British Columbia's tourism slogan is "Super, Natural," and the marketers have hit the nail right on the head. Whether you like to ski, swim, canoe, kayak, hike or camp, you'll find somewhere in this rugged West Coast province to do it.
One of the best-known resorts is Whistler Blackcomb, 120 kilometres (75 miles) north of Vancouver, which boasts 34 ski lifts and more than 200 runs. It's lively all year round—in summer, visitors go hiking, zip-lining and mountain biking. On the eastern side of the province, the Kootenays region provides similar rugged thrills. Go whitewater rafting on the Columbia River or—if you're brave—paraglide in Golden.
Experienced hikers relish the challenge of the popular West Coast Trail in Pacific Rim National Park on Vancouver Island. Apply in advance for an overnight use permit to avoid disappointment. For even wilder spaces, head to northern B.C., where you can canoe for days and not see another human (although you may spot a grizzly bear).
But even if your idea of roughing it is kicking off your shoes on an outdoor patio, you'll find lots to do in B.C. The Okanagan region is home to dozens of wineries and several famed restaurants. Another popular destination for foodies is the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, where small-scale producers make everything from balsamic vinegar to organic sausages.
Victoria, the provincial capital with a penchant for double-decker buses and afternoon tea, has sometimes been accused of being more English than England. Don't miss the Royal B.C. Museum and sprawling Butchart Gardens in this charming city.
A beautiful ferry ride through the Gulf Islands, followed by a short drive, brings you to drop-dead scenic Vancouver. Rimmed by the Coast Mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, this city of two million has a laid-back vibe. Shop the artsy boutiques of Granville Island, cycle through Stanley Park, and dine on fabulous Asian and fusion cuisine.