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Best Canadian staycations from coast to coast

Times are tough for travellers. But with the world preparing to reopen in 2021, we're here to keep you dreaming and planning for your next adventure - whether that's a staycation or flying off to parts unknown. Until then, we've got the latest COVID-19 travel advice and updates to keep you up to date and ready to go.

You don’t have to travel very far for a big adventure. Get some vacation inspiration with our top staycation ideas for every province across Canada this summer.

What is a staycation?

A mix of staying home and a vacation, a staycation is basically a planned getaway that doesn’t involve long-distance travel. A staycation can be anything from having a picnic with friends by the lake in your own city, exploring some local attractions (and maybe finding new hidden gems) downtown, or taking a long weekend getaway to a provincial park.

If you’re not comfortable venturing outside of your neighbourhood at the moment, there are still plenty of staycation ideas you can choose. Take a vacation from home by doing some fun outdoor activities like camping in your backyard or going for a long walk and picnic at a local park. Venture far enough, and you might even discover a new hiking trail in your hometown. To make the most of those cozy nights in, plan a talent show or have a theme night at home inspired by your favourite travel destination.

These staycation ideas for holidays in Canada offer a little something for everyone, any time of year. But before booking any trip, make sure you check the local government guidelines for the latest health and safety news and updates.

Top staycation ideas in Canada

Waskesiu Lake, Saskatchewan

family hiking in the woods near Waskesiu Lake in Saskatchewan, a good spot for a staycation
Top Canada staycations for families: Waskesiu Lake, Saskatchewan

Take the kids on a much-needed weekend getaway in Saskatchewan and explore the wonderful Waskesiu Lake, go hiking in the northern boreal forest or plan an overnight camping trip. Waskesiu Lake is located in Prince Albert National Park, which is one of the most beautiful parks in Saskatchewan, filled with trails and shoreline ready to be explored any time of year.

The park is home to 10 vehicle-accessible beaches, making it a great place to visit for a staycation with the entire family. Pack a picnic and enjoy a day in the sun, or use the beach as a base for the many water activities available for kids and adults. Go on a paddling adventure in a canoe, or rent a powerboat from the park’s marine for a day of waterskiing and wakeboarding fun.

The months of August, October, and December are also a great time for stargazing, so plan your trip during one of these months and you’ll catch an awe-inspiring meteor shower under the Alberta sky. Check the park site for more travel information.

Spruce Woods, Manitoba

portrait happy family mom dad and son playing together
Enjoy some much-needed beach time on your staycation

Approximately a two-hour drive from Winnipeg, Spruce Woods Provincial Park is an underrated weekend getaway in Canada, offering plenty to see and do. Go camping during the summer months at Kiche Manitou Campground and enjoy the beautiful Kiche Manitou Beach with the family.

Don’t forget to plan a day of hiking at one of the many Spruce Woods trails, and walk the rolling sand dunes on the Spirit Sands Trail – what more could an adventurous heart ask for? Find out more about visiting Spruce Woods Provincial Park here.

Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park, Ontario

kayaks in Kawartha Highlands provincial park
Take a staycation in Ontario at Kawartha Highlands Park

Looking for a staycation near Toronto? The stunning Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park is a great family weekend getaway that’s a 2.5-hour drive from Toronto, and about three hours if you’re coming from Ottawa. Managed by Ontario Parks, Kawartha Highlands has everything you need for a fun-filled family staycation in Ontario.

Kawartha is the second-largest provincial park after Algonquin, and offers a lot of outdoor excursions and camping opportunities without as many crowds. The park is open year-round, so you can explore the backcountry any time of year. Try canoeing, fishing, and boating in the summer or scenic cross-country skiing during the winter months.

Camping tip: Natural repellent can also work nicely to deter pesky mosquitoes. Bring a little portable diffuser (including tea tree oil or lavender oil) on your camping trip, turn it on in your tent at night, and let it work its magic! Garlic is also said to be a natural mosquito repellent, so cook up lots of garlic with your camp dinners.

Silent Lake Provincial Park, Ontario

two canoes resting by a lake in the forest in Ontario
Ontario staycation ideas: take in those lake vibes

Opt out of the crowds headed down to Simcoe County and enjoy a relaxing staycation at Silent Lake in eastern Ontario. Located in Bancroft, this is a great friend or family staycation from Toronto or Ottawa. Take advantage of the 19 km of hiking trails and 17 km of mountain biking trails, stopping at some of Silent Lake’s most beautiful lookout points along the way. Silent Lake Provincial Park is the perfect place to go for an active summer staycation.

If you’re visiting during the winter, heated camp cabins and yurt services are available. While not all regular events for this park are a-go during the winter months, there’s still hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing (rentals available), making the park an ideal Canadian winter staycation destination.

Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland

hiking trails on the avalon peninsula newfoundland
Best staycations in NL: Avalon Peninsula | Photo Credit: Lora Pope

Newfoundland is filled with endless beauty, and once it’s safe to travel again, Atlantic Canada will welcome you with open arms. The Avalon Peninsula is the easternmost region of Canada and it is where you can experience the first sunrise in all of North America, and that’s only the beginning!

The Avalon Peninsula is home to the capital of St John’s, but we recommend getting out of the city and heading down the coast for your staycation. Drive south on what’s known as the Irish Loop and book a small-group guided tour of the historic Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve, one of Newfoundland’s four UNESCO World Heritage sites. Summer is the best time to plan a staycation to Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula, as the tours only run from mid-May to mid-October.

Under Newfoundland’s ‘Together Again‘ plan, the province plans to welcome non-essential Canadian travellers from July 1st. If you want to plan a longer trip out east, add Newfoundland’s stunning Central Region or Gros Morne National Park to your itinerary.

Medicine Hat, Alberta

houses and church in the town of Medicine Hat, Alberta
Staycation spots in Alberta: Medicine Hat

Destinations like Medicine Hat in southern Alberta let you discover Canadian city life in the heart of the Prairies. Affectionately known as ‘The Hat’, this city is a great alternative from the ever-popular spots of Banff and Jasper. Here you’ll find impressive hiking and bike trails along the South Saskatchewan River, historic attractions, and amazing food and drink.

Catch a thrill watching the races at the Medicine Hat Speedway every weekend, or take part in the Medicine Hat Stampede at the end of July. For some delicious eats, try the Medicine Hat Brewing Company or Fatumas Ethiopian Cafe.

If you’re an Albertan up near Edmonton, try one of the four trails of the Edmonton River Valley for a mini city staycation this summer.

Mont Rigaud, Quebec

person wearing hiking shoes standing on fall colour leaves
Mont Rigaud makes for a great staycation in Quebec

If you’re living in Montreal and want to take a little escape from the big city, go on an adventurous staycation to the Quebec/Ontario border region. Start your day exploring the Quebec town of Rigaud, a little less than an hour’s drive from downtown Montreal, wander the main street filled with little shops and restaurants, and make sure to pay a visit to the Peppermaster for its famous hot sauces.

For some exercise and inspiration, head up to Mont Rigaud, a tiny mountain (574 feet) that is not only perfect for beginner skiers but also worth exploring any time of year as a great destination for hikers and cultural seekers. Drive up to the Our Lady of Lourdes Sanctuary, a beautiful outdoor church that is more than 100 years old. The sanctuary is at the foot of the mountain and you can easily follow the trail up Le Champ du Diable for a nice hike, with panoramic views waiting for you at the top. Break a sweat here in the summer, go bird watching in the spring, and admire the fall foliage during Quebec’s crisp autumn months.

Afterwards, drive across the Ontario border to the charming town of Vankleek Hill and grab some local, award-winning craft beer at Beau’s Brewery. The Beau’s Summer Patio has started welcoming guests back safely, and it also offers home delivery. Cross back into Quebec and end your day with a stroll in Hudson, where you can enjoy beautiful views of the Ottawa River in Jack Layton Park. If you want to make this an overnight trip, the hotels and motels in these towns are currently welcoming guests.

Crystal Crescent Provincial Park, Nova Scotia

hiking trails in nova scotia
Top Canada staycation destinations: Nova Scotia

Scenic Nova Scotia has no shortage of hikes, so spend your staycation exploring the trails (with some white-sand beaches along the way) of Crystal Crescent Beach Provincial Park. The trails here are easy to moderate, so you can take your time just breathing in the ocean air and enjoying the view.

Located only 30 minutes from Halifax, this provincial park makes for a great day trip or weekend getaway from the city. If you’re staying a few days in Halifax, plan your trip to catch a performance at the Halifax Busker festival from July 31st to August 2nd or celebrate Halifax Pride from August 12th-22nd. Check here for the latest updates on summer events.

Under Nova Scotia’s reopening plan, the province will open to to travellers from outside Atlantic Canada on June 30.

Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia

rocks by the shore and people bicycling on the seawall in Vancouver by Stanley Park. Rocky Mountains in the background.
Staycations in Vancouver: Stanley Park

The best affordable wilderness staycation in Vancouver can be found right in its centre. Stanley Park, the city’s own ‘urban oasis’, is huge, and you can easily spend a full day, or more, just wandering around. Entrance to the park is always free, and there are so many trails here that even if you’ve been to Stanley Park before, you’re bound to find a scenic spot that’s new to you. Go owl-spotting, learn all about the native trees, and watch the geese at the Lost Lagoon. Vancouverites are so fortunate to have such a natural wonder literally in their own backyard.

Extend your mini Vancouver staycation by exploring a new neighbourhood in the city. Go thrift shopping, discover a new locally owned cafe, and relax on a patio with a refreshing pint. There’s also plenty of impressive hikes to do just outside of the downtown core.

Looking for staycation ideas on Vancouver Island? Check out one of these scenic island hikes.

St Andrew’s by-the-Sea, New Brunswick

coloured boats on a dock in Saint Andrew's, New Brunswick
Top Canada staycations: Saint Andrew’s, New Brunswick

Located in New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy region, the town of St Andrew’s by-the-Sea is a great getaway in the Maritimes. Wander along the historic Main Street to discover all the boutique shops, then grab a lobster roll from a local vendor and head to the picturesque Centennial Park. If you’re feeling adventurous, go on a road trip to explore the natural wonders of the Bay of Fundy, including the Hopewell Rocks.

Robinsons Island Trail, Prince Edward Island

biker standing by his bike at Robinsons Island Trail in PEI. Sand, beach, and blue sky.
Tim Foster on Unsplash

Spending time in nature can help relieve stress, improve your mood, and boost overall well-being. Make your next staycation a wellness trip and spend some time outdoors enjoying the natural beauty of Canada. A trip along the Robinson Island Trail Loop in Prince Edward Island National Park is a perfect little getaway from the city and will leave you inspired, rested, and rejuvenated for days.

Featuring five kilometres of trails and a number of scenic spots throughout, the loop can be done on foot or on a bike, but whatever you choose, make sure to pass through the resort community of Cavendish on your way out to see the red sand beaches and beloved attractions like Avonlea Village. PEI has a coastline like no other. Please note that Prince Edward Island National Park is open with most facilities available from mid-May to mid-October.

For all of these summer staycation ideas, remember: safety first. Be sure to explore these Canadian destinations with your small travel group, and keep physical distance when coming in contact with others outside of your travel bubble.

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