Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory
Whales, bears, forests, and fish provide outdoorsy amusements for travelers venturing into northern British Columbia. Meanwhile, southern BC delights visitors with abundant natural delights as well as “civilized” fun such as Kamloops’ steam train excursions and the metropolitan allure of downtown Vancouver.
Starting off in the central province town of Prince George, treat yourself to the five-hour Self-Guided Cultural & Heritage Tour. A variety of galleries and unique museums are on the itinerary, including The Exploration Place and Prince George Railway & Forestry Museum.
Browse through carvings, prints, and beadwork created by First Nation artists at the Prince George Native Art Gallery. Between stops, take a lunch break at one of the local restaurants, or pack a picnic basket to dine at the top of Connaught Hill Park.
From Prince George, drive west on Hwy 16 to Prince Rupert, through the towns of Houston, Smithers, and Terrace. Take a forestry tour or fly fish for steelhead in Houston. Smithers is a hot spot for catching salmon, as well as great views of Twin Falls and Moricetown Canyon. You can even go hiking or heli-fishing (where you’re dropped from a helicopter at a secret angling spot). And while you’re in the vicinity, be sure to schedule some bear watching time for black, grizzly, and rare white Kermode varieties in the wilds around Terrace.
Let’s finish our northern look at British Columbia in Prince Rupert. We recommend you first board one of several whale watching cruises to see humpbacks, grays, and orcas. If they’ve brought their gear, freshwater anglers should “make tracks” for the area’s 1,600 lakes and rivers. Back in town, check out the Museum of British Columbia to hear indigenous legends and learn about Canada’s Northwest Coast history and culture. Otherwise, a sedate, guided boat ride to the site of the old Pike Island village is a must. A little ways up the road from Prince Rupert, big burly bears may be observed at Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, a refuge to an even larger wildlife population.
British Columbia South Excursion
The southern portion of British Columbia ain’t too shabby, either. Start in Kamloops, where we’ll hunt for crystals, quartz, or fossils and be ready for black bear, snow geese, and heron sightings. At BC Wildlife Park, a conservation and animal rehab center, observe both local and exotic creatures at close range. And don’t miss taking an authentic vintage steam train ride on the Kamloops Heritage Railway’s 2141 Spirit of Kamloops or Armstrong Explorer.
From Kamloops, take Hwy 5 southwest to Vancouver. However, we’d first suggest a quick stop just east of the town of Merritt at Douglas Lake Ranch. At over 500,000 acres, it’s British Columbia’s largest working cattle ranch, and they offer horseback riding, fly fishing and ranch tours. There’s lots to see and do here, so saddle up, pardner!
From Merritt head west on Trans-Canada Hwy 1 to our next stop, the big city of Vancouver, where there’s no better way to take it all in than a skyride on a tram high above the city at Grouse Mountain. Back on earth, don’t miss your chance to see a lumberjack show or zoom through the snowy forest on a real sleigh while you’re up here. Down at sea level again, see the watery wonders of Vancouver Aquarium, cruise around the harbor, and swing your clubs on winning golf greens. Take time to savor the view from Vancouver Lookout, hit the casino, and see an IMAX film at Canada Place.
Next, take a bona fide British Columbian ferry from Vancouver to Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island, where you can park the RV and spend your day sailing, sea kayaking, scuba diving, fishing, or cruising to see harbor seals.
Once you’ve seen Nanaimo, pick up Hwy 19 north through Campbell River. Visit Home Lake Caves Provincial Park, fish, snorkel (yes, snorkel!) with salmon as they spawn in the river, or scuba dive Campbell River. At the northern terminus of this trip, Port McNeill, reserve your seat on a wildlife cruise to observe sea lions, dolphins, orca whales, as well as black bears roaming along the shoreline.