Are you planning on hitting the road this summer? Canada is known for its many opportunities for beautiful, unforgettable road trips. Whether you’re heading east or west, there is so much to see; sometimes, the journey is just as sweet as the destinations. If you have your sights set on the West and are planning road-tripping to British Columbia this summer, we’re excited to share some of the more underrated destinations with you! We’ve rounded up some super underrated B.C. destinations you must check out.
While Nanaimo is well-known to B.C. locals, it is sometimes overlooked by visitors. It is a city and ferry port on the east coast of the jaw-dropping Vancouver Island. The place is so beautiful that you really can’t go wrong, no matter what you choose to do. But if you want to check some of the more popular activities off your bucket list, we have some ideas for you. You’ll want to stroll around Nanaimo Old Town, where you’ll find revitalized heritage buildings dating back to the ‘50s.
You should take a stroll along Nanaimo’s Harbourfront Walkway, check out Maffeo Sutton Park, go on a whale-watching tour, kick back and Westwood Lake, take a hike to the top of Mount Benson, and stop in at one of the many farmer’s markets. There are many great options for food and beverage and endless outdoor activities and adventures to enjoy. Nanaimo is the essence of West Coast vibes, and we know you’ll love it. If you happen to be camping, there are plenty of incredible campsites.
If you love life on the lake, you’ll love Salmon Arm and the surrounding area. Salmon Arm is located in the Columbia Shuswap Regional District of the Southern Interior of B.C. The city is small, welcoming, and has many great things to do and see. Some things you should consider adding to your itinerary include a day at Cenoe Beach, a hike at Mt. Ida, a visit to the Larch Hills winery, a walk on the beautiful wharf to take in the scenery of Shuswap Lake, an afternoon at DeMille’s Farm Market, kicking back on the beach at Sunnybrae Park, and–of course–enjoying the Roots and Blues Festival. While Salmon Arm may seem unassuming, it packs a serious punch. This is an excellent setting if you love enjoying summer by water and spending time outdoors.
Quesnel is a lovely little city in the Cariboo Regional District, located between Prince George and Williams Lake. If you’re into fishing, biking, hiking, swimming, exploring, or all of the above, you will fall in love with this place. Because Quesnel is located at the confluence of the Fraser and Quesnel Rivers, you’ll find the riverfront everywhere you turn. Some of the best things to do include a visit to Ceal Tingley Park, checking out Pinnacles Provincial Park, going to Ten Mile Lake Provincial Park, taking a stroll across the Quesnel, hitting up the incredible Farmer’s Market, visiting the Quesnel Art Gallery, and hitting up the local brewery, Barkerville Brewing Co. While many of the must-do activities are centred around outdoor experiences, there are also many indoor hotspots to check out. There are many galleries, cute little restaurants, cafes, and much more. This place is wildly underrated, and we know you’ll love your visit.
We love Cranbrook! Located on the west side of the Kootenay River, this is the largest urban centre in the East Kootenay Region. This city is known for all of the many adventure opportunities it offers. You will want to check out the incredible waterfalls, including the Marysville Falls and Perry Creek Falls. More than 1,000 km of trails also run through 2,000 hectares of crown land. You can choose to do a nice, quick hike or make a full day of it. You’ll want to picnic at Mary's Lake Park, bike all of the outstanding biking trails, and hit the links at one of the many golf courses immediately accessible from Cranbrook.
Dawson Creek is a city in North East British Columbia home to many popular attractions like Kiskatinaw Bridge, Mile 0 Post, and Dawson Creek Art Gallery. It is located just near the Alberta border, so it’s easy to get to if you’re coming from Northern Alberta. The historical little place is filled with hiking, fishing, boating, bird watching, canoeing, mountain biking, kayaking, and more. Whether you take a historic walking tour, visit the art gallery or pioneer village, check out the jaw-dropping trestle bridge, or simply spend some time popping around town, you can’t go wrong. This place is so cool and unique. It needs a spot on that bucket list of yours.
Britanny Burr is a freelance writer and a contributor to Great West Media. This story was written for the 2023 Hot Summer Guide advertising feature. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.