British Columbia Interior Road Trip

Most visitors are surprised to learn that British Columbia, Canada has a large area that is very similar to the arid and dry landscapes of Central California. There a many differences of course like a colder winter season and many more beautiful glacier fed lakes that dot the landscape. However, there are also many similarities such as the low rolling hills, tumble weed, wine country, fruit production and desert sunsets. Yes that’s right, a dessert! Canada’s only official desert, classified by limited annual precipitation is located on a thin strip of land between 2 lakes in the interior of British Columbia.

British Columbia offers visitors and eco tourists some of the most spectacular views and natural landscapes in the world. Most people are aware of the beautiful Pacific Coast where rainforest covered mountains meets the shimmering ocean or the majestic Rocky Mountains standing high to the east (technically in Alberta but really they are the climax of a gradual geological story told across British Columbia that builds up from tectonic activity beyond the western shores). Provincial lines drawn on natural barriers are not here nor there, what is important to realize the beauty and enjoyment that can be found in between the more known and celebrated natural monuments of Western Canada.

In fact, it’s the geology and weather patterns that create this gem of a region in Central British Columbia. As the moist cold air comes of the Pacific and reaches land it is driven upwards by the Coastal Mountains creating large amounts of precipitation. This creates the lush and rich rainforest all along the coast. After this mountain range the air that has dumped a tremendous amount of moisture passes over the lower, hilly and lake filled interior of British Columbia before being forced up to even greater heights by the legendary Rocky Mountains. The result of this dance between air and earth is an area that the locals call ‘The Interior.’

Traveling to Vancouver is a great trip in itself, but getting the opportunity to get out of the city to explore the nature and landscapes of the province is where the real unique side of this part of the world resides. Renting a car and driving out will get you to these places very easily and in a relatively short period of time. In just a few hours drive you’ll be on your way through changing landscapes and mountain passes where you’ll witness the transformation from lush green mountainous rain forest to arid golden rolling hills.

Anytime of year is worth the drive although in winter the frost bites much harder in central British Columbia than on the moderated coast. The peak time, at least when most of the locals head inland, is in the summer months. At that time the weather is hot and dry, perfect to jump into one of the many gorgeous lakes that sprawl across the region. Watersports on the lakes, boating, biking, golf and wine touring amongst many other activities are all at your fingertips. The area is hugely popular with families as well with the many waterparks, festivals, beaches and family camping spots.

Winter doesn’t give you that Central California feel (but with lakes!) but rather a uniquely snowy desert with ski resorts, cross-country trails, snowmobiling and much more. Obviously you need to dress differently and the activity calendar shifts but the beauty and fun for the whole remains limitless. From the sweetness of the regions ice wines to the thrill of the renowned light dry champagne power of skiing enthusiasts, this destination is full of unique experiences.

A visitor can fly into the regional airports of the area from Vancouver and even to an international airport in the city of Kelowna directly. Even though the views from an airplane are also spectacular, the drive through the coastal mountains and then out into the drier Interior of British Columbia will become lasting memories for you and your family. Once you arrive you have many options to stay and having your vehicle will allow you to explore the many lakes, sights and towns in the region. The Interior is a sizable area with many spots to see so having your own wheels will provide you with the flexibility and convenience to leisure enjoy them all.