Canada is a super awesome place to visit in the summer. The warm weather allows tourists and travellers to enjoy the nation’s big cities, family attractions, and stunning natural spaces. But which is the best place to visit in Canada for your next summer vacation? Here’s our guide to Canada’s 25 greatest summer vacation hotspots.
- 1. Muskoka, Ontario
- 2. Percé, Quebec
- 3. Toronto, Ontario
- 4. Banff, Alberta
- 5. Victoria, British Columbia
- 6. Jasper National Park, Alberta
- 7. Vancouver, British Columbia
- 8. Fundy National Park, New Brunswick
- 9. Montreal, Quebec
- 10. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
- 11. Prince Edward Island
- 12. Niagara Falls, Ontario
- 13. Quebec City, Quebec
- 14. Whistler, British Columbia
- 15. Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
- 16. Halifax, Nova Scotia
- 17. Canadian Badlands, Alberta
- 18. Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
- 19. Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
- 20. Alaska Highway, Yukon & BC
- 21. Tofino, British Columbia
- 22. Whitehorse, Yukon
- 23. Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec
- 24. Parlee Beach Provincial Park, New Brunswick
- 25. Grand Beach Provincial Park, Manitoba
1. Muskoka, Ontario
During the warm summer months, it can be so pleasant and relaxing to sit beside a lake, gazing out across those beautiful blue waters and feeling totally at one with nature. You can do all of that and more at Lake Muskoka in Ontario.
Situated between the cities of Port Carling and Gravenhurst, Muskoka is one of the most visually stunning lakes in Canada. It’s perfect for people who simply want to sit back and admire the scenery, but also well-suited for couples looking for a romantic getaway or families who want to escape into nature.
In terms of things to do, there are plenty of good picnic spots dotted around Lake Muskoka, as well as hiking and cycling trails to enjoy and wildlife to watch out for. You’re never too far from civilization either, as there are lots of nice small towns and villages all around the lake’s shores to explore and enjoy.
2. Percé, Quebec
If you love the small-town vibes, forests, and nature, take a trip to Percé on the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec. This quaint town is home to just over 3,000 people and ranked as one of the most beautiful villages in all of Canada.
A truly special place with a big heart and very friendly locals, Percé is the sort of town where people come to forget their worries and leave the hustle and bustle of the big city behind. It’s a charming and lovely location to relax, taking in the sights and sounds of nature in peace and quiet.
There’s also quite a lot to do here. You can admire the stunning natural rock formation of Percé Rock, for example, or take a boat ride over to nearby Bonaventure Island to see the huge colonies of puffins and cormorants. Whale watching is also popular in this area, and there are forests and mountains to explore nearby.
3. Toronto, Ontario
The most populated city in the whole of Canada, Toronto is also the capital of the province of Ontario. It sits in a prime location on the shores of Lake Ontario.
A dynamic and vibrant city famed for its skyline, Toronto has all sorts of fascinating landmarks and interesting attractions to visit. From the iconic CN Tower to the massive green expanse of High Park to walking trails and the zoo, there’s no shortage of things to do.
Toronto is also a fabulous place to shop and dine, so make sure you grab yourself a great travel credit card before you visit, so you can really enjoy everything this incredible city has to offer.
4. Banff, Alberta
If big cities aren’t your thing, a quiet little mountain town could be the perfect spot for your summer vacation. Banff is nestled in a stunning location among the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. This mountain town is easily one of the most picturesque towns in the entire world, not only in Canada.
Appealing to nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and travellers who like the finer things in life, Banff has a ton to offer. From the hiking trails of Banff National Park to 5-star hotels with spas and fine dining, there’s something for everyone.
This city is also nicely poised for some day trips to nearby locations, like Moraine Lake with its stunning turquoise water, giving you lots of options to fill your days.
5. Victoria, British Columbia
Next, we’re heading back into the big city with a summer vacation to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. Located right at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria is one of the greenest cities you’ll ever see. Famed for its outdoor activities, Victoria is filled with flowers and parks.
With so much greenery and natural beauty, this city is an absolute haven for people who love to spend as much time as possible outdoors, and there’s no shortage of things to see and do. Some of the top landmarks include the British Columbia Parliament Buildings (pictured above), Fisherman’s wife, and the Christ Church Cathedral, as well as the iconic Craigdarroch Castle.
Victoria is also a cultural hub with lots of fun festivals, especially during the summer months, which host vegan festivals, beer festivals, and more. The city has a lot of incredible restaurants, too, many of which source all of their ingredients from local farms to create great-tasting dishes.
6. Jasper National Park, Alberta
Want to lose yourself in the beauty of nature on your next summer vacation? If so, Jasper National Park needs to be on your list of places to visit in Canada. This national park is situated in Alberta, and it’s the biggest national park in the Alberta Rocky Mountains, covering more than 4,000 square miles in total!
Jasper National Park is famed for its wildlife. You can spot all sorts of critters, great and small, living out their lives among the scenic landscapes here. Get your camera ready for elk and caribou to red fox, river otter, mink, coyote, and all sorts of birds, such as bald eagles, golden eagles, great horned owls, and evening grosbeaks.
In terms of things to do, Jasper National Park offers many miles of gorgeous hiking trails to explore, as well as more intense activities like whitewater rafting for thrill-seeking travellers. It’s a great spot to take amazing photographs, as well.
7. Vancouver, British Columbia
Those looking for a romantic or family-friendly city break in Canada should absolutely consider Vancouver as a possible destination. This big city is situated in British Columbia over in western Canada, and it’s the most populated city in all of BC.
It’s also one of the most diverse cities in the entire country and one of the greenest cities on the planet, giving it a truly unique identity. There are lots of interesting cultural elements for visitors to enjoy, particularly in terms of its bars and restaurants, which offer up a mixture of exotic foods and drinks from all over the globe.
In terms of things to do in Vancouver, the city also has lots of museums and markets, and no visit to the city can be complete without a walk through Stanley Park. Just make sure to compare hotels for your summer vacation before you go, as some of them can be quite pricey!
8. Fundy National Park, New Brunswick
Let’s head back into nature with our next summer vacation recommendation: Fundy National Park. Another of Canada’s phenomenal national parks, Fundy National Park is situated on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick. This hidden gem has been a national park since way back in 1950.
Visitors love this park’s diverse landscapes. It offers everything from dense forests to rugged coastlines and even waterfalls, with more than 25 waterfalls dotted around the park’s 80 square miles of land. This national park is perfect for snapping some breathtaking photos to share with friends and family back home.
Fundy also has lots of good hiking trails and there’s even a boardwalk that will take you all the way out across the bog, giving you some amazing views and the chance to see some of the park’s native inhabitants like woodpeckers, peregrine falcons, beavers, shrews, raccoons, and great blue herons.
9. Montreal, Quebec
Next up, we have another sprawling metropolis in the form of Montreal, the second most populated city in all of Canada and the biggest city in the province of Quebec. The city is located on the Island of Montreal and home to nearly two million people.
One of the wonderful things about Montreal is its rich history. This city’s story began way back in 1642, when it was first-know as “Ville-Marie”. It has changed and evolved a lot over the years, but lots of Montreal’s historic past is still on display through its historic buildings, diverse architecture, and famous landmarks like the Notre-Dame Basilica.
This city is also the closest you can get to France within Canada’s borders, as a lot of the locals speak French and the city’s cobblestone streets will certainly remind travellers of the Mediterranean towns and cities many miles away.
10. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
If you like the buzz and vibe of the city, but prefer somewhere a little smaller and simpler than the big urban sprawls of Toronto and Montreal, Saskatoon might be the place for you. This city is located in the province of Saskatchewan, beside the South Saskatchewan River.
It’s a very charming city, nicknamed “Paris of the Prairies” due to its pleasing architecture and wonderful array of bridges. It can be pleasant to simply stroll aimlessly around Saskatoon and enjoy the atmosphere of the place.
This city is also a haven for foodies. There are lots of local farms in the area serving the city’s many restaurants and markets, and you can enjoy some fabulous meals at the city’s various diners and restaurants.
11. Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is another lovely spot to visit on your Canadian summer vacation, although it can get a little busy during the latter stages of summer. It’s best to head there early on if you hope to avoid the crowds.
This lovely little island is best known as the setting of Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery. There are various museums, shops, and other locations that all aim to pay homage to the classic novel and its various adaptations over the years. You can even enjoy a live musical performance of the story at the annual Charlottetown festival.
In terms of other things to do, Prince Edward Island offers lots of outdoor activities, including kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, along with some great golf courses and historical sites.
12. Niagara Falls, Ontario
Situated about 40 miles from Toronto, travellers can enjoy one of the world’s most famous and breathtaking landmarks: Niagara Falls. Visited by millions of people each year, Niagara Falls is a sight you simply will never forget.
Even though the falls are spread across the international border shared with the US, the biggest falls and the most impressive views can be found on the Canadian side. This is a great place to take photos, make memories with friends and family, or simply stand and admire the awe-inspiring power of nature.
You might even choose to take your summer vacation to the next level and book a helicopter tour of the falls, or simply walk around them and enjoy the Journey Behind the Falls attraction.
13. Quebec City, Quebec
Canada has so many cities that are worth experiencing in the summer months, and Quebec City is most certainly one of them. This is the capital city of Quebec, home to around half a million people and famed for its warm and sunny summers.
Just like Montreal, Quebec City gives visitors a taste of France, but with a distinctly Canadian personality. It offers all sorts of inspiring and amazing landmarks, from the incredible Chateau Frontenac hotel to the Citadelle of Quebec, a historic fortress that sits on the city’s edge.
Quebec City also has its historic Old Quebec district, which is classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as some of the very best bakeries in all of Canada.
14. Whistler, British Columbia
Whistler is a famous ski resort found in British Columbia. At first, you might think that a ski resort isn’t the ideal destination for a summer vacation, but Whistler is an all-season gem that has a lot to offer when the sun is shining.
Offering mind-blowing views of the Coastal Mountains, Whistler is a great place for summer fun. It has its own family adventure zone, as well as several sandy beaches where travellers can sit back, relax, and forget their troubles.
This resort town also has some fantastic hiking trails and mountain bike routes to enjoy, as well as a gondola that is certainly worth a trip if you want to see some of the most breathtaking views in the region.
15. Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
Canada has many wonderful national parks to explore for summer vacations, and Gros Morne is yet another example of that. This national park, which is also a World Heritage Site, is situated on the western coast of Newfoundland and covers a whopping 697 square miles of land.
The park is named after the Gros Morne mountain, situated within the park. It’s home to several mountains, making it a fine spot for climbers and explorers of all kinds. It’s also ideal for more casual visitors who simply want to walk around, snap photos, and enjoy the views.
Gros Morne is also famous for its moose population, and visitors can regularly spot moose while making their way along one of the 20 hiking trails. Other animals in Gros Morne include bears, hares, squirrels, and otters.
16. Halifax, Nova Scotia
Looking for a city that blends the charm and beauty of a seaside town with the sights and sounds of a thriving metropolis? If so, head to Halifax, the capital and largest city in the province of Nova Scotia.
With its scenic water views and waterfront boardwalks, this city is a lovely place to visit when you want to enjoy beaches and water, while also having access to inner city hotspots like great restaurants and museums.
Halifax is a great spot for shopping, offering a nice mixture of traditional farmers’ markets, independent boutiques, and big brand stores. The small fishing village of Peggy’s Cove is just a short drive away, giving you another option to fill your summer vacation itinerary.
17. Canadian Badlands, Alberta
If you’re looking for something a little different on your next summer vacation, consider a trip to the Canadian Badlands in Alberta. This is where you’ll find many acres of steep slopes, golden stones, fascinating rock formations, and geological landmarks.
The badlands are also home to Dinosaur Provincial Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where many dinosaur bones and fossils have been found. So, if you happen to have kids that love dinosaurs, this could be a very magical place for your family to visit.
You can even visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum during your stay to get an up-close view of some of the amazing dinosaur skeletons that have been found in the area or enjoy a trip along the Badlands Trail.
18. Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
As well as vibrant cities and stunning national parks, Canada also has more than its fair share of fabulous islands to enjoy. Cape Breton Island is a great example of this, situated on the Atlantic Coast in Nova Scotia.
With close to 4,000 square miles of land, Cape Breton Island has plenty of space to accommodate the crowds of travellers who gather here each summer. This island has a lot of great nature trails and guided tours to enjoy, too.
You can explore the island on foot or on your bike, taking in the sights and sounds of nature along the way, exploring the woodlands and admiring the rushing waters. Or, you can relax and indulge at one of Cape Breton’s many fabulous seafood restaurants.
19. Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
Perhaps you’re planning a romantic summer vacation with someone special and looking for an ideal Canadian destination to make it happen. If so, the Okanagan Valley might just be the perfect place.
Situated in British Columbia between the Okanagan Lake and Okanagan River, the Okanagan Valley is known as Canada’s premier wine country. It has many acres of vineyards and ideal growing conditions for various kinds of grapes.
Wine lovers and connoisseurs can stop off at various vineyards, restaurants, and inns around the valley, enjoying the latest harvests and dining on fresh farm produce in romantic settings with jaw-dropping views in every direction. This is also a prime spot for outdoor activities like watersports and boating.
20. Alaska Highway, Yukon & BC
Are you someone who loves road trips and the great outdoors? Well, if you’re planning a summer vacation road trip in Canada, the Alaska Highway is the place for you! Also known as the ALCAN Highway, this long stretch of road connects the US to Alaska, stretching through Yukon and British Columbia along the way.
Travellers can drive many miles along the Alaska Highway without needing to cross over the border into the US. There are lots of amazing views along the way of towering mountains and vast icefields.
There are also lots of good places to stop off along your trip of the Alaska Highway, including natural hot springs, local towns and villages, and wildlife-watching hotspots. Before you hit the gas on this destination, make sure you plan your trip with one of the best credit cards for road trip lovers.
21. Tofino, British Columbia
If you’re looking for that small town vibe, take a trip to Tofino. This little town has just over 2,500 residents and sits on the western coast of Vancouver Island, not too far from big cities like Vancouver and Victoria.
A far cry from the hustle and bustle of those big cities, Tofino is a quiet coastal community popular with surfers, hikers, whale watchers, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds, thanks to its close connection with nature.
Each summer, many people flock to this town to enjoy the warm weather and soak up the surrounding natural beauty. There’s lots to do here including a trip to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, sunbathing on Long Beach, or a dip in the hot spings at nearby Maquinna Marine Provincial Park.
22. Whitehorse, Yukon
We have another wonderful summer destination in Canada: Whitehorse. Whitehorse is the biggest city in Northern Canada’s Yukon territory. However, it’s still quite small compared to its southern counterparts, with a population of around 31,000.
Thanks to its location in the Whitehorse valley, this city has much milder weather than many other northern destinations. In the summer, the temperatures can get pretty warm, ideal for spending time outdoors and breathing in the fresh, clean air. Whitehorse even has a spot in the Guinness Book of Records as the city with the lowest amount of air pollution on the planet!
In terms of things to do, Whitehorse has hiking trails in Miles Canyon, wildlife hotspots with bison and arctic foxes, and some nice downtown shops, cafes, and restaurants to enjoy, as well.
23. Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec
Fancy an island getaway this summer? Well, you don’t need to pay the high prices of a Caribbean cruise. You can enjoy some beautiful and magical island adventures right here in Canada, courtesy of the Îles-de-la-Madeleine, or Magdalen Islands.
The Îles-de-la-Madeleine form a small archipelago in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. They’re technically part of Quebec, but are geographically closer to Newfoundland. These islands have a rich history dating back hundreds of years and visited by Indigenous Mi’kmaqs for centuries.
Nowadays, they’re among the most pristine sites in all of Canada, with lots of wonderful nature to enjoy. There are beautiful beaches, stunning cliffs, and lots of wildlife like seals and sea birds. The islands are a good spot for thrillseekers, too, offering some great areas for kitesurfing and kayaking.
24. Parlee Beach Provincial Park, New Brunswick
Looking for a great place to take the whole family for your next summer vacation in Canada? If so, you might want to consider a trip to Parlee Beach Provincial Park, situated in New Brunswick a short drive from the nearby city of Deppe.
Named after New Brunswick’s former Minister of Municipal Affairs, T. Babbitt Parlee, Parlee Beach Provincial Park is a lovely place to spend some time. It is known for soft sands, pleasant waters, magical views, and a whole host of activities. It’s no wonder that Parlee Beach is the most popular beach in all of New Brunswick!
So, what can you do here? Well, the beach is well-equipped with all you need for an amazing experience, including a spacious picnic area, changing areas, showers, washrooms, a canteen, an on-site restaurant, a playground for the kids, and even a massive 190-site campground for those who want to stick around for a few nights.
25. Grand Beach Provincial Park, Manitoba
Canada certainly isn’t short of beautiful beaches for summer vacations, and if you love to spend time on soft, golden sands, soaking up the sun and admiring the view, take a trip to Grand Beach Provincial Park.
Situated in Manitoba, this Provincial Park is famed for its iconic white dunes and beaches that date all the way back to the last ice age! Plus, it measures up at an impressive 9.6 square miles, providing plenty of space for tourists and locals alike to gather and enjoy the views and activities here.
If you like to relax, you can simply bring a good book and a cozy beach towel and let the hours pass by as you enjoy the sun and sound of the water. Or, if you prefer something more active, you can head out onto the water or take a tour of one of the many cycling and hiking trails around the park.