For Washington travelers and residents, Canada's British Columbia is just a short distance away. The westernmost province is accessible by plane, train, car and ferry. You don't have to venture more than an hour or so from the border to experience the big city attractions of Vancouver and the small town charm of several border towns. Victoria, a historic town on Vancouver Island, is also near the border.
British Columbia's biggest city, Vancouver, is a major attraction for Washington visitors not wanting to venture too far from the border. There's plenty to see and do in this gleaming city of high rises and stunning water views. The city is just 30 miles from Blaine, Washington, close to the border. In Vancouver, you can walk through Chinatown, visit the Zoo and Aquarium, explore verdant Stanley Park, and shop the Granville Island Market.
British Columbia's sparkling capital city, Victoria, sits on Vancouver Island. You can reach Victoria via a half-hour ferry ride through the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Port Angeles, Washington. You can tour the city easily on foot, wandering among its restaurants and cafes and browsing in shops and art galleries. The Craigdarroch Castle is one highlight; you can take self-guided tours of the historic home. You can also have traditional afternoon tea at the Empress Resort, the city's most noticeable landmark.
Abbotsford, pressed against towering, snow-capped peaks, lies five miles north of Sumas, Washington. In this town, you can browse shops and boutiques scattered throughout the historic district. Tourists flock here for Abbotsford's nearby golf courses, including the Ledgeview Golf Course, which features 18 holes of championship golf. If you've come by car, take the Circle Farm Tour, a self-guided drive through 14 area farms and dairies.
Small, seaside White Rock is just four miles from Blaine. The city's most noticeable feature is a 1,500-foot pier stretching into the pristine waters of Semiahmoo Bay. You can stroll the 1/2-mile beach promenade and comb the sandy beaches for sea glass and other flotsam. The White Rock Museum and Archives holds exhibits and artifacts of local historical importance.
Surrey, just 9 miles over the border, is known for the International Peace Arch, which straddles the border between the U.S. and Canada. The arch sits in a park that includes sculptures, gardens, group tours and free concerts. If you're an art enthusiast, visit the Surrey Arts Center and Surrey Art Gallery, near Bear Creek Park. This contemporary art center is the second-largest public gallery in the Vancouver metro area.