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10 Amazing Places to Visit in Canada for a summer vacation

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Get ready to pack your bags and sunscreen, fellow Canadians! The perfect summer vacation awaits you within our very own borders. You don’t need to venture abroad to make the most of those sunny days and warm breezes. Instead, let’s explore the awe-inspiring destinations our beautiful country has to offer.

Embrace the exhilarating energy of bustling city centers or reconnect with nature at some of Canada’s most prized natural wonders. We’re taking you on a journey from coast to coast with our top 11 picks for the ultimate Canadian summer vacation spots you shouldn’t miss.

  1. Victoria, British Columbia

The Prime Destination for Gourmet Travelers and Culture Aficionados

Nestled in British Columbia’s picturesque capital city, Victoria is a haven for balmy summer days and an array of outdoor adventures. Known as one of the warmest cities in Canada, its climate is ideal for exploring the stunning scenery Vancouver Island boasts year-round. In the summer months, witness the vibrancy of lush nature trails, idyllic island hikes, and unforgettable sightseeing unique to this fervent region. With activities like kayaking and whale-watching available, Victoria provides an ideal family retreat. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere during festivals such as the Victoria Fringe Festival or Feast of Fields.

Indulge your taste buds with delectable sustainable food options sourced from Victoria’s fertile surroundings. Savor farm-to-table delights at restaurants like 10 Acres, Fickle Fig Farm Market, Nourish Kitchen & Café, or Charlotte & The Quail. Explore the British Columbia Ale Trail with a self-guided journey sipping on some of Canada’s finest West Coast brews or embark on an adventurous biking beer tour with The Pedaler or Rolling Barrel. Don’t forget to allot time for visiting the famous Butchart Gardens where you can wander around lovely spots like Rose Garden and Mediterranean Garden – home to over 110 plant varieties.

Where to stay in Victoria:

Located just a stone’s throw from Victoria’s Inner Harbour, The Magnolia Hotel & Spa is an exquisite boutique hotel, offering a personalized experience with its 64 bespoke rooms. To facilitate your adventure planning, the hotel provides curated maps showcasing the finest trails and attractions Victoria has to offer, along with bike rental services.

  1. Golden, British Columbia: The Ultimate Summer Adventure Destination in Canada

Nestled amidst six stunning national parks, Golden is the perfect summer getaway for adventure-seekers travelling to Canada. This breathtaking location offers a plethora of outdoor activities, such as hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, paragliding, and even the thrilling experience of heli-rafting.

While visiting Golden, don’t miss the opportunity to explore Glacier National Park, Yoho National Park, and the awe-inspiring Columbia Wetlands. Also known as the Columbia River Valley, these wetlands form North America’s most extensive protected ecosystem, with over 350 species of birds and mammals calling it home.

Wildlife enthusiasts should definitely visit the Grizzly Bear Refuge at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and meet Boo, its well-known resident bear. Another must-see is the Northern Lights Wildlife Wolf Centre where you can take an up-close encounter with remarkable wolves.

During your stay in Golden, consider booking a room at the Kicking Horse Glacier Mountaineer Lodge. With its prime mountaintop positioning, it offers guests breathtaking views from their multi-bedroom suites featuring full kitchens, fireplaces, and private balconies – ensuring a memorable experience for larger groups visiting this incredible Canadian destination.

  1. The Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

The Okanagan Valley, situated in southern British Columbia, is an idyllic summer destination for those seeking a harmonious blend of natural beauty and quality wine experiences. As one of the warmest areas in Canada, the valley provides superb opportunities for outdoor activities and relaxation.

Upon arriving at either Kelowna or Penticton airports, you’ll be welcomed by pleasant temperatures averaging 25 degrees Celsius. This makes it perfect for spending time on sandy beaches along the shores of Okanagan Lake or working on your tan while sipping a locally-produced wine. In fact, the Okanagan Valley is considered a top global wine region, which makes it an enticing destination for wine aficionados.

To make the most of your visit, consider embarking on a wine tour to sample some of the unique varietals produced in this fertile valley. As you gather with friends and family to explore this renowned Canadian winemaking region, keep an eye out for the legendary Ogopogo lurking beneath the lake’s surface. Overall, a trip to the Okanagan Valley promises an unforgettable fusion of nature and wine set against a stunning backdrop – easily making it one of Canada’s best summer vacation spots.

  1. Jasper National Park, Alberta: The Ultimate Family Summer Destination

Nestled amidst the Canadian Rockies, Jasper National Park stands as the largest national park in this majestic mountain range, spanning more than 11,000 square kilometres. Its stunning landscapes and abundant activities make it an ideal destination for family summer vacations in Canada.

A Paradise of Summer Vacation Fun and Serenity

Jasper National Park offers visitors countless opportunities for adventure and relaxation. Although it’s located near the popular Banff National Park, Jasper tends to be a bit more tranquil. Must-visit attractions include Athabasca Falls, Maligne Lake, and the Columbia Icefields. Open from May to early October, the Columbia Icefield Skywalk presents a thrilling walk on a glass-floored observation deck overlooking the Sunwapta Valley with spectacular views of waterfalls, wildlife, and magnificent glaciers.

Camping is also a fantastic way to create lasting memories under the Canadian night sky in Jasper National Park. Whether you bring a tent or trailer, be sure to book ahead and secure your spot!

Accommodation Options Near Jasper National Park

For comfortable lodgings while visiting Jasper National Park, consider booking a room at Jasper Inn & Suites by Sunrise, offering centrally located value accommodations. Planning to visit Banff National Park during your getaway? The Moose Hotel & Suites is another excellent option.

  1. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: The Ultimate Urban Agro-Tourism Summer Destination

For an unforgettable Canadian summer vacation filled with food, outdoor activities, and unique cultural experiences, look no further than the prairie city of Saskatoon. Discover the 80 kilometres of scenic Meewasin Trails along the riverfront, perfect for running, walking, or biking. As the “City of Bridges,” Saskatoon boasts a total of seven bridges crossing the South Saskatchewan River, offering the excitement of exploring them through paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking, or on a Prairie Lily riverboat cruise.

Must-Visit Attractions in Saskatoon

In the city center, immerse yourself in the fascinating collection of modern and contemporary art at the Remai Modern. With admission now by donation, it remains a budget-friendly option for visitors. Venturing outside the city limits reveals the historic Wanuskewin Heritage Park – a 6,000-year-old Aboriginal meeting ground currently considered for UNESCO World Heritage status.

Indulge your taste buds at downtown dining hotspots like Little Grouse on the Prairie, Poached Breakfast Bistro, and Sticks and Stones. Saskatoon also boasts a thriving agro-tourism scene along Valley Road. Delight in picking strawberries and other Saskatoon berries at the Strawberry Ranch or savor gin samples at Black Fox Farm & Distillery.

Quick Travel Tip

Nature enthusiasts should plan a weekend escape to Grasslands National Park – one of Canada’s most picturesque locations due to its vast green landscape. With dinosaur bones waiting to be discovered, it’s also an enjoyable family vacation spot.

Where to Stay in Saskatoon

Choose ALT Hotel Saskatoon for your accommodation needs; this contemporary property is conveniently located along the South Saskatchewan River and just steps away from Remai Modern. Renowned for its comfortable and reasonably priced suites, it’s an ideal choice for modern travelers.

  1. Exploring Winnipeg: A Summer Paradise for History Buffs

Winnipeg, the charming capital of Manitoba, is a fantastic summer vacation destination for history buffs. Offering an array of affordable accommodations, it’s easy for everyone to enjoy a trip to this iconic Canadian city.

Diving into Winnipeg’s Rich Culture and History

Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of the Winnipeg Folk Festival by planning a day or two in this incredible musical event. Alternatively, schedule your visit around the second week of August to experience Folklorama, the city’s cherished multicultural festival filled with captivating art, engaging workshops, and mouth-watering cuisine.

For a dose of Winnipeg’s natural history, pay a visit to the Assiniboine Park Zoo’s Journey to Churchill exhibit. Here, you’ll get up close and personal with majestic polar bears, seals, and other Canadian Arctic species. Don’t forget to add the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to your list of must-see attractions; its thought-provoking exhibitions and events will intrigue and inspire. Afterwards, unwind at The Forks with a refreshing pint of local craft beer and delectable food.

Unwind and Rejuvenate at Thermëa by Nordik Spa-Nature

In need of relaxation? Make your way to Thermëa by Nordik Spa-Nature and indulge in their Scandinavian-style treatments. Choose from an array of therapeutic techniques involving hot and cold saunas and pools that will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Where to Stay: Inn at the Forks

Nestled in downtown Winnipeg is Inn at the Forks, a luxury boutique hotel offering 117 rooms and suites. Guests can also pamper themselves at Riverstone Spa or dine onsite at the fabulous SMITH restaurant during their stay.

  1. Toronto, Ontario: A Sports Fan’s Summer Paradise

Toronto, Ontario, comes alive with numerous festivals during the summertime, offering a vibrant atmosphere to explore Canada’s largest city. With a multitude of events taking place in July and August, sports enthusiasts will be thrilled to know that Toronto hosts more professional sports teams than any other Canadian city. Be sure to catch a thrilling game featuring the Blue Jays, Toronto FC, or the Wolfpack Rugby team.

A gastronomical haven for food lovers, Toronto boasts a diverse culinary scene influenced by European, Asian, and Caribbean flavors. Satisfy your cravings by exploring popular food destinations such as The Distillery District, Chinatown, Little Italy, Junction, Parkdale, and The Annex.

Summer months are perfect for visiting Toronto’s bustling markets. Some must-visit markets include:

  • Kensington Market’s Pedestrian Sundays: last Sunday of the month from May-October
  • Gerrard India Bazaar
  • St. Lawrence Market Saturdays
  • Leslieville Farmers Market
  • Evergreen Brick Works

Additionally, Toronto serves as an ideal base for exciting weekend getaways.

Where to Stay in Toronto

Consider booking your stay at The Kimpton Saint George, located in The Annex near the Royal Ontario Museum. Its 188 guest rooms feature contemporary design elements that resemble a trendy Toronto condo more than a typical hotel.

  1. Niagara Falls, Ontario – A Perfect Summer Getaway

Looking for a mesmerizing destination for a romantic weekend getaway this summer vacation? Consider the breathtaking Niagara Falls, Ontario, just a short trip away from Toronto. The captivating beauty of the falls and its enthralling attractions make this location an unforgettable vacation hotspot!

Here are some of Niagara Falls’ must-see attractions:

  • Embark on an adventure with Hornblower Niagara Cruises
  • Experience the thrill of White Water Walk
  • Test your skepticism at Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
  • Get a stunning panoramic view aboard the Niagara Sky Wheel
  • Feel the excitement at Fallsview Casino Resort

Travel tip: Don’t miss out on discovering the charming town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, nestled in Ontario’s burgeoning wine country. Schedule a wine tasting session at one of the nearby wineries or enjoy a theatrical performance at the Shaw Festival Theatre.

Find Your Home Away from Home in Niagara Falls

The Holiday Inn Hotel by Niagara Falls presents an ideal stay option, offering proximity to the Casino, Skylon Tower, and the iconic Canadian Horseshoe Falls – all within walking distance along the main strip. Savor delicious meals while admiring awe-inspiring views of the falls at on-site eateries like Coco Terrace Steakhouse and Coco’s Pizza Bar and Lounge, available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Be sure to explore other hotel options in Niagara Falls as well.

  1. Discover the Vibrant Art and Culture of Montréal, Quebec

As a premier destination for art and culture enthusiasts, Montréal, Quebec, comes alive during the summer vacation months. The city’s bilingual charm and rich cultural scene set it apart as one of the most unique places to visit in Canada. As you immerse yourself in Montréal’s vibrant atmosphere, you will encounter an incredible culinary landscape that will entice you to sample its delightful offerings.

Unforgettable Summer Vacation Experiences in Montréal

A summer vacation in Montréal is guaranteed to make a lasting impression as you explore this diverse and multicultural city. Make sure to visit the Quartier des Spectacles, located between Ste. Catherine and De Maisonneuve Boulevard. This area boasts an abundance of activities, events, and festivals throughout the summer season. Music aficionados will revel in a variety of festivals like the Montréal International Jazz Festival, Francofolies, and Osheaga, among others. Additionally, the warm summer weather provides an excellent opportunity to discover Montréal’s enchanting neighbourhoods by strolling through their picturesque streets.

Choose Historic Accommodations in Montréal

During your visit to Montréal, consider staying at the iconic Fairmont Queen Elizabeth. This historic hotel gained fame as the venue for John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1969 Bed-In for Peace event. Guests have the unique opportunity to book the John Lennon & Yoko Ono Suite or select from various charming guest rooms. Experience a touch of history while enjoying modern amenities at this remarkable hotel in the heart of Montréal.

  1. Discover the Charm of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia: The Perfect Summer Vacation Destination for Multi-Generational Family Vacations

Experience the idyllic East Coast lifestyle on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia and make your family vacation unforgettable this summer. Delight in the local cuisine, tour breweries and distilleries, and embrace impromptu kitchen parties. Traverse the spectacular Cabot Trail, recognized as one of Canada’s most scenic hiking spots. Allocate 3-5 days for your journey to appreciate its stunning vistas, beaches, cultural heritage locations, and variety of outdoor activities.

Cape Breton Island is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Join Bird Island Boat Tours to catch a glimpse of puffins, or embark on a whale and seal watching cruise with Captain Mark for more exciting marine adventures. To further explore Canada’s pristine waters in summer, take a guided North River Kayak tour through the untouched coastline of St. Ann’s Bay.

Where to Stay in Cape Breton

Choose the Cabot Shores Wilderness Resort & Retreat Centre along the Cabot Trail for a full-service accommodation that offers outdoor and cultural experiences. If you’re arriving in Halifax first, spend your introductory evening at the Halifax Marriott Harbour front hotel to discover the pier before embarking on your road trip. Alternatively, consider staying at one of these Halifax airport hotels for added convenience.

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