Travel east along Canada’s Highway 1, the oft-travelled Trans Canada Highway, through the scenic Fraser Valley and quickly escape the city to a place of family-run farms near Abbotsford, towering mountains and waterfalls beside the road. Taking the less-hurried route through Highway 3 and 97, you can explore vast nature, Indigenous experiences, and unexpected wine tours along the way. In Manning Park Resort, tall trees line the lakeside and wilderness campsites, nature trails abound, and cozy cabins are peppered throughout. Manning Park is an ideal spot for year round night sky watching and photography. Drive through the Similkameen region and while this valley may not receive the same hype as its sizable Okanagan neighbour, the Similkameen is a charming, bucolic place of orchards, ranches, and lesser-known wineries.
Penticton and Wine Country is a warm and welcoming lakeside community, bounded by forested ridges and clay bank cliffs. The wine country and rich agricultural lands provide fresh ingredients for local menus, making this a growing food and wine destination with an abundance of urban attractions for culturally-minded visitors.
On Okanagan Lake’s west shore is Penticton and not too distant, on the e east shore, is Kelowna, both are sun-kissed, easygoing towns surrounded by vineyards. Penticton is one of just two cities in the world situated between two lakes. Okanagan and Skaha beaches feature nearly 15 acres of sandy beach and swimming areas. There are over 80 wineries in the Penticton area, 6 craft breweries, 1 cidery and 3 distilleries, all within easy walking or biking distance of the downtown core.
Leave Penticton and take a scenic drive to Nelson. On the shores of Kootenay Lake’s West Arm, centrally located between Vancouver and Calgary, the Greater Nelson has a growing population of 18,000. This Heritage City features a quaint heritage downtown with 300-plus restored heritage homes, businesses and churches. The town also boast of 50 restaurants and cafes, in fact more per capita than San Francisco, many with outdoor seasonal patios.
Overnight: Nelson, BC
A small city with a big personality, Nelson (population 9,804) is situated on the West Arm of Kootenay Lake in the heart of the Selkirk Mountains. People come here for the alpine skiing, nordic skiing, cat-skiing, mountain biking, hiking, boating, rafting and golf, and for the most active arts and culture scene in the Kootenay Rockies. Home to an eclectic mix of old Nelson families and urban refugees, this vibrant Victorian town also boasts hundreds of well-preserved heritage buildings, a crazy number of good restaurants, bustling coffee shops, retail stores, and no shortage of sidewalk cafes. Downtown is inviting, compact, walkable, and packed with unique, boutique style stores that reflect the diversity of the community. Within just a few blocks, find everything from natural foods to high-quality clothing, with a whole lot of outdoor gear in between.
Overnight: Nelson, BC
Continue your drive east to the alpine town of Fernie, where small town charm meets adventure in the heart of the Rockies. Fernie is a historic mountain town founded in 1898 and is completely surrounded by the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Overnight: Fernie, BC
Fernie Alpine Resort is the base camp to numerous exhilarating summer activities. At the resort there is an Aerial Park, which is an exhilarating rope course 18 metres off the ground. Finish off by zip lining your way to the base area. Mountain biking in Fernie offers some of the best cross-country, downhill, single-track and dual slalom trails with and without chairlift access. For hikers and sightseers, whether they choose to take the scenic chairlift, or hike to the top - there will be a fantastic view waiting. Stop for lunch at the Lost Boys' Cafe and soak in wilderness.
Overnight: Fernie, BC
Drive through the breath-taking Canadian Rockies to Calgary, the largest city in the western Canadian province of Alberta. While you are here, take some time to explore the award-winning architectural masterpiece of Calgary’s Public Library, walk along the scenic Bow Valley River pathways or experience the buzz of downtown Stephen Avenue with its stores and restaurants. Calgary’s dining scene is incredibly diverse and absolutely the best in western Canada.