25 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Canada
If you are looking for the ultimate romantic destination with beautiful scenery, lakes, lighthouses, mountains and valleys, these stunning places in Canada won’t disappoint. Visit a quiet town, a national park or a wilderness area not far from a major city for a vacation filled with gorgeous views, Northern Lights, waterfalls, and fun outdoor adventures. Canada is home to 60% of all the lakes on the planet, so it's no surprise that many of the places that made our list overlook a gorgeous lake. These are the best places to visit in Canada. Photo: aiisha/Fotolia
Deep in the Canadian Rockies in the middle of Jasper National Park, lies 22-km long Maligne Lake, a turquoise jewel surrounded by the deep green of majestic spruces and lodgepole pines. Fed by melt waters of the Coronet Glacier, the lake is an exceptionally popular destination for tourists, avid fishermen, campers, kayakers, and nature lovers from all over the world.
There are two excellent campgrounds and numerous hiking and cross-country skiing trails around the lake. You might even spot beavers, caribou, moose, Harlequin Ducks, or grizzly or black bears. Take a walk on the small but picturesque and mysterious Spirit Island in the middle of the lake and take spectacular photos of the distant snow-covered peaks of the Rockies.
Located in the calm waters of the Georgia Strait in Salish Sea between Vancouver Island and the mainland, Hornby Island
is rural, simple, relaxed and incredibly beautiful. During the last 30 years, its population grew to about 1,000 people who like it the way it is. The population consists of many artists, small business owners, and people work remotely. The island’s lush forests, sandy beaches, calm waters and miles of hiking trails bring thousands of tourists every summer, and they often go kayaking, biking or boating. Many come by boat, anchoring at Tribune Bay or docking at the Ford Cove Marina. The biggest island attractions are Heron Rocks, Whaling Station Bay, Tribune Bay Provincial Park, Ford Cove, and Helliwell Provincial Park
Cheakamus Lake is a lovely peaceful little lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park less than three kilometers from Whistler village. Surrounded by old growth cedars and firs, the lake has a wild aura and looks mysterious and secretive. Towering mountains cast their shadows over large boulders and the pleasant beaches around the lake.
The water is too cold for swimming, but fish love it, so you can always see a few fishermen in their canoes on the water. The hike to Cheakamus Lake is easy, with almost no elevation, and it provides wonderful opportunities for taking photos of wild flowers and birds around the trail.
Photo: Lijuan Guo/Fotolia
»Forillon National Park
Forillon National Park occupies a mountainous area between the Bay of Gaspé and the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Quebec. It is wild and untamed, with fantastic challenging hiking trails along the sea cliff edges. The park also includes picturesque Gaspésie fishing villages, pebble beaches, hidden coves, and steep cliffs that drop off to the sea.
The park has a rare mix of ten diverse ecosystems that include forests, which cover most of the area, sand dunes, cliffs, meadows, lakes, marshes, and streams. Besides maple, fir, and white and yellow birch, there are more than 700 species of plants that exist in the park, including some that belong in the Arctic. Forillon is the beginning (or end) of the International Appalachian Trail.
Photo: Pierrette Guertin/Fotolia
Located in the magnificent Valley of the ten Peaks in the heart of Banff National Park lies Moraine Lake. It is less than nine miles long, but is probably one of the most beautiful spots on Earth where you can take a slow tour in a kayak or canoe. Cold glacial waters feed the lake, which is quite popular with fishermen. Numerous hiking trails around the lake offer spectacular photo opportunities of the lake and the surrounding mountain peaks.
»Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador comprise the vast area covering 156,453 square miles at the eastern tip of the North American continent. Vikings discovered the area more than 1000 years ago. In this place, the force of the Atlantic shaped the rugged coast, while the warm Golf stream and cold Labrador Current created superb conditions for thousands of whales and millions of birds.
When you visit, you can regularly see icebergs along with some excellent shows and art exhibitions. Hiking the magnificent coastline is a very special experience that you won’t want to miss. Visit the Dungeon Provincial Park in Bonavista or Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve to learn much more about this fascinating area.
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Photo: Pavel Cheiko/Fotolia
Golden is a small mountain town snuggled into the Rocky Mountain Trench, between the Canadian Rockies and Columbia Mountain, at the confluence of the Kicking Horse and the Columbia rivers. It is at an easy driving distance from six of Canada’s most magnificent national parks: Banff, Jasper, Glacier, Kootenay, Yoho, and Mount Revelstoke. Golden is a perfect base for exploring this spectacular part of the world. It is the world of the brave and the adventurous and the local accommodation reflects this – there are lodges and B&Bs that can be accessed only by helicopters. Just outside of the town you can find opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, whitewater rafting, skiing, ice climbing, and much more.
Photo: Craig Zerbe/Fotolia
Canadians call Lake Louise “the diamond in the wilderness.” It certainly does sparkle like a jewel; the lake is a bright turquoise blue-green body of water surrounded by deep shadows of the surrounding Rocky Mountains. The lake is a very popular tourist destination, and it offers endless opportunities for recreation, from kayaking and fishing on the lake to skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and even golfing in the surrounding area.
Seeing the lake from one of the zip lines or from the Banff Gondola is another unforgettable experience.
Nunavut is Canadian territory Inuit call home. It is enormous – in fact, it is about the size of Western Europe, and while it was settled 4000 years ago, it still has only little more than 30,000 people. Nunavut is wild and pristine, and it is one of the last unspoiled areas of our planet. Nunavut is accessible by ship or plane only.
Visiting the area gives you the opportunity to see the Aurora Borealis (also known as the Northern Lights), caribou, geese, ptarmigans, polar bears, narwhals, walruses, seals, and whales. You can even go dogsledding, fishing, wildlife watching, hiking, or learning about the art and fascinating ancient culture of Inuit.
Photo: Christopher Howey/Fotolia
»Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site
There are two distinct sides to Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site, or just Keji, as the locals call it. On one side, you have the ancient sugar maples, old growth hemlock, and yellow aspen along the picturesque warm-water lakes. On the other side at Kejimkujik Seaside, you will find yourself on a different planet with white sand beaches, granite cobbles, and vast barrens.
Located in Nova Scotia, these are the lands were the Mi’kmaq people paddled their canoes from lake to lake and river to river, hunting and fishing these lands for thousands of years. It is here that they left their stories carved in old boulders. You can follow their trails and enjoy this vast wilderness in your canoe or kayak, go fishing, or just enjoying the majesty of nature.
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»Places to Visit in Canada: Perce Rock
On the very tip of the Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula in the gulf of the majestic St. Laurence River, you can see an enormous pierced rock rising out of the sea like an ancient sea monster. Visit the nearby charming Perce village and learn many legends about the sea monster and his giant eye that changes color with the moods of the sea.
The area around the rock, which is part of the national park, is great for bird watching, hiking, and kayaking. You can also go to nearby Bonaventure Island to see an enormous colony of northern gannets or passing blue, humpback, minke, or fin whales.
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As you paddle slowly through the blue waters of Saguenay Fjord in Quebec, it is difficult to imagine the force of nature that the formed steep, imposing, and impressive cliffs. On both sides, you can see trees and bushes buffeted by winds and thousands of birds that find their homes there. The area is breathtakingly beautiful and is ideal for short or long hikes and excellent camping.
Venture to one end of the fjord to see Rivière-Éternité, where you can admire huge walls of granite carved by glaciers, or head downstream, where at Tadoussac you can ride through the sand dunes.
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The Dempster Highway is 450-mile long gravel highway that connects Dawson City with the towns of Fort McPherson, Tsiigehtchic, and Inuvik in the Canadian Northwest Territories. It is Canada’s first all-season road across the Arctic Circle. The highway roughly follows the trail used by Gwitchin Indians and their ancestors centuries ago.
Driving along the Dempster Highway is quite an experience, and you will see spectacular scenery and perhaps some wild animals that at times share the highway motorists. This is the road that goes through the Yukon wilderness about which Jack London wrote his wonderful and beloved novels.
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The Cabot Trail is a 185-mile road in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia with scenery that will leave you awe-struck. The trail’s northern section goes through picturesque Cape Breton Highlands National Park, while the eastern and western parts of the trail wind along the rugged coastline, offering spectacular ocean views.
Driving along the southwestern part, you will pass through the Margaree River valley and Bras d'Or Lake. The trail goes up and down dangerously steep slopes and around several curves. It also offers many overlooks where you can stop to take in the scenery, look for whales, take a hike in the surrounding area, or visit one of the many heritage sites.
Photo: Petrov Vadim/Fotolia
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The Laurentians are a mountain range in southern Quebec, a beautiful, green area full of dense forests, rolling hills, and blue lakes. They serve as a favorite playground for the nearby citizens of Montreal. After a short drive from Montreal, you can spend a few hours or a whole weekend in one of the 13 ski centers or take the kids to Mont Saint-Sauveur Parc Aquatique, a fun water park.
You can also take part in a fishing tournament, go zip lining with Acro-Nature forest adventures, explore the forests with a bike, kayak, canoe, snowshoes, or cross country skis, or stroll slowly along the miles of hiking trails and enjoy the magnificent natural landscapes.
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»Places to Visit in Canada: Lake Superior
The largest of North America’s Great Lakes, Lake Superior is shared by Canada and the United States. The Canadian side of the lake between Thunder Bay and Sault Ste Marie is rugged and wild, and glaciers, volcanoes, and earthquakes worked their magic to form the natural landscape. The lake’s gray waters are cold and forbidding, and storms can appear out of nowhere.
The steep coast is covered by old forests and has two wonderful parks: Pukaskwa National Park and Lake Superior Provincial Park. Both parks are great for hiking and camping, and the lake is very popular among boaters and fishermen. Beware of insects in the summer.
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You will notice Bow Lake from the highway because of its startlingly blue waters. It is one of the largest lakes in Banff National Park, and it is especially beautiful in the early morning when the sun paints the surface golden. The lake is only half a mile from Crowfoot Glacier, a nice four-mile hike with not too much elevation.
You will be rewarded by the spectacular vistas of the lake, breath-taking alpine meadows full of wild flowers, and finally by the glacier and the waterfall.
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Deep Cove is a North Vancouver neighborhood so close to modern, metropolitan, and sophisticated Vancouver, but far, far away in so many ways. It is nestled in the heart of the forests, surrounded by mountains and the ocean. It is an ideal location for enjoying wildlife, exploration, solitude, and recreation.
Deep Cove is the starting point for the rugged Baden Powell Trail that goes through the wilderness or Cates Park trail by the waterfront, which goes through the forest and along sandy beaches. Deep Cove is also rich in culture, and it offers some great accommodations and superb food. You do not have to rough it all the time.
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Photo: Christopher Howey/Fotolia
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Located in the Eastern St. Lawrence Lowlands, Mingan Islands is a group of about 40 islands that nature and time formed some 450 million years ago. The most striking features of the islands are the giant limestone monoliths rising out of the sea, some of which are bare and some of which are covered in sparse vegetation.
After the last ice age when the snow and ice melted, sea level was extremely high. As the level slowly fell, limestone bedrock started to emerge and form islands. Once exposed to the elements, the islands were shaped by slow erosion from the winds, waves, changing sea levels, and the merciless process of seasonal freezing and thawing.
As the soft limestone crumbled away, it left behind the spectacular features we see today. Some of the most striking monoliths can be seen at île Niapiskau and Île St-Charles.
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Photo: Pierrette Guertin/Fotolia
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»White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad
The 110-mile long White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad was finished in 1900 in Carcross Yukon during the peak of Yukon Gold Rush. Its purpose was to connect the Skagway deep-water port in Alaska to Whitehorse in Yukon and to interior Alaska and northwest Canada.
Almost a century later, the Yukon Route Railroad is steaming again, taking passengers through mountains, gorges, glaciers, waterfalls, tunnels, and various historic sites in the luxury and comfort of vintage but meticulously renovated parlor cars. The original route from Skagway to Whitepass is a forty-mile roundtrip ride that climbs from Skagway at sea level to the 2,865-foot high White Pass summit. It offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the country.
Photo: Rocky Grimes/Fotolia
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Peyto Lake is pretty enough to appear on a postcard. In fact, its mesmerizing pale turquoise color is so beautiful that the lake often does appear on postcards that feature the Rockies. The lake is fed by Peyto Glacier, which is part of the Wapta Icefield, via rapid-flowing Peyto Creek.
The lake is located in Banff National Park, about 38 kilometers from Lake Louise. The best view of the lake is from Bow Summit, the highest point on the Icefields Parkway.
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Columbia Lake is the source of the Columbia River in British Columbia. It is a fresh-water lake with warm and clear water excellent for fishing for whitefish, kokanee, burbot, bull trout, rainbow trout, and cutthroat trout. The lake is also popular with windsurfers, kayakers, and canoeists.
The scenic environs of the marshes and wetlands offer great hiking, mountain biking, and nature photography opportunities. Columbia Lake Provincial Park occupies about one percent of the area. The rest is wild, untamed, and mostly unexplored.
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Garibaldi Lake is a beautiful alpine cold lake located in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia just 19 kilometers south of Whistler. It is situated 4,900 feet above sea level and is very deep, at some points exceeding 800 feet. Its turquoise waters, surrounding snow-capped mountains, and spectacular plant and animal life make the lake a popular destination for hikers and nature lovers.
Magnificent forests and meadows surround the lake, which is rich in diverse plant life and provide home to many wild animals. Bears are a common sight. The lake is part of Garibaldi Park, which has 90 kilometers of well-established trails and a number of campgrounds.
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Grouse Mountain is the closest wilderness escape from downtown Vancouver. A quick 15-minute ride on the free mountain shuttle will take you from Canada Place to the base of Grouse Mountain. The mountain is only 1,200 meters tall, but it offers exciting year-round activities, from skiing and snowshoeing in the winter to spectacular hiking and bird and wildlife watching in the summer.
Take the Grouse Mountain Skyride aerial tram for a mile-long trip to Alpine Station. The view of the sea, the city, and surrounding mountain peaks from a point 3,700 feet above the sea level is simply breathtaking.
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»Bruce Peninsula National Park
Stretching between Georgian Bay and Lake Huron and buffeted by strong winds on both sides, Bruce Peninsula is one of the most dramatic landscapes in Ontario. You can see ancient cedar trees clinging to the steep cliffs that drop off into the gray, forbidding waters of the Georgian Bay, rare orchids, and bright green ferns thriving in rich wetlands just a few yards from thick old forests.
Geologically old and part of the Niagara Escarpment, Bruce Peninsula is home to many wild animals, including black bears, rattlesnakes and barred owls. It is also an important stopover for migratory birds.
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25 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Canada
- Maligne Lake, Photo: Courtesy of jlazouphoto - Fotolia.com
- Hornby Island, Photo: Courtesy of ScottDHSmith - Fotolia.com
- Cheakamus Lake, Photo: Courtesy of Lijuan Guo - Fotolia.com
- Forillon National Park, Photo: Courtesy of Pierrette Guertin - Fotolia.com
- Moraine Lake, Photo: Courtesy of huci - Fotolia.com
- Newfoundland and Labrador, Photo: Courtesy of Pavel Cheiko - Fotolia.com
- Golden, Photo: Courtesy of Craig Zerbe - Fotolia.com
- Lake Louise, Photo: Courtesy of Friedberg - Fotolia.com
- Nunavut, Photo: Courtesy of Christopher Howey - Fotolia.com
- Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site, Photo: Courtesy of takayukibru - Fotolia.com
- Places to Visit in Canada: Perce Rock, Photo: Courtesy of hstiver - Fotolia.com
- Fjord Saguenay, Photo: Courtesy of thomaspouedras - Fotolia.com
- Dempster Highway, Photo: Courtesy of CullenPhotos - Fotolia.com
- Cabot Trail, Photo: Courtesy of Petrov Vadim - Fotolia.com
- The Laurentians, Photo: Courtesy of inspiration61 - Fotolia.com
- Places to Visit in Canada: Lake Superior, Photo: Courtesy of filtv - Fotolia.com
- Bow Lake, Photo: Courtesy of aiisha - Fotolia.com
- Deep Cove, Photo: Courtesy of Christopher Howey - Fotolia.com
- Mingan Monoliths , Photo: Courtesy of Pierrette Guertin - Fotolia.com
- White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, Photo: Courtesy of Rocky Grimes - Fotolia.com
- Peyto Lake, Photo: Courtesy of huci - Fotolia.com
- Columbia Lake, Photo: Courtesy of BGSmith - Fotolia.com
- Garibaldi Lake, Photo: Courtesy of arnebca - Fotolia.com
- Grouse Mountain, Photo: Courtesy of efaah0 - Fotolia.com
- Bruce Peninsula National Park, Photo: Courtesy of sianc - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of aiisha - Fotolia.com
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