12 Must-Visit Small Towns in British Columbia

Written by Niccoy Walker
Published: September 21, 2023
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British Columbia is the westernmost province of Canada, notable for its Pacific coastline, lush national parks, and snow-covered mountain ranges. While you might be familiar with the larger cities in the region, like Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia has many hidden gems for exploring! Check out these 12 must-visit small towns in British Columbia and learn about their attractions and other noteworthy sights.

1. Nekusp

Naksup waterfront and beach on Upper Arrow Lake, BC, Canada

Nekusp is a small-town famous for its hot springs.

©Anne08/iStock via Getty Images

The quaint village of Nekusp is in Southeastern British Columbia just south of the Kuskanax Creek’s mouth on the Upper Arrow Lake. Nekusp is a small town rather famous for its natural hot springs that attract thousands of visitors each year. It’s a breathtaking scenic area with plenty of outdoor recreation to keep you busy. Spend your days fishing, mountain biking, and soaking in steamy natural baths. 

2. Kimberley

Kimberley British Columbia ski resort views of Rocky Mountains

Kimberley is a must-visit small town in British Columbia.

©Chelsey Bird/Shutterstock.com

Located along Highway 95A between the Rocky and Purcell Mountains, Kimberley is another must-visit small town in Southeast British Columbia. It’s a stunning and homey mountain town best known for its skiing, hiking, and golfing. Book a stay at the Alpine ski resort, where you can cuddle by the fire and sip hot cocoa.

3. Nelson

Scenic View of Kootenay Lake. Sunny Fall Season Day. Near Nelson, British Columbia, Canada.

Nelson has restored heritage buildings nestled in the Selkirk Mountains.

©EB Adventure Photography/Shutterstock.com

The small city of Nelson is in the southern interior of British Columbia. It sits in the Selkirk Mountains on Kootenay Lake’s West Arm. With its restored heritage buildings nestled between lush vegetation and surrounded by mountains, Nelson is definitely a must-visit town. From its quaint shops and brewing companies to its mountain lodges and historic buildings, there are many things to do and see in this town.

4. Silverton

Slocan Lake in Silverton, British Columbia, 2017

Silverton is known for its fishing and hiking.

©Amanda TQ/Shutterstock.com

Located in the heart of Slocan Valley, Silverton is a tiny village in Southeast British Columbia. For such a small town, the area is full of old-growth forests, stunning lakes, glaciers, and wildflower meadows. Many people visit for fishing and hiking in Valhalla Provincial Park or Slocan Lake. 

5. Tofino

Kayaking in front of float homes, Tofino , British Columbia, Canada

Tofino has beach resorts and excellent surfing.

©Kevin Oke Photo/Shutterstock.com

This small district on Vancouver Island on the country’s west coast is known for its breathtaking natural scenery, from sandy beaches to ancient rainforests. Visitors can stay at a beach resort, visit a national park, or go surfing. Plus, don’t forget to stop by one of Tofino’s delicious restaurants or coffee houses. 

6. Sooke

Wooden pier on the sea coast at Ed Macgregor Park in Sooke, British Columbia

Sooke is a popular seaside destination for parks and old-growth forests.

©Lynda McFaul/Shutterstock.com

Located at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Sooke is a charming town about 40 minutes outside of Victoria. It’s a popular seaside destination with many parks, hiking trails, and old-growth forests. When you’re not fishing or relaxing at a brew pub, you can spend your time whale watching.

7. New Denver

Pathway along lake, Kootenay Lake, New Denver, British Columbia, Canada

New Denver is on the east shore of Slocan Lake.

©Keith Levit/Shutterstock.com

In the West Kootenay region of Southeast British Columbia, New Denver sits on the east shore of Slocan Lake. New Denver, like most towns in Canada, has immense natural beauty where visitors can explore park trails by hiking and biking. The town also has small museums and many scenic spots, like Wilson Creek Falls. 

8. Harrison Hot Springs

The village of Harrison Hot Springs in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia with the lagoon in the foreground and majestic Mount Cheam in the background

The town of Harrison Hot Springs is a relaxing getaway.

©Harry Beugelink/Shutterstock.com

Harrison Hot Springs is a relaxing getaway and small community in the Fraser Valley on the southern end of Harrison Lake. This charming resort town is famous for its mineral pools and luxury hotel that draws visitors from around the world. When you’re not soaking in the springs, you can go horseback riding, hunting, fishing, and boating on the lake.

9. Revelstoke

National Park Revelstoke in Canada with boreal forest and rocky mountains and glacier behind during summer afternoon with clouds and sky

Revelstoke is an adventurous playground.

©Jiri Kulisek/Shutterstock.com

Known for its inland temperate rainforest and mountain caribou populations, Revelstoke is a beautiful small city in Southeast British Columbia nestled in the mountains. It is an adventurous playground where visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, and general sightseeing. Book your stay at the mountain ski resort and check out the railway museum.

10. Sandon

River leading up to the mountains in an old abandoned silver mining town. Sandon, bc canada

Sandon is a near ghost town with a rich history.

©Sean Pullen/Shutterstock.com

Located in the foothills of the Selkirk Mountains in West Kootenay, Sandon is a near ghost town with only 20 residents within the community. This historic town has a rich history and was once a silver mining town that found destruction after a fire and massive flood wiped out most of the buildings. It’s an interesting town to tour and learn about its history.

11. Qualicum Beach

Logs on the peaceful qualicum beach, vancouver island, british columbia, canada

Qualicum Beach has abundant recreational opportunities.


This unique coastal community is on Vancouver Island and offers visitors abundant recreation, a comfortable climate, and a laidback lifestyle. Qualicum Beach is a secluded ocean getaway with long stretches of sandy beaches and calm waters, perfect for a family vacation.

12. Kaslo

Early morning sunlight on the shipyard, marina and dock on Kootenay Lake in Kaslo Bay, in the rural small village of Kaslo, British Columbia, Canada.

Kaslo has immense historic charm.

©Kirk Fisher/Shutterstock.com

Sitting on the west shore of Kootenay Lake, Kaslo is a mountain village nestled in a lush valley. This town has immense historic charm as it was once a gold and silver mining hub in the late 1800s. Visitors can experience the great outdoors while learning about history at some of Kaslo’s iconic heritage sites.

A Recap of the 12 Must-Visit Small Towns in British Columbia

RankSmall Towns in British Columbia
#7New Denver 
#8Harrison Hot Springs
#11Qualicum Beach

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Harry Beugelink/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Florida State College. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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