Canada, the world’s second-largest country, has no shortage of beautiful landscapes and interesting sights for visitors to explore. The country is home to vibrant and culturally rich cities as well as incredible natural wonders from coast to coast.
The Rocky Mountains, the Okanagan Valley, and the cities of Vancouver, Victoria, and Calgary are among the best places to visit in Western Canada and frequently dominate itineraries. Niagara Falls, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City is among the most popular tourist destinations in Central Canada.
The beauty of Gros Morne National Park, as well as the cities of Halifax and St. John’s, provide their own distinct character to those who venture out to Canada’s Atlantic Provinces in the east.
Off the beaten path, but equally impressive, is Canada’s North, where great rivers flow out to the Arctic Ocean, creating incredible canoeing territory and where polar bears can be seen in the wild. The remote beauty of places like Nahanni National Park, Great Slave Lake, and the towns and cities of Churchill, Whitehorse, and Yellowknife can be explored by visitors.
If you’re looking for the ultimate romantic destination with stunning scenery, lakes, lighthouses, mountains, and valleys, these stunning Canadian locations will not disappoint. Visit a quiet town, a national park, or a wilderness area near a major city for a vacation filled with breathtaking scenery, Northern Lights, and exciting outdoor adventures. Because Canada is home to 60% of the world’s lakes, it’s no surprise that many of the places on our list overlook a beautiful lake. These are the best places in Canada to visit. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require reservations in advance. Currently, some restaurants only offer pickup. Hours and availability may have shifted.
See our list of top tourist attractions in Canada for inspiration as you plan your trip.
Banff National Park is located in the heart of Alberta’s majestic Rocky Mountains and features some of the country’s most beautiful scenery. The park’s turquoise lakes, snowcapped peaks, and glaciers are all easily accessible. Take a scenic drive or go on one of Banff’s best hikes.
The park’s crown jewel is Lake Louise, whose green waters reflect the surrounding mountains and glaciers and where visitors can easily stroll around the shores. Moraine Lake, another impressive alpine lake with an even more dramatic setting, is only a short distance away.
The Icefields Parkway, which connects Lake Louise and Jasper, is a must-see attraction in Banff. The lovely little town of Banff, located at the park’s southern end, offers a wide range of accommodation, shopping, dining, and nightlife options.
Banff is also a major winter sports destination, with two of Canada’s best ski resorts, Lake Louise Ski Resort and Sunshine Village.
Niagara Falls is Canada’s most well-known natural wonder, attracting millions of visitors each year. These massive falls, located just over an hour’s drive from Toronto along the American border, drop approximately 57 meters. The falls can be seen from several key points at an astonishingly close distance.
For well over a century, tourists and daredevils have been drawn to Niagara Falls and the Niagara Gorge. There were numerous attempts between the mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries to plunge over the falls in various types of homemade boats and barrels. This, along with tightrope walkers and other attractions, resulted in the adjacent town of Niagara Falls developing a carnival-like atmosphere that is still present today.
Families will enjoy a stroll down Niagara’s infamous Clifton Hill, which leads to the gorge and falls. A cruise to the base of the falls, a trip up the Skylon Tower for a fantastic aerial view, and a look from the bottom of the falls on the Journey Behind the Falls experience are all popular things to do here.
The iconic CN Tower, one of Canada’s most famous landmarks, stands on the shores of Lake Ontario in Canada’s largest city. The tower, which stands 553 meters tall, dominates the skyline.
Fine dining is available at the top in the revolving 360 restaurants, where you can enjoy a meal while looking out over the city and lake. The LookOut and the Glass Floor provide stunning views of the surrounding area. Consider stepping outside of the enclosed area onto the metal walkway for the CN Tower Edgewalk for an added thrill. You’ll be harnessed in and will be able to walk around the building, which is 116 stories or 356 meters (1,168 feet) above the ground.
Even those who do not wish to climb the tower will find themselves stopping to gaze at the structure, which can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. The tower is illuminated in a variety of colors at night.
Despite being only a two-hour ferry ride from the mainland, Vancouver Island can feel like a world away. Most people visit Victoria, British Columbia’s capital city, for sightseeing and culture, but if you travel north into the island’s wild and remote landscapes, you will encounter some unexpected and unforgettable experiences.
Nature lovers can explore the best hiking trails on Vancouver Island and camp in some stunning locations. Those seeking greater comfort can stay at one of the island’s lodges or resorts.
The old-growth forests of giant trees, some of which are over 1,000 years old, are one of the island’s most incredible sights. The ancient trees of Eden Grove, near the town of Port Renfrew, are within day-trip distance of Victoria. If you’re heading up the island, you can also visit Cathedral Grove, which is near the town of Port Alberni or go all the way out to Tofino to see even more massive trees.
As you drive up to Tofino on the rugged west coast, a magnificent scene of sandy coves and dramatic rocky shores unfolds. In the nearby Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, you can find incredible hiking trails, some of Canada’s largest trees, endless beaches, great surfing spots, camping, and places to simply soak up nature in peace.
Tofino is a year-round destination, though, during the storm season, which runs from November to March, many visitors come to admire the massive waves crashing ashore; some come to surf, while others simply come to cozy up next to a fire in one of Tofino’s lovely resorts overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Other places to visit on the Island include Nanaimo, Parksville, and Qualicum Beach, which are all on the eastern shore and look out onto the Salish Sea. If you really want to get away from it all, visit Cape Scott Provincial Park in the island’s far north.
Locals in Penticton and Kelowna joke that the Okanagan Valley is on the warm side of the mountains from neighboring Alberta. This is a true statement – this long valley is a summer playground for Western Canadians.
The valley floor is dominated by massive lakes, and some of British Columbia’s best beaches can be found here. Canoeing, pleasure boating, and sailing are all popular activities away from the bustling cities, and every sunny summer day, the lakes are filled with smiling, laughing people having a good time.
Farms growing some of Canada’s best fruit, including cherries, peaches, pears, and plums, can be found along the gentle inclines leading up from the lakes. There are numerous places to stay; quality accommodations can be found in both Penticton and Kelowna.
The Okanagan slows down in the winter, but when the snow falls, locals flock to Big White, Apex, Silver Star, or Sun Peaks, some of British Columbia’s best ski resorts.
The Old Port of Montreal is Montreal’s historic port in Quebec, Canada. It stretches for more than two kilometers along the St-Lawrence River in Old Montreal. It was used as a trading post by French fur traders as early as 1611.
The Old Port was redeveloped in the early 1990s by architects Aurèle Cardinal and Peter Rose. It is now a recreational and historical area that attracts six million tourists each year.
The Montreal Science Centre, which has an IMAX Theatre, and the Montreal Clock Tower are both located in the Old Port. It provides access to the riverfront for walking, cycling, rollerblading, quadricycle, pedalo, and Segway rentals.
Old Montreal, like Quebec City, has a European feel to it. Its charm is enhanced by cobblestone streets, a cafe culture, and historic 17th and 18th-century architecture. Once there, walking is unquestionably the best way to get around. Rentals of r-blading, quadricycles, pedalos, and Segways are available.
To enter a completely different world, you only need to travel 10 minutes from the city of Toronto. Take a ferry to the Toronto Islands, an attraction-packed destination where relaxation is the name of the game. Because there are no cars, you’ll need to rent a bike or rollerblades to explore the chain of islands — the three largest of which are Centre, Ward’s, and Algonquin — which are linked by a series of pathways and bridges.
Four beautiful beaches line the water, while summer cottages from the 1920s and impressive English gardens are among the main draws on land. Amaze on the islands will put your wits to the test, while the haunted lighthouse will put your courage to the test. From picnics to paddleboats to ponies, the Toronto Islands provide a refreshing respite from the hustle and bustle of the city while still providing a stunning view of the skyline!
St. Lawrence Market, located in the heart of Toronto’s historic Old Town district, is one of the city’s best foodie destinations. The market has existed in some form since 1803, and while the complex has evolved, it still contains an authentic farmer’s market — the best in the world, according to a 2012 National Geographic article — as well as specialty foods and restaurants to suit every taste.
Treat your senses by seeing, smelling, and tasting fresh produce and cheese in the same location where vendors have been selling it for over two centuries. All of that history can be explored in greater depth on a walking tour of the complex, which also houses venues for business and social events, as well as a plethora of local artisans selling souvenirs, clothing, jewelry, and other items. From Tuesdays to Saturdays, go check it out.
Lake Superior is the largest of North America’s Great Lakes, shared by Canada and the United States. The Canadian side of the lake between Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie is rugged and wild, with glaciers, volcanoes, and earthquakes sculpting the natural landscape. Storms can appear out of nowhere in the lake’s gray waters, which are cold and foreboding.
Pukaskwa National Park and Lake Superior Provincial Park are both located on the steep coast and are covered in old forests. Both parks are excellent for hiking and camping, and the lake is a popular destination for boaters and fishermen. Insects can be a nuisance in the summer.
Signal Hill National Historic Site is located at the entrance to St. John’s harbor, overlooking the city and the sea. The first wireless transatlantic signal was received here in 1901. Although the current fortifications were built during the hostilities of 1812, they also played a strategic role in the Seven Year’s War with France.
One of Signal Hill’s most important landmarks is the Cabot Tower. It was built in 1897 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the discovery of Newfoundland. It also commemorates Guglielmo Marconi’s reception of the first transatlantic radio telegraphy signal here in 1901, transmitted over a distance of 2,700 kilometers from Poldhu in England.
Exhibitions on the history of Signal Hill and communications are housed in the tower (with a special section on Marconi). From the top, you can see panoramic views of the city and the coast all the way to Cape Spear, North America’s most easterly point.