Looking for a great weekend getaway from Vancouver? Small towns in British Columbia offer amazing natural beauty, charming communities, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities.
These small towns will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated after an exciting day out exploring the scenic surroundings and local eateries.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the sheer number of small towns in BC to choose from, but we’ve narrowed it down to our top recommendations.
From bustling main streets to secluded mountain escapes, here are the top 21 small towns in BC that you need to visit.
If you’ve ever found yourself fantasizing about being in Banff without all the crowds, Smithers is the town for you.
This small town, located in the Northwestern part of the province is surrounded by the same picturesque mountains and offers many of the same outdoor adventuring opportunities.
Camping on the shores of Dennis Lake is a must-do; you can wake up to stunning views of Hudson Bay Mountain each morning. And if you’re feeling adventurous, there are plenty of hiking and biking trails to explore.
The town is also known for its annual summer music festival, which is definitely worth checking out.
So if you’re looking for a relaxing weekend away, be sure to add Smithers to your list.
While there are many charming small towns to choose from, we think Osoyoos should be at the top of your list. Here’s why: it’s Canada’s only true desert!
With warm summers and very little rain, it’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
Plus, there’s plenty to do in and around Osoyoos. hiking, biking, fishing, and more.
And of course, you can’t go to Osoyoos without checking out Spotted Lake – it’s truly unique. The water in the lake is so full of minerals that it forms these colorful spots, and it’s definitely worth a visit.
Rossland is the perfect place for a weekend getaway if you’re looking for a mix of small-town charm and outdoor activities.
In the winter, it’s a ski town, and in the summer, it’s a mountain biking town – a lot like Whistler!
Rossland is also home to eight different pubs and bars, plus a handful of other restaurants, so you won’t be bored after a long day of exploring.
And if you’re looking for a special spot to relax, be sure to check out the rustic tasting room at the nearby winery.
With so much to offer, Rossland is sure to please everyone in your group.
Kamloops may be best known as a gateway to the interior of British Columbia, but this small town has plenty to offer visitors in its own right.
Nestled in the Thompson Valley, Kamloops is surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery and home to several interesting attractions, including the Kamloops Heritage Railway and the British Columbia Wildlife Park.
Of course, no visit to Kamloops would be complete without sampling the local wine. The town is home to several excellent vineyards, including the award-winning Monte Creek Winery.
And if you’re looking to tee off, Kamloops has more golf courses per capita than anywhere else in Canada. In other words, there’s no shortage of things to do!
While Kamloops may be small, it’s also picturesque: the city was even the backdrop to film productions like The X-Files and Lost in Space.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, Kamloops has plenty of options, from cozy bed-and-breakfasts to full-service hotels.
So why not give Kamloops a try? You may just find that it’s the perfect place to get away from it all.
Whether you’re looking to relax or explore, Sooke is the perfect place for a weekend getaway.
Start your day at one of the many charming cafes in town, then head over to East Sooke Regional Park for a hike to suit any level of adventurer.
Birdwatchers will want to make a stop at Whiffin Spit, and when you’re ready to relax, there are plenty of artisans in town selling their wares.
Get off the beaten path and head inland, where the clear waters of Sooke Potholes Regional Park are calling your name – don’t forget your swimming gear!
BC is a big province with lots to see and do, but sometimes it’s the small towns that offer the best weekend getaways. Galiano Island is one of those special places.
This lovely island is situated in the Southern Gulf Islands, just a short ferry ride from Vancouver, and is truly a nature lover’s paradise.
There are plenty of activities to keep you busy during your stay, such as hiking, biking, kayaking, and beachcombing.
And if you’re looking for a unique souvenir to take home with you, be sure to check out the local art gallery.
Fernie may be a small town, but it packs a big punch. This charming town is nestled near the Rocky Mountains and is known for its outdoor recreation and stunning scenery.
Fernie is in high hustle during the winter months when skiers and snowboarders flock to its slopes.
But summer is also a great time to visit; take a stroll through historic downtown and pop into some of the local shops. Head to Silver Springs Lake for cliff jumping or go mountain biking on one of the many trails in the area.
No matter what time of year you visit, you’re sure to find something to love about Fernie.
If you’re sick of the big city and looking for a little peace and quiet, then the small town of Saanich may be the perfect getaway.
This charming town is located on Vancouver Island and is known for its scenic views, friendly residents, and rich history.
First inhabited by the W̱SÁNEĆ and Ləkʷəŋən̓ peoples, Saanich was later explored by Europeans in the late 18th century. Since then, it has become a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
There are plenty of things to see and do, from hiking and biking to visiting local museums and galleries.
Dotted with small wineries, farm stands, and an array of artisanal food and drink producers, it’s easy to enjoy a leisurely lunch with a glass of wine or two.
If you’re looking for a small town with big personality, be sure to add Saanich to your list of must-visit small towns.
Not all small towns are created equal. Take Nakusp, for example; this little town in BC’s West Kootenay region is a hidden gem, chock-full of character and charm.
There’s something about the fresh mountain air that just has a way of putting a smile on your face.
Spend your days exploring all that Nakusp has to offer, from hiking and biking trails to hot springs and lakes. And when night falls, tuck into a cozy cabin or lodge and get ready to do it all over again tomorrow.
Pack your bags and head to this idyllic small town for a weekend you won’t soon forget!
If you’re looking for a Kelowna-esque weekend getaway but don’t want to deal with the crowds, Penticton is the perfect alternative.
This small town has all the makings of a great weekend vacation spot: beautiful beaches, stunning views, good restaurants and wineries.
And of course, no visit to Penticton would be complete without sampling the local wine. With several wineries located in the area, it’s easy to find a delicious bottle (or two!) to enjoy.
But what sets Penticton apart from its larger neighbor is its charming small-town feel. You won’t find any skyscrapers or traffic jams here – just plenty of natural beauty and welcoming local businesses.
Tofino is a small town on the west coast of Vancouver Island is known for its spectacular scenery, with miles of sandy beaches, towering cliffs, and dense forests.
There’s also plenty of things to do in Tofino, from surfing and kayaking to hiking and whale watching.
This coastal town is also an excellent choice for a winter getaway. During winter storms, the winds off the Pacific Ocean build up huge waves that crash against the coastline. Standing on the beach and watching the stormy seas is an unforgettable experience.
Be sure to add Tofino to your list of potential weekend getaways!
Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, Golden is another small town with big personality. With its wide array of outdoor activities, this vibrant community is the perfect place to get away from it all and enjoy some fresh mountain air.
In the winter, hit the slopes at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort or explore the wilderness on a cross-country ski expedition.
And in the summer, there’s no shortage of things to do, from hiking and biking to rafting and kayaking.
Pack your bags and head for the hills – you’ll be glad you did!
Nanaimo is a small town located on Vancouver Island, situated on the east coast of the island and is known for its beautiful beaches, stunning scenery, and laid-back atmosphere.
This vibrant community is home to boutique shops and cafes, heritage attractions, and of course, the world-famous Nanaimo Bar.
There’s no shortage of outdoor adventure to be found here!
Stroll down historic Front Street, watch the ferries go by at Departure Bay, or explore the many hiking trails in Piper’s Lagoon Park. Scuba diving enthusiasts will be in heaven exploring Nanaimo’s coastline.
No matter if you’re looking for history, nature, or just a delicious dessert, Nanaimo is the perfect destination.
Mayne Island is an idyllic piece of paradise off the coast of British Columbia, the perfect place to enjoy some peace and quiet.
Home to a variety of different fish species, its a great spot for fishing enthusiasts. For those who prefer to stay on dry land, there are miles of cycling trails and a historic lighthouse for you to explore.
Mayne Island is a great place to get away from it all and enjoy some time in nature.
Nelson is a charming town situated on the west arm of Kootenay Lake and is surrounded by stunning mountains.
The streets are lined with galleries, cafes and boutiques, and there’s always something going on – from live music to farmers markets.
Baker Street, the town’s main drag, is lined with charming shops and cafes; you’ll be spoiled for choice with all of the farm-to-table offerings.
The great outdoors is also right on Nelson’s doorstep. Get your heart racing and go whitewater rafting down Salmo River or simply soak up the slower pace of life and go paddling at Kootenay Lake.
With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder Nelson is one of British Columbia’s most popular tourist destinations.
Revelstoke is a ski town nestled in the mountains on the Columbia River and is made for all seasons, with plenty of outdoor activities to keep you entertained no matter what time of year it is.
In the winter, hit the slopes at Revelstoke Mountain Resort or don your cross-country skis and explore the many trails in the area.
In the summer, hiking and mountain biking are popular pastimes, and you can also go whitewater rafting or kayaking on the river.
No matter what you do, you’re sure to have a memorable weekend in this beautiful corner of British Columbia.
Located on the northern tip of Vancouver Island, Port Hardy is a small town with a big heart – and an even bigger appreciation for native culture and heritage.
Once you’ve settled in to your bed and breakfast, be sure to check out some of the local attractions.
First Nations shops and art galleries line Market Street, offering visitors a chance to purchase beautiful, hand-crafted treasures.
If you love nature, explore the wild coastline by hiking through old-growth forests, or just relax and enjoy the views.
Trail is a small town with a lot to offer. Nestled in the mountains, Trail is the perfect place to get away from it all and enjoy some fresh air.
There are plenty of trails to explore, both in town and in the surrounding area, and the views are simply stunning.
If you’re looking for a little more excitement, you can take advantage of the town’s proximity to Red Mountain Resort and go for a day of skiing or snowboarding.
And when you’re ready to relax, there are plenty of cozy cafés and restaurants waiting to welcome you.
Duncan may be the smallest city in Canada by area, but it’s definitely not short on things to do. This tight-knit community is located on Vancouver Island and is known for its historic buildings and abundance of totem poles – 80 to be exact!
And if you’re looking for some excitement, the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit is a must-visit. This world-class racetrack features a variety of challenging turns, making it a thrilling experience for both drivers and spectators alike.
So whether you’re looking to relax or rev up your engines, Duncan is definitely worth checking out.
Looking for a laid-back alternative to Tofino? Look no further than Ucluelet. This small town, located on Vancouver Island’s west coast, is surrounded by towering mountains and is a popular destination for whale watching.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed trip, you can simply enjoy strolling around the quaint shops and restaurants that line the streets of Ucluelet.
The friendly locals are always happy to chat, and there are plenty of coffee shops and artisan stores to explore.
For those who want to get out on the water, kayaking is a popular activity. The nearby Broken Islands offer beautiful scenery and an opportunity to see some wildlife up close.
Located in the heart of British Columbia’s Coast Mountains, Bella Coola is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs.
This small town is most famous for its First Nations ties, and a guided tour of the ancient petroglyphs is a must-do activity. However, Bella Coola has much more to offer than just history.
The town’s scenic setting – nestled among mountains, rivers, and forests – makes it a great place to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and camping.
Even if you don’t see any bears, you’re sure to fall in love with Bella Coola’s stunning scenery.
For a trip that’s full of surprises, be sure to add Bella Coola to your list.