If you've been asked where you're from while travelling, you can always expect pretty much the same responses. People mention that Canadians are very nice and that Canada is a beautiful place to visit. They're right on two counts!
It's easy to take it for granted when you live here. If you're looking to book a trip, why not scrap Europe or Australia and instead explore your own home country?
From the west coast to the east coast, there are so many surreal places that you wouldn't believe really exist. Those photos you constantly see on your Instagram feed where the water is so blue it looks edited? Yeah, that exists. And it's in Canada!
Take this as an opportunity to cross off some of those destinations on your bucket list. Several of these places are probably in most books you see in the travel section of a bookstore called 1000 Places To See Before You Die.
Where: Baffin Bay, Nunavut
Nunavut is severely underrated. It's never the first place somebody goes to when they're exploring Canada, but it should be! Devon Island is largely underpopulated and contains several mountain ranges. If you can, you definitely should visit the ice cave in Belcher Glacier. You can walk inside, and the photos you take there will be unbelievable.
Where: Osoyoos, British Columbia
No, that's not Photoshop. And no, it's not magic. It's a lake that has a high concentration in minerals. During the summer months when the lake water evaporates, it leaves behind these minerals that form various-sized spots. The spots change in size and colour depending on the minerals within that spot. How cool is that? You won't see that very often in your life.
Where: Nova Scotia
If you like a little colour in your life, here's the place for you. Lunenburg is a port town that's actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well. It's known for its brightly coloured houses that are all over town. Even if you're there just for a day trip, it's fun to walk around to see the different architecture. There's even a bright purple house that you can't miss.
This scenic area north of Quebec City has everything. There are rugged seascapes, beautiful beaches, colourful fishing villages, pine forests, and historic lighthouses. If you go between June and October, you will definitely get to go whale watching!
Waterton Lakes National Park
Where: Waterton, Alberta
Damn, Alberta is lucky with all their lakes. If you can go visit all of them, well, you're a pro. There's nothing like looking onto the water with the majestic mountains in the background. It's still a largely quiet and uncrowded national park, so take advantage of that. Go while you can before everybody else on Instagram goes.
Nahanni National Park
Where: Fort Smith, Northwest Territories
The best part about coming here is the view from the flight. You'll see these mountains from your window and you are guaranteed to get some amazing aerial shots of the area. But there's nothing like coming to the park and witnessing it. Depending on the time of year, you can easily kayak or canoe in the lake or go on some moderate to challenging hikes. You really are away from the city and all the distractions. It's just you, nature, and wildlife.
Bay of Fundy / Hopewell Rocks
Where: Hopewell Cape, New Brunswick
You get a twofer with this tourist attraction. You get a different experience when you visit during high tide and during low tide. During high tide, you can see the monstrous waves come crashing against the rocks. But during low tide, you can actually walk on the ocean floor amongst the flower-pot rocks! As long as you make it back to the platforms before high tide begins again, you'll be able to walk two kilometres of beach and explore the coves!
Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge
Where: North Vancouver, British Columbia
Test your phobias by coming here. You might think you're fine with heights until you're faced with this suspension bridge that sits 50 meters high from the bottom of the canyon. And remember, don't look down. Look up! You're going to see all the beautiful green trees around you so hopefully, that'll help you relax a bit.
Mont-Tremblant is another perfect year-round destination. In the winter, you can obviously go skiing or stay inside at the Mont-Tremblant resort curled up by the fire while drinking a cup of hot chocolate. In the other seasons, you can easily go on the trails if you're up for some hiking. If you'd rather see the view of the city from the top, you can always take the chairlift up and down. It's kind of romantic and like a different kind of Ferris wheel experience.
Where: Tobermory, Ontario
Flowerpot rocks are in Ontario too. If heading to Hopewell Rocks is too far for you, just go to Flowerpot Island instead. You won't get the same experience, but you'll still get to see those pretty flowerpot pillars. You will also get to explore caves and lighthouses. Nothing beats just standing on a rock and looking out onto the ocean, you know?
Dinosaur Provincial Park
Where: Patricia, Alberta
Any Land Before Time fans out there? There have been more than 150 dinosaur skeletons found here and more than 50 species have been discovered. While it's no Jurassic Park, it's still a pretty cool place. You could take a guided tour, go on hikes, go camping, and even go glamping. That's right, that last option is for those who don't want to slum it by sleeping on the ground. Have fun exploring and looking out for fossils.
Where: Nordegg, Alberta
You're about to be let into the best-kept secret. This hidden gem is located in the Rocky Mountains, but it's often overlooked for the more popular lakes in the area. This lake is extra special, though — it's known for the ice bubbles (aka methane bubbles) that get trapped in the lake during the winter. That's not photoshop, that's real life! It's definitely worth the road trip especially for the cool photos you can take.
This is not a drill. You have the opportunity to see polar bears up close and personal when you go on a guided tour in Churchill. It's known for being the "polar bear capital of the world" for a reason. Be warned, it can be on the pricy side, but if you're looking to splurge for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, well, it could be worth it. Churchill is also known for being a great spot for dog sledding too. Yet another thing not everybody gets to do in their life. You're checking off so many things on the bucket list by coming here.
Where: Banff, Alberta
Nope, that's not a filter. The water really is that blue. If you don't believe it, well, you just have to go there yourself then. The glacier-fed lake is surrounded by high peaks that you can actually climb up through trails. During the summer, you can go canoeing on the water and you can go skating on it in the winter.
Where: Cavendish, Prince Edward Island
It's real and you can visit it while rocking some red braids. Anne of Green Gables is read all over the world and the famous house in the books and movies is open to the public. So embrace how dramatic and whimsical Anne Shirley was, buy that tourist hat that comes with attachable red braids, and enjoy your time here.
Cottage country? Yes, please. There are always cottages for you to rent on Airbnb when you want to visit Muskoka. It's another place that offers activities for every season. During the winter, there are ice skating trails, because ice skating on a lake or a rink is so basic. During the summer months, you can jump into the water or chill on the boardwalk with a glass of wine.
Iceland isn't the only place to see the Northern Lights. You can stay in the country to witness the aurora borealis and all you have to do is take a trip to the Yukon. There are several resorts and chalets for you to stay at in the region. It's the best spot for seeing the Northern Lights because it's so far away from any light pollution. How cool would it be to see this in person instead of online and in photos?
Gros Morne National Park
Where: Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador
This park has been shaped by colliding continents and grinding glaciers. If you're up for the cardio, there are plenty of trails and hikes for you to go on that all offer a splendid view of the water. If you're looking to get as close to the water as possible, the park also offers boat tours.
Bruce Peninsula National Park
Where: Tobermory, Ontario
You're about to be surrounded by dramatic cliffs. But nothing beats seeing those turquoise waters of Georgian Bay. When you're here, you'll be able to see tons of wildlife, walk on some rocky areas, and strain your neck from trying to see the top of some ancient cedar trees.
Kluane National Park
Where: Haines Junction, Yukon
You could spend a week here. There's so much to do in this national park, you might as well set up camp here to try and explore as much as you can. When you're here you'll see ice fields, forests, and towering peaks. You can even go on a trail called the King's Throne which take you above Kathleen Lake. With a name like that, you know that trail is something you can't miss out on.
Where: Banff, Alberta
Lake Louise is more popular, but you can avoid the crowds here. Moraine Lake is equally beautiful, but it's a hidden gem that's overshadowed by Lake Louise. You'll still get stunning views of that insanely blue water while also seeing the tall peaks surrounding it. It is a bit smaller than Lake Louise and you will have to climb a little bit to get to a good photo-taking spot, but man, it's worth it. So take all the photos you can to try to capture that water colour. But you know nothing will be the same as seeing it with your own eyes.
Big Muddy Badlands
Where: Coronach, Saskatchewan
Don't be alarmed by the name. It's a lot prettier than the name suggests. You can walk in the valley on several different trails and see Castle Butte. The area is also known for its history. A ton of outlaws used a series of trails that surrounded the badlands.
You'll fall in love with Whitehorse's colourful buildings. They're lined up all down the main street so you won't miss them. If you can, you should definitely head to Takhini Hot Springs. You can soak, swim, and hang out in the natural mineral waters. Pools are so boring and you need to move on from them, especially when hot springs are an option! It's especially fun to do in the winter when it's freezing outside but you're warm and toasty in the water.
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.