Nelson, British Columbia, Canada Travel Information

Nelson BC is located in the West Kootenays region of British Columbia, Canada. If you look at a map of British Columbia, the Kootenays are located in the southeast area of the province. Nelson is approximately midway between Vancouver and Calgary. If you are coming from the US, Nelson is approximately a three-hour scenic drive from Spokane, Washington (including time for the border crossing).The city of Nelson was established on the southern shores of Kootenay Lake in the late 1800’s. Commerce originally centered around mining, forestry and trade. In the early 1980’s, the main sawmill in town closed down and the economy of the city suffered. Since then, Nelson has become more diversified, and along with forestry the area is now well known for it’s arts, culture, tourism, and outdoors opportunities.If you are planning a visit to Nelson, there are a number of hotels and motels to choose from. The main hotels include the Prestige Inn, the Hume Hotel, the Best Western, the New Grand hotel, and the Alpine motel. If you would like to stay right downtown, your best bets are the Hume, New Grand, or Best Western. These three hotels all have their own restaurants. The Prestige Inn is located right on the shore of Kootenay Lake, if you like to be near the water. If you are traveling by RV, there is a Walmart at the main mall in town. RV’s can often be seen spending the night in the Walmart parking lot.The main street in Nelson is called Baker Street. Here you will find a diversified assortment of stores and cafes to browse, including fine coffee houses, restaurants, outdoor outfitters, ski and snowboard stores, bike stores, gifts, arts and crafts, and bookstores. If you’re a coffee lover, a stay in Nelson wouldn’t be complete without a taste of locally made Oso Negro coffee. If biking is your thing, you’ll have to make a stop at the Sacred Ride bike shop at the west end of Baker Street. There are three major banks on Baker if you need to access cash. Looking to buy property or a house in Nelson? There are three real estate storefronts on Baker Street where you can peruse photos of Nelson and area realty.Need some ideas of things to do in Nelson? You could spend some time down at Lakeside Park. There is a sandy beach for swimming or sun tanning, lots of grassy areas for picnics, a children’s playground, and soccer and baseball fields. There is also a heritage streetcar ride that travels between Lakeside Park and the Prestige Inn. You can go swimming indoors at the Aquatic center, which has a full pool, kids pool, sauna, steam room and hot pool. The Aquatic center is located in the newly constructed recreation center, which hosts Nelson’s new hockey arena.Outside of Nelson, you can travel up highway 31 to Ainsworth Hot Springs (approximately 45 km north) for a day in the natural warm spring waters and caves. The hot springs are directly adjacent to a hotel and restaurant. You can also take the longest free ferry ride at Balfour (35 km north of Nelson) across Kootenay Lake to Crawford Bay. If you prefer mountain biking, park off-highway at the start of any forest road and spend a day exploring on the mountains. Wildlife you may see include deer, elk, moose, cougar and black bears. The highway turn off to the Whitewater ski hill is 10 km south of Nelson. If you park at the highway turn off, you will find the Nelson Nordic ski club cross-country ski trails. Other towns you may want to visit within an easy day’s drive include Kaslo, Ymir, Salmo, Castlegar, Trail, Rossland, and Slocan City.Travel to Nelson continues to increase, and most of it comes through ‘word of mouth’ advertising. Some who thought they were coming for a visit ended up relocating here, saying they have never seen any other place quite like Nelson. So whether you’re looking for some relaxation, an adventure, or a chance to be revitalized, the odds are you will find it in Nelson.

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