Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

These B.C. small towns are downright charming and don't get enough attention

These towns are small but mighty and definitely worth a visit.
Ladysmith
These five small towns in B.C. don't get enough love. Pictured: Oyster Bay in Ladysmith with the Coastal Mountain range in the background.

When planning a vacation in B.C., the same destinations come up time and time again - Tofino, Whistler, and Kelowna are all the usual suspects. But B.C. has a vast amount of small towns that are quaint, full of history, and most certainly boast the same natural beauty the province is known for.

Visiting a small town might take more effort to get to or require some additional research, but it also provides the opportunity to escape the crowds of tourists in more well-known vacation spots, and you might just come away with an experience you haven't had before.

These tiny towns have the tourism infrastructure and activities to pique a traveller's interest, and you may not have even known they were there.

Ladysmith

Ladysmith is for the antiquers. The sleepy town is bursting with charm and makes for a great basecamp when exploring the area around the 49th parallel on Vancouver Island. There are a brewery, museum, lovely restaurants, and adorable boutiques to pass the time — especially if you're not much of an outdoorsy adventurer. There are, however, several surrounding trails that make for a nice walk/hike along Holland Creek and up to Stocking Lake.

There's also a beach, a harbour with a nice cafe on the water, and an excruciatingly adorable bed and breakfast up the road.

Nakusp

Located in the West Kootenay region of B.C. and surrounded by the Selkirk and Monashee mountains, Nakusp has a lot to offer including a gorgeous beach on Arrow Lake, tons of trails, and nearby hot springs. There are also three different golf courses. 

As of 2016 Nakusp has a population of 1,605 people. There are plenty of places to camp or park an RV and just up the road from the main town centre, there is Arrow Lake Escapes which offers vacation rentals.

Zeballos

Zeballos is perfect for people who want to be surrounded by nature. The town is located on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island and is known for its salmon fishing, kayaking, and eco-tourism. There are several places to stay including a sports fishing lodge, an inn, an oceanfront lodge, and multiple campgrounds. The town has a history of mining for those interested in local lore.

One place to check out would be the 199 million-year-old Little Huson limestone caves. There are 15 of them accessible by the main trail but look out for the Vanishing River Cave and the Eternal Fountain Cave which are said to be the best.

Tumbler Ridge

The UNESCO Global Geopark helped put Tumbler Ridge and its waterfalls, unique rock formations, lakes and caves on the map. Tumbler Ridge is a relatively young community having been founded in the early 80s as a mining town. In 2014 it was given the distinction of a Global Geopark because of its mountain geology and dinosaur fossils.

Tumbler Ridge is also a great destination for mountain bikers and hikers because of its placement in the foothills of the Rockies.

Rossland

Rossland is a lot like Whistler in the sense it's a ski town in the winter and a mountain biking town in the summer which means it's got lots to do and a bit more of a bustling small town feel than some of the others on this list. If you're looking for small-town charm but with a bit of nightlife, Rossland has you covered with eight different pubs and bars, plus a handful of other restaurants. There's also a nearby winery with a rustic cabin-like tasting room.

The real draw is of course all of the usual mountain town activities like biking, rafting, hiking, zip-lining, skiing, and snowshoeing. Rossland is also home to the world-class Josie Hotel.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks