If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you love mild winters, and you want to enjoy a small-town lifestyle. British Columbia is filled with excellent options. All over the province, residents have access to a high quality of life, excellent health care services, and a diverse culture. B.C. has a strong economy with a wide variety of industries, so job opportunities are plentiful. The province works hard to ensure a low crime rate and foster a safe environment for everyone. Pair these benefits with small-town living and the beautiful landscape that makes B.C. so desirable, and it’s no surprise that everyone wants to move here.
Here are the ten best small towns in B.C. to choose for your next home
Located along the Thompson River, Ashcroft has a lot to offer new residents. It has one of the driest climates in Canada, almost like a desert, and the hills are covered with sagebrush. B.C. is known for having a lot of rain but otherwise having a mild climate, but Ashcroft offers long and hot summers, with the most beautiful and picturesque fall weather. Winter is mild and brief, with a lot of sunshine, which helps those who suffer from Season Affective Disorder. Ashcroft has quick access to the Trans-Canada highway, so residents can get to the lower mainland within three hours, Kelowna in 2.5 hours, Merritt in just over an hour, and under one hour to Kamloops. Ashcroft residents love the lifestyle that the community offers. Life moves at a slower pace, everyone is exceptionally friendly, and it’s a beautiful community to raise a family or retire. The diverse community is accepting, respectful and courteous of all people. As B.C. continues to grow in popularity because of its beauty, climate, and things to do, housing prices are rising as well. Ashcroft remains affordable compared to the Okanagan, Lower Mainland, Shuswap, and Vancouver Island. There are plenty of affordable options for buyers to live well below their means.
Cache Creek is home to just over 1,000 residents in between the Southern interior and Cariboo Country. Its surrounded by desert scenery, grasslands, and working ranches, but life in Cache Creek is anything but boring. It’s located along the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 97N, so there’s plenty of people passing by each day. Residents can quickly get to neighbouring cities, like Kamloops, or drive down to Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. While many people know of Cache Creek because they’ve stopped in for a bite to eat and gas on their way around the province, it’s much more than that. Offering a similar lifestyle to neighbouring Ashcroft, Cache Creek can be the perfect place for those who want to live in a small town but have access to incredible amenities. The climate allows for residents to spend a significant amount of time outdoors all throughout the year. If you love fishing, camping, golfing, hiking, and fossil hunting, it’s a must-see option.
Aberdeen has the best of both worlds. It’s sometimes considered part of Kamloops, but it is just outside of the city and is its own entity. For those who want to live in a small town but have access to the amenities of Kamloops, Aberdeen is a perfect place to consider. Residents are about three hours from the lower mainland or Okanagan, and there are plenty of excellent amenities because Kamloops sees a lot of travellers. There are plenty of affordable housing options and excellent schools in the area.
Cobble Hill is a village on Vancouver Island, located in the Cowichan Valley. It has almost 2,000 residents and has affordable housing options for those looking to live on the island. Cobble Hill has many desirable attractions, most notably some of the best climates that Canada has to offer. Vancouver Island is one of Canada's most beautiful places, and Cobble Hill holds up that reputation. The area is becoming well-known for its vineyards and the Marine Mediterranean climate. If you’re looking for a Canadian paradise, it’s here in Cowichan Bay. The humid and fresh mountain air throughout the town is lovely and refreshing. The area is affordable compared to the big cities, and it’s known for the value it provides homeowners. Residents have access to every outdoor activity they could want. Swim in the ocean, go skiing or snowboarding or visit one of the many hiking trails. Spend the day in Tofino, visit Victoria, or take the ferry to the mainland and spend the day in Vancouver. The central location allows for residents to have access to everything they could want or need.
While West Kelowna is bigger than the other small towns mentioned, with almost 33,000 residents, it’s too beautiful not to mention. The average house price is around $570,000, but West Kelowna is a prime location that people from all over the world want to relocate to. There are world-renowned wineries that are available to tour, lakes, and natural beauty. West Kelowna residents know how outstanding their quality of life is. It’s a safe and welcoming community, and it’s often the location of many movie shoots. It’s a cool place to be, with many charming local businesses and delicious restaurants. There are plenty of shopping malls, a yacht club, and Lake Okanagan, all minutes away from the residential areas. The town is ranked as the 65th best place to live in Canada and offers over 125 parks and trails to enjoy and explore. For outdoor enthusiasts, there’s always something to do, wildlife to see, and much more. West Kelowna is also conveniently located close to major highways, so getting around the province is easy. About three hours from the Lower Mainland and Vancouver, it’s easy to get out for a day trip.
Duncan is known as the “City of Totems,” as it’s home to 80 totem poles. The small population of almost 5,000 residents love life in Duncan, as it’s considered the retirement destination on Vancouver Island. Duncan is well-known but still considered a bit of a hidden gem in the area, and it’s the smallest city by area in Canada. It has very affordable real estate costs, peace and quiet, wildlife sightings, incredible scenery, closeness to the ocean, and numerous outdoor activities to enjoy. The slowed-down pace of life is refreshing, and residents get to reap the benefits of a safe and welcoming community. Duncan is a must-see for those seeking a small-town in B.C. as their next home. The residents love the quality of life that Duncan offers.
Located in the heart of wine country, Penticton is home to 43,000 residents. It is a popular summer vacation destination for many Canadians. The name Penticton is derived from the Salish word snpintktn, meaning “place to stay forever.” Penticton draws a lot of attention for the numerous wineries, the Pentiction Peach Festival, the natural beauty, and much more. The friendly town welcomes many visitors in the summer, but the atmosphere is always exciting and inviting. It’s the hub of Okanagan tourism, with the lake nearby and a dreamy setting that is home to Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park and Okanagan Mountain Park. Outdoor enthusiasts love everything that Penticton has to offer. The beaches are impeccable, and there are plenty of places to go, boating, hiking, golfing, rock climbing, and skiing. It’s considered one of the best places to live in the province. It’s the ideal place to retire, have a summer home, or raise a family for full-time residents. It’s hard to be unhappy when surrounded by natural beauty, water, parks, greenery, and an average of 30-degree weather in the summer and over 2,100 hours of sunshine each year. With over eighty wineries in the area and seven craft breweries, there’s a lot for aficionados to enjoy. There’s very little traffic to deal with on daily commutes for those who work in the area. Visit the largest farmer’s market in Canada to get some fresh produce and support local businesses. There’s so much to love about Penticton, and the quality of life the town offers is unmatched.
Another stunning Vancouver Island town, Parksville is home to just over 12,000 residents. A reasonably affordable community, its picturesque beauty is a massive draw for those who relocate here. Another ideal location for retirement in Canada, it’s home to many attractions like the Parksville BeachFest, the Sand Sculpting World Championship, and much more. The climate is terrific, and Parksville Beach is the perfect place to spend the day relaxing and soaking up the sun. The beach is along the Strait of Georgia, which is a perfect cove that is safe from all forms of bad weather. Parksville is not just a beautiful town, but there are plenty of amenities available. Paradise Fun Park is the perfect family-friendly destination, and students can attend post-secondary at the Vancouver Island University regional campus. Plenty of local businesses and shopping options are at resident’s fingertips, so you can find everything you’re looking for in Parksville. Parksville is a treasure, and if you ask any current resident, they’ll have a long list of things they love about the town.
Located in the Kootenay region, overlooking Kootenay Lake, Nelson is home to just over 10,000 residents. There are plenty of parks and beaches along the water to enjoy. Nelson has a rich history, and there are over 350 heritage buildings that were built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There are plenty of beautifully constructed older homes that add to the charm of the community. Many of the buildings are now home to beautiful galleries, charming cafes, and quaint boutiques. The artsy and youthful population allows Nelson to have the mosts artists in Canada than in any other town. Outdoor lovers can go kayaking, hiking, skiing, and enjoy plenty more outdoor activities. There are plenty of opportunities for work and business opportunities in the area. It’s close to plenty of neighbouring cities, so residents have access to other amenities and job as well. There are several post-secondary institutions in the area as well, so it’s an excellent place for students to get an education and experience the community.
Whistler is a world-famous ski destination, and people travel from all over the world to hit the ski hills. Since the 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler’s popularity has only grown. Residents who choose Whistler as their next home are likely going to be winter sports fanatics. The town is surrounded by the Blackcomb Mountains, which have plenty of trails, ski slopes, biking, bobsledding, snowshoeing and ziplining. Whistler Village is a popular attraction as a walkable and attractive area to visit local businesses. Whistler has plenty of job opportunities, but the primary industries are tourism and hospitality. While you could land a job as a ski instructor or a mountain guide, each day likely won't feel like work. Housing is not as affordable as many other small towns in the area since it’s so close to such a popular destination, but for those who can afford it, they love the lifestyle it imparts. With the mountains in your backyard, access to some of the best skiing in the world, you might feel like you’re on a vacation every single day.