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37 Best Places to Visit in Canada (By Locals) + Travel Guide

So you want to know the best places to visit in Canada?

This is the guide for you. Because we’ve come up with the ultimate Canada bucket list!

Canada is our “home and native land” (that phrase comes from the Canadian anthem, in case you didn’t know).

We’re diehard Canadians. We’ve lived in Calgary, then Vancouver and now Victoria in British Columbia. We’ve visited family in Ontario and vacationed across Canada.

Indeed, we’ve spent decades exploring dozens of bucket list places to visit in Canada! Along the way, we’ve sussed out oodles of fun things to do in Canada.

Most Beautiful Places in Canada

Best places to visit in Canada

It’s no easy task coming up with a list of the most iconic and beautiful places in Canada.

Canada is the second-largest country in the world (bigger than the U.S.).

And if we can boast about our home country, it’s full of natural wonders!

Canada Bucket List: Best Places in Canada

We have 48 spectacular national parks in Canada. And that’s not counting the hundreds of provincial parks.

We have jaw-dropping mountains, forests, lakes and waterfalls, along with idyllic islands and charming cities.

We sought the help of other travel writers and bloggers who’ve visited unique places in Canada that we haven’t yet explored (like Nunavut).

Our list of must-see places in Canada is therefore quite epic – 37!

Of course, you can’t possibly tick off all these bucket list sites in one trip. And you wouldn’t want to.

These are special places in Canada, and many need time to be savored.

Keep scrolling, because you’ll find them below, in no particular order…

Canada travel tips + FAQs

Canadian Flag

Before launching into the best places to see in Canada, you’ll want to know a few useful facts and tips for planning your Canadian trip.

Fast facts about Canada:

Capital: Ottawa, Ontario

Languages: English and French

Currency: The Canadian dollar (made up of 100 cents). $1 USD is equal to about $1.25 CAD (though it sometimes fluctuates to $1.30). If you’re coming from the USA, your dollar will definitely go further in Canada!

Electricity: 120 volts AC, 60 Hz (same as in the USA)

Population: About 38 million

Size: 3.8 million square miles (Canada is the world’s second biggest country after Russia)

Number of provinces and territories: 10 provinces and three territories

Visa and entry requirements:

Our friends who live in the United States don’t need a visa to visit Canada.

If you’re coming from the U.K. or Europe, you need an electronic travel authorization.

See the Government of Canada website on who can visit Canada and what documents you require to enter.

And see here for information on vaccination and other requirements.

Best time to visit Canada:

Canada is a year-round destination.

Two girls carrying snowshoes on a snowy path

If you love skiing and other winter sports, you should visit in the winter months. Most of Canada sees snow from November to April.

The exception is the west coast of British Columbia (B.C.), which usually only experiences a few days of snow each winter. But B.C.’s west coast is cold and rainy much of the time in winter.

The summer months (June to August) are popular times to visit.

However, Ontario and Quebec can be hot and humid in the peak summer months. British Columbia experiences milder summer weather, and it isn’t as humid as it is in Ontario and Quebec.

If you’re visiting the mountains and national parks in Alberta (Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper), June to August are great times to go for the best hiking, golfing, canoeing and other outdoor adventures.

September is one of the best times to go to Canada for sightseeing.

There aren’t as many tourists in September (so accommodations are less expensive and easier to snag). But summer’s warmth still lingers.

The leaves also start turning golden as fall approaches, so it’s a particularly beautiful time to visit.

Getting around Canada:

In general, the best way to travel around Canada within particular regions is by car.

Rental cars are available at all major airports across Canada.

Driving on an empty highway in the Canadian Rockies

Many different train trips are also available for exploring Canada.

For example, the Rocky Mountaineer is a private train company offering luxury train journeys in Western Canada. A popular train ride is from Vancouver to Jasper through the Canadian Rockies.

Via Rail offers trans-Canada train trips between Vancouver and Toronto on The Canadian.

We also have ferries connecting different places in Canada. For example, in British Columbia, BC Ferries links Vancouver with Vancouver Island and other islands like the Gulf Islands. See our post on taking the ferry to Victoria from Vancouver.

Western Canada vs Eastern Canada

Red boat in Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia

If you’re visiting Canada for the first time, you may be tempted to take in all the top Canadian destinations in one trip. Our advice? Don’t.

Canada is bigger than the U.S. – it’s a huge country!

When planning a trip to Canada, focus on either the western part of the country or the east.

We’ve divided up our bucket list into the main visitor regions in Canada. This division should be helpful in deciding what to see in Canada in the province(s) or region you’re visiting.

You’ll note there’s a special emphasis on British Columbia and Alberta.

That’s partly because we’ve lived most of our adult lives in these two provinces – and we know (and love) the West best!

It’s also partly because the Canadian Rockies, which are in Alberta, are typically at the top of every visitor’s list of “must-see Canada” sites – and there are so many fabulous places to visit in the Rocky Mountains.

Lastly, if we were forced to say which is the most beautiful province in Canada, we’d answer “British Columbia” (where we live). No bias, really!

So now you know why there are more best places to visit in Western Canada on our bucket list than Eastern Canadian places!

Okay, let’s drill down…

Best places to visit in British Columbia

The most western province is British Columbia.

It’s a place of coastal rainforests, beaches, misty mountains, warm lakes, vineyards and idyllic islands.

And it’s a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts – you can swim, sail, ski, golf, kayak, hike, fish, mountain bike, go whale watching and more. (In Vancouver, you could even ski the North Shore Mountains, then go sailing or golfing the same day!)

Simply put, some of the best adventures can be enjoyed in B.C.

Best places to visit in Alberta

Woman hiking in the mountains in Alberta

Alberta is a province of contrasts.

Two of the best destinations to visit in Canada are here: Jasper National Park (#16) and Banff National Park (#20).

The Icefields Parkway – one of the top drives in the world – connects the two parks.

Replete with majestic mountain ranges, they’re some of the world’s oldest national protected areas.

And then you have the prairie grasslands to the east.

By the way, Edmonton is the capital of Alberta.

Best places to visit in Saskatchewan and Manitoba

Drive east from Alberta on the Trans-Canada Highway, and those flat prairies extend as far as the eye can see in Saskatchewan. It’s very much an outdoor province, and its cities are small and few. Saskatoon is the biggest city, but Regina is its capital.

Continue east, and you come to Manitoba – a province with more prairies in the south and undeveloped wilderness in the north.

The polar bear capital of the world, Churchill (#28 below), is found in the wilds of northern Manitoba.

One of the really cool places to visit in Canada (literally!), Churchill is renowned for its polar bear viewing.

Best places to visit in Quebec and Ontario

Chateau-like building with spires in Quebec City

The next province east of Manitoba is Ontario.

Ottawa, the capital of Canada, is found here. So is Toronto, Canada’s largest city.

Another one of the must-visit places in Canada – the world-famous Niagara Falls – also has one foot in Ontario (and the other in New York state, south of the Canada/U.S. border).

And then there’s la belle province – Quebec!

The largest province in Canada, Quebec is mostly French speaking. It’s the home of poutine, Celine Dion and Cirque du Soleil.

Set on an island in the Saint Lawrence River, Montreal is the largest city in Quebec. But Quebec City, one of the oldest European cities in North America, is Quebec’s capital.

Best places to visit in Atlantic Canada

Red-roof lighthouse on rocks in Newfoundland

New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island (PEI), Newfoundland and Labrador make up Atlantic Canada, the provinces with coastlines bordering the Atlantic Ocean.

The three Maritime provinces – New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI – are somewhat similar.

But with Irish, French and indigenous roots, the culture of Canada’s easternmost province, Newfoundland and Labrador, is unique.

“Newfies” have a distinct dialect and accent.

They love to dance a jig (their music inspired by sea shanties).

And on Sundays, they traditionally eat a Jiggs dinner (boiled corned beef, cabbage, turnip, potato, carrots and pease pudding).

Best places to visit in Yukon and Territories

There are three territories in Canada – Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.

They’re scarcely populated, with Inuit people living in the far North toward the Arctic.

But this vast remote place of snow, ice, mountains, forests and islands makes up almost half of Canada’s land mass.

That’s our list of best places to travel in Canada!

But we’re positive we haven’t captured all the must-see and most beautiful places in Canada.

Maybe you’ve been somewhere you think should be on our great Canadian bucket list?

Planning your next trip?

See the following helpful services:

Our Travel Resources Guide | Get airline booking tips. Discover great travel, tour and car rental companies. And find crazy useful trip planning info!

Booking.com | Score a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one.

GetYourGuide | Check out the best local guided tours and book skip-the-line tickets to attractions.

World Nomads | Never travel without insurance! World Nomads offers great coverage for adventurous travelers under 70 (including for surfing, scuba diving and bungee jumping).

Our Travel Shop | Find the best travel gear. We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.

CDC | We follow CDC travel guidelines to see what medications and vaccines are needed for trips. You can get vaccines at your pharmacy, travel medical clinic or doctor’s office.

Pssst! If you make a booking or purchase through our site, we may earn a small commission (at no cost to you). Thanks!


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Best places to visit in Canada

Photo credits: 13, 17 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase


About the authors:

Janice and George Mucalov

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews and information, insanely useful travel tips and more!

Mary O. Greenberg

Tuesday 2nd of February 2021

Janice & George, I really enjoyed reading your wonderful Canada bucket list guide. What a thoughtful pandemic project to help us keep those travel dreams spinning!

Janice and George

Tuesday 2nd of February 2021

Thanks for the kind words!

It was fun to put this together :-).