British Columbia Tailor-made Holidays

British Columbia still retains some of the greatest wilderness in North America and offers some of the best bear and whale watching in the world.

British Columbia

British Columbia’s vast swaths of temperate rainforests and rich marine environments offer some of the finest wildlife viewing in North America. The northwestern Canadian province of British Columbia covers an enormous 944,735 square kilometres, much of which remains a vast forested wilderness, home to perhaps the greatest populations of grizzly and black bears in the world.

In remote parts of the Great Bear Rainforest the rare, ghostly white spirit bear also finds refuge. Coastal wolf, mountain lion (puma), beaver, elk, American marten, river otter, mink and racoon also thrive in the British Columbian wilderness. Besides its lush forests and rugged mountains, British Columbia’s scenic coastline provides superlative cetacean viewing and has been dubbed the orca (killer whale) capital of the world for its reliable sightings of these apex predator “wolves of the sea”.

Humpback and grey whales, super pods of Pacific white-sided dolphins, Dall’s porpoises, huge Steller’s sea lions and adorable sea otters can also be found along the wild British Columbian coast. The region plays host to one of the world’s most exciting and celebrated wildlife spectacles: the annual salmon run which takes place between August and October. This natural phenomenon, in which thousands of adult salmon migrate from the sea up ancestral breeding rivers to their spawning grounds, attracts impressive gatherings of hungry grizzly and black bears. Intrepid visitors are rewarded with excellent wildlife action as magnificent grizzly and black bears stalk, dive and desperately chase as many salmon as they can.

British Columbia’s sheltered and calm fjords, channels and lakes also make it the perfect destination for exploration by kayak and canoe, a thrilling and intimate way to watch its wildlife and enjoy its beautiful landscapes. There is plenty of interest too for those intrigued by anthropology, learning about the First Nation cultures and history, as well as modern day vibrant cities such as Vancouver. A wildlife holiday to British Columbia combines many of the planet’s most charismatic species with exploration of some of Earth’s last remaining temperate wilderness.

British Columbia Wildlife Holiday Ideas

# Tailor-Made Tour

Natural History Highlights of British Columbia

British Columbia's ultimate bear and whale watching experiences. ...
# Tailor-Made Tour

Bears, Whales & Vancouver on a Budget

A relaxed paced wildlife adventure for those on a budget. ...
# Tailor-Made Tour

Self Drive Highlights of Vancouver Island

Explore the wildlife treasures of Vancouver Island and Vancouver itself on a sel...

Featured Accommodation

Coast Discovery Inn

A comfortable Inn on the campbell river. A lovely spot to do whale watching from...

Exchange Hotel

A luxurious eco friendly charming hotel in downtown Vancouver...

Telegraph Cove Resort

A beautiful tranquil cove resort with charming historical Cabins...

Water’s Edge Shoreside Suites

A wonderful waterside retreat with plenty of harbour wildlife to be seen...

Middle Beach Lodge

Two beautiful lodges spectacularly perched on 40 acres of secluded West Coast oc...

Hidden Cove Lodge

An ocean-front, eco-friendly lodge situated upon the Johnstone Strait...

Destination Map

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Wilderness Retreat base camp: 50.004113, -127.419247
Pacific Gateway Hotel: 49.190967, -123.140476
Comfort Inn and Suites: 50.028719, -125.244481
Painter\'s Lodge: 50.056432, -125.266015
Rosewood Hotel Georgia: 49.283476, -123.119027
Great Bear Lodge: 51.375388, -127.124627
Wedgewood Hotel and Spa: 49.282361, -123.122779
Heron\'s Landing Hotel: 49.998766, -125.231037
Century Plaza Hotel: 49.280865, -123.127029
Farewell Harbour Lodge: 50.601022, -126.670164
Spirit Bear Lodge: 52.587245, -128.518856
Coast Coal Harbour Hotel: 49.288361, -123.122198

Best Time To Visit British Columbia

For most wildlife including bears, orcas, whales, sea otters, beavers and breeding birds the summer months from late May to August are best.

For the most spectacular bear behaviour and photographic opportunities then late August to October are best when the annual salmon run takes place.

Orcas are present in the Johnstone Strait between July and September but can be seen in the Salish Sea from Vancouver from June. Humpback whales frequent most areas between June and October with the best sightings in the Johnstone Strait area. 

The grizzly bear viewing in May, June and July involves watching bears feeding on protein rich coastal sedges and crabs along the shoreline. While from mid to late August the salmon run attracts them to first estuaries and then rivers further inland. The exact timing of the salmon arrival and their movements up rivers varies from year to year and can depend on many factors including water temperature and large climate events, but September is usually the peak for most sites. Late August and early September is the best window for peak bear and whale watching. 

Sea otters are best viewed during the summer months of June, July and August when the weather is usually calm and more settled. 

Travelling in May see the arrival of spring migrant birds and fresh foliage and flowers while late August onwards is good for autumnal migrants and seabirds in particular. 

The weather is generally good in most areas during June, July and August but showers are still regular in the Great Bear Rainforest at any time and can be more frequent in September and October. For beautiful autumn colours October is the best time to visit but there can be much cooler temperatures at this time too. 



Travel Info

Flight Time
12 hours from London to Vancouver.

Time Zone
GMT +8

Best Visited
May to October

Language Spoken

4.6 million

Area Specialist

Ian Loyd

If you have any questions regarding travel to British Columbia please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965