stunning Rocky and Purcell Mountain ranges, spring brings blue skies and plenty of wildlife to the communities of Radium and Invermere.

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Tourism Radium
Spring brings blue skies and plenty of wildlife to the communities of Radium and Invermere in the Columbia Valley. Photo by Tourism Radium

Here, you can spy bighorn sheep, elk, black and grizzly bears—and more than 250 bird species—throughout spring, summer, and early fall. If you want to take it up a notch, earmark May 6-12 for the Wings over the Rockies nature festival, comprised of more than 100 events highlighting the interconnectedness of wildlife, landscapes, and people.

Indulge in a digital detox at the newly opened Raven’s Nest log cabins, which are off-grid, solar-powered, and without Wi-Fi. The remote setting overlooks the Columbia River Wetlands yet lies within easy striking distance of Fairmont Hot Springs.


With a disappointing snowfall for most of the ski season, nobody would blame you for not hitting the slopes this winter. But spring skiing is an entirely different beast – one that’s often more pleasurable and less painful with fewer crowds and softer snow should you tumble. While Blackcomb Mountain closes for the season on April 14, Whistler is expected to remain open until May 20. And don’t forget the World Ski and Snowboard Festival taking place April 8-14.

World Ski and Snowboard Festival takes place April 8-14. Photo by MIke Crane

Inspiring views of the lofty Coast Mountains aren’t just privy to skiers and snowboarders. Sightseeing on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola reopens June 15. Until then, soar above the alpine meadow studded with wildflowers on the Whistler Village Gondola until May 20, then the Blackcomb Gondola from May 21 to June 14.

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Switch from planks to wheels with the arrival of Whismas, the opening of Whistler Mountain Bike Park set for May 17. During this 25th  anniversary season, cyclists can experience the newly upgraded Fitzsimmons Express chairlift.

Bookmark May 7-19 for the Whistler Children’s Festival if you’ve got kids. Live entertainment ranging from magic shows to circus arts plus plenty of interactive experiences are sure to please the troops and poop them out.


Swap the oversubscribed wineries of Kelowna for sun-drenched Osoyoos, encircled by desert, vineyards and mountains. Heat-loving varietals such as Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon thrive in this warmer microclimate, as does Vitamin D-deprived oenophiles. Vasanti Wines, the region’s newest vineyard, is opening a tasting room in Northern Oliver this spring.

Though the shirt stain risk is high, there are two deliciously messy events for carnivore lovers this spring. Fill your lungs with BBQ’s sweet, smoky aromas before filling your stomach with succulent ribs and award-winning local wines during the Pig Out Festival May 3-5. Brisket aficionados will want to check out the first-ever Osoyoos Smoke Off Competition on Osoyoos Lake on May 18.

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Spotted lake
Spotted Lake is located along Highway 3, west of Osoyoos. Photo by Andrew Strain / Destination BC

June is National Indigenous History Month, offering several opportunities to learn, support, and celebrate the province’s 204 First Nations communities. At Nk’mip Cultural Centre, a new experience highlights the mineral-rich water of Spotted Lake. During the Spotted Lake Tour, guests join a local Elder to learn about the sacred healing site before taking a guided walk and rattlesnake experience back at the Centre.

Salt Spring Island

Get your legs ready for World Bicycle Day on June 3 in the relatively uncrowded Gulf Islands. Avid cyclist and founder of the popular outdoor adventure website Hike Bike Travel, Leigh McAdam, adores cycling Salt Spring Island at this time of year.

“Everything on the island comes alive. The daffodils are out, their farmer’s market is back on, and hiking trails are open. Plus, the prices are down,” says McAdam.

Leigh McAdam
Leigh McAdam enjoying the view from Yeo Point on Salt Spring Island.

As a cyclist, McAdam appreciates the many interesting pitstops—artist studios, lavender farms, wineries, and ciders pepper the island. Pick up provisions at Salt Spring Island Cheese before heading to Ruckle Provincial Park, a mere seven kilometres away. The provincial park sports 15 km of trails to meander around, with plenty of pocket beaches.

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While it’s possible to cycle the island’s northern or southern loops as a day trip from Tsawwassen, McAdam recommends spending the night at Hastings House.

“It’s such a beautiful property that feels especially alive and colourful in spring. The rooms are lovely, and they leave freshly baked muffins outside your door.”

Fraser Valley

It may be 150 kilometres from downtown Vancouver, but the Fraser Valley feels worlds away. Enjoy the relaxed pace, slightly warmer and drier climate, and abundant spring blooms.

There are three tulip festivals in the Fraser Valley (Abbotsford, Chilliwack, and Harrison) — starting with the Abbotsford Tulip Festival presented by Lakeland Flowers The planned opening is April 6, with100 varieties of tulips on 11 hectares. 

The Abbotsford Summer Flower Festival is positioned as Canada’s largest being six months long and more than 40 hectares.

And more than a million bulbs (not just tulips) blanket the valley in a kaleidoscope of colour during the Harrison Tulip Festival.

After refreshing your senses, visit the Sasquatch Museum, slated to open in mid-April, to get an idea of the myths and legends surrounding B.C.’s Bigfoot. Learn about the Sts’ailes’ relationship to the Sasquatch and the area before weighing the evidence and making up your own mind.

To avoid backseat mutiny, treat yourself and your travelling companions to a soak at Harrison Hot Springs Indoor Public Mineral Pool.

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