From the Northern Lights to red sandy beaches and giant skating rinks, Canada’s geographic diversity provides incredible must-do adventures across the provinces and territories. Find out what to add to your Canada bucket list from coast to coast.
On the Canada Bucket List
Hike the West Coast Trail in British Colombia
While the trail is recommended for experienced hikers, this 75-kilometre hiking trail should be added to your bucket list goals and adventures in Canada. The average completion time for the trail varies between five to 10 days, although shorter routes have been made available. The West Coast Trail is located on Vancouver Island and is part of the former paths and paddling routes used by First Nations. The trail is open from May to September and requires a reservation.
Have an adventure and watch the Northern Lights in Yukon
Experience the Aurora Borealis for one of the best adventures in Canada, from one of the best spots in the country. Head to Whitehorse in the Yukon to view one of the greatest natural wonders of the world. You can watch them from an outdoor hot tub, a cozy cabin, a glass chalet, and more. The Northern Lights can be viewed from mid-August to mid-April. Other great places to see the Aurora Borealis include Churchill, Manitoba and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.
Take a road trip through the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia
A visit to the Cabot Trail requires several days of adventures in Canada. The Cabot Trail is a 300-kilometre roadway in Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. It forms a loop around the northern tip of the Island. Driving clockwise or counter-clockwise both offer spectacular views, considering the Cabot Trail has been deemed one of Canada’s most scenic highways. You don’t just have to drive – you can complete the trail by bike or join a tour!
Sleep in an ice hotel in Quebec
The Hôtel de Glace in Quebec City is made from over 30 000 tons of snow. It takes approximately 50 people a total of six weeks to build this ice hotel every year. It is the only hotel in North America that is made entirely out of ice and snow. It has 44 hotel rooms, an ice bar, an ice chapel, a giant ice slide, and an area with hot tubs and saunas. You don’t have to stay for a night, you can also just head over there for a tour of the hotel.
Float in Canada’s “Dead Sea” in Saskatchewan
Did you know that Canada has its own version of the dead sea? Who knew, right?! The lake is called Little Manitou and it has three times more salt than the ocean, which means it has about half the salinity as the famous Dead Sea. Little Manitou is located about 120 kilometres southeast of Saskatoon and is filled with sodium, potassium and magnesium salts. Little Manitou Lake ranks number seven on a list of the world’s most saline bodies of water (right below the Dead Sea).
Watch the tides at the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick
Another Canada bucket list adventure in our maritime provinces is at the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick. The Bay of Fundy is home to the highest tides in the world! At high tide, you can kayak around the rock formations, and at low tide, you can walk along the ocean floor! About 160 billion tonnes of seawater flow in and out of the Bay of Fundy twice every day. Don’t miss out on the Hopewell Rocks, a natural wonder of these extreme tides – they measure 40-70 feet high.
Drive on an ice road in the Northwest Territories
It’s no surprise that lots of bucket list adventures in Canada involved ice, eh? It gets so cold in the Northwest Territories that new highways are created from the layers of ice. The cold weather causes rivers and lakes to freeze over – to the point where it can support 18-wheelers! These ice roads are essential for local communities, as they increase access to remote destinations otherwise only accessible by plane. If you want to drive along them, there are tours organized with expert drivers.
Skate along the Rideau Canal in Ontario
The Rideau Canal in Ottawa is one of the largest outdoor skating rinks, therefore making it a must-do on any Canada bucket list. The canal measures a total of 202 kilometres, and it has become a symbol of Canada’s capital city. During the summer you can walk along the canal or take a boat ride down it but winter is the best time to go. Join everyone skating along this ginormous outdoor skating rink. You don’t even need to bring your own skates – there are plenty of rental locations.
Experience the Red Sand in Prince Edward Island
White sandy beaches are gorgeous but have you ever experienced a red sandy beach? When visiting Prince Edward Island, the Red Sands Shore should be added to your bucket list. Take one of the longest bridges in the world (the Confederation Bridge) and end up right in the heart of the Red Sands Shore. Go for a swim or just enjoy the vibrant red colour of the sand.
Cruise the Northwest Passage in Nunavut
The Northwest Passage is a sea route that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean through the Arctic Ocean. Adding this bucket-list cruise to your itinerary will have you following in the steps of Arctic explorers. The route passes around Baffin Island (the largest island in Canada) and many, many icebergs.
Canoe on Lake Louise in Alberta
You’ve seen it on Instagram, so why not do it yourself? Imagine being surrounded by nature, floating along emerald-green waters while surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. One of the best places for adventures in Canada, Lake Louise is dramatically beautiful with its unique colours and view of glacier peaks. In the winter, you can skate along the frozen lake but the real bucket list item is canoeing (or stand up paddle-boarding) along Lake Louise during the summer months. For an added bonus, experience the Banff hot springs and other Banff activities nearby.
Witness wonderful wildlife in Manitoba
Churchill, Manitoba has become well-known for its natural beauties – like the Northern Lights and its proximity to beluga whales and polar bears. If you’re going to trek to Churchill, you need to hire a local guide to ensure that the surrounding nature and wildlife are respected. These very Canadian activities are perfect for your bucket list as long as you’re enjoying them as a responsible tourist. Remember that you are entering the homes of these remarkable creatures!
Watch the first North American sunrise in Newfoundland and Labrador
Cape Spear is the most easterly point of North America, which makes it the very first place in North America to watch the sunrise every morning. The Cape Spear Lighthouse is the oldest surviving lighthouse in the province. Even if you can’t make it for the sunrise, you should still stand with your back facing Canada and your front facing Ireland (or vice-versa).
Once you’re done adding all of these destinations to your Canada bucket list, check out the Skyscanner search features to find out which one you can cross off your list first. Enjoy exploring!