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12 Cities You MUST Visit in British Columbia This Summer

May 25, 2016

BC is pretty much the ideal place to be in Canada when summer rolls around. On top of its majestic mountains, stunning coastline, lush forests, and enviably laid-back lifestyle, its charming towns and cities are home to some of the best summer carnivals and festivals across the nation.

If you love festivals, fairs and summer carnivals, BC has it all in 2016. Grab the family and get on the road to these towns this season.

Victoria

summer carnivals bc, summer festivals bcEnjoy the Island life, if even for a day. Vancouver Island is home to BC’s gorgeous capital city, beautiful Victoria. Whether you’re strolling through the many parklands, visiting the Royal BC Museum, whale watching along the coast, or pampering yourself in a spa, there is something for everyone. Be sure to check the 54th annual Oak Bay Tea Party from June 3-5, as this event is not only fun for the whole family, but also raises money for services organizations across the province. And don’t miss the exciting Air Show with skydiving at Willows Beach on June 5. It’s free!

Lumby

Lumby is truly an outdoor person’s dream. Situated in a diverse agricultural valley, Lumby is home to pristine fishing, hiking, waterfalls, and one of the most fun and genuine  community gatherings: Lumby Days 2016. Taking place June 10-12, this annual festival has a different focus every year, with this year being about the history of the community.

Vancouver

Vancouver. Home to ocean views, mountainous backdrops, and metropolitan fare. It is also home to amazing summer festivals like the Point Grey Fiesta. From June 17-19, 2016’s event boasts a parade, silent auction, musical acts, as well as midway rides and games – all beside the ocean.

Surrey

When it’s time to celebrate Canada Day on July 1st, Surrey tops the list. The province’s second largest city knows how to throw a summer party. 2016’s Canada Day Celebration showcases Canada’s heritage and cultural diversity with concerts, food, rides, midway games, puppet shows and much more. Don’t miss the main stage performances that are an enormous draw every year.

Quesnel

Come see a part of BC you may not have considered. Quesnel is rich in history, and it is that history that we have to thank for one of the best summer carnivals in BC: Billy Barker Days! On top of free admission, this event is always fun for the whole family. 2016’s events run from July 14-17, celebrating the town’s remarkable mining heritage.

Tranquil sunset and evening illuminations of the beautiful town of Nanaimo on Pacific Ocean in Vancouver, Canada.Maple Ridge

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are gateways to the Fraser Valley and sit right on Vancouver’s doorstep amid stunning rivers, farmland, mountain views and urban convenience. The hiking, berry picking, golf and cycling around this area are irresistible every summer. So is the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Country Fest with FREE ADMISSION. It runs on June 23 and 24 at the Albion Fairgrounds and will boast midway fun, live performances, more food trucks than you can shake a stick at, sheep dog shows, sheep shearing, dairy goods,  horses, kids fun, and so much more.

Abbotsford

From tasty breweries and wineries to farm fresh produce to 5-star restaurants and accommodations, Abbotsford is the jewel of the Fraser Valley. Throw into the mix the Abbotsford Agrifair – ‘the best little country fair on earth’. Summer 2016’s festivities will feature farm animals, mouth watering produce, demolition derbies, and one of the best fairs and midways around. July 29-31. Abbotsford is only an hour’s drive from downtown Vancouver.

Penticton

The name Penticton comes from a Salish word that translates as “a place to stay forever,” and if you’ve ever been there, it is easy to see why. Who doesn’t want to visit the Okanagan Valley? Alongside its natural beauty, this summer will see the 69th annual Penticton Peach Festival, with more concerts than you could imagine, acrobatic acts, midway fun and rides, and of course, peaches! August 3-7.

Nanaimo

Heading back to Vancouver Island, a gorgeous ferry ride takes you from Vancouver to Nanaimo,  a city ripe with hiking, boating, kayaking, biking, world-class scuba diving and snorkeling… I could go on for hours. This city is the place to be if you enjoy the outdoors. And in those outdoors takes place a great BC summer festival: the Vancouver Island Exhibition. From August 19-21, 2016’s VIEX will have haunted houses, rides and games, celebrity chefs and cooking competitions, concerts, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Smithers

The town of Smithers is home to nearly 6000 residents and is a premier tourist destination for year-round recreational activities. Don’t miss the Bulkley Valley Exhibition, August 25-28, with its awesome rodeo, concerts, performance animals, great food, and as always, the best rides and midway games you could ask for.

Salmon Arm

summer carnivals bc, summer festivals bcLooking like a postcard, Salmon Arm has been attracting tourists for decades with its diverse wildlife and spectacular seasonal recreation. “Sew It, Grow It and Show It” is the theme for this year’s Salmon Arm Fall Fair and is sure to bring out everyone’s creative and culinary sides. Come for concerts, a parade, arts and crafts, and midway excitement. This year’s fair runs from September 9-11 and is a major drawcard for the entire Columbia-Shuswap district.

Rock Creek

To finish your 2016 season, this amazing town loaded with intriguing mining history is also the home of the Rock Creek Fall Fair. Expect to enjoy agricultural exhibits, arts and crafts, concerts and the ever popular midway games and thrilling rides. The RCFF’16 on September 17 and 18 should be at the top of your list for bidding farewell to another spectacular summer.

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