Canada is an absolute dream country to visit for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers. The country is small in population but big on land, with never-ending pristine wilderness and stunning landscapes to explore.
I am lucky enough to live in Canada and some of the best adventures I’ve been on have been in my own backyard, and I’m stoked to share them with you. Read on to discover 16 incredible Canadian adventures across the country to add to your bucket list.
Don’t forget to check out our web story: Epic Adventures to Have in Canada from Coast to Coast!
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The Best Adventures to Have in Canada
1. Ski an Olympic Trail
Whistler served as the official mountain resort of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and the slopes are still there to play on. Whistler Blackcomb is one of North America’s best ski resorts. With nearly 200 marked trails and the highest vertical drop (5,278 feet) of any ski field on the continent, there are trails for anyone from beginner to expert.
Aside from skiing, Whistler is also a great place to go zip-lining, hiking, and kayaking. Whistler is just a two-hour drive from the beautiful city of Vancouver and is a great addition to any trip there.
2. Kayak with Killer Whales
Each year over 200 orcas come to the North of Vancouver Island, BC and it is possible to go kayaking next to these amazing creatures. Whale watching in Vancouver is definitely a highlight of a trip to Canada.
Telegraph Cove is world-renowned as one of the best places in the world to go kayaking with orcas and there are several tour operators in the area to take you on this epic tour. During a kayaking trip, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of Vancouver Island. You can also spot other local wildlife, including humpback whales, black bears, sea lions, sea otters, porpoises, and bald eagles.
3. Surf in Tofino
Surfing isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the great white north. But in fact, Tofino, British Columbia is a premier all-year surfing destination. You just need to wear a wetsuit to go surfing as the water is between 5° C and 7° C.
Like any good surf town, Torino also boasts a number of high-quality restaurants including a tasty taco shack appropriately named Tacofino. Aside from surfing, Tofino is a gorgeous area to explore with rainforest hiking trails, wildlife, and an endless coastline to explore.
4. Uncover the Past in Alberta’s Badlands
The badlands near Drumheller, Alberta are such a unique and fascinating part of the country to explore. This is the area where dinosaurs once roamed and as a result, it’s full of incredible fossil beds and rock formations such as hoodoos.
You can take a hike through horseshoe canyon to see these unique geological formations, and afterward visit the Royal Tyrell Museum to learn about the dinosaurs that once lived in Alberta.
Drumheller is just three hours from Edmonton and 1.5 hours from Calgary, Alberta’s two major cities.
5. Drive the Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper
The best Alberta road trip is from Banff to Jasper (or vice versa) through the Icefields Parkway. In fact, National Geographic named this one of the best road trips in the world!
If this is your first time visiting Canada, prepare to be amazed! You will pass through ancient glaciers, cascading waterfalls, and emerald lakes surrounded by forests. The drive has many points of interests along the way including Lake Louise, Athabasca Falls, and the Columbia Icefield.
If that isn’t enough to please your eyes, there are also over 53 species of mammals you can spot in the area, including bears, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and elk. Banff and Jasper are both must-see spots on a visit to Canada and a drive through the Icefields Parkway is the ideal way to get there.
6. Rock or Ice Climb in The Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are one of the most beautiful spots to explore in Canada, stretching from Alberta into British Columbia.
During the summertime, they are a premier destination for rock climbers to come and try new routes. But climbing doesn’t stop when the snow comes. Ice climbing in Banff national park has become a popular activity to do during the wintertime.
Take a hike into Johnston Canyon to see the frozen waterfalls and there you will see ice climbers making their way to the top. After a day in the snow, warm up your body in the Banff hot springs.
7. Go Dog Sledding in Canmore
Just outside of Banff National Park is the beautiful small town of Canmore, which has its own beautiful mountains to explore. A great way to explore the mountains is to try the Canadian tradition of dog sledding!
There are a couple of companies in town that run dog sledding tours through the area. On the tour, you will get the chance to go on a scenic and exciting ride through the Rocky Mountains and surrounding forests.
The tour takes about two hours, stopping halfway to give guests a chance to warm up with hot chocolate and give some love to your new four-legged friends.
8. Search for Polar Bears in Churchill
Every year during the migration season hundreds of polar bears pass through the town of Churchill, Manitoba as part of their route. This makes the town of Churchill one of the best places in the world to see these incredible animals in their natural habitat.
To see the polar bears, you can either take day tours in purpose-built buggies or stay in transportable tundra lodges. Polar bear season in Churchill generally runs from July to November. During a trip, you might even spot other wildlife including arctic foxes and Caribou.
As a bonus, given the Northern location of Churchill, you are likely to see the northern lights!
9. Watch the Northern Lights in Yellowknife
The Northern Lights are one of the most incredible natural phenomena on the planet and Canada is a great place to view them. Yellowknife is the go-to destination in Canada for the Northern Lights, and even named Aurora Village after them. If you can’t make it all the way to Yellowknife, it is still possible to see the Northern lights in other parts of Canada.
Try your luck at Jasper National Park in Canada. The park is not only one of the most beautiful places to visit in Alberta but also among the world’s largest dark sky preserves, which means there’s no artificial light around to obscure the view.
The best time of year to see the aurora borealis is September through mid-May. In mid-October, Jasper National Park hosts a dark sky festival where visitors can come to view the incredible sky and participate in hands-on science and astronomy events.
10. Go Backcountry Canoeing in Algonquin Park
Even in Canada’s biggest city, you don’t need to go far to be back in the midst of nature. Just a couple hours drive from Toronto is Algonquin Park. Covering over 3,080 square miles of rugged Canadian Shield, the gorgeous park is home to lakes, rivers, forests, and a diverse wildlife population.
Algonquin Park is one of the best places in Canada to go canoeing, with over 990 miles of canoe routes that follow lakes, streams, and portage trails. It’s possible to do multi-day backcountry canoe trips in the park where you can truly get lost in nature. Algonquin is a great spot to see Canadian wildlife including moose which are commonly seen in the area.
11. Walk Around the Tallest Building in North America
Toronto is Canada’s largest city with neighborhoods sprawling out from the city center. For the best views of the city, head to the top of the CN Tower. It’s the tallest building in Canada and towers above the city at 1,815 feet.
But the excitement doesn’t stop there. The CN Tower has a tour called EdgeWalk, where guests get the chance to walk on the roof of the CN Tower’s restaurant. There, you will be rewarded with incredible panoramic views of the city and the adrenaline rush from being at the top.
Afterward, enjoy a well-deserved drink at the CN Tower’s bar lounge. Next up you’re headed on a road trip from Toronto to Montreal!
12. Take Part in Canada’s Best Music Festival in Montreal
What started as a small festival to celebrate art and music has turned into one of North America’s best music festivals.
Each August, thousands of visitors and locals come to Montreal to take part in this 3-day music festival in Montreal’s Park Jean-Drapeau. This eclectic music and art festival features major headliners and continues to grow year after year.
After the festival, be sure to stick around Montreal for a while and explore this charming French city full of art and culture.
13. Get Wet at the Bay of Fundy
Canada’s Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world, and the country offers a few different ways to experience it.
At Hopewell Cape, New Brunswick, the tide rises and falls 40 feet or so, twice daily. When the water recedes, you can walk around on the ocean floor and see the unique rock formations up close. During high tide, you can kayak around Hopewell Rocks.
In Nova Scotia, the province next door, you can opt to go Tidal Bore rafting. This is one of the most unique rafting experiences in the world! Twice a day when the tide changes, the tidal bore temporarily reverses the flow of the river, creating incredible high-speed rapids. Just be prepared to get wet on this adventure!
14. Bike Across PEI
PEI is Canada’s smallest province, and because it is relatively flat a great way to see the entire province is to bike across it. While cycling, you will pass through a myriad of colors, from bright green pastures to red towering cliffs with the Atlantic blue ocean below.
There are a number of charming accommodation options across the province to stay during your visit. You can expect friendly East coast hospitality and some of the tastiest seafood you can find.
15. Search for Icebergs and Whales in Newfoundland
In the springtime into early summer, giant icebergs make their way from Greenland and pass along the shores of Newfoundland.
So many icebergs that the area was nicknamed Iceberg Alley, which stretches from the coast of Labrador to the Northeast coast of Newfoundland. Popular places for iceberg sightings include St. John’s/Cape Spear, Bonavista, Battle Harbor, and Fogo Island.
Later in the summer, Newfoundland becomes one of the world’s best places to go whale watching, as the world’s largest population of Humpback whales make their way to the coast of Newfoundland to feed. Whales can be seen from hiking trails around the province, and there are also whale watching tours you can take to see these majestic creatures up close.
16. Take the Train Across Canada
One of the best ways to see the changing landscapes of the country is to take the train across Canada from Halifax to Vancouver. VIA Rail, which operates Canada’s train network, offers two different trains to see the country. The Ocean, which runs from Halifax to Montreal, and the Canadian, which runs from Toronto to Vancouver.
During the ride, you will see Canada’s dramatic landscape change from the Atlantic Ocean to the forest of Northern Ontario, the endless horizon and bright green canola fields of Saskatchewan, and into the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains. They even attach an all-glass dome train cart for better viewing during the portion from Edmonton to Vancouver.
The train is a unique way to see the country because it takes a route that is not open to regular vehicles and the comfort of the train allows you to truly take it all in. Enjoy the amazing views while sipping on a glass of Canadian wine from the comfort of your own private room.
I couldn’t be happier to call such a beautiful country my home; I never get sick of exploring it. Whatever part of Canada you decide to visit, there will be an adventure waiting for you!
Planning a trip to Canada? Check out these books and resources:
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Lora – About the Author:
Lora is an adventure travel blogger based out of Toronto, Canada. Raised on a rock in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, she has a deep love for nature and wildlife. Lora has traveled to over 50 countries and is working towards her goal of visiting every country in the world, all while finding the best adventures that each one has to offer.
On her blog, Explore with Lora, she shares her adventures around the world and aims to inspire others to find their adventure.