This summer, ditch those glossy destination brochures, forget about your passport, and please stop worrying about buying foreign currency, because one of the best vacations to be had is right around the corner. While it’s easy to take for granted all the incredible things to see and do that are right in your own backyard, Prince George has plenty of exciting and unique adventures just waiting for you.

Located where the Fraser and Nechako rivers meet, Prince George is a city surrounded by awe-inspiring wilderness. This means that year-round, as the hub of northern BC, it offers a perfect blend of urban amenities and recreational opportunities.

Nature is only a step away

You can stretch your legs alongside the rivers while exploring peaceful, forested paths; or head a few minutes out of town, along Highway 16 east, to visit the Ancient Forest Provincial Park, the only known inland rainforest in North America. The trail, nestled on Lheidli T’enneh First Nation territory, is an easy to moderate hike. It will bring you past enormous thousand-year-old, red cedars and a beautiful waterfall. There’s also a 450-metre universal access boardwalk, which allows people of all abilities to enjoy the area.

Located where the Fraser and Nechako rivers meet, Prince George is a city surrounded by awe-inspiring wilderness.

Prince George’s dining scene is sophisticated and varied, and includes everything from a delicious breakfast in a cozy bookstore to fine dining with northern fare. “Many of our restaurants source their ingredients locally, often pairing their food with craft BC beverage selections,” says Annie Doran, the city’s Tourism Marketing and Brand Manager.

Culinary festivals for everyone’s taste

However, what visitors love most are the culinary festivals.
On the June 21–23 weekend, Heatwave takes place. This event is a three-day festival that celebrates cultures, and beginning with National Indigenous People’s Day at Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park, and ending with an evening featuring indigenous music at the Canada Games Plaza. The following two days celebrate multiculturalism and showcase entertainment, vendors, and food from the various cultural groups that make up the community. The focus of the third day, however, is on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, celebrating Prince George’s French heritage.

Also during that weekend is Ribfest. “Rib lovers can expect to experience some of Canada’s best ribbers, Northern BC’s most sought-after food truck vendors, and local live entertainment throughout the weekend,” says Doran. Both Friday and Saturday events are divided into family-friendly, all-ages, and adult (19+) only hours. Sunday is an all-ages day with a pop-up farmers’ market-style shopping area.

Crossroads Street Party
Crossroads Street Party

July 14 is Summerfest. At this signature festival, be prepared to meet locals and guests as everyone takes to the streets and joins the party to have fun, enjoy some food, participate in activities, and listen to music. The legendary Taste Pavilion features numerous local restaurants that serve up delicious bites of their best dishes and beverages. Taste Tickets are a $1 each and are required when visiting the food tents. Don’t forget to take in the CrossRoads Street Festival the day and night before (July 13) to learn about jetboating, motorcross, and more, plus to play games and party on the street!

Cariboo Rocks the North occurs on August 9–11. A three-day classic rock festival featuring 11 bands performing on an outside stage. The event includes food trucks, beer gardens, and more.

Other activities throughout the summer in Prince George include free winery tours at Northern Light Estate Winery and historic downtown walking tours facilitated by the public library.

With 1,600 lakes and rivers nearby, 120 city parks, extensive mountain biking trails, and various accommodations to suit your style, Prince George may be the best staycation you’ve had in years.