With all the craziness going on this year, outdoor adventures and road trips are seriously the best way to get out of the house and safely explore. Whether you’re looking to daydream for the future, or plan a roadtrip for this summer when things are back to normal, Canada certainly has no shortage of places to add to your bucketlist! We have been lucky to live all across the country in the past 9 years, and have had the chance to explore coast to coast. Since there is so much to see, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to fit this all into one trip, but I’d suggest picking a few at a time and chipping away.
Ok I’m sure I’m not shocking anyone with Banff first on the list, but if you had to choose one place to visit in Canada, this would 100% be the first recommendation for you. Turn your head and everywhere you look there is another jaw-dropping sight as towering mountains and glacial lakes surround you. There are literally hundreds of lakes, mountains, and adventures to go on here.
Cape Breton Island
Cape Breton Island is a breath of fresh air. An eclectic mix of historical sites, breathtaking vistas, and quaint fishing villages new and old, you’ll find that life moves a little slower here. Enjoy the spectacular sights of the Cabot Trail that twists and turns its way up and down along ocean cliffs. But be sure to make lots of stops! There’s plenty of great camping, cycling, hiking, and world-class golfing to be had along the way. If you can swing it, spend a night camping at Meat Cove, the northernmost point of the Island where you can often spot whales, or at the very least watch the busy lobstermen collect their bounty.
The rugged beauty of “The Rock” is like nowhere else in Canada. Take a cruise or hike through Gros Morne’s spectacular Western Brook Pond. Watch for whales, birds, and icebergs in Twillingate or Bonavista. Enjoy an Iceberg Beer in Quidi Vidi. Or get screeched in at one of St John’s iconic downtown bars. Newfoundland has endless fun and adventure to offer. You might be asking “wait, I can drive to Newfoundland?” Yep, there are daily car ferries leaving from Sydney, NS. Just make sure to reserve your spot well in advance. Check out this guide for everything you need to know about planning a Newfoundland road trip.
An adventurous mountain town halfway between Calgary and Banff, Alberta, Canmore is substantially less touristy than Banff, and has equally epic mountains and glacial lakes to offer. There’s tons of mountain biking, hikes, and yummy restaurants in Canmore. Many people skip right over Canmore as they head to Banff, but be sure to add it to your Canadian Bucketlist!
Bay of Fundy
Famous for having the highest tides on earth, the Bay of Fundy is one of the 7 Wonders of North America. Walk along the ocean floor at low tide, then high along the coast and watch the tide rise up a towering 16 meters. But don’t just watch the tide, you can actually ride it! When the tide comes back in, it rapidly fills the rivers that drain at low tide. This “tidal bore” creates temporary rapids that you can white water raft! It’s quite the scene of tidal bore cowboys ripping up and down the chocolate milk coloured river in motorized zodiacs. Book a tour, it’s super fun!
If you’ve never been, you’ve got to go. Halifax absolutely comes alive in the summer. Enjoy delicious food from the city’s many outstanding cafes and restaurants. Walk the waterfront to see beautiful sailboats come and go. Dance along to live music at one of the city’s iconic pubs. Looking for adventure? Head to Lawrencetown just a 25-minute drive up the coast and take a surf lesson from a local pro. All of this and more makes Halifax a can’t-miss destination of any East Coast road trip.
Prince Edward Island
Canada’s smallest province might also be its most charming, and summer is the best time to experience its charm. Walk the streets of Charlottetown and indulge in its fantastic cafes, restaurants, microbreweries, and markets. Drive along the coastline and stop to view the ocean crashing along spectacular red cliffs. Head to Cavendish Beach to enjoy the summer music festival, amusement parks, mini-golf, and tons of family fun. PEI has something for everyone!
If you’re looking for one of the most beautiful roads IN THE WORLD, then the Icefields Parkway and Jasper absolutely need to be on your Canadian travel bucket list. The icefields parkway runs from Banff to Jasper, and is three hours of jaw-dropping roads. Once you arrive in Jasper, you’ll find a quaint western town, with plenty of epic hikes, canyons, and mountains to explore.
As far as winter destinations go, Whistler absolutely is the top spot to visit in Canada, especially if you enjoy skiing. Just a short 1.5 hour drive from Vancouver, you’ll find this epic ski resort that hosted the 2010 Olympics. It’s not only awesome in the winter, but there’s plenty of hiking and biking to do here in the summer too.
This was the first city I lived in when I moved to Canada, and let me tell you, Montreal is something else!! With European vibes, old cobblestone streets, fantastic restaurants on every corner, and an epic nightlife scene, if you’re looking for a place in Canada that is pulsing with energy, Montreal is it.
Yoho National Park
Just around the corner from Banff is BC’s own little slice of heaven in the Rockies, Yoho National Park. Emerald Lake Lodge (seen above) and Natural Bridge are absolute musts here.
A massive bay off Lake Huron and just a short distance from Toronto, Georgian bay is filled with blue waters that look straight out of the Caribbean, but are certainly a bit more chilly. Whether you’re checking out the jagged cliffs up in Tobermory or more tame waters in the small lakes that line the bay, this cottage country outside Toronto is a classic Canadian spot to see.
A fun, vibrant, and incredibly international city, Toronto has plenty to offer! Whether you’re headed to a sports game, looking to check out trendy cafes and restaurants, or just get your steps in exploring around town, there’s plenty to do here.
A moody west coast fishing village, Tofino sits perched on Vancouver island, poised to take in all that the Pacific Ocean has to offer. Even with extremely chilly waters, surfing is incredibly popular here, and there are tons of wild life tours where you can spot bears, whales, and more.
Waterton Lakes National Park
The Canadian side of Glacier National Park (one of my favorite US National Parks) Waterton Lakes is a sweet little gem tucked away just south of Calgary. While they have epic mountains and lakes like many places out west, what really sets them apart is their wildflowers, which are so epic that there is a festival dedicated to them each summer when they are in peak bloom.
Looking for some off-the-beaten-path adventure? Consider road tripping up to the spectacular Gaspé Peninsula. Named by National Geographic as one of Canada’s Places of a Lifetime, the Gaspésie offers endless mountain and seaside views, intermingled with the charm of quaint Quebecois towns. Explore one of its four national parks, view Percé Rock, summit 1,000-meter peaks, or take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the world’s largest accessible northern gannet colony. Adventure awaits in Gaspé!
Well, have you packed your bags for your Canadian adventures yet?? There are seriously so many beautiful places to see across the country. Let us know where you go in the comments!
PIN THIS POST