In the past, people came to British Columbia to cash in on the booming fur trade or mine for gold near the Fraser River. But today the main reason to visit may be the province’s natural beauty. Many of the area’s attractions don't try to overshadow the landscape but merely make it more accessible, as with the ski lodges and peak-to-peak gondola rides on Whistler Mountain or the Rocky Mountaineer train rides that roll past the mountains and ocean.

One of the main outdoor attractions is the 1,000-acre Stanley Park, where visitors walk or skate while taking in the Pacific or learn about aboriginal culture at the recreated Klahowya Village. Other appealing ways to enjoy the outdoors involve sports. Visitors hit the slopes on snowboards at Whistler Blackcomb resort, or they go golfing on the two courses Jack and Steve Nicklaus designed for Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa. They can even take a 53-metre bungee jump over the glacier-fed Cheakamus River.

Even on cold and rainy days there are plenty of things to do in British Columbia. For instance, you could nip into one of Victoria’s tea shops for a traditional afternoon tea or spend a day poking around the original buildings and watching demonstrations at the McLean Steam Sawmill. You could also explore Vancouver Chinatown, where you'll find not only Chinese restaurants and shops but also the first Ming Dynasty scholar’s garden built outside of China.

Unlike at traditional aquariums, visitors at the Pacific Undersea Gardens observe marine plants and animals in the creatures' natural habitat, since the gardens' viewing platform is located 5 metres below the ocean’s surface. This same spirit of curiosity drives people to view the remains of the village of Ninstints on Anthony Island, where they can get an up-close look at the houses and burial sites of the Haida people who made their home there until the late 19th century.

Read More