Striking Beauty of a British Columbia Road Trip

One Mile Lake British Columbia

A British Columbia road trip is stunning, regardless of the weather, which will change many times during a trip along the west coast of Canada! Whether there are heavy clouds, light wispy clouds that hover majestically on the horizon, or clear blue skies for as far as the eye can see, the landscape will take your breath away, again and again. You’ll be so spoiled with beauty that just when you fall into a lull, you’ll wake up when your jaw drops again.

Alex Bell Wanderlust Marriage, British Columbia
Walkway at One Mile Lake - British Columbia

Victoria Island or Whistler on a British Columbia Road Trip?

Alex at the boat dock in Squamish

In October, we were fortunate enough to visit British Columbia for the second time in less than 12 months. During our first visit we embarked on a small day trip but didn’t venture far outside Vancouver, as there’s so much beauty in the nearby vicinity. But for this past visit, we weren’t going to miss either Victoria Island or Whistler. But which to choose? If you have the time do both! But we didn’t have time for both, so we chose Whistler. Read this article for tips on a Whistler wellness getaway!

Ferry to Victoria Island

The ferry to Victoria Island tacks on additional cost when you include a vehicle. A round trip for two of us with the rental car was going to cost around $125 USD. Because we had been traveling a lot, and our free time was only two days, we opted to save the ferry expense by driving north to Whistler and beyond. Given our amazing experience, we definitely don’t regret the decision, but next time we’re in British Columbia, we’ll venture over to Victoria Island!

Whistler Hotels

October is low season for visiting Whistler. The weather isn’t easy to predict, but there isn’t any real snow yet either. We found a beautiful room with a kitchenette, iPad, balcony and other nice amenities at the Summit Lodge with the amazing view pictured in the photo above. We were right in the heart of Whistler village for under $100 USD a night, where in peak summer and winter seasons the same room could run you over $200 USD a night.

Whistler hotel view
View of Whistler from the balcony of our room at the Summit Lodge

For a lakeside setting and a truly Canadian experience, check in to Nita Lake Lodge. Comfy king-sized beds, double soaker tubs and expansive mountain views come as standard, and Nita’s proximity to Whistler’s amenities adds further convenience. This beautiful location is also home to a spa which we’ll discuss in more detail later.

The impressive Four Seasons Resort has lots to offer discerning couples and their Romance Packages prove particularly popular with those on honeymoon or celebrating an occasion. Each room boasts luxurious comfort along with a spacious walk-in closet.

For something equally grand, the 539-room Fairmont Chateau Whistler offers jaw-dropping mountain or village views alongside spectacular service. Specialty rooms and luxurious suites provide plenty of options for couples looking to enhance their stay.

British Columbia Highway

Whistler Bars and Restaurants

Normally on a road trip we move each night so we can explore more terrain, but Whistler was the perfect base, so we spent both nights in Whistler Village. The town was really quiet and peaceful and we especially enjoyed hanging out at Amsterdam Cafe, which is filled with Dutch memorabilia and reminded us of our former home of 3 and 1/2 years.

There’s a lot of great restaurant options in Whistler but we didn’t love our meals at the BrewHouse, though the view of the Olympic Park was nice. Our biggest tip for eating in British Columbia is to enjoy lots of salmon if you like seafood, because the wild Pacific salmon is excellent in this region!

Drive from Whistler to Pemberton

Off the BC Sea to Sky Highway

North of Whistler, drive to Pemberton and beyond. We drove through a tiny native American town just outside Pemberton that felt like another country from the rest of Canada. We even came across a small rodeo ground, which was incredibly picturesque.

We’ve seen many of the most gorgeous landscapes around the world like the Greek islands, Swiss Alps, west coast of Ireland, Great Barrier Reef, amazing southeast Asian islands like Malaysian Borneo and Ko Samui Thailand and driven around the Colorado Rockies and Florida keys, and the beauty of driving along Highway 99 north of Vancouver rivals anything else we’ve ever seen in pristine beauty!

Rodeo grounds in BC
Alexander waterfall in British Columbia

Olympics in Whistler

Alex loves watching the Olympic Games (especially as a kid), and has now visited 15 summer Olympic cities and 3 winter Olympic cities, and Whistler played host to the skiing competitions in 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. He always enjoys making it to a new Olympic Park and grabbing a thumbs up photo with the Olympic rings.


Have you taken a British Columbia road trip? Would you recommend Victoria Island or Whistler Mountain if you could only choose one?

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  • Alex&Bell

    Alex and Bell originally met while solo traveling after finishing university in 2002, in Brugge, Belgium. Alex grew up in the USA and Bell hails from Australia. During our nearly 20 year marriage we've lived around the world, including spending six years living in the Netherlands and Ireland. We have traveled to nearly 70 countries and enjoy giving readers authentic and quality travel tips. Alex is an award winning travel journalist and travel planner, who also freelances for other outlets. Bell is an award winning PhD scientist who currently works for a non-profit lung cancer advocacy research organization called Lungevity. Happy travels and if you have any questions leave a comment or drop an email!

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14 thoughts on “Striking Beauty of a British Columbia Road Trip

  1. Beautiful photos. British Colombia is the most beautiful province in Canada, unfortunately the last time I was there was 15 years ago. Yes, go to Victoria, half of the reason is just taking the ferry through the inlets…when I was a kid I would have to commute to school on Vancouver Island and it was so beautiful…I’d often see Orcas coming up over the water along the way.
    Great part of the world!
    Frank (bbqboy)

    1. Thank you for sharing your awesome story Frank! We’d love to visit Victoria Island the next time we get back to British Columbia (and we’d LOVE to return someday).

      That’s amazing that you saw Orcas in the wild out there as a kid. I (Alex) saw Orcas as a kid growing up in Florida (at Sea World in Orlando, lol). Your orca story is a thousand times better than mine!

      All the best and happy travels!

    1. That’s interesting! We’ve never been to the Tatra Mountains. We’ll have to add it to our ever growing list!

        1. Slow travel is wonderful and that sounds like a great itinerary. Vancouver is one of our favorite cities on the continent – very clean, picturesque and locals are generally very friendly. Vancouver is a great place to base yourself for day trips before venturing further. The first time we visited Vancouver, Bell was interviewing cancer patients. The second time was for a conference, and unfortunately we didn’t have time to visit Vancouver Island either time. But that’s definitely our list next time we get back – hopefully with more time. Happy future travels to BC, Richard!

  2. After have been all over North America, British Columbia I thought was the most beautiful place in North America, you post with beautiful pictures, brings back memories of my trip, perhaps to make another trip this time all the to Alaska

    1. That would be an amazing trip to go all the way up to Alaska! It is so peaceful in BC outside of Vancouver and the landscape is simply amazing. That is quite a statement about BC being the most beautiful place you found in North America!

  3. Unfortunately I haven’t been to British Columbia yet, or many other Canadian provinces yet. Looks stunning though and is up there on my top travel destinations!

    1. If you get a chance to visit it really is stunning! Alex was born in Toronto, but we haven’t spent a lot of time in any other provinces in the past 10 years, but from the little we have seen BC is the most spectacular!

  4. I absolutely LOVED Vancouver. We were going to drive over to Whistler during our visit but then Fleetwood Mac was in concert and we scored great tickets so there went that plan. Nice pictures!

    1. That is great that you got to check out a concert though in Vancouver! Hope you have another chance at heading up to Whistler.

      And thank you on the photos 🙂

  5. If I had to choose between Victoria Island and Whistler, I would pick the island. We spent a year in Seattle some time ago, so I did some research about British Columbia. Sadly, we did not have a chance to visit it. Apparently, a year is not enough to explore the Northwest.

    1. Ahh that is often the difficulty when things are in your “backyard”. We’ve been in Boston nearly 2 years and still not made a trip up to Quebec, though we finally have one planned for March this year and we can’t wait 🙂

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