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How to plan and take an epic BC summer road trip

After a year of staying close to home, we’re all excited to explore beautiful BC again. With the high demand for travel this summer, and some communities working hard to respond to emergencies and evacuations due to wildfires, it’s extra important to prepare before you go and consider the destinations you are travelling to. Here’s our ultimate prep guide for BC adventuring, including tips on great BC road trips, trip organization, vehicle maintenance and route planning. Happy road tripping!

Part 1: Trip planning tips

Take more time to plan this summer. BC tourism businesses have re-opened, but it’s still not business as usual - many have adjusted their schedules and policies to ensure that you and their staff stay safe. Some may still be operating at a reduced capacity, with limited hours, or require advanced bookings.

Plan early

Map out your next adventure and discover places to stay across BC. Some additional booking resources include:

...and be sure to check cancellation and refund policies before you book.

Get your vehicle road trip ready

BC van driving on the road

Plan your route and call ahead

  • Stay safe and save time by checking road, ferry or weather conditions on your BCAA Mobile App before you go. Map out your route with our TripTik® road trip planner.
  • Contact the local business(es) you plan on visiting. Call restaurants and attractions to confirm their hours of operation, understand capacity limits and make reservations in advance. Make sure you know the latest guidelines.
  • Have a backup plan in case your first choice isn't possible. Travel in BC will be an adjustment for us all, and activities may take longer than usual, or places may be at capacity when you arrive.
  • Speak with local Visitor Centre staff to get advice on local attractions and adventures, and to learn how to support local businesses.

Pack smart and be prepared for emergencies

  • Bring an extra set of keys and keep them with you when you’re outside your car.
  • Don't forget the essentials: bring lots of water, your phone charger and a backup battery pack - they’ll all be critical in the event of a breakdown.
  • Keep an emergency kit in the car including a first aid kit, warm clothing and blankets, a flashlight, windshield fluid, pylons, a high vis vest, and a fully charged portable battery charger. You can also order an all-in-one F.A.S.T. emergency kit - BCAA Members save 20%.

Be respectful

Respect the people, businesses, and communities you visit this summer. Responsible tourism means that the experience positively impacts everyone involved–both residents and visitors alike. You may see new protocols and policies within communities to ensure everyone’s safety; ensure to respect the guidelines they’ve put in place.

 

driver calling on smart phone standing beside a broken down car

Take us with you!

A BCAA Membership comes with 24/7 Roadside Assistance, so we’re always here to help in case of the unexpected. With this summer’s travel boom, we expect an increase in calls, so be prepared for the possibility of longer than usual wait times. Reminder: you can request BCAA Roadside Assistance online or via the BCAA Mobile App for Android or iPhone to connect directly to our dispatch team. To support physical distancing, please be prepared to find yourself an alternate ride to your destination if your vehicle needs a tow.

Pro Tip: your BCAA Mobile App is the ultimate travel companion. In addition to helping you get faster Roadside Assistance, you can get real-time travel conditions and savings from BCAA Rewards Partners along the way. Learn more about how to get the most out of your BCAA Mobile App.


Part 2: Three fantastic BC road trips

Looking for some travel inspiration to get you dreaming of your next trip? Discover (or rediscover!) BC with these road trip ideas:

a humpback whale near Campbell River
A humpback whale near Campbell River by Destination BC/Boomer Jerritt

Road Trip #1: Visit the East Coast of Vancouver Island
5-7 days, 500 km one way from Victoria

Make the most of summer by visiting some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, forests and waterfalls. Heading north out of Victoria, you’ll travel through Duncan, Nanaimo, Port Hardy, Parksville, the Comox Valley, Campbell River and Telegraph Cove. Highlights include:

Horseback Riding above Tatlayoko Lake
Horseback Riding above Tatlayoko Lake by Destination BC/Kari Medig

Road Trip #2: Explore the Vast Wilderness of the Interior Plateau
1-5 days, 318km one way from Williams Lake

Vast, wild and sparsely populated, this trip shows off BC’s beautifully rugged Chilcotin Plateau, taking you through 100 Mile House to Riske Creek, Alexis Creek, Tatla Lake, Anahim Lake and Tweedsmuir Provincial Park. Explore the scenic wilderness of the Interior Plateau along Highway 20 west of Williams Lake, a true Land Without Limits. Highlights include:

  • Visit historic Chilcotin Lodge, a great base for a side trip to see the hoodoos and bighorn sheep of Farwell Canyon.
  • Bull Canyon Provincial Park is an absolute must-stop for a picnic and walk along the bank of the turquoise Chilcotin River.
  • At Tatla Lake, check out White Saddle Country Inn (and B&B) and their self-contained cabins, hand-built cedar log lodge and a Finnish sauna next to Mosley Creek. Take a scenic drive along the stunning Tatlyoko Road.
  • On your way north towards Nimpo Lake, stop in at Terra Nostra Guest Ranch and book and trail ride to explore the area on horseback.
  • Arrive at Tweedsmuir Provincial Park where you can camp, go fishing, or hike 16 km into the Rainbow Range (one of the best day hikes ever).

Road conditions can vary in this sparsely populated part of BC. Before you go, check the latest road conditions.

Paddling in Fernie
Paddling in Fernie by Destination BC/Kari Medig

Road Trip #3: Explore Rugged Parks, Culinary Bounty & Mountain Towns
4-10 days, 247 km from Vancouver

For this epic road trip, travel the Crowsnest Highway through Manning Park, historic railway trails, the heart of wine country and some beloved BC mountain towns. Highlights include:


You can map out your road trips with our TripTik® road trip planner, and for even more great BC road trip ideas, visit ExploreBC.com.

Follow BCAA's Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as we share updates and trip ideas for your summer and beyond. And don’t forget to enter our Vancouver Island Road Trip Giveaway to snag the ultimate BC summer experience.

Not a BCAA Member yet? Join today and get BC’s Best Roadside Assistance for less than $7 a month. Plus, subscribe to our BCAA Member Rewards e-news to learn about exclusive BCAA offers, contests, deals and news.

Have a great summer in beautiful BC!

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