Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

3 Places To Visit In B.C., Far Away From Vancouver

Philip Stone
A shoreline trail on Quadra Island, BC.

Last week, KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley highlighted a trip through British Columbia and along the Canadian Rockies, along the Alberta boundary. But the conversation was broad, and we thought it would be worthwhile to revisit B.C. and focus on some special places.

Here are three of our recommendations:

1. Quadra Island

Head to Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island, then hop on Highway 19 and keep heading north. You'll find Quadra Island just a ferry ride away from the community of Campbell River.

"There's hardly anybody there," Brumley said. "It's still covered with gravel roads, and it's populated by lumberjacks and Toronto intellectuals who escaped the big city and are now raising their kids up there on granola and yogurt."

Plan on lots of time outdoors, and a quiet, peaceful getaway among old-growth forest. This is a destination, not a stop.

Credit Ed Ronco / KPLU
The Home of a Thousand Faces, in Radium Hot Springs, BC, is a labyrinth of carvings and other surprises.

2. Radium Hot Springs

The town itself is a pretty normal mountain community. You'll find RV parks and lodges for sightseers. But look closer and you'll see the Home of a Thousand Faces, operated (and occupied) by a woodcarver named Rolf Heer.

You'll find huge carvings of wooden faces, many for purchase, all for your enjoyment. The home itself is his residence and gallery, but it's also a weird little playground, with obstacles to navigate and knobs to turn. Turn the wrong one, and you might get sprayed with water. Or Heer might do it to you himself. He's hidden a network of sprayers throughout his compound. So maybe it's best to visit on a hot day. 

Use this as a fun stop as you head into the mountains.

3. Smithers

The entrance to Smithers' downtown is guarded by a fiberglass statue of a man blowing an alpenhorn. The community sits along the Yellowhead Highway in northern BC. In the winter you can see the northern lights or strap on some skis. In the summer, there's a folk music festival and the Bulkley Valley Exhibition and Fall Fair. This year it's scheduled for Aug. 27 - 30.

A friendly, quiet place to relax. Spend a couple days here, especially when the fall fair is happening.

Those are our recommendations in British Columbia. What are yours?


Going Places is a weekly travel segment hosted by Earthbound Expeditions co-founder Matthew Brumley, and KPLU's Ed Ronco. It covers everything from faraway destinations to nearby escapes to how to make the most of your travel dollars and frequent flier miles. Leave us a comment, or suggest future segments, below.

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.