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Canada's Jewel of the Pacific Coast

Canada's northwest region is sure to delight, from majestic Whistler Mountain and the coves of the Inside Passage to Vancouver's trendy cafés and the vineyards of the Okanagan Valley. Get a bohemian fix in Nelson or the Bella Coola Valley, and chow down at Vancouver's award-winning restaurants.

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Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish
Go From Sea to Sky in Squamish

Go From Sea to Sky in Squamish

While Whistler, the much-praised ski resort just north of Vancouver, certainly has its charms, don’t blaze past the little town of Squamish on the road to get there. Low-key Squamish is now home to the Sea to Sky Gondola, a ride that soars 3,000 feet from the ocean to the peaks of the Coast Mountains, allowing everyone access to jaw-dropping views of glacial lakes, fjords, rain forests and the occasional bald eagle sighting. Once you get to the top, set out on one of eight different hiking trails, rock climb, traverse the 100-meter-long suspension bridge, stop for lunch at the Summit Restaurant or watch a glowing sun set over snow-topped mountains at the Edge bar. 960 1280

Kristin Piljay  

Take a Boat to the Sunshine Coast

Take a Boat to the Sunshine Coast

At just 45-minutes, the ferry ride across the shimmery blue sound from Vancouver to the Sunshine Coast is minimal, but the transformation it sets off is anything but. This aptly named 50-mile stretch of coastline north of Vancouver, typically sunnier than the rest of the province and only accessible by ferry, feels so removed and brimming with nature even locals forget they are still on the mainland and not a remote island. Head up to the laid back town of Egmont, a seafarer’s nirvana and point of departure for the five-hour boat ride through the Princess Louisa Inlet, where you can glide through pine-covered cliffs to the thundering Chatterbox waterfalls. 960 1280

Jason Poole  

Hike Skookumchuck Narrows

Hike Skookumchuck Narrows

Just outside of Egmont on the Sunshine Coast, take the easy hike to Skookumchuck Narrows to see tidal changes so extreme that even surfers can catch waves on the rushing waters. The billions of gallons of ocean that gush through the narrow inlet here has become a playground for expert kayakers; they perform 360 flips to the cheers of onlookers who have hiked an hour through the lush forest of Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park to watch their tricks. Kayakers and audience alike taste the thrill of interacting with the wild Skookumchuck – a word that means “strong waters” in Chinook, a local native language.  960 1280

Steve Glass  

Get Back to Nature at the Gulf Islands

Get Back to Nature at the Gulf Islands

Vancouver is celebrated as one of the greenest cities in the world, but it is the verdant islands that surround Vancouver – where orca whales breach and blackberries seem to pick themselves for you – that transport its visitors to the Garden of Eden. For a quiet retreat, try Galiano, one of the Gulf Islands between mainland B.C. and Vancouver Island. Visit unspoiled beaches only accessible by kayak, watch seaplanes come in for a landing at the marina, but most importantly, watch the sun set over Montague Harbour, an unforgettable spectacle of color. 960 1280

Danita Delimont  

Ski at Big White

Ski at Big White

While many Canadians claim that Whistler is the best ski resort in North America, it’s certainly not the only place to click into your bindings in British Columbia. If you want to have a far more affordable ski experience and almost no lift lines, head to the more remote ski slopes of Big White, just outside of the town of Kelowna in the Southern Interior of B.C. Without the crowds and the hefty lift fees, but ample first rate amenities to make you feel at home, the whole family can ski with ease. Perhaps go fully Nordic by dog sledding or snow shoeing on their 25 kilometers of cross-country trails. 960 1280

Don Weixl  

Bike the Seawall in Vancouver's Stanley Park

Bike the Seawall in Vancouver's Stanley Park

Vancouver is one of the densest metropolises in Canada, but when sitting by the edge of Beaver Lake, a calm refuge deep in the heart of Stanley Park, you forget entirely about the buzz of the city. This 1,001-acre park that borders the city’s downtown is a rarity amongst great urban parks: huge swaths of it are undeveloped and home to towering coastal forests and abundant wildlife. And Stanley Park is almost entirely surrounded by water, making the bike ride along its 6.2-mile sea wall a series of one stunning ocean view after another. Whether you catch its renown cherry blossoms in the spring or the crimson big leaf maples in the fall, nature’s bounty is here, minutes from the busy sidewalks of the city. 960 1280

JTB Photo  

Surf in Tofino

Surf in Tofino

Take Vancouver Island’s Highway Four all the way to its end on the very tip of the westernmost side of the island, and you will find yourself in Tofino, a small town with a very big reputation. The outdoor adventurer’s paradise with a temperate climate, the town has adopted the moniker of “Tree Loving Capital of the World,” and is also known for its excellent whale and storm watching. But its biggest claim to fame is its unofficial title as the surf capital of Canada. With consistent waves to accommodate all levels of surfers and decent year round weather, it’s become Canada’s most appealing place to catch a swell. 960 1280

Design Pics / Deddeda  

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Moraine Lake, Banff National Park

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park

“Moraine Lake – known as one of the most photographed places in Canada – is a glacially-fed lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks. I took this photo during a production shoot for a Shaw TV segment where I chatted with them about my passion for the Great Outdoors.” 960 1280

Dax Justin  

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park

“Moraine Lake reflects a very distinct shade of blue because of the refraction of light off the rock flour that is continuously deposited in the lake.” 960 1280

Dax Justin  

Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park

Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park

Lake Minnewanka, which means ‘water of the spirits,’ is a glacial lake and is the longest in the mountain parks of the Canadian Rockies. 960 1280

Dax Justin  

Two Jack Lake, Banff National Park

Two Jack Lake, Banff National Park

“Located in Banff National Park, Two Jack Lake is my favorite place in Alberta to capture the vast number of colors seen along the horizon at sunrise.” 960 1280

Dax Justin  

Vermillion Lakes, Banff National Park

Vermillion Lakes, Banff National Park

“With Mount Rundle as its backdrop, Vermillion Lakes offer some of the most picturesque views in all of Alberta. It is a short jaunt from my home town of Calgary.” 960 1280

Dax Justin  

Johnson Canyon, Banff National Park

Johnson Canyon, Banff National Park

“This photo was taken at Johnson Canyon – one of the most popular places for ice climbers in the winter.” 960 1280

Dax Justin  

Johnson Canyon, Banff National Park

Johnson Canyon, Banff National Park

“When the water began freezing at Johnson Canyon, I was able to capture some of the most spectacular views the Canadian Rockies.” 960 1280

Dax Justin  

Patricia Lake, Jasper National Park

Patricia Lake, Jasper National Park

“I learned that there’s nothing better than a serene kayaking experience on the calm waters of Patricia Lake.” 960 1280

Dax Justin  

Athabasca Falls, Jasper National Park

Athabasca Falls, Jasper National Park

“I've heard about the mind-blowing the beauty of Athabasca Falls, but seeing it in person is better than I expected. I have a very deep respect for this place.” 960 1280

Dax Justin  

Whistlers Mountain, Jasper National Park

Whistlers Mountain, Jasper National Park

“A rainbow breaks through the clouds just as I got to the top of Whistlers Mountain. Jasper National Park has the SkyTram that takes visitors up – approximately 4278 feet – to see the entire countryside, which includes the town of Jasper.” 960 1280

Dax Justin  

Pyramid Lake, Jasper National Park

Pyramid Lake, Jasper National Park

“Waking up at 5 am to catch Sunrise at Patricia Lake in Jasper National Park never looked so good.” 960 1280

Dax Justin  

Athabasca Glacier Ice Cave, Jasper National Park

Athabasca Glacier Ice Cave, Jasper National Park

“While on the Columbia Icefield, I hiked to the Athabasca Glacier to see my first ice cave. Due to warmer temperatures over the past decade, the glacier is melting, which meant visiting the ice cave was on the top of my must-see list.” 960 1280

Dax Justin  

Maligne Lake, Jasper National Park

Maligne Lake, Jasper National Park

In Jasper National Park, Maligne Lake is a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy fishing, hiking, canoeing or kayaking. 960 1280

Dax Justin  

Waterton Lake, Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton Lake, Waterton Lakes National Park

“While on my Badlands Expedition during the past summer (2015), I had the opportunity to visit Waterton Lake and I felt like I was in Jurassic Park.” 960 1280

Dax Justin  

Prince of Wales Hotel, Waterton Lakes National Park

Prince of Wales Hotel, Waterton Lakes National Park

Built in the late 1920s, the iconic Prince of Wales Hotel is overlooks the Waterton Lake. Named after the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII), the hotel was built to lure American tourists north of the border during the prohibition era. 960 1280

Dax Justin  

Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

“One day I drove past Lake Louise and randomly stumbled upon this stunning reflection on Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park.” 960 1280

Dax Justin  

Kootenay National Park

Kootenay National Park

"On my Columbia Valley Expedition, I skied off the summit of 8,000-foot-tall Panorama Mountain and para-glided down to the base. This was one of the best moments of my life and the snow-dusted trees below were a sight I will never forget." 960 1280

Dax Justin  

Destinations in British Columbia

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