For adventure-seeking American travelers, 2017 is sure to deliver a plethora of possibilities that will delight even the most daring among us. Abundant opportunities for travel adventure in British Columbia make this one of the best places to explore the great outdoors.
British Columbia (B.C.) is Canada’s westernmost province, where travel often means exploring some of the most spectacular nature in all of North America.
And that’s a good thing, because the trend toward adventure travel is growing, with America’s 50+ travelers seeking out “experiential” travel first, according to the U.S. Tour Operators Association.
B.C.’s menu of adventures is so vast that we’ve narrowed it down with the help of Susan Boehnstedt, President of Critics Choice Vacations to three areas that we think outdoor enthusiasts will relish.
Adventure in British Columbia
First, the proximity of B.C. to the U.S. makes this destination a natural for travelers drawn to new experiences who don’t want to travel too far outside the U.S.
“B.C. is fairly easy to get to from anywhere in the United States,” says Boehnstedt. “There are things to do all summer long, in the fall, and in winter with skiing and snow sports. And Vancouver is a melting pot of cultures and languages and it is becoming more and more so that way.”
Further, she points to overall safety, ease of travel, exceptional healthy cuisine, and affordability, with favorable monetary exchange rates.
For kayakers and anyone seeking the adrenaline pump of whizzing through the air on a zipline, the best place to start the journey is Vancouver. From there, travelers have easy access to Vancouver Island or Victoria where ocean kayaking opportunities abound.
B.C. is one of the world’s premier ocean kayaking destinations, thanks to is zigzagging coastline, inlets, coves and islands.
Kayakers of all experience levels can find something to enjoy with amazing wildlife viewing opportunities.
If an urban journey is more convenient, kayakers can launch from Deep Cove or False Creek. Or for a more isolated experience, paddlers may want to head to the Broken Group Islands off of Vancouver Island’s west coast.
Excellent first-hand insight on kayaking these waters can be found at the official blog site of Hello BC.
Ziplining Forested Back Country
If you’ve always wanted to experience the exhilaration of zipping over the forest floor, B.C. has abundant offerings. For ease of access from a home base in Vancouver, Grouse Mountain may be the most scenic spot to target.
The famed mountain playground is in North Vancouver, just across the water from downtown, and offers adventure travelers options year-round. Get the low-down on Grouse at www.grousemountain.com.
Grouse Mountain offers two zipline courses that will have you traveling at speeds up to 50 mph over lush forests in the summer and a wintry wonderland in ski season.
The 5-line tour is said to be where the adrenaline junkies migrate, with the 3-line tour a great place for first-timers.
Boehnstedt recommends that travelers seeking the triple whammy – ocean kayaking, ziplining and hiking – start off their trips with 2-3 days in Vancouver. Next, rent a car and drive north to Whistler for another 2-3 days of hiking adventures.
Take in the beauty of alpine hiking trails accessible by gondola at the base of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.
For day hikers, the Sea to Sky Waterfalls hiking trails offer up to six breathtaking waterfalls along it’s path. Rainbow Lake Trail offers varied terrain and stunning views that will take hikers on average 5-6 hours to complete the round-trip journey.
And those looking for one-of-a-kind adventure may want to explore a guided hike onto one of Whistler’s many ice-packed glaciers. For more information about Whistler-area hiking treks, go to https://www.whistler.com/activities/hiking/.
Know Before You Go
Before you land in British Columbia for your travel adventure, Boehnstedt recommends you consider the following:
- Get a passport. If you already have a passport, make sure you have six months validity beyond your final travel date. Renew early to avoid any potential costs to expedite renewal.
- Gear up. Be prepared for all types of weather, no matter what time of year you are visiting. Year-round, you can encounter rain, warm days or snow, depending where in the province you are traveling. The right outerwear, equipment and shoes can make or break an adventure trip to B.C.
- Plan ahead. Book three to six months in advance of your travel dates. Summer is peak season when hotels and other accommodations are most expensive.
- Park passes. Do your research or ask your travel agent to do it for you. Know in advance if special requirements or passes are needed to access any of the national parks or campsites if you plan to do any overnight backpacking.
- Carry local currency for tipping, water taxis and other incidentals. For the best rate of exchange, plan to use Canadian currency for cash needs and credit cards for everything else.
For more information and ideas about travel in British Columbia, reach out to the certified Vancouver specialists at Critics Choice Vacations at www.CriticsChoiceVacations.com, or get in touch with your local travel agent.