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  • Erin Norberry

How to Make the Most Out of Your Stay in Nelson, BC

There’s no doubt that your trip to Nelson and the Kootenay Lake will be worth your while. Its winding roads and majestic views welcome you the moment you reach this side of British Columbia, whether you’re traveling by land or by plane. It reassures you that you have a home in the mountains. Drawing inspiration from renowned world traveler Ibn Batutta, “Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” Here are different ways to shape the story of your trip to Nelson, BC.

Research and plan your route ahead of time

You can be overwhelmed by the many things and sights to see once you reach Nelson, BC. With this information, your choice as you travel to this town can be the start of your adventure. If you take the trip by car, there are many pit stops that offer a unique offering of the town's history and culture, before you end up in Nelson, DC. It’s best to plan your trip around your peak interests, as well as leaving time to explore new things. The research part of your trip can remind you of the best ways to maximize your resources and your time, and allow you to plan your itinerary.

Immerse yourself in art, culture, and history

You can start off your trip by immersing yourself in Nelson, BC’s culture and history. There are many establishments that offer this experience. If you visit Touchstones Nelson: Museum of Art and History, you’re instantly given an insight into the humble beginnings of the town as well as the promising artists they’re currently showcasing. They’ve preserved a myriad of architectural structures, made available through an easy walkable path. This is another way for you to see the highlighted infrastructures that the town has chosen to keep at this time, as well as where these were inspired by. There are also pieces of history that are strewn into the Nelson landscape such as the electric tramway that has been up and running since 1898. Another is the S.S. Moyie, which is considered to be the oldest passenger sternwheeler in the world that is still intact.

Connect with the locals

In 2013, there was once a photographer who took the “Humans of New York” experience to “Humans of Nelson, BC”. His key takeaway from this exercise is that he was able to highlight the colorful personalities that make Nelson, DC what it is. Their humble beginnings and chosen lifestyle are worth listening to. They pride themselves for embracing this slow-paced life and being intentional with the different tasks at hand. With this in mind, this unique opportunity to connect with the locals could be one of the highlights of your trip.

There are many ways to do this. First is through coffee. If you’re starting off your day seeking a good cup of coffee, there are several local coffee shops that not only serve excellent coffee and warm hospitality, but also champions a strong community spirit and cultural diversity. This can spark tons of great conversations both with fellow tourists and local baristas. Engaging with tourists and locals allows you to gain a deeper understanding of their culture, lifestyle, and even gain you recommendations on must-see destinations. Second is going through local artisanal shops along Baker street, where you’ll find art galleries, local food grocers, and restaurants that have stood the test of time. Some of these have been run by families who have chosen to settle down in Nelson and share a piece of their culture to this town.

Lastly is through a good craft beer. Three out of the four signature artisanal flavors of British Columbia were created in Nelson. Test out the best breweries in town – Nelson Brewing Company (NBC), Torchlight Brewing, and Backroads Brewing Company, and discover the history and process behind the famous beers that the town is known for.

Go on an outdoor adventure (and do something you’ve never done before!)

Nelson has a lot to offer thrill seekers. Since It has grown to cater to tourists from all over the world, they’re prepared with varying levels of difficulty in your chosen adventure. You shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to marvel at majestic views and at the same time test out a new skill - hiking, kayaking, skiing, or camping; there’s a long list of adventures that awaits you.

The Pulpit Rock trail offers a stunning view of the city and the mountains. If you’re willing to try a more diverse set of things to do, a trip to Kootenay lake may just fit your need to go swimming, canoeing, boating, kayaking, and even fishing. The Whitewater Ski resort offers an opportunity for you to go skiing and the varying levels of slopes will challenge you to develop your skills. Trail biking is also a highly suggested option because Nelson is considered a biking mecca for its abundance of trails for all abilities. You may even be surprised that there will be bears that might pop out and come say hi.

Once you’ve chosen your adventures, don’t forget to take photos and savor the beauty of the landscapes that you’ll encounter. One of the best things about Nelson is that you can go in the winter, spring, summer or fall, and you still won’t run out of exciting things to do because adventure is an all-year round attraction.

Take time to unwind

The best thing to complement a trip that offers thrill-seeking adventures is setting aside time to slow things down. Through sitting still, meditating, or just observing your surroundings, you’re able to take it all in and draw inspiration from your surroundings.

You can do so by riding a ferry between Balfour Bay and Kootenay Bay. It takes you on a trip between Kootenay Bay on the east side and Balfour on the west side, and the best part about this ferry is that it runs for free.

Another suggestion is to head to Lakeway Park and enjoy the combination of lush gardens and the accessible sandy beach that comes along with it. This beautiful park in the city offers a piece of tranquility and its vast space gives the unique option to switch sceneries from garden view to beach view in close range of each other.

What tops the list of unwinding is paying a trip to Ainsworth Hot Springs. This is a perfect getaway for travelers of all ages as it gives guests the chance to savor the calmness of warm water. The highlight of Ainsworth is your breathtaking view of the Purcell Mountains, laid out ahead of you in its lush glory. You can also swim through the caves that are adjacent to the main pool. To wrap up your Ainsworth experience, take your pick among the restaurants and enjoy delicious local fare.

We hope these tips can help you paint a beautiful story as you take your trip to Nelson, BC. Soak up the experience, take home memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime, and share your travel stories with the rest of the world.

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