When to go to Vancouver & Best Time to Travel to BC
BC’s weather pattern can for the most part be divided into two areas: the coast and the interior. BC has the warmest year-round temperatures in Canada and in particular in the south west region of the province—Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland. And according to Environment Canada—a federal government science-based department—BC also offers the hottest summers in Canada especially in the Thompson Okanagan region with highs of 30+°C (90°F) during the month of August. Of course there is also world-class skiing and snowboarding opportunities in the winter months. BC really is a marvellous choice for a holiday destination at any time of year. So when you plan to visit will most likely depend on where you’d like to go and what types of activities you are interested in.
Spring (March to May)
Spring is a wonderful time to visit BC. If you happen to travel to Vancouver or Victoria in the month of April, expect to be captivated by the thousands of cherry blossom trees in bloom.
Temperatures are mild in the spring and though it can be rainy sometimes, there are still plenty of warm sunny days. Many of the activities you might enjoy in the summer, you can also enjoy in the spring. And with the awesome mountain snowpack means you may still get some great spring skiing done. You can hit the beach and hit the slopes all in the same day—although this may not always be the case, it is certainly possible!
Other coastal areas and the Interior regions of BC are also delightful in the spring. Given that this is the off-season, you can often take advantage of lower prices for accommodations and travel, as well as enjoy many of the sights without having to compete with the crowds you might encounter in the summer months.
Summer (June to August)
Summer, especially July and August, is BC’s most popular months for tourism, so it is advisable to make your travel reservations well in advance. No matter what kind of vacation you are planning, you won’t be disappointed—there are endless opportunities for exploration and adventure!
BC is known for its spectacular scenery and a plenitude of outdoor activities to partake in. There are phenomenal opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing, canoeing and kayaking, whale watching, bear tours, surfing, winery tours and so much more. There are also many water sports to take advantage of beyond swimming, such as whitewater river rafting, paddle boarding, and waterskiing.
If playing an 18-hole game of golf surrounded by majestic mountains is more your idea of outdoor fun, then you’ll be pleased to know that BC is home to many world-class golf courses. But if outdoor sports aren’t really your cup of tea, perhaps a day of cultural activities or marathon shopping will get you going! BC has a variety of shopping districts and malls, art galleries, as well as artisan and farmers’ markets to choose from.
Autumn/Fall (September to November)
BC typically has mild fall temperatures, especially along the South Coast and in the Thompson Okanagan regions. Again, you can still enjoy outdoor activities and sight-seeing excursions without the crowds throughout September that you might experience in the summer months. You probably won’t be inclined to take a dip in the ocean, but you can certainly still enjoy many other outdoor activities early Fall. In areas where there are a lot of deciduous trees, as in the Cariboo region, the fall colours can be quite stunning.
If you do encounter inclement weather during your visit, especially from October onwards, there are many indoor activities to choose from. For example, Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna have a number of cultural activities such as museums, galleries, as well historic and heritage sites to take in. If you’re not up for visiting a museum or gallery on a rainy day, take advantage of the downtime and visit one of the province’s many spas.
Winter (December to February)
BC’s coastal climate is temperate, meaning temperatures are quite mild even throughout the winter. Nevertheless, if you are planning on travelling to BC’s West Coast in the winter months, be prepared for rain as there is a lot of precipitation in the winter. If snow does fall in the wintertime in the Southern Coastal Regions, it typically doesn’t last for long. Do be aware, however, that if you plan to travel outside of the Southern Coastal Region, you may come across a fair bit of snow and ice on the roadways. The climate can change dramatically even on the relatively short drive up to Whistler. If you are driving, make sure to check the road conditions in advance prior to embarking on your journey.
BC is home to some of the best ski destinations in Canada, whether you’re a novice or a thrill-seeking heli-skier. Vancouver is close to a few local mountains, as well as Whistler Blackcomb, for some amazing skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and other winter sports. Other areas of BC, such as the Thomson Okanagan, Cariboo and Kootenay Regions offer some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the province. There are plenty of locations for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sledding, snowmobiling and other winter activities as well.
If you’re looking for a place with breathtaking beauty and virtually limitless choices for places to go and things to see, British Columbia is the place for you. Once you get a taste of what this province has to offer, you will want to return time and time again. You will be hard-pressed not to fall in love with the magnificent, rugged landscape and diversity of BC. The possibilities are endless!
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