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. Are 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 best places to visit in Canada with the most awe-inspiring scenes and memorable landmarks. Here are our top picks!
Best Places to Visit in Canada
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. We’ve rounded up the top tourist attractions, best scenic views and most beautiful places in Canada for you to visit.
- Check out our Canada Playlist on YouTube for beautiful scenery and our adventurers in Canada
1. Banff National Park & Lake Louise
Banff National Park is one of Canada’s top attractions and with good reason. With famous scenes from Moraine Lake to The Vermillion Lakes and The Three Sisters, Banff National Park is an outdoor lover’s dream. There are so many reasons to visit Banff from hiking 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 Canadian Rockies mountain air as you explore the beautiful lakes of Banff National Park most notably Moraine Lake, Lake Minnewanka, Peyto Lakes, and Vermillion Lakes.
2. Icefields Parkway
The Icefields Parkway is considered one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the world linking Banff and Jasper National Parks through the Canadian Rockies.
This stretch of highway is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Canada with stops including 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
The Columbia Icefields Walk is one of the best places to visit in Alberta and is 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 in Canada. Make a home base and do some camping at Dinosaur Provincial Park to see one of the largest dinosaur fossil collections in the world. Check out more iconic Canadian destinations at Famous Canada Landmarks to add to your bucket List
5. Jasper National Park
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 Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). Choose a view at one of its beautiful lakes – Maligne Lake, Pyramid, Mildred, or Beauvart Lakes for spectacular views. Read more: Amazing Things to do in Jasper, Alberta.
There’s also an excellent ski resort that is less busy than Lake Louise, Marmot Basin is the place to go if you want to hit the slopes.
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 Gorge. It’s one of the best places to visit in Jasper and it’s not to be missed. 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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Whistler is Canada’s outdoor playground with world-class ski resorts, backcountry snowmobiling, and adrenaline activities. It is also one of the top tourist destinations in British Columbia. In the summer go mountain biking or explore its many hiking trails and outdoor activities before relaxing in Whistler village to enjoy the world-class dining and nightlife.
Whistler Ski Resort hosted the winter Olympics so if you want to hit the slopes, Whistler/Black is one of Canada’s premier ski resorts with the most runs in the country. 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 in British Columbia is the main wine region in the province and could easily be mistaken for Tuscany. If you like wine, it is one of the best places to visit in Canada for tours and tastings.
Making a base in either Kelowna, Penticton 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. One of the best places to visit in Victoria is to see the famous Butchart Gardens and to take a stroll through Canada’s oldest China Town. Read more about BC at Exploring the Sea to Sky Highway and Sunshine Coast BC – The Perfect Road Trip Itinerary
Vancouver is a beautiful coastal city in British Columbia. In fact, Flight Center once called it the fifth most beautiful city in the world. Its laid-back west coast vibe makes it one of the best places to explore the outdoors while still enjoying all the urban amenities.
Stanley Park is a part of the city just minutes from the city center with a gorgeous sea wall, the Stanly Park Aquarium and 4 square km of green space it is one of the best places to hang out in the city. With mountains, oceans, plenty of green space, 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
- Where to Stay in Vancouver – Best Hotels & Vacation Rentals By Area
- 26 Best Things to do in Vancouver, BC
The town of Churchill is famous for being located on the polar bear highway and it is one of the best places in the world to see polar bears in their natural habitat. In fact, it has been named the polar bear capital of the world.
Churchill 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).
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.
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
Lunenburg in Nova Scotia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of Canada’s prettiest cities. With painted houses that adhere to strict cultural standards, Lunenburg has kept its maritime heritage intact and is one of the best places to experience the fishing culture of the East Coast.
There’s fine dining, museums, ocean tours, 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 through, hiking along the volcanic coastal rocks makes for a beautiful view of Canada’s East Coast.
There are plenty of things to do in Peggy’s Cove from taking boat tours to exploring the hiking trails and exploring the picturesque nearby towns. Learn more at: 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 Shubenacadie 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 and then kayak out to see rock formations when the 1000 billion tons of water come in every 6 hours. Read More: The Ultimate Nova Scotia Road Trip
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. New Brunswick is a nature lover’s paradise and when exploring this east coast province, the Hopewell Rocks are one of the best places to tart.
- 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 explore 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
24. Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls 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 in Niagara Falls like taking the Maid of the Mist into the heart of Horseshoe Falls, taking a journey behind the falls, riding the Aerocar, or daring to join a jetboat tour to the whirlpool from Niagara on the Lake.
- Check out all the great things to do in Niagara Falls
- Where to Stay in Niagara Falls – Best Areas
- 15 Amazing Things to do in Niagara on the Lake – Canada
25. CN Tower
The CN Tower 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. It’s one of the top tourist attractions in Toronto and with good reason. That’s saying a lot as there are so many things to do in Canada’s largest city but we never tire of bringing people to the CN Tower when they visit.
With its hair-raising glass floor, rotating restaurant, and the adrenaline-pumping Edgewalk, it’s a must-see attraction when visiting Toronto. Be sure to go up the CN Tower for city views and if you love adventure, make sure to try the EdgeWalk.
- 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 destinations and one of the best places to spot moose in the wild. There are hiking trails and it is one of the best places to go snowshoeing in Ontario. Check out: Canoeing 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.
There are also plenty of other hiking trails along Lake Superior, most notably, Agawa Rock Indian Pictograph Trial, Orphan Lake Trail, and Lake Superior Coastal Trail. 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. Ice skating along the Rideau Canal right through the city center. It 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
Ottawa is home to our Canadian government and one of the top things to do is to see Parliament Hill and the historic parliament buildings. It is filled with museums, hiking trails, bike paths and
29. Manitoulin Island
Manitoulin Island is the world’s largest freshwater island filled with natural beauty and several hiking trails. 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 more: The Top Things to do on Manitoulin Island
No trip to Ontario would be complete without visiting the original capital of Canada, Kingston Ontario. Located on the St. Lawrence River, Rideau Canal and Lake Ontario, Kingston has a very unique location.
This city absolutely surprised us when we revised it in 2021. Kingston is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, five national historic sites, four Rembrandt paintings, and more restaurants per capita than most cities in Canada. Kingston is truly an Ontario hidden gem.
- Read more: The Ultimate Kingston Ontario Weekend Itinerary
- Things to do in Kingston – Don’t Miss This Ontario Gem
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 the capital of Prince Edward Island and 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. Read more: Things to do in Prince Edward Island (PEI)
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 right in the heart of the city center. 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 was 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 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.
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
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. the 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.
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
- 13 of the Best Canadian Road Trips – That We’ve Done
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