Dave and I have had the pleasure of visiting most of Canada and these are our picks for the most iconic and beautiful places to visit in Canada. AAre you looking for outdoors or culture? City travels, or rural. Canada has it all! To help you decide where to start, we’re rounding up the most popular places in Canada and the most awe-inspiring scenes and memorable landmarks. Here are our top picks!
Best Places to Visit in Canada
Table of Contents
Canada is huge! In fact, it is the second-largest country in the world. So seeing it all in one shot won’t happen. But luckily we have seen most of it and have had the chance to witness our most iconic places.
If you don’t have a couple of years to drive around the country, you will need to decide what coast you want to travel, and what experiences you want to have.
- Check out our Canada Playlist on YouTube for beautiful scenery and our adventurers in Canada
Alberta – Mind-Blowing Beauty
1. Banff & Lake Louise
Banff National Park one of Canada’s top attractions and with good reason. Banff National Park is an outdoor lover’s dream. There are so many reasons to visit from hike through the mountain trails, mountain biking, backcountry skiing or go horseback riding into the Rocky Mountains. Read Next: Discover Banff in Photos
Witness the incredible view of Lake Louise and the Victoria glacier from the Chateau Fairmont Lake Louise and enjoy the fresh mountain air as you explore the beautiful lakes of Banff Nationa Park most notably Moraine Lake, Lake Minnewanka, Peyto Lakes and Vermillion. Read More: Things to do in Banff, Where to Stay in Banff
2. Icefields Parkway
It is considered one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the world linking Banff and Jasper National Parks. Stops along this iconic stretch of highway include the Athabasca glacier, The Columbia Icefields, reflections of Bow Lake, outstanding views of the Canadian Rockies and more than 100 glaciers, and waterfalls lining the route. Read more: Driving the Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper Alberta
3. Columbia Icefields Skywalk
It’s the coolest walk in Canada dangling 280 meters (918-foot) over the Sunwapta Valley. The glass floor will take your breath away. Located along the Icefields Parkway, this is a beautiful stop to see the surrounding mountains and glaciers. See our road trip along the Icefield’s Parkway
4. Alberta Badlands
The Alberta Badlands are one of North America’s most beautiful views. Make a home base and do some camping at Dinosaur Provincial Park to see one of the largest dinosaur fossil collections in the world.
Jasper National Park is a little less crowded than Banff National Park but no less spectacular It is known for its yearly Dark Sky Festival and it is worth visiting just for the amazing display of stars and the Aurora Borealis. Choose a view at one of its beautiful lakes – Maligne, Pyramid, Mildred or Beauvart Lakes for spectacular views. Read more: Amazing Things to do in Jasper, Alberta
6. Maligne Lake
Speaking of Lakes, you can’t visit Jasper without driving out to the extraordinary views of Maligne Lake. This is a great day trip where you can stop at Maligne Canyon and go for a hike along the Maligne River. Enjoy our list of the Best Things to do in Alberta
7. Waterton Lakes National Park
At the complete other end of Alberta is Waterton Lakes National Park. It shares a border with Glacier National Park in America a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also an International Peace Park, and a Biosphere Reserve rolled all in one. It’s the only one of its kind in the world.
Watch our video: The Best Places in Canada to Visit
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British Columbia – Laid Back West Coast
Whistler is Canada’s outdoor playground with world-class ski resorts, backcountry snowmobiling, and adrenaline activities. In the summer go mountain biking or exploring its many hiking trails and outdoor activities before relaxing in Whistler village to enjoy the world-class dining and nightlife. Check out all the things to do in Whistler
Since we didn’t have a good photo of Tofino, I chose one courtesy of Pixabay.
Located on Vancouver Island just off of Canada’s west coast, Tofino is Canada’s surfing destination. Storm watchers gather in Tofino from October to February to watch the massive winter waves pound the Canadian Coast. Read: Driving the Sunshine Coast in BC – The Perfect Road Trip Itinerary
10. Okanagan Valley
The Okanagan Valley is British Columbia’s wine region and could easily be mistaken for Tuscany.
Making a base in either Kelowna or Vernon offers a relaxing vacation overlooking picturesque lakes, rolling hills and forests and three mountain ranges surrounding the valley
Located on Vancouver Island, Victoria is the capital of British Columbia. With its colonial architecture, grand gardens and lovely seafront, you can feel the English influence with every turn. Read more about BC at Exploring the Sea to Sky Highway
Vancouver is a beautiful coastal city in Canada. In fact, Flight Center once called it the fifth most beautiful city in the world. Its laid back west coast vibe makes it a fantastic place to explore the outdoors. With mountains, oceans, plenty of greenspace and lots of nightlife, it is certainly one of our favourite cities in Canada. Read more: 14 Best Hikes in Vancouver to Enjoy the Great Outdoors
Manitoba – Surprising Adventures
The town of Churchill is famous for being located on the polar bear highway. It is also famous for the beluga whale migration where thousands of belugas can be seen playing in the bay just off the pier of Churchill. A unique thing to see in Churchill is the Polar Bear jail (a holding pen for bears to be relocated after wandering into town). See more: Kayaking with Beluga Whales
14. Hudson Bay
To really see the polar bears, staying at a lodge on Hudson Bay puts you in the true Canadian tundra. Churchill Wild has several lodges in Northern Manitoba where polar bears can be viewed up close and personal in their natural habitat. The wildlife if spectacular, but the scenery is outstanding as well. Enjoy: Walking with Polar Bears
15. Canadian Museum of Human Rights
We don’t put museums in lists of iconic places, but the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg is one of the best museums in the world.
The museum itself is beautifully designed winning many architectural awards taking the visitor on a journey from the ground floor representing roots and soil through mountains, earth, clouds and light with exhibits like the Garden of Contemplation and the glass tower overlooking the city of Winnipeg. Read next: Things to do in Winnipeg
Nova Scotia – East Coast Landmarks
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is Canada’s prettiest city. With painted houses that adhere to strict cultural standards, Lunenburg has kept its maritime heritage in tact. There’s fine dining, museums, ocean tours and luxury hotels and B&B making this the perfect Canadian vacation destination. Enjoy these Beautiful Photos of Nova Scotia
17. Cape Breton
Driving around the Cabot Trail of Cape Breton showcases the best of Canadian life. It is one of the best road trips in the world with outstanding coastal views, hiking trails, whale watching and boat trips, lobster tours and fishing villages. See everything there is to do on the Cabot Trail
18. Peggy’s Cove
One of the world’s most famous lighthouses, Peggy’s Cove is Nova Scotia’s most popular attraction. A visit to Peggy’s Cove is more than a lighthouse, hiking along the volcanic coastal rocks makes for a beautiful view of Canada’s East Coast. Learn more at: Exploring Nova Scotia’s South Shore / Things to do in Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia
19. Three Sisters
The Bay of Fundy are the highest tides in the world and there are three amazing places to witness them in Nova Scotia. The Shubicadie River, Burntcoat Head Provincial Park and kayaking or hiking out to the Three Sisters. Here you can walk on the ocean floor at low tide for miles. Read More: The Ultimate Nova Scotia Road Trip
New Brunswick – World Wonders
20. Bay of Fundy Hopewell Rocks
New Brunswick has the classic views of the Bay of Fundy at the Hopewell Rocks. With Unique Formations, Sea Caves and arches, this is one of the best places to witness the power of the highest tides on earth.
- Read more about the Bay of Fundy
- Amazing Bay of Fundy Adventures – Ways to Experience the Highest Tides
- Tidal Bore Rafting
21. Fundy National Park
Driving through Fundy National Park showcases stunning views of the New Brunswick Coast. With 25 waterfalls and spectacular views of the Bay of Fundy, this is a great Canadian park to visit. If you want a true adventure, take on the challenge of hiking the Fundy Trail. The 61km hike is considered one of the greatest multi-day hikes in the world.
22. Kouchibouguac National Park
One of the best dark sky preserves can be found in Kouchibouguac National Park but it’s the boardwalk through the salt marsh that attracts visitors here. Follow the path out to the sand dunes or explore the river by voyageur canoe. 25 Best Things to do in New Brunswick, Canada
23. St. Martins
With historic covered bridges and the St. Martins Sea Caves is a must-stop on the East Coast. Sea Kayaking trips are offered to explroe the sea caves at high tide, but you can also walk out right into the belly of the massive caves at low tide as the Bay of Fundy waters recede miles out from shore. Read More about New Brunswick at The Best Things to do in Saint John
Ontario – Where Urban Meets Nature
24. Niagara Falls
It is Canada’s most famous tourist attraction and the #1 place to visit in Ontario and it does not disappoint. Dave and I visit Niagara Falls at least once a year and we never tire of seeing one of the world’s largest waterfalls. There are several adventures you can do like taking the Maid of the Mist into the bottom of the horseshoe falls, take a journey behind the falls, or dare to join a jetboat tour to the whirlpool.
- Check out all the great things to do in Niagara Falls
- 15 Amazing Things to do in Niagara on the Lake – Canada
25. CN Tower
It was once the world’s tallest structure, but it is still clinging to the top 10. We’ve visited a lot of towers around the world, but the CN Tower is still the best experience. With its hair raising glass floor, rotating restaurant, and the adrenaline pumping Edgewalk, it’s a must see attraction when visiting Toronto.
- The Best Things to do in Toronto – A Guide to the Top Attractions
- Where to Stay in Toronto – A Guide to the Best Neighborhoods
26. Algonquin Park
Ontario is blessed with many provincial parks, but our favourite is Algonquin Park. This 7,653 km² (2954 square miles) park is one of Canada’s premier canoe route destination and one of the best places to spot moose in the wild. Check out: Caneoing in Algonquin Park
27. Lake Superior North Shore
Not many people get north of Lake Superior, but this is where you’ll find the most beautiful views in Ontario. Stop at the Canada Goose in Wawa, go canoeing or kayaking to the slate islands in search of the woodland caribou or hike the Pukaskwa Trail, one of the hardest hikes in Canada. See our full Lake Superior Circle Tour
Ottawa is Canada’s capital and one of our favorite places to visit in the country. Be sure to visit during the annual winter carnival, Winterlude. Skating along the Rideau Canal is one of the most iconic things to do in Canada. But there are so many things to do in Ottawa. Visit our beautiful Parliament buildings, cross the river to Gatineau, explore its many museums and stay at the historic Chateau Laurier. Read: Things to do in Ottawa
29. Manitoulin Island
Manitoulin Island is the world’s largest freshwater island. It also houses the largest lake within a freshwater island in the world. The best experience to have in Manitoulin is to hike to the top of the Cup and Saucer Trail and to take part in the Great Spirit Circle Tour. An Aboriginal experience. Read: The Top Things to do on Manitoulin Island
Prince Edward Island – Picture Perfect
30. Confederation Bridge
The Confederation Bridge links Prince Edward Island with the country by the Trans Canada Highway. It is the longest bridge in the world crossing ice-covered water at 12.9 km long. It opened in 1994 and is a thrill to drive over. Read:Things to do in Prince Edward Island (PEI)
Charlottetown is home to the ongoing Charlottetown Festival showcasing Anne of Green Gables. But this charming east coast town has much more to it. With farm and fish-to-table dining, boutique hotels, arts and culture plus a picture-perfect harbour, this is one of Canada’s hidden gems.
Quebec – European Flare
32. Quebec City
Quebec City is North America’s European city. Discover the old-world charm of Quebec’s capital city. Old Quebec’s centerpiece is the striking Chateau Frontenac where visitors can get a taste of Victorian-style luxury. There are historic sites throughout Quebec with its historic district designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Read: The Best Things to do in Quebec city
Wendake is a First Nation’s Settlement just 15 minutes from the Old Town of Quebec. This 300-year-old community established by Wendat people after they were driven from their settlements on the Great Lakes. You may have heard of the Huron Peoples, but they are trying to eliminate that name as it was given to them by early European settlers.
Today the Wendat community has a population of 3000 people and welcomes visitors to stay and learn about their way of life. Read: From Wendake to Cree Nation
34. Old Montreal
Montreal itself is a modern and hip city, but wandering into the historic district of Old Montreal and be transported back in time. Notre Dame Cathedral is the central point of Old Montreal and from here you can get lost among the cobblestone streets and historic monuments and buildings.
35. Mont Tremblant
The year-round adventure destination was built around the Mont Tremblant Ski hill. It has an amazing village below with fine dining, nightlife and cafes. Just a 90-minute drive from Montreal, Mont Tremblant has everything for an amazing weekend escape.
Yukon and Northwest Territories – Northern Exposure
36. Dempster Highway
Canada’s ultimate drive is along the Dempster Highway. Here you can drive all the way to the Arctic Ocean. It starts in Inuvik in the Northwest Territories and goes to Dawson City, Yukon.
Along the way you pass the Arctic Circle, the picturesque Tombstone Mountains and plenty of wildlife. It’s not uncommon to see Grizzly Bears on the side of the road! This is an adventure of a lifetime. See our Dempster Highway Adventure
37. Dawson City
Dawson City is a national historic site that has preserved its town facades from the Klondike Gold Rush days. This wild west town is a rip roaring good time where you can experience the midnight sun, views of the Tombstone Mountains and drink the famous Sour Toe Cocktail. Visit Dawson City, Yukon – The Quirkiest Town in Canada and The Sourtoe Cocktail – Dawson City’s Dead Toe Cocktail
38. Ivvavik National Park
It’s the premier spot in Canada to view Grizzly bears in the wild and it’s one of the most remote national parks in the country. Be dropped off in the middle of the Canadian wilderness to stay in prospector tents surrounded by a thin electric wire fence. You are in the corridor of grizzly country and spectacular views of Ivvavik National Park. Enjoy reading: Ivavvik, Falling in Love with the Rugged and Remote
39. Mackenzie Delta
The Mackenzie Delta is a unique ecosystem in the far North of Canada that empties into the Arctic Sea. The Mackenzie River empties into the delta.
For half a year it is covered with ice creating creeks, ponds and tributaries as it waits to flow out to the ocean. When the ice melts, it creates the most remarkable views. You might enjoy: The Most Isolated Places on Earth
Newfoundland – Dreamland
We haven’t visited Newfoundland yet, but we knew that if we didn’t include it, we’d hear about it. When travel opens up again, it is as the top of our list! But for now, these are two places in Newfoundland that we can’t wait to visit.
40. Torngat Mountains
41. Gros Morne National Park
Matt Bailey of LiveLimitless shared this photo with us in our best Canadian Adventures round up and we have wanted to go ever since.
Saskatchewan – Prairies Paradise
42. Grasslands National Park
Dave and I both visited Saskatchewan in our pre-blogging days and look forward to going back soon. We haven’t visited enough of it to really explore all the places to see, but one that should not be missed is Grasslands National Park to see its wild bison. Read: 15 Best Things to do in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
And there you have it. The most iconic places to visit in Canada that we’ve been to. With three bonus places that we haven’t.
Where have you been in Canada. What should we add to our list?
Check out these articles about Canada
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- Places to Visit in Ottawa this Autumn