Are you planning to travel this year? While you normally may look outside Canada for travel destinations, why not explore more of the great white north? More Canadians are looking to explore their own country, since there is so much to discover.
We know the obvious choices, such as Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal as fun destinations. But what about some lesser known Canadian travel destinations to visit instead?
Here are some destinations from each Canadian province/territory that may be lesser known Canadian travel destinations to visit this year:
Lesser Known Canadian Travel Destinations to Visit
British Columbia – Barkerville
Barkerville is a recreated Gold Rush Town circa 1862. The Barkerville experience combines history and fun for an interactive experience and a trip back to an important time in B.C history. Rent out traditional Victorian era costumes as you walk through this period town. Try your hand at gold panning or take in a theatrical production. Children under 5 enter Barkerville for free, and there are great deals on admission for families.
Alberta – Abraham Lake
One of Alberta’s “hidden gems,” Abraham Lake is a great location for a summer escape. Instead of visiting Banff, Jasper or Lake Louise, which can get crowded with visitors and tourists, Abraham Lake is a great alternative.
The man-made lake’s breath taking colours and scenery are beautiful in the winter and in the summer. Summer at Abraham Lake offers swimming, canoeing, and hiking for all ages and skill levels. There is free lakeside camping available. But if camping isn’t your thing, David Thompson Resort or Aurum Lodge are both accommodations nearby.
Saskatchewan – Badlands
Visitors from all over the world visit the Badlands to take in the beauty and vastness of this geographical region, particularly the buttes and caves. Learn the history of Saskatchewan’s Indigenous populations, and the bandits and outlaws of North America’s Wild West – the infamous Sundance Kid came here! Walk the same paths and exploring the same cliffs and caves as they once did.
Visit Dinosaur Provincial Park, one of the richest dinosaur fossil sites in the world, where more than 500 specimens have been discovered. There are many accommodations nearby in the town of Coronach, including Bed & breakfasts, motels, restaurants and gift shops.
Manitoba – Churchill Polar Bears
Dubbed the polar bear capital of the world, Churchill is one of the few human settlements where Polar Bears can be observed in the wild. Churchill offers many different ways to see the Polar Bears, whether it is by Tundra Buggy (driven tour) or by visiting a Wilderness Lodge.
In addition to Polar Bears, there are also opportunities to watch or swim with whales, see the Northern Lights, and experience other wildlife up close. Churchill also has an extensive fur trade history, great hiking, and delicious local cuisine including Elk and Bison dishes.
Ontario- Thousand islands
“Thousand Islands” should actually be called 1800 Islands. This archipelago (with 1084 islands to be precise) borders Canada and the United States, in the town of Gananoque, near Kingston, Ontario.
The islands are an authentic hub of nature, culture, and history and feature two UNESCO sites: Frontenac Arch Biosphere and the Rideau Heritage Route. Visitors may visit the Boldt Castle or the Singer Castle, both of which are open for visitors to enter and explore and learn more about their rich histories. Take a cruise of the area, swim at one of the remote beaches, or rent a cottage or perhaps even an island.
Quebec- Whale route
Three hours north of Quebec City is designated as the Whale Route; the 1250 kilometre stretch from Tadoussac to Blanc Sablon on the Cote-Nord is home to 13 different species of whales. You can see the majestic creatures from the shore but get closer with a boat tour. Those who are adventurous can even kayak for an up-and-close encounter.
The Whale Route also offers lovely beaches, hiking trails, historical sites, shopping and dining, and great locations to observe everything from deer, to puffins, to fish.
Newfoundland and Labrador – Saint-Pierre et Miquelon
This small community is just 12 miles from Newfoundland and accessible by ferry or airplane, but it’s not part of Canada! Just off the coast of Newfoundland, Saint-Pierre et Miquelon are the last piece of French territory in North America, and known for its slogan: “Where France meets North America”.
Saint-Pierre et Miquelon residents enjoy a traditionally simple way of life. These islands are a great opportunity to immerse in French culture, without crossing the Atlantic. If you’re Canadian, you do not require a passport to visit.
New Brunswick- Magnetic Hill
Magnetic Hill has been a phenomenon since the 1800s, when people noticed their cars would roll backwards up this hill without any power! The rising and descending terrain causes cars to “roll up” Magnetic Hill, making it a huge Maritime tourist attraction.
There is also the Magnetic Hill concert site, which features a waterpark, Zoo, and wharf village. Beyond Magnetic Hill, Moncton is a city filled with rich Acadian culture with many interesting features to check out.
Nova Scotia – Annapolis Royal
Annapolis Royal is home to some of North America’s earliest European settlers. It’s a dynamic community with a strong present-day culture that honours Annapolis Royal’s Indigenous and Settler past.
This former capital of Acadia and Nova Scotia is rich with history. Most attractions and accommodations in Annapolis Royal are heritage sites, featuring historic gardens, a farmers market, vineyards, lighthouses, museums and a theatre. Visit the Fort Anne National Historic Site to see 1797 British officer’s quarters or take one of the historic walking tours to get a better understanding of the stories behind the local sites.
Prince Edward Island- Cavendish Beach
Cavendish Beach in northern Prince Edward Island, offers a beach vacation right in Canada. The 8 km stretch of natural sand gives way to calm, warm waters that are safe for swimming by all age groups.
Sit back and marvel at the red sandstone cliffs and sandy dunes. When you’re finished making sand castles, head inland to the nearby botanical garden, tourist shops or a local restaurant to try the fresh lobster.
Cavendish Beach Country Music Festival, featuring artists like Blake Shelton and The Band Perry, is taking place from July 8th-10th, 2016.
Yukon- Northern Lights
The Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, is always a mesmerizing and unique experience. This natural phenomenon is best seen from late August to mid-April outside the big cities.
Local tour operators offer various options for seeing the Northern Lights, from evening bus tours to remote lodge stays and even organized camping trips.
Northwest Territories – Nahanni National Park Reserve
The Nahanni National Park and Reserve is among the world’s first four natural heritage locations chosen as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
One of the park’s key features is the South Nahanni River, which is surrounded by huge canyons. The river flows to the spectacular Virginia Falls, which is more than twice the height of Niagara Falls.
The park is also home to sulphur hot springs, alpine tundra regions, mountain ranges, and lush forests. Spend the day hiking the foothills or canoeing the crystal blue waters.
Nunavut – Pangnirtung
Pangnirtung is an Inuit hamlet with a population of approximately 1500, located on Baffin Island. Visit the hamlet to get a real sense of modern Inuit life. And make sure to visit the Uqqurmiut Inuit Arts Centre, with its studios and shops.
Nearby Auyuittuq National Park is also a must stop. The park is home to Mount Thor, known for having the greatest vertical drop on earth – the drop from its granite peak is 1250m – that is taller than two CN Towers!
The temperature in July and August ranges between 5°C and 15°C! Trips and activities can be coordinated to several places near the Pangnirtung hamlet.