5 Hidden Gems in British Columbia You Need to Visit

You haven’t fully experienced British Columbia until you’ve checked out these quirky sights and natural wonders.

Hidden Gems in BC

Pan For Gold at Barkerville

In 1862, an English prospector named Billy Barker was on the hunt for his own hidden gems in BC—literally. He eventually struck gold in the fringes of the Cariboo Mountains, unearthing 1,700 grams of the shiny stuff. Barkerville is now an interactive relic of the 19th-century British Columbia gold rush and the Wild West. Guests to the town walk past original structures like the schoolhouse, post office and general store, and sit in on gold-panning lessons, blacksmithing workshops and tours of its extensive Chinatown. (Chinese immigrants, coming for gold panning and railway building, made up half the population.) Barkerville, B.C.

Hidden Gems in BC - Free Spirit SpheresInstagram.com/freespiritspheres

Dream in the Treetops

The country’s coolest overnight rental pad is hidden in the tree canopy of Vancouver Island. The three Free Spirit Spheres—designed to resemble hanging nuts and seeds—suspend from as high as five and a half metres off the ground. Each is outfitted with a bed and full plumbing. They make a whimsical resting spot after a day of paddle-boarding or sea kayaking at the nearby beach. Qualicum Beach, B.C.

Check out 10 great places to go glamping in Canada.

Hidden gems in BC - Goats on Roof Old Country MarketPhoto: poemnist / Shutterstock.com

Meet the Roof Goats

For folksy charm, it’s hard to do better than the Old Country Market, renowned for its fresh-churned ice cream, farmers’ market and in-house taqueria. But the real draw is on the roof, where a trio of adorable goats—Nibbles, Minyon and Willy—graze every day (they’re herded up a secret staircase around back). The gimmick dates back to the 1980s, when one of the founders first suggested borrowing a few goats to trim the overgrown grass on the market’s sod roof. Coombs, B.C.

Here are more must-visit farmer’s markets across Canada.

Train Across Canada - Rocky MountaineerPhoto: Rocky Mountaineer

Ride the Rails

There’s no fancier way to see the Rockies than via the Rocky Mountaineer, with its white-tablecloth dining service and mind-boggling mountain views through a glass dome. The train traverses three routes over original 19th-century C.P. tracks: one travels from Vancouver to Banff with a stop in Lake Louise; one goes between Vancouver and Jasper with a pause in Kamloops; and a third runs between North Vancouver and Jasper with stops in Whistler and Quesnel. Vancouver.

Find out what’s it’s really like onboard Rocky Mountaineer.

Hidden gems of BC - Emily Carr House in Victoria BCPhoto: Autumn Sky Photography / Shutterstock.com

Trace an Artist’s Journey

A tour of Emily Carr’s home in Victoria takes you through sunny rooms full of mementoes from her life. Carr, who died in 1945, is renowned for her geometric, richly coloured renditions of B.C.’s landscape. Victoria.

Looking for more hidden gems in BC? Here’s what you’ll find in Bradian, BC’s most famous ghost town.

Reader's Digest Canada
Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada