Stretching for nearly 10 million sq. km, Canada is a vast playground that offers a wide range of tourist experiences. These five destinations are pure vacation gold and deserve a spot on anyone’s bucket list.
Rocky Mountains, Alberta
Hit the road in Alberta and marvel as the majestic Rocky Mountains rise up to meet you. There are numerous parks in the area, each more stunning than the last, where you can enjoy the view of the mountains and surrounding scenery. Pick up a park pass and prepare to marvel at the natural beauty of the national parks in the province: Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay, Waterton Lakes, Elk Island, Mount Revelstoke, and Glacier.
Of all these magical places, Jasper National Park is definitely one of the most impressive. As the world’s second biggest dark sky preserve, the park offers spectacular views, day and night, making it easy to see why it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you’d like to go swimming, diving, kayaking, or rafting, Jasper boasts 1,762 different bodies of water to chose from. There are even natural hot springs where you soak your cares away in waters up to 40°C (104°F).
Yukon and the Klondike Gold Rush
With its majestic scenery, towering mountains, and icefields as far as the eye can see, Yukon has rightfully earned a nickname as the Land of the Giants. The mighty Yukon River is a spectacular ode to the power of mother nature, connecting glacier-fed lakes, canoeing rivers, and national and regional parks as it flows over 3,000 km to the sea.
Yukon is also a top destination for mother nature’s light show, aka the Northern Lights, which light up the sky from mid-August to mid-April, reaching their peak between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. For the full experience, take the road to Fish Lake or Chadburn Lake to escape the light pollution from the city.
If you’re fascinated by the Gold Rush, be sure to visit Dawson City, formerly known as the Paris of the North. Its colourful past can be seen today in the fun festivals and bizarre events such as the outhouse race. With tours given by guides in period costumes and a museum on the lives of gold rush prospectors, this singular city is always a hit with visitors.
Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Vancouver Island is a 460 km stretch of the Insular Mountain Range, much of which lies below sea level. It is divided into eight different regions, each with its own flavour. Whether you want to experience the majestic beauty of Western Canada, relax on a sandy beach swept by salty sea air, or vibe to an urban groove, Vancouver Island has it all.
This untamed paradise has gorgeous parks just a short distance out of town where you can go hiking, ride ziplines, wrap your arms around huge Western red cedars, cross suspension bridges, and see all kinds of wildlife. In the winter, you can go skiing or snowboarding at Mount Washington Alpine Resort, just 30 minutes from Courtenay. For a unique experience, you can fly down the slopes at night with the lights of the city twinkling in the distance.
If you want to get your culture fix, the towns, villages, and hamlets on the Island are full of museums, gardens, markets, and monuments that are sure to impress.
Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick
Located between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the Bay of Fundy is easily one of the most impressive destinations in the country. Watch the scenery change with the tides—the highest in the world at up to 16 m. At low tide, you can stroll among the giant sandstone formations at Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park. And if you’re the seafaring type, you can kayak around the formations at high tide.
The Bay of Fundy is also the perfect place to see whales and other marine animals! Guided whale watching tours offer a premium marine observation experience and a chance to get answers to all your questions. Just pick your vessel!
Fundy National Park is another great place to admire the bay in all its splendour. With 120 km of trails and plenty of coastal scenery, the only thing missing is you!
Iceberg Alley, Newfoundland and Labrador
Head out in search of glacier fragments along Iceberg Alley, the expanse of waters that stretch from the coast of Labrador to the northeast corner of the island of Newfoundland. You can admire these towering cathedrals of ice from land or get a closer look by boat or kayak. Each “berg” is unique in shape, colour, and size. If you’d like to learn more about them and the local marine life, consider going on a guided boat tour.
If you like hiking, the East Coast Trail is 300 km, with 25 different routes ranging from beginner to expert. In early summer, opt for a shoreline hike so you can watch the icebergs as they float past. You’ll also see dolphins, humpback whales, and seabirds. The changing scenery and breathtaking views make this one of the best ways to explore the outdoors in this part of the world.
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