• Updated on 21 January 2022 • Chelsea from Kraywoods
Canada is easily considered one of the top travel destinations on Earth with its diverse natural wonders and amazing outdoor spots. If you are an adventure and travel lover, you must know that Canada is a fantastic place for road trips, hikes and adventures. There is a specific reason why this country is the second-largest and has the world’s most extensive coastline.
With the beautiful, vast and mostly unpopulated lands in Canada, there are many incredible natural paths and roads which you can take to explore around. Isn’t that what road trips across Canada all about? If you love traveling and exploring new sites, you will find many things to do in Canada. Let’s take a look at some of the top nature destinations to visit in the Great White North:
- Niagara Falls
- Cabot Trail
- Banff National Park
- Icefields Parkway
- Sea to Sky Highway
- Pacific Rim National Park
- Gaspé Peninsula
- Okanagan Valley
- Cathedral Grove
- Chatham-Kent Corridor
- Bay of Fundy
- Vancouver Island
- Algonquin Provincial Park
- Trans-Canada Highway
- Gros Morne National Park
- Prince Edward Island
- Muskwa-Kechika Management Area
- The Viking Trail
What Are The Top Nature Destinations in Canada?
The beauty of Canada from east to west is amazing and wonderfully scenic. Although the world is slowly going back to normal, there are however still some flight travels being restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Don’t worry, there is always a good time for some of the best road trips in Canada.
If you already live in Canada, you know that the country is worth exploring and full of fantastic nature destinations that attract millions of tourists and adventurers from all around the world. If you're coming from outside the country, then you want to make sure to get an international driver's license for Canada so that you can drive from coast to coast and visit every destination on your way. Now let’s check out some of the top nature travel destinations you must visit in Canada!
1. Niagara Falls
Among all the falls in the world, Ontario's Niagara Falls is known to be one of the most iconic waterfalls. This waterfall is a combination of 3 separate waterfalls along with the Canadian-American border - The Horseshoe Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls, and the American Falls. The spread-out width of Niagara Falls drops 20% of all the world’s freshwaters, 57 meters high, to an enormous splash into the massive lake.
Niagara Falls is not the largest in the world, and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls is remarkably the most powerful waterfall in North America. If you are viewing the falls from the close range on a tour boat, with an aerial view from a helicopter or a Cliffside view at Fallsview Casino, you can still enjoy and witness the divine beauty of this fantastic waterfall.
The scheduled daytime boat tours will offer you an astonishing sight of the falls and expects you to get wet. It is particularly captivating at night when floodlights illuminate the free-falling waters into a colourful variety of hazes and splashes. If you are a more curious traveler, you can travel to Niagara Falls north to explore the 99-acre botanical garden in Niagara parkway. Restaurants, shops, casinos are available in that area as well. And also, you might not want to miss the fantastic panoramic view of Niagara Falls from the revolving decks of Skylon Tower. This should be part of your 10 best places to visit in Canada.
2. Cabot Trail
No doubt, in Canada, Cabot Trail is one of the greatest road trips ever. Here you can find many things to like about the 300-kilometer highway on Cape Breton Island. First of all, it hugs the shoreline; hence, you can expect spectacular sea views. Then you can find some unbelievable hikes on the island, as well as the skyline trail. And finally, the Cabot Trail is well-known for the artisans.
Road trips to Canada, specifically Tourism in Nova Scotia, gives special attention to the Artisan Road Trip journey. With the blend of Celtic and Acadian friendliness and hospitality, this road trip destination is incredible. Here in the summertime, you will find good weather. So, you can have an expedition over there at this time of the year. But in October you can see the fall foliage.
3. Banff National Park
Banff National Park was established back in 1885 in Alberta, and it is the oldest national park in Canada, and if you travel there, you can experience Canada’s most beautiful scenery. It truly is one of the famous places in Canada. Throughout the year, you can enjoy the ethereal-like beauty of this place. Tourists and travelers can enjoy the spectacular view of Banff in many ways.
The Banff Gondola is famous among travelers. On the one hand, It offers a soothing 8-minute ride to the summit of Sulphur Mountain. Travelers can enjoy the beautiful views of the Bow River Valley and Banff going up the 7,500-foot mountain. On the other hand, more adventurous travelers might prefer hiking one of Alberta’s fabulous 80 trails like ‘The Great Divider.’ This is basically for more experienced trekkers. Or a more moderate 3.6-mile hike up the East End of Rundle (EEOR) Trail, which is equally as beautiful.
You can enjoy some outdoor activities over there as well. Like – in the summer season, you can enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, and drenched up in the hot springs in that area. In wintertime from December to March, Banff National Park transmutes into a winter sports fairyland for the travelers and tourists.
4. Icefields Parkway
Most people sometimes describe this place as the world's most picturesque highways. The Icefields Parkway stretches for 232 kilometers over the Canadian Rockies, linking Jasper and Banff's towns. You can frequently enjoy the 100 ancient glaciers, waterfalls flowing from dramatic rock spires, and turquoise lakes set in far-reaching valleys. It is recommended to stop at Crowfoot Glacier, Lake Louise, Bow, and Peyto Lakes, and Sunwapta and Athabasca Falls, and Columbia Icefield. The perfect time to go over there is from June to September.
This snowy place is widely known as the polar bear capital of the world in Manitoba. If you love the cold area and want to see some polar bears, then you can visit Wapusk (Cree for ‘white bear’) National Park in the late February to experience and see some 3-month old Polar Bear cubs discover the Freezing tundra lands for the first time with their mothers. Or you can travel there in late October or early November to observe the migration of thousands of polar bears roaming around that area.
You can also lay your eyes on the mighty polar bears from the safety of tundra vehicles that will bring you through the snowy tundra terrains. You can also enjoy the great sights to kayak & snorkel with the migrating Beluga Whales. This is definitely one of the best places to visit in Canada for couples. You'll have a date with polar bears!
6. Sea to Sky Highway
The Sea to Sky Highway links Vancouver to Whistler. The distance is less than two hours apart. Nevertheless, it offers stunning West Coast views that portray this region in British Columbia. If you plan to go and have a trip over there, you must know the popular places worth a stop. They are - Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver, Britannia Mine Museum (Great place for the kids), and Shannon Falls (third largest waterfall of BC).
Sea to Sky Gondola is unquestionably a must-visit also, with the beautiful views and suspension bridge. Then you can move towards Squamish before reaching Whistler. July to September is the best time to visit there as this time is the dry season of Vancouver.
7. Pacific Rim National Park
Pacific Rim National Park is another great touristic attraction located in British Columbia, Canada. The famous long beach of this place enthralls travelers and backpackers with surreal views of the unspoiled embryonic coastline of Long Beach, supplemented by a backdrop of lush emerald rainforest and high peaks of foggy mountains.
If you love roaming around the beach, then you can find your little heavens trailing along the 10-mile stretch of beach to the most southern end Wickaninnish beach. During the winter season, serious surfers also come to challenge the wave up to 26 feet high.
But to enjoy it to the fullest, it is advisable to visit Pacific Rim between June and September. In that time part activities would be at the peak. It will be convenient if you have a car while visiting there since the park’s fascinations are far apart. There are plenty to endeavors in Pacific Rim National Park for the tourists, whether you like wandering by the beachside or follow along on one of its forest trails.
8. Gaspé Peninsula
This long journey road trips will take around nine hours along with the St. Lawrence River, from Montreal to Quebec City, and ahead to the Gaspé Peninsula. You won't find any other places like 'La Gaspésie,' a headland of pine forests and looming cliffs that stabs into the chilly Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The famous pierced rock in Percé, Parc de la Gaspésie, and boat tours to Bonaventure Island are some of the highlights of the Peninsula. During the road trip, you can enjoy the perfect combination of rural and urban adventure. From June to mid of September is the best time to go over there.
Whistler, in British Columbia, is Canada’s world-famous ski village. Upheld at the feet of Mount Whistler and Mount Blackcomb, this international winter sports zone is the largest in North America and co-hosted the Winter Olympics 2010 in Vancouver.
These vast mountains have some of the best skiing and boarding slopes on the earth, and you should not miss all winter sports over here! This village provides a wide range of accommodations from the mid-range lodge to high-range luxurious resorts. There are many restaurants, shops, and galleries in this area for tourists to enjoy.
10. Okanagan Valley
The Okanagan Valley road trip might not be a usual one, like – moving from point A to B. Still, the Okanagan Valley is a culinary hot spot. The place is circled clockwise from Vernon to Penticton and then toward the Kelowna. This zone is well known for the award-winning wineries and farm-to-table restaurants.
Kelowna's best restaurant is RauDZ Regional Table, whereas Davison Orchards is an excellent place for passing times with families. Summerhill Pyramid Winery and Mission Hill Winery are Favorite wineries over there. From July to September, we do recommend you enjoy the best place to visit in Canada for first time as you'll get to soak in the vibes of warm temperatures.
11. Cathedral Grove
MacMillan Provincial Park is located in the North of Victoria British Columbia, and it is also known as Cathedral Grove to the locals. It has one of Canada’s largest areas of Giant Douglas Fir and Red Cedar trees. The ancient tree of this park is more than 800 years old, and the tower is well above 70 meters, which seems like pillars holding up to the sky. The funny fact is the largest Douglas Fir is an astounding 76 meters tall in comparison to the Leaning Tower of Pisa which is only about 56 meters tall.
No wonder that travelers all around the world flock to walk through 136 hectares of old forests. But what is the best thing about the park? This park is free for all. It always feels good when you enjoy the beauty of Mother Earth without spending any money from your pocket.
In this park, the walking path is well maintained, and also instructional and public toilets are available over there. Walking through this path will provide you with a magical experience ever, where you would sometimes see massive uprooted trees on some parts of the trail. In other words, it's the one of the best places to visit in Canada for nature lovers.
12. Chatham-Kent Corridor
As per Readers Digest, "though not a household name, this historic and scenic region comprising 23 small communities supervising Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, and the Thames River—is gunning hard to become a top motorcycle-touring destination."
The ideal road trip starts from Toronto "Cruise the Coast" and then follows the Lake Erie to Amherstburg near the US border. There is a popular stop along the way, which is – Niagara Falls, and probably this is the best part of this road trip. Undeniably summer is the best time to travel over there.
13. Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick
The Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick is a fantastic touristic destination. The unique shape of this place allows getting the highest tides in the world. It is like the same height as a five-storied building.
The scientists are also very much fascinated by this place due to the prehistoric revelations these shores have. Like - fossils of dinosaurs and evidence of the evolution of life, and semi-precious gems and natural resources are found there. If you love marine mammals, you can find some of the rarest whales and dolphins which can be spotted off these shorelines.
Another thing that makes the Bay of Fundy so exclusive is the 40-70 feet tall Hopewell Rocks formation. This is also known as the Flowerpot Rocks. The magnificent rock formation and arches are sculpted naturally by the tidal erosion. Parts of these formations would be inundated under 40 feet of water when there is high tide when about 100 billion tons of water would be deflated out from the bay.
The Bay of Fundy is also famous for marine wildlife. This place is a home for over eight species of whales. This is a fantastic place for whale watchers around the world because the whale population can surpass over 300 at any one time. Apart from that, whales, the ever-charming dolphins, might also be seen swimming in the sea.
14. Vancouver Island
No doubt that Vancouver Island is one of the most beautiful islands in Canada. The landscape of this island includes - mountains, rainforest and rugged coastlines. Victoria and Tofino are the two most popular places to visit over there, and they are quite a distance apart. On the way to this road trip, you can stop at Cowichan Valley. This place is known for orchards and wineries, and then at Cathedral Grove for the forestry photo op.
In Tofino, you can enjoy the world-famous surfing at Chesterman Beach and the sunsets from Long Beach. Vancouver Island is also known for its unique hotels, which will supplement any road trip. The best times to travel there are from March to May and September to November.
15. Algonquin Provincial Park
Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario should be your next travel destination if you are looking for some real family fun. Algonquin’s massive land is made from rocky ridges, high maple hills, and thousands of mirroring lakes. Although it is charming to travel all year round, fall is mainly a great time to visit this place, since visitors from all around the world come to see the park’s forest change its colours from sparkling shades of green to fiery hues of orange, red, and gold. This kind of scene you can only see in the movies. But it is real here.
During the spring, travelers can also experience a birding haven for all bird lovers because spring arrives, and migrants will have a lot to see throughout the park. There are eight campgrounds available in this park, and campers would be delighted to hear that there are 14 through its forests and canoe rentals to discover deeply in its woods.
While the park landscape itself would wonder all visitors similarly, many outdoor activities and educational programs are held here by the initiatives of park officials. Outdoor activities like hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, and rafting are available in this park. Travelers and backpackers should also visit Algonquin’s Visitor Centre because it has a beautiful view of the forest from the viewing deck.
16. Trans-Canada Highway
In Canada, driving along the Trans-Canada Highway is one of the most epic road trips you can experience. This highway stretches through all ten provinces across the country. This road trip starts at Victoria and ends in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Lake Louise and Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies, Quebec City, Fundy National Park, the Alberta Badlands, the capital in Ottawa, and Gros Morne National Park are some of the famous tourist attractions you will be passing by on this trip.
March to October is the perfect time to take a trip all along the Trans-Canada Highway and discover all of the country's beautiful scenery on the road!
17. Gros Morne National Park
Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland is our next pick for the travel lovers. This place is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its complex geology. This is the second-largest national park in Eastern Canada, and the area covers 1, 1805 sq. Km. of Western Newfoundland. This massive park contains 2,000 feet tall cliffs, some of the highest waterfalls in Canada, draft forests, sand beaches, and rock pools.
The Tablelands is an exclusive rock massif in the park shaped by colliding landmasses and grinding glaciers. This is where geologists could prove the theory of tectonic plates as the mountain of flat-topped rock is only typically found deep in the earth’s layer.
This park is not only beautiful for the landscape, but also there is a significant history. There are a total of five campgrounds available in this park, and in these campgrounds, the campers can enjoy themselves in summer times camping at Shallow Bay, Berry Hill, Lomond, Trout River Pond, or Green point Campground.
As a traveler, you should know that you have to pay a daily entrance fee at the park. And there are also some additional fees, like – for camping, backcountry hiking, etc. its better if you have a car for yourself to reach over there conveniently. If you don’t mind walking through the hills or biking, these would be your other alternatives.
If you have a kayak or canoe, then Trout River Pond and Bonne Bay are perfect places for such type of activities. Launch areas are placed at Trout River Pond, Lomond day-use areas, and Mill Brook. But if you don’t, then don’t need to worry, you can always find guided sea kayak expeditions with several tourism operators available in the area.
18. Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island separates the province into three distinct and beautiful drives - Central Coastal Drive, North Coast Coastal Drive, and Points East Coastal Drive.
The North Coast area is comprised of its Mi'kmaq culture and exclusive stops, plus a museum and a college for the Plateau arts. The Central Coastal Drive contains two distinct regions: the Green Gables Shore and the Red Sands Shore region. We can characterize Points East Coastal Drive by its trails, parks, and lighthouses. Therefore, summer is the best time to enjoy road trips there.
19. Muskwa-Kechika Management Area
Muskwa-Kechika Management Area in British Columbia is another fantastic place for nature lovers and travelers. It is a significant area globally where world-class integrated resource management decision-making has been practiced to ensure that resource development and other human activities take place following wildlife, wilderness quality, and vibrant ecosystems on which they depend.
To be more precise, they want to keep this place unspoiled and beautiful. Expansive forests, rivers, waterfalls, lakes, hot springs, sub-alpine, spectacular geological formations, alpine areas and major wetlands area the significant attractions of this area.
20. The Viking Trail
Road trip to the Viking Trail is like a time machine that will take you to the early stages of our universe. This place consists of a thousand-year-old Viking settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site and the ancient native burial grounds. You can stop at the top in the Gros Morne National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Site, and then head to Woody Point, a charming fishing village, and Rocky Harbour.
L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site is undoubtedly a must-visit attraction along with the Viking Trail. You must go for a road trip there from June until the first week of October because this is the only time when L'Anse aux Meadows is open.
Canada sets an example with its highly protected and neatly preserved beautiful natural landscapes, with the world's ever-growing 7.6 billion population and its expanding cities and metropolitans. A cross county road trip across Canada this summer will truly allow you to enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature and admire the vast diversity of this country's exceptional landscapes. With these top destinations in mind, plan your trip, pack your belongings and hit the road!