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35 Epic Things to do in Canada by Canadians

35 Epic Things to do in Canada by Canadians

There are endless things to do in Canada for every type of travel lover. We know because we are two proud Canadians that have crisscrossed the country from coast, to coast, to coast. Dave and I have traveled to 115 countries over the past 22 years and can confirm that traveling in Canada is one of the best trips in the world.

We are truly proud of everything Canada has to offer. Canada is a four-season playground filled with exciting cities, outdoor activities, and amazing cultural experiences. Isn’t it about time you explored Canada?

Best Things to do in Canada

This is the ultimate Canadian bucket list! Canada is one exciting destination and for our American, European, and UK friends, it’s cheap too! Our dollar is really weak right now, so make your way to Canada and try one of these great adventures today!

the best things to do in Canada
A High Mountain Trail Ride in Southern Alberta

If you want to see the best more about the best cities in Canada, check out our post: 14 Beautiful and Best Cities in Canada. This article focuses more on outdoor adventures, but we have included a few Canadian cities that we feel we couldn’t leave out.

1. Walk With Polar Bears

things to do in canada walk with polar bears

Churchill Manitoba is the Polar Bear Capital of the world. Located along the polar bear highway, it is the premier place on earth to see polar bears as they make their way to Hudson Bay. Each year tourists flock to board tundra buggies to see the polar bears, but we had the chance to get even more personal with polar bears. Check out Things to do in Churchill Manitoba – Land of the Polar Bears

Staying at Nanuk Lodge with Churchill Wild on in the Canadian arctic was an experience we’ll never forget. We searched for mothers and cubs along the Hudson Bay in tundra vehicles but when a bear was spotted in the distance we got out to walk with them!

We drove within 1km of the beautiful creatures where we hopped out from the safety of our vehicle and slowly approached on foot. Walking with polar bears is the number one thing to do in Canada so put it at the top of your Canadian bucket list experiences right now! Read more: Walking with Polar Bears – The Greatest Arctic Safari

2. Soar over Banff National Park

things to do in canada heli snowshoe

Banff National Park is probably one of the most famous places to visit in Canada. That is because Banff truly is one of the most beautiful places in Canada. From Moraine Lake to the Banff Hot Springs and its own Cave n’ Basin National Historic Site there are endless possibilities for a holiday in Banff.

Read about it here: A Spectacular Helicopter Tour in Banff, you’ll find out how to book and what to expect.

We landed high in the Rocky Mountains where we went snowshoeing to take in even more incredible views of this UNESCO World Heritage Site and Canada’s first National Park! Read more: The Best Things to do in Banff, Alberta

3. Canoe Lake Louise

things to do in Canada canoe lake louise

Lake Louise is one of Canada’s top tourist destinations and there is no better way to see it than to get out on a canoe. Plus, canoeing is so Canadian. You’ll enjoy beautiful views of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Victoria Glacier and the surrounding mountains. This is one for the bucket list. Read more: Canoe Lake Louise and Banff National Park, Alberta

4. Play Hockey

pond hockey

Banff National Park is amazing in winter. With skiing and snowboarding at Lake Louise, sleigh rides, and dog sledding, Banff is a year-round playground for adventure lovers. However, it is here that you can do a truly Canadian experience in the winter and that is to play pond hockey.

Everyone knows that Canadians are gaga over Ice Hockey. You can join in on the fun in the most beautiful place in the world. Nothing is more Canadian than getting on a pond to play some hockey. And what better place than with the scenic backdrop of Lake Louise in stunning Banff National Park? See more: Pond Hockey on Lake Louise – Skating the Most Beautiful Rink in the World

5. Drive the Icefields Parkway

thabasca glacier

The Icefields Parkway is one of the world’s most scenic drives. It stretches from Banff National Park to Jasper National Park in Alberta and is filled with scenic attractions and adventures. It is a short day drive of only  293 km (182 miles) but you should spend a couple of days exploring all of its top attractions. From the beautiful reflections of Bow Lake to its many lookouts and hiking trails, this is a road trip that is not to be missed.

Visit Bow Lake in Banff National Park
Reflections of Bow Lake

Halfway through the drive are the Athabasca Glacier and the Columbia Ice fields. The Icefields are the largest nonpolar ice fields in the world, and when you are out on the glacier, you really feel how massive it is. Walking along this mammoth glacier truly shows you the power of Mother Nature. Check out Driving the Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper Alberta

6. Go Tidal Bore Rafting

tidal bore rafting nova scotia

Witnessing the power of the world’s highest tides on the Bay of Fundy is an experience unto itself, but riding the tides on a tiny zodiac is the ultimate adventure. Thrill seekers will love Tidal Bore Rafting on the Bay of Fundy.

Imagine standing on a dry river bed as 100 billion tons of water comes rushing in. Within minutes we scrambled into our boats to ride the waves of the rising tides into the Shubenacadie River. See our experience Tidal Bore Rafting in Nova Scotia – The World Highest Tides

7. Drive the Dempster Highway

road trip dempster highway

We love taking road trips around the world, but there was something special about driving the Dempster Highway. The Dempster highway stretches from Dawson City to the Arctic Ocean. We rented a car in Inuvik in the North West Territories and drove south to Dawson City, Yukon, this highway crosses the Arctic Circle, and took us to the National Historic Site of Fort McPherson, we rode on ferries, and we saw caribou as we searched for grizzlies.

The Dempster Highway is definitely one of the more unique places to visit in Canada being so remote with nothing surrounding you but wilderness and wildlife. We have it on our list as one of the world’s best road trips. 25 Best Road Trips in the World – That We’ve Taken

8. Moose Safari in Algonquin Park

moose safari

Nothing is more Canadian than seeing a moose while canoeing. A canoe trip to Algonquin Provincial Park is a rite of passage for anyone residing in the province. It’s also the best place on earth to spot moose in the wild. We suggest booking a tour with Voyageur Quest because the professionals know exactly where the best moose spotting is. Read all about it at In Search of Algonquin Moose – A Canadian Wildlife Safari

9. Ski in the Canadian Rockies

snowboarding in whistler
Go Backcountry snowboarding at Whistler Blackcomb

Whistler Blackcomb British Columbia has some of the best snowboarding in North America, but did you know its mountains are not in the Canadian Rockies? That’s okay though, the Fitzsimmons and Coastal mountain ranges of British Columbia offer unrivaled world-class skiing. However, to ski or snowboard in the Canadian Rockies, you need to go to a ski resort in Alberta or in the eastern part of British Columbia. Revelstoke Resort or Fernie ski resort in British Columbia is amazing and the likes of Sunshine Village, Lake Louise, and Norquay in Banff National Park are fantastic for all levels. Check out 15 Top Ski Resorts in Canada For Winter Fun

10. Skate on the Rideau Canal

skate the rideau canal

If you want to skate on another iconic Canadian arena, make your way to Ottawa for Winterlude. The highlight of this winter festival is skating on the world’s largest ice skating rink. The Rideau Canal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and The oldest continuously operated canal system in North America. It runs 203 km from the Ottawa River to Lake Ontario.

In the winter, this national historic site is the world’s latest skating rink! There are warming huts, places to get Beaver Tales and Maple Syrup, and a lot of skate rental shops to try Canada’s favourite pastimes.

Le Boat Canada Houseboats

It’s amazing to visit in summer or winter. If cold isn’t your thing, try renting a luxury houseboat to tour the Rideau Canal. If we had grown up in Eastern Ontario, we would have spent many a summer on this beautiful waterway. Read all about it at Amazing Rideau Canal Cruise – A Unique Cruise Holiday with Le Boat

11. Conquer The CN Tower Edgewalk

The CN Tower is one of the top tourist attractions in Canada, and while many people go to stand on its glass floor and to take in the city views, the CN Tower offers something for those seeking the ultimate adrenaline rush. Going up the CN Tower is one of the top things to do in Toronto, but not as many people dare to try the CN Tower EdgeWalk.

As avid thrill seekers, we wanted more out of our many visits to the CN Tower, so we were super pumped when the world’s highest outdoor edgewalk was added to the iconic tower. We strapped ourselves to a harness and clung to the edge 110 stories high as we did our best superman impressions overlooking our hometown of Toronto and all the way across Lake Ontario to Niagara Falls. Check out more CN Tower Edgewalk – Taking on The World’s Highest Sky Walk

12. Immerse in First Nations Culture

great spirit circle trail
The Great Spirit Circle Trail on Manitoulin Island

Canada’s First Nations People have a strong cultural identity and are friendly and welcoming to people wanting to learn more about their heritage. We have had many indigenous experiences in Canada and one of our favorite places is on Manitoulin Island.

The Great Spirit Circle Trail takes you around the world’s largest freshwater island to experience the traditions and culture of the Inishabeck People. Take part in the Voice of the Drum, a Smudging Ceremony and so much more. See our experiences on the Great Spirit Circle Trail

13. Kayak the Bay of Fundy

three sisters kayaking
Three Sisters on the Bay of Fundy – Natural Landmarks of Canada

The Bay of Fundy is home to the world’s highest tides and there are many ways to see the bay of fundy from walking on its floor to hiking above it along the Fundy Footpath in Fundy National Park.

If you want to take the adventure up a notch book a kayaking trip to the Three Sisters is Nova Scotia. This two-day camping and kayaking adventure took us along the Nova Scotia coast where we camped on the Bay of Fundy and explored the spires of the Three sisters at both high and low tide! Read more Amazing Bay of Fundy Adventures – Ways to Experience the Highest Tides

14. Hopewell Rocks

hopewell rocks

One of the best Canadian places to visit is to walk among the Hopewell Rocks at Hopewell Cape. I know we mentioned Tidal Bore Rafting is the best way to experience the Bay of Fundy, but the most legendary way to see it is at the Hopewell Rocks.

Located in New Brunswick, the Hopewell rocks are an extraordinary site where we walked on the ocean floor surrounded by giant flower pot rocks and sea caves. The Fundy Trail is an amazing hike that you can do in Canada and when we explored New Brunswick, we also made a point of crossing into Prince Edward Island. Check out the best things to do in Saint John New Brunswick

15. Sleep with Wolves

things to do in canada wolves in parc omega

Our favourite place to see wildlife in Canada is at Parc Omega in Quebec. If you want to witness white wolves, Arctic fox, bison, caribou, and more in their natural habitat, this is the place to go. But you can also sleep overnight in the wolf sanctuary with a wild pack of wolves.

Waking up to a wolf howl in the wee hours of the morning as they call out to the night sky was a haunting and memorable experience. See more details – Places to Visit in Ottawa this Autumn

16. Zip Over Niagara Falls

things to do in canada zipline over niagara falls
Bird’s Eye View of Horseshoe Falls

Okay, okay, we can’t make a Canada bucket list list without mentioning Niagara Falls. It’s our most famous landmark. And as we said above, we love Niagara Falls. In fact, we were there just a couple of months ago again for the umpteenth time.

There are so many things to do in Niagara Falls, that even after all our years of exploring, we still haven’t done it all. But we have done most of it: The Best Things to do in Niagara Falls

We absolutely recommend going on the Hornblower to venture into Horseshoe Falls and love walking behind the falls in Journey Behind the Falls as well. But our latest Niagara Falls adventure was ziplining at the Falls. It’s a fun thrill and unique experience.

17. Jetboat into Class 6 Rapids

whirlpool jetboat in niagara falls

We love visiting Niagara Falls at least once a year. It houses many of the top attractions in Canada, but our favorite thing to do in Niagara Falls is located just outside the city at Niagara on the Lake.

The Jetboat takes you to the Class 6 rapids of the Niagara River Whirlpool. Nobody can kayak or boat on this, they’ll literally get sucked to the bottom. But these high-powered jet boats were made to survive the powerful waves. You sit on the edge either getting soaked on the open boat or taking the covered boat along the Niagara River. (we’ve done both!)

  • Read more about Niagara Falls:

18. See The Aurora Borealis

northern lights in manitoba

Canada is an amazing place to spot the Northern Lights. If you visit the Great White North in the winter months, your chances of seeing the Aurora Borealis are huge. One of the best places in Canada that we’ve seen the Northern lights is in like Churchill Manitoba. The skies are clear and the nights are long making for perfect odds to see them.

There are many places to see the Northern Lights in Canada though. We’ve seen them in Ontario’s north, Jasper National Park, and Banff Alberta.

Dark Skies of Jasper

dark sky festival jasper s

One of Canada’s best dark sky preserves is in Jasper National Park and if you want to make sure to see the Northern Lights, attend the Dark Sky Festival there. The Dark Sky Festival is an amazing way to witness Canadian night stars without light pollution. Getting to see the stars in Jasper is an added bonus.

There are many lakes to go out to view the Aurora Borealis and milky way and there are plenty of special events to keep you occupied. We loved our stay at the Fairmont Jasper too! Read more: Amazing Things to do in Jasper, Alberta

19. the Midnight Sun

dawson city yukon

The opposite of the Auroras happens in the summer. Instead of dark skies, it’s 24 hour daylight. The farther north you go, the longer the days are and you can go for weeks with constant sunshine. We experienced this in Dawson City but there are many places in the Yukon, Nunavut, and the Northwest territories to enjoy this strange experience.

The easiest places are definitely Whitehorse or Dawson City Yukon. Dawson City is worth visiting on its own. This quirky town is located on Yukon River that is filled with klondike facades from the Gold Rush a saloon, an old paddleboat on the Yukon River, and Canada’s first casino.

Visiting during the height of summer keeps you up until the wee hours of the morning because you have no idea what time it is! We flew the drone from a high lookout at 11 pm and walked around the saloon facades of downtown at 3 am. Read more: Visit Dawson City, Yukon – The Quirkiest Town in Canada

20. Camp with Grizzley Bears

ivvavik national park

Dave and I love viewing wildlife. Flying into the remote outpost of Ivavik National Park in the far north took us to one of Canada’s most remote places. Ivvavik is also the best place to watch Grizzly Bears.

The camp is located on “Grizzly Alley” and if you are lucky, all you have to do is sit in your tent to watch for a grizzly walking by. Park rangers also took us out for hikes where we spied on them with binoculars before heading back to the safety of our camp. Watch our video and read all about it.

21. Experience an Ice Hotel

ice hotels and ice bars

Canadians love the cold so why not cozy up in a parka and sip on vodka in a freezing bar? Ice bars are all the rage in the winter and in Quebec, they take it a step further with the Ice Hotel. Hôtel de Glace is located just outside Quebec City and you can spend a night in the hotel made of ice. If that’s not up your alley, there is a fantastic ice bar in Whistler British Columbia at the Bearfoot Bistro.

22. Go Ice Climbing

ice climb alberta
Dave Ice Climbing

While we’re on the subject of cold places, another amazing thing we did while traveling Canada was to go ice climbing in Canmore Alberta. Rock climbing is awesome enough, but to grab hold of an ax and strap on crampons while scaling a massive frozen waterfall in the middle of the Rocky Mountains is outstanding! Read more at Ice Climbing in Canmore

23. Kayak with Beluga Whales

 beluga whale
A Beluga Whale Plays with our GoPro underwater

Kayaking with Beluga Whales in Churchill Manitoba. These are the cutest whales you’ll ever see. In Churchhill, there are thousands of them to see! Beluga Whales migrate through this corridor right off the shore of the city.

They were so curious and surrounded our kayaks, even bumping our hulls and nipping at our GoPros as we sang to them. One beluga whale couldn’t get enough of our gopro under the water and let us catpure great footage. It was the most fun we’ve ever had on the water! Read more at Kayaking with Belugas

24. the Rocky Mountaineer

rocky mountaineer

It seems that wherever we go around the world, people dream of riding the Rocky Mountaineer. Well, guess what? We’ve done that! Taking a train journey through the Rocky Mountains is high on many a person’s bucket list. Go in style on the Rocky Mountaineer leaving from Vancouver and ending in Banff National Park. This two-night journey goes through some of the most remote regions in Canada that can really only be seen by train. Plus, you’ll have amazing food and drinks along the way

25. Red Sands of Prince Edward Island

things to do in prince edward island

We have always heard of the red sand beaches of Prince Edward Island, and we can attest, they really are red and beautiful. The redness is caused by the high iron oxide (rust) in the soil. But it’s not just the beaches that attract tourists to PEI, Anne of Green Gable’s flans flock to Cavendish to see the location of the beloved books.

Author Lucy Maud Montgomery Montgomery lived in Cavendish and there is a lot dedicated to her. Besides the Anne of Green Gables Museum and Anne of Green Gables tour, there is the long and beautiful Cavendish Beach. Cavendish Beach isn’t far from the capital city of Charlotteville, making it one of the most popular places to visit in Prince Edward Island. Read more: 16 Best Things to do in Prince Edward Island (PEI)

26. Kayak to Caribou

things to see in canada caribou of slate islands

The Slate Islands on Lake Superior are one of the best places to take a paddling trip in Ontario. If the waters are too rough on the lake, you can stay inside the cluster of islands away from the wind. There are many things to do on the Slate Islands, but it is the Woodland Caribou that are the top draw. They will walk right through your camp as you prepare dinner! Check it out here. The Rare Woodland Caribou of the Slate Islands

27. Be an Olympian in British Columbia

bobsleigh whistler

Whistler is known as the best four seasons vacation destination in all of North America, and we agree. However, when putting together the best things to do in Canada, we had to choose another winter experience in Whistler because this adventure is epic! If you can pull yourself away from the slopes of Whistler Blackcomb head to the Olympic bobsleigh Center to join an Olympic racer inside a sled as you feel the Gs push on your helmet while racing down a track of ice at 125km per hour! Here you can also do the skeleton if you dare. Check out more things to do in Whistler

28. Take a BiPlane Flight

biplane flight over ottawa

Canada’s capital city is our favourite city in Canada. Ottawa is famous for its beautiful Parliament Buildings sitting atop Parliament Hill. But there is so much more to Ottawa than the Parliament of Canada. Ottawa is filled with tourist attractions from the Rideau Canal National Historic Site running through the city to countless museums, beautiful architecture and adventures on the Ottawa River, we have visited at least a dozen times and we always find something new.

However, our number one recommendation is to head over to the aviation museum and take a classic biplane flight over Gatineau and Ottawa. The open cockpit takes you back in time as you don leather helmets and goggles as you soar through the air. You’ll see the Peace Tower standing tall over Parliament Hill and the entire downtown area of Ottawa plus the beautiful region of Gatineau Quebec. Watch our video – WWII Biplane flight over Ottawa

29. Old Quebec

old quebec city

Quebec City is the most European City in all of North America and Old Quebec is one of the best-preserved historic places in Canada. The French Capital of Canada is the second oldest city in the country with Old Quebec preserving the old forts and buildings that were built by Samuel de Champlain himself.

The national historic site of Old Quebec is the only walled city north of Mexico in North America that is still standing and it is beautiful and impressive. Old Quebec is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the 17th century. Old Quebec can be visited year round. In fact, it turns into a winter wonderland during Quebec Carnival with ice sculptures, skating rinks and plenty of hot chocolate. So consider heading to Old Quebec in winter too! Read more: The 27 Best Things to do in Quebec City

See a Holy Door

 Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral

The old cathedrals are the cornerstone of French culture and site seeing and one of the main stops in Old Quebec is Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral. This Basilica houses the only holy door outside of Europe.

There are only seven holy doors in the entire world with four in Rome, and one in Spain and France. It symbolizes leaving behind unwanted burdens and walking towards the new. The door was inaugurated at the time of its 350th anniversary. A Holy Door is kept sealed and only opened during holy years. The next opening is set for December 8, 2023. Whether you are a practicing Christian or not, anyone is allowed to pass through the door.

30. Attend a Festival in Montreal

montreal canada

While we’re on the subject of cathedrals, Mark Twain once called Montreal, “The City of a Hundred Steeples” and it’s clear to see why once you arrive. There are more than 650 cathedrals and churches in Montreal. Montreal has its own Notre Dame Cathedral and you must go inside to see it as well.

With its European flair and old-world charm, there are so many things to do in Montreal, you won’t want to leave. But Montreal has done an amazing job mixing the old with the new with world class dining and nightlife and excellent entertainment. It’s a city of festivals housing the world-famous Montreal Jazz Festival, Just for Laughs Festival and the Cirque Festival. From the Cobblestone Streets of Old Montreal to the Nightlife on Rue St. Catherines, it has something for everyone.

31. Dive Over Shipwrecks

tobermory shipwreck

Tobermory has quickly become one of the top tourist destination in Ontario. We used to go here with barely a soul around. In fact, we became certified scuba divers in the icy waters of Ontario. We learned to dive in 7mm wetsuits in the chilly dark waters of the Great Lakes and I’ll never forget diving around the wrecks of Tobermory. Today Tobermory attracts divers from around the world to explore its pristine ships. You don’t have to dive to see the shipwrecks of Tobermory, some are jutting right out of the water!

32. Cape Breton Road Trip

cape breton road trip

Driving the Cabot Trail of Cape Breton is a week-long adventure filled with amazing things to do. From kayaking to hiking the skyline trail, this is one of the premier driving routes in Canada. Be sure to camp or if you don’t want to rough it too much, book a glamping experience through Parks Canada.

33. Hoodoos of Drumheller

hoodoos of drumheller

The Hoodoos of Drumheller are out of this world to see in person. The driving the Hoodoo trail to Drumheller takes you from these amazing hoodoos to the Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site, and the iconic Royal Tyrell Museum to see genuine dinosaur fossils. Drumheller is known as the dinosaur capital of the world with Dinosaur Provincial Park just a short distance away. Here you can walk through a working one of the largest concentrations of dinosaur fossils Dinosaur Provincial Park – Glamping Tour in the Alberta Badlands

The Hoodoos are the star attraction though. They are tiny clusters of tall, skinny rock formations that sit on the side of the road. Each has a mushroom cap on top and it is like nothing I’ve ever seen. Driving this road is a great day trip to check out the Last Chance Saloon, the Canadian Badlands, and the Royal Tyrell Museum.

34. British Columbia’s Northern Coast

orca whale west coast
Whale Watching in Canada

Nature lovers will want to make their way to the north of British Columbia to explore places like the Great Bear Rainforest on the mainland, Gwaii Haanas National Park on the islandnorth of Vancouver Island. British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest is a massive chunk of land lining the Pacific Ocean for 400 km up the west coast of BC. This is one of the premier places to grizzly bears and black bears. It’s also perfect for whale watching.

Across the water is Haida Gwaii, a system of 150 remote islands in the Pacific Ocean that take you well off the beaten path. Haida Gwaii is a nature lover’s dream. They are often called the Galapagos of the north with unique wildlife species endemic to the islands. From whale watching to indigenous experiences, hiking trails and outdoor adventures, this is a destination in BC that is not to be missed.

35. Fly over the Okanagan Valley

okanagan valley from above

Just before we go, we must mention the beautiful Okanagan Valley. It’s one of Canada’s premier wine regions and many people go to sample its wines and enjoy its lovely towns. However, we’re talking about epic adventures here and if you want to really see the natural beauty of the Okanagan Valley, you need to get in the air. We boarded a helicopter flight from Penticton that took us over Okanagan Lake to Kelowna. Whether you stay in Penticton, or Kelowna, you’ll have a superb wine and food experience but make sure to see it from above and to get out on the hiking trails to explore nature.

And that concludes our most epic list of adventures in Canada. There are so many things to do in Canada, the sky is the limit. From exploring Vancouver Island to totem poles of Stanley Park in British Columbia to the Fundy Footpath to Halifax Harbour, it takes a lifetime to see everything Canada has to offer. Luckily, we keep adding to the list every year. Where have you been in Canada that you recommend?

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