The Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games in Vancouver in 2010 are over, but that doesn’t mean that British Columbia is not worth visiting now. In fact, the Olympics brought a surge of infrastructure and development to the region, and this summer provides the ideal time for a visit. Here are five great summer adventures you can experience in British Columbia:
Perhaps surprisingly, British Columbia is known as international surfing destination. The best places to practice are around the west coast of Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte Islands in Northern BC. In both areas, surf shops provide rentals and instruction to surfers of all ages and levels. Visit the BC Tourism site for more information on surf listings.
May to October is whale-watching season in British Columbia. Prime destinations include major cities (e.g. Vancouver and Victoria) as well as more remote (but still easily accessible) locations off the north and west coasts of Vancouver Island and Northern BC. The conventional way is to observe as you sit on the side of a sturdy boat. The more adventurous can opt for tours where you zip along in a high-speed, open-air zodiac to whale feeding grounds.
Quick note: if you prefer seeing fauna on land, bear-watching would be the alternative. You can find out more about bear-viewing and other ecology tours here. Whistler Park, for example, allows you to observe bears and other terrestrial animals in their natural habitat.
The area around Whistler is known for its world class ski slopes. In the summer, these turn into ideal hiking grounds for hikers of all ages and levels. Surrounded by greenery, you can take in the fresh air and have a truly relaxing vacation. Visit the official Whistler website for more information on trails, maps and guides.
#4: Mountain Biking
Again, Whistler is the place to go. The town has an official Mountain Bike Park with over 4,900 vertical feet of lift-serviced trails. There is sure to be something there for every rider, who will find support, instruction and all kinds of rentals at the surrounding shops. WhistlerBike.com provides all the necessary information for planning your visit successfully. There are even camps and special “Women’s Nights” .
With over 12,000 miles (20,000 km) of coastlines, 25,000 lakes and tens of thousands of miles of rivers and streams in all of British Columbia, it is the ideal place to come fishing. Choose from a wide variety of fishing locations, including the Pacific coast waters, quiet mountain streams or even taking a floatplane to a secluded lake.
The chinook salmon is considered the area’s trophy fish, but other popular catches include the giant white sturgeon and the steelhead. Rainbow trout, cutthroat trout and char are found in most waters, along with species such as whitefish, pike and bass. Again, the BC Tourism website can lead you to exactly where you want to fish. Enjoy!