posted on June 10, 2022

From our natural landscape to our unique cultures and traditions, Canada is brimming with extraordinary sights and activities that can’t be found anywhere else. There’s so much to see and do here that experiencing it in a single lifetime seems impossible.

That’s where our bucket list comes in. We’ve whittled down Canada’s best experiences to a shortlist of 25 must-see sights and must-do activities, so you can enjoy each one to the fullest. 

We’ve given a top recommendation for each activity, plus a few honourable mentions. Choose the ones that speak to you, or better yet: try them all!

  1. Go surfing
  2. Go whale watching
  3. Do a wine tasting
  4. Go for a scenic drive
  5. Go for an island adventures
  6. Watch our wild animals
  7. Have a food tasting
  8. See the northern lights
  9. Partake in a local tradition
  10. Go outdoor skating
  11. Explore the country by train
  12. Stargaze in a Dark Sky Preserve
  13. Try winter sports
  14. Be a tourist
  15. Go dogsledding
  16. Swim in a lake
  17. Attend a music festival
  18. Visit a national park
  19. Try a suspension bridge
  20. Get sporty
  21. Go kayaking
  22. Soak in a hot spring
  23. Go glamping
  24. Lean about indigenous culture
  25. Go snorkelling or diving

Go surfing 

Catching your first wave is an exhilarating experience that everyone should try once. Think surfing is just for the tropics? Think again. Let Canada surprise you with one of these totally tubular spots.

Our pick: Tofino

Topping our list is Tofino, situated on beautiful Vancouver Island. Cold-water surfing is one of the most popular activities to do in Tofino, and for good reason.

The sport is a way of life here, embraced by its tight-knit coastal community year-round. With nothing but the wild Pacific as far as the eye can see, catching a wave here is fun, humbling, and bound to give you newfound respect for the power of nature. 

Summer through fall offers the best conditions for beginners, and favourite local spots include Cox Bay, Chesterman Beach, and Long Beach.

Honourable mentions:

  • Kananaskis Country is home to a newly emerging surf scene on the Kananaskis River, proving you don’t need an ocean to take advantage of this exciting sport. 
  • Habitat 67 is a beloved surf spot on the St. Lawrence River, great for beginners and just five minutes from downtown Montreal. 
  • Kincardine is the best spot to surf in Ontario. Its 17km of coastline and ideal conditions make it ideal for first-timers.

Go whale watching 

Spotting whales in the wild is the only way to fully comprehend their size, magnificence, and playfulness. Many seasonal migration routes and feeding grounds fall along Canada’s coastlines, making them some of the best places to get an intimate look at these gentle giants.

Our pick: Tadoussac

Follow the Saguenay River to the St. Lawrence, and you’ll reach one of the best whale watching spots not only in Canada, but in the world. From coastal lookouts to adventurous zodiac tours, whale watching is a must-do in Tadoussac. 

A dozen species visit Tadoussac every summer to enjoy the abundance of plankton that gathers in the Lower Estuary waters, meaning you’re almost guaranteed to spot a whale. Even endangered belugas and blue whales have been known to make an appearance!

Honourable mentions:

  • Telegraph Cove is famous for its wilderness tours, and is one of the best spots in Canada for spotting orcas and humpbacks, as well as dolphins and sea lions. 
  • The Bay of Fundy is a haven for whales and becomes a feeding ground, nursery, and play area for up to twelve different species every summer.
  • Churchill isn’t just for polar bears. Every summer, more than 57,000 belugas flock to the Churchill River, making it a perfect spot to meet a friendly pod.

Go wine tasting

Canada may not have a global reputation for fine wines, but it really should. There are countless spots across the country to sip, swirl, and savour to your heart’s content. 

Our pick: Okanagan

Wine tasting is one of the best things to do in Kelowna and throughout the Okanagan Valley. This region is full to the brim of internationally acclaimed wineries — over 40 of them within a 20-minute drive! In fact, more than half of BC’s wineries can be found in this breathtaking river valley of sun-kissed hills.

Guided tour operators offer a wide selection of wine tours, including dog-friendly options and personalized itineraries. There are also five wine trails to explore on your own if you prefer to road trip the vineyards at your own pace.

Honourable mentions:

  • A historic wine region is one of the top Niagara-on-the-Lake attractions, spanning over 50 wineries along the shores of Lake Ontario. Don’t forget to try the famous Niagara icewine.
  • The Eastern Townships is home to more than 20 wineries in the Brome-Missisquoi region, where more than 60% of Québec’s wine is produced.
  • The Annapolis Valley is the place to go for wine tasting in the Maritimes, and is home to 11 of Nova Scotia’s 18 wineries.

Go for a scenic drive (and make sure to stop on the way)

If there’s one thing Canada is renowned for, it’s our natural scenery. From the ocean to the mountains, highlands to rivers, Canada’s best scenic routes are bound to take your breath away. Buckle up and take your pick of these once-in-a lifetime road trips.

Our pick: Icefields Parkway

Driving Icefields Parkway is an absolute must-do in Canada for anyone wanting to see its natural splendour up close. If you’re wondering what to do in Banff or Jasper after enjoying the national parks, hitting the road to enjoy this drive is the answer. 

Cutting through the heart of the Rockies, this scenic route is unmatched when it comes to showcasing the immeasurable power of nature. Fuel up, get your camera ready, and prepare to be amazed by this world-famous drive.

Every pit stop along Icefields Parkway is a spectacular sight you’ll remember forever. Must-sees include Athabasca Falls, Mistaya Canyon, the Glacier Skywalk, the Columbia Icefield, Bow Lake, and Peyto Lake. 

Honourable mentions:

  • The Pacific Rim Highway is a thrill ride of a drive cutting across Vancouver Island’s mountainous backbone from Port Alberni to Tofino. 
  • The St. Lawrence Route offers a gorgeous drive through the Charlevoix region, nestled between the river and the Laurentian mountains.
  • The Cabot Trail is one of the most famous roads in the world, featuring soaring highlands, adventurous hiking trails, and unbeatable photo spots.

Go on an island adventure 

Visiting an island is a serene breather from the bustle of mainland life. Canada’s islands are beautiful locations that are home to pristine wilderness and a down-to-earth lifestyle you won’t find in the city.

Our pick: Haida Gwaii archipelago 

Remote and unspoiled, a visit to the Haida Gwaii archipelago is well worth the eight-hour ferry ride. The islands offer a raw example of BC’s natural beauty and an intimate look at the enduring culture of the Haida people, who have resided here for at least 6,000 years. 

Ancient heritage sites, fishing expeditions, boat tours, old growth forest, and cozy stays in off-the-grid cabins can all be discovered in Haida Gwaii. If you’re planning a road trip around the island, there’s even a Turo host who can set you up with a sweet ride.

Honourable mentions:

  • Manitoulin Island is the largest freshwater island on the planet, and is home to six Anishinaabe First Nations communities, beautiful hiking trails, and 10,000 years of indigenous history.
  • Fogo Island is a gem of Newfoundland culture, known for its welcoming community, food scene, local artistry, and iceberg views.
  • Îles-de-la-Madeleine is one of the best places to spot harp baby seals and is known for gastronomic delights, hospitality, arts, and 300km of beaches.

See our wild animals (from a distance)

When it comes to Canada’s natural beauty, our furred and feathered inhabitants are just as impressive as the landscape. There are plenty of opportunities to spot our animals in the wild, so skip that trip to the zoo and try one of these close encounters.

Our pick: Visit Yellowknife

Take off for the tundra to experience the best of Canada’s wildlife. From caribou to muskox, grizzly bears to wolverines, the Northwest Territories are home to some of Canada’s most iconic animals.

If you’re wondering what to do in Yellowknife, exploring the city’s parks and hiking trails is a great way to view wildlife without leaving town. Close encounters with foxes, ptarmigans, owls, and hares are common, as well as the occasional timber wolf or arctic fox.

Outside the city, Ingraham Trail, Highway 3, and the Wood Bison Sanctuary near Fort Providence are all excellent spots to get a glimpse of larger animals including lynx, wolves, moose, and caribou.

Honourable mentions:

  • Polar bear viewing is a must-do in Churchill. The “jewel of Manitoba” is one of the biggest polar bear denning areas in the world, and visitors come from around the world for a chance to spot one up close. 
  • At Prince Albert National Park, visitors can horseback ride with one of Canada’s only free-ranging bison herds in their natural Saskatchewan habitat.
  • Elk Island National Park and Wood Buffalo National Park in northern Alberta are top choices for spotting moose, lynx, bears, beavers, and the densest population of hoofed mammals in Canada.

Taste local foods

When it comes to sampling Canada’s local delicacies, it’s best to go straight to the source. From gourmet dishes to classic comfort food, Canadian cuisine is bound to make your mouth water.

Our pick: as many as you can!

We wouldn’t dare limit you to a shortlist of four top eats. Don’t hold back and sample a little bit of everything! 

If you’re a seafood lover, head to New Brunswick or Nova Scotia to taste the catch of the day straight from the Atlantic. Got a hankering for oysters? There’s no better place than Prince Edward Island.

A visit to a traditional Cabane à sucre is a must-do in Québec City, Montreal, and the surrounding area. Enjoying a hearty sugar season feast surrounded by music, a roaring fire, and the frivolity of fellow diners captures the spirit of winter in Québec unlike anything else.

For cocktail lovers, a visit to the Park Distillery in Banff National Park won’t disappoint. As well as a menu of expertly crafted drinks, its claim to fame is being the only distillery in a Canadian national park.

See the northern lights

Seeing the northern lights is on many people’s bucket-list, and there’s no better vantage point than Canada. Between 80-90% of accessible land under the Auroral Oval falls on Canadian soil, so head north and get a front-row seat to nature’s captivating light show.

Our pick: Yellowknife again

Thanks to the dry and stable climate, viewing the aurora borealis is one of the best things to do in Yellowknife. The season runs from mid-November through April, and conditions are known to be even better than pricier getaways like Scandinavia.

Tourism for viewing the northern lights is well-established in Yellowknife, and visitors can make the trip extra special with one-of-a-kind experiences like a visit to indigineous-owned Aurora Village. Book a daily tour or stay at the picturesque, illuminated Teepee Village to sleep under the shimmering lights.

Honourable mentions:

  • Whitehorse, Yukon has plenty of guided tours and scenic routes designed for seeing northern lights. You can even spot them while enjoying a luxurious soak in a hot spring.
  • Iqaluit, Nunavut is a remote but rewarding viewpoint. Its crystal clear skies are known for dazzling green hues of the magical lights.
  • Churchill, Manitoba experiences auroral activity more than 300 nights a year thanks to its location, making it one of the best places to spot the northern lights in Canada.

Partake in a local tradition

The best way to get to know a new place is to spend time with the locals. Taking part in a local tradition in one of Canada’s diverse communities is a great option to get out of your comfort zone and make a few friends along the way. 

Our pick: Getting Screeched In in Newfoundland

Getting Screeched In is a must-do experience for any mainlander visiting “The Rock”. Once you’ve done it, you’re considered an honorary Newfoundlander! 

The ceremony varies from town to town, but generally includes downing a shot of Screech (a classic Newfoundland rum), reciting a short verse, and lastly, kissing a codfish. Screeching-In ceremonies are performed at pubs and bars across the province, but you can just as easily find one at tourist hotspots, including family-friendly versions.

Honourable mentions:

  • The sockeye salmon run is a natural phenomenon unique to BC’s Shuswap region and includes annual guided tours, interpretive insights, walking trails, as well as the Salute to the Salmon Celebration every four years.
  • Festivals like Winterlude and Folklorama are top Ottawa and Winnipeg attractions. Celebrate winter in the nation’s capital or get a taste of global traditions at the largest and longest-running multicultural festival in the world.
  • Joining a Canada Day celebration in your hometown or anywhere in the country is an easy and accessible must-do in Canada. Look for local celebrations or head to Ottawa or Québec City for the bigger events.

Skate outdoors

There are few winter pastimes as Canadian as ice skating. Make the most of our long winters by getting outside, staying active, and making memories on one of these amazing outdoor rinks.

Our pick: Ottawa’s Rideau Canal

Winter hasn’t truly arrived in Ottawa until the Rideau Canal freezes over. As Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal Skateway ranks among the top Ottawa attractions visitors can enjoy. 

The exhilaration of gliding through the nation’s capital among crowds of fellow skaters is a truly Canadian experience. The Skateway is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the winter season, so there’s no excuse not to lace up your skates and join the fun. 

Honourable mentions:

  • Lac-des-Loups, Québec features a 3km skating trail through the forest for a truly magical experience.
  • Lake Louise, Alberta is maintained for ice skating by the Fairmont Chateau, transforming it into the dreamiest outdoor rink in the Rocky Mountains.
  • Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories is the second-largest lake in the territory, making for a massive natural rink. You may even catch a view of the northern lights while gliding across the frozen expanse.

Looking for more inspiration for winter fun? We’ve got you covered.

Best ski hills and winter activities in Alberta 

Best ski hills and winter activities in BC 

Best ski hills and winter activities in Ontario 

Best ski hills and winter activities in Québec 

Explore the country by train 

Travelling by train reveals the scope and diversity of Canada’s landscape in a way that can’t be experienced behind the wheel of a car. It’s a way to break from routine, get a taste of adventure, and see our beautiful country through fresh eyes. 

Our pick: from coast to coast

The 6,400 km train journey across Canada is considered one of the greatest travel experiences in the world. It’s a massive undertaking, but so very worth it.

Via Rail’s The Canadian, The Corridor, and The Ocean routes combine to connect the country from coast to coast, and many tour companies offer package deals including city tours and meals. Hop-on-hop-off packages are available, or you can go rogue and DIY your preferred route.

Honourable mentions:

  • The Rocky Mountaineer Train is a luxurious daylight journey through the Canadian Rockies, designed with photo ops in mind and including a gourmet on-board menu and hotel lodging.
  • Via Rail’s The Ocean service connects Montreal to Halifax, running along the Gaspé Peninsula and showcasing the most scenic parts of Atlantic Canada. 
  • The White Pass and Yukon Route Railway follows a historic Klondike Gold Rush route, offering views of mountains and glaciers from the Yukon to Alaska.

Stargaze in a Dark-Sky Preserve 

You haven’t truly stargazed until you’ve left the city lights behind and visited a Dark Sky Preserve. Canada’s vast skies offer remarkable opportunities to look up, feel small, and savour the mysteries of our universe.

Our pick: Jasper, Alberta

Stargazing in the largest accessible Dark Sky Preserve in the world is a must-do in Jasper National Park. Its protected skies can be conveniently enjoyed just a few minutes from the comfort of town. 

In October, astronomers gather for the annual Dark Sky Festival for talks, events, and sharing the views with fellow stargazers.

As for the scenery, it can’t be beat. Jasper highlights like Medicine Lake, Maligne Canyon, and Pyramid Island are equally stunning after dark as they are during the day. The northern lights have also been known to make an appearance.

Honourable mentions:

  • Grasslands National Park is one of the darkest and largest Dark Sky Preserves in the world, offering a captivating look at the famous Big Sky.
  • North Bruce Peninsula is home to the darkest skies in Southern Ontario, and is a self-proclaimed Dark Sky Community known for annual astronomy events.
  • Kouchibouguac National Park offers gorgeous views of the night sky along New Brunswick’s Acadian Coast. Local favourites include Kelly’s Beach and the annual Fall Starfest.

Ski or snowboard 

Canadians are experts when it comes to winter fun. Each of our world-class ski resorts has its own unique vibe and apres-ski traditions, so hit the slopes to get the full impact.

Our pick: Whistler Blackcomb

If you visit one Canadian ski resort in your lifetime, it better be the legendary Whistler Blackcomb. 

Whistler’s reputation precedes it as the top ski destination in Canada, and that’s because it caters to everyone, not just Olympic hopefuls. Varied terrain, above-average snowfall, and a wide range of lessons make it the perfect place to level up your skills or learn to ski for the first time.

Off the slopes, Whistler Village and the Peak 2 Peak Gondola are some of the top Whistler attractions for enjoying Rocky Mountain vistas, après-ski fun, and delectable dining.

Honourable mentions:

  • Big White, just outside of Kelowna, is a favourite family when it comes to BC’s ski resorts, perfect for kids and beginners. It also has the largest night skiing area in Western Canada.
  • Tremblant is one of Québec’s best ski hills and is home to the second-highest mountain in the province, over 100 runs, and views of Mont-Tremblant National Park.
  • Lake Louise is one of Alberta’s best ski resorts for beginners and families thanks to its varied terrain. It’s one of the biggest ski areas in North America, and its views of the Rockies can’t be beat. 

Be a tourist 

You might think your local tourist hotspots are overrated, but they’re famous for a reason. Tourists from around the world flock to Canada every year to get a firsthand look at our most famous landmarks. If you haven’t yet, why not join them?

Our pick: as many as you can!

When it comes to Canada’s top tourist sights, there’s no way we can pick just one. Start with those local to you, and be sure to visit nearby hotspots on your next road trip or weekend out of town. Join the crowds, snap photos, buy a souvenir or two, and have fun!

Need some inspiration? The CN Tower and Niagara Falls are must-see Toronto attractions. Snapping a selfie outside the postcard-perfect Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac is a must-do in Québec City. For places to visit in Halifax, head to Peggy’s Cove. If you live in Calgary, spend a day swooning over Lake Louise.

Go dogsledding

Gliding across the snow behind a pack of happy, driven sled dogs is a Canadian tradition with a long history. Get closer to nature and admire the skill of these amazing animals by trying it out for yourself. Mush! 

Our pick: Charlevoix

Known as an enchanting region where culture and the outdoors combine, Charlevoix offers the most authentic and scenic dogsledding experiences in Canada.

Local experiences are intimate and removed from mass tourism. Small-group tours with La Reine et le Millionnaire are excellent for first timers. For more ambitious trips to the backcountry of Haute-Gorges-de-la-Malbaie National Park, try expedition specialists Descente Malbaie. 

Honourable mentions:

  • Dogsledding is one of our favourite activities to do in Banff, with scenic trails weaving through Spray Vistas and Lake Louise. Guide-driven and self-driven tours are available. 
  • One of the best Whistler attractions off the slopes, dogsledding at Canada’s top resort includes a lesson in basic handling skills and history before embarking through old growth forest trails.
  • Canmore is home to Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours, the oldest dog sled tour company in the Bow Valley. Guide-driven, self-driven, and overnight tours are offered from this convenient location near Calgary.

Go for a dip in our most scenic lakes

There’s no rule against swimming in Canada’s icy mountain lakes, so why not take a quick dip? Make a splash at one of these scenic spots, if you’re brave enough.

Our pick: Lake Louise

There’s no better place to brave the glacial mountain waters than the most famous and beautiful of all Canada’s lakes. 

Although there’s no designated swim area, going for a dip in Lake Louise is entirely possible, even though you likely won’t last more than a few minutes! Warm up afterwards at the Fairmont with a fancy drink, a good meal, and a view of the turquoise waters.

Honourable mentions:

  • Emerald Lake is Yoho National Park’s most beloved lake, with striking green waters and convenient picnic areas on the shore.
  • Joffre Lakes have a reputation as the most Instagrammable lakes in the Rockies, so don’t miss out on a photo op if you dare to dive in.
  • Chester Lake is ideal as a day trip from Calgary, located in the heart of beautiful Kananaskis Country in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park.

Enjoy music festival season

Nothing makes a city come alive like music. Canada is home to some of the most vibrant and biggest festivals in the world, so don’t miss the chance to see your favourite artists live or discover a few new ones.

Our pick: International Jazz festival

Wondering what to do in Montreal this summer? Get your groove on at the International Jazz Festival, the biggest of its kind in the world.

The live shows are free to attend at venues all around the city, from cozy jazz clubs to the grand concert halls of Place des Arts. It’s a great way to explore the city, experience live music, and witness a true showcase of Montreal’s reputation as a cultural hub.

Honourable mentions:

  • The Calgary Stampede is one of the most famous Calgary attractions, and not just for the rodeos. Head to the Nashville North and Stampede Summer stages to watch some of the top talent in country and pop music.
  • Osheaga, Montreal’s epic indie festival, is the biggest of its kind in Canada. Every summer, the lineup features an eclectic mix of local and emerging talent alongside internationally recognized headliners. 
  • FEQ is the biggest outdoor summer music festival in Québec City, and has been headlined by legends including The Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, and Elton John.

Visit at least one national park in each province

Canada’s national parks are all breathtaking natural playgrounds. Camping, hiking, swimming, and paddling on the lakes are just some of the unforgettable experiences to be had. Whether you visit world-famous Banff or the more remote Wood Buffalo National Park, you’re guaranteed to have the adventure of a lifetime.

Not sure where to start? Check out our round ups of the best National Parks in Ontario, Québec, Alberta, and BC to get inspired:

Best provincial and national parks in Ontario 

Best provincial and national parks in Québec 

Best provincial and national parks in Alberta 

Best provincial and national parks in BC 

Walk a suspension bridge

A stroll across one of Canada’s suspension bridges is like a thrilling tightrope walk through the wilderness. It’s not for the faint of heart, and is bound to give you a rush. 

Our pick: Capilano

When it comes to Vancouver attractions, the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is the oldest in the city and a firm favourite. The historic bridge measures 450 feet and offers an incredible (and wobbly!) squirrel’s-eye-view of the rainforest above the Capilano River. 

A walk along the bridge is a must-do in Vancouver that millions of visitors have experienced since it was first opened in 1889. Since then, the park has expanded to include the Cliffwalk and treetop trekking. In the winter, festive lighting along the canyon makes the crossing even more magical.

Honourable mentions:

  • The Golden Skybridge soars above towering waterfalls and offers stunning views of the mountain ranges between Yoho and Glacier National Parks.
  • Glacier Skywalk is one of the must-do pit stops along the magnificent Icefields Parkway, featuring a glass-floored observation deck that will take your breath away.
  • Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is easily accessed from Vancouver and soars above the pools and rivers of Lynn Creek and the surrounding forest.

Get sporty: experience hockey and curling

If there’s one thing Canadians are known for, it’s enjoying a good old hockey game. You don’t have to be a die-hard fan to enjoy the rush that comes from rooting for the home team. Treat yourself to an NHL game if you can, but junior league games are just as fast-paced and exciting, with a more affordable ticket price.

Want to hit the ice yourself, but don’t have the stick-handling skills? No worries. Curling is another beloved Canadian winter sport that is easy to learn and accessible to all skill levels. Trying it yourself is as easy as gathering some friends or joining a game at a local rink. 

Go kayaking

Canada’s waterways were made for paddling. Kayaking offers a balance of adventure and relaxation and is a great way to get a closer look at our spectacular rivers, lakes, and coastlines.

Our pick: Icebergs in Newfoundland

The view from a kayak on a clear, sunny day is an extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime sight. Newfoundland’s Iceberg Alley is a must-see in Canada during the summer, when fragments of glaciers drift down from Greenland each year to reach the shores of the Rock. 

Kayak tours and rentals are available along Newfoundland’s northern and eastern coasts, with peak viewing times falling between April and August. St. Anthony’s, Bonavista, and Twillingate are the most popular launch points accessible by road.

Honourable mentions:

  • Lake Moraine has a reputation as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, and a kayak trip along its shores can be easily enjoyed as a day visit from Banff.
  • The remote waters of Haida Gwaii are a kayaker’s paradise, rich in captivating scenery as well as a wealth of wildlife. Guided day tours and multi-day camping and paddling routes are available. 
  • The Churchill River is actually a series of lakes connected by rapids and waterfalls that offers a beautiful and adventurous kayak journey through Saskatchewan’s waters.

Soak in a hot spring

Canada’s hot springs are beautiful, plentiful, and well worth a visit. Skip the spa and reward yourself with a relaxing soak for venturing off the beaten path.

Our pick: Miette hot springs

A visit to Jasper isn’t complete without a detour to the Miette Hot Springs, located at the end of the Fiddle River Valley. 

The springs are one of Alberta’s best-kept secrets and the hottest in the Canadian Rockies. With the temperature clocking in at a toasty 40 degrees celsius, a soak in the mineral-rich waters is the perfect end to a long day of exploring in the mountains.

Honourable mentions:

  • Hot Springs Cove is one of the most enchanting places to visit in Tofino. Travel by boat or seaplane to reach the seven geothermal rock pools, discovered at the end of a boardwalk trail deep in the old growth forest.
  • The Liard River Hot Springs are a popular stop for weary road-trippers embarking through northern BC into Alaska, surrounded by boreal forest in a provincial park of the same name.
  • The Takhini Hot Pools are natural mineral hot springs just 30km from Whitehorse, perfect as a luxurious escape from the bracing Yukon climate.

Go glamping

You don’t need to rough it to immerse yourself in Canada’s natural beauty. Glamping is the perfect way to experience a rejuvenating stay in the heart of the forest or on the shores of the lake, without the trouble of pitching a tent.

Our pick: Treehouses

Imagine waking up to birdsong, the wind in the trees, overlooking the forest floor with a view of the lake sparkling between the branches. Staying in a treehouse is like being in another world and is a unique way to experience some of Canada’s most beautiful regions. 

Treehouses come in all shapes and sizes, so you can count on a unique and stylish space wherever you go. Options range from more conventional cabins like Refuges Perchés in Mont-Tremblant to the quirky, handcrafted globes of Free Spirit Spheres on Vancouver Island.

Honourable mentions:

  • Nature Lodges offer a cozy, rustic experience that feels like a home away from home. You’ll find unique options all across Canada, like Entre Cimes et Racines’ hobbit-hole inspired lodges in the Eastern Townships.
  • Huts & Domes are compact, minimal accommodations on the outside, but inside have all the amenities you need. Geodesic domes like the ones at Domes Charlevoix often have large bay windows so you can start every morning with a gorgeous view.
  • Teepees are inspired by traditional conical dwellings, reimagined for modern comfort like the ones at Sundance Lodges on the Kananaskis River.

Learn about indigenous culture 

Learning about the role indigenous people played (and continue to play) in shaping our country is a valuable, must-do experience for any Canadian. Indigenous culture is deeply rooted in our history, and there are plenty of opportunities to learn about these communities straight from the source. 

Our pick: The Great Spirit Circle Trail 

Head to Manitoulin Island to experience the Great Spirit Circle Trail. The guided tours offer a rich and varied cultural experience retracing the footsteps of Ojibwe, Odawa, and Pottawatomi peoples of Northeastern Ontario.

Learn about traditional plants and medicines, follow your guide on a sunset canoe tour, and attend a Pow Wow celebration for an immersive look at indigenous culture. From wilderness excursions to educational interpretive tours, the itineraries offer something for everyone, so you can customize your experience and set your own pace.

Honourable mentions:

  • Join an indigenous peoples’ festival like the Summer Solstice Indigineous Festival or Manito Ahbee Festival for workshops, local markets, educational talks, and traditional dancing and singing.
  • Immerse yourself in a community with a visit to one of the many First Nations across the country that offer exhibits and tours to the public, such as Great Bear Rainforest in BC and Huron-Wendat Nation at Wendake in Québec City.
  • Visit an indigenous museum or traditional site to learn about the history and culture of a particular group, such as the Haida Gwaii totem poles and longhouse remains or Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park in Alberta, which is sacred to the Blackfoot.

Go diving or snorkelling

Scuba diving reveals a whole new world that few people ever see or experience. Canada’s waters contain fascinating sea life, forgotten history, and so much more. Take the plunge for a truly bucket-list-worthy adventure.

Our pick: Bruce Peninsula shipwrecks

Scuba diving is one of the best things to do in Tobermory. Known as the Scuba Diving Capital of Canada, the tip of the Bruce Peninsula is home to Fathom Five National Marine Park, the site of 22 known shipwrecks. 

Thanks to the crystal clear waters of Georgian Bay, Fathom Five offers some of the best freshwater diving in the world. The excellent visibility makes it ideal for beginners, and guarantees a memorable experience no matter your skill level. Highlights include the remains of schooners and steamships dating back as far as the 1850s. 

Honourable mentions:

  • Barkley Sound is a favourite spot for cold-water diving off the coast of Vancouver Island, and is home to kelp forests and wildlife including sea lions and octopus.
  • Nestled in Conception Bay, Newfoundland, Bell Island is a diver’s haven known for its shipwrecks, humpback whales, and the submerged remains of the abandoned Bell Island Mine.
  • Kingston is the most popular scuba diving spot in Ontario. Shore dives are suited for first timers, and there are several historic shipwrecks to explore along the waterfront.

Canada is a land of once-in-a-lifetime sights and experiences. Many of them are more accessible than you think, so there’s nothing holding you back from striking them off your bucket list. All you need is the perfect car to get there.

With Turo, you can find the best car for your adventure. We have options for every type of destination, and even have hosts in remote locations such as Haida Gwaii

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