Take a trip to the wild side: See BC's pristine wilderness this summer
Did your last wildlife encounter feature a raccoon, pigeon or Canada goose? After a year spent close to home (and often in it), it's time to get back outside and safely explore British Columbia's big, wild spaces to find adventure among the impressive creatures of BC's shore, sea and sky. With the proper respect of wildlife and the help of an experienced guide, there's no end to the majestic creatures you can see in this province - here are just a few tips on where to see wildlife.
In Tofino, where the mighty waters of the Pacific wind inwards into Vancouver Island through the Clayoquot Sound, take a Zodiac out into the calm waters of the Clayoquot with the guides from Adventure Tofino Wildlife Tours. On the shores of the islands dotting the sound, you can see black bears turning over rocks to feed on crabs and shellfish, along with bald eagles and seals. Led by experienced guides, these tours get as close as it is safe to watch mother bears teaching their cubs how to forage for crabs along the shore. Or, venture out into the Pacific Ocean from Tofino with Jamie's Whaling Station and Adventure Centres to see the grey whales that call the region home over the summer months, as well migratory humpbacks, orcas, sea lions and otters. These beautiful whales can weigh up to 30 tonnes, and travel from Baja California to make the shores of Vancouver Island their summer home.
Further south, and within reach of Vancouver and Victoria, travelling orcas and migrating humpbacks join the local resident orca populations in local waters. With so many whales nearby, many outfitters near Vancouver and Victoria offer a whale-sighting guarantee. Eagle Wing Tours sets sail from Victoria daily, and their sunset tours offer travellers stunning vistas of whales in the Salish Sea at magic hour, and hydrophones - so you can even listen to the sounds the whales make. From Vancouver, Victoria and Telegraph Cove, Prince of Whales offers expert-guided whale watching tours by catamaran or zodiac. In Campbell River, a single or multi-day kayaking tour with Campbell River Whale Watching and Wildcoast Adventures combines a motorized whale watching outing with paddling time in waters known for their whales, dolphins and other spectacular marine wildlife.
Black bears can also be found within reach of BC's major cities. In Whistler, hop in a 4x4 vehicle with Whistler Photo Safaris to spot the wild bears roaming free in the area of Whistler Olympic Park. Or visit a wildlife rehabilitation centre or refuge like the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife, the 20-acre Grizzly Bear Refuge at Kicking Horse Resort, or BC Wildlife Park in Kamloops. Providing homes for orphaned, injured and other rescued wildlife, these parks play an important role in wildlife research and conservation while allowing you to see some of BC's most iconic animals up close.
For an easy wildlife experience just about anywhere in BC this summer, look up: The province is home to hundreds of bird species and is situated on the major migratory flight path between Alaska and Patagonia. At the Fairmont YVR, book the Pacific Flyway Adventure for a day of bird watching complete with maps, guides, binoculars, and a chef-prepared picnic to enjoy along the Richmond Delta Trail while spotting blue herons, western sandpipers and snow geese.
This summer, open your eyes to the beautiful nature that surrounds you and let B.C.'s seasoned wildlife guides help you discover more about the wildlife that calls this province home. Remember to plan for a safe trip by checking travel restrictions and wildfire closures before you go.
Plan your adventure now at ExploreBC.com.
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