British Columbia combines the unspoiled beauty of the wilderness with high-octane urban living. Yukon’s pristine wilderness and gold rush history are legendary. This route will provide eye-popping scenery and a wealth of outdoor adventures at your fi ngertips, making this journey an exciting and memorable one.
It begins in the city of Vancouver, where the friendly atmosphere belies the large population. Vancouver is a true metropolis full of art galleries, fine dining, museums and theaters. With its vistas of snow-capped mountains and towering architecture, it is hailed as one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Vancouver’s possibilities are endless, and there are activities for everyone. Visit Granville Island with its wonderful market, galleries, craft stores, restaurants and theaters, or enjoy a day walking around Vancouver’s Chinatown. From the 1,000-acre Stanley Park and its great walking and biking trails to the Vancouver Aquarium and the Museum of Anthropology, you will want to take some time to explore all this city has to offer.
Departing Vancouver, you will head north to the town of Whistler. Traveling the Sea to Sky Highway about two hours, you will find much more than a ski resort. Whistler Village has more than 150 shops in its pedestrian plaza, as well as a wealth of golfing, excellent restaurants and lovely accommodations. While Whistler is consistently touted as North America’s No. 1 ski resort, it truly provides fun for all four seasons. Ride the gondola to the top of Whistler or Blackcomb mountains, take an afternoon to fish at one of the many local lakes and rivers or visit the Whistler Museum for regional history and ski exhibits.
Your drive north will continue as you make your way to Prince George, located at the crossroads of Hwys 16 and 97. You will find plenty of great shopping, easy access to parks, golfi ng and art galleries or you can take time to enjoy a symphony. Take a stroll along the Heritage River Trail, which winds along the shores of the Fraser and Nechako Rivers and takes you through some beautiful parks. The Prince George Native Art Gallery showcases some of the finest in local art, and Exploration Place will send you back in time to explore local history and experience hands-on science exhibits. From Prince George you can choose to follow Hwy 16 to Smithers or travel to Dawson Creek by following the Alaska Highway route.
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Taking the time to explore a few spots that are off the beaten path helps make a vacation unforgettable. We’ve highlighted a few side trips that you might enjoy investigating:
A side trip from Smithers to Prince Rupert is a great opportunity to see some of the countryside you might otherwise miss. Taking the Trans-Canada Highway west to this coastal city brings you into a bustling tourist hub. Cruise ships, ferries and trains all stop at Prince Rupert, making it a hot spot for all travelers. Plan on spending some time here, and enjoy seeing varied wildlife and checking out some of the local restaurants and shops. Be sure to stop in at Breakers Pub, situated on the waterfront with a great deck and view. With over 30 shops and galleries, you won’t want to miss the Cow Bay historic district either. There are museums for those interested in the history of this port city, and the Museum of Northern British Columbia is an excellent choice. You can also take the ferry over to Haida Qwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) and explore the local island life, with lovely B&Bs and extraordinary vistas of coastline or connect to the Marine Highway Route from here.
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