How to Plan the Ultimate British Columbia Road Trip

By Jane McLea, TripSavvy


What to Know About Driving in British Columbia

British Columbia (B.C.) is Canada's most westerly province, bordered by the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Rocky Mountains on the other. In addition to mountains and ocean, forests dominate British Columbia's geography, creating an overall beautiful landscape to traverse.

The vast majority of Canada's population lives within a few hour's drive of the U.S. / Canada border. The northern two-thirds of British Columbia is largely unpopulated, extremely mountainous and undeveloped, so our ultimate road trip criss-crosses the province's lower portion, which is home to the most popular and accessible attractions and destinations.

Taking to the road is an ideal way to see the epic British Columbia terrain. However, any road trip in unfamiliar territory begins with an education in the relevant driving rules, regulations and overall safety.

Driving in British Columbia is much like the rest of Canada and similar too to the United States. The roads are, for the most part, well-maintained, safe and clearly marked, but British Columbia routes are winding and often mountainous. Keep your cell phone charged, and have a GPS. You should also have a safety pack with flashlight, water, extra wiper fluid, etc.

Some basic rules of the road in British Columbia are:
  • Drivers use the right hand side of road.
  • You may not use a cellphone unless it is a hands-free device.
  • If you are a visitor, you can drive in B.C. for up to six months with a valid driver’s license from your country.
  • You may not drive while under the influence of any substance, such as alcohol or drugs, which limit your ability to control your vehicle.
  • Seat belts and car seats appropriate for the age and size of your child are mandatory.
  • Speed limits are posted in kilometers per hour. Common speed limits in B.C. include 30km/hr (20mph) in a school zone; 50km/hr (30mph) in built up areas; 80 km/hr (50mph) on rural roads; 110-120km/hr (70-75mph) on major highways & expressways. The maximum speed limit in BC is 120km/hour (75mph).
Visitors should also be aware of the weather conditions, especially between late October and April when winter driving conditions can affect all parts of British Columbia. These conditions may include wet roads, fog, snow and ice. Driving through the Rocky Mountains in winter is not advisable to unskilled winter drivers.

Always check the weather forecast and the road report before traveling. For information on current road conditions visit the Ministry of Transportation.


How to Plan the Logistics

If you are flying into Canada and planning to rent an RV or car for your road trip, the most logical place to start is either in the neighbouring province of Alberta or in Vancouver, British Columbia. Seattle, a two hour drive away from the Canada / U.S. border would also be a convenient takeoff point for a drive around British Columbia if you are flying into the U.S. Flying into the U.S. instead of Canada can sometimes be more convenient or affordable.

Calgary, Alberta, is a major airline hub and close to the British Columbia border. If you arrive in Calgary and rent a car, you can make a splendid drive to Vancouver via Banff.

Camping is an excellent option for accommodation during your trip - if you're that kind of traveller. Campgrounds in British Columbia are abundant but range in service level, from pit toilets and hand pumped water to full washrooms with hot showers and electricity. 

If you are planning on staying in hotels and lodges, you are advised to book ahead, especially in summer. Large ski resorts remain open year-round.

For our Ultimate B.C. Road Trip, we will focus on two areas that can be done independently or combined, using Vancouver as our base: East of Vancouver Loop and Vancouver Island.


Option 1: East of Vancouver Loop

This east of Vancouver road trip should take between five and ten days (depending on if you include Revelstoke and Golden on your itinerary).

First up is the incredible drive from Vancouver to Whistler along the Sea to Sky Highway (hwy 99).

Whistler is most famous as a ski destination—one of the best in the world—thanks to two spectacular mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb, that loom a mile above the village.

From Whistler, head northeast to Kamloops, (four hour drive). You will see the terrain change from coastal mountains to near-desert. Worthwhile stops along the way include Nairn Falls Provincial Park, Pemperton, and Lillooet, which was a hub of Gold Rush activity in the 19th century and is steeped in First Nations culture. Instead of staying in Kamloops, continue an hour past—still on the TransCanada Highway—to Salmon Arm, which is far more charming.

From Salmon Arm, if you have the time, continue east to Revelstoke and Golden, two of British Columbia's most striking destinations and home to epic ski resorts in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. In this region, you can visit hot springs and stunning provincial parks.

Because of the mountainous terrain and limited roads, from Golden you are best to turn around and head back along Hwy 1, stopping at the places you missed the first time, like Craigellachie and Sicamous, both sleepy but scenic resort and retirement towns.

At Sicamous, head south for Kelowna (a two hour drive), which is the gateway to the Okanagan Valley and its wine region.

One of Kelowna's biggest advantages is the fact that sporty travelers will love the wide array of outdoor activities, like hiking, golfing, boating, and more, but the region can still offer excellent wine tasting and culinary experiences.

From Kelowna, drive down through Penticton to Osoyoos stopping at any winery that appeals to you. Mission Hill and Quails Gate are two of the better known and visually striking wineries, but there are dozens of others.

You're now on the way back to Vancouver along the very southern part of British Columbia. From Osoyoos, jump on Hwy 3, through Hope and on to Vancouver, about a four-and-a-half- hour drive.


Option 2: Vancouver Island

Known for its rugged, diverse and beautiful geography, moderate climate, and unhurried way of life, Vancouver Island sits just off the mainland of British Columbia. Vancouver Island is home to the provincial capital of Victoria, but—confusingly perhaps—not the province's most populous city, Vancouver. 

Vancouver Island is fairly big. It takes six hours to drive south end to north end and three hours to drive from mid-Island east side (Nanaimo) to mid-Island west side (Tofino).

Four locations on Vancouver Island provide good experiences. Consider visiting the provincial capital of Victoria for perhaps at least two nights, allowing you a half day at Butchart Gardens. Continue on to Parksville (about a two hour drive away) for a night and then on to beautiful Tofino (about a three-hour drive) for a couple of nights. Then, head to Port McNeill and Telegraph Cove for three nights.

Tofino is wilderness with forests, trails, beaches (pretty cold for swimming, but stunning), with an adorable town and hippie vibe offering great food and activities such as whale watching, black bear viewing, and sea kayaking.

Victoria has plenty to do for two full days, from museums to whale watching.

Parksville has a wonderful beach, with flat sand that extends far at low tide and is excellent for swimming. There are plenty of attractions and activities to do in that area. Consider renting a kayak and perusing the shoreline by water.

North Island will provide you with grizzly bear day tours by boat, whale watching, sea kayaking, and cultural history.


Made with in NYC

4th of July,7,Abu Dhabi,2,Accessories,84,Acne,3,Adventure,32,Adventure Travel,638,Advice,283,Africa,26,African Food,2,AIDS,1,Air Travel,150,Alabama,5,Alaska,20,Alberta,1,Alcohol,4,All About Beer,1,All About Wine,2,Alternative Treatments,4,America,77,American Food,5,Amsterdam,2,Android,11,Anguilla,3,Animal,367,Animal Health,1,Animals,69,Anniversary,1,Anniversary Cake,11,Antarctica,7,Antigua,3,Appetizers & Snacks,2,Apple,11,Apps,16,Argentina,15,Arizona,19,Arkansas,2,Armenia,1,Asia Travel,47,Asian Food,7,Asthma,4,Athens,3,Austin,8,Australia,92,Australian Food,1,Austria,13,Autism,1,Auto Insurance,1,Auto Show,52,Autos,967,Azerbaijan,1,Baby Shower Cake,29,Back Pain,25,Bahamas,13,Balance Work & Life,50,Banana Cakes,2,Bangladesh,8,Barn Finds,1,Bathroom,43,Be a Better Manager,33,Beach Travel,58,Beards and Shaving,29,Beef Recipes,7,Belarus,1,Belgium,9,Belize,15,Bermuda,5,Best Products,1,Better Partner,40,Beverages,3,Bhutan,9,Bills to Pay,35,Birds,4,Birth Control,1,Birthday Cake,109,Blue Lagoon,2,Blueberry Cake,11,Bolivia,3,Books,2,Botswana,3,Brazil,38,Bread,11,Breads,1,Break Room,12,Breakfast & Brunch,6,Breakup,19,Breakups,3,Broken Hearts,5,Brownie,8,Brunei,1,Budget Travel,97,Bundt Cake,30,Business Skills,102,Butter Cake,52,Buying,1,By Region,3,Cake Decorating,113,Cakes,54,California,109,Cambodia,4,Camera,6,Canada,80,Cancer,73,Car Shows,1,Car Tech,2,Caramel Cake,5,Career,86,Career Advice,298,Career Choice,125,Career Growth,180,Career Paths,24,Career Problem,8,Caribbean,45,Caribbean & Mexico,5,Carrot Cake,22,Cats,49,Celebrity,17,Celebs,1,Ceremonial Cake,9,Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles,1,Cheese Recipes,4,Cheesecakes,251,Chicago,7,Chicago Auto Show,2,Chicken Recipes,14,Chiffon Cake,5,Children's Health,21,Chile,7,China,21,Chocolate Cake,395,Christmas,35,Christmas Cake,23,Christmas Travel,14,Classic Cars,39,Cleaning Tips,144,Clinical Practice,1,Clothes,1,Cocktail Recipes,2,Coconut Cake,21,Coffee,1,Coffee Cake,15,Coliseum,1,Colombia,18,Colorado,32,Columbia,3,Communication,2,Companies,2,Compassion,2,Computing,16,Connecticut,4,Consumer Electronics Show,5,Cookies,10,Cooking,8,Corporate Travel,2,Costa Rica,13,Country Travel,249,Creative,309,Creative Idea,22,Creative Ideas,37,Croatia,15,Cruiser Travel,16,Cuba,18,Cultural Travel,66,Cupcake,322,Customs & Classics,2,Czech Republic,6,D.C.,2,Dandruff,1,Dating,18,Dating Advice,73,Dating Advice for Women,22,Dating Tips,13,Decor,23,Decorating Ideas,181,Delaware,1,Demotivational,636,Denmark,12,Dental Health,26,Dentistry,1,Depression,24,Desert Travel,1,Desserts,3,Detroit Auto Show,4,Diabetes,25,Diet,131,Dining Out,3,Dinner,14,Disease,116,Divorce,15,DIY,112,DIY Fashion,31,Dogs,156,Doughnuts,5,Dress,23,Drink,27,Drinks,1,Drinks & Cocktails,4,Driving,3,Drugs,3,Dubai,15,Ears,2,East Africa,4,Easter,1,Easter Island,1,Easter Travel,1,Eco Travel,18,Ecuador,7,Education,87,Eggs,3,Egypt,4,Electronics,4,Electronics and Gadgets,2,Emirates,1,England,13,Entertainment,148,Enthusiasts,131,Entrepreneurship,40,Estonia,2,Eswatini,1,Ethiopia,2,Europe,110,European Food,8,Exercises,51,Eye Health,28,Facts,284,Fall Travel,43,Family,16,Family Travel,128,Faroe Island,1,Fashion,126,Fashion for Kids,2,Fashion for Man,12,Fashion for Woman,31,Fat Loss,91,Father's Day Cake,4,Father's Day Travel,1,Featured,207,Features,1130,Festival Travel,25,Fiji,6,Finance,4,Finland,16,Fish & Seafood,13,Fitness,746,Fitness & Exercise,219,Florida,69,Food,527,Food and Drink,14,France,37,Frankfurt Motor Show,2,Free Travel,3,French,6,French Polynesia,5,Friendship,40,Fruit & Veggie Recipes,8,Fruitcake,70,Fruits,4,Fuel Economy,1,Funny,546,Gadgets,31,Galapagos,3,Games,12,Garden,24,Gardening,276,Gearheads,1,General,7,Geneva Motor Show,3,Georgia,14,Germany,18,Get Healthy,63,Ghana,2,Girlfriend Grooming,10,Google,15,Graduation Cake,2,Gratitude,11,Greece,37,Green Living,5,Greenland,1,Grooming,89,Guatemala,2,Hair,52,Hair Care,22,Hairstyle,65,Halloween,29,Halloween Cake,12,Halloween Travel,9,Happiness,19,Hawaii,53,Hayden Panettiere,1,Headache,22,Health,707,Health & Fitness,300,Health Care,466,Health Insurance,1,Healthcare Tech,6,Healthy,12,Healthy Eating,186,Healthy Habits,159,Healthy Living,179,Hearing,1,Hiking Travel,63,HIV/AIDS,4,Holiday Travel,28,Holland,1,home,31,Home & Garden,205,Home and Decor,484,Honeymoon Travel,128,Hong Kong,13,Horoscope,31,Hot Rod Power Tour,1,Hotels,71,Housekeeper,8,Hungary,3,Ice cream Cake,21,Iceland,41,Idaho,4,Ideas,11,Illinois,13,Imports,1,Impress a Girl,20,Impress Women,4,Independence Day Travel,1,India,36,Indiana,5,Indonesia,13,Indoor Gardening,69,Industry,5,Inspiration,58,Insurance,5,Internet,19,Internship,8,Interview Skills,37,Investing,12,iPad,2,iPhone,6,Iraq,1,Ireland,36,Island,60,islands,2,Israel,9,Italy,56,Jamaica,8,Japan,44,Jealousy,2,Job Search,47,Jordan,6,Just For Fun,2,Kansas,6,Kentucky,2,Kenya,2,Kids,127,Kids & Pets,10,Kitchen,67,Koala,1,Korea,2,Kyrgyzstan,1,Lamb,2,Laptops,4,Latin America,3,Latin American Food,1,Latvia,1,Laundry,6,Layer Cake,95,Leadership,44,Legs,1,Lemon Cake,18,Life,1,Life Hacks,244,LifeStyle,1273,Lithuania,2,London,24,Long Distance Relationship,24,Los Angeles Auto Show,14,Louisiana,9,Love,130,Lowa,4,Lunch,5,Luxembourg,1,Luxury Travel,35,Maine,6,Maintenance,3,Makeup & Beauty,11,Malaysia,1,Maldives,15,Malta,2,Mango Cake,3,Marketing,10,Markets,11,Marriage,97,Marshmallow,3,Maryland,6,Massachusetts,9,Massage,5,Mauritius,6,Meditation,29,Men & Women,18,Men's,6,Men's Health,14,Mental Health,294,Mexico,74,Miami,13,Michigan,5,Microsoft,6,Middle Eastern Food,2,Mind,3,Mississippi,2,Missouri,7,Mobile,22,Moldova,1,Monaco,1,Money,230,Money & Career,21,Monkey,1,Montana,12,Morocco,20,Mother's Day Travel,1,Motivation,2,Motorcycles,106,Motorsports,2,Mousse,2,Muffins,9,Mug Cake,14,Multiple Sclerosis,1,Muscle Cars,4,Muscle Cars & Hot Rods,3,Muscle Gain,2,Myanmar,9,Namibia,4,Nature,4,Nature Travel,102,Nepal,6,Netherlands,11,Nevada,23,Nevis,1,New Bikes,2,New Car Deals,1,New England,5,New Jersey,2,New Mexico,6,New Year Fashion,6,New Year's Day Travel,6,New York,55,New York Auto Show,3,New York City,20,New Zealand,47,Newfoundland,1,Newlyweds,4,News,334,Nicaragua,2,North America,11,North Carolina,6,North Dakota,1,North Ireland,1,Northern Ireland,1,Norway,20,Nutrition,447,Occasional Travel,9,Oceania,1,Offbeat,1028,Ohio,6,Oman,5,Online Date Tips,2,Operating Systems,2,Oral,4,Oregon,10,outdoor,3,Ownership,61,Pain,24,Painting,16,Pakistan,2,Panama,5,Pancake,19,Panda,1,Panna Cotta,3,Paraguay,1,Parenting,370,Paris,23,Paris Motor Show,4,Pasta,2,Pastry,7,Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance,2,Penguin,4,Pennsylvania,10,Personal Finance,164,Peru,21,Pets,526,Phoenix,1,Photo Feature,1,Pie,27,Plum Cake,1,Poke Cake,10,Poland,3,Popular Ingredients,26,Pork Recipes,7,Portable Media,14,Portugal,21,Pound Cake,55,Prague,1,Pregnancy,72,Premium,1,Printer,2,Protein Bars,1,Psychology,1,Pudding,9,Puerto Rico,7,Pumpkin Cake,45,Qatar,6,Quick & Easy Recipes,11,Real Estate,72,Recalls,4,Recipe,1097,Recipes,52,Recipes & Meal Ideas,3,Recipes By Course,5,Relationship,167,Relationship Advice,180,Relationship Advice for Men,23,Relationship Advice for Women,27,Relationship Problems,58,Relationship Secrets,14,Relationships,198,Research,94,Resort,11,Restaurants & News,13,Resume,11,Retirement,10,Reviews,1,Rhode Island,2,River Travel,2,Road Trips,49,Romania,4,Romantic Getaways,15,Rome,5,Russia,16,Safety,5,Saint Lucia,1,Saint Patrick's Day Travel,1,Salad,6,San Miguel de Allende,1,Scotland,10,Seasonal,56,Seasonal Travel,59,Security,9,Self Help,14,Self-Care,3,SEMA Show,5,Senior Relationship,2,Sex,7,Sexual Health,19,Shanghai Auto Show,7,Shaving,1,Sheet Cake,20,Shirt,4,Shoes,1,Shopping,10,Shots & Shooters,1,Side Dishes,4,Sightseeing Tours,2,Singapore,18,Ski Resorts,10,Skin Care,47,Sleep,62,Slovenia,6,Small Business,163,Smartphone,28,Smile,1,Smoothies & Juices,3,Snacks,1,Social Media,44,Solo Travel,24,Solomon Islands,1,Somoa,1,Soth Africa,1,South Africa,14,South America,3,South Carolina,4,South Dakota,5,South Korea,3,South Pacific,2,Space Travel,14,Spain,33,Special,46,Special Cake,579,Special Feature,113,Special Features,484,Sponge Cake,15,Sports and Exotics,4,Sports Cars,8,Spring Travel,23,Squirrel,1,Sri Lanka,6,Strawberry Cake,22,Stress Relief,35,Stroke,2,Student Travel,1,Style Guide,25,Summer Travel,53,Summer Vacation,8,Supercars,10,Sweden,19,Swiss Alps,1,Switzerland,20,Tahiti,1,Taiwan,3,Tanzania,1,Tarts,12,Taxes,7,Teas,2,Tech,89,Tech Advice,12,Tech Education,7,Tech Hacks,19,Tech Updates,2,Technology,425,Teen Advice,4,Teeth,5,Tennessee,6,Texas,57,Thailand,31,Thanksgiving Cake,4,Thanksgiving Travel,5,Therapy,3,Things to Do,165,Tibet,2,Tips,264,Tips & Tricks,6,Tokyo Motor Show,2,Tools & Skills,16,Top Stocks,1,Traditional Cake,4,Train Travel,23,Training,1,Transportation,22,Travel,490,Travel Advice,64,Travel Apps,1,Travel Guide,40,Travel Tips,149,Trends,7,Trucks,1,True Health,5,Tunisia,2,Turkey,10,Turkish,1,Tuscany,1,TV,2,UAE,10,UK,40,Ukrine,1,Understanding Women,28,Urban Travel,47,Uruguary,1,USA,629,Utah,12,Uzbekistan,1,Vacation Travel,245,Valentine's Day Cake,7,Valentine's Day Travel,1,Vanilla Cake,17,Vegetables,3,Vehicle Travel,2,Venezuela,1,Vermont,4,Victoria Falls,1,Vietnam,5,Virginia,5,Waffles,3,Washington,15,Washington DC,20,Web & Social,17,Wedding,14,Wedding Cake,549,Weddings,60,Weddings Travel,4,Weight Gain,23,Weight Loss,468,Weird,172,Wellness,75,West Indies,2,Wi-Fi,2,Wildlife Travel,13,Winter Travel,56,Wisconsin,5,Women Lifestyle,23,Women's,398,Women's Health,173,Work Environment,77,Workouts,81,Worldwide,155,Wyoming,2,xxx,1,Yemen,1,Yoga,58,YouTube,3,Zadar,2,Zambia,3,Zimbabwe,4,
Home Magazine: How to Plan the Ultimate British Columbia Road Trip
How to Plan the Ultimate British Columbia Road Trip
Home Magazine
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Read More Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share to a social network STEP 2: Click the link on your social network Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy