If you’re thinking about exploring Canada, you’ll want to keep reading…
From coast to coast, there’s a ton of ways to discover the amazing things this country has to offer. Between the outdoor activities, small local adventures and those worth-it tourist attractions in Canada there’s more to the country than you might think. Wondering what those things may be? Well, here’s 30 of the coolest things to do in Canada (even if you’re Canadian).
1) Explore Banff National Park
With the Canadian Rockies as your backdrop, it’s no wonder why international travellers and locals from across the country flock to the world-class Banff National Park every year (no matter what the season). It’s not all about the winter season here because There are tons outdoor activities to do in Banff during the summer! From hiking the mountains and kayaking in Lake Louise, this spot is truly one of a kind. Take it from the locals, the turquoise blue waters in Banff National Park are quite amazing! In the winter, this spot turns into a winter sports destination with over 3 ski resorts and fresh snow, Banff is the ideal Canadian winter destination with fresh powder. If you’re not about skiing or snowboarding, you can always head to the spa for a nice, relaxing day.
2) Experience the CN Tower
Looking to see the Toronto skyline in a different way? Well, the CN tower is the Toronto attraction you need! Head downtown Toronto to take the famous glass-floor elevator up to the viewing deck. There, you can take in the view and even enjoy a meal in the rotating 360 Restaurant for some of the best views of the city. If you’re more of an adrenaline junkie, book ahead and you can walk along the outside of the CN Tower on their EdgeWalk!
3) Explore beautiful Victoria
Just a short ferry away from the city of Vancouver, you’ll find Vancouver Island, home to the capital of British Columbia, Victoria. In Victoria, one of the most popular Canadian cities, you’ll see some incredible thing. As you wander through the streets, you’ll see world-class Victorian architecture and small alleyways to that you can spend time exploring. Plus, you’ll get some unrivalled views of the Pacific Ocean right at Fisherman’s Wharf Park and Ogden Point.
4) Catch some waves in Tofino
While you’re in the area and on Vancouver Island, why not try something slow-paced? Do this by making your way up to Tofino for some outdoor activities like surfing. Here you’ll find sandy beaches, year-round surf shops and some of the most beautiful nature in Canada. Not into surfing? These beaches are a great spot to sit back and relax too. Once you’re done with the beach, opt for a change of scenery and hike through Rainforest trail in Pacific Rim National Park for some stunning thick foliage.
Image source:Shlomo Shalev / Unsplash
5) Go Whale Watching in PEI
With Canada having oceans on both sides there’s opportunity for you to check off that bucket list item, whale watching. A great spot to do just that is in Prince Edward Island (or PEI) since you can see multiple species of whales all at once. If you haven’t seen them before, trust us, seeing these gentle giants in their natural habitat is a must!
6) Kayak in the Bay of Fundy
One of the best things to do in Canada is visit the Hopewell Rocks in the Bay of Fundy, right along the border of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. These eroded flowerpots are a sight to see while you explore the world-class scenery! You’ll want to double check the time you’re visiting though because each hour brings a different experience. You can either walk along the ocean floor during the low tide or get up close and kayak through the rocks at high tide. Talk about a once in a lifetime experience!
Image source:Tourism New Brunswick
7) See the polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba
Having the chance to see a polar bear in real life in its natural habitat is a one-in-a-lifetime experience and a lot of people don’t know this, but you can do just this right in Canada! As travellers have discovered this, it’s been one of the top tourist attractions in Canada. So, if seeing a polar bear is on your bucket list, you’ll want to head a little bit off-the-beaten path to Churchill, Manitoba on a winter safari. This is the spot in Canada that is one of the best places to view polar bears in their natural environment, an incredible experience that even Canadians love!
8) Hike along Cape Breton Island
Home to the 298km-long Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Island is the perfect spot in Nova Scotia to take in some jaw-dropping coastal views. While you’re there you’ll find stunning landscapes, seaside cliffs and small fishing towns, making it something you won’t want to miss if you’re heading to the East Coast of Canada. By the way, don’t worry if you don’t hike too often, you can still see some incredible views if you only do a bit of it! Psst. It’s also one of our favourite Canadian staycation ideas!
9) Skate along the Rideau Canal
In the winter, one of the best things to do in Canada is go skating, and a great place to do it is right in the nation’s capital, Ottawa. In Ottawa sits the Rideau Canal which transforms into a Skateway that runs over 7.8 km long! Oh, and it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So, if you’re looking for a Canadian experience that any traveller or local loves to do and want to visit a historic site grab your mittens and hit the ice!
Image source:Tourism Ottawa
10) Hike through Algonquin Provincial Park
There’s no better place to experience the great outdoors of Canada while you’re in Ontario than in Algonquin Provincial Park. Whether you’re there for a quick hike, or camping in one of the many campgrounds, there’s something to do no matter what. The outdoor activities are countless and hiking trails are scattered throughout the park. The best part? If you want to properly disconnect there’s even areas you can visit with no cellphone service! Plus, you may even spot some of the incredible Canadian wildlife, so keep your eyes and ears open.
11) Hit the slopes in Whistler
Whistler is home to one of the world’s most impressive ski resorts, Whistler Blackcomb. Bringing international travellers in from around the world, and Canadians from all ends of the country, it’s a destination on everyone’s list. From skiing to snowshoeing and hitting the Scandinavian spa, there are tons of things to do in Whistler to make the most of your trip. You also want to make sure you don’t leave without taking the Peak2Peak gondola to see some amazing views.
Image source:Pamela Saunders / Unsplash
12) Experience Niagara Falls
Attracting millions of travellers each year, Niagara Falls is something you want to put on your list! Get up close to the falls by going on the Maid of the Mist boat tour or experience the Journey behind the Falls. Once you’ve properly seen the Falls, take a walk over to Clifton Hills. Here you’ll find tons of things to do like the Niagara Skywheel, indoor waterparks and real-life Mario karts on the Niagara Speedway. If that’s too much excitement, slow things down a bit on Niagara-On-The-Lake and rent some bikes, or join a wine tour, to taste some delicious Ontario wine.
13) Wander through Old Quebec City
Visiting the only walled city in North America will give you MAJOR Game of Thrones vibes. Where can you find this, you ask? Why Old Quebec City of course! The city is named a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its historic European architecture and cobblestone streets. When you travel here you’ll find national historic sites like the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac Citadel, the Plains of Abraham, Place d’Armes, and the Parque Historique de l’Artillerie.
Image source:Tourism Quebec City
14) Experience the Northern Lights in Whitehorse
Head up north to Whitehorse, Yukon to explore a spot that every Canadian wants to visit and knock the northern lights off your outdoor activities bucket list. The aurora borealis are best enjoyed in clear dark night skies, so it makes sense that Whitehorse would be the perfect spot! While you’re up there, experience everything Whitehorse has to offer like the geothermal pools at the Takhini hot springs and the hiking trails around Miles Canyon.
15) Visit Parliament Hill in Ottawa
Did you actually start thinking we’d leave the nation’s capital off the list? Of course not! There’s so much to do in Ottawa and one of the best attractions is Parliament Hill. If you visit during the summer, you’ll want to watch the changing of the guard on the front lawn at the House of Commons. It’s a must-do activity for any traveller, including Canadians! When you’re done this, take part in one of the free yoga sessions on the lawn in front of Parliament Hill, the perfect memory to capture for when you look back on your Canadian adventure in the future.
Image source:Tourism Ottawa
16) Take in the views at Signal Hill
Nestled right in St. John’s harbour, Signal Hill is worth the trip to Newfoundland. When you’re there, make sure to head up to Cabot Tower for some incredible views that are unmatched. The Cabot Tower was built in 1897 and overlooks the city and Atlantic Ocean. When you’re up there, you truly feel like you’re on top of the world… or at least at the most easternly point of North America.
17) Soak in the history of Old Montreal
Wander the cobblestone streets around Old Montreal and see amazing architecture like the Notre-Dame Basilica and Place Jacques-Cartier. There are tons of things to do (and eat) in this area that you won’t want to miss, ranging from poutine to French cuisine. But the best part is the historic sites in Old Port of Montreal which combines the waters from the St. Lawrence River with buildings and waterfront strolls for a match made in heaven!
18) Experience the fjords in Newfoundland
Who knew you didn’t need to travel all the way to Finland for fjords? You can get them right here in Canada! You can catch them in Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland. Before you go, you’ll want to prep yourself for some of the most beautiful landscapes, incredible outdoor activities and fjords in the country. The steep cliffs and waterfalls make this place one worth exploring. Hit up the hiking trails or go kayaking for the full experience that you’ve always dreamed about.
19) Cycle across the seawall in Stanley Park
Let’s head to the other side of the country for a second… to Vancouver. Here, right in downtown Vancouver you’ll find Stanley Park which houses over 27km of forest trails and an 8.8km Seawall. It’s also one of the activities every Canadian and traveller that visits wants to do before they turn 35. Yeah, it’s THAT famous! The Seawall is perfect for cycling, made with walking and biking lanes. Grab your bike and pass through totem poles, harbours, Vancouver Aquarium and Lion’s Gate Bridge. You can’t do this in just a few hours, so we recommend spending a day (or two) exploring if you want to see it all.
Image source:Gabriel Santiago / Unsplash
20) Shop through West Edmonton Mall
Get your walking shoes on because this mall is HUGE! Shopping in West Edmonton Mall is unlike any other experience you’ve had shopping. After all, it is the largest mall in North America with over 800 stores. If shopping isn’t your thing, we promise that you won’t run out of things to do here. Between the amusement park, water park, ice rink, roller coaster and so much more, there are lots to keep you busy if you don’t feel like hitting up the shops.
21) Attend the Calgary Stampede
It may have started as a rodeo, but the Calgary Stampede is now a western-themed 10-day event in Calgary! What should you expect? How about endless food trucks, thrill rides, games and nightly live music at the Grandstand Show. If you’re not sold yet, how about this… some big names have performed on stage including Blake Shelton, Usher, Alessia Cara and more. Best part? Everyone gets in the spirit and dresses up like cowboys. Yee-haw!
22) View the cherry blossoms in High Park
One of the best things to do in Canada during the spring is watch the cherry blossoms bloom. A favourite spot amongst local Canadians? High Park in the Canadian city of Toronto. Every year thousands of Canadians will gather to witness the sakura blossoms. Home to over 2 thousand sakura trees, viewing the cherry blossoms has turned into somewhat of a spring tradition among Torontonians as they walk through the park.
23) Hike the trails near Bruce Peninsula
In Northern Ontario, Bruce Peninsula has turned into a loved destination among locals and travellers thanks to its outdoor activities. With plenty of hiking trails for all skill levels, you’ll be able to easily connect with nature more than you thought you could. Head to Bruce Peninsula if you want to see the flowerpot rock formations and scenic caves like The Grotto in Tobermory. Oh, and make sure you don’t forget your bathing suit because these picturesque turquoise waters are the perfect to relax and swim in the summer heat.
Image source:Luke Smith / Unsplash
24) Stay in Jasper National Park
Camping in Jasper National Park is a MUST whether you’re Canadian or a travelling visiting the country! From the turquoise waters of Maligne Lake and Athabasca Glacier to waterfalls and canyons, you’ll find mother nature at her finest. Plus, the area is a protected dark sky preserve which limits light pollution. So, the inky black skies you’ll find here are perfect to see all of the stars and if you’re lucky, you may even see the northern lights too!
25) Drive through Dinosaur Provincial Park
This stop that’s a 2-hour drive east of the Canadian city Calgary in Alberta is worth a day trip! If the name didn’t give it away, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has lots of dinosaur fossils. It’s known as one of the world’s richest areas to find dinosaurs in the world with over 58 fossils being discovered here alone! You can easily spend the day driving through the trails of the historic sites. The striking badlands are quite a sight to see! The multi-hued canyons and amazing rock formations are just beautiful…
26) Hike the trails around Squamish
Located in British Columbia, Squamish is a spot that every traveller wants to stop in at. It’s got incredible hiking trails for every skill level and offers some of the greatest views in British Columbia. Popular trails include Stawamus Chief and the Cheakamus Canyon Trail. And end your trip by taking the Sea to Sky Gondola for some breathtaking coastal views of the area. We promise, you may not have heard of Squamish, but you’ll thank us after you go!
27) Bike the Confederation Trail in PEI
This 449km trail runs throughout Prince Edward Island. What was once the CN railway system has been turned into recreational trails used for walking, biking and hiking. Spend the day exploring the scenic landscape and waters around the island of PEI.
28) Skate in Nathan Phillips Square
When you’re in Toronto, one of the best things to do during the chilly winter season is go skating. The best rink in the city? The one right downtown Toronto at Nathan Phillips Square. This area of Toronto lights up at night for a unique, Toronto experience. So, grab your skates (or rent them) and with the famous Toronto sign as your backdrop you’ll actually enjoy the chilly weather!
Image source:Tourism Ontario
29) Cross the Capilano Suspension Bridge
Located in Vancouver, the Capilano Suspension Bridge is 140 metres long and 70 metres above the river. It’s something that you’ve got to do at least once. Bounce across the bridge and after you’re done explore the Cliffwalk to see the rainforest from new heights.