Traveling doesn’t always have to be expensive; it’s all about what you’re looking to get out of it. Recently we partnered up with Expedia.ca to bring you the Top 20 things to do in BC for under $20 Canadian dollars!
British Columbia offers an abundance of experiences, no matter what you’re into, there’s something for everyone! Not everything you do has to break the bank! The best things in life are free, right?
Image courtesy of Destination BC
There are six main regions of British Columbia: Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island Coast, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, Thompson Okanagan, Northern British Columbia, and Kootenay Rockies.
20 things to do in BC for under $20
Vancouver Coast and Mountains
1. Stanley Park, Vancouver: Free
Stanley Park is 1,000 acres of beautiful forests, walking paths, gardens, wildlife, a lagoon, a lake, beaches, a seawall walking route (10km), a waterpark and that’s not it! Stanley Park is also home to the Vancouver Aquarium** where you can bring your kids to see a wide variety of animals, including jellyfish and orcas. **Entrance to the aquarium is not free, there is a fee that must be paid at the door.
2. Lynn Canyon Park, Vancouver: Free
Lynn Canyon offers 617 acres of luscious 1000 year old forests filled with western hemlock, western red cedar, sitka spruce, cottonwood, maple and douglas fir trees. There are various, maintained, hiking trails throughout the park that are open daily; depending on the trail it could be a gentle stroll or a steep uphill climb. The highest, at least in my opinion, of Lynn Canyon is the Suspension Bridge, located close to the Ecology Center, which is open to the general public, free of charge!
3. The Grouse Grind, Vancouver: Free to climb then $10 for the Skyride back down
Grouse Mountain offers two ways to the top. The Skyride or an alternative, which is cheaper yet a bit more work, The Grouse Grind. Though, it might be a bit more effort than the Skyride, you’ll save $33 dollars and get an epic workout! People from all around the world travel to Vancouver to hike the 2,830 steps up the side of Grouse Mountain. For a non-experienced hiker it could take upwards of two hours to reach the summit.
4. Museum of Anthropology, UBC Campus, Vancouver: Adult: $15.91 | Senior+Student+Youth: $13.81
The Museum of Anthropology is a must see while visiting the city of Vancouver, and that’s not just my opinion… check out the reviews on TripAdvisor! They have exhibitions that show the history of the indigenous peoples who inhabited this region long before us. It’s a museum that beautifully displays and presents historical art and information of the region. There are guided tours offered throughout the day, I highly recommend taking one as they’re very informative! The building itself is absolutely stunning, don’t miss the outdoor display of Totem Poles!
5. Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, Mt. Currie: Backcountry Camping Fee: $6.00/per person, per night
Joffre Lake is the Caribbean of Canada. The crystal turquoise waters are enough to make this place a must see while in the Province. There are three trails to hike within the park that will get you to Lower, Middle and Upper Joffre Lake; Lower Joffre is only about 5 minutes from the parking lot yet Middle Joffre is where most people venture as it offers the pristine turquoise waters. Upper Joffre is a challenging hike and should be attempted by experienced hikers and mountaineers; at Upper Joffre you get to witness the Matier Glacier above you and a great view of Joffre Peak.
6. BC Parliament Building, Victoria: Free
Walking tours are available of the Parliament building interior. Public tours of Parliament are conducted at 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 1:00pm (Express Tour), 1:30pm, 2:30pm , 3:30pm and 4:00pm (Express Tour) on weekdays (excluding public holidays) when Parliament is not sitting. (Be sure to check out the Victoria Parliament website to make sure parliament isn’t sitting the day you’re planning to tour) Or visit the Parliament building to check out its gorgeous architecture, at night it’s beautifully lit up for some stunning photo opportunities, as well. **Tours do not need to be booked in advance, unless you’re in a group of 6 or more people.
7. Victoria Butterfly Gardens: Adult: $16.00 | Senior+Students: $11.00 | Children: $5.00
The Victoria Butterfly Gardens is a must visit while in the city, it’s slightly out of the way but well worth the 20 minute drive from downtown Victoria. The facility isn’t just about butterflies; though, they do have upwards of 6,000 of them at a time, it’s also a home to flamingos, exotic birds, parrots, tortoises, frogs, chameleons, geckos, and koi fish… even with all these listed I am certain I’ve still missed some of the beautiful creatures and animals within the gardens.
8. Pacific Rim National Park, Tofino: Adult: $7.80 | Senior: $6.80 | Youth: $3.90 | Family: $19.60
The Pacific Rim National Park offers a glimpse of the true beauty in British Columbia. There are various activities within the park: surfing, hiking the West Coast Trail (or smaller portions of it as the full trail can take up to 7 days), experience sea life out in the ocean and/or hang out on the beautiful Long Beach which is covered in driftwood along the shore.
Cariboo, Chilcotin Coast
9. Barkerville, Quesnel: Adult: $14.50 | Senior: $13.50 | Youth (13-18): $9.50 | Child (6-12): $4.75
Care to take a step into the past? This historic gold rush town is truly a must visit while in the Cariboo region of BC! Be sure to bring your kids along as well, though, it’s not just a fun place for kids, I’m certain the whole family will love it. There are various activities to experience throughout the town; from, gold panning to watching the water wheel show, attending a class at the school house to pleasing your sweet tooth with some candy from the confectionery, getting dressed up in traditional clothing for a photo shoot to having your name written on a grain of rice! And, there’s even more! There are restaurants, bed & breakfasts (where you can stay overnight), museums and other stores and activities to explore. Before you leave check out the graveyard; a short distance walk from the town.
10. Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, Bella Coola: Free
Tweedsmuir Park is the place for adventurists and those seeking to explore the great outdoors of British Columbia. Located near the beautiful Bella Coola, it’s a commonplace for camping, hiking, kayaking and canoeing. The Ootsa-Whitesail Lakes reservoir offer plenty of fishing opportunities, with campgrounds nearby to set up tent overnight.
11. Mount Robson Provincial Park, Valemount: Free – Day Hike | $6.00 – Overnight Camping
Mount Robson is the tallest mountain in the Canadian Rocky Mountain chain; reaching the skies at 13,123ft (3,954m)! The provincial park offers you the chance to hike upon Mt. Robson itself; though, reaching the summit isn’t likely unless you’re ready to do some mountaineering. There are 6 different hiking trails you can access in the park; though, some may offer less than ideal conditions when hiked outside the summer months of May-September. There are various activities to keep yourself entertained while visiting the park; take a canoe out on the lakes for a paddle or bring the fishing line along and catch some dinner, be sure to abide by campfire laws within the park and only start a fire where designated. Alongside hiking there is climbing, caving and cycling in many areas of the park.
12. BC Wildlife Park, Kamloops: Adult: $14.95 | Senior: $12.95 | Children: $10.95
The BC Wildlife Park is a wonderful place in the sense they are promoting respect and appreciation for BC’s wildlife and is very informative about conservation of wild ecosystems. They have a variety of animals native to the region: wolves, grizzlies, owls, eagles, porcupines, elks, bison, coyotes, cougar, lynx, goats and even raccoon! There’s so many animals I’m certain I’ve missed some; but, the one that seems to stand out for a lot of visitors is the Spirit Bear, a subspecies of the Black bear that is white in color. The Spirit Bear is a very common topic among the indigenous peoples of BC.
13. WildPlay WTF Jump (What’s to Fear Jump), Kelowna: $19.99
WildPlay Kelowna is an adventure park where you can get your adrenaline racing. The WTF (What’s the Fear?) Jump is a 40 foot loose-line jump you do off a perch, which you climbed up a rope bridge to get to. A fun opportunity for the whole family. *Children much be 7 years of age or older.
14. Whistler Blackcomb Tube Park, Whistler: Adult: $20 | Senior+Youth: $18.90 | Children: $15.75
Whistler is the winter wonderland of Canada, as you might already know. Planning to visit Whistler and want to spend some time having fun yet not dipping to far in your pocket? Be sure to check out the tube park and don’t forget to bring the kids along! The best part? Once you slide down to the bottom you get brought back to the top on a conveyor belt, no more walking all the way back up the hill! There are seven separate lanes, all offering a variety of difficulty. You can work your way up or if you’re already experienced, head right for the most difficult lane. You’re bound to have a great time!
Northern British Columbia
15. Ancient Forest, Highway 16 East: Free
If this isn’t your first time on the site then you have probably heard of the Ancient Forest. What is it? Only the best place in Northern BC! Why? Well, it’s one of the only places in the Province you’re going to get up close and personal with 2000 year old trees that measure out at 5 meters wide, that’s 16 feet! This western cedar forest is a paradise hidden along the side of Highway 16, be sure to not pass it by without stopping in. The hike takes around 45 minutes to an hour, during which you get to visit the Big Tree, a waterfall, a Cedar Circle, Treebeard and witness a massive cedar that was struck by lightning. There is one viewpoint that, on a clear day, you can catch a good sight of Mount Sir Alexander, a large mountain in the Kakwa Mountain Range that is also part of the Rocky Mountain Range. This forest isn’t one you’d want to miss!
16. Overhang, Prince George: Adult (17+): $14 | Youth (4-16): $13 | Toddler (2-3): $10
Overhang is an indoor rock climbing gym in Prince George. It’s an amazing place to hang out regardless if you’ve ever rock climbed or not. There are many people on the floor at a time to help you with whatever you need. There’s auto-belay machines so you can climb the walls without having to rely on someone to belay you. They even offer classes where you can receive certification to become a belayer. I’ve absolutely loved my time spent at Overhang; if you’re wanting to get out for a good day of exercise and to push your limits I completely recommend Overhang!
17. Gwaii Haanas National Park, Haida Gwaii: Adult: $19.60 | Senior: $16.60 | Youth: $9.80
Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Island) is a bit out of the way when it comes to getting there but you certainly won’t be disappointed once you’ve made it! It’s probably the only place left in Canada that doesn’t have a McDonalds! The whole island is certainly a place I would recommend taking the time to discover; yet, Gwaii Haanas gets special recognition because it’s a truly magical place. One of the only UNESCO World Heritage Sites you’ll go to and have the possibility of seeing it by yourself. Gwaii Haanas will leave you feeling as though you traveled back to a time before mankind walked the earth; from glorious untouched forests to the abundance of wildlife everywhere you look. It’s a must to get out on a kayak or canoe for the possibility of spotting some whales swimming in the bays. You certainly won’t regret adventuring on the hikes around the island while you’re there; Agate beach is a must if you’re a rock collector and you can’t miss the blowhole in the Tow Hill Provincial Park!
18. Yoho National Park, Golden: Adult: $9.80 | Senior: $8.30 | Youth: $4.90
Yoho in Cree is ‘Awe’ and ‘Wonder’ which is exactly how you’ll be at the Yoho National Park. There are more than 400km of hiking trails that you can explore in the summer or snowshoe in the winter. If you’re not into hiking you can lounge along the lakeside or take a kayak or canoe out on the waters and catch some fish for dinner. The lake is called Emerald Lake which is perfectly fitting because the water is a breathtaking ’emerald’ that you don’t tend to see unless you’re in the Caribbean. There are campgrounds in different areas of the park; though, there is a fee to use them, depending on the campground the fee ranges around $14-$18 dollars.
19. Mount Revelstoke National Park, Revelstoke: Adult: $7.80 | Senior: $6.80 | Youth: $3.90
Mount Revelstoke National Park covers a lot of ground, meaning it offers a lot of different activities within the park. If you’re more of a casual stroll type person I’d recommend the Giant Cedars Boardwalk which is a .5km boardwalk that takes you through the beautiful ancient rainforest, exhibiting the old growth cedars in their astounding sizes. Kick it up a notch and take the Skunk Cabbage Boardwalk, which is a 1.5km boardwalk that takes you through the forest to a swamp that is home to beaver and muskrat. There are various trails you can hike within the park, some of which are considered overnight trails and have a cabin accessible for overnight stays. There are lakes for swimming, kayaking, canoeing and fishing. Endless possibilities for your stay in this gorgeous National Park.
20. Glacier National Park, Revelstoke: Adult: $7.80 | Senior: $6.80 | Youth: $3.90
Glacier National Park, which is located a short distance away from Mount Revelstoke National Park (double National Park day trip anyone?!) offers gorgeous hikes, skiing or snowboarding around the icefields, camping, fishing, cycling, mountaineering, and even beautiful gardens in the summertime. Of the many hikes open in the park one offers a tale of the histories it has seen; the Rogers Pass National Historic Site will take you into the past along the abandoned remains of Canada’s first trans-continental railway. The railway was later replaced in 1962 by what we now know as the Trans-Canada Highway. There’s the option for guided interpretive walks along the remnants of railway tracks and camping spots to sleep up close to them, with hopes the past doesn’t creep up to you while you’re sleeping… kidding! :)
Have you ever visited any of these destinations within British Columbia? What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!
Come join me on this epic Adventure!
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