Tourism Spread

🕔Jun 07, 2006

Summer is just around the corner. It’s the magical time of year when you hop in the family van and prepare for that annual road trip. Most people who live in northern BC will tell you it’s the best place on earth; but a lot of them haven’t experienced all of it. Well, this year, with gas prices skyrocketing, why leave the top half of the province? We’ve got something for everyone right here in our own backyard – along Highway 16, often called one of the most beautiful roads in the world (for good reason)! It’s 750 km, with thousands of possibilities!
Let’s start our journey on the north coast. Even though Prince Rupert is situated on Kaien Island on the coast – the summers are surprisingly dry; and when you catch the sun setting behind layers of mountains, painting the sky a rainbow of colours, you’ll begin planning your next trip back. The Crest Hotel and the Inn on the Harbour are both great places to get one of Prince Rupert’s best views. Dine on seafood and fish fresh from the ocean, and spend the night in a comfortable, affordable room.
While you’re in Prince Rupert, there are several “must-do” excursions. Cow Bay is quickly becoming the new downtown of the city. Unique gift shops and restaurants await you down at the docks. The Cow Bay Gift Gallery offers local First Nations art, and it’s the perfect place to pick up that special gift to bring home. This is also the jumping off point for some of the north coast’s most exciting sightseeing opportunities. Prince Rupert Adventure Tours and Palmerville Adventures are two of the city’s best tour guides, and they’re waiting to take you to the famous Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary. This is the chance of a lifetime to photograph these magnificent animals in their natural habitat. Or if you don’t want to stray too far, why not take a short boat tour around Kaien Island and learn some fascinating local history?
If fishing’s more your style, Bite Me! Fishing Charters is a guaranteed good time. Monster halibut and salmon are clamoring to get on board with you and jump into your cooler. There’s nothing more rewarding after a trip to the coast than coming home with a freezer full of tasty fish.
If you’ve got a bit more time, maybe this is the year you’ll make that special trip to the Queen Charlotte Islands. The Islands are a world all their own. There will be BC Ferries service to Skidegate this year, but they are running on a reduced schedule – so make sure you call BC Ferries well in advance or check online if you’re planning a trip. But since there are less ships sailing, that means even more of the solitude and haunting quiet only Haida Gwaii can offer. For newcomers, The Friends of Queen Charlotte Visitor Information Centre has to be your first stop once you arrive. They’ll help you escape to back-country hikes, or get you in contact with the right folks: whether you want to rent a kayak or go fly fishing.
Halfway between Prince Rupert and Prince George, Smithers makes the perfect place to stop and spend the night. At the foot of Hudson Bay Mountain, the Aspen Motor Inn offers the only accommodations with a heated indoor pool – right beside their sauna and hot tub! What better way is there to relax after a long day of hiking on the nearby glaciers, or fishing for prize steelhead?
Speaking of steelhead, what’s an angler to do when they’ve only got a couple of days in Smithers but they still want to find the best fishing around? Call Babine Mountain Watersports and Dave Watts, a local with 25 years experience, will get you to the right place, at the right time. You’ll get picked up at your hotel, given a pontoon boat to use for the day, eat a gourmet lunch, and then get dropped off on your doorstop when the day’s done (hopefully with a string full of fresh fish).
Four more hours down the road and you’re in the Northern Capital – the Spruce City!
The cultural capital of Northern BC has a lot to offer! The Railway and Forest Museum takes you back in time, and gives a lot of insight to the way things used to work here in the north. After you’re done there, check out The Exploration Place in Fort George Park on the banks of the Fraser River. There’s something for everyone here, from the Prince George Sports Hall of Fame, to the Critter Kitchen with all the creepy crawlies your heart desires.
The Prince George Exhibition – or PGX – has been entertaining locals since 1912. Why not get in on the action this summer? From August 10-13th, they’ve got high-flying motocross, monster truck rides, live music and the PGX Idol singing competition (test out your pipes if you’re brave enough!). This is one weekend in the sun you don’t want to miss!
And come see one of Prince George’s newest landmarks – the University of Northern BC. Founded in 1994, UNBC has become a leader in education not just in the north, but in the whole country. Soon it will be the home of the new Northern Sport Centre – integrating sports and education together in a way we haven’t seen in this part of the province before. The campus of UNBC is stunning, with award-winning buildings – and a breathtaking view of the city.
And only two hours east of Prince George…explore the Canadian Rockies and British Columbia in small personally run tour groups. Travel in North America’s largest 4×4, get on and off the beaten track…with a former British commando! Paul Wildeman and Wildecat Adventures will show you some of the most stunning views in the world near McBride. Whether you’re passing through to Jasper or making McBride your destination, this little town will become a place you’ll want to return to again and again.
But the north isn’t just for northerners…help spread the word! If you’ve got family or friends looking for a vacation destination – tell them about the daily flights from Vancouver into Prince George on two major airlines – or how easy it was to start your trip from the Northwest Regional Airport south of Terrace. Flying into either of these centres is a great way to get your bearings and understand just how big everything is up here. Both airports are great starting points for a tour around the region…just rent a car and off you go!
If you need information on any of the destinations in Northern BC – head to our website: We’ve got a mileage calculator to figure out how long your trip will take – and links to hotels, restaurants, museums and attractions in every village, town, and city north of Prince George. As well, we’ve got an online itinerary builder and vacation planner, making planning your trip a breeze. Our motto is – it’s all in our nature here in the North – make it your own this summer! Get out and experience what living in the best part of the province is all about.