6 Destinations in Western Canada to Visit When Visiting Vancouver

Vancouver, a cultural melting-pot, is the largest city in British Columbia. People come from all over the world to experience the best of outdoor living, excellent food inspired by every corner of the globe, and of course, use Vancouver as a base to explore everything that Western Canada has to offer.

 

While it is difficult to limit ourselves to the top 5 destinations to visit in Western Canada when you are here, we think that we have narrowed down the list. We hope that you love these places as much as we do!

6 Destination in Western Canada to Visit

Rocky Mountains

The Rockies are an iconic mountain range, and they are the third-longest in the world. Starting in northern British Columbia and stretching down to the southernmost parts of New Mexico in the USA, they arguably offer some of the most beautiful vistas. While this mountain range does span two countries, we are biased in saying that the Canadian Rockies are way more impressive than US Rockies. The Canadian Rockies offer sightseeing opportunities of imposing granite cliff faces, snow-capped peaks and an abundance of wildlife. 

Discover Canada Tours offers several tours to the Rockies. All tour tours inclusive of transport, breakfasts, and of course, a fun, experienced and, most importantly, knowledgable tour guide. Our most popular tour is the Rockies Classic +. On this tour, you will join a group of like-minded people, all looking for that adventure that you are. This is the perfect way to see much of what Western Canada has to offer. Leaving Vancouver, you will travel through the Fraser Valley, a verdant and fertile area where much of BCs food is grown. Moving on from there, you will cross into Canada’s only desert, the Okanagan. This region is famous for its wineries and cideries as well as fruit farms. Moving on, you will enter the Selkirk mountain range before arriving in the Rockies.

Your final destination on the outbound trip is Banff, a quintessential Rockies town and possibly the most famous of all Canadian Rockies towns, nay in Western Canada. Banff will be your base as you get to explore another wonder that is the turquoise, glacial lakes. These lakes include Lake Louise (the most famous lake in the Rockies), Moraine Lake (in our opinion, the most beautiful lake), Lake Minnewanka and Two Jack Lake. Walk down Banff Avenue and take in the shops and restaurants along the way. Be sure to stop off at Banff Ave Brewing Co. for a drink in between your shopping excursions. Another excursion that we cannot recommend highly enough is a trip to the top of Sulphur Mountain on the Banff Gondola. Here you will have a panoramic view over Banff and the peaks that surround it.

Our Rockies tours run year-round. Every season in the Rockies offers something new to see and experience. Summer is the most popular time in the Rockies, but our favourite time is the fall. The red, golden and orange colours of the fall foliage is a sight to behold.

If you are visiting Vancouver, you cannot miss out on the opportunity to visit the Rockies Mountains. Our tours are 3-night, 4-day tours and we guarantee that you will not be disappointed. Tours depart on a Friday from Downtown Vancouver. Book yours today with us!

Yukon

Yukon Northern Lights

The Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, Arsaniit; known by many names, but the result is the same. A life-changing experience. The Lights are one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and some of the best viewings can be seen from the Yukon. Discover Canada Tours offers many fantastic packages to go and experience this natural phenomenon, from budget tours to high-end, luxury tours.

When you book with Discover Canada Tours, you will have the peace of mind knowing that we have planned every step of the way for you. At the start of this adventure, you will need to make your way to YVR (Vancouver airport), where you will catch an Air North flight to Whitehorse. Upon arrival in Whitehorse, your lodge will be waiting to pick you up and take you to your little slice of paradise for 3 nights. Not only will you have the opportunity to view the Northern Lights, but some great daytime activities include mushing your own team of sledding dogs, probably the most iconic pastime in the Yukon. Viewing the Northern Lights cannot be guaranteed as it is a natural phenomenon. If you do have the opportunity to view them, most viewings occur in the early hours of the morning. 

Once your trip is over, the lodge will take you back into Whitehorse, where you will board an Air North flight back to YVR. This is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. We highly recommend this as an adventure to take when you are in Vancouver.

Tofino

 

Touted by all Canadians as Canada’s surf capital, Tofino is a quaint town on the western coast of Vancouver Island. While most know it for its summertime attractions, Tofino is, in fact, a year-round destination.

In the summertime, Tofino fills up quickly with travellers from all over Canada, many of whom come in from Vancouver. There are multiple accommodation options available. There are many campsites in Tofino, possibly one of the most authentic ways to experience Tofino. Camping on the beach with the sea lapping the shore a few steps away is food for the soul. If you are not much of a camper, there are also hostel and hotel options available. No matter your budget, you will find accommodation that suits your needs.

In the spring, summer, and fall, possibly the most popular attraction is surfing. There are several surf schools in the town, but we always prefer to use Tofino Surf Adventures. There are, however, several other schools in town. If surfing isn’t really your thing, there is still the stunning boat cruises to view bears in their natural habitat or experience whale watching at its finest. 5 migratory species of whales return to Western Vancouver Island’s shores, the most famous, of course, being the orca, or killer whale.

As the seasons shift towards the winter, Tofino becomes famous for its storm watching. While many may consider being caught in a storm an inconvenience or simply miserable, locals and tourists alike flock to Tofino to see the 9m waves pound the beaches of Tofino. If this sounds like something you would like to do, learn more about our Tofino Storm Watching tour. A visit to this gem in Western Canada is something that we cannot recommend highly enough.

Whistler

Whistler, home to the alpine events of the Winter Olympics, is a must-see. A short drive up the sea-to-sky highway will take you through Squamish, past Shannon and Brandywine Falls and up into Whistler. The village of Whistler is a pedestrian zone meaning you can walk the entire village without the hassle of cars getting in your way. Whistler is most famous for its skiing and snowboarding in the winter. But don’t be fooled, no matter when you visit Whistler, there is something to do. As we go into the winter, we are offering a sightseeing and snowshoeing day adventure. We will take you up there in one of our coaches with a fantastic guide before doing a guided walking tour of the village. You will then head to one of the local lakes and do a snowshoe hike around the lake. This is a quintessential Canadian pastime. 

If you don’t want to snowshoe, there are other options. You can visit the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre or Audain Museum. For the more adventurous, take a leap of faith at Whistler Bungee or zip through the treetops with Ziptrek Ecotours. This year, with Covid being a factor, skiing and snowboarding will be extremely exclusive due to the number of lift tickets available. You can secure your Epic Pass with us if you do want to experience some of the best snow in the world.

In the summertime, there are several other activities that you partake in. These include mountain biking and hiking, amongst others. Ziptrek Ecotours and Whistler Bungee do operate year-round as well.

Victoria

Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, is considered one of the world’s most beautiful cities. It is famous for the historic Empress Hotel, the Parliament buildings, and Butchart Gardens. A visit to Vancouver is not complete without a trip to Victoria.

Getting to Victoria is easy. Join one of our sightseeing tours, and we will take care of everything for you. Leaving Vancouver, you will travel to the Tsawwassen Ferry Port, where you will take a leisurely mini-cruise through the Gulf Islands. There are opportunities to see an array of sea life. Orcas are commonplace, along with humpback and grey whales. If you are fortunate, you may even see porpoises swimming next to the ferry.

Victoria is steeped in history, and this is evident as you do your tour through the city. It has an ancient British feeling, evident in the Parliament Buildings and the Empress Hotel architecture. Victoria also has a vibrant Chinatown. The famous Butchart Gardens is another nearby attraction that you can’t miss. These gardens are planted in an old stone quarry and attract visitors from around the world with their beautiful flowers, plants and trees. If you make it to Victoria around Christmas time, Butchart Gardens is draped in Christmas lights, making it the perfect stop as the sun goes down.

Vancouver

As you will use Vancouver as your base, this post would be incomplete without telling you about our beautiful city and the amazing sights that we have on offer.

If you are a nature lover, then Vancouver is the perfect city. A short hop across one of the two bridges, and you will be on the North Shore. The North Shore is famous for its forests and hiking trails. It is also the birthplace of downhill mountain biking. Some trails run across the North Shore mountains, and you can hike them all day long. While hiking, you may bump into a brown bear as it forages or even get a glimpse of a mountain lion.

One thing that you should do when you are on the North Shore is do the Grouse Grind. This verticle climb up Grouse Mountain is a world-famous attraction. It is made up of a series of steps, 2,830 in fact. There is a verticle climb of 800m over a 2.5km hike. Something to tick off your bucket list for sure! Close by to Grouse Mountain is the Capilano Suspension Bridge, a wonderful tourist attraction. You will walk across the canyon on a suspension bridge. 80m below the bridge, the Capilano River flows down towards the ocean. Once you have crossed, there is a treetop walk through some ancient and massive Douglas Fir trees. Crossing the bridge again, you will do the canyon walk, a walkway that has been constructed on the side of the canyon. The views here are stunning.

Once you head back into Vancouver, be sure to stop at FlyOver Canada. This unique experience will take you flying through some of the most beautiful vistas the planet has to offer. Once you are done with the attraction, you can take a short walk into Gastown. A stop at the Gastown Steam Clock is a must. Every 15 minutes and on the hour, steam is released, and an iconic tune is played. There are many shops, bars and restaurants in the area. There are also some of Vancouver’s best coffee shops in the area, Revolver Coffee being one. Stop and grab a flat white before you head down to Science World. The building was constructed for the Expo 86 Worlds Fare. It is a marvel of architecture. Once you are done there, hop on the SkyTrain and head for Commercial Broadway. Commercial Street is full of bars and restaurants, and it is a vibrant area of Vancouver.

We also run private guided tours of Vancouver. This Christmas, we are also offering a Holiday Lights tour.

While this is by no means a complete list of things to do in Vancouver, it is a start for you.

Conclusion

As you can see, there is so much to do when you visit Vancouver. Discover Canada Tours is here to guide you every step of the way. Browse our website and see if there is a tour for you! We know that you are going to love our backyard as much as we do!

About Discover Canada Tours

Discover Canada Tours was founded in 2005 by Clint Drdul and Stacey Thorson. The company’s original focus was based on the essence of enabling ESL students to experience the beauty and magic that is Western Canada. Since then, the company has become the leading tour operator in the Lower Mainland leading adventures into the Rocky Mountains. In addition to the Rocky Mountains, we also have tours along the coastal regions of BC, Whistler, Victoria, Tofino, and the Yukon.

We are experts in providing the best experiences in Western Canada through continuously developing innovative year-round tours. With an unparalleled focus on adventurers of all ages, we commit to provide our guests with unforgettable, authentic travel and sightseeing experiences for the best value. Our adventurers are always our top priority. We make bucket-list travel dreams come true.

What does it mean to Live the Adventure? Adventure can be defined in many ways. For some, adventure can be extreme experiences like bungee jumping or whitewater rafting. Others, it can merely be heading into uncharted territories and exploring. Or it can be the wonderment of finding a new favourite destination. At Discover Canada Tours, we believe that adventure is whatever you make it be. With this in mind, we provide some of the most authentic experiences throughout Western Canada and into the Pacific Northwest. We make sure that every single tour you take with us is an adventure and something that you’ll take home with you and never forget.

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