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Spring is here and it’s time to hit the road

Scenic Yellowhead Highway in Mt. Robson Provincial Park. No matter where you roadtrip in British Columbia, wonderful experiences await!

By Blair Qualey

As the winter chill melts away and the days grow longer, there’s no better time to hit the road and explore the breathtaking and incredibly diverse landscapes of our beautiful province.

One of the perks of owning a vehicle in B.C. is unfettered access to abundant natural wonders, quirky towns, and spectacular scenery. Whether you’re after a quick day trip, a weekend adventure, or a long-haul cross-province journey, your car or truck is the key to unlocking the hidden wonders of this incredible part of the world.

There are plenty of easy-to-access destinations close to the Lower Mainland for city-dwellers or visitors from out of town using Vancouver as temporary home base. The town of Squamish is only an hour up the road, and the tiny town offers a bounty of activities for the outdoors enthusiast, including climbing, hiking, downhill mountain biking, kiteboarding and more.

The popular Sea to Sky Gondola offers views you won’t see in the tallest downtown condo, and if you’d rather enjoy the full experience by walking up, make sure to check out the Stawamus Chief Trail — which also offers plenty of parking. Keep heading north and explore Whistler, the charming town of Pemberton, and the stunning vistas at Garibaldi Lake.

If you’re able, sometimes it’s nice to get away for more than a day, even if you need to be back at work on Monday.

The Salish Sea offers endless opportunities for easy exploration, like Bowen Island, Salt Spring Island or the Sunshine Coast, and all can be explored comfortably from the driver’s seat thanks to BC Ferries.

Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal is your car-friendly gateway to the Vancouver Island, Southern Gulf Islands, Salt Spring Island, Galiano Island and more, while the Horseshoe Bay terminal can take you and your road trip partner to the scenic Sunshine Coast (home of the Beachcombers) and the nearby islands of Bowen Island and Keats Island. However, even with multiple ferries running all day, it’s still a good idea to book ahead if possible.

No matter where you’re located, the province of British Columbia has a bounty of incredible destinations, routes, attractions, and scenic drives available. Head to the Okanagan for a few days to enjoy wine country, explore the beautiful and historical Kootenays, or take a trip up North to towns like Prince George or Smithers, a charming mountain haven known for its stunning scenery, outdoor recreation and vibrant arts scene.

Regardless of your destination, planning ahead is essential for a safe and enjoyable road trip experience. Check road conditions and travel advisories on DriveBC before setting out, and always make extra time for your journey as highways may be busy with tourists and fellow adventurers.

A special caution as the threat of wildfires increase, be responsible and observe fire warnings and campfire bans. Remember to dispose of cigarette butts, bottles and other flammable materials responsibly and help protect our precious natural landscapes. For more tips, please see my previous article “Preparing for a safe road trip” here.

As spring blooms across British Columbia, embrace the spirit of adventure and start planning that unforgettable road trip. Whether you’re exploring hidden gems on day trips, unwinding in nature’s embrace on weekend escapes, or embarking on multi-day adventures across the province, let the open road lead you to new discoveries and unforgettable experiences.

Safe travels and may your spring road trip season be filled with joy, wonder and unforgettable experiences.

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of B.C. You can reach him at