Posted by on 21 Sep 2022
Maybe it’s been awhile since you travelled, and you’re craving adventure and catchup time with family and friends. This spring, rediscover a favourite place, try something new, and reconnect with loved ones.
Here are 12 memorable ways to experience BC this spring.
1. TAKE A BEHIND-THE-SCENES WINERY TOUR
Ponying up to a tasting bar and sampling a few varietals is a tried-and-true way to learn about a winery. But many of BC’s 370 licensed wineries now offer immersive and innovative tours. At Phantom Creek Estates near Oliver in the semi-arid South Okanagan, take a deep dive into the property’s storied history, challenging terroir, and organic farming focus before sipping exclusive wines on the two-hour Founder’s Cellar Tour & Tasting. Step it up with a five-course menu on the 2.5-hour Founder’s Cellar Experience or go big with the three-hour above-the-scenes Heli Tour & Tasting. Time your visit to coincide with the region’s Spring Wine Festival.
2. BIKE ALONG AN HISTORIC RAILWAY-TURNED-TRAIL-WAY
Winding through south-central BC, the 500-kilometre-long Kettle Valley Rail Trail delivers leisurely bike rides along decommissioned railway tracks. The easily accessed multi-use trail has long attracted cyclists of all skill levels, both for the mostly flat terrain (maximum 2.2 per cent grade) and the mountain and valley views along the way. Of its many sections, Myra Canyon south of Kelowna is particularly fetching with 18 wooden trestles, two steel bridges, two tunnels, and city and canyon vistas. Rent a touring bike and choose from guided or self-guided half- and full-day tours, the latter capped off with lunch and tastings at a variety of wineries.
3. EXPLORE INDIGENOUS CULTURE, CUISINE, AND WINE
As the first Indigenous-owned winery in North America, Nk’Mip Cellars in Osoyoos has a lot to bring to the table and tasting bar. Sip a glass of Gold Medal-winning Qwam Qwmt Cabernet Sauvignon or Mer’r’iym White Meritage while lunching on wild sockeye salmon at the on-site outdoor Patio Restaurant (reopening this spring). Then amble over to the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, also owned by the Osoyoos Indian Band, to glimpse the area’s Indigenous history, desert ecology, and wildlife, and wander the 1.5 km of trails through sage and antelope brush. Make a night of it and dine at Spirit Ridge’s newly renovated The Bear, The Fish, The Root & The Berry (named for the Indigenous four food chiefs) before tucking into your adobe-style suite.
4. TIPTOE THROUGH TULIPS, DAFFODILS, AND HYACINTHS
Row upon rippling row of richly coloured tulips—more than 6.5 million, in fact—greet visitors to the Chilliwack Tulip Festival each year. Held for three to five weeks in April and maybe May (depending on the weather), the popular event kicks off with displays of hyacinths and double daffodils—in turn fragrant and dazzling—before the tulips take centre stage. Meanwhile, an hour-plus drive west in Vancouver, the VanDusen Botanical Garden beckons with its spring explosion of cherry blossoms, rhododendrons, magnolias, and camellias.
5. REACH NEW HEIGHTS BY SKYWALK OR GONDOLA
A stroll through an arbutus grove—flush with white honey-scented flowers in spring—and an easy walk up a 32-metre spiral ramp brings you to the top of Vancouver Island’s new Malahat Skywalk. After lapping up sweeping coastal views, take the ramp back down or hop on the spiral slide. A 35-minute drive north of Victoria, the sleek attraction is also an ideal starting point for visiting the Cowichan Valley’s ample artisanal food and drink offerings. In Squamish on the mainland, explore accessible trails with viewing platforms, a suspension bridge, and longer hiking routes from the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola overlooking the fjords of Howe Sound.
6. CONQUER WHITEWATER RAPIDS ON A RIVER RAFTING TRIP
Blast through Class 3, 4, or 5 rapids—and make memories of a lifetime—at REO Rafting Resort in BC’s gorge-lined Fraser Canyon. Perched on the Nahatlach River’s edge 2.5 hours from Vancouver, the full-service resort offers both thrilling and laidback float excursions filled with wildlife and waterfalls. Choose from day trips or overnight packages, which include glamping in canvas-and-hand-peeled-log tents, homestyle meals, a yoga session or guided canyon hike, and nightly campfires. Kumsheen Rafting Resort, located in the Lytton area, is another thrilling option.
7. HELI-TOUR OVER GLACIERS, WATERFALLS, LAKES—AND ONE TALL PEAK
At 3,954 metres, Mount Robson’s summit wasn’t reached by humans until 1913. Now you and up to three friends or family members can view the Canadian Rockies’ highest peak on Robson HeliMagic’s 36-minute Majestic Mt. Robson tour. Standing at the western entrance of its namesake provincial park in BC’s North Thompson Valley, the mountain is home to the Robson, Mist, and Berg glaciers—the latter two spilling into turquoise-blue Berg Lake at its base. Also look for the Valley of a Thousand Falls and higher elevation fauna like mountain goats, grizzly bears, and caribou.
8. HEAT UP, COOL DOWN, AND RELAX AT A NORDIC SPA
Soak in both the scenery and spa hot spots on a Sea-to-Sky Highway road trip. A five-minute drive from Whistler Village in a quiet forest setting, Scandinave Spa Whistler’s traditional Finnish hydrotherapy experience promises to reenergize the mind and body. Heat up in a bath or sauna, cool down in a waterfall or cold plunge bath, and relax in a solarium, hammock, or fireplace lounge. Less than an hour’s drive down the road in Squamish, enjoy a private hot-and-cold spa session of up to 10 friends or family members at AIKA (Finnish for “spending time”).
9. SPOT CREATURES BIG AND SMALL ON A WHALE-WATCHING TOUR
From spouting orca pods to sunbathing harbour seals, BC’s coastal waters are rich with thrilling sights. Capture your own moments this spring—and later share them back home—on a Wild Whales guided catamaran or zodiac tour of the Salish Sea. Leaving from Granville Island in Vancouver, you’ll also likely see migratory humpback whales and sea lions this time of year. Vancouver Whale Watch’s Wildlife Spectacular tour, based in Steveston, is a great alternative.
10. BREWERY HOP BY SEAPLANE ON THE SUNSHINE COAST
Sample a One Sailing Wait IPA in Gibsons, a Spirited Horchata in Roberts Creek, and a Brickers Cascadia in Sechelt. Indeed, sip and soar your way through BC’s Sunshine Coast on a Flights to Flights Ale and Air Tour with Sunshine Coast Art Tours and Sunshine Coast Air. Taking beer, cider, and spirits tasting to a whole new level, this five-hour BC Ale Trail excursion includes pick-up/drop-off, three tasting room visits (choose from seven), lunch, snacks, and a 25-minute sightseeing flight over sheltered Sechelt Inlet.
11. FALL ASLEEP IN A TEEPEE, TREEHOUSE, YURT, OR DOME
Extend your BC stay with a glamping getaway and wake up to nature on your doorstep. Enjoy riverfront surrounds—and guided sport fishing—at the Indigenous-owned Fraser Canyon Teepee Escape and new Fraser Canyon Riverside Domes north of Hope; a woodsy backdrop at the Treehouse at J-heart-Y B&B in Enderby; an apple orchard setting at the Merridale Cidery & Distillery yurts on southern Vancouver Island; and tranquil waterfront views from Backeddy Resort & Marina’s geodesic domes on the Sunshine Coast.
12. WITNESS WATERFALLS AT THEIR WILDEST
Travelling in spring means fewer crowds and more raging waterfalls at Wells Gray Provincial Park. From April to June, spring runoff pumps up the park’s formidable 41-plus falls, making them all the more exciting to see (and particularly impressive in selfies taken on the viewing platforms and trails). Don’t miss 141-metre Helmcken Falls, the fourth tallest in Canada, and Moul Falls, where the adventurous are rewarded with a misty behind-the-veil peek.
Written by: Sheila Hansen