Discover the beauty that's on your doorstep
It’s no secret that British Columbia is beautiful (take it from our license plates), but in order to fully appreciate the essence of our province, there are plenty of small towns with big personalities that are just waiting to be discovered.
The most charming towns in the province are home to a walkable core, boutique shops, cozy cafés, trendy restaurants, and friendly neighbourhood vibes. These towns are lacking in skyscrapers and chain restaurants, but bursting in character and local gems. They're home to small, quirky and creative spaces, and attract like-minded people who love music, art, nature and escaping the hustle and bustle of city life.
A stroll through any of these towns is a perfect way to spend an afternoon, and a weekend getaway will deliver the recharge you didn't even know you needed. Let's explore some of B.C.'s quaintest towns...
Destination BC/Kari MedigLaid-back in pace, rich in character and almost spiritual in ambience, Nelson is coming in strong as one of the trendiest towns of B.C. Nestled amongst the Selkirk Mountains on Kootenay Lake, downtown Nelson is centred on Baker Street and is bursting with delicious and wonderful establishments. Treat yourself to a freshly roasted coffee and straight-outta-the-oven muffin in the courtyard of Oso Negro; enjoy the mouth-watering cocktails and string-lit live music at Pitchfork Eatery; devour a modern Italian feast at Marzano; and sip a hand-crafted ale or lager (or both) at Backroads Brewing. There's no other town in B.C. that is quite like Nelson.
BC Ale TrailA village nestled in the forested Comox Valley, Cumberland is bursting with small-town charm. Mountain bikes are the go-to transport at this platform for outdoor adventure, and a community of artists has added a loving flair to its main street of Dunsmuir Avenue. Grab a coffee and enjoy the park outside of The Wandering Moose Coffee and have a bite of Mexican goodness at Biblio Taco. Cumberland Brewing Company is always buzzing, and don't even think about missing out on Love’s Ice Cream, serving up scoops made with local grass-fed milk, real fruit, and waffle cones, all from an adorably Instagrammable ice cream truck.
Destination BC/Hubert KangAbbotsford has a historic downtown that is transforming into one of the most aesthetic urban cores of the Fraser Valley. Local businesses populate its storefronts with string-lit patios spilling onto the streets. With deliciously fresh coffee at Duft & Co and Old Hand, scrumptious burgers at BRGR BRGR, and delectable seafood at Bow & Stern, there are plenty of spots to treat your tastebuds. Shopaholics can get their fix of Pacific Northwest-inspired goods at Spruce Collective, and fitness fanatics will love a spin session at Iron Cycle Club. After browsing Montrose Avenue and Pauline Street, stop by the newly renovated Jubilee Park for a scoop from Banter Ice Cream Co.
Destination BC/Nolan GaleA railway town dating back to the 1880s, Revelstoke exudes small-town appeal mixed with plenty of stoke. It gets its character from a mix of old-fashioned community vibes, a thriving arts and music scene, and epic adventures on the mountains. Views of the spectacular surrounding peaks serve as bookends for the tree-lined streets of downtown Revelstoke, and the people are warm and welcoming. Grab a coffee at Conversations Coffee Shop, kick back in the quirky space at Dose Coffee, and enjoy a delicious hand-crafted beverage at Monashee Spirits Craft Distillery. Revelstoke's charming and delicious eateries are the perfect fuel for all the local adventuring.
Destination BC/Andrew PennerKnown as the "Little Switzerland of B.C.”, Kaslo is as scenic as it is quaint. It’s a slower-paced and friendly lakeside village that attracts outdoor enthusiasts, hippies, artists and musicians. With one main strip lined with Victorian buildings dating back to the 1890s, it’s extremely pleasant to just stroll along, browse and snack, while soaking in the peaceful setting of mountains and lake. When the world health situation allows, Kalso draws visitors from near and far for events such as the Kalso Jazz Etc. Summer Music Festival and Kaslo Winter in the Forest. Enjoy some fish and chips from Chez Serge, munch on fresh tacos from Taqueria el Corazon, and sip a craft beer at Angry Hen Brewing.
@entre2escalesSquamish draws visitors for its natural setting with the Stawamus Chief, Sea to Sky Gondola and icy-blue Howe Sound. It is frequented as a stopover on the Sea to Sky highway en route to Whistler, but with its incredible scenery and charming eateries, Squamish is a destination in itself. While strolling through downtown, grab a snack at Zephyr Cafe and get to sippin’ at Cliffside Cider. Also check out the Town Hub for boutique shops, food trucks, coffee, and dining options, and don’t forget to try the real fruit ice cream at Alice & Brohm. All of this with a jaw-dropping mountainous backdrop, of course.