As the second largest country in the world in terms of land mass, Canada has an abundance of natural beauty and heritage just waiting to be explored. From stunning modern cities to vast natural landscapes, the sights and sounds of this northern nation make it one of the most popular tourism destinations year after year. With so much to see and do, it can be difficult to choose which places to visit first, so to help make your decision easier we’ve compiled the following list of the top seven must-see places in Canada for your next family vacation:
1. Niagara Falls
Located about an hour outside of Toronto, the world-famous Niagara Falls would be the last thing you’d want to miss on your Canadian adventure. There are a number of activities you should add to your to-do list upon arriving, including taking a ride on the Maid of the Mist – a small boat that travels along the misty base of the falls. Getting up close and personal to the top of the falls also provides a great photo backdrop, with more than 800,000 gallons of water dropping about 13 stories to create a memorable sight for anyone’s photo album. Fortunately, it’s easy to find hospitality accommodations near Niagara Falls, so having an enjoyable and convenient vacation here shouldn’t be too difficult.
2. Banff National Park
When it comes to Canada’s natural scenery, few places can embody the wild beauty of Banff National Park. Nestled in the middle of the Rocky Mountains within the highly rural province of Alberta, this picturesque park is home to turquoise waters, sky-scraping mountain peaks, glaciers, and impressive forests, all making for one unforgettable trip, especially for an outdoors lover. The park’s main feature is Lake Louise, which can be accessed by an incredible drive down the scenic Icefields Parkway. Furthermore, the nearby town is home to several well-known ski resorts, making it one of the most popular winter sports destinations in Canada.
3. Old Quebec
If you’re interested in a look at Canada’s rich cultural history, you might want to check out Old Quebec, which has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Split up between the Upper and Lower Town, the area is home to structures and features that were established during the city’s original settlement, such as the Château Frontenac, the Citadel, Parque Historique de l’Artillerie Pace d’Armes, and the Plains of Abraham. This place is known for tourism, serving as one of Canada’s most popular historical sites and combining a balanced mix of architecture, history, and natural scenery. Don’t forget to stop by Sainte Anne de Beaupré Shrine while you are in Québec! It is quite the sight to see.
4. CN Tower
Even if you don’t visit the CN Tower, you’ll definitely notice that it’s one of the most prominent features in the city of Toronto. At night the building is lit up in different colors, creating an interesting spectacle that can be seen from miles around. This structure used to be the tallest in the world until it was replaced by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2007. At the top there’s a revolving restaurant called 360, as well as some impressive observatories called LookOut and the Glass Floor, offering some of the most amazing panoramic views you’ll find in the whole country.
5. Canada’s Wonderland
With a total of 16 roller coasters, Canada’s Wonderland is ranked as the world’s third largest amusement park in terms of the number of major rides. With an area of about 330 acres, a convenient location just 25 miles outside of the capital, and dozens of amazing adventures just waiting to be had, the park is a must-see landmark for anyone visiting the province of Ontario. Keep in mind this is a seasonal venue, so it is only open between the months of May and September.
6. Bay of Fundy
As another one of Canada’s major natural features, the Bay of Fundy is known for having the largest tide variations in the world– with a 19-foot difference between high tide and low tide. Lined with rock formations and cliffs, the bay can be viewed from several high profile destinations in the area, including Fundy National Park, Grand Manan Island, Hopewell Cape, and Fundy Trail Parkway.
7. Stanley Park
This 405-hectare park situated on the west side of downtown Vancouver is one of the city’s natural treasures, with an abundance of colorful Douglas fir and red cedar trees populating a seawall-surrounded peninsula that is full of paths for walking/jogging and biking. Also located within the park’s borders are Beaver Lake, the Stanley Park Pavilion and Rose Garden, and the Vancouver Aquarium. A great family adventure for sure!
Of course, the seven places listed above are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to seeing all that Canada has to offer. So be sure to do additional research to find out about the lesser known gems that will help you explore beyond the typical sites that most people will opt to visit during their vacation.