The largest national park in the Canadian Rockies – spanning 4,247 sq. miles (11,000 sq. km) – Jasper should jump right to the top of your Canada bucket list.
Less busy than more-famous Banff National Park (#9), Jasper is no less spectacular. It's known for its rugged mountain peaks, rushing rivers, glittering lakes, jaw-dropping canyons and tons of wildlife.
What to do? Hike Maligne Canyon and the Old Fort Point Trail for breathtaking views. Paddle a canoe at Maligne Lake. Ride the Jasper SkyTram gondola up 7,400 feet (2,263 meters) to the top of Whistlers Mountain. And go white-water rafting down the Athabasca River.
If you prefer to take it easy, soak in the Miette Hot Springs (natural outdoor mineral pools).
Elk. Elk. And more elk! Wherever you go, you’ll see wild elk.
About 1,300 elk live in Jasper National Park. The large antlers on the bulls are quite the sight!
One of the most beautiful places in Canada for a laid-back seaside holiday is Salt Spring Island.
Take the ferry from Victoria (see #12) or Vancouver to get there. The island has several charming B&B’s and inns, and the main town, Ganges, has some appealing restaurants. (Fresh oysters, anyone?)
Salt Spring is a sanctuary for artists, poets and writers, so you’ll discover many artists’ studios and galleries; you’re welcome to pop into them. And if you hike up Mount Erskine, you’ll see sweet “fairy doors,” carved by locals. If you believe in magic, it’s said that fairies live in wee houses behind them.
Also don’t miss the Salt Spring Saturday Market in the summer months – pick up some island-made goat cheese and other goodies.
You can rent e-bikes to pedal a spectacularly scenic 17-mile (28-km) loop around part of the island.
As the most photographed lake in Canada, there’s no question Moraine Lake should be on your Canada bucket list! It was even featured on the back of Canada’s $20 bills, issued between 1969 and 1979.
The major draw to Moraine Lake is simply how beautiful it is.
The alpine lake in Banff National Park (#9) is an impossibly turquoise lake, set against a backdrop of the towering Ten Peaks mountains. Oh wait, the lake is blue. No, it’s more an emerald color.
The color is actually hard to pin down, because it changes over the summer and at different times in the day.
Lovely walking trails to lake viewpoints include the Lakeshore Trail and the famous Rockpile Viewpoint trail. Longer hiking trails include the Larch Valley Trail (where the larch trees turn a dazzling gold color in autumn) and Consolation Lakes Trail.
But no worries if you don’t want to hike. You can still take in the lake views with a coffee in hand from the nearby café, or even rent a kayak and get out on the water.
Because of its popularity, snagging a parking space at Moraine Lake can be challenging. For this reason, it's best to visit early in the morning before the sun rises, or later in the day as the sun is setting. Alternatively, shuttles to Moraine Lake are available from Banff and Lake Louise.
Moraine lake’s 50 shades of blue are so bewitching that many people say the lake is the most beautiful spot in the Canadian Rockies. And that’s saying a lot!
If you spend enough time in Churchill, there’s a chance you might spot a polar bear lurking outside your window or bump into one in the main street after dark.
Located 1,000 miles (1,600 km) to the north of Winnipeg, Churchill is a remote town on Hudson Bay’s shores. Normally, the town’s population is around 900. That swells to some 10,000 during polar bear season each autumn. For around four to five weeks, Churchill becomes a bustling tourist town.
That’s when polar bears wake up from their hibernation and migrate almost right through Churchill to Hudson Bay, where they wait for the water to freeze, so they can walk across the ice to hunt for seals.
Seeing polar bears in the wild in Churchill is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to tick off your Canada bucket list. Most of the polar bear spotting occurs around Hudson Bay and on the tundra near the town, either from the safety of large tundra buggies or from a wildlife lodge.
You get to see polar bears really close (like six feet away) and can shoot spectacular photos of them. The bears are used to the tundra buggies and lodges, and walk right up to them.
Then add a sparkling 60-mile (96-km) lake, perfect for swimming and boating. Throw in awesome bicycle trails through vineyards and over trestle bridges (like the Kettle Valley Rail Trail). Sprinkle apple and cherry orchards, rocky crags for rock climbing (that’s the Skaha Bluffs) and freshwater river channels for tubing.
Now you have the Okanagan Valley – without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places to visit in Canada!
With some 200 wineries, the wine tasting is phenomenal. Vineyard restaurants specialize in farm-to-table dining, and several vineyards have adorable B&B lodgings too.
We’ve spent many recent holidays in the Okanagan, mixing up wine tasting with bicycling, hiking and swimming. Intoxicating, to say the least!
Dreamers? Luxury lovers? Hideaway seekers? Put Fogo Island on your Canada bucket list.
To experience cool coastal landscapes combined with the warmest hospitality, remote Fogo Island, off the shore of Newfoundland and Labrador, is the ultimate place to go. It’s a rugged and windswept island, dotted with brightly colored houses and fishing stages (platforms built at the water’s edge for cleaning and salting cod).
In the spring, monolithic icebergs drift by, and in the summer, whales feed along the coastline. The island is also criss-crossed by over 125 miles (200 km) of scenic hiking trails – you can stop in at local art studios on the way. There’s also a diverse foodie scene, but don’t miss the fish-and-chips, a Newfoundland specialty.
And wherever you go on Fogo Island, you’ll meet the friendliest people who delight in sharing a beverage (or two!) and a story.
The 29-suite Fogo Island Inn is a deluxe Nordic-style hotel, built on stilts at the edge of the Atlantic – its dramatic architecture matches the dramatic views.
Craving European flair without leaving Canada? Then look no further than Old Quebec City!
Old Quebec City is the birthplace of French Canada, one of the oldest cities in North America – and the only walled city north of Mexico. This, plus its 400 year-old-history, landed the city a UNESCO World Heritage Site title in 1985.
Historical Old Quebec City is full of charm – from the cobblestone streets and sidewalk cafes down to the enchanting alleyways where you might find a local painter marking up a canvas when inspiration strikes.
Spend your time strolling along the quaint streets of Quartier Petit Champlain and Vieux-Port. Wander into antique shops and art galleries. And check out local souvenirs to take home – perhaps maple syrup for lucky friends and family?
In the heart of Old Quebec City, the world-famous Château Frontenac is said to be the world's most photographed hotel! Once you see the castle-like hotel, with its fairy-tale turrets and towers, overlooking the St. Lawrence River, you’ll understand why. You can pop inside and look around too (guided tours are also offered).
Who would have thought Canada has a “surfing capital”? Well, that’s Tofino.
Tofino is a seaside boho-chic town on the western coast of Vancouver Island, where locals and visitors alike are surf crazy.
Hiking rainforest trails to mystical beaches in nearby Pacific Rim National Park is also popular.
Then there’s Long Beach, an eerily beautiful 10-mile (16-km) stretch of sandy beach, where the mist rolls in, shrouding everything in silver-grey gauze.
Once favored just as a summer destination, Tofino now also lures visitors from all over the world for winter storm watching. The waves are wicked to watch! Some oceanfront lodges pipe in the sounds of the storms.
When the winter weather is wild, there's no cozier place to be than Tofino.
If this is your first trip to Canada – and you crave the outdoors – visiting Banff is no doubt on your Canada bucket list, right?
Located in the Rocky Mountains, Banff National Park is an OMG amazing place, especially for hikers. It boasts some of the most beautiful hikes and scenery in the world, with hiking routes that explore glaciers, alpine forests, glacial lakes (hello Lake Louise!) and jaw dropping mountains.
All in all, the park encompasses a massive 2,564 square miles (6,641 sq. km.), offering over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of well maintained trails that can be enjoyed by all skill levels, from novices to advanced hikers.
So you can't wait to go? Know that the best time of year to hike in Banff is June to August.
One of the most popular hikes, the Johnstone Canyon trail near the town of Banff, winds along the edge of a dramatic canyon – sculpted by a rushing river – to two thundering waterfalls. In some places, you tread along a steel catwalk built along the canyon’s side.
Another great hike is the 2.2-mile (3.6-km) switch-back path from Lake Louise to the Lake Agnes Tea House. With no running water or electricity, the tea house bakes delicious cakes fresh onsite, with supplies flown in by helicopter or packed up the trail by staff.
With so many beautiful places in Canada, it's easy to overlook Grasslands National Park. But if you like rolling prairies, clear blue skies, bison and solitude, then this starkly scenic park is for you.
The park is divided into two sections: the West Block and the East Block. The West Block can be accessed via Val Marie While and the East Block via Killdeer.
A highlight of the West Block is visiting the Bison Facility, where you can learn about the 300+ wild bison that roam freely within the park.
In the East Block, drive along the 7-mile (11-km) stretch of Badlands Parkway, with numerous outstanding viewpoints, and soak in the endless prairie and unique Mars-like badlands scenery.
The park is the darkest “dark sky preserve” in Canada – and one of the best things to do in Grasslands National Park is stargazing. With very little light pollution, you can admire the Milky Way and star constellations in all their glory.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Canada, the CN Tower in Toronto is sometimes referred to as “The Needle.”
Dominating Toronto’s skyline, the slender tree-shaped structure is – at 1,815.29 feet (553.3 meters) – far higher than any other building in the city.
In fact, the CN Tower held the record for theworld’s tallest free-standing structure for 32 years, from the time it was built in 1976 until it was eclipsed by the Burj Khalifa (2,720 feet/830 meters) in the UAE. (The Tower is the highest structure in Canada.)
The main attraction is the view, of course. The LookOut and SkyPod (1,465 feet/446 meters) both offer astounding 360-degree views of Toronto and Lake Ontario.
And then there’s the EdgeWalk – one of the most thrilling Canadian bucket list experiences. Strapped into a harness 116 storeys high above the ground, you walk around an outdoor platform, leaning back over the city. It’s the highest outdoor walk in the world.
Or, for a more comfortable option, you can enjoy fine dining in the revolving restaurant.
From the SkyPod, you can see up to 100 miles (160 km) on a clear day – all the way to Niagara Falls (see #20).
You’re forgiven if you think you’ve stepped back in time to Olde England.
With its century-old Parliament Buildings, horse-and-carriage rides and tea parlors serving proper pinkies-up afternoon tea, Victoria exudes a decidedly British vibe.
But the shops on Government Street selling wild smoked salmon gifts and wool sweaters hand-knitted by Cowichan First Nation artisans remind you that you’re in Canada – in British Columbia’s capital.
There are many scenic walks in Victoria. A crowd-pleaser is the path winding along Victoria’s Inner Harbor, one of the world’s most beautiful waterfronts. You can walk for miles along its pedestrian seaside promenade – and take cute little water taxis (called “pickle boats”) to different brewpubs.
Dinosaur lovers should definitely visit Drumheller, a town in the heart of the Alberta Badlands (about a 90-minute drive from Calgary) – and one of the most unique places to visit in Canada.
The area surrounding Drumheller is where some of the world’s most extraordinary paleological discoveries have been found over the last century.
You can see most of them in the renowned Royal Tyrell Museum. Dedicate at least a day to visiting this museum – the exhibits are engrossing. You’ll find sections recreating life in the region in prehistoric times, beautiful fossil galleries and the Dinosaur Hall, which showcases the most impressive skeletons.
After visiting the museum, explore the Badlands. The easiest way to do so is driving the Dinosaur Trail, a 30-mile (48-km) scenic drive taking in hoodoos, canyons and other remarkable geological features.
The almost complete, free-standing skeleton of a formidable T-Rex dinosaur in the museum’s Dinosaur Hall takes you back in time to the ancient world of dinosaurs. “Black Beauty” – a rare blackened skull of a Tyrannosaurusrex over 4 feet (1.3 meters) long – is another eye-popping exhibit.
Grizzly bear viewing? Killer whale watching? Telegraph Cove is one of the best bucket list places to visit in Canada for adventure hounds.
A former fishing and cannery village, Telegraph Cove is one of the last remaining boardwalk settlements left on Vancouver Island. Its colorful wooden buildings have been turned into a quaint eco-tourism resort with cabins, restaurant, various lodge accommodations and eco-tour offices.
Telegraph Cove is the gateway to Johnstone Strait – home to a large resident pod of killer whales (orcas) and a world-famous site for sea kayaking with these majestic mammals.
Day tours are also offered from Telegraph Cove to view wild grizzly bears at Knight Inlet, Canada’s premier grizzly bear viewing destination.
A uniquely Canadian bucket list attraction, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump (don’t you love the name?) is a UNESCO Site and one of the best-preserved buffalo jumps in the world.
It’s the place where the most suspenseful event for the Blackfoot people occurred each year. They’d carefully herd the buffalo without alerting them. The wind had to be perfect, or the buffalo would sense something was amiss and flee in the wrong direction, wrecking the plan.
Once the Blackfoot hunters succeeded in rounding up the buffalo, they’d start chasing them towards a steep cliff – the buffalo jump. By the time the buffalo saw the cliff, the buffalo would be pushed over the precipice from behind by the stampeding herd, falling to their deaths.
This hunt may sound shocking to us today, but buffalo meat was an essential food source for the Blackfoot. A triumphant hunt meant they’d survive the long harsh Alberta winters. A failed one meant that some tribal members would die from starvation.
Being able to visit the actual place where this momentous event occurred annually for 5,500 years – and learning about everything needed for a successful buffalo hunt – is humbling and reminds us how hard life was just a short while ago.
Like Victoria (see #12), Vancouver is on most everyone’s bucket list of places to visit in Canada. A big reason? Stanley Park.
One of the world’s largest urban parks (bigger than Central Park in New York City), Stanley Park comprises 1,000 acres of natural forest, laced with hiking trails, flower gardens and a small lake (Lost Lagoon) with fountains and ducks.
Oh, and let’s not forget its beaches! Second Beach and Third Beach are great for swimming and lazing about in the sun in summer.
You get gob-smacking views when you bicycle around Stanley Park on its oceanfront Seawall. Continue beyond Stanley Park and you can pedal for 13 miles (22 km) one way on an extension of this bicycle-friendly waterfront path, all the way to Kits Beach.
One of the prettiest lakes in Canada is Emerald Lake – and it should be on everyone’s Canada bucket list. The lake gets its name and radiant green color from light reflecting off white deposits of marl, which is a mixture of clay and calcium carbonate.
Nestled within Yoho National Park, in the Canadian Rockies’ mountain range, Emerald Lake is accessible year-round. It’s great to stroll around or go for a canoe tour during the summer months. In winter, enjoy the snowy weather with a stay at the lovely Emerald Lake Lodge.
It’s easy to visit Yoho National Park on a day trip from Banff or Lake Louise – it takes about 40 minutes to an hour to reach Yoho.
The rich color of Emerald Lake, along with the lodge, make it a poster child for all the Insta-worthy sights the Canadian Rockies are known for!
If you seek unspoiled wilderness, get thee to Wells Gray Provincial Park. It’s so raw and wild that the 1.3 million-acre park almost has a Jurassic Park feel (but the cedar, Douglas Fir and hemlock trees are distinctly Canadian).
The park’s unique volcanic plateaus and deep canyons are the result of ancient volcanic eruptions followed by glacial cooling. Naturally, the rugged landscape includes some incredible hiking trails.
It’s common to spot mule deer, and in September, jumping Chinook salmon. And you may see black bears (so be bear-safe).
Known as Canada’s waterfall park, Wells Gray is home to 41 named waterfalls.
Hurtling down 463 feet (141 meters), Helmcken Falls is the most famous. And at Moul Falls, you can walk through to the cave wall behind the falls and feel the power of nature (and the refreshing spray!) from a totally different perspective.
Added bonus: Many of the waterfalls, including Helmcken, can be reached via a short walk or hike.
Yee-haw! Put on a cowboy hat and some boots and celebrate the Old West at the rowdy Calgary Stampede.
Known as the “greatest outdoor show on earth,” the event has one of the largest rodeo tournaments in the world. You’ll see cowboys and cowgirls barrel racing, bull riding and trying their best to stay on bucking broncos.
There are also many other fun things to do at the Calgary Stampede, besides watching the rodeo. Spend some time on the fairgrounds and enjoy the carnival rides, eat delicious hot dogs from food trucks, see if you have what it takes on the mechanical bull, listen to live country music and party into the night.
The Stampede has made Calgary one of the most famous places in Canada. And for good reason!
Being part of an authentic western tradition over 100 years old – and seeing the best cowboys and cowgirls from all over the world compete – is a truly Canadian bucket list experience you won’t forget.
Niagara Falls is usually on everyone’s Canada bucket list. Over 3,000 tons of water flows over Niagara Falls every second, so it’s no surprise that this epic natural wonder is a sight worth seeing up close!
Arguably the best place to see Niagara Falls is from the Canadian side, in the town of – you guessed it – Niagara Falls. You don’t even need to leave your car as the falls can be seen from the main road on the way to the parking lots, just past the visitor center.
But to really experience the majesty of this landmark, take the tour behind the falls. An elevator whisks you down 125 feet (38 meters) through underground rock to tunnels which lead you to observation decks behind the crashing falls. You won’t believe the roar of the water thundering down at 40 mph (65 km/h)!
If you think seeing the falls during the day is impressive, try seeing them illuminated in a multitude of colors every night. The fireworks display on weekend nights during the summer is also sensational.
Lethbridge, the third largest city in Alberta, is home to one of the most beautiful Japanese gardens in Canada. Hugging the shore of Henderson Lake, Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden was created in 1967, Canada’s centennial, to celebrate the contributions of the Japanese to the area. Its name means “Japan-Canada Friendship.”
The serene, gorgeously manicured garden is replete with symbolism, bringing together stone lanterns, wooden bridges, pink blossoming trees and other Japanese elements in a Canadian landscape.
Take a peaceful stroll through the garden. Meditate beside trickling streams. And sign up for a variety of cultural activities, including doing yoga in the garden or participating in the Ochakai (Tea) Ceremony.
Taking part in the traditional time-honored tea ceremony is a lovely way to experience the tranquility of this Japanese garden.
If you consider yourself an off-the-beaten path traveler, then Nunavut is the Canadian bucket list destination for you.
This arctic wonderland is one of the least visited regions in Canada, but you’ll discover some of the most incredible experiences here.
Wildlife viewing opportunities are unmatched – you can see polar bears, narwhals, beluga whales and caribou. Snowmobile across the arctic tundra, sea kayak among massive icebergs and watch the northern lights light up the sky. This is an outdoor lover’s paradise!
Getting to Nunavut is actually pretty simple; you can fly directly into the capital of Iqaluit from Ottawa or Montreal. Once you arrive, you may never want to leave, but you should stay five days at the very least.
The raw arctic landscape and unique culture of the Inuit people who live in Nunavut truly transport you to another world!
(Along with the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, Nunavut is one of three territories in Canada.)
Part of a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, Bruce Peninsula National Park is frequently referred to as the most beautiful place in Ontario.
The park boasts tall limestone cliffs, with stupendous views at the cliff edges of the clear waters of Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. It’s a nature lover’s dream destination, with many hiking trails passing caves, rock formations and lookout points. As well as hiking, you can also kayak, canoe, scuba dive and much more!
The park is the most popular place to camp within Ontario, with campsites selling out months in advance. So reserve early if you’re interested in camping within the park.
The park is home to the famous Grotto, a natural limestone cave with crystal-clear water for swimming.
Do you go gaga over gardens? Then put Butchart Gardens on your bucket list of must-see places in Canada.
One of the most beautiful gardens in the world, Butchart welcomes over one million visitors a year. A full-time staff of 50 gardeners makes sure everything looks immaculate.
Smell the roses, delight in the dancing fountain, get lost in the tall hedge maze and find your Zen in the tranquil Japanese maple garden.
In July and August, a blockbuster fireworks show, choreographed to music, is held on Saturday nights. Go early to get in, because the show – choreographed by Christopher Ross (great-grandson of the garden’s founder, Jennie Butchart) – is very popular.
Hikers! Put Joffre Lakes on your Canada bucket list of epic places to hike! An easy day trip from Whistler (see #30), Joffre Lakes is a trio of take-your-breath-away turquoise lakes, nestled in the mountains.
The total hike is a little more than 6 miles (10 km) roundtrip, with an easy-to-moderate elevation gain of 1,300 feet (400 meters). But you won’t be thinking about how long it takes to get there, because you’ll be too focused on enjoying the forest scenery.
Each of the three lakes is more beautiful than the one before! So there’s a real incentive to keep on hiking to the third lake (Upper Lake).
For a dreamy bucket list destination in Canada plucked right from a story book, head to Prince Edward Island.
Known for its connection to “Anne of Green Gables,” the island is more than just the home of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s lovable character, however. The island is also a place of lighthouses, national parks, perfect potatoes (the iron-rich soil ensures the growth of high quality potatoes), charming fishing villages and fresh lobster galore.
The best way to spend time on Prince Edward Island is by simply relaxing. Bicycle the mostly flat 270-mile (435-km) Confederation Trail. Go clam digging. Walk the floating boardwalk over marshland in Greenwich. And sample seafood in Charlottetown and Summerside.
There are 63 lighthouses on PEI. And each one has a story to tell.
The Cape Bear Lighthouse had a wireless station which received the first distress call from the sinking Titanic. And you can sleep in the lighthouse keeper’s quarters at the West Point Lighthouse, which has been turned into a 4-star inn with 13 rooms.
Along with Stanley Park (#16), Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is one of the coolest outdoor parks in Vancouver!
The first suspension bridge in the park was built of ropes and cedar planks in 1889. Rebuilt in 1956, it’s suspended 230 feet (70 meters) above Capilano River. Several other bridges, treehouses and overlooks have been added to the collection since then.
You can easily spend a whole day here – crossing the swinging bridges, wandering among the Douglas fir and red cedar trees, learning about forest sustainability and bridge engineering, taking nature photos and soaking in the gorgeous landscape of the coastal climate of British Columbia.
The heart-stopping Cliffwalk is a series of narrow cantilevered walkways, jutting out from the canyon wall, 300 feet (91 meters) high above the river and forest floor. The experience of walking along it is terrifying and exhilarating – especially when looking down through the glass floor viewpoint.
Haida Gwaii, an archipelago off the northern BC coast, is the home of the Haida people and home to Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve.
“Haida Gwaii” means “Islands of Beauty” and they were well-named. Ringed with rocky shorelines, the mystical southern islands are often shrouded in mist. In the surrounding waters, giant kelp floats on the surface and sea lions poke their heads above the water.
You can take a multi-day sea kayaking trip, shorter boat trip or seaplane down to the national park to explore these tiny remote wooded islands in the south. Keep your eyes peeled for whales, orcas, bald eagles and black bears!
The national historic site of SG̱ang Gwaay Llanagaay (Ninstints in English) is a former Haida village that’s home to the largest collection of totem poles in their natural setting in the world.
The poles, many truly works of art, are slowly decaying and returning to nature, in accordance with Haida beliefs. Seeing them in the early morning fog, as they gaze steadily out to sea, guarded by golden spruce and reflected in the still waters, is something you’ll never forget.
Possibly the best day hike in the Canadian Rockies, the epic Smutwood Peak trail in the Kananaskis area is long (12.5 miles or 20 km), strenuous (3,100-ft or 950-m elevation gain) and not suitable for those who don’t like heights or narrow breezy ridges.
But if you stick with it, you’re rewarded with phenomenal views and that amazing top-of-the-world feeling at the end that never gets old.
Along the way you, you hike through photogenic forest, with mountains rising up around you. Once you reach the Birdwood Lakes, the scenery becomes truly stunning, getting better as you climb the final hour to the peak.
The trailhead is about an hour south of the Alberta hiking mecca of Canmore.
Apart from the unbeatable view, you’ll probably only see a handful of other hikers, even on a weekend.
If you love schussing down the slopes, then Whistler will be one of your favorite bucket list places in Canada to visit in winter.
Together, the two mountains of Whistler and Blackcomb are renowned for their awesome skiing and snowboarding. They offer 200+ marked runs, 16 alpine bowls, three glaciers and 8,171 acres of snowy terrain.
We actually prefer Whistler in summer though. We love bicycling the 25 miles (40 km) of flat paved bike paths, through the forest, connecting five lovely lakes.
And if you golf, you’ll be in golf heaven teeing off on Whistler’s four award-winning courses designed by Jack Nicklaus, Robert Trent Jones Jr., Arnold Palmer and Robert Cupp.
Whistler’s Peak 2 Peak gondola is the world’s highest lift – 1,427 feet (436 meters) above the valley floor. It runs from Whistler Mountain to Blackcomb Mountain – and is the world’s longest unsupported lift span.
Take the ride of your life and get in one of the gondola cars with a glass floor, then glide in the air almost 2 miles (3+ km). Warning: Not for those afraid of heights.
Niagara-on-the-Lake is a charming Victorian town, only 20 minutes from Niagara Falls (#20), filled with tree-lined streets and lush boulevard gardens. It’s one of Canada’s best-kept secrets and a definite “bucket list Canada” place to visit.
Some of its attractions include boutique shopping, art galleries, a world-class theater, scenic views, 5-star restaurants and gorgeous AirBnbs. Perfect for both girls’ getaways and romantic escapes, Niagara-on-the-Lake can be visited year-round.
Niagara-on-the-Lake is in the heart of Ontario’s wine country. It’s surrounded by over 25 wineries within a few minutes’ drive, dotted along the Niagara Escarpment, and draws visitors from all over to experience its food and wine.
If ever there was a Canadian hike to return to each season, it’s the trail to Chester Lake in Kananaskis Country.
The hike starts out on a wide trail, where you’ll get all the elevation over within the first 2.2 miles (3.5 km). From there, the forest opens up for some stunning mountain views.
In summer, take your time through the alpine meadow, where you’ll be treated to a show of wild flowers against a backdrop of craggy mountains. The fall rewards hikers with a smattering of Larch trees, whose leaves turn a brilliant gold color in September.
Even in winter, Chester Lake is frequented by snowshoers and hikers traversing through a winter wonderland of snow-capped mountains and snow-covered firs, cedars and other evergreen trees.
The final reward is, of course, Chester Lake. Flanked by mountain scenery on all sides, it’s worth every step.
Chester Lake and the surrounding mountains deliver more than enough “wow.” But walking along the left side of the lake takes you to the Elephant Rocks. These impressive boulders are well worth the side trip!
The last in our Canada travel bucket list of top places to visit is Parksville.
Parksville is a charming resort destination on the east coast of Vancouver Island. Its long sandy beaches – with warm shallow swimming – are the star attraction. But you can also see goats grazing on a grass roof building in nearby Coombs, golf, explore the crystalline Horne Lake Caves and soak in a grotto spa.
Families, in particular, love summer vacations in Parksville and nearby Qualicum Beach.
At low tide, the water rolls back at Rathtrevor Beach almost a mile (1.6 km), exposing a vast sun-baked expanse of sand. You can go beach-combing and see zillions of tiny crabs, giant snails, sand dollars and other marine critters in the tidal pools.
And then when the tide rolls in, the swimming is some of the warmest in Canada.
Province: British Columbia
That’s our great Canadian bucket list of best places to visit!
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 Canada bucket list?
If so, we’d love to know! Share your thoughts in the Comments below.
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Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George are the owners and founders of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents.