British Columbia may be replete with gorgeous outdoor scenery and activities, but as the temperature drops, many of us want to explore this beautiful province without getting chilly.
Thankfully, the shoulder season – the wonderful, quiet period between the busy summer tourist season and the upcoming winter holidays – is a great time to relax before the holiday chaos begins. So book a little vacation time and take advantage of off-season discounts and minimal traffic to explore with some indoor (but still very BC) activities.
This southeastern area of BC is characterized by massive, snow-capped mountains bordering Alberta, crystal clear rivers and lakes and over half of the province’s national parks. In addition to the ample natural beauty and plenty of outdoor adventures, the Kootenay Rockies also offer excellent opportunities to embrace your not-so-sporty side.
1. Zen Escape
Recharge at the Yasodhara Ashram, a gorgeous yoga retreat and study centre in Kootenay Bay, where visitors can unplug from the stress of their modern lives and practice some much needed self-care.
2. Spa Day
If downward dog isn’t your cup of tea, relax at the historic Hume Hotel & Spa, a Nelson landmark originally built in 1898, which features the Aura Spa and Salon, the General Store Restaurant and many more amenities, making it an easy place to hunker down for a short sojourn.
The pockets of warm air and cooler elevations, mixed with the rich soil, make the valleys of this region ideal for growing some of the best wine grapes, along with more traditional fruit like apples, cherries and peaches. A visit to the Thompson Okanagan wouldn’t be complete without a wine tasting (or three).
For something a little out of the ordinary, head to Monte Creek Ranch Winery in Kamloops, where visitors are treated to a frontier-style atmosphere with their wine. Sip seasonally appropriate ice wines or try the incredibly unique, award-winning haskap berry wine.
4. Rustic Retreat
As you sip your way through wine country, take a break and kick back at the Grizzly Lodge near Kelowna, a remote rustic retreat with breathtaking views of the valley.
5. Indigenous Dining
Indulge in Indigenous-inspired cuisine at Red Fox Club, on the site of the Indigenous World Winery in West Kelowna, where you can sample local wines while nibbling on bannock, a delicious fry bread served with butter and jam or savory accoutrements, like garlic and cheese.
Cariboo Chilcotin Coast
Epic forests, expansive fjords and majestic plains are what make the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast a desirable destination for locals and visitors alike. The history of the Gold Rush runs deep in this central area of BC.
6. Time Travel
Ever wondered what the West was like at the turn of the century? Visit Barkerville, a recreated gold rush boomtown with over 100 historic structures still standing, including a deliberately half-restored boarding house, allowing visitors a glimpse of what life would have been like for residents in the mid-1800s. Barkerville opens for winter activities starting December 8.
7. Ranch Relaxing
If you’d prefer to relax cowboy-style, pay a visit to Kayanara Ranch. This gorgeous property is nestled on the banks of Canim Lake, about 45 minutes away from 100 Mile House, and offers cozy lodge-style accommodations. Saddle up for a winter horseback ride, try your hand at ice fishing or strap on some cross-country skis – the opportunities for cold-weather recreation are endless.
Stretching from Prince George all the way north and bordering Alaska, this region is comprised of untamed forests and expansive natural beauty.
8. Island B&B
Cozy up at a bed and breakfast (like the Seaport) on Haida Gwaii, an archipelago that’s rich in Haida culture and history.
9. Hot Springs
If you choose to stay on the mainland, ease your aching muscles in one of the largest natural hot springs in Canada, located in Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park, not far from the Yukon border.
As autumn gracefully transitions into winter, break out of your daily routine and explore our neighbour to the west by experiencing the Kootenay Rockies, Thompson Okanagan, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast and Northern BC regions. The laid-back shoulder season means far fewer tourists on the roads, which makes it an ideal time for a little R&R in some of the most beautiful landscapes in all of Canada.
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