Canada is truly a beautiful nation, and millions of tourists fly, drive and sail to the country each year to visit its great cities and to experience some of nature’s most spectacular wonders. It should come as no surprise that the world’s second largest country by geographic size would have a heap of attractions to entice nature lovers, and from thundering waterfalls to stunning peaks, Canada really does have a little bit of everything. Take a look at this list of Canada’s top five natural attractions to get some holiday ideas.
5. The Polar Bears in Churchill, Manitoba
[Also see our travel article "The World’s Best Places to See Wildlife"]
The true vastness of Canada can only be appreciated when travelers leave the densely populated strip near the American border and travel deep into the Great White North. Churchill fits the bill perfectly, as the town sits on the Hudson Bay and is a whole three days train ride north of Winnipeg. The reason travelers make the arduous journey is simple: polar bears. With one of the world’s largest populations, a polar bear sighting is practically guaranteed from one of the town’s tundra buggy adventure tours.
4. Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
Gros Morne is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest national park in eastern Canada. Though it’s situated on the western coast of the island of Newfoundland, the park has a stunning geography that would not seem out of place on a Norwegian postcard. Its mountains rise sharply from the sea and the park’s freshwater fjord is excellent for both sailing and hiking trips. In the summer visitors to the park can camp, hike and enjoy water sports activities like kayaking.
3. The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on Vancouver Island, British Columbia
[Also see our travel article "Hiking Vancouver Island’s North Coast Trail"]
Though Vancouver Island itself is a huge natural attraction, the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on its west coast packs everything that makes the island so special into a snug space. Divided into three distinct sections, the 500-square kilometer park snakes its way along the coast for 125 kilometers. Long Beach is the place to go for beaches and seaside camping, while the more remote Broken Group Islands are perfect for sea kayaking or whale watching. The last section of the park is the 70-kilometer West Coast Trail, which beckons to experienced hikers with its old-growth rainforest and serene camping spots.
2. The Rocky Mountain National Parks, Alberta and British Columbia
[Also see our travel article "Travel Guide to the Canadian Rockies"]
The Rockies are one of the world’s greatest mountain ranges, as the height of its peaks not only stretch the imagination but they also extend for thousands of miles from Canada into the United States. In Canada, the mountains mark the border between Alberta and British Columbia and the two provinces have a total of four national parks in the region, with BC having Kootenay and Yoho and Alberta having Jasper and Banff. Though each of the parks has its own charms, travelers can expect similarly stunning mountain scenery, alpine lakes and wildlife. Outdoorsy travelers won’t be disappointed, as there are a host of activities year-round.
Travelers looking to rent a car to drive to the Rocky Mountains this summer from Calgary or Vancouver should make sure to visit the website of Auto Europe for some great deals.
1. Niagara Falls, Ontario
[Also see our travel article "Visiting Niagara Falls in Ontario"]
Niagara Falls is the name given to three booming waterfalls that span the Niagara River, which separates Ontario from the United States. Visited by millions of tourists each year, the namesake town on the Ontario side has a ton of family-friendly attractions and a casino. But, of course, the biggest draw is the waterfall itself. Book a boat tour of the falls on the famed Maid of Mist to get up close and experience the spray from the falls.