Canada’s westernmost province more than lives up to the title “Beautiful British Columbia.” Deliciously sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains, BC offers up jaw-dropping vistas of nature in all its glory everywhere you look. Within this one province you will find sandy beaches and surfing waves, snow capped mountains and glacier fed lakes, desert climate and rain forests and acres upon acres of vineyards, farms and fields of agricultural crops.
But this site is not here to sell you on British Columbia as a nature destination, most people are already well aware of the beauty that awaits. Discover the Pacific Northwest is more about enjoying the scenery while sipping a BC Chardonnay paired with a plate of fresh Fanny Bay Oysters. Or watching the boats sail past Granville Island with a beer in hand that was brewed right there where you sit.
With that in mind, here are some areas and highlights that offer fabulous drink, food and fun in the lower half of beautiful British Columbia.
Vancouver & Beyond
The largest city in British Columbia is of course Vancouver. This cosmopolitan, trendy city is one of the most beautiful in the world due to its unique viewpoint of both ocean and mountains. It is also a very ethnically diverse and open minded city which creates an interesting and colorful character and an unrivaled selection of food choices from all over the world. In recent years it has become a hot spot for craft breweries so Vancouverites no longer have to travel south for their craft beer fix. But it’s not just beer that pours from the taps and bottles, distilleries are also on the rise and are making some pretty high quality gin, vodka and whiskey.
If you want to get out of the city there is plenty more to see and do within an easy, and often spectacular drive. Head north along the Sea to Sky Highway and you’ll come to Whistler where you can ski in the winter, hike in the spring through fall and pair incredible cuisine with drink local craft beer, wine and spirits all year round. Go east from the city and you will find yourself in scenic countryside where there are quite a few good wineries that make for a pretty and tasty day trip.
Vancouver Island & Gulf Islands
Vancouver Island is home to the capitol city of Victoria. This charming and picturesque town has gorgeous natural scenery, beautiful buildings and an impressive array of activities, restaurants and bars making it a favorite destination for a vacation, weekend getaway or honeymoon. There are also quite a few craft breweries and brew pubs in the city that are attracting locals and visitors alike. Take a drive outside of Victoria to the Saanich Peninsula and Cowichan Valley and you will find a multitude of wineries, large and small, many of which have lovely tasting rooms where you can sip wine and savor some of the locally made delicious cheeses.
The are more than 200 Gulf Islands dotting the water between BC’s mainland and Vancouver Island and they’re perfect for a tranquil break. A handful of the larger islands can be reached by ferry which delivers you to small communities of artists, artisans and farmers. Here you can spend your time hiking, swimming, kayaking and tasting your way around the markets and restaurants. There are even some small cideries, wineries, and breweries to quench your thirst.
A few hours east of Vancouver you will come to the fertile and alluring Okanagan Valley. This interior region of BC is a favorite spot for vacationers. Summer is the most popular time due to the exceptionally warm, dry weather and multitude of crystal clear lakes but the other seasons offer their own appeal. Winter is great for skiing at Big White and many people prefer the spring and fall when there are less tourists and cooler weather. Aside from being a great place to holiday the Okanagan used to mainly be known for its bountiful orchards and people would drive up just to buy pounds of delicious apples and peaches. Today, however, wineries have taken over much of that land and tourist dollar. There are more than 200 wineries stretching over 250 KM making this valley a wine lovers heaven. Map out a route between Kelowna, Penticton, Osoyoos and Naramata Bench and you can be tasting for weeks on end.
Now before you say “You didn’t mention…!” or “You’ve barely scratched the surface!” We know! There is sooo much more to British Columbia than what we’ve noted above, but our aim on this page is just to whet your appetite. In the weeks, months and years to come (yes we are in this for the long haul) we plan to fill this site with interesting and informative articles, guides, reviews and stories covering all that this state has to offer. Always keeping in mind that our primary focus is to highlight the amazing craft beverages made in the Pacific Northwest.
Cheers and happy travels!