15 Best Places to Visit During a Summer Vacation in Canada

Canada is the ideal destination for a summer vacation given its pristine landscapes, diverse cities and range of multigenerational entertainment. Its top attractions include national parks, beaches, zoos and aquariums, museums, amusement parks — and even a world-famous rodeo.

Woman standing on a hill and looking at the ocean and rugged coastline

Many people visit Canada during the winter to ski and take part in other fun winter activities. Yet, when summer arrives, Canada has even more to offer with warm temperatures, charming cities, and incredible outdoor recreation. Are you wondering about the best summer destinations in Canada ? Don't worry! Canadian Train Vacations is here to help you. Our local travel experts can help you plan the best Canada summer vacation , arranging transport, hotels and excursions.

The many waterfront cities, towns and resorts are among the best places for a summer vacation in Canada . They offer breathtaking natural landscapes and a variety of land and water activities. The long daylight hours in summer also means abundant opportunities to pull out your camera and take stunning photos . For a more urban vacation, s ummer is an ideal time to visit the country's cities, with their cultural attractions, including summer festivals.

Canada is a fantastic place to visit any time of year, but it's especially welcoming in summer. Here are some of the best places to vacation in Canada in summer .

1. Cape Breton Island

Condé Nast Traveler readers named Cape Breton the best island in North America! During a summer vacation in Canada on this beautiful island in Nova Scotia, you'll enjoy the coastal life, eat fresh seafood, and admire the scenery. The area's Cabot Trail is an excellent place to view the ocean and spend some time outdoors. Guided bicycle tours are another enjoyable way to explore this area. You can also see the area's natural wildlife on a guided boat cruise to observe the bird and whale populations. 

One of the best ways to experience Cape Breton is on a Canadian Train Vacation itinierary, as many trips start or end in Halifax, which provides easy access to this scenic island. To get to Cape Breton Island, one can take the Canso Causeway from mainland Nova Scotia, a Marine Atlantic ferry from Newfoundland, or fly into J.A. Douglas McCurdy Airport in Sydney. Maritime Bus provides service to Whycocomagh, North Sydney, Port Hawkesbury, and Baddeck from the mainland.

View of river winding through valley, mountains and Atlantic coastline from the Franey Trail

2. Victoria

Victoria is on magnificent Vancouver Island, British Columbia, is one of the best summer vacation places in Canada. This coastal city can only be reached by ferry or plane. The capital of British Columbia, it is ideal for foodies and those looking for exciting cultural experiences. It is known as "the Garden City" because of its many well-kept green spaces, such as the massive Beacon Hill Park and nearby Butchart Gardens, a must-see garden oasis. 

Visit the Butterfly Gardens, where kids can interact with geckos, tropical birds, flamingos, and hundreds of free-flying butterflies. Take a stroll down Johnson Street and do some window shopping. Summer festivals abound in this city, including a beer fest, a vegan festival, and a Fringe festival. With its oceanside location, Victoria is home to some amazing whale-watching tours.

This place also has historic buildings. Climb the 87 steps to the top of Craigdarroch Castle's Tower for the best view in Victoria. It also has Canada's oldest lighthouse on the West Coast.

Victoria also offers easy access to amazing beaches and scenic hiking trails, including parts of the West Coast Trail, the "hike of the lifetime." 

View of inner harbour and Fairmont Empress hotel in Victoria

3. Saskatoon

While coastal havens in Canada almost always get all the recognition, Saskatoon in the prairies is also worth visiting. With its city-meets-country vibe, Saskatoon is the ultimate spot for the urban-but-outdoorsy family. Foodies love this area due to the many local farms that provide natural foods and homegrown goods, especially berries in the summer.

Visit the Western Development Museum to learn about pioneer life and enjoy a ride on the Prairie Lily riverboat to view the sights. This area is also home to Grasslands National Park, a popular destination for family holidays. You can travel to Saskatchewan by road, plane, ferry, rail, or bus. Make a point of visiting this location during the summer.

a couple walks over an open grassy hill in the prairies

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4. niagara falls.

Summer is a great time to visit the dazzling Niagara Falls — every traveler's bucket list should include a visit to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. The combined flow rate of the three waterfalls (Bridal Veil Falls, American Falls, and Horseshoe Falls) is the highest of any North American waterfall. The SkyWheel, a 175-foot tall Ferris wheel, boat tours , the casino, and other popular attractions in Niagara Falls provide chances for romance or family fun.

Niagara Falls can be seen in various ways thanks to diverse activities. You can see the gushing waterfalls from every angle imaginable, from helicopter tours and underground mazes to boat rides. There are also many wineries in the area to visit.

Niagara Falls is a 1.5-hour drive from Toronto along the QEW highway.

Aerial view of Niagara Falls during daytime

5. Prince Edward Island

If you ask a Canadian what are the best places to vacation in Canada in the summer, they will probably say Prince Edward Island. Walking along the red sand beaches, with their unique old lighthouses, you'll feel like you've stepped into a postcard. The gorgeous Cavendish Beach on Prince Edward Island is yet another popular summer destination in Canada. You can go clam digging or take part in a lobster dinner.

You can also take a walking tour of Charlottetown, where guides dressed in period costumes will offer you a history lesson on this Canadian city. Another cultural activity is going to a production of "Anne of Green Gables," the long-running musical at the local arts festival.

Popular outdoor activities on this Island include kayaking, golf, standup paddle boarding, and parasailing.

There are three options for getting to Prince Edward Island. You can drive across the Confederation Bridge from New Brunswick, take a ferry from Nova Scotia, or fly into Charlottetown Airport.

sandy beach and red sand dunes at Prince Edward Island National Park, sunny day

6. Alaska Highway, Yukon

This summer, take a trip along the Alaska Highway through the Yukon for a faraway and wild Canadian adventure. This long stretch of road, also known as the ALCAN Highway, connects the United States to Alaska, passing via Yukon and British Columbia along the way. It's a memorable scenic drive filled with hot springs, small towns, mountain ranges, and wildlife viewing opportunities.

There are numerous breathtaking views of high mountains and massive ice fields along the way. You can go mountaineering here, explore the vast ice fields, and take a flightseeing trip to view the ice fields below.

A car drives down the Alaska Highway with towering mountains in the distance and fall colours

Tofino is another popular summer destination in British Columbia, and it's a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. This West Coast destination has something for everyone, whether you're looking for sand dollars on the beach, want to hike old-growth rainforest in Pacific Rim National Park, try catching a wave on a surfboard, rest in the hot springs cove, go whale watching, or join a bear-watching boat tour.

It's also fun to kayak in the Clayoquot Sound, go deep-sea fishing, and visit the Tofino Botanical Garden in this part of Canada. Tofino is a beautiful place to visit, with charming inns and campgrounds if you want to rough it. It's one of the best summer vacation places in Canada.

A group of surfers walk across a sandy beach in Tofino

Halifax, in Nova Scotia, is jam-packed with family-friendly activities. When you take a trip to Halifax in the summer, you can enjoy spectacular water views, plenty of local history stories, and delicious seafood. Take the view from Citadel Hill, where actors dressed in costumes will give you a history lesson.

Also, public gardens are nearby, which are ideal for a summer picnic. Stroll down the boardwalk for a scenic view of the water and let the kids play in the ship-themed playground. The Discovery Centre, Nova Scotia's only hands-on science centre, will also appeal to children. Trips to Peggy's Cove are widely known among visitors to experience the picturesque neighborhood along the rocky coastline with its iconic lighthouse and the fishing village culture.

If you want to enjoy some delicious lobster, crab, and fish dishes, go to Salt Shaker Deli in Lunenburg, a World Heritage Site, about an hour and a half outside Halifax. You can travel to Halifax by air, ferry, cruise, or land.

An aerial view of star-shaped Citadel Hill National Park and the core of downtown Halifax next to the ocean

9. Whistler

Although most people associate Whistler with the famous ski resort, it is also an excellent summer destination. Whistler, located in British Columbia in the Coast Mountains two hours north of Vancouver, provides a genuine Canadian west-coast mountain encounter.

Whistler has it all for nature lovers. At the base of the Blackcomb Mountains, there is a family adventure zone. You can hike the Valley Trail, spot bears, and even raft the Cheakamus River in this Pacific Coast Mountain location. There's hiking, mountain biking, zip-lining, horseback riding, jet boating, and canoeing — plenty to keep you busy. When it's time to unwind, take a break from the adventure and head lakeside to sandy beaches with concession stands, play areas, and BBQs. Whistler Village offers a vibrant night life, with restaurants, pubs and dancing.

To reach here, fly into a primary airport such as Seattle (SEA), Vancouver International (YVR), or Bellingham (BLI), then transfer to Whistler.

Woman and man hike on alpine trail through wildflowers, Whistler

#1 Travel Tip: Take in the views on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola

Ride this world record-breaking gondola in Whistler for spectacular views of towering volcanic peaks and coastal rainforest. Bring your camera as these scenic surroundings are picture perfect!

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

10. Quebec City

Quebec City, the capital of Quebec, is one of North America's oldest cities, founded in 1608 by a French explorer. It is famous for its walled Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The downtown area maintains a charming vintage vibe thanks to majestic architecture and cobbled streets.

The castle-like Chateau de Frontenac and the charming buildings of the Old City boast a European charm. The city still proudly wears its French heritage on its sleeve today, as evidenced by impressive architecture such as Place Royale and the Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church, which houses the Saint Geneviève chapel.

City parks, such as the Plains of Abraham, are nearby and ideal for a scenic picnic. Away from the city, numerous hiking trails lead through lush pastures with stunning cliffs overlooking the Saint Lawrence River. At the Aquarium du Québec, you can interact with polar bears, seals, and walruses. You also can devote the day to The Baie de Beauport, the city's beach. Prepare to be captivated by Canada's French capital.

View of Chateau Frontenac and Quebec City skyline at sunset

11. Alberta Badlands

The Alberta Canadian Badlands, which include Dinosaur Park, is a one-of-a-kind destination in Canada. There have been numerous discoveries of dinosaur bones here, helping to make it a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Badlands Trail provides excellent views of unusual rock structures, such as hoodoos and pinnacles. To learn about dinosaurs, visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum, which is filled with profound dinosaur skeleton exhibits.

The Canadian Badlands are a 35,000-square-mile area unlike anywhere else on the planet. Horseshoe Canyon, antiquity pictograph and petroglyph engravings, and sandstone boulders are also must-sees in the area.

Person and their dog hiking in the badlands of Drumheller

12. Montreal

Art and culture are abundant in Montreal in Quebec, another popular summer destination in Canada. When the weather is nice, this bilingual city has plenty of festivals, culinary events, and restaurants with outdoor seating to visit. Meanwhile, music lovers can attend the International Jazz Festival and other local music events.

You can also visit famous sites such as Notre Dame, the Montreal Biodome, and Mount Royal. Visiting Montreal is an excellent way to get a taste of Europe without needing to travel there. Make a pit stop at Atwater Market for some gelato. Montréal is reachable by plane (via the Montréal-Trudeau International Airport), car, train, boat, and bus.

View of a busy street in Old Montreal

13. Fundy National Park

Summer days are spent at Fundy National Park, where visitors enjoy a pristine coastline and the world's highest tides.

This New Brunswick park offers a taste of Atlantic Canadian culture and numerous outdoor activities, such as kayaking at low tide and yurt camping. While in the area, you should also visit the Kouchibouguac National Park, Fort Beauséjour - Fort Cumberland National Historic Site, Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site, and Andrew's Blockhouse National Historic Site.

Fundy National Park is situated on provincial Highway 114 near Alma, New Brunswick. There is no direct public transportation to or from the park, so you must drive here.

A person stands on a boardwalk viewpoint and looks at a waterfall in a lush forest

14. Toronto

Toronto is a famous vacation destination all year, but it's a must in the summer if you like festivals, concerts, and sporting events. Toronto combines urban and beach bum vibes, and there's even a neighborhood east of the city called 'The Beaches,' with four beaches to choose from. Summer markets in Toronto offer farm-fresh produce and one-of-a-kind souvenirs.

Throughout the summer, Toronto comes alive with various events, such as Blue Jays home games and food festivals. The Bruce Trail is one of many excellent places for hiking, and Niagara Parks is ideal for biking. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) operates easy-to-navigate the city's subways, buses, and streetcars.

Toronto Island ferry cruises past the Toronto city skyline

#2 Travel Trip: Visit the St. Lawrence Market

This market in Toronto includes an antique market, a food market, and a marketplace with more than 120 traders. There is also a gallery upstairs, which features free exhibits reflecting the history and culture of the city.

Blog Author - Athena McKenzie

15. Jasper National Park

Jasper is a relaxed mountain town that serves as a great foundation for discovering the Canadian Rockies, with easy access to stunning mountains and alpine lakes. Views abound as hikers travel from Mount Edith Cavell's peaks to Maligne Canyon's caverns. Hike to Pyramid Lake, kayak Lake Edith or Lake Annette, or take a boat tour through Maligne Canyon. With over 2.7 million acres to explore, visitors can see wildlife from caribou to wolverines to moose.

The Icefields Parkway, southeast of Jasper, should be on everyone's bucket list with its dramatic views of several glaciers. It can be done as a road trip or explored on a guided small-group tour. 

The Via Rail train and Rocky Mountaineer both stop in the town of Jasper, and this destination is included in many trips by Canadian Train Vacations . Do note that Jasper does not have a public transportation system.

Person in a canoe paddles across the turquoise water of Maligne Lake and looks towards the mountains

Frequently Asked Questions

Where should i go for a summer vacation in canada.

Banff in the Canadian Rockies, Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island and Toronto are some of best place to vacation in Canada in the summer.

What is the prettiest place in Canada?

Lake Louise in Alberta is often considered one of the prettiest places in Canada. Alberta offers the most distinct natural landscapes in Canada, with the Rocky Mountains and rolling grasslands, dry badlands, and vast swaths of boreal woodland. The province is also home to two of Canada's most famous national parks, Banff and Jasper, which have beautiful lakes and glaciers.

Which destination is best for a summer vacation in Canada?

Banff National Park is easily one of Canada's best vacation spots and is a haven for nature and outdoor enthusiasts. It offers a range of activities and accomodations to suit any style of traveller, from camping to luxury resorts.

About the author: Athena McKenzie is the Content Manager at Fresh Tracks Canada. An experienced lifestyle journalist, she has written about travel, design, arts and entertainment. Her work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Zoomer Magazine, Elle Canada and...   Read more

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8 Great Places Across Canada to Visit This Summer

Get lost in the outdoor regions and bustling centers of the great white north..

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White and red lighthouse at Covehead, Prince Edward Island

From outdoor excursions to city exploration, summer in Canada’s got plenty in store for you.

Photo by Tobias Negele/Shutterstock

With Canada covering 6,204,391 square miles and encompassing three oceans—and a huge variety of landscapes and cultures between them—there is plenty to see and do in the country. That’s especially true in the summer, when the sun reveals all sorts of spots hidden during the winter.

It’s hard to whittle down such an immense and diverse country to just a handful or two of places, but here are eight of our favorite locations to spend a summer in Canada.

1. Prince Edward Island

Canada ’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island is a delicious summer cocktail of sweeping coastal views, red sandstone cliffs, and pristine beaches blended with fresh maritime cuisine and welcoming towns.

While many of the island’s beloved sand dunes suffered severe erosion as a result of Hurricane Fiona in 2022, the opening of the Canadian Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation in St. Peters Bay provides reason for hope. Explorers can also enjoy the Island Walk , a 435-mile route opened in 2021. Circumnavigating the perimeter of the island, it takes in beaches, PEI’s red dirt roads, scenic viewpoints, and ocean paths. With 32 sections, it’s easy to jump on and off for a bit of exploration and culinary indulgence in foods like lobster rolls.

Where to stay

  • Book now: The Great George

Plan to stay in Charlottetown? The Great George has 54 rooms and suites spread among 17 restored heritage properties in the city’s historic district.

Beluga whales surfacing above the water in Churchill.

In the summer, thousands of beluga whales head to the Churchill River Estuary.

Courtesy of Travel Manitoba

2. Churchill, Manitoba

It’s not only polar bears that are worth seeing in the “polar bear capital of the world.” In summer, 60,000 beluga whales—the highest concentration in the world—migrate to places like the Churchill River Estuary in Hudson Bay.

To get up close to the whales, it’s possible to kayak among the congenial creatures, but imagine being able to view them from beneath the water. Beginning summer 2023, visitors will be able to thrill at the animals’ subaquatic behaviors aboard the Matonabee , Lazy Bear Expeditions’ brand new vessel featuring 12 submerged windows. On a coastal boat tour, it’s possible to see many other local animals on the shore, such as Arctic foxes and Arctic hares. Polar bears can sometimes be seen, too, sunbathing on boulders, swimming in the water, or rolling in fields of wildflowers.

  • Book now: Lazy Bear Lodge

Lazy Bear Lodge is a cozy log cabin made of timber reclaimed from a boreal forest fire and recycled wavy glass windows from a 19th-century Hudson Bay Trading Post.

Rays of the setting sun over the North Saskatchewan River and Terwillegar Park Footbridge in Edmonton, Alberta

The North Saskatchewan River has been important for the livelihood of the Indigenous people in the area.

Photo by Rita Petcu/Shutterstock

3. Métis Crossing, Alberta

Canada’s first major Métis cultural destination, Métis Crossing, is a gathering place and interpretative center for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike, the perfect place to foster cultural understanding and reconciliation.

Summer visitors can learn traditional Métis crafts such as beading, ribbon skirt-making or embroidering from Knowledge-Keeper Lilyrose Meyers. Outdoor activities include a guided visit to the wildlife park, home to elk, horses, and three types of bison; stargazing and Métis storytelling; or paddling in a replica Voyageur canoe down the North Saskatchewan River, just as Indigenous fur traders once did. It was also one of AFAR’s places to go in 2022 .

  • Book now: The Lodge at Métis Crossing

Overnight guests can camp in traditional trapper tents or bed down in style at the Métis-designed 40-room boutique lodge , opened in December 2021. Beginning summer 2023, amateur astronomers will be able to contemplate the stars from the comfort of their beds in the new sky watching dome accommodations .

Aerial image of Halifax, Nova Scotia

This summer, spend time in Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia.

Photo by Russ Heinl/Shutterstock

4. Halifax, Nova Scotia

Cities may not be top of mind for travelers seeking the great outdoors. Mild-weathered Halifax , however, is an exception to that rule. With gorgeous beaches (some with surf schools), provincial parks, and islands aplenty in and around Halifax, this city of 420,000 comes to life in summer.

These days, however, the former Atlantic backwater is upping its sophistication game as its foodie, wine, and craft brewery and distillery scenes grow. Recently, $200 million of private investment in the region brought a major makeover and expansion of the waterfront district. Unveiled in November 2021, the Queen’s Marque is a premier arts, dining, and shopping destination with world-class galleries and public art installations. Dining and drinking options include Drift , a refined, contemporary take on classic Atlantic Canadian dishes; Peacock , an intimate bistro and wine bar; Bar Sofia , showcasing Argentinian and Peruvian dishes; and Daryâ , a restaurant highlighting eastern Mediterranean flavors.

  • Book now: Muir Halifax

An AFAR 2023 Stay List pick , the Muir Halifax is Atlantic Canada’s first five-star boutique hotel. It even offers guests private tours of Halifax’s coastline aboard its 36-foot yacht or high-speed 24-foot motorboat.

Aerial view of the Aerial Fundy Trail Parkway

The Fundy Trail Parkway is part of the UNESCO-recognized Fundy Biosphere Reserve.

Photo by Nick Hawkins/Tourism New Brunswick

5. The Fundy Trail Parkway, New Brunswick

You’ve likely heard of Cape Breton Island’s Cabot Trail . But what about the Fundy Trail Parkway ? Built over a 25-year span and completed in 2021, the Parkway is not only a beautiful 18-mile drive along the Bay of Fundy’s rocky coastline but also a nature park. The park encompasses five beaches, four waterfalls, 22 miles of hiking and cycling trails, and almost two dozen scenic lookouts and observation decks.

Take a First Nations–guided walk in the bay’s tides (the highest in the world) to discover the history and culture of Wolastoq and Mi’kmaq peoples and learn about their stories and traditional medicines. Over at Cape Hopewell, wander the Hopewell Rocks, 600 million years old, and—if you dare—kayak among these astounding geological formations after dark—and at high tide—with Baymount Adventures .

  • Book now: Beach Street Inn

Anchor yourself in the Bay of Fundy at the new Beach Street Inn in the small fishing village of St. Martin’s. The stay features homey touches like a terrace, a garden, and in-room fireplaces.

Mount Assiniboine, Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park

Part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain UNESCO World Heritage site, Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park features a mountain nearly 12,000 feet tall.

Photo by Alex Gorey/Unsplash

6. Kootenay Rockies, British Columbia

With three mountain ranges, six national parks, and 47 provincial parks, there is no shortage of natural beauty in the remote Kootenay Rockies of British Columbia, the first region in Canada to implement a community-driven strategy to build a clean transportation network in a rural setting. Mountain towns bearing names like Golden, Trail, Fernie, and Revelstoke are becoming increasingly trendy among alpine ski fanatics, backcountry skiers, hikers, and nature-loving creatives and the food scene has followed suit.

There is much for outdoor enthusiasts to do here: Go mountain biking on steep trails. Splash around waterfalls. Soak in hot springs. Spot birds and mammals by kayak or canoe in the water world that is the Columbia Wetlands in summer. Visit Boo, a 20-year-old orphaned grizzly bear, at the Kicking Horse Grizzly Bear Refuge .

In Golden, thrill seekers will appreciate Golden Skybridge , a new outdoor adventure park spread around the rim of a rock canyon. Opened in 2021, the park is home to two suspension bridges, the highest in Canada, dangling above a deep abyss.

  • Book now: Heather Mountain Lodge ; Purcell Mountain Lodge

Get an immersive stay within British Columbia’s natural splendor and savor gourmet cuisine at Heather Mountain Lodge or Purcell Mountain Lodge —the latter only accessible by helicopter.

Niagara Falls, Canada

Especially with Niagara-on-the-Lake’s summertime activities, its proximity to Niagara Falls is only the beginning to this destination’s offerings.

Photo by Edward Koorey/Unsplash

7. Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Ontario’s Niagara peninsula is home to the border-crossing Niagara Falls , but there’s more to the region than the natural wonder: sun-splashed rolling vineyards and award-winning wineries, the sandy beaches of Lake Erie, soothing spas, championship golf courses, scenic hiking and cycling trails, and pretty towns and villages. The crown jewel of these is Niagara-on-the-Lake, a town of 18,000 with boutique shops, lovingly maintained Victorian buildings, cast-iron planters cascading with flowers, and, of course, the acclaimed Shaw Festival .

Founded in 1962, the Shaw is an international destination for theater lovers. The season runs until November, with this year’s lineup featuring 13 plays, including The Playboy of the Western World , The Amen Corner , Prince Caspian , and The Shadow of a Doubt . The Spiegeltent, open only in summer, will run Mother, Daughter and The Game of Love and Chance . Another outdoor performance space will put on other shows and events.

  • Book now: 124 Q Hotel & Spa ; Riverbend Inn & Vineyard

In the Old Town, try the newly revamped and expanded 124 Q Hotel & Spa . Housed in a Georgian mansion, the Riverbend Inn & Vineyard is a good bet for those wanting to be surrounded by vineyards.

Waterfront of Kamouraska, Quebec

The sweeping landscapes of Kamouraska are in eastern Quebec.

Photo by darengd/Unsplash

8. Bas St. Laurent, Quebec

Quebec is not only about Montreal and Quebec City . On the south shore of the St. Lawrence River lies the Bas Saint-Laurent (the Lower St. Lawrence), a distinctive maritime region east of Quebec City.

No trip along Route 132 is complete without a stop in Kamouraska. Dubbed le doux pays (“the sweet land”), by locals, Kamouraska is a picturesque tableau of meadows and farmlands sweeping down to the river, colorful Victorian homes with gabled roofs and wraparound verandas, and a main street lined with attractive boutiques and restaurants.

Also worth stopping for along the way are cities and municipalities like Notre-Dame-du-Portage, Saint-Pascal, and Sainte-Flavie, the gateway to the Gaspésie. Sainte-Flavie features the Centre d’Art Marcel Gagnon , a quirky art gallery whose exterior resembles a Gaudí confection. The beachfront, meanwhile, is the site of Le Grand Rassemblement ( The Great Gathering ), an art installation made of 80 concrete sculptures fixed into the water.

Whale watching is popular here. Tours are available from Croisières AML and depart from Rivière-du-Loup.

  • Book now: Auberge du Portage

The Auberge du Portage resort has an outdoor heated saltwater pool, tennis court, a walking trail, and a patio perfect for drinks at sunset.

Riverdale Park East

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Best places to visit in canada for 2023-2024.

From the cosmopolitan streets of Toronto to the snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies, our neighbor to the north features a diverse set of vacation destinations that are beautiful year-round. Deciding which one is perfect for your next getaway can be difficult. That's why U.S. News considered several factors, such as affordability, entertainment options and diversity of hotels and resorts, as well as user votes and expert opinions, to compile this list of the best places to visit in Canada. Vote for your favorite spot below to have a say in next year's list.

Jasper National Park

Vancouver, canada, niagara falls, quebec city, prince edward island, gros morne national park, victoria & vancouver island, cape breton highlands national park, mont-tremblant, okanagan valley.

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Nestled amid the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, this tiny mountain town in Alberta appeals to both nature enthusiasts and luxury seekers. Visitors can spend their days skiing or hiking in Banff National Park (one of Canada's most beautiful national parks and home of the glacier-fed Moraine Lake) and floating down the Bow River on a canoe before retiring to one of the area's several opulent hotels for some spa therapy. Then, for incredible views of the Rockies, take a ride on the Banff Gondola. Meanwhile, daytrips to popular attractions like the Columbia Icefield, Yoho National Park and Lake Louise cannot be left off of your itinerary.

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

As the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper is ripe for exploration. When you're not hiking through Maligne Canyon, whitewater rafting down the Athabasca River or snapping photos of Spirit Island, you can enjoy a bird's-eye view of the picture-perfect scenery from the Jasper SkyTram. Or, take in the beauty of Jasper National Park while driving along the Icefields Parkway. Keep your eyes peeled for the 53 species of mammals that call this Alberta park home, including black bears, elk and bighorn sheep.

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

A trip to this British Columbia city, which sits approximately 145 miles north of Seattle, is all about embracing the outdoors. Vancouverites spend their days skiing on Grouse Mountain, swimming at Kitsilano Beach and strolling through the sprawling Stanley Park. Plus, Vancouver offers plenty of cultural attractions, including museums, art galleries and outdoor markets (a tour of Granville Island is a must-do). If you're not afraid of heights, walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge, which is positioned 230 feet above the Capilano River.

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Travel to this iconic destination in southeastern Ontario to see and capture photos of its namesake world-famous tourist attraction . View Niagara Falls from above during a helicopter tour, or see them up close on the Maid of the Mist boat tour. Or, for a unique perspective, admire the thunderous falls from behind with the self-guided Journey Behind the Falls experience. After you've taken in the splendor, check out the area's other top attractions, such as the Niagara Glen Nature Centre, which offers a variety of hiking trails. When you've had your fill of nature, head to nearby wineries or test Lady Luck at the casinos.

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Referred to as the "small city with a big backyard," Whitehorse – the capital of Canada's Yukon territory – shines with all of its outdoor activities. Explore Miles Canyon, which is accessible from Whitehorse on foot (a nearly 10-mile loop trail connects the city directly to this natural wonder). After, head north to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, where you'll find all kinds of animals, including arctic foxes, elk, muskox and bison. Even though this region gets notoriously cold, you might want to time your visit around the first couple of weeks of winter for a chance to witness the northern lights.

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

A trip to Europe may not be in your budget, but a visit to Québec City could be. This Canadian city charms visitors with its picturesque centuries-old buildings that make up Old Québec – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Meanwhile, the aromas of freshly baked bread and brewing espresso fill the cobblestone streets of the Quartier Petit-Champlain with the essence of Paris. Once you've gotten your fill of the city, take a trip to Montmorency Falls Park to marvel at its 272-foot-tall waterfall. Plan your visit for winter when the city comes alive with twinkling lights, festivals and cold-weather activities – just remember to pack your down jacket .

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Take adventure travel up a notch with a visit to Whistler. In winter, this resort town in British Columbia (about 75 miles north of Vancouver) boasts everything from cross-country skiing and snowboarding to bobsled rides and bungee jumping. Travelers can spend their downtime in Whistler Village enjoying the après-ski scene, perusing locally owned shops or strolling through Whistler Olympic Plaza. Meanwhile, visitors in town when the weather is warmer can go hiking, fishing, horseback riding, kayaking and more. Plus, summer travelers will love exploring Brandywine Falls Provincial Park, home to the 230-foot-tall waterfall from which the park gets its name.

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Home to rolling green hills, sandy beaches, red sandstone cliffs and a delicious bounty of seafood (this is where PEI mussels come from, after all), Prince Edward Island is the place to travel for a relaxing respite from Canada's more adventure-driven destinations. When you're not hiking the trails at Prince Edward Island National Park, perfect your swing at one of the island's golf courses or visit the Green Gables Heritage Place, where the 1908 novel, "Anne of Green Gables" was inspired. And be sure to keep an eye out for PEI's seal population (four kinds call the island home either full or part time).

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

This UNESCO World Heritage Site encompasses nearly 700 square miles of land on Newfoundland's west coast. Its top activity is undoubtedly hiking through the Tablelands. Here, you'll traverse exposed earth mantle, a rust-colored landscape that was created millions of years ago by a collision of tectonic plates. Also save time for a boat ride on Western Brook Pond, which is a glacier-carved, landlocked fjord that features cascading waterfalls measuring 2,000 feet. After getting a taste of nature, learn about the region's history at the Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse.

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Montréal is a city of juxtaposition: Skyscrapers rub elbows with Old Montréal's 17th-century architecture while the familiar sounds of English intermingle with the foreign buzz of French – the official language of Québec province. Visit Old Montréal to get a taste of Europe (think: beautiful architecture and cobblestone streets), including its own Notre-Dame Basilica, a grand Gothic Revival-style church that offers self-guided tours along with an evening sound and light show. Then head to modern attractions, such as the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts. Meanwhile, if you're visiting during the warmer months, don't miss out on the Montréal Botanical Garden and the scenic Mount Royal Park.

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

While Montréal and Québec City honor Canada's French roots, Victoria pays tribute to the country's British heritage. Many pay a visit to Victoria, British Columbia's capital city, for afternoon tea, a tour of the beautiful Parliament Buildings or a history lesson at the Royal BC Museum. Others are interested in visiting Vancouver Island's wineries to sample local vinos. Meanwhile, animal lovers enjoy the abundance of marine wildlife that call the waters surrounding Victoria home. In fact, there are nearly 80 orca whales in Victoria's waters. What's more, since Victoria is one of the most sustainable urban destinations in North America, visitors can feel good about the impact of their trip.   

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

"Big" doesn't even begin to describe this Ontario city. With cultural pockets like Greektown, Little India and Koreatown all within city limits, Toronto has the ability to transport visitors around the globe. Take it all in with a ride up the 1,815-foot-tall CN Tower, or enjoy a quintessentially Canadian experience at the Hockey Hall of Fame. Then, head to the St. Lawrence Market to sample gourmet goodies before checking out the nearby Harbourfront Centre. And if the weather is right, plan a visit to the Toronto Islands, where you can relax on the beach, go kayaking or enjoy an afternoon bike ride.

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

The star of this national park on Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island is the world-famous Cabot Trail – one-third of which runs through the park. As you drive the winding highway, which is considered one of the world's most scenic drives, you'll pass forested river canyons, rural fishing villages and plenty of lookout points for admiring Nova Scotia's serene landscape. Prefer to explore the park on your own two feet? There are 26 hiking trails to choose from, as well as opportunities for kayaking, mountain climbing, camping and more.

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Located a little more than 80 miles northwest of Montréal in Québec's Laurentian Mountains, Mont-Tremblant is best known for its skiing, specifically Mont Tremblant Ski Resort, which occupies the highest peak in the mountain range. But warm-weather visitors are equally enchanted by its Parc national du Mont-Tremblant, which boasts six rivers and 400 lakes and streams, not to mention countless hiking trails and beaches. Water sports, fishing and mountain biking are all popular here thanks to the area's diverse landscape.

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Stretching across more than 150 miles, the Okanagan Valley is home to 86% of British Columbia's vineyard acreage and features more than 200 world-class wineries. There are also a variety of subregions in the valley, each promising its own unique experiences and grape varietals. If you are looking to combine wine tasting with outdoor pursuits, visit the Naramata Bench. This area is packed with wineries and offers everything from kayaking to mountain biking. No matter which area you visit, you'll enjoy spectacular views that rival those of the world's best wine regions .

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best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Kluane National Park and Reserve

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Saint John, New Brunswick

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

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Avid adventurer, travel blogger, and experience seeker. Starting each morning with a desire to see the world through a different lens.

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

27 Incredible Places to Visit in Canada This Summer

Canada is filled with incredible places to visit during the summer, ranging from stunning beaches, soaring mountains, beautiful parks, and so much more. With the warm summer weather, outdoor travels are an absolute must. If you’re from Canada, you’ll know the summer passes way too quickly. Before you know it, it will be snowing again! Take advantage of the season and visit some incredible places the country has to offer.

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

With so many wonderful summer destinations, it can certainly be challenging to decide where to go! And so, a group of travel bloggers has come together to recommend their favourite places to visit in Canada this summer. Surely, they will inspire you to add more places to your bucket list!

Continue reading to discover the best places in Canada to visit this summer!

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you.

Table of Contents

Places to Visit in the West Coast of Canada in Summer

Recommended by Daniel of Destinationless Travel 

Whistler is one of the best places to visit in Canada in summer (and really all year round!). People hanging out at the beach in Whistler.

When it comes to epic summer destinations in Canada few are as popular or well known as Whistler. Although famous for world-class skiing,  Whistler is home to a huge range of bucket list things to do  in the summer too.

For many, your days will be spent at one of the lakes around town. The most popular for a beach day is Lost Lake where you’ll find crowds of people of all ages relaxing at the beach. Take a walk around the lake and take a plunge off the floating jetty or take a paddleboard and explore. Regardless it’s a fun day out.

For the adrenaline junkies, you simply have to get yourself a day pass on the gondola and try some downhill mountain biking. The trails here are epic and even the most experience can find one to test their skills. Of course, if you have no experience you can still give it a go, or, take a ride on one of the many trails around town. Just head to a bike rental store, grab a bike and a map and explore.

After all the riding it’s likely you’ll be thirsty and hungry. A favorite spot of mine is Whistler Brewing . The brewery is located a short drive from the center of town and they brew some delicious Canadian craft beer. The brewery also has a hearty menu with lots of pub classics. My favorite though? The bigger than your face nachos. Seriously it’s huge and will easily feed two people.

The above activities really stick to a typical budget in Whistler, however for those who want to spoil themselves a floatplane tour around the mountains is a must. This unique experience has you taking off and landing in lakes all while enjoying a classic scenic flight with breathtaking views.

With the above activities and so much more it’s no wonder people love Whistler in summer! 

Where to Stay in Whistler:

  • One of the top-rated and fancy places to stay in Whistler is the Westin Resort & Spa . It’s perfect for a weekend getaway!
  • For a stunning boutique hotel experience with colourful rooms, check out Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel .
  • For more places to stay in Whistler, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .

Bowen Island

Recommended by Dean and Laynni of Routinely Nomadic

Bowen Island is one of the best places to visit in Canada in summer (and really all year round!). View of the harbour with boats.

While Canada has plenty of winter attractions, it really comes to life in summer. And what better place to visit on a balmy summer day than a gorgeous island just off the Pacific Coast? Little Bowen Island meets all the requirements for a perfect day trip (or longer if you have the time) – spectacular scenery, a convenient location by car or public transport, beaches, hikes, water sports, and a great selection of shops, restaurants and bars, most of which are found right in  beautiful Snug Cove .

Located just a 20-minute ferry ride across from Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay terminal , Bowen Island is particularly popular with hikers. This lush island is laced with nice hiking trails, many of which start right at the harbour. Iconic Mount Gardner is accessed via several different trails and provides incredible scenic lookouts of the mainland (on a clear day, all the way to Mount Baker), Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast and the Pebble Beach Sea Walk is a pleasant stroll with amazing views and a cute little lighthouse at the end. Also, if you ask around near Snug Cove a local might help you find the famous Driftwood Mastodon. Then, once you’ve worn yourself out, you can choose from a number of cozy beaches.

Tacos, hot dogs, and ice cream are among the favourite choices along the pleasant harbour and there are many interesting shops and galleries for those looking for a memento of their time on Bowen. Whether you are looking to get active or just soak in some island ambiance, Bowen Island is a great choice.

Where to Stay on Bowen Island:

  • A popular place to stay on Bowen Island is Gibsons Garden Hotel . It is located nearby Sunshine Coast Museum and Gibsons Marina.
  • The Bonniebrook Lodge boasts a colourful exterior and cozy rooms to enjoy.
  • For more places to stay on Bowen Island, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .


Wells Gray Provincial Park

Recommended by Debbie of WorldAdventurists.com

Wells Gray is one of the best places to visit in Canada in summer (and really all year round!). Aerial view of the waterfall.

One of the best places to visit in British Columbia, Canada during the summer is the waterfall paradise of  Wells Gray Provincial Park . There is so much beauty to be found in its dramatic peaks, alpine meadows, and clear lakes. With 41 named waterfalls and 5000km² of the mostly untouched Canadian wilderness, Wells Gray Park is an outdoor lover’s paradise.

Several of the waterfalls are accessible with a short walk or hike from the parking lot. The most popular falls are Helmcken Falls, Spahat Falls, Moul Falls, and Dawson Falls. Helmcken Falls is the fourth largest waterfall in Canada and its power and beauty will take your breath away. You can walk behind Moul Falls and feel the power of mother nature.

Wells Gray is also home to the most easily accessible alpine meadow in British Columbia, through the Trophy Mountain trail. You can also join a wilderness safari, take an aerial tour , enjoy the beauty of boating on Clearwater Lake, or take a refreshing dip in a clear lake on a hot summer day.

The best way to experience the beauty of Wells Gray Provincial Park is by camping. If you are not the camping type, you will also find several lodges nearby for a more luxurious stay.

When you witness the power of nature at Wells Gray, you cannot help but feel an overwhelming sense of wonder.

Where to Stay Near Wells Gray:

  • To best experience the beauty of the park, book a camping site . Then, you’ll wake up super close to the trails!
  • For a beautiful cabin stay, Wolfwood Guest Ranch is a great option. The cabins are definitely charming!
  • For more places to stay near Wells Gray, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .

Recommended by Luke of Wild About BC

Squamish is one of the best places to visit in Canada in summer (and really all year round!). Man overlooking the water from the mountains.

The town of Squamish, an hour north of Vancouver on the west coast of Canada, is the ultimate outdoor playground. It seems that everybody here spends their days outside exploring the amazing places right on their doorstep. In the summer months, Squamish is buzzing with people who are all eager to get out and hike, rock climb, windsurf, mountain bike, camp and so much more.  

Squamish is located along the Sea to Sky Highway , between Vancouver and Whistler, and is nestled in amongst spectacular mountain ranges at the end of Howe Sound. It is a beautiful part of the world and is an epic place to get out and explore. There are some iconic hikes here, the most popular of which is the Stawamus Chief Trail . A short but steep hike will take you to the top of the cliffs overlooking Squamish town where you will get jaw-dropping views out over Howe Sound and the surrounding mountains.

It doesn’t really matter what activity you are into, as Squamish is pretty much guaranteed to offer it and there are few places that are this beautiful for you to enjoy spending time outdoors in the summer. As everything is located so close to the town centre you can finish off your day with some food and drinks on one of the many sunny patios in town. The perfect end to a summer’s day.

Where to Stay in Squamish:

  • Located in the town is Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company . Here, you can enjoy beers while admiring mountains in the distance!
  • For a top-rated stay, check out Squamish Highlands Bed and Breakfast .
  • For more places to stay in Squamish, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VR B O .

Vancouver Island

Recommended by Campbell and Aysha of Stingy Nomads

Walking along Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island, the largest island off the west coast of North America, is famous for its wild beaches, beautiful forests, rich diversity in marine life, and exciting activities on land and in the water. Blessed with beautiful old-growth forests, mountains, and surrounded by a spectacular coastline, exploring the incredible hiking trails in summer is very popular.

The West Coast Trail is Canada’s most famous multi-day hike. It is a tough one-week backpacking trail, camping and carrying all your supplies hiking along the coast. Hiking this trail on the beach and in the forest, you can see amazing wildlife, including bears, whales, orcas, otters, seals, and more. The Juan de Fuca trail is another multi-day hike on the coast. The beautiful trail and beaches are easy to reach by car and can be done as day hikes from the city of Victoria.

Whale watching is one of the best things to do from Vancouver Island in summer. Orcas (killer whales), Humpback whales, Pacific grey whales, and minke whales are some whale species that can be seen on whale watching tours from Vancouver Island. May to October is the best time for whale watching. California sea lions, harbor seals, dolphins, and a variety of birds are usually seen during these excursions.

Victoria , the capital city of British Columbia is a beautiful city and a very popular tourist destination. Don’t miss the spectacular gardens, seafront parks, museums, eateries, and craft brewers. It is awesome to get into the water in summer around Vancouver island with some amazing ocean sports like kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, surfing, and scuba diving.

Where to Stay on Vancouver Island:

  • For a stunning waterfront stay, Waters Edge Shoreside Suites will surely catch your eye.
  • Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa is a dreamy oceanfront resort that boasts an incredible garden.
  • For more places to stay on Vancouver Island, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .

Okanagan Valley

Recommended by Bailey from Destinationless Travel

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

The Okanagan Valley is a beautiful region in British Columbia that really comes to life in the summer months. This valley is famous for its beautiful lakes include the “lake of many colors” Kalamalka and the large Okanagan Lake. Lakeside beaches fill with vacationers enjoying the warm weather and sunshine while out on the water you’ll find tons of speed boats, houseboats, and pontoon boats.  

The main cities within the Okanagan are Kelowna and Vernon. Although Kelowna is the larger of the two, there are still plenty of  things to do in Vernon  with both cities boasting craft breweries, distilleries, boutique shopping, cafes, and a seemingly endless number of restaurants.  

On top of the vibrant holiday vibe and beaches, the Okanagan is famous for wine. That’s right, it is wine country with vineyards pretty much as far the eye can see. You can join one of the many wine tours in the area or simply visit cellar doors on your own and do some wine tastings. Many of the vineyards also have lake views which are simply stunning.  

If you’re not a fan of wine there are also craft cideries around and plenty of fresh fruit to pick too. U-pick farms are all over the Okanagan Valley and not only make for a fun activity, but also is a cheap way to grab local fresh fruit such as strawberries and raspberries.  

Where to Stay in Okanagan Valley:

  • For a colourful and stunning retreat, Manteo at Eldorado Resort is sure to leave you speechless.
  • If you’re looking for a more affordable stay that is still stunning and has a pool, check out Prestige Vernon Lodge .
  • For more places to stay in Okanagan Valley, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .

Salt Spring Island

Recommended by Cecily of Groovy Mashed Potatoes

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Unwind on Salt Spring Island, a free-spirited island known for its stunning nature, artisan culture, and sustainable, locally grown food. The bohemian island is located between Vancouver and Vancouver Island and is reachable by ferry or floatplane. You will have gorgeous views of the neighbouring islands and the ocean on your way to Salt Spring. Summer is the perfect time to visit the creative island. Warm sunny days make it easy to enjoy all of the  fun things to do on Salt Spring . 

The best way to explore the island is by car. First browse the Saturday Market, where you will find tons of vendors selling locally made products. Next, visit the Salt Spring Island Cheese Farm for a delicious goat cheese tasting. Afterward, continue to Garry Oaks and Salt Spring Vineyards for a wine tasting. At Salt Spring Vineyards order a glass of their bubbly, purchase some picnic ingredients, and sit outside for a picnic along the vineyards

If you’re not a wine drinker, check out Salt Spring Island Ales for a beer tasting in the forest or Salt Spring Wild Cider for a cider tasting with views overlooking the farm and valley.

One of the best activities to do during summertime is a kayak tour to Chocolate Beach. The 3-hour tour takes you to a white-crushed shell beach on a tiny island. Look out for the “loo with a view”!

Where to Stay on Salt Spring Island:

  • For a nature-filled stay on a private beach, Cusheon Lake Resort is a great choice.
  • The Cottages on Salt Spring Island boast charming rooms and are located in a popular area for canoeing.
  • For more places to stay on Salt Spring Island, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .

Recommended by Me

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Chilliwack is one of the best places to visit in Canada in summer due to the beautiful mountain views and stunning flower fields. It is home to the Chilliwack Sunflower Festival , which is hosted on a farm that has many different types of flowers that bloom during the summer. It is a popular spot due to the many varieties of sunflowers that are really picturesque with mountains in the distance. There are plenty of photo spots where you can capture the perfect shot of the family or for Instagram!

Chilliwack is also home to a number of stunning parks and lakes to explore. A popular lake to visit is located within Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park which is a hotspot in the summer for swimming. As with many of the amazing places to visit in the Canadian Rockies , there are plenty of nature-filled hiking trails in this area as well.

Where to Stay in Chilliwack:

  • For a budget-friendly stay in the area, Travelodge Hotel is a good bet.
  • Located a bit outside the city centre is Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa , which is a great spot for a relaxing getaway.
  • For more places to stay in Chilliwack, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .

Recommended by Lotte of Phenomenal Globe

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Vancouver is a must-visit on any BC itinerary and a great summer destination in Canada. Due to its location on the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver has a moderate climate, and even during summer, the city is a very pleasant place to be.  

There are lots of things to see and do and you could easily spend a week in Vancouver if you have the time. Any  Vancouver itinerary  should include a visit to Gastown, Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood. Admire the Steam Clock, shop for souvenirs at the cute boutique stores, or grab a drink and a bite at one of the many restaurants and bars.  

Next up is Granville Island where you can browse the abundance of fresh produce and delicious snacks at Granville Island Public Market. Be sure to take the Aquabus here, this isn’t just a convenient way to get to Granville Island but a fun activity in itself.  

Another highlight is beautiful Stanley Park, where you can stroll along the Sea Wall, admire the view and check out the art along the way (A-maze-ing Laughter statue and the Inukshuk).  

If you are looking to stay in downtown Vancouver, the St. Regis Hotel is very nice. Purebread is a lovely little bakery selling all sorts of buns, cakes, bread, and more. Pholicious and Ramen Gojiro are excellent places for lunch/dinner.  

Where to Stay in Vancouver:

  • Blue Horizon Hotel is a top-rated place to stay in the heart of Vancouver.
  • For a lovely boutique hotel, the Georgian Court Hotel is a great choice.
  • For more places to stay in Vancouver, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .

Haida Gwaii

Recommended by James of Travel Collecting

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Haida Gwaii, a remote archipelago off the coast of British Columbia between Vancouver Island to the south and Alaska to the north, is a truly magical place to visit. The islands, called the Queen Charlotte Islands until 2010, are home to the Haida first nations people and the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve. The islands are often shrouded in mist, covered in clouds, and surrounded by swells, and the season to visit them is short (really just summer!), but they are incredibly beautiful no matter what the weather.

To learn about the Haida people, visit the Haida Heritage Center in Skidegate, where there is a cultural center and the Haida Gwaii Museum, which focuses on the culture, history, and contemporary life of the Haida people.

Another reason to visit Haida Gwaii is for the nature. There are hundreds of tiny islands covered in lush forests.  They can only be accessed by boat or seaplane. A really great way to experience the southern islands is to  take a multi-day sea kayaking trip around Gwaii Haanas . On this trip or a boat cruise, you will possibly see dozens of bald eagles and osprey. There is also a good chance of seeing humpback whales, orcas, and seals swimming around and right up beside you. 

To top off your trip, you won’t want to miss SG̱ang Gwaay Llanagaay (formerly called Ninstints) on Anthony Island. It is located at the southern tip of the archipelago. This UNESCO World Heritage-listed site is incredibly remote, but worth every effort it takes to get there. The site of an abandoned Haida village has the most impressive collection of totem poles in situ in the world. Some have fallen over and are being left to slowly return to nature, while many others are still standing. They are lined along a stony beach and gazing out to sea like guardians over a mystical land. Being there and walking among them is a truly awe-inspiring experience.

Where to Stay in Haida Gwaii:

  • For a relaxing and unique experience, opt to stay in one of the cabins in Haida Gwaii .
  • If you’re looking for a cozy bed and breakfast, Cacilia’s Best & Breakfast is well-rated.
  • For more places to stay in Haida Gwaii, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .

Yoho National Park

Recommended by Michelle of The Wandering Queen

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

One of the best places to visit in  Canada over the summer  is Yoho National Park, located near Banff National Park. This small but impactful national park is astounding! It is the second oldest national park in Canada and is protected due to the Burgess Shale sites that have fossils from 540 million years. But the fossils are not what most people come to see in Yoho. Most people come to experience the charming and well-known lake called Emerald Lake. This lake is a stunningly bright green-blue lake with surrounding mountains and beautiful evergreen trees. 

Another fun thing to do is to visit the remarkable Takakkaw Falls. This waterfall is around 373 meters, making it the 2nd tallest waterfall in Canada! Just make sure to drive carefully to the area as the road is exceedingly windy. You can also visit the beautiful lake called Lake O’Hara, but you need to make a reservation with a shuttle bus to take you to the lake. This is to help protect the sensitive alpine area and to keep the lake pristine. No matter what you do in the park, you will enjoy it! The jaw-dropping surrounding mountains, lakes, and waterfalls will make you fall in love with this one-of-a-kind national park. 

Where to Stay near Yoho National Park:

  • The best way to experience Yoho is definitely by booking a campground . Then, you can experience waking up in the middle of the mountains and head out hiking right away!
  • Alternatively, located right in Yoho National Park is Emerald Lake Lodge . There are rooms with wood-burning fireplaces and even an outdoor hot tub!
  • For more places to stay near Yoho National Park, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .

Places to Visit in the Prairie Provinces of Canada in Summer

Lake louise.

Recommended by Ben of Ticket 4 Two Please 

Beautiful view of Lake Louise in summer.

Lake Louise is one of the premier summer destinations to visit in Canada and for good reason – the serene blue water, flanked on all sides by imposing mountain faces, is truly a sight to behold. Located in the heart of Banff National Park, Canada’s first-ever National Park, Lake Louise has been a tourist destination for well over a century and continues to attract people en masse to this day. 

Although the winters in Lake Louise are mesmerizing, with an abundance of skiing and snowshoeing opportunities, it is the summers in Lake Louise that truly showcase the beauty of the surrounding area. 

There are many hikes and walks available in Lake Louise but the world-renowned Agnes Teahouse Trail should be on every visitor’s bucket list. The simple out-and-back style trail winds its way through the trees before reaching Lake Agnes, where you will find the world-famous teahouse nestled cozily on the shoreline. Having refreshed with a rejuvenating cup of hot chocolate from the teahouse, you should make your way back down the mountainside to experience Lake Louise’s signature activity – canoeing. 

Canoeing on Lake Louise , in one of the iconic red canoes, has evolved into a trademark venture for any visitor to Banff National Park. Paddling across the lake, watching the sunset over the mighty Victoria Glacier, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that simply cannot be missed. 

Lake Louise is a destination brimming with astounding beauty and natural allure and is certainly one of the best places to visit in Canada during the summer.

Where to Stay in Banff:

  • The best way to experience Banff is definitely by booking a campground . Then, you can experience waking up in the middle of the mountains and head out hiking right away!
  • Alternatively, Canalta Lodge is a stunning mountainside lodge with incredible views.
  • For more places to stay in Banff, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .

Waterton Lakes National Park 

Recommended by Katja of Globetotting  

Great view of the park, overlooking the water in summer.

There are so many wonderful places to visit in Canada during the summer months but one of the best destinations is undoubtedly Waterton National Park. Located 260km from Calgary in Alberta, the park borders Montana’s Glacier National Park in the USA and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.  

What is particularly special about Waterton – in addition to the stunning scenery – is that it still feels relatively undiscovered. Compared to some of the more famous parks in Alberta, including Banff and Jasper, Waterton is very lowkey. The small town of the same name sits within the park itself and is made up of just a handful of streets and family-run shops and restaurants. 

There are lots of  things to do in Waterton Lakes National Park  but it’s especially well known for its hiking opportunities. Crypt Lake Trail is the most famous – and challenging – hike in the area. Waterton Lake is the deepest lake in the Canadian Rockies measuring 500ft deep. The waters are chilly, even during the height of summer, but still ideal for windsurfing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. Another fun activity is to take a boat trip with the Waterton Shoreline Cruise Co. 

Other summer activities include cycling, wildlife watching, horse riding, and the annual wildflower festival. And don’t miss afternoon tea at the Prince of Wales hotel , the enormous Hitchcockian hotel that dates back from the 1920s.  

Where to Stay Near Waterton Lakes National Park:

  • Located within walking distance to the lake, Aspen Village boasts cozy suites with full kitchens to enjoy.
  • Prince of Wales Hotel is a stunning 1920s hotel with beautiful lake views.
  • For more places to stay near Waterton Lakes National Park, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .

Jasper National Park

Stunning view of a glacier lake. best places to visit in canada in summer | canadian destinations

Jasper National Park is a stunning place in Canada to visit this summer due to the amazing hikes through mountains and forests. A trip to the park will have you wanting to plan another trip back right away. Located in the Canadian Rocky Mountains , Jasper boasts glacier lakes, snowy mountain tops, wild animals, waterfalls, and so much more.

One of the best hikes in the park is the Valley of the Five Lakes . During this hike, you will pass by 5 stunning lakes that have different shades of blues and greens. This family-friendly hike is bound to leave you speechless. Head here early to experience the trails with few people around before heading to another destination within the park.

Nearby waterfalls include Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Falls – two frequently recommended places to visit in the park, especially in summer. After exploring waterfalls, head into the main town for a bite to eat and shop around. Check out Jasper Brewing Company for some good local beers!

If you’re feeling like an excursion in the mountains, be sure to check out the Maligne Lake Cruise to Spirit Island.

Where to Stay Near Jasper National Park:

  • The best way to experience the park is definitely by booking a campground for a couple of nights.
  • Alternatively, Jasper Inn & Suites is a highly rated hotel located in the heart of the park.
  • For more places to stay near Jasper National Park, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .

Recommended by Sunetra of GlobetrottingSu

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

A must-visit place during a Canadian Rockies summer itinerary is Lake Peyto. The brilliant blue of this lake has to be seen to be believed; no photoshop or color enhancement is required. The hike up to see the dazzling glacier-fed blue water of Lake Peyto surrounded by the huge alpine mountains should be on every traveler’s bucket list in Banff National Park. Although a year-round destination, it is best to visit in summer to avoid snow and ice on the trail as well as seeing the stunning color of the lake in peak summer.

For many visitors, this is one of the iconic views of the Canadian Rockies and hence the hike is very popular among the visitors in summer. From the parking lot at Bow Summit, an easy 1.9-mile hike will bring to one of the most breathtaking views in the Canadian Rockies. The wooden platform overlooking the stunning lake gets very crowded in summer. A lot of people choose to go to the opening just below the platform, but that also gets pretty crowded! Nonetheless, it’s a spectacular view and an absolute must for your Banff itinerary.

To have uninterrupted views of Lake Peyto without the crowd, head further ahead until the path splits into three paved paths. Look for the fourth option on the right that is a narrow dirt path through the forest and is virtually flat. A trail of 10-15 mins walk will bring you to an open expanse where you are greeted by what many consider to be one of the best views in Canada. Grab a snack and take it all in. With views this majestic, you may not want to leave!

Where to Stay Near Lake Peyto:

  • The best way to experience the park is definitely by booking a campground . Then, you can wake up in the middle of the mountains!
  • If you’re not into camping, Canalta Lodge is a stunning mountainside lodge with incredible views.
  • For more places to stay near Lake Peyto, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .

Places to Visit in Central Canada in Summer

Bruce peninsula national park.

Tobermory is one of the best places to visit in Canada in summer (and really all year round!). View of the grotto in Bruce Peninsula National Park.

Bruce Peninsula National Park is definitely one of the best places to visit in Canada during the summer. With the incredible weather, swimming and hiking around the park are desirable and certainly alluring due to the park’s beauty. The park is a popular spot for camping during the summer, with campsites selling out far in advance. Due to the park’s popularity, be sure to arrive around opening time on a day trip to ensure you can purchase parking.

Between the amazing hikes and views of Georgian Bay, you won’t want to leave Bruce Peninsula National Park! People who visit love to go canoeing, scuba diving, and more. There are plenty of tours that bring you to boat wreckages or to Fathom Five National Marine Park .

In the nearby town, Tobermory, there are plenty of cute local shops and restaurants open to explore as well.

Where to Stay in Tobermory:

  • For a simple and convenient place to stay, Adventure the Bruce Inn is a great choice.
  • Camping at the park is very popular as well, but campsites have to be reserved well in advance!
  • For more places to stay in Tobermory, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .

Recommended by Emma of Emma’s Roadmap

Ottawa is one of the best places to visit in Canada in summer (and really all year round!). View of parliament.

The capital of Canada is amazing to visit during all seasons but the summer months will give you a little bit more possibilities that’ll make your trip just great! Besides government-related activities such as visiting parliament hill with the house of commons and Senate, summer is perfect to discover Ottawa on the water! At the heart of Ottawa, you’ll find several cruise companies advertising their roundtrips on the Ottawa river . You can take shorter cruises of one hour to longer cruises of several hours. Whatever you’ll choose, I’m sure the water view and slight breeze will be very welcome in summer!

Another great summer activity to do in Ottawa is to visit Byward Market. This market in the center of Ottawa is for a large part outdoors so perfect to stroll around on sunny days! Buy some local crafts or taste some freshly baked goods and foremost, enjoy the atmosphere!

To visit  Ottawa  it is best to reserve multiple days to explore the city. Of course, a quick day trip is possible, but to really see the city and explore it to the fullest you’ll need at least 2 or 3 days. Some other great activities you could do in summer during your stay are visiting one of Ottawa’s beaches (yes, there are beaches!) as well as nearby provincial parks!

Where to Stay in Ottawa:

  • The most popular and luxurious stay in Ottawa is definitely at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier . The hotel looks just like a castle!
  • Located in the Byward Market area, the Andaz is a top-rated place to stay.
  • For more places to stay in Ottawa, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .

Gorgeous waterfalls in Canada | best places to visit in canada in summer | canadian destinations

Hamilton is one of the best places in Canada to visit this summer due to the overwhelming number of waterfalls concentrated in the area. There are over 100 waterfalls in this area, located along the Niagara Escarpment. In a single day, you can visit many of them and embark on beautiful nature hikes in the perfect summer weather.

The best recommended waterfalls to visit in summer in the city of Hamilton include:

  • Albion Falls
  • Webster Falls

Conveniently located just over an hour away from the city of Toronto, it makes for a great day trip from the city. After hiking and exploring waterfalls, head to the downtown area. It is filled with charming boutiques, cafes, and restaurants featuring many different cuisines.

If visiting for a couple days, be sure to check out the nightlife as this city has some great bars and clubs to visit!

Where to Stay in Hamilton:

  • For a hotel located right in the heart of downtown, Homewood Suites is a highly-rated option.
  • Within walking distance of multiple waterfalls is the Best Western .
  • For more places to stay in Hamilton, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .

Prince Edward County

Beautiful sunflower fields in summer in Canada

Prince Edward County is one of the most amazing places to visit in Canada during summer due to the stunning nature and amazing wineries in this county. Located only about 2-hours from the city, it makes for a perfect day trip from Toronto . On a trip to PEC, you can visit two beautiful parks – Sandbanks Provincial Park and Presqu’ile Provincial Park . At both places, visitors will find wonderful hiking trails and views of the water.

Prince Edward County is definitely known for wineries and vineyards. With the perfect summer weather, plenty of visitors take advantage of the outdoors and visit some of the over 40 wineries in the county! Most places offer small bites and cheese boards to enjoy while you taste a large variety of different wines. Be sure to try ice wine, which is a specialty of Ontario!

Where to Stay in Prince Edward County:

  • Not only is Newsroom Suites located in the centre of wine country, but it’s also a cute B&B! It’s one of the best-rated placed to stay in the area. Check out availability and book your stay .
  • The Lakeside Motel boasts a waterfront location with a stunning pool to enjoy during your stay.
  • For more places to stay in Prince Edward County, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .

Best places to visit in Canada in summer | Canada summer destinations | cities to visit | parks to visit

Toronto is definitely a great destination in Canada to visit during summer as the big city is full of life during this season. Visitors love to explore High Park for nature walks and picnics, along with visiting the shops along King Street or Queen Street in the downtown core. During the summer months, it’s a perfect time to go bar-hopping and visiting one of the restaurants or patios. A Toronto bucket list sure isn’t complete without enjoying a cocktail on one of the amazing Toronto patios!

The waterfront is a popular place to visit with paths, beaches, bike trails, and more along the way. Be sure to check out Amsterdam Brewhouse, which is a brewery located right on the water. Try to get a patio seat to overlook the lake while tasting different varieties of beer!

When visiting Toronto, there are plenty of day trips to take from the city with hiking opportunities. There are a lot of waterfalls within a day trip distance from Toronto and plenty of beaches to explore.

Where to Stay in Toronto:

  • The Fairmont Royal York is a dreamy hotel located right in the heart of downtown across from Union Station.
  • The Broadview Hotel is right nearby a few great breweries. They also have a really neat rooftop bar with great views of the city!
  • For more places to stay in Toronto, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .

Niagara Falls

Recommended by Mayuri of ToSomePlaceNew

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

One of the amazing places to visit in Canada is Niagara Falls in the summer . This is the optimum time to see the mighty falls in their full glory. Although summer months are peak seasons to visit Toronto and the Niagara Region, planning a trip in the early morning hours is key to having a good time.

We recommend booking boat tours to see the Falls up close and personal, in advance and prior to your visit. Many activities such as ziplining, horse carriage rides, and helicopter tours are best explored in the summer.

There are short trails and green paths that you can enjoy a nice stroll, or set up a picnic spread in the afternoon with a book!

During your summer trip to Niagara Falls, the town of Niagara of the Lake is a nice place to hang out, visit local cafes and shops. If you are extending your trip in the area, do stop by a vineyard and go on a wine tasting tour. 

The Entertainment District is another spot where you can spend your time in the Falls region. There are bowling alleys, patios, bars with live music, Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum. 

Evenings in Niagara are best spent in the Skylon Tower taking in the illuminated lights on the falls, and dining at the revolving restaurant.

Where to Stay in Niagara Falls:

  • The Sheraton Fallsview Hotel is definitely a top pick, boasting stunning views overlooking the falls.
  • Similarly, the Hilton is one of the most stayed at hotels in Niagara Falls.
  • For more places to stay in Niagara Falls, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .

Montreal buildings - best places to visit in canada in summer | canadian destinations

Montreal is one of the top places to visit in Canada in summer due to the great events and outdoor activities offered during the season. It’s a great city to explore on a day trip or for an extended weekend getaway.

Visitors flock to the old city center to eat bagels and crepes, taste delicious local coffee, and explore the waterfront. The buildings in this area have beautiful architecture and there are a lot of statues and monuments around to discover. On the waterfront, there is a giant Ferris wheel and various attractions to enjoy!

The city is known as a big party city and is home to a long strip of bars and clubs to visit. Plenty of places offer outdoor patios to enjoy drinks in the warm summer air. After visiting the bars, be sure to head to a local poutine shop to taste some of the best poutine around!

Where to Stay in Montreal:

  • Hotel Place d’Armes boasts stunning rooms and is located right in Old Montreal.
  • Similarly, located in Old Montreal is the charming Lofts du View-Port .
  • For more places to stay in Montreal, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .

Recommended by Carine and Derek of We Did It Our Way

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

The summer is an amazing time to visit the province of Quebec. The weather warms up, the days get longer, the local produce offering is incredible and there’s a ton of beautiful places to visit. One of our favorite places to visit in the summer is the Saguenay Lac-St-Jean area . 

Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean is north of the St-Lawrence river, about a 4-5 hour drive from Montreal. The Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean area is the third-largest region in Quebec and well worth the visit. There’s so much to do here, especially in the summer where you can spend all your time enjoying the great outdoors.

The Saint-Jean region is known for its beautiful bike paths. The most popular one is the Blueberry Route, a 256-kilometer pathway that goes all the way from the estuary to up and around the lake. Its name is no coincidence either. There are a ton of blueberries to pick along the route so if you’re looking for a delicious snack, don’t be shy to stop and pick some. This region is famed for its delicious berries.  

In the region, you can also find many amazing things to do in the summer – The Fjord du Saguenay national park is amazing for hiking or canoeing. If you’re looking for a multi-day hike, check out the Ouiatchouan hiking trail where you can see an amazing waterfall that bears the same name as the trail. You can also visit the Val Jalbert ghost town or one of the many museums in the area. Plus, there are a ton of small cute towns that are worth the trek. They all have something unique to discover. 

Finally, if you’re looking to just chill out, well, you’re in luck. The Saguenay Lac-Saint-Jean region has some of the best beaches in the province. The best ones are located around the lake. So bring your cooler, towel, and a good book, and you’re all set to enjoy the calmest waters the province has to offer!

Whatever you’re looking to do this summer, make sure you stop and enjoy everything the Saguenay Lac-Saint-Jean region has to offer. 

Where to Stay in Saint-Jean:

  • For a stay in a charming bed and breakfast, Auberge la Courtepointe is an excellent choice.
  • Motel Blanche d’Haberville is located right in the town of Saint-Jean-Port-Joli and is a popular stay!
  • For more places to stay in Saint-Jean, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .

Places to Visit in the Atlantic Provinces of Canada in Summer

Cape breton.

Recommended by Cailin of Nova Scotia Explorer

View overlooking the water.

Nova Scotia is at its best in the summer months with warm ocean breezes, sandy beaches, and wilderness to explore. One of the most popular places to visit in the summer months is the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton. The Cabot Trail is a loop trail on the north-western coast of Cape Breton stretching 298km. This scenic drive takes you in and out of coastal towns and fishing villages along with stunning views through Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

If you don’t have much time, you can drive the Cabot Trail in a day but to really enjoy it it is recommended to spend a night or two exploring. It is also often debated that driving clockwise is better than counterclockwise for the views but both directions have their merits. 

In the summer there are plenty of trails to hike along, as well as beaches to swim at and places to enjoy picnics and camping. During summer, all of the Cabot Trail campgrounds are open as well as local tourist sites, restaurants, and businesses. Summer is also the ideal time to go whale watching in the Ingonish area of the Cabot Trail. Be sure to also stop at one of the many roadside cafes and restaurants to enjoy the local seafood, fish and chips, chowders, and more.

Where to Stay in Cape Breton:

  • Holiday Inn Sydney boasts waterfront views and a large indoor pool.
  • If you’re looking for a spot close to Sydney city center, Cambridge Suites is a great choice.
  • For more places to stay in Cape Breton, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .


best places to visit in canada in summer | canadian destinations

Charlottetown is a charming city and the capital of Prince Edward Island. The city is located along the southern coast, making it a perfect summer destination as you can hang out along the water. It is home to many stunning churches, historical houses, monuments, and more. Though Charlottetown is the capital city, it really has a small-town feel to it!

Peakes Wharf and Confederation Landing is located along the water and is a great spot for lunch and to explore different shops. Visitors also enjoy checking out the art museum and heading to local restaurants to try some of the delicious local seafood.

Where to Stay in Charlottetown:

  • Fairholm Boutique Inn is a stunning hotel that boasts really charming rooms in the heart of Charlottetown.
  • For a top-rated hotel located downtown, the Holman Grand Hotel is a great choice. It’s even connected to a shopping mall!
  • For more places to stay in Charlottetown, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .

St. John’s

best places to visit in canada in summer | canadian destinations

St. John’s, Newfoundland is a great place in Canada to visit in summer. It is Canada’s most eastern city and is located right on the water. There are plenty of things to do in and around the city, including hiking, visiting museums, shopping at local boutiques, and exploring art galleries.

It’s no surprise that there’s great seafood in this coastal city! Visitors love trying fish and chips at local restaurants around the city before heading out to one of the city’s many bars. You can also head out whale watching, go shipwreck diving, and even spot puffins!

Where to Stay in St. John’s:

  • For an affordable stay at a high-quality hotel, Jag Boutique Hotel is a great option.
  • The Hilton Garden Inn is always a safe choice and this one even has a pool!
  • For more places to stay in St. John’s, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .

Places to Visit in the Northern Territories of Canada in Summer

Recommended by Samantha of A Truthful Traveler

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

If you’re looking for long and warm summer days, Whitehorse is the best place in Canada to find them. Whitehorse, Yukon is located far North in Canada, above British Columbia, and to the East of Alaska. It is one of the best places to visit in the Yukon territory!

Whitehorse is the capital of the territory of Yukon, and it is located close to the Southern boundary. Its Northern location means that there are almost 24 hours of sunlight in the summer. The sun never fully sets starting from the summer solstice all the way to the Fall. This gives you extra time to sightsee, and there is no lack of things to see and do in this area of Canada.

If you love history, the SS Klondike will take you back through time to when Whitehorse was an integral part of the Gold Rush. The ship carried cargo up and down the river for many years. Today it sits just outside of the main part of the city. For nature lovers, a visit to a part of the Yukon River called Miles Canyon is a must. The steep rock walls line the beautiful teal water, and you can hike the surrounding area or canoe/kayak the river. 

The warm summer weather and the never-ending days make Yukon such an amazing place in Canada to experience between the months of June and September!

Where to Stay in Whitehorse:

  • For a top-rated bed and breakfast, check out Hidden Valley Bed and Breakfast .
  • Midnight Sun Inn is located in the heart of downtown and is highly rated.
  • For more places to stay in Whitehorse, check out Expedia.ca , Booking.com , or VRBO .

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Aren’t there so many amazing places to visit in Canada in summer? Thanks to my fellow travel bloggers, I’ve certainly added a few more places to my bucket list! I hope reading about these stunning places have inspired you to do the same.

Read more: 19 of the Absolute Best Day Hikes in Canada

What are your top places to visit in Canada during summer? Let me know in the comments!

Be sure to Pin this post for later!

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

You might also like:

  • Breathtaking Places to Visit in Ontario This Fall
  • 9 Stunning Waterfalls to Visit in Southern Ontario
  • One Day in Montréal: How to Spend an Amazing Day Exploring Highlights
  • A Day Trip Guide to Bruce Peninsula National Park
  • The Absolute Best Day Hikes in Canada
  • 19 Incredible Places to Visit in the Canadian Rockies
  • Taking Maligne Lake Cruise to Spirit Island in Fall

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best cities to visit in canada in the summer

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Canada is certainly a fabulous country to visit. I’m lucky enough to have been to all 13 provinces and territories and I’m still far from having seen everything, but it’s good to always have something else to see.

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Wow, that’s so amazing! I hope to visit all provinces and territories in my lifetime. There are so many amazing places to visit!

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Steve Collins

Really enjoyed the collab, brings awesome perspectives from all across the country!

It was a lot of fun putting it together!

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So many good places. I’ve been to most of the west coast and Rockies places so I really need to work my way east a bit. There are lots of beautiful destinations in Canada yet to explore. I enjoyed discovering my own country last summer and looks like that’s on the table again this year. But it’s not a bad place to be stuck

Amazing!! I want to explore more of Canada as well. This collab definitely added some places to my bucket list!

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oh my goodness, this is such an amazing roundup of places. All look beautiful, but would really love to explore the Squamish area and Bruce Peninsula National Park on my next Canada trip. I’ve only been to Toronto and the areas around Banff, so I have a lot more exploring to do!

Bruce Peninsula National Park is definitely one of my top 5 places to visit in Canada!

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Alison and Don

This is a fantastic compilation! I’m in Vancouver, and this really inspired me to go away this summer – even if only for a few days – Whistler or one of the islands. As soon as we can that is; still Covid-restricted here 🙁 Alison

I hope things clear up enough to head out on some outdoor adventures!

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Canada is such a beautiful country filled with so much natural wonder. I loved the Canadian Rockies, but I would like to see the Atlantic side near Newfoundland. Great guide! 🙂

So many beautiful places to visit! 🙂

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I love Vancouver Island! Been a few times and wish I had time to see more. Now I have more Candadian destinations on my list- thanks for sharing.

So many amazing places to visit!!

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Krystianna Pietrzak

Amazing post! I’m from VT and have literally never been to Canada, even though I’ve always wanted to. Will definitely save this for later!

I hope you can visit one day! Lots of places to explore.

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I definitely need to get back to Canada! So much to see!!

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best cities to visit in canada in the summer


Travel Hacks & Deals for Canadians

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15 Best Places to Visit in Canada During Summer

If you are a tourist, one of the best periods to visit Canada is during the summer. This is because Canada can be unusually cold and summer gives people the opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities. The truth is that the nice warmth of the summer months allows just about any vacation activities without weather-based interruptions.

Summer break in Canada typically falls in July/August. During summer in Canada, you can plan just about any activity without getting scared of the extreme cold or snow. In addition to that, summer gives you the opportunity to wear light clothes and travel light. Having said that, if you have plans to visit Canada during summer, here are some of the best places you should visit.

Best Places to Visit in Canada During Summer

Niagara falls.

Niagara Falls is Canada’s most famous natural attraction, bringing in millions of visitors each year, especially during the summer period. Niagara Falls is just over an hour’s drive from Toronto. These massive falls drop approximately 57 meters. You can see the falls at an astoundingly close distance from several key points.

The Niagara Falls and the Niagara Gorge have been attracting tourists and daredevils for over a century. Between the mid-19th and 20th centuries, there were numerous attempts to plunge over the falls in various types of homemade boats and barrels. This, along with tightrope walkers and other spectacles, led to the adjacent town of Niagara Falls developing a carnival-type atmosphere that still persists today.

The CN Tower

The CN Tower is a 553.3 m-high concrete communications and observation tower in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Built on the former Railway Lands, it was completed in 1976. Its name “CN” referred to Canadian National, the railway company that built the tower. Following the railway’s decision to divest non-core freight railway assets prior to the company’s privatization in 1995, it transferred the tower to the Canada Lands Company, a federal Crown corporation responsible for real estate development.

The CN Tower held the record for the world’s tallest free-standing structure for 32 years, from 1975 until 2007 when it was surpassed by the Burj Khalifa and was the world’s tallest tower until 2009 when it was surpassed by the Canton Tower. It is currently the ninth-tallest free-standing structure in the world and remains the tallest free-standing structure on land in the Western Hemisphere.

In 1995, the CN Tower was declared one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. It also belongs to the World Federation of Great Towers. It is a signature icon of Toronto’s skyline and attracts more than two million international visitors annually.

Ottawa’s Parliament Hill

Another attractive place you should plan to visit during the summer in Canada is Ottawa’s Parliament Hill. Ottawa’s Parliament Hill stands high above the Ottawa River and is graced by the Neo-Gothic-style Parliament buildings built in the last half of the 19th century. The most prominent feature is the Peace Tower, which divides the House of Commons and the Senate on either side.

In front of the Parliament buildings is the Centennial Flame, lit in 1966 to commemorate the centenary of the Canadian Confederation, and behind the buildings is a sculpture garden. You will enjoy your visit during summer because the Changing of the Guard takes place on the front lawn of the Houses of Parliament, weather permitting. Below Parliament Hill, a lovely walk runs alongside the Ottawa River.

The Royal Ontario Museum

The Royal Ontario Museum is yet another attractive tourist attraction to visit during summer. The Royal Ontario Museum is a museum of art, world culture, and natural history in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is one of the largest museums in North America and the largest in Canada.

It attracts more than one million visitors every year, making the ROM the most-visited museum in Canada. The museum is north of Queen’s Park, in the University of Toronto district, with its main entrance on Bloor Street West.

The museum subway station is named after the ROM and, since a 2008 renovation, is decorated to resemble the institution’s collection. Established on April 16, 1912, and opened on March 19, 1914, the museum has maintained close relations with the University of Toronto throughout its history, often sharing expertise and resources.

The Art Gallery of Ontario

Another attractive tourist site you should plan to visit is The Art Gallery of Ontario. The Art Gallery of Ontario is an art museum in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The museum is located in the Grange Park neighborhood of downtown Toronto, on Dundas Street West between McCaul and Beverley streets just east of Chinatown.

The museum’s building complex takes up 45,000 square meters of physical space, making it one of the largest art museums in North America and the second-largest art museum in Toronto after the Royal Ontario Museum.

In addition to exhibition spaces, the Art Gallery of Ontario also houses an artist-in-residence office and studio, dining facilities, event spaces, a gift shop, a library and archives, a theatre and lecture hall, a research center, and a workshop. It was established in 1900 as the Art Museum of Toronto, and formally incorporated in 1903, it was renamed the Art Gallery of Toronto in 1919, before it adopted its present name, the Art Gallery of Ontario, in 1966.

High Park is yet another tourist center that you should put on your bucket list of places to visit in Canada during the summer. High Park is a municipal park in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. High Park is a mixed recreational and natural park, with sporting facilities, cultural facilities, educational facilities, gardens, playgrounds, and a zoo. One-third of the park remains in a natural state, with a rare oak savannah ecology.

High Park was opened to the public in 1876 and is based on a bequest of land from John George Howard to the City of Toronto. It spans 161 hectares and is the second-largest municipal park in Toronto, after Centennial Park. High Park is located to the west of downtown Toronto, north of Humber Bay, and is maintained by the City of Toronto Parks Department.

The Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo is a zoo located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Encompassing 287 hectares, the Toronto Zoo is the largest zoo in Canada. It is divided into seven zoogeographic regions: Indo-Malaya, Africa, Americas, Tundra Trek, Australasia, Eurasia, and the Canadian Domain. Some animals are displayed indoors in pavilions and outdoors in what would be their naturalistic environments, with viewing at many levels.

It also has areas such as the Kids Zoo, Waterside Theatre, and Splash Island. It has one of the most taxonomically diverse collections of animals on display worldwide; it is currently home to over 5,000 animals representing over 500 species.

The Toronto Zoo is open to the public every day of the year except December 25. The zoo is a corporation owned by the municipal government of Toronto. Founded by John Cameron Egan and business partner, Hugh A. Crothers, an industrialist who became the first Chairman of the Metro Toronto Zoological Society in 1966.

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

This is another attractive tourist site you should include in your bucket list of places to visit when you travel to Canada during the summer. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is a public aquarium in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The aquarium is one of three aquariums owned and operated by Ripley Entertainment.

It is located in downtown Toronto, just southeast of the CN Tower. The aquarium has 5.7 million liters of marine and freshwater habitats from across the world. The exhibits hold more than 20,000 exotic sea and freshwater specimens from more than 450 species.

The Toronto Islands

The Toronto Islands is yet another tourist site that is worth visiting during the summer. The Toronto Islands are a chain of 15 small islands in Lake Ontario, south of mainland Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Toronto Islands are located just offshore from the city’s downtown area, they provide shelter for Toronto Harbour, and separate Toronto from the rest of Lake Ontario.

The islands are home to the Toronto Island Park, the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, several private yacht clubs, a public marina, Centreville Amusement Park, a year-round residential neighborhood, and several public beaches. The island community is the largest urban car-free community in North America.

Jasper National Park, Alberta

Jasper National Park is a national park in Alberta, Canada. It is the largest national park within Alberta’s Rocky Mountains spanning 11,000 km2 (4,200 sq mi). It was established as a national park in 1930 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. Its location is north of Banff National Park and west of Edmonton. The Park contains the glaciers of the Columbia Icefield, springs, lakes, waterfalls, and mountains.

When you visit Jasper National Park, some of the popular attractions can easily be reached by road and they include the Mount Edith Cavell hiking area, Maligne Lake (which features hiking and boating opportunities), Maligne Canyon, Miette Hot Springs, Pyramid Lake, the Jasper Skytram and the Athabasca Glacier, (an outlet glacier of the Columbia Icefield which features snow coach tours). The Marmot Basin ski area is the most popular winter attraction in the park.

Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Highlands National Park is surrounded by the sparkling waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and the park features some of the most beautiful landscapes you’ll find in the entire country. The world-famous Cabot Trail winds through the park, so you can experience the rolling vistas without ever leaving your car.

You will want to pull over every so often to walk a few of the park’s 26 hiking trails, which range from short and easy boardwalk loops to more challenging hikes up to 12 kilometers long.

Be sure to put the Skyline trail at the top of your must-hike list: this trail is on the longer side (8.2 kilometers for the full loop) but is relatively easy, leading you out to viewpoints over some extremely daunting – but beautiful – cliffs overlooking the sea. It’s also a popular hike for moose-spotting, although you have a chance of spotting moose just about anywhere in the park.

Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland

St John’s, Newfoundland is the major Canadian city with the coolest climate during the summer. It has the lowest average daily temperature and gets the least number of really hot days during June, July, and August. Gros Morne National Park is a Canadian national park and World Heritage Site located on the west coast of Newfoundland.

At 1,805 km2 (697 sq mi), it is the second largest national park in Atlantic Canada after Torngat Mountains National Park, which has an area of 9,700 km2 (3,700 sq mi). Gros Morne National Park got its name from Newfoundland’s second-highest mountain peak (at 806 m or 2,644 ft) located within the park.

Its French meaning is “large mountain standing alone,” or more literally “great sombre.” Gros Morne is a member of the Long Range Mountains, an outlying range of the Appalachian Mountains, stretching the length of the island’s west coast. It is the eroded remnants of a mountain range formed 1.2 billion years ago. In 1987, the park was awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO.

The Bay of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy is yet another tourist center that you should put on your bucket list of places to visit in Canada during summer. The Bay of Fundy, located in Eastern Canada between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, is known for its amazing tides. The variation between high and low is the largest in the world, measuring up to a maximum of 19 meters (10 fathoms).

While there are many ways to appreciate this natural wonder, some of the most popular locations and sights along the Bay of Fundy are the cliffs and rock formations at Hopewell Cape, Fundy National Park, the Fundy Trail Parkway, and Grand Manan Island.

Victoria’s Inner Harbour

Another attractive tourist site you should plan to visit is Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Victoria’s Inner Harbour is a great place for strolling, relaxing, shopping, dining, and watching street performers all against the backdrop of the harbor.

The centerpiece of Victoria’s Inner Harbour is the historic Empress Hotel, one of the city’s most lovely buildings. Over the years, the Empress has welcomed kings and queens and, today features a traditional high tea, one of the highlights for many visitors coming to Victoria. While the harbor area is popular year-round, it is particularly lively during the summer months.

Vancouver’s Stanley Park

Lastly, Vancouver’s Stanley Park is yet another tourist center you should put on your bucket list of places to visit in Canada. One of Vancouver’s greatest treasures is the 405-hectare Stanley Park, conveniently located on the west side of the downtown area. Situated on a peninsula, the park is surrounded by the ocean and home to huge red cedar and Douglas fir trees.

The seawall, which rings the park, has an extensive walking, jogging, and biking path with designated lanes for walkers and bikers. From the seawall are some lovely views of the city and mountains. A scenic drive also winds through Stanley Park with numerous pullouts.

Vancouver Aquarium, scenic Beaver Lake, the Stanley Park Pavilion, and Rose Garden are within Vancouver’s Stanley Park. Also of special interest are numerous totem poles, some of which were erected more than 100 years ago. In the spring, the cherry trees burst into bloom in an amazing display.

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The Exploring Family

Summer in Canada: The Best Places to Visit

Canada is the world’s second largest country in terms of land mass, and is home to a diverse natural breathtaking landscapes. From the snow covered mountains in the West, expansive Canadian prairies, to the thunderous ocean tides in the East. Canada in the Summer offers inspiring locations to visit and explore which create amazing Canadian road trips opportunities.

I wear the Maple Leaf on my clothing and love the colour RED , and will tell anyone that I am proud to be Canadian which is why I thought it was important to start teaching my daughter while she is young about the great country she was born into and allow her to experience the The Best Canada Family Travel Ideas . 

Discover new and exciting places within our own backyard and explore the scenic and majestic wonders that this amazing country offers. From coast to coast we have included a location from every province making sure to offer you the Best Places of Canada to visit during the summer months.

Checkout this Canada Packing Listing for All Seasons to make sure you have everything you need!

Table of Contents

Places to visit in Canada during Summer – Your Guide to Canadian Travel

Canada has limited warm weather, so Summer is the best time of year to explore the amazing outdoor adventures in Canada. Outdoor travel in Canada is a must during the Summer Season. From the West Coast to the East Coast, you are sure to find an amazing outdoor experience to enjoy the natural landscape of the beautiful country of Canada.

So plan your next adventure using our guide and get out and explore some unique and incredible places that Canada has to offer this summer.

What is the weather like in Canada in the Summer?

June to August is the best season to visit Canada as it offers the best weather for outdoor fun from kayaking, camping, treetop trekking, hiking beach days, local attractions, and much more! Canadian love to be outside in the summer months of June to August and enjoy varying levels of humidity and temperatures. Temperatures in Canada in the summer range from 60-95 ° F (16 ° C-35 ° C).

When does Summer Start in Canada?

Summer officially starts on June 21st in Canada and we consider the months of June to August to be Summer in Canada. July is the hottest month of the Summer in Canada, and overall the hottest month of the year for most parts of Canada.

Who knows how to explore Canada in Summer better than locals who have experienced it?

Get Ready for the Best places to Visit in Canada Summer, as we explore the best activities and where to stay to help you to plan the ultimate trip to visit locations in Canada this summer.

North America offers lots of tourism cities perfect to visit with kids for a family vacation. Whether you are looking for a 24 hour stop, a stay cation, or inspiration for a long weekend trip then leave it to our local experts to give you great travel advice. We include travel ideas that can be long road trips, a quick weekend away or a longer vacation that requires a flight within Canada this summer.

All of our advice is written by locals who have visited the locations themselves and experienced what they are suggesting. Our locals help uncover amazing experiences, top exploration tips and give advice you won’t find in your traditional city guide books. So why not plan a trip to one of these amazing places to visit in Canada for a summer vacation!

A Map of the Beautiful Places to Checkout this Summer in Canada

Most beautiful places to visit in Canada during the Summer

  • Lake Louise. Alberta

Banff, Alberta

Ice fields parkway, alberta, 1000 islands, ontario, tofino, british columbia.

  • Chetichamp, Nova Scotia

Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia

Cavendish, prince edward island, whitehorse, yukon.

  • Fort Providence, North West Territories

Magdalen Islands, Quebec

  • Quebec City, Quebec

Montreal, Quebec

  • Eastern Townships, Quebec

Alma, New Brunswick

Grasslands national park, saskatchewan.

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Lake Louise, Alberta

Lake Louise is found in the heart of Banff National Park , Canada’s oldest National Park, and is one of the best places to visit during the summer in Canada.   Tourists have been flocking to the shores of Lake Louise since the late 1800s when the first hotel was erected and visitors continue to make the journey to Lake Louise to this day.  Of the many activities you can do in Lake Louise in summer, the undoubted highlight is canoeing on Lake Louise . The iconic red canoes allow you to discover every corner of the magnificent glacier-fed lake – it really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience within the Canadian Rockies.  On top of canoeing, Lake Louise is also home to a number of magnificent hikes and walks. Hiking to the famous Lake Louise Teahouses during the summer months cannot be missed. The Teahouses themselves offer a selection of over 100 different varieties of teas as well as some of the best chocolate cake found anywhere in Alberta.  Summer is also the best time to visit Lake Louise if you are itching for a glimpse of their most popular residents – the Grizzly Bear. Lake Louise Ski Resort is open throughout the summer months and the sightseeing gondola ride offers you the best chance of seeing the majestic animals grazing in the meadows below the Gondola.  Lake Louise is certainly one of the best places to visit in Canada and never is this more apparent than in the summer. Checkout our Full Guide to the Best Places in Alberta to Visit with Kids .

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

The Icefields Parkway is the main highway that runs between the Town of Banff and the Town of Jasper, in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. It is the perfect place to visit during summer in Canada. Here, you’ll find so many incredible places to stop along the way , including famous lakes, hikes, and amazing views. 

Some of the most noteworthy places to stop are the Peyto Lake Viewpoint, Bow Lake, the Columbia Icefields, and Sunwapta Falls, although there are many others and you will be tempted to stop at them all! Learn more about all of the Best Places to Visit in Alberta!

If you’re interested in hiking, complete the Parker Ridge Hike along the way. It is a relatively short hike that will provide you with views of the surrounding mountains in one direction, and the Saskatchewan Glacier in the other. You’ll even see some wildflowers on the trail here during the summer months!

Summer is the perfect time to drive the Icefields Parkway as the snow will have melted, wildflowers will be out, and the waterfalls and lakes will be thawed, meaning if it’s too hot out you can take a glacial dip. This road is rated as one of the most beautiful drives in the world, and therefore it cannot be missed during summer in Canada!

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Summer truly is one of the best times to visit Banff National Park. The extra long days and warm temperatures offer up plenty of activities that allow visitors to get the most out of the spectacular mountain scenery.

It’s the best time to visit the stunning mountain lakes, whether it’s by hiking to a lake or getting on the water. Moraine Lake, one of the most visited places in Banff National Park, is a fun place to go for a canoe in Banff. Lake Louise also offers visitors an opportunity to canoe below towering mountains.

For travelers who enjoy water sports, there are several lakes for  stand up paddle boarding in Banff National Park  and the surrounding area. Johnson Lake is a small lake that’s perfect for an easy paddle and even a swim on an extra hot summer day. Nearby Two Jack Lake and Minnewanka Lake are ideal for more experienced paddlers since they are larger and the wind can get quite strong.

Canmore is a neighboring mountain town, a short 20 minute drive away, that has more options for stand up paddleboarding either at Quarry Lake or on the Canmore Reservoir. Quarry lake, like Johnson Lake in Banff, is a great place to have a picnic, let kids play on the small beach and even go for a swim.

With plenty of options for getting out on the water, the only challenge travelers will have is choosing where to go. Checkout our Full Guide of the Top Things to do with Kids in Banaff!

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

If you are travelling anywhere within southern Ontario, you’re only a short distance from some of the most beautiful vistas in the province. The  1000 Islands  are the perfect place for outdoor summer adventures, on land or on the water.

Paddle Around the 1000 Islands on a Kayaking Adventure

One of the most iconic outdoor activities to do in the 1000 Islands with kids , is to go on a kayaking adventure.  1000 Islands Kayaking  provides guided kayaking tours that are beginner-friendly. Choose from either full or half-day tours, overnight kayak/camping adventures, or self-guided kayak rentals. 1000 Islands Kayaking provide guests with all the gear necessary, including dry bags, lunch, snacks, water, and safety equipment. Spend the day paddling around the islands, admiring the million-dollar cottages, natural coves, and the beauty of the area.

Go for a Hike in Thousand Islands National Park

Thousand Islands National Park is made up of several properties including a few islands and three spaces on the mainland, where numerous trails can be found to suit all types of hikers. Landon Bay is the most popular area for hiking in Thousand Islands National Park, offering easy hiking trails with incredible views. The Lookout Trail, at only 0.5 km from the parking lot, provides visitors with spectacular views of Landon Bay and the 1000 Islands in under half an hour. The Jones Creek Trails are also quite popular. The trails are short and relatively flat, but still have incredible views of old-growth forests, wetland habitats, and the surrounding waters.

Canada in the Summer

In British Columbia, Tofino is a popular surfing spot and truly spectacular sunsets. The area’s natural beauty is a big draw, with rain forests, mountains, and beaches nearby. The best time to visit is during the summer when the weather is at its warmest and driest. Tofino has plenty of things to do, whether you’re looking for an adventurous outdoor experience or a more relaxing getaway. For nature lovers, there are hikes and kayaking trips to be enjoyed, while those who prefer something a bit more exciting can go surfing, whale watching, or storm watching. The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is also located in the area and offers visitors a chance to learn more about the region’s ecology and history. In addition, there is a popular hike to the Canso Plane Crash site, but don’t wear your best shoes as the trail can get quite muddy. Tofino is also home to  some great restaurants  and bars, making it the perfect spot to enjoy a meal or a drink after a day out exploring. Wolf in the Fog is the most popular restaurant in Tofino and requires reservations months in advance, especially during spring and summer. So if you’re looking for an unforgettable Canadian adventure, be sure to add Tofino to your list!

Checkout our Full List of Weekend Getaways from Vancouver! Or if you have some extra time in the area checkout our ideas for How to Spend 48 Hours in Vancouver with Kids!

Canada in Summer

Cheticamp, Nova Scotia

Chéticamp is a traditional fishing village on the famous Cabot Trail, that’s known as a worldwide leader in preserving Acadian culture. If you’re wanting to explore Cape Breton in the summer, then Chéticamp, Nova Scotia is the perfect spot to spend a few days. There’s lots to see in the village itself, and it’s conveniently close to great hiking trails, beaches, and the Cabot Trail. Summer is the best time to visit, because from June through to the end of August the weather is the warmest it gets, and there is less chance of rain. Chéticamp is located just outside the west coast entrance into Cape Breton Highlands National Park. This makes it the perfect home base for going on day trips into the park to go hiking, explore the coast, and admire the forest, mountains, rivers and valleys of the Cape Breton Highlands. In the village of Chéticamp, you’ll find plenty of restaurants (including Seafood Stop, which has the best lobster!) as well as Les Trois Pignons , a museum where you can learn more about Acadian history and culture. Be sure to also stop by the Museum of the Hooked Rug and Home Life to learn about rug hooking, a tradition that originates in the area, and has been done since as far back as the 1930s.  

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Few places in Canada compare to the beautiful Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia. Known as Atlantic Canada’s richest agricultural region, you’ll find thriving orchards, vineyards, and fields in the summertime, nearby the world-famous Bay of Fundy. From Halifax, drive west on Highway 101 through the valley—from Windsor to Digby.

The Annapolis Valley is truly an outdoor lover’s paradise. Hike Cape Split for an iconic half-day adventure on the upgraded 16-km loop. Witness spectacular views from the established lookouts over the Minas Basin and Scots Bay. Cape Split’s trailhead is about an hour from Wolfville. Don’t miss the best view of the valley at The Lookoff along the way.

Did you know you can explore the Annapolis Valley on your bike? The 110-km Harvest Moon Trail follows an old rail bed through the valley, beginning at the Grand-Pré National Historic Site. Enjoy refreshment at the Annapolis Cider Company in Wolfville or get your caffeine fix at Berwick’s North Mountain Coffee. You’ll want a mountain bike for this rugged journey. 

How about exploring the valley from the water? Grab your canoe or kayak and paddle along traditional Mi’kmaq territory on the Annapolis River. Through forest and farmland, start in Middleton and overnight at the Bridgetown Family Camping. The next day, continue on to Dunromin Campground for a pleasant stay not too far from Annapolis Royal.

The Annapolis Valley’s weather ranges from 20-25°C during the day in the summer, with the odd 30-degree high. When the temperatures rise, head to one of the many beaches for that cool sea breeze. You’re never more than 60 km away from the ocean anywhere in NS! Visit in July or August for your best chance to miss the rain.

Canada in the Summer

One of the best places to visit during the summer in Canada is Prince Edward Island. From the rolling fields, wide open spaces, endless beaches, campgrounds, National parks, and seafood galore, PEI is an outdoor lover’s paradise.

Prince Edward Island is a small island in eastern Canada, the smallest province in the country. A scenic island, PEI is home to rolling hills, long beaches, red cliffs, and fresh seafood. From tip to tip, the island is approximately 225 km long. One of the best ways to experience Prince Edward Island is by road trip. You can explore the whole island or choose to road trip around only part of the island.

For a single-day road trip around central PEI, start in Charlottetown. Visit the farmer’s market, try fries from a fry truck, and grab ice cream from the famous Cow’s Creamery. From Charlottetown, head to Cavendish, where you will find the Green Gables Heritage Place and red sand beach within Prince Edward Island National Park. Once done, head to Northern Rustico for a delicious seafood dinner on the coast. Complete your day by heading back to Charlottetown. 

Despite its small size, PEI offers a variety of activities, including bicycling the Confederation Trail, exploring small towns, and seeing the iconic red cliffs in Cavendish at Prince Edward Island National Park. A must-try food in Prince Edward Island is fries made from fresh-cut PEI potatoes, especially from a fry truck; they are delicious. 

Cavendish, PEI is a great place to visit in the summer. There are plenty of things to do, and the weather is always nice. You can go to the beach, go to one of many entertainment venues, or visit some of the local attractions. The people are friendly and welcoming, and there is always something going on. I would highly recommend visiting Cavendish in the summer! People come to visit Cavendish in the Summer to enjoy beaches and breathtaking scenery, and for world class lobster dishes. Cavendish, Prince Edward Island is the summer capital of Prince Edward Island. Tourists flock to this small town on the north shore of the smallest province in Canada. Cavendish is world-famous as the setting of Anne of Green Gables and Lucy Maud Montgomery’s novels. You can visit the home that inspired Green Gables, called the Green Gables Heritage Place. You can learn all about the life of Lucy Maud Montgomery in the once small farming community. If you are a fan of the books you will love visiting this site. Golf lovers will also enjoy playing a scenic round on the Green Gables Golf Course as they enjoy the view of the sand dunes in Prince Edward Island National Park and enjoy the ocean breeze as they play this challenging course among the beautiful Canadian landscape. Cavendish has one of the best beaches on the island, and one of the best beaches in Canada. Cavendish Beach is a long, wide, sandy beach that is great for swimming, sunbathing, picnicking, and beachcombing and is often very busy during the summer months of June, July and August. The waves are usually gentle and there are lifeguards on duty in the summer. If you enjoy water sports such as kayaking, paddleboarding, sea-doos or para-sailing then head to the Cavendish pier to rent some water sports equipment. Plus get some fabulous island ice cream at “ Cows Creamery ” on the Cavendish Boardwalk. If you are looking for some more fun you can go to a water park, mini-golf, or a mini amusement park. Don’t forget to stop at visit Prince Edward Island’s oldest lighthouse Point Prim Lighthouse .

There are numerous incredible parks and beaches to visit during the summer in PEI. Whether you choose to laze around at Cedar Dunes Provincial Park and play on a red sand beach (right next to the haunted West Point Lighthouse !), listen to the sand sing to you at Basin Head Provincial Park, or take a 700-metre floating boardwalk through parabolic sand dunes to soft, white, sandy beaches at Greenwich Beach, there are endless options to enjoy PEI’s 1100 km of coastline. Prince Edward Island has beautiful summer weather and Cavendish is the best part of the island to spend it! Summer is the best time to visit as the weather is optimal for outdoor activities, beaches are swimmable, and PEI is at its finest. Something about the summer brings out the best that PEI has to offer. Prince Edward Island is a fun summer destination for all ages. 

Summer is prime time to visit for lobster season – so if you love seafood, you’re in luck! From restaurants in downtown Charlottetown to seaside shacks, there are endless options to have lobster any way you want it. If you’re an early riser, you can even catch the fishermen leaving the harbour at dawn with their lobster traps; it’s quite a sight to see! The best spots to watch this are at Malpeque Harbour and North Rustico Harbour.

Whether you choose to lay on the beach enjoying the sunshine and ocean breeze, finding lonely lighthouses, strolling through charming Charlottetown, or relaxing at one of the many campgrounds, there is no shortage of outdoor fun in Prince Edward Island during the summer.

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

If you plan on making your way to the Yukon, the northwestern territory in Canada, you will at some point pass through Whitehorse. Whitehorse is not only the capital city of the Yukon but also the main transport hub. Although you can visit Whitehorse any time of year, summer is the best time to fully take advantage of its outdoor activities. Known as the “Wilderness City”, there is no shortage of places to explore. Adventure seekers can paddle the Yukon River or hike and bike the more than 700 kilometres of marked trails. There are camping and overlanding opportunities at sites and in the backcountry. Animal lovers and families will love exploring the Wildlife Refuge, which offers a look at many local species that have been rescued or are being rehabilitated. Downtown Whitehorse has much to offer as well. This bustling Capital City isn’t all business, there are many historic buildings, museums, boutique shops and restaurants to discover. Summer is the only time to head to Shipyards Park and experience an artisan market. Here you can pick up a jar of Fireweed Jelly, which is a local favourite made from Yukon’s flower Fireweed. Fireweed can be seen growing all over the Yukon, Whitehorse included. Kids will love touring the S.S. Klondike, a retired paddlewheeler seen next to the Yukon River as soon as you enter Whitehorse. Learn the history of these amazing ships and their importance in the Yukon before highways and roads were built. Hotels are plentiful in the downtown area, but be sure to book your summer accommodations early, as they can fill up. Few cities offer untouched wilderness and modern amenities but Whitehorse in the summer has it all. If your in the Yukon, I encourage you to checkout Dawson City with Kids .

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Fort Providence, North West Territories:

The Mackenzie River is well known for its amazing freshwater fishing. The North West Territories is a vast land, with a small population.  The Northwest Territory is located several hours from Northern Alberta but it is worth the drive to enjoy the beautiful rugged Canadian landscape. Fort Providence is a small community of just over 700 people. Small in size, this community is primarily inhabited by the Dehcho First Nations. The beauty of this community is in the people, the rugged land, and the amazing fishing opportunities. Recently a 1.1-kilometer bridge was constructed that spans the Mackenzie River at the entrance of Fort Providence. The Deh Cho Bridge replaced a ferry that was used to cross over, as well as an Ice Bridge. Before the bridge was constructed, the community would be without a road out of their community for 3-4 weeks out of the year. During this time, all supplies had to be flown in.  Wild bison are a common sight on roadsides around the community. These amazing and enormous beasts are listed as a threatened species in the NWT. If you desire to see Bison from your vehicle, Fort Providence is a great place to go.  The primary reason many people visit Fort Providence is for the Jackfish and Pickeral fish. The best fishing usually happens immediately after ice breakup (usually the beginning of June), and in July.  Fort Province has several campgrounds where fishing is allowed from the shore.  Enjoy crossing the bridge, and seeing the harsh beauty of an uncorrupted land. This land is completely under frost and snow during the spring, winter, and fall months so summer is the best time to go.

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Situated in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the Magdalen Islands (Îles de la Madeleine) are somewhat of an anomaly. The windswept archipelago is part of the province of Quebec but is geographically closer to the maritime provinces of Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. 

A summer cruise service operates from Montreal, but the most popular approach is to take the daily year-round ferry service from Souris, Prince Edward Island to Cap-aux-Meules, the administration centre and largest settlement on the islands. Enjoy live Acadian music during the five-hour crossing; the prospect of seeing whales adds to the appeal. 

The six main inhabited islands are stitched together by dunes, bridges, and causeways. Route 199 stretches 100 kilometres from Île du Havre Aubert at the southern tip to Île de Grosse Île. 

The islands are a haven for cyclists, foodies, hikers, and windsurfers. Cyclists are welcome, as evidenced by extra wide shoulders reserved for cyclists on Route 199, lockable storage sheds at overnight accommodation, bike parking racks, and shuttle services with bike carriers. Several cycle shops offer bike rentals and stock a range of cycling gear. Tourisme Îles de la Madeleine describes several cycling routes on its website and sells an official cycling map at the tourist information centre in Cap-aux-Meules.

To make the most of a  visit to the Magdalen Islands , make the tourist information centre your first stop for information on events, where to eat, and opportunities to learn about Acadian culture, history, and music. Don’t miss La Grave at Havre Aubert, site of the first Acadian settlement. Musée de la Mer des Îles de la Madeleine overlooking the settlement is superbly curated. For a top-notch dining experience, enjoy a range of culinary delights from the impressive menu of Les Pas Perdus in Cap-aux-Meules.    

Summer in Canada

Summer is the perfect time to visit Montreal! The city has more than 30 festivals to attend, everything from International Jazz fest to the Osheaga, Montreal’s take of Coachella.

If music is not your thing, then, we also have a Just for Laugh festival where you can see your favourite stand-up comedians, Comicon, several film festivals, and circus, theatre and dance festivals. The majority of the festivals are FREE and take place at the Places des Festivals (Quartier des spectacles), a downtown area designed specially to hosts events all-year-round. Montreal is also famously known for being the home of Cirque du Soleil, and often runs shows in the summer under the big tent.

If you visit Montreal in the Summer, be sure to check out the Port of Montrel known as Old Montreal that is home to many shops, and amazing bars, restaurants and outdoor patio or terraces, for visitors to enjoy! Montreal has a pretty neat history in regards to the Prohibition Era and is still home to some secret speakeasies such as The Coldroom, Clandestino or Nhau Bar. Visitors can also checkout neat attractions Downtown Montreal such as the Grande Roue de Montréal which stands as Canada’s largest observation wheel and offers an aerial view of the City. Or you can simply stroll along the river or rent a bike and checkout the local heritage buildings in Port Montreal and learn about its vibrant history in the Fur Trades.

Another great reason to visit Montreal during summertime is that Montrealers love to spend time outside whether it is doing a picnic at the park or at Mount Royal. If your adventourous and enjoy the outdoors you may be interested in checking out the Zipline, Pirate Theme Park, Ropes Course, and Labrinth Escape room that are all close to each other in Old Montreal.

The summer months are also the best time to go shopping as there are several street fairs throughout the city with great deals! The city is also the host to international events such as the F1 Montreal Grand Prix or The Loto-Québec International Fireworks Competition where you can see breathtaking fireworks! If you like theme parks, then a visit to La Ronde is a must-do!

If you have kids or are an animal lover I highly recommend checking out Ecomuseum Zoo which showcases local animals found in Quebec in their natural setting. Ecomuseum Zoo provides ” a natural and environmentally-responsible environment, and a close-up look at Québec’s many animal species”. When we visited last summer my daughters favourite animals was the river otter, as they had a very cool exhibit that allows you to view the otter above and below the water and even has a tube that kids can crawl through that runs through the tank. Ecomuseum is located about 30 minutes from Downtown Montreal. Montreal is a vibrant Canadian City offering so much for tourists of all ages to enjoy and explore!

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Exploring the Eastern Townships of Quebec in Summer

Quebec’s Eastern Townships region are located only 1.5 hours from Montreal, or 3.5 hours from Ottawa. They’re the perfect getaway in the summer in Canada. That’s when the outdoor spaces are best enjoyed, no matter what you’re looking to do. 

Some of the best towns to stay in are Orford, Magog, Coaticook, Sutton and Eastman. They offer great choices of accommodations, from hotels, cabins and even campgrounds. 

Warmer weather means you can enjoy some of the best beaches in Quebec. The Eastern Townships have beautiful beaches sprinkled all around the cute towns. Magog, Orford, Lac Brome, Coaticook and so many others have lovely beaches where you can cool down from the summer heat. 

Another great thing to do in the summer in Canada’s Eastern Townships is to go hiking. This region has four different national parks to choose from, each offering something different. The best one, with the most hikes and beaches all in the same area is the Mont-Orford national park. But there are many other free hikes in the area as well, like Mount Pinnacle. 

If you’re looking to relax, you’re in luck, because the Eastern Townships are home to some of the best outdoor spas. You can enjoy Scandinavian style pools and treat yourself to a massage. 

If you prefer enjoying amazing wine and cheese, the Eastern Townships have you covered. There is a wine route that will take you to stunning vineyards where you can taste their offering. You can also grab some local artisanal cheeses along the way, for the perfect 5-à-7 treat. If you’re not too much into wine, there is also a microbrewery route where you can try the best locally crafted brews. 

Whether you’re looking for adventure, time spent in the great outdoors, a relaxing or a foodie getaway, the Eastern Townships have some of the best things to do in the summer in Canada.

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Quebec City

Québec City, located on the St. Lawrence River, is the capital of the Canadian province of Québec.  Québec is mostly French-speaking and is one of Canada’s easternmost provinces.    

Summer is the perfect time to explore the open-air attractions of Old Québec, the historic center of Québec City.  Old Québec is one of the most intact fortified towns in North America, and is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Aficionados of military history will want to visit La Citadelle de Québec, an impressive star-shaped citadel, and the Plains of Abraham, a colonial battle site.   Stroll through the grassy expanse of the Battlefields Park with its historic fortified towers and incredible river views. 

At the heart of Old Québec, you’ll find Place d’Armes.  This central plaza features a Gothic fountain topped by the Faith Monument, and is bordered by the spectacular Château Frontenac on its south side.   This magnificent hotel is the most famous landmark in Québec City and is said to be the most photographed hotel in the world.

Take some time to visit the oldest church in Canada, the Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral.  Its architecture is in the neoclassical style, and the interior of the cathedral features stained glass and ornate gilded décor.

If you have a car, you’ll definitely want to make the short drive to Montmorency Falls.   Take a hike and enjoy some spectacular views of the waterfalls.  The more adventurous travellers can even take a zip line ride over the waterfall!

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Alma, New Brunswick is located about 1 hour away from Moncton and the Village of Alma is located on the Bay of Fundy and welcomes visitors from around the world every summer to experience the true Maritime culture. Alma is a small fishing community , where lobster and scallop fishing are an important industry in Alma’s Tidal harbor. Alma is located a few minutes from Hopewell Rocks and right at the entrance to Fundy National Park making it the perfect summer destination to explore the sea and the forests of New Brunswick all in one location. Enjoy a stroll on the Alma Wharf, kayak in the Bay of Fundy, or stop in at Tipsy Tails or for Fundy Takeout for the best Fish and Chips you will ever eat! If you are a beer drinker be sure to stop in at the local brewery, Holy Whale Brewery located in an old church offering a quaint experience and great beer flights. Located right next door is Buddha Bear Coffee Roastery if your looking for a coffee rather than beer!

Alma is the perfect outdoor destination as you can hang out on the beach and watch the tide rise throughout the day, watch the fishing boats or go explore the Bay of Fundy National Park. The Bay of Fundy National Park. Experience Atlantic Canada culture as you explore Fundy National Park and enjoy hiking the pristine forest trails, visiting boardwalk trails, or exploring waterfalls deep in Acadian forests – its a beautiful treasure in the the Atlantic Coast. If your lucky you may even catch a local music performance in the park in the summertime.

If your visiting Alma, then you need to plan to make a trip to Hopewell Rocks . The Hopewell Rocks is a collection of massive rock formations that look like tall flowerpots along the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, Canada. Sculptured by tidal erosion, the rocks stand between 40 – 70 feet in height and are an iconic New Brunswick landmark. With the extreme tidal range in the Bay of Fundy, you can walk on the ocean floor during low tide; the only place in New Brunswick to walk on the ocean floor without scuba gear or paddle in a kayak as the waters rise up to 12 m or more through the day. In Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park, there are activities for everyone from families to adventure seekers. Activities include walking on the ocean floor, hiking trails to viewpoints, and kayaking the Bay of Fundy during high tide. Additional park amenities include a playground, gift shop, and an area with picnic tables. With park entry passes valid for two days, you have plenty of time to explore Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park. Summer is the best time to visit as it provides ideal weather to experience both high and low tide at Hopewell Rocks. The beach is open within the park, and you can walk on the ocean floor with the rocks during low tide. The ocean floor is inaccessible during the winter months, and the open season is limited in spring and fall due to weather; summer is the best time to visit the Hopewell Rocks.

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

On the Opposite Side of the Bay of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy is one of the best summer locations in Nova Scotia. This area of Nova Scotia has the highest tides in the world, and it is spectacular to see this! There are lots of activities to do in the summer to experience these dramatic tides. There are also lots of great places to go glamping in Nova Scotia . Tidal Bore Rafting is a great activity to cool off from the summer heat, and a really fun and unique experience in Nova Scotia.  Begin your journey by riding in a Zodiac boat down the river looking out for bald eagles, and go swimming and sliding down the mud banks.  Then when the tide starts to come in, ride down the river through the high waves.  The Tidal Bore Rafting Resort offers this adventure and has accomodations with a pool and restaurant to relax in afterwards. Walking on the ocean floor is another incredible way to experience the Bay of Fundy.  At Burntcoat Head Park , when the tide is low, walk along the red sand and up close to the islands.  The land formations are interesting shapes, and it feels like another world! When the tide starts to come in, watch the water levels rise by up to 50ft and the ocean floor disappear entirely. 

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Known as the “Land of the Living Skies”, the prairie province of  Saskatchewan  is often overlooked as a must-see destination in Canada. However, Saskatchewan is extremely scenic with active sand dunes, golden wheat fields, gorgeous boreal forests, an incredible chain of lakes, with the bonus of having the most unique National Park in Canada.

Grasslands National Parks can be found in Southern Saskatchewan and runs all the way to the US border with Montana. At over 900 square kilometres, the park is huge and definitely a must-see in summer!

What makes Grasslands National Park so special? The park is not only dedicated to preserving prairie grasslands, is home to wildlife that can’t be found anywhere else in the country, but it is also the darkest Dark-Sky Preserve in Canada, making it perfect for summer stargazing. Grasslands National Park is also perfect for camping. With summer temperatures ranging from 15 C (60 F) in May, to the mid-30s C (90-95 F) in July and August (cooler in the evening), it’s actually quite a comfortable experience.

The park has two separate campsites, with options for both front and backcountry camping, as well as several oTENTiks for those who prefer glamping. With hiking and wildlife spotting opportunities available as well, there is plenty to keep busy with at Grasslands National Park.

And be sure to check out the Badlands Parkway. This scenic 11 km road travels along a historic escarpment trail, with westward views across the prairies. Along the way, there are several stops that not only have stunning viewpoints, but also have signs providing a wealth of information about the history, the land, and its peoples.

Looking for that perfect Instagrammable location to document your time at Grasslands? Be sure to search for Parks Canada’s red chairs which can be found along the Badlands Parkway!

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Canada is often known for its frozen winters. Although the country’s winter landscape is a sight to behold, the city of Winnipeg in Manitoba province is an excellent spot for a summer trip. It’s the capital of Manitoba and gets its name from Winnipeg Lake. The general summer climate of this city is warm and humid with lots of sunshine. It’s mainly because of its location in the western part of the country, also known as the Canadian Prairies. Being a metropolitan city, Winnipeg boasts some architectural wonders. The whole region is beautifully decorated with parks and recreational areas. It’s a fun place for people of all ages. Summers are the best time to explore this up-and-coming travel destination. The top priority spot on your Winnipeg bucket list must be the Forks. It’s a 6000 years old trading center that holds the glorious history of indigenous people as well as the European settlers. Today, this area also houses a few excellent museums, a beautiful footbridge, and the regular market. Visit the Assiniboine Park Zoo to see polar bears in front of your eyes. It’s a must-visit destination when traveling with kids according to local blogger The Holiday Story . Of all the museums, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is the most important one. It’s the best place to learn about the history of Canada and its people.  There are many more impressive spots in Winnipeg apart from these few like the Trappist Monastery Ruins, Manitoba Legislative Building, St. Boniface Cathedral, etc. It’s a place with many charms. Traveling the city and checking out its beautiful nooks and corners will make your summer worthwhile.

From Coast to Coast we have found the Best Places to spend your Summer in Canada, especially if you are looking for an outdoor adventure. Canada offers lots of outdoor adventures from hiking, paddling, camping and everything in between however the summer months are the best months to visit Canada due to the warmer weather. We have highlighted one place from each province to make sure we cover the vast country of Canad a.

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best cities to visit in canada in the summer

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The best places to visit in Canada from cosmopolitan cities to the Rockies

Bianca Bujan

Apr 11, 2024 • 10 min read

best cities to visit in canada in the summer

Experience the best of Canada with these top places to visit © Hero Images / Getty Images

Visitors to Canada are equally as wowed by the wildlife and wilderness as they are by the cultural and culinary offerings in the cities that speckle this sprawling nation.

Look for polar bears on the arctic tundra of Churchill or cruise Vancouver’s curvy coastline in a canoe while gawking at the city skyline. Feast on five-star fusion cuisine in Toronto, or take in a street-side jam session in Montréal. 

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or returning to experience something new, these are the best places to go in Canada. But you'll have to plan your trip ahead because this is the world’s second-largest country – you can’t see it all in just one go.

Best for diversity

A vibrant jumble of cultures and neighborhoods , Toronto strikes you with sheer urban awe. Will you have dinner in Chinatown or Greektown? Five-star fusion or a peameal bacon sandwich? In Ontario ’s coolest city, designer shoes from Bloor-Yorkville are accessorized with tattoos in Queen West, while modern art galleries, theater par excellence, rocking band rooms, and hockey mania round out the megalopolis.

This is far and away Canada’s most diverse city, as well as its largest – about half of Toronto’s residents were born in another country.

Local tip : Snap a photo of the CN Tower  (one of the top spots to visit in Toronto ). For an added thrill: check out Edgewalk, where you can shuffle around the tower’s perimeter while taking in unparalleled city views.

A couple ride bikes with fat tires over a snowy track by a lake in a moutainous area

2. The Canadian Rockies 

Best for mountain views

The sawtooth, snow-topped mountains straddling the British Columbia — Alberta border inspire both awe and action. Five national parks – Banff, Yoho, Kootenay, Waterton Lakes and Jasper – offer countless opportunities to delve into the lush wilderness with ribbons of hiking trails , rushing whitewater and powdery ski slopes to satisfy travelers looking for mountain thrills. 

This is one of the best places to visit in Canada in winter , but there is outdoor adventure aplenty during the summer months, too.

Planning tip: For a different perspective, take the train and experience the grandeur from the comfort of your seat: luminous lakes, jumbles of wildflowers and glistening glaciers glide by as the steel cars chug up mountain passes and down river valleys en route to points east or west.

Wondering where locals go in Canada? Check out some of our writers' favorite spots .

3. Manitoulin Island

Best for Canada’s First Nations culture

The largest freshwater island in the world, floating right in Lake Huron’s midst, Manitoulin is a slowpoke place of beaches and summery cottages. Jagged expanses of white quartzite and granite outcroppings edge the shoreline and lead to shimmering vistas. First Nations culture pervades, and the island’s eight communities collaborate to offer local foods (wild rice, corn soup) and eco-adventures (canoeing, horseback riding, hiking). Powwows add drumming, dancing and storytelling to the mix for immersive experiences that connect you with the people and the land of the country that we now know as Canada.

A crossing at Downtown Vancouver where cars wait at the traffic lights and people cross the road during the day with snow-capped mountains across the strait in the background.

4. Vancouver 

Best for urban life with access to nature

Sea-to-sky beauty surrounds the laid-back, cocktail-loving metropolis of Vancouver . There are skiable mountains on the outskirts, beaches fringing the coast and Stanley Park ’s thick rainforest just steps from downtown’s gleaming skyscrapers.

For the best of both worlds, pick up provisions and a cold beer and picnic at one of the amazing city parks (it’s legal to drink alcohol at most of them during the summer). 

Shop and stroll through the diverse and charming neighborhoods – you may even spot a celebrity along the way. Known as “Hollywood North,” Vancouver is the filming location for many TV and film productions shot throughout the year.

Planning tip: With its mild climate and beautiful beaches , Vancouver is definitely one of the best places in Canada to visit in summer.

5. Baffin Island

Best for Inuit art and incredible landscapes

The rugged landscape of Baffin Island is home to cloud-scraping mountains and a third of Nunavut’s human population. It’s Canada’s largest island (the fifth biggest in the world) and the ideal place for an arctic safari where you can spot narwhals, belugas and bears in their natural habitat. The island’s crown jewel is Auyuittuq National Park – its name means “the land that never melts,” and indeed glaciers, fjords and vertiginous cliffs fill the eastern expanse. The park is a siren call for hardcore hikers and climbers – and more than a few polar bears.

Local tip: Baffin Island is also a center for Inuit art; studios for high-quality carving, printmaking and weaving can be found in many of the small towns.

Young women roasting marshmallows on a campfire on a remote beach

6. Vancouver Island 

Best for nature, surf beaches and boutique food ventures

Picture-postcard Victoria is the heart of Vancouver Island , beating with bohemian shops, wood-floored coffee bars and a past steeped in English tea culture since the 1840s.  British Columbia ’s capital city is full of charm, but it’s only the kick-off point to an island that has a bounty of natural wonders to explore.

Brooding Pacific Rim National Park Reserve includes the West Coast Trail, where the wind-bashed ocean meets a mist-shrouded wilderness, and surfers line up for Tofino’s waves. With so many outdoor adventures to try, this is one of the best places in Canada for nature lovers.

Detour: Wandering foodies will want to head to the Cowichan Valley, which is studded with welcoming small farms and boutique wineries.

Find out how to see Canada by train.

7. Whistler 

Best for skiing, mountain biking or summer paddle-boarding

This 2010 Winter Olympics venue is one of the world’s largest, best-equipped and most popular ski resorts, and it’s only a 90-minute drive from downtown Vancouver. Featuring over 200 marked runs winding down two towering mountains – Whistler and Blackcomb – this alpine village is paradise for skiers of all levels.

Skiing may be Whistler ’s raison d’être, but summer visitors with their downhill mountain bikes and stand-up paddle-boards outnumber their ski-season equivalents, making the resort a year-round hot spot for locals and visitors alike. Adding more diversity, Whistler has recently developed a thriving arts and culture scene, with highlights like the Audain Art Museum and Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre taking the stage as equally appealing attractions to the famed slopes.

8. Old Québec City

Best place to visit in Canada for romantics

Québec’s capital is more than 400 years old, and its stone walls, spired cathedrals and jazz-filled cafes suffuse it with atmosphere, romance, melancholy, eccentricity and intrigue on par with any European city. The best way to soak it all up is to walk the old town’s labyrinth of lanes and get lost amid the street performers and cozy inns, stopping every so often for a café au lait and flaky pastry.

The city is also home to Québec’s scenic highway, Rte 132. Circling the Gaspé Peninsula , this road winds past the sea and the mountains, as well as charming towns. More than 700,000 people drive it each summer. Of course, it has yet to approach the romantic popularity of Canada’s “honeymoon capital,” Niagara Falls, a region that draws more than 14 million annual visitors. But head for La Gaspésie instead, young lovers. Because if you’re on your honeymoon, you don’t need 14 million other people hanging around.

People dancing and enjoying an outdoor concert at Place des Arts in Montreal.

9. Montréal

Best for music lovers 

As Canada’s second-largest city and the country’s cultural heart,  Montréal  is a marvel for music lovers. From June to August, Montréalers get high on sunshine in parks, beaches, mountaintop forests and endless festivals. The steamy outdoors is more alive than ever with arts-loving visitors filling the streets (and the cool of performance spaces), while rooftop bars turn into parties. The best jazz-influenced musicians in the world play to equally jazzed spectators at the annual  Montréal International Jazz Festival , where there are over 500 performances and shows to enjoy (and countless are free). Nature is also never far away in Montréal where a network of cycling paths, waterways and islands crisscross the city. No wonder Montréalers grow up jogging, paddling canals and skating in the fresh air.

Planning tip:  Check out  Tourisme Montréal  for the latest live music events, big and small, throughout the city. 

Two people on a frozen canal holding hands; one is on ice-skates, the other is in a wheelchair

10. Rideau Canal

Best for ice skating

Opened in 1832, this 200km-long (124 miles) waterway – consisting of canals, rivers and lakes – connects Ottawa and Kingston via 47 locks. The Rideau Canal is at its finest in wintry Ottawa, where a stretch of it becomes the Rideau Canal Skateway – the world's largest skating rink.

People swoosh by on the 7.8km (4.8 miles) of groomed ice, pausing for hot chocolate and scrumptious slabs of fried dough called beavertails (a quintessentially Canadian treat). February’s Winterlude festival kicks it up a notch when townsfolk build massive ice sculptures.

Local tip: Once the canal thaws, it becomes a boater’s paradise, meaning you can appreciate it whatever time of year you visit.

11. The Prairies

Best for big-sky road trips

Solitude reigns in Canada’s middle ground. Driving through the flatlands of Manitoba and Saskatchewan turns up uninterrupted fields of golden wheat that stretch to the horizon, eventually melting into the sunshine. When the wind blows, the wheat sways like waves on the ocean, punctuated by the occasional grain elevator rising up like a tall ship.

Big skies mean big storms that drop like an anvil, visible on the skyline for miles. Far-flung towns include arty Winnipeg , boozy Moose Jaw and Mountie-filled Regina, interspersed with Ukrainian and Scandinavian villages.

Two zipliners head down a wire towards a vast cascading waterfall

12. Niagara Falls

Best for an iconic travel experience

Niagara Falls may be relatively short (it doesn’t even crack the top 500 worldwide for height), but when those great muscular bands of water arc over the precipice like liquid glass, roaring into the void below – and you sail toward it in a mist-shrouded boat – the falls never fail to impress.

While you’re there, extend your stay and head beyond the falls on a two-wheel biking adventure along the Greater Niagara Circle Route, or take a go at the Wildplay Zipline to the Falls , a pulse-pounding rush of a ride that offers unparalleled views of the falls below as you zoom through the sky.

Read on for the best experiences to be had in Canada.

13. Bay of Fundy

Best place to spot whales

It has lighthouses, boats and trawlers, fishing villages and other maritime scenery, yet Fundy is not your average Canadian bay. That’s because its unique geography results in the world’s most extreme tides, capable of reaching 16m (56ft) – about the height of a five-story building.

The tides stir up serious whale food, with krill and other plankton attracting fin, humpback and blue whales to feast, as well as endangered North Atlantic right whales, making a whale watch here an extraordinary must-do.

Canadian Polar Bear walking in the colorful arctic tundra of the Hudson Bay near Churchill, Manitoba in summer.

14. Churchill

Best for polar bear encounters

The first polar bear you see up close will take your breath away, and there’s no better place for an encounter than Churchill , Manitoba, which happens to be right on the bears’ migration path. From late September to early November, tundra vehicles head out in search of the razor-clawed beasts, sometimes getting you close enough to lock eyes with the beautiful bears. Summer lets you kayak or stand-up paddleboard with beluga whales.

15. Drumheller

Best for dinosaur enthusiasts

Dinosaur lovers get weak-kneed in dust-blown Drumheller , where paleontological civic pride runs high thanks to the Royal Tyrrell Museum , home to one of the planet's pre-eminent fossil collections. The world’s largest “dinosaur” is here, too – a giant fiberglass T-rex that visitors can climb and peer out of (through its mouth). Beyond the dino-hoopla, the area offers classic Badlands scenery and eerie, mushroom-like rock columns called hoodoos.

Planning tip: Follow the scenic driving loops; these take you past all the good stuff.

This article was first published Jul 11, 2021 and updated Apr 11, 2024.

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