Travel BC | BC Road Trip Itinerary and Tips
Congratulations, it’s official! You have booked time off for a trip to British Columbia. You are now commencing “Operation: Plan Your BC Road Trip.”
Road trips have become a pandemic vacation go-to, and BC has once again taken the cake for the best province for one. But where should you start? What should you see? It would help if you had a BC road trip itinerary.
Travelling through BC and the Canadian Rockies is an unforgettable experience — and it doesn’t matter what time of year you go. British Columbia has become a hub for RV road trips because of the unbelievable scenic drives, pit stops, and never-ending outdoor adventures.
Get your bags packed and camera-ready. We’re about to set you up with a complete BC itinerary, activity suggestions, and tips for the road.
Road Conditions and Seasonal Preference to Travel BC
One of the biggest questions we ask ourselves when planning a trip is when are we going to go? In BC, the time of year makes a big difference in weather, road conditions, wildlife viewing, and campsite availability.
Summer Months (April-September):
This is the most popular time of year to take BC road trips. For the most part, the roads are dry, so the time it takes from one location to the next will be shorter. In addition, you don’t need to pack as many extra bulky layers and rain gear.
There are many outdoor activities to choose from, including biking, hiking, camping, climbing, ziplining, rafting, etc. July and August are very busy, though. So it’s very important to make sure you book ahead as it’s quite difficult just simply roll into an empty campsite this time of year.
Winter Months (November-March)
Winter brings another vibe when travelling through British Columbia. It is a dream if you love to ski, snowboard, sled, cross-country ski or snowshoe.
Although it is a winter wonderland, road and weather conditions can be rough. Roads can become very slick and snowy, especially on the famous sea-to-sky highway or any mountain road.
Drive safe and smart. It is very important to have winter tires on your vehicle before November, where winter tire regulations come into effect on most mountain roads in BC.
10 Tips for BC Road Trip Success
- Best time of year: September is one of the best months for a road trip because kids are back to school. It’s quieter, and the weather is usually a very nice temperature, not too hot or too cold. Roads are also still snow-free.
- Give yourself time: Allow yourself at least two weeks to experience this suggested road trip.
- Disconnect: Try to disconnect from your phones and immerse yourself in the Rocky Mountain experience.
- Try new things: Zipline, rafting, backcountry slopes, hiking to a mountain peak, and more.
- Don’t feed the bears! Don’t disturb the wildlife. Keep a safe distance.
- It’s not a race: Drive safe and smart on BC’s mountain roads.
- Book ahead of time: Plan and make sure you have places to park your RV at night.
- Stay warm and dry: Pack waterproofs and extra layers. You will need them at some point.
- Don’t forget gear rentals: Bikes, skis, and boards. You’ll need these to get the most out of BC’s outdoor adventures.
- Fire safety: There is usually a total fire ban across BC from June to September. Don’t be those people. Check local restrictions before lighting up a campfire at night.
Best Camper and RV Rentals for BC Road Trips
Vancouver is a great location to start your BC road trip. It’s the perfect spot to get any last-minute items organized or activities booked. It is also a prime location as there are multiple RV rental options in the area.
- Wicked Campers
Wicked Campers are a stand out in Whistler and other ski-towns. These converted minivans are totally rad, covered in custom graffiti, and loaded with everything you’ll need to road trip your way through the mountains. So if you are looking for affordability and steeze for your ski trip, these are the campervans for you.
Price Point: $66 per day
- CanaDream RV Rentals Vancouver
This is a very popular choice for RV rentals and consistently delivers quality service. You’ll see them driving all across Canada. They believe in creating a memorable experience for their customers at their own pace.
Price Point: Dependent on location, add-ons, and RV style.
- Rent a Camper Canada
This is a unique service that offers to upgrade a rental minivan into a kitted-out basic campervan. Potentially would be of appeal if looking for a more affordable option but still road-trip-ready. Rent-a-Camper Canada helps to load the car with all the camping equipment and do a thorough walkthrough, so you know where everything is.
Price Point: $45 to $51 per night, plus set up fee
- Karma Campervans
Are you looking for a sleek Sprinter van to make that road trip through the rocky mountains a one for the books?
Karma Campervans are four-season adventure mobiles kitted out in a modern, stylish, and comfortable interior. Available in Richmond, BC and Calgary, AB.
Price Point: $269 per night
Road Trip Itinerary #1: Canadian Rockies Highlights
If you have never been to BC and never experienced the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains, then you’ll want to hit all the highlights. Start in Vancouver and end in Calgary. This is a true taste of what this province has to offer.
- Vancouver (Start)
Explore this gorgeous oceanfront city by renting a bike and cycling along the seawall of Stanley Park.
Grab a coffee at Granville Island and wander through the marketplace. Then, soak up the first nation’s culture at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC.
Conquer the Grouse Grind on Grouse mountain. Play beach volleyball at Kitsilano Beach.
Work your way up north along the sea to sky and explore the world-famous ski-town resort of Whistler.
If visiting in the winter, hit the slopes! In the summer months, spend a day experiencing the Whistler bike park or explore the endless hiking options Whistler has to choose from. Take in the views from the Peak-to-Peak Gondola.
Zipline your way through the cedar mountains and trees. Then, wander your way through the multi-media attraction magical night walk — Vallea Lumina.
Revelstoke is another beautiful ski and bike town further into the interior of BC. Visit the Revelstoke Railway Museum, raft your way down the white water rapids, and check out a fun way to take in the views on the Pipe Mountain Coaster.
Explore the quaint town and set yourself up with a nice camping spot for the night.
You’ve made it to Alberta! Banff is second only to Whistler when it comes to Canadian mountain towns. There’s hiking, rafting, biking and paddling all based around this world-class ski town.
Visit the world-famous Banff hot springs to get some much-needed R & R. Lake Louise is one of the most photographed points in Banff National park. It is at dusk where the most beautiful colour of blue emerges.
- Calgary (End)
There is an endless list of activities in and around Calgary to choose from, like golfing, horseback riding, kayaking, boating, and more. With the mountains still in view, you can get your big-city fix before winding down your road trip.
End your Canadian Rocky road trip on a high note with a taste of this cowboy town.
Road Trip Itinerary #2: Sea to Sky to Hot Springs
If you’d prefer a circular route, and one that still gets some mountain time, may we suggest traveling the full Sea to Sky Highway?
- Vancouver (Start)
Once again, we begin our adventure in the metropolis of Vancouver.
A few more highlights worth hitting up in this beautiful oceanfront city include the infamous Wreck Beach on the UBC campus and the meandering trails through Pacific Spirit Park. Next, get your hike on Deep Cove in North Vancouver, finished with one of the best donuts in the city at Honeys.
Squamish is only an hour’s drive from Vancouver but a world apart. This booming adventure town has just about every outdoor sport you could ever want: mountain biking, hiking, white water kayaking, rafting, and more. Don’t miss hiking the Chief, the mountian that dominates the local landscape.
Spend a few days here, camping at one of the campsites located along the many rivers, like the Mamquam River Campground or the Squamish Valley Campground.
Heading North once again, you’ll find yourself in Whistler. It’s time to get your fill of that mountain lifestyle. We are talking white water rafting, fly fishing adventures, axe throwing, and more.
Any time of year makes for the perfect time to visit Canada’s best ski and mountain bike resort.
A mountain town with a foodie’s heart, Pemberton has plenty to off those who love the backcountry and a big bowl of hearty food at the end of the day. We recommend digging into a local burger and more at Mile One Eatery.
Hot tip: If you can’t wait for the end of the trip for a hot mountain soak, why not make a pit stop between Pemberton and Lillooet at Tsek Hot Springs. (Due to the pandemic, they are temporarily closed, check the website for updates).
Welcome to Canada’s desert interior. Lillooet is a small town huddled around the deep canyon of the Fraser River. Spend a few days here hiking the dusty trails, including over the photo-worthy old suspension bridge. You may also want to dabble in some of the province’s best wine or dig into the area’s historical and cultural experiences, like from Xwisten Experience Tours.
- Harrison Hot Springs
Heading south for one final stop before looping back to Vancouver, spend a few days relaxing at Harrison Hot Springs. This resort sits at the southern tip of Harrison Lake and offers unrivalled access to these rejuvenating hot springs.
While here, you can rent paddle boats, kayaks and canoes to explore the lake or head up the Forest Service Roads to the East and West to go deeper into the local trails and mountains.
Then, it’s only an hour to return your RV rental to Vancouver.
Create a Custom Memorable, Dream Road Trip
It’s important to create a road trip that suits you and your family’s needs. The locations above are what we’d suggest, but the beauty of a road trip is the wiggle room! BC road trips are made for pit stops and off-schedule activities.
Your British Columbia road trip awaits. Be sure to try out the local cuisines, independent coffee shops and craft beer and ciders. Check out this super Canadian itinerary to immerse yourself into Canadian culture. All the best on your adventures!