While the ocean begins to pick up swell and the weather becomes wetter and colder, making it hard to work up the nerve for a swim, there are still plenty of great activities to do in British Columbia during the fall. In fact, many will say that fall is their favourite time to come, as there are less tourists to contend with, and the weather is often still beautiful until late in the season. Check out some of the things that make British Columbia a great, fall destination.
The vines become heavy with ripe fruit in the fall, and winery tasting rooms begin to empty out. It’s the perfect time to head for the hills and explore the vineyards as they enter harvest time. You might even have the place to yourself, meaning you can make the most of your visit without feeling rushed by other taste testers. There are over three hundred licensed wineries in British Columbia and five regions. The most notorious is, of course, the Okanagan Valley, where the majority of the wineries reside. Close by is the Similkameen Valley, which makes the mainland area close by Kelowna a hotspot for those that love wine. In fact, a top vacation there is to see as many wineries as you can via different wine tours. Vancouver Island has a surprising amount of wineries thanks to an area known as the Cowichan Valley, where close to forty reside. The last two regions are the Gulf Islands, worthy of a couple day's stay, and the Fraser Valley.
Here are some of the top wineries in B.C.:
- Road 13 Vineyards - Oliver, B.C.
- La Frenz Estate Winery - Penticton, B.C.
- Church and State Wines - Brentwood Bay, B.C.
- Burrowing Owl Estate Winery- Oliver, B.C.
- Lake Breeze Vineyards - Naramata, B.C.
- Gray Monk Estate Winery - Lake Country, B.C.
- Quails' Gate Winery - Kelowna, B.C.
- Meyer Family Vineyards - Okanagan Falls, B.C.
- Hester Creek Estate Winery - Oliver, B.C.
- Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery - Oliver, B.C.
British Columbia is a destination blessed with incredible farms. This makes visiting Farmer’s Markets a favourite, especially when the farmers begin to reap their rewards and haul in their bounty. Besides an incredible array of fruit and veggies, there are plenty of foraged goods to be found in BC’s markets during the fall too, such as fresh picked mushrooms! One of the top-rated markets in British Columbia is the Duncan Farmer's Market on Vancouver Island. Duncan is located in an area known as the Cowichan Valley, famous for its temperate climate and farmland. Cowichan means "the warm lands" and the area is part of the Cita-slow movement, taking priority in its incredibly harvests each year. To learn more about Duncan and the Cowichan Valley, check out this website: www.discovervancouverisland.com/regions/cowichan-region/.
While a favourite summer activity, the waterfall chasing doesn’t have to stop just because summer is over. In fact, after a heavy fall rain, British Columbia’s waterfalls are at their most magnificent. All that extra water creates a heavier river flow, and therefore a larger, more powerful fall. Thanks to B.C.'s extensive water networks, there are numerous places to find some incredible falls. In fact, Della Falls in Campbell River on Vancouver Island is in the running for the tallest waterfall in Canada, tumbling down from a height of 440m. You can find some of the top ten waterfalls to visit on Vancouver Island, with Discover Vancouver Island's list here. For ten of the top waterfalls in British Columbia, check out the list below:
- Helmcken Falls - Wells Gray Provincial Park, B.C.
- Takakkaw Falls - Yoho National Park, B.C.
- Bridal Veil Falls - Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park, B.C.
- Spahats Creek - Wells Gray Provincial Park, B.C.
- Virgin Falls - Vancouver Island, B.C.
- Wapta Falls - Yoho National Park, B.C.
- Brandywine Falls - Brandywine Falls Provincial Park, B.C.
- Canim Falls - Wells Gray Provincial Park, B.C.
- Della Falls - Strathcona Provincial Park, B.C.
- Hunlen Falls - Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park, B.C.
Salmon snorkeling is an incredibly unique activity that can be enjoyed during the fall on Vancouver Island. As these beautiful fish make their way back up into the rivers to spawn, spectators can gear up and get in the water to fight their way upstream next to them! Watching the salmon run from outside the river is a unique and fun experience on its own, but truly being a part of it is something entirely different. Worried about getting cold? Tour operators will provide you with a wetsuit, so you can enjoy your swim with the salmon as long as you like without getting chilly. Not sure swimming with salmon would be an appealing activity? Check out this blog post about a first-hand experience of an underwater encounter with a salmon run.
Thanks to the salmon returning to the rivers, fall is the ultimate time to do a bear watching tour. Not only is it a top fall activity, but bear watching is one of the top things to do in British Columbia in general. Both black bears and grizzly bears are found in the province, and a guided tour will keep both visitors and bears safe, allowing for a fantastic viewing opportunity of these beautiful beasts. Fall is fun, as you’ll see them fishing right there in the rivers!
Until the snow comes, hiking is still a great opportunity in the fall, especially with the change of colours. Track down trails that have their fair share of maple trees, and you’ll find yourself trekking along Mother Nature’s red carpet. Not only will the trails have less traffic, but the weather can be more ideal than the summer, as you won’t overheat!
All across the province of British Columbia are incredible hot springs that are a perfect match for crisp fall weather. From Northern B.C., all the way to Vancouver Island, you’ll be able to find a naturally heated pool to relax in for an afternoon. Some are better known than others and can be quite busy, while others are off the beaten path and make you work for your reward. No matter how you get there, the hot springs are said to provide plenty of health benefits and can kick the chill out of any fall day.
Apple picking is a classic fall activity and British Columbia is the province to do it in. Numerous orchards exist in B.C. and many let you dive in to pick all the apples your heart desires. Warming up by baking a pie out of your perfectly picked, crisp apples is the perfect way to end a delightful, brisk fall day in the orchards. Of course, you can also pick your Halloween pumpkin while you’re at it.