The 20 Best Things to Do in Canada (Bucket List)
You’re planning to visit Canada and you’re looking for the best things to do during your trip?
You’re at the right place!
Canada is the perfect destination to enjoy natural wonders, vibrant cities and unparalleled outdoor adventures.
In order to help you plan your trip, I’ve thus put together this guide of the 20 best things to do in Canada, with all my best tips to make the most of your visits.
So, what are the best things to do in Canada?
Let’s find out!
- The 20 Best Things to Do in Canada (Bucket List)
- Visiting Canada:All Best Places to Visit
- 1. Montreal
- 2. Quebec City
- 3. The Niagara Falls
- 4. Toronto
- 5. Thousands Islands
- 6. Mont Tremblant
- 7. Ottawa
- 8. Banff National Park
- 9. Icefield Parkways
- 10. Jasper National Park
- 11. Rocky Mountaineer
- 12. Canada’s other best National Parks.
- 13. Vancouver
- 14. Gaspé Peninsula
- 15. Whale Watching in Canada
- 16. Calgary
- 17. Nova Scotia
- 18. Yukon
- 19. The Canadian Northern Lights
- 20. Snowmobiling in Canada
- You’re traveling in Canada? These articles will help you!
- Visiting Canada:All Best Places to Visit
Visiting Canada:All Best Places to Visit
Let’s start this Canada travel guide with the city of Montreal. It’s clearly one of the must-see cities in Canada!
I’ve lived in this incredible multicultural city for more than 3 years. I can tell you that Montreal is a lively place with many great things to do!
Here are the best places to see in Montreal:
- The Mount-Royal plateau and its typical colorful houses with outdoor stairs
- The Mount-Royal park, the best place to admire a beautiful view over the entire city
- The Old Montreal, the city’s oldest neighborhood
- The Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal and its impressive architecture
- The old port, to take a stroll along the St. Lawrence river
- Saint-Joseph’s Oratory, a large religious monument built on Mount Royal’s hillside.
For more information about Montreal, you should read my detailed city guide : The 45 best things to do in Montreal.
2. Quebec City
Quebec City has a more European feel than its big sister Montreal. Instead of huge buildings, you will discover a charming city with many ancient houses and small alleys.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site has really kept its warm and friendly atmosphere. It feels a bit like France!
During your visit, you should see:
- The Château Frontenac, the city’s most iconic landmark and one of the most photographed hotel in the world
- The Terrace Dufferin offers a incredible view of the Château, the St. Lawrance river, Île d’Orléans and Quebec City lower town.
- The Quartier du Petit-Champlain, the oldest neighborhood in North America, with its illuminated pedestrian alleys and the Place Royale, where the city was founded in 1608
- The Citadel of Quebec and its fortified walls
- The Plains of Abraham, a large green space. There, the Quebec City Summer Festival takes place every summer. Canada’s largest music festival already hosted many big international stars, such as the Rolling Stones, Muse, Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga,… There is something for every taste!
While in Quebec City, you should also go to Montmorency Falls, located only a short drive from downtown. Did you know that these falls are higher than the Niagara Falls?
The place is really impressive, especially in winter when the river is partially frozen. Don’t forget to walk on the suspension bridge above the falls to enjoy a breathtaking view!
To plan your trip to Quebec City, you hould read my dedicated guide: How to visit Quebec City?
3. The Niagara Falls
Even if the Montmorency Falls are quite impressive, I must admit than they are less famous than the Niagara Falls.
It’s simply one of the best things to do in Canada and one of the places I enjoyed the most during my trip to Canada.
If you want to admire the Niagara Falls, you can choose between:
- Doing a boat ride: put on your poncho, jump on the boat and enjoy a cold shower! From the Niagara Falls’ bottom, you will discover their thundering roar and incredible power.
- Taking the elevator: you will descend 45 m by elevator, directly behind the fall. There, you will enjoy a unique view, and you might get a little wet.
- Go to the top of the Skylon Tower and enjoy its panoramic terrace
- Choose the “luxury” version, and fly over the falls in a helicopter. Even if its quite expensive, you will remember it your whole life!
As Toronto isn’t far from the Niagara Falls, you should definitely include a visit of Canada’s largest city in your itinerary.
With its many skyscrapers, major shopping areas and trendy neighborhoods with a bohemian atmosphere, Toronto feels like the Canadian New York City.
When visiting the city, you should definitely go to the top of the CN Tower. It’s clearly the city’s must-see attraction!
Take the elevator to the 113th floor, then walk on the transparent floor and discover an incredible panorama of the whole city.
If you’re still not impressed, you should try the world’s highest hands-free walk: the EdgeWalk. You will walk on the edge of the CN Tower, only attached by a trolley and a harness system. Unfortunately, this attraction didn’t exist yet when I visited Toronto!
The other best places to see in Toronto are:
- The Royal Ontario Museum (or ROM), Canada’s biggest Natural History Museum
- The Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada and its 16 000 marine animals
- The Distillery Historic District, where you will discover many restaurants, art galleries and trendy clothes shops
- The Art Gallery of Ontario
- The Toronto Island Park, with its charming vacation houses from the 20’s
If you want to discover all the best places to see in Toronto, you should read my article: The 15 best things to do in Toronto.
5. Thousands Islands
When visiting the Niagara Falls and Toronto, I decided to make a short detour to discover a less touristic place, the Thousand Islands.
Boat trips are the best way to visit the 1000-islands archipelago. Most of these tours are starting from the cities of Rockport, Gananoque or Kingston. You can choose between a tourist boat (with around 50 people on board) or a private boat.
During your cruise, you will discover some of the archipelago’s 1865 islands.
On these islands, there are many wooden cabins, a few luxurious houses and even a castle!
6. Mont Tremblant
Mont Tremblant is one the best places to visit in Canada if you want to admire the Canadian autumn’s magnificent colors.
There, you will enjoy a real postcard landscape, with its colorful red, orange and yellow trees. If you’re visiting the Quebec province in autumn, you definitely have to spend some time in Mont Tremblant!
Walk on the marked trail starting from the village to reach the summit of Mont-Tremblant. During your hike, you will get a great view over the lake, and the magnificent colorful trees. Don’t forget your hiking shoes, as the trail is quite steep!
In winter, Mont Tremblant is among Canada’s best ski resorts. This ski area offers more than a hundred ski slopes and a 7-hectare snow park, with many Tabletops, Rails and boxes.
And during summer, you can enjoy a Summer sledge, a miniature golf and of course many nautical activities on the lake.
Visiting Ottawa is another thing you should do during your trip to Canada. Canada’s capital city has a lot to offer!
The best things to do in Ottawa are:
- Parliament Hill, the Federal Government of Canada’s home.
- Climb on top of the Peace Tower, and admire a 360° view
- Take a stroll along the Rideau Canal. In winter, the canal becomes the world’s biggest outdoor and natural ice-skating rink!
- Discover the BY Market neighborhood and enjoy its vibrant atmosphere.
- Visit one of the Ottawa’s many museums: the Canadian Museum of History, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, the Canadian Museum of Nature, the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian War Museum.
If you want to know everything about Canada’s capital city, youy need to read my guide: The 10 best things to do in Ottawa.
8. Banff National Park
Banff National Park offers some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. I couldn’t do a Top 20 of the best things to do and see in Canada without mentioning it!
This natural park is located in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. There, you will enjoy a magnificent scenery, as these mountains are renowned for being some of the world’s most spectacular.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Banff National Park also hosts the world’s 2 most photographed lakes: Lake Louise and Lake Moraine. Their impressive turquoise blue is due to the silt carried by the glacier waters. You won’t believe it until you see it!
The 21-kilometer long Lake Minnewanka is another place you should visit in the National Park. It’s famous for being Banff’s largest lake.
In the park, you will also enjoy many hiking trails. From there, you will get the best views of the lakes and the mountains to take the perfect souvenir photo!
9. Icefield Parkways
The Icefield parkways (the Alberta Highway 93) is one of Canada’s most beautiful panoramic roads. It’s clearly one of Canada’s best points of interest!
This 230-km long highway connects the cities of Banff and Jasper, through the National Parks. On the road, you will find many parkings and points of views to admire the magnificent natural landscape and take incredible pictures.
You will discover many waterfalls, canyons, glaciers, rivers and lakes: it’s clearly heaven on earth for nature lovers!
During your road-trip, you will see:
- Bow Lake, one of the most famous
- Peyto Lake, shaped like a fox according to some people, or like a wolf according to others!
- Waterfowl Lake
- The Columbia Icefield and the Athabasca Glacier
- The Tangle Falls
- The Valley of Five Lakes
You will find every information you need on the Icefields Parkway official website.
10. Jasper National Park
Jasper National Park is the largest natural park in the Rocky Mountains.
In this park, don’t miss the Athabasca Falls, located on the highway 93A, close to the Icefield Parkways. There, you will admire a breathtaking scenery and feel the powerful waters coming from the glacier’s melting.
You can also hike on the glacier, or take a special bus with huge wheels specifically designed to drive on it.
The other best places to see in Jasper National Park are:
- The 50-meter deep Maligne canyon
- Maligne Lake, and the famous Spirit island in the middle
- Medicine Lake
If you’re an hiking lover, you should do the Skyline Trail. During your walk on this 43-kilometer long marked trail, you will discover splendid viewpoints and breathtaking landscapes.
11. Rocky Mountaineer
You’re travelling to Canada, and you want to discover a unique experience?
Then, you should definitely try one of the world’s most beautiful (and also most expensive, I must warn you) train ride, the Rocky Mountaineer!
The Rocky Mountaineer is clearly the best way to admire the Canadian Rocky Mountains’ majestic beauty. During the day, you will travel through Banff and Jasper National Parks, and discover places you can’t access by car.
Then, you will stop for the night in splendid hotels. The meals are also excellent in this luxury train!
You can choose between many itineraries, starting from different cities (Vancouver, Jasper) and with different lengths (from 2 days to 3 weeks). The least expensive trip is a 2-day itinerary and costs 1050€ per person.
If you want to plan your Rocky Mountaineer adventure, visit the official website.
12. Canada’s other best National Parks.
Did you know that there are more than 45 National Parks in Canada?
Even if Banff and Jasper are the 2 most famous, there are many other incredible places to discover!
If you’re an hiking lover and if you want to enjoy magnificent landscapes, then Canada is really the perfect destination for you.
The other most beautiful National Parks in Canada are:
- Prince Edward Island National Park, where you can swim at many sandy beaches
- Pacific Rim National Park, one of Canada’s best surf spots
- Bruce Peninsula National Park, renowned for its turquoise waters
- Gros Morne National Park featuring more than 100 km of marked trails
- Cape-Breton Highlands National Park: there, follow the Skyline Trail to admire the sunset over the St. Lawrence river
- La Mauricie National Park between Montreal and Quebec City
- Wood Buffalo, Canada’s largest National Park.
Vancouver is a really pleasant city you should visit during your holidays in Canada.
Did you know that Vancouver is ranked 3rd best city in the world for its quality of living? You will be amazed by both its urban and natural atmosphere!
Here are some of Vancouver best points of interest:
- Taking a stroll in Stanley Park
- Go to Granville Island, to buy the best local products
- Cross the Capilano Suspension Bridge, 70 meters above the river
- Discover the Seawall, a 22-km long waterfront promenade. It’s clearly a paradise for cyclists and joggers!
- Visit VanDusen Botanical Garden
You will find more informations about the best places to visit in Vancouver in my article: The 25 best things to do in Vancouver.
14. Gaspé Peninsula
The Gaspé Peninsula is one of the best places to visit in Canada.
This region is becoming more touristic every year, as it was awarded as one of the must-see tourist destination in Canada by the National Geographic!
The best things to see in Gaspé Peninsula are:
- Gaspésie National Park is an hiker’s paradise
- The Percé rock (meaning the pierced rock), in front of the small town of Percé
- The many Norther Gannets living on Bonaventure Island: you can get really close to them!
- The Forillon National Park and its magnificent cliffs overlooking the sea
- The 100-hectare Redford Gardens
15. Whale Watching in Canada
Whale Watching is among the best things to do during your stay in Canada.
The best place to see whales is the Saguenay Fjord and more specifically Tadoussac Bay. The whales are coming here every year as they always find enough food in the bay.
In Tadoussac, you will have the choice between many cruises: you can do a whale watching boat trip on a large tourist ship, on a small Zodiac or even on a Kayak if you’re feeling adventurous!
The best season to observe the whales starts mid-May and ends in October, and you’ll be more likely to see a lot of them in September and October. If you’re travelling to Canada at this time of the year, you should definitely do a whale watching tour!
If you want to visit Banff and Jasper National Parks, then you should make a short stop in Calgary.
This city is idealy located between the Rocky mountains and the Canadian Prairies.
Calgary is a lively city all year round, but it’s mostly renowned for its annual rodeo exhibition held every July for 10 days, the Calgary Stampede.
This incredible show attracts more than 1 million people every year, and is broadcasted live nationwide. During the festival, you can enjoy many rodeos of course, but also exhibitions, concerts and a fair.
Moreover, people are baking free and unlimited fresh pancakes everywhere in the city! Maybe that’s why I loved Calgary so much! 😁
There are many other things you can do in Calgary:
- Go to Winsport Olympic Park, to try the bobsleigh or the longest zip line in North America.
- Visit the Heritage Park Historical Village and ride on a steam train or a paddle wheel boat
- Walk along the Bow river, and discover Saint Patrick’s Island
- Eat at the Kensington Village where you will find many great restaurants
- Go to the top of Calgary Tower, enjoy its breathtaking 360° view and walk on the glass floor
- Discover the Glenbow Museum and learn everything about Calgary’s History
- Take a picture of the beautiful illuminated Peace Bridge
You will find all the best things to do in Calgary in my article: Visit Calgary: the 11 Must-See attractions.
17. Nova Scotia
You can only fall in love with Nova Scotia‘s authentic charm. With its incredible natural landscapes, it’s one of Canada’s most beautiful provinces!
This region is also renowned for its amazing seafood. It’s clearly a great destination for your holidays on Canada’s East Coast.
Nova Scotia’s best points of interest includes:
- Drive on the 300-km long Cabot trail and discover magnificent costal landscapes.
- Visit the city of Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s North America’s best preserved colonial town
- Discover Nova Scotia‘s capital, Halifax
- Hike in the Cape-Breton Highlands National Park. You will admire a magnificent sunset from the top of the cliffs. (It’s also a great place for proposals !)
- Take a souvenir photo at Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse, an iconic red and white lighthouse overlooking the bay
Even if Yukon isn’t as touristic as some other Canadian provinces, it’s still one of the most impressive.
If you want to travel off the beaten path, it’s clearly a great destination for your holidays!
In Yukon, you will enjoy magnificent wild landscapes and often feel completely alone. You will also discover the First Nations, the indigenous people of Yukon, and their fascinating culture and traditions.
During your itinerary in Yukon, you should see:
- The Kluane National Park and Reserve and Mount Logan, Canada’s highest summit
- Whitehorse, the province’s capital. It’s the best place to stay if you want to discover the region.
- The Yukon Wildlife Preserve if you want to observe caribou and buffalo in their natural environment
- Miles Canyon and its many hiking trails
- The Takhini Hot Springs with their 40° waters
19. The Canadian Northern Lights
During your trip to Canada, you can also discover the Nothern Lights, a fascinating and incredible show coloring the sky at night.
The closer you will be to the magnetic North Pole (starting from 60 degrees of Latitude), the more Northern Lights you will observe.
The best season to observe them is in Winter, as you must have a complete clear sky and total darkness. You will also have to stay up at night, as most of the Northern lights are appearing between 22h and 3h.
The best places to observe the Northern Lights are Yukon and the Northwest Territories (close to Yellowknife). You can also go to the North East Inuit regions of Nunavut and Nunavik.
If you want to get better chances to observe this breathtaking natural phenomenon, you can check this website for a real time Northern Lights forecast.
20. Snowmobiling in Canada
Snowmobile (also called Skidoo) rides are among the best things to do in Canada.
In Canada, there are many marked trails and you can enjoy your Skidoo rides in complete safety. Choose your organized tour to discover the beautiful Canadian snowy landscape, for a few hours or even a few days!
You can go snowmobiling in most Canadian provinces. However, if you’re a beginner, you should try the easy trails along the St. Lawrence river or near Charlevoix.
The Laurentides, the Lanaudière, La Mauricie, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, the Eastern Townships and Gaspé Peninsula are the best places to enjoy a great Skidoo ride!
And you, what do you plan to do during your trip to Canada?
🚗 Rent a car
🗽 Book entrance tickets and guided visits
🏄 Book your sports activities
🚤 Book your rental boat
🌍 Take a travel insurance
🙎 Book a tour
🚅 Book your train tickets
✈️ Book your flight
You’re traveling in Canada? These articles will help you!
Discover all my articles about Canada: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Canada are listed there.
- 20 Best Things to do in Canada
- 20 Best Things to do in Quebec – All best places to visit in the French-speaking province!
- Itinerary: One week in Canada: The perfect itinerary to visit Canada in 6, 7 or 8 days!
- Itinerary: 10 days in Canada: All my best tips for organizing your 10-day trip to Canada
- Itinerary: 2 weeks in Canada: How to visit Western Canada in 15 days.
- Itinerary: 3 weeks in Canada: My epic itinerary to visit Western and Eastern Canada in 21 days
- Itinerary: 1 month in Canada: How to visit Eastern Canada in a month!
- Itinerary: One week in Quebec: How to visit Quebec in 6, 7 or 8 days, with all my best tips!
- Itinerary: 10 days in Quebec: An amazing 10-day itinerary in Quebec
- Itinerary: 2 weeks in Quebec: All my best tips to visit Quebec in 14, 15 or 16 days
- Itinerary: 3 weeks in Quebec: the perfect 3-week road trip in Quebec!
- Road trip in Canada: The best itineraries for 7, 10, 15, 21 days and 1 month
- Road trip in Quebec: The best itineraries for 7, 10, 15 and 21 days
- Calgary: Top 11 things to do during your visit
- Montreal: 33 best things to see and do
- Ottawa: 15 epic places to visit
- Quebec City: Top 17 things to do and see
- Toronto: The 17 things to do during your stay
- Vancouver: Top 25 places to visit and activities
- Toronto in 3 days – The perfect itinerary to visit the city in 72 hours!