Current BC weather conditions
BC is a large province with a climate heavily influenced by mountains and ocean. Whilst the weather varies from region to region, the climate can be separated into two broad areas: coastal and interior.
Coastal BC has a reputation for abundant rainfall. The sheltered coasts of Vancouver Island (including Victoria) and the Strait of Georgia (including Vancouver) average between 650mm and 1,500mm of precipitation yearly. But more important to your travels is the fact that coastal BC enjoys mild temperatures all year round. While the south coast can be damp during autumn and winter, it won't be excessively cold or snowy.
Down at sea level, golf is always in season – thanks to the mild climate, many of the south coast's championship golf courses are open all year round for play. This temperate weather which allows for an active, outdoors-oriented lifestyle, is a major reason that Vancouver has been nicknamed "Lotus Land." By comparison, its steep mountains – even those just a 20-minute drive from Vancouver – receive enormous snowfalls during the winter, creating superb conditions for winter sports.
BC's interior experiences a more continental climate. The southern interior enjoys the driest weather in the province, with annual precipitation ranging from only 300mm to 500mm, falling in between hundreds of hours of sunshine. It also boasts BC's warmest summers, with average highs in July from 28° to 32°C.
The climate and precipitation for both the interior and coastal BC becomes more extreme the further north you travel.
There is no "best time"' to visit BC in regard to the weather. It really depends on what you want to do as each season offers an abundance of unique things to do to experience.
Spring & Autumn
In April, BC's flora bursts into bloom with the colours of spring; in September, the province begins to glow with the intense colours of the autumn foliage making both spring and autumn ideal times to visit the province. Both seasons generally enjoy mild days and cool evenings. BC is quieter during spring and autumn compared to July, August and over Christmas allowing visitors more space and room to view. Visitors can also take advantage of shoulder-season prices in hotels and restaurants.
As a rule of thumb, temperatures are warmer in the more southern parts of the province. In Vancouver, Victoria and other south-coastal areas, the winters are mild with snow falling on these cities only a few times a year; it doesn't stick around for long. Where it does stick is up in the mountains, creating some of North America's most outstanding skiing and snowboarding conditions, even on mountains just a 20-minute drive from Vancouver. Most interior regions of the province experience freezing temperatures and snowfall between November and March.
Ski season (and cross-country ski, snowshoe, and sled/snowmobile season) throughout the province starts from early December and continues until mid-April, with glacier skiing at Whistler nine months of the year.
Ah, summertime! Throughout the province, the days are long and sunny, with temperatures in the southern interior often surpassing 30°C. Nearer the coast, temperatures range from 23° to 28°C. The farther north you are, the longer the days – in Northern BC, golfers can enjoy 7 p.m. tee-off times.
What to Wear
In a word: layer! Summers are warm enough for shorts, t-shirts, dresses and sandals but pack a jumper, trousers and a light rain or wind jacket for cooler evenings and sudden changes in the weather. The same is recommended for spring and autumn but be sure to also pack a raincoat, umbrella and scarf for blustery days.
In winter, a raincoat or medium-weight waterproof jacket is a must on the south coast, preferably worn over a jumper, warm trousers and accompanied by an umbrella. Jackets and vests made from micro-fleece and light-weight down are a popular choice for many of the locals during this season. If you're visiting the interior or mountains, pack wind-and-water-resistant winter wear, including a warm coat or jacket, gloves or mittens, a scarf and a beanie. Don't panic if you forget something: BC's cities, towns and resorts have many stores specializing in this type of clothing.