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The Rotary Waterfront in Prince Rupert

Things to Do in Prince Rupert, BC

Prince Rupert isn’t the kind of place you drop into. It sits above North America’s deepest ice-free harbor at the western terminus of Yellowhead Highway 16. People who make the eight-hour drive from Prince George are coming for a reason. Fishermen love the cool, clear water for its abundance of fish. I love this town for its proximity to the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary – the world’s first preserve to protect grizzly bears – and it’s blend of western and First Nations cultures.

BC Ferries has voyages to Haida Gwaii and the Inside Passage from Prince Rupert
BC Ferries has voyages to Haida Gwaii and the Inside Passage from Prince Rupert

Prince Rupert is the jumping off point for the Inside Passage

Prince Rupert – called simply Rupert by the locals – is also the jumping off point for ferries plying the Inside Passage or headed to Haida Gwaii.

You can drive here through the stunning scenery of northern British Columbia and add a voyage on B.C. Ferries for the ultimate road trip. If like me, the idea of missing the boat – literally – has you arriving early, you’ll find yourself with a couple of extra days in this town of 12,000.

Here are my suggestions for things to do in Prince Rupert to make the most of your time in this capital of the north

1. Take a day trip with Prince Rupert Adventure Tours

In May and June you can see grizzlies in the  Khutzeymateen, in July through October watch humpback whales feasting in the rich waters.

For  more information visit the Prince Rupert Adventure Tour website.

Journeying into Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary for bears, eagles and whales.
Journeying into Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary for bears, eagles and whales

2. Hike to Butze Rapids

Stretch your legs and revive your olfactory glands on the Butze Rapids 5-kilometre interpretative hike through lush west coast forest.

Tides here are some of the country’s highest and you can see standing waves when the tides reverse.

Butze Rapids interpretative hike offers views of the shifting tides.
Butze Rapids interpretative hike offers views of the shifting tides

3. Have lunch at the North Pacific Cannery National Historic Site

You can save on admission by forgoing the tour and strolling along the boardwalk to the Mess House for tasty eats.

4. Do some souvenir shopping at the Museum of Northern BC’s gift shop

If you have time, tour the collection of northern art.

5. Head to the end of Bill Murray Way

Admire the blooms and the views in Rotary Waterfront Park. For a city on the water, it’s surprisingly difficult to get to the water’s edge. Most of the coastline is dedicated to the shipping of goods, but if you can ignore the train tracks a few metres from the pathway, you’ll enjoy your time here by the water.

Prince Rupert’s busy port means there are few chances to stroll the shore; Rotary Waterfront Park is one of them.
Prince Rupert’s busy port means there are few chances to stroll the shore; Rotary Waterfront Park is one of them.

6. Stop at Cow Bay Café for lunch or dessert

On rare sunny days – this is a rainforest after all – people watchers flock to the overwater patio to watch fishermen coming and going.

The Cow Bay Cafe offers a sunny spot for people watching
The Cow Bay Cafe offers a sunny spot for people watching
Cow Bay Cafe’s reputation carries far beyond Prince Rupert
Cow Bay Cafe’s reputation carries far beyond Prince Rupert

7. Poke around the shops of Cow Bay Road

Get a head start on your Christmas shopping at Ice House Gallery, a north coast artist’s cooperative.

Cow Bay Road offers numerous dining and shopping option
Cow Bay Road in Prince Rupert offers numerous dining and shopping option

8. Admire the giant murals adorning several buildings around town

If you can’t find a whale in the ocean, you can spot them on several murals downtown.
If you can’t find a whale in the ocean, you can spot them on several murals downtown

9. Do the self-guided walking tour

Grab a copy of the Totem Poles of Prince Rupert self-guided walking tour. Take your picture in front of the totems at city hall to prove to your friends you were at this northern jumping-off point.

Then jump!

Further reading on things to do in British Columbia

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

The best things to do on a summer weekend in prince Rupert, BC

 

 

 

Carol Patterson

Accountant turned zoo pilot turned award-winning travel writer, Carol Patterson seeks out untamed landscapes and wildlife. A fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society her work appears in CanGeoTravel, WestJet, Fodor’s Travel, and many others.

www.carolpatterson.ca

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