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Travel News 10 incredible nature destinations to visit in Canada

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10 incredible nature destinations to visit in Canada

Canada is full of amazing outdoor wonders. With travel restrictions putting a strain on future plans, here are 10 places to inspire you for when we can travel again.

Canada, the world’s second-largest country, is one of the most under-visited destinations. This North American country has some pretty amazing history, and a ton of natural beauty to experience. Did you know that Canada has the world’s most extensive coastline? With over 151,000 miles of coastal nature, stretching from the Pacific to the Atlantic, Canada should definitely be added to your bucket list of must-see natural beauties in the world.

Check out 10 of the most beautiful nature destinations in Canada with our inspirational list below!

1. Auyuittuq National Park – Nunavut

Sweeping glaciers and polar sea ice meet jagged granite mountains in Auyuittuq National Park. Located in the eastern Arctic, on southern Baffin Island, the park includes the highest peaks of the Canadian Shield, the Penny Ice Cap, and the Akshayuk Pass. The park was established in 1972, and its meaning is “land that never melts”. Whether you choose to hike, ski, or climb the peaks, this park offers camping, and also suggests experienced outdoorsmen explore this rugged, and majestic terrain.

The wildlife is untouched and beautifully adapted to its surroundings. There are fewer numbers of wildlife species in the arctic ecosystems as compared to the southern ecosystems. The arctic ecosystems include whales, colonies of seabirds, and herds of caribou. The coastal marine areas, including the northern fiords of the park, are rich in wildlife. Eight species of terrestrial mammals, six species of marine mammals, 18 species of breeding birds, and 13 species of fish have been recorded in the national park. Real outdoorsy types are often found exploring this Canadian natural beauty.

How to Get There: It’s important to know that you’ll need need to be able to handle any emergency. If you can’t or unsure, travel with a guide or a local outfitter. Outfitters will take care of your transportation when you arrive and your accommodations. But first, to get here, you’ll need to fly to Iqaluit Airpot (YFB), then take a short flight to either Pangnirtung or Qikiqtarjuaq. From either location, you’ll be taken by boat to the park.

2. Historic Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Situated on the province’s South Shore, Lunenburg is located on the Fairhaven Peninsula at the western side of Mahone Bay. It’s a rather easy destination to get to from Maine, or other New England locations. This area of Canada is great for the traveler who loves hotel accommodations but wants to experience nature to its fullest during the day. The town is nestled along the ocean, and its unique culture of maritime and wilderness make for a nice, well-balanced experience.

The historic Old Town Lunenburg has a lot to offer, such as colorful galleries and shops, arranged on a tidy grid of walkable streets, or the avid fisherman can visit the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic to understand the town’s maritime history. A nearby preserve, Indian Falls, is home to numerous walking and hiking trails, on-site privies, rock beaches, and many look-out points. Pack a lunch, and make a day out of exploring the other nearby nature parks for some Canadian adventures. LaHave River Trail is another enchanting place to visit. Access attracts hikers, bicyclists, ATV riders, snowmobilers, skiers, horseback riders, and more!

How to Get There: To get to Lunenburg, you’ll need to fly into the Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ). From there, you can rent a car at the airport and drive 70 miles southwest to Lunenburg. If you decide to stay overnight, there are a handful of hotels, and bed and breakfasts to choose from. Check out Skyscanner’s best hotel deals in Lunenburg.

3. Lake Louise – Banff National Park, Alberta

Located in Banff National Park, Lake Louise is a glacier lake of unusual and beautiful colors. In general, Banff National Park is a great starting place to see Canada’s breathtaking nature, as it has a healthy combination of unspoiled wilderness, modern amenities, and opportunities for active exploration.

Lake Louise is just one spectacular stop off within Banff National Park and a true gem of the Canadian Rockies. This gorgeous lake, known for its deep blue waters, is located at the base of astounding glacier-clad peaks. At about 1.2 miles long and 230 feet deep, the lake offers a surreal paddling experience in the warm summer months and one of the most scenic skating rinks in the world in winter. There are tons of activities all year round. Try hiking, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, or skiing. Numerous festivals happen at the park year-round as well, including Lake Louise Pond Hockey Classic, MEC Ice climbing Festival, or the Subaru Banff Triathlon!

How to Get There: Fly into Calgary International Airport (YYC) and then it’s a 90-minute drive to Banff and Lake Louise. You could rent a car or take a shuttle bus that runs regularly from the airport. When it comes to accommodations, there’s no shortage of options in Banff and Lake Louise, from luxurious five-star hotels to cozy cabins to chic bed and breakfasts. Check out Skyscanner’s best hotel deals in Lake Louise.

Summer view of Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Canada

4. L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site – Newfoundland

In 1978, L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site became part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites, as the first and only authenticated Norse site in North America and a truly unique place to visit in Canada.

Many groups of people have lived in this area from as early as 1000 CE, including a small group of Norse sailors. The remains of their camp, discovered in 1960, is the oldest known European settlement of the New World. The reconstructions of three Norse buildings are the focal point of this archaeological site. You can explore the Viking lifestyle, artifacts, and the archaeological discovery of the site. Visitors can also explore the hiking trails to nearby bays and lakes. It is truly the perfect afternoon for a nature lover, and a history-buff to explore the beautiful visuals, and experience an amazing era of history.

How to Get There: You can fly into St. John’s Airport (YYT) and take a scenic, 12-hour-long road trip to L’Anse aux Meadows. A faster option is to fly into Deer Lake Regional Airport, and from there, the drive is only five hours north. Once you’re there, you’ll discover that there are only a number of accommodations available, so make sure you book your stay ahead of time. Check out Skyscanner’s hotel deals in L’Anse aux Meadows.

5. Big Muddy Badlands & the Outlaw Trail – Saskatchewan

If the desert landscape tickles your fancy, head north of Montana to the Big Muddy Badlands of Saskatchewan, for nature’s beautiful architecture of caves, buttes, and an undeniable outlaw feeling of the Wild West. In the heart of Big Muddy, you’ll find Castle Butte, a relic from the ice age, rising 230 feet in height, it served as a landmark to First Nations people and early settlers. Big Muddy encompasses centuries of history and a large part remains untold. Evidence of early civilization can be found throughout the area in the form of stone effigies, ceremonial circles, and ancient buffalo jumps (where buffalo were forced over a cliff edge).

Check out the Cypress Hills for a cowboy camp, or just some fun zip lining. The Grasslands area offers grass-covered cliffs, with free-roaming wildlife, such as buffalo! Bird watching and other outdoor activities are vast in this part of Canada. And Lake Diefenbaker offers boating, kayaking, and other water activities. There is a lot to experience in Saskatchewan, so be sure to stay for a couple of days!

How to Get There: Guided tours start in the town of Coronach, Canada so make sure to pre-book your visit ahead of time. You can tour the area yourself but you’ll need to book a car ahead of time. Fly into Regina Airport (YQR) and drive two hours south. Once you’re in Coronach, there are a number of places to stay. You could also stay an hour away in the town of Assiniboia, where there are more options. See all of Skyscanner’s hotel deals near Castle Butte.

Man in hammock enjoying Canada's beautiful nature and tall trees

6. Algonquin Provincial Park – Ontario

The first provincial park in Ontario protects a variety of natural, cultural, and recreational features and values. As one of the largest provincial parks, Algonquin is diverse and offers something for nearly everyone. Vast numbers of wildlife, water activities, hiking, and planned activities are all part of a typical day at Algonquin Provincial Park. Backpacking and camping are very popular throughout the park, as well as boating, dogsledding, and snowmobiling, depending on which part of the year you visit. Algonquin is home to over 40 mammals, over 30 kinds of reptiles and amphibians (non-venomous), and more than 130 breeding birds. One cannot expect to see all of them in a single visit, but by following a few guidelines, it is possible to see a good sample.

How to Get There: Fly into Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and rent a car from the airport. From there, the drive will be about 2.5 hours. The best way to take in Algonquin Provincial Park is to book a camping site. Otherwise, there are plenty of luxurious resorts nearby to rest for the night. Explore Skyscanner’s hotel deals near Algonquin Provincial Park.

RV driving through fall foliage in Ontario, Canada

7. Tofino, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

A former hippy hangout turned soft-eco resort town, Tofino is a watersport enthusiast’s mecca for adventure and killer waves. It’s no wonder Tofino is the region’s most popular outdoor hangout. Surf fans and other visitors keep coming back year after year since it’s packed with activities and blessed with stunning beaches. Accessed by tour boat or kayak, Ahousat is a remote and mystical location of the spectacular Wild Side Heritage Trail, a moderately difficult path that traverses almost seven miles (one way) of forests, beaches, and headlands between Ahousat and Cow Bay. There is even a natural warm spring on the island, where campers flock, to get away from the masses, and get down and dirty with nature.

Also accessible via kayak or tour boat from the Tofino waterfront, Meares Island is home to the Big Tree Trail, a quarter of a mile boardwalk through an old-growth forest that includes a stunning 1500-year-old red cedar. With tons of restaurants, museums, and hotels on in the Tofino area, it’s best to hop around to the different areas to experience all it has to offer.

How to Get There: From Vancouver, you can fly directly to the Tofino Long Beach Airport (YAZ) with daily flights from Pacific Coastal Airlines. Or for something different, fly into the Tofino Harbour on a Harbour Air seaplane. If you’re looking to stay the night, check out one of the beautiful accommodations in the area, such as the Tofino Resort + Marina or the Cabins at Terrace Beach. See more hotel deals in Tofino.

8. Muskwa-Kechika Management Area – British Columbia

Situated in northern British Columbia, Muskwa-Kechika is a globally significant area in Canada for all things nature. It’s a place “where world-class integrated resource management decision-making is practiced ensuring that resource development and other human activities take place in harmony with wilderness quality, wildlife, and dynamic ecosystems on which they depend.” In other words, they want to keep Muskwa-Kechika beautiful, and pristine! Expansive forests, spectacular geological formations, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, hot springs, sub-alpine, and alpine areas and major wetlands all make up the area.

First Nations have been living in this region for thousands of years and been using the land traditionally for hunting and gathering. In addition to these activities, First Nations in the area developed distinct cultural and spiritual beliefs and customs. There are many things to do in this protected ecosystem, wilderness or car-accessible camping in spectacular natural settings, single or multi-day hiking treks through the backcountry, cycling along city paths or mountain biking down steep vertical terrain. One can even go golfing on courses set against dramatic, panoramic vistas, or try rounding up cattle.

How to Get There: Since this area is so vast, the easiest way to explore is to book a guided expedition, such as the ones organized by Wayne Sawchuk. You’ll need to get to Fort Nelson, B.C. where the main airport is the Northern Rockies Regional Airport (YYE). The only airline that operates here is Central Mountain Air. You can also fly to Whitehorse (YXY), then rent a car and drive south.

9. Whale Watching on Southwest Coast – Vancouver, British Columbia

Attend a guided tour with a number of different tour companies to choose from, to see some stunning, action-packed whale watching! Spot killer whales, porpoises, seals, eagles, and other wildlife amid the stunning nature of Canada’s southwest coast. Begin your journey in the picturesque, historic fishing village of Steveston and travel through the scenic Gulf Islands and San Juan Islands. Killer whales migrate to coastal British Columbia between May and October to feed on the salmon that return to the Fraser River to spawn. This is one of the best times to visit Canada as there are several pods totaling approximately 80 killer whales that return to the area every year, so spotting them is basically a given!

How to Get There: Book a flight to Vancouver (YVR), then rent a car at the airport and drive to your preferred whale watching tour agency. And while you’re booking your flight and car rental, use Skyscanner’s search to find the best hotel deals in Vancouver.

10. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park – British Columbia

Only minutes away from downtown Vancouver, this park lets you experience the natural splendor of British Columbia. The bridge crosses giant evergreens, cedar-scented rainforest, Treetops Adventure, and seven suspended footbridges giving views of the forest floor from 100 feet above. A Cliffwalk following along the Capilano River with intricate bridges, stairs, and platforms. The kicker is that only 16 anchor points in the cliff actually support the structure! Ever wondered how birds view the world? You’ll definitely experience a bird’s eye view of the world from here!

How to Get There: Book a flight to Vancouver (YVR), then rent a car at the airport and drive to your preferred whale watching tour agency. And while you’re booking your flight and car rental, use Skyscanner’s search to find the best hotel deals in Vancouver.

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