The westernmost provinces of Canada, British Columbia and Alberta, are the two most popular tourist destinations in a country that is itself one of the world's favorite vacation getaways. Both provinces have very well organized tourism infrastructures, which makes trip planning both simple and a pleasure: Piecing together a trip through Banff National Park or the coastal forests of B.C. can be a highly pleasant diversion in and of itself.

Planning a trip to B.C. and the Canadian Rockies requires little in the way of precaution, as Canada is remarkably safe and civilized. However, before setting out, there are a few points to consider. Due to its northerly location, Canada presents very distinct seasons: You'll have a very different experience if you travel in western Canada in summer than in winter. While summer in the north is glorious, there are ample reasons to travel outside of the peak July through September tourist season: Prices are lower and crowds much thinner, for starters. As for winter, if you're a skier, then you'll find that B.C. and Alberta boast some of the top ski resorts in the world.

Which brings up another consideration. The urban attractions of B.C. and Alberta are very compelling, and plenty of travelers come here largely to enjoy the dazzling culture and dining in cities such as Vancouver, Victoria, and Calgary. However, even if you are by inclination an urban kind of person, you should plan to get outdoors and experience the truly astonishing land- and seascapes of western Canada. Outfitters and resorts make it easy to head out into the wilderness, whether on a kayak, in snowshoes, or atop a horse.

And that's what's truly remarkable about Canada. Its cities and towns are the very model of civilized culture, but at the city limits, the wilderness begins. As you plan your trip, be sure to make time to experience both sides of Canada.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.