After a sun-drenched summer, British Columbians tend to cower at the sight of clouds, tucking indoors in anticipation of the rainy, cold weather that lies ahead. Kids return to school, weekends fill up with extracurricular activities, and families put ‘together time’ on pause until the winter holidays approach.
Don’t get stuck indoors as the temperatures cool, instead, connect with nature through these exciting experiential getaways that are happening around BC this fall. Plan a family weekend in one of these nearby spots, and extend your outdoor time while discovering new experiences that exist right in your backyard.
1) Head to the Okanagan for Fall Harvest Season
While the region is swamped during the summer months, with crowds flocking to the area for its plentiful wineries, picturesque fruit orchards, and idealistic lakefront water activities, the fall season is a great time to skip the crowds while still accessing all that the Okanagan has to offer. Discover newly-released wines, outdoor adventures, and up-and-coming hot spots, with a weekend in the Okanagan that is sure to please guests of all ages.
Check out new wineries such as Martin’s Lane by Mission Hill, sample absinthe at Okanagan Spirits – BC’s first craft distillery, enjoy dinner above the city at Kelowna’s Perch Cafe, or stroll through the up-and-coming Pandosy neighbourhood and dine at the Waterfront Cafe – the newest offering from Chef Mark Filatow.
2) Reach For The Stars With an Astronomy Weekend at Manning Park
Only a 2.5 hour drive from Vancouver, this recreational paradise is the perfect spot to spend a weekend full of outdoor adventures. In October, Manning Park – the first accredited dark sky park in BC (there are only two in Canada) – will be hosting its first inaugural stargazing event: Dark Sky Astronomy Weekend, which will be happening from October 12-14.
Join the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada for family-friendly star-gazing, yoga under the stars, art exhibits, workshops, speakers and more! Packages are available, and free events are aplenty.
3) Spend Spawning Season Exploring the Adams River Salmon Run
Located 45 minutes east of Kamloops, the Adams River is home to one of the largest sockeye salmon runs in North America. Watch in awe as the river flows red with millions of spawning salmon swimming from one of several on-site viewing platforms.
Check out the Salute to the Sockeye Festival, which takes place from September 28 to October 21 at Tsútswecw Provincial Park (Roderick Haig-Brown).
4) Go Storm Watching Along BC’s West Coast
Tofino’s Wickanninish Inn may be the most well known spot to storm watch, but BC is packed with other places to watch Mother Nature in action too! The stilted cabins at Cassiar Cannery in Prince Rupert is a unique spot to watch cold dry air blast down the Skeena River smack into warm, moist Pacific air, making for a dramatic display of billowing clouds and fog punctured by shafts of sunshine. Inland, the Kootenay Rockies region offers an abundance of secluded mountain cabins and resorts to watch nature in action.
Head to Ucluelet for the newly-launched storm-watching tours that are offered by Hello Nature Tours. Get a front row seat and storm watch with the experts.
5) Take a Road Trip Along the Pacific Marine Circle Route
On this backcountry driving tour, you can explore the areas from Victoria to Port Renfrew, to Lake Cowichan, to Duncan, enjoying the wilds of the West Coast from the comfort of your car. Stop in at Sooke Potholes Park, explore the caves of Horne Lake, or stroll through Cathedral Grove – just some of the exciting spots to explore along the way.
Wild Renfrew not only offers a stunning waterfront accommodation, but its development has re-invigorated the town. Avatar Grove boasts some of the biggest trees in Canada, and find out what the Prime Minister ate at the year-round Duncan Farmers’ Market!
6) Fall For Birdwatching in BC
BC lies in the path of the Pacific Flyway, a major migratory thoroughfare between Alaska and Patagonia that stretches 15,000 km, and the biggest migration is in the fall. Whether you’re a birdwatching enthusiast, or a curious first-timer, BC offers a wide range of excursions and viewing spots where you can see some of the most beautiful birds in BC.
Try a sea kayak birding tour, eagle float (by raft), photography tour, or simply take your binoculars out to Delta – not only considered one of the top birdwatching sites in BC, but in Canada!