One of the best things about living in Canada is the easy access to nature. There are countless provincial parks and protected areas and every province or territory has at least one national park to visit.
Most offer hiking and camping, so put on those sturdy boots, pack your tent, get your Discovery Pass and head to one of the 20 best Canadian national parks to explore this summer. While you’re exploring, keep an eye out for the red chairs placed in scenic spots in many of these parks.
Here are Best Canadian National Parks to Explore This Summer
10.Jasper National Park, Alberta
Considering Zika-free destinations that go beyond the beach? Look no further than Jasper National Park, where you won’t miss the beach at all. It’s the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies and while it may not be as famous as nearby Banff National Park, it’s no less spectacular.
Maligne Lake with its mountain backdrop is totally Insta-worthy, as are the stunning Athabasca Falls, the Athabasca Glacier and the Icefields Parkway. After a day of hiking, you’ll want to relax in the Miette Hot Springs. For a bird’s eye view, take a ride on the Jasper Skytram, Canada’s highest and longest aerial tramway.
9.Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba
Among the prairie farmlands of Manitoba, you’ll find Riding Mountain National Park with its lakes and forests. The park offers plenty of activities, from the usual hiking, biking and fishing to things you wouldn’t expect to be doing in a national park in Manitoba: golfing, tennis and scuba diving in Clear Lake.
Among the many wildlife species, you can find here is North America’s largest population of black bears. If you’re a history buff, you’ll want to visit the World War II-era Whitewater POW camp and if literature is your thing, you won’t want to miss the cabin that once was home to Grey Owl, the British-born conservationist and writer whose story was told in the eponymous 1999 movie.
8.Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, British Columbia
The Haida Gwaii archipelago is one of the best places to visit in July and many of the islands here form part of the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. The park includes the UNESCO World Heritage Site of SGang Gwaay Llnaagay, also known as Ninstints, where a Haida village once stood.
Haida heritage is of course a big reason to visit but nature definitely doesn’t have to play second fiddle. Some of the wildlife you may be able to spot in Gwaii Haanas include black bears, bald eagles, Sitka deer, beavers, whales, porpoises and sea lions.
7.Wood Buffalo National Park, Alberta
Wood Buffalo National Park is the largest park in Canada and the second-largest in the world. It’s so big that Switzerland could comfortably fit within the park’s boundaries.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Wood Buffalo National Park is home to the Peace-Athabasca Delta, one of the world’s largest freshwater deltas, where you can go paddling and see how many species of wildlife – including bison and whooping cranes – you can spot. For something a little more unusual, take a dip in one of the park’s water-filled sinkholes.
6.Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site, Nova Scotia
There’s nothing like gazing up at a star-filled sky to put your problems in perspective. This isn’t the only reason why Kejimkujik National Park is one of the most relaxing holiday spots if you’re struggling with anxiety and stress, however. You can truly get away from it all here, with some of the park’s backcountry campsites only accessible by canoe, on bicycle or on foot.
You can hit the beach and gawk at basking seals or you can explore thousands of years of Mi’kmaw history through the more than 500 petroglyphs in the park. You can even watch a play by the fireside or learn to build a traditional Mi´kmaw birch bark canoe.
5.Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan
Bison grazing on the prairie, the badlands of the Valley of 1000 Devils, abandoned homesteads: Grasslands National Park looks like everything you imagined the Wild West to have been. In fact, this used to be the last frontier of the Canadian Prairies and also provided refuge to several First Nations and Métis peoples, including Sitting Bull and some 5000 Sioux after the Battle of Little Bighorn.
You’ll still find teepee rings and arrowheads here and yes, you can also camp in a teepee. The park is home to Canada’s only black-tailed prairie dog colonies. It’s also a dark-sky preserve, making it the perfect place for stargazing at night.
4.Kluane National Park and Reserve, Yukon
In winter, the Pikatak Nunatak route in the Kluane National Park and Reserve is one of those secret places in Canada that locals don’t want you to know about, taking you through the country’s largest ice field. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit in summer though.
During the warmer months, the park offers great hiking, camping, fishing, mountain biking and looking for grizzly bears. Mountaineering is a popular activity here too: after all, Kluane National Park and Reserve is home to Mount Logan, the highest mountain in Canada.
3.Prince Edward Island National Park, Prince Edward Island
Summer is beach time and some of Canada’s most spectacular beaches are found along the north shore of Prince Edward Island, in the Prince Edward Island National Park. There are even campgrounds right next to the beach.
If you can tear yourself away from those sandy stretches, the park also offers activities like hiking, birdwatching and golfing. In addition, book lovers can go on a pilgrimage to Green Gables, the setting for Lucy Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables novels.
2.Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta
Waterton Lakes National Park lies in the southwestern corner of Alberta, along the border with the United States. Cross the border and you’ll find yourself in Montana’s Glacier National Park. In Waterton Lakes, the landscape is a combination of the Rocky Mountains and prairie, with several deep lakes and waterfalls to spice things up.
Canadian wildlife here is varied and abundant and the best way to explore is on a hike or a bike ride. Overlooking Waterton Lake itself is the Prince of Wales Hotel, a grand railway hotel built by the Great Northern Railway of the United States during Prohibition. The idea was to lure American tourists to a place where they could have a decent nightcap.
1.Banff National Park, Alberta
Canada’s oldest national park is very much the poster child for the country’s national beauty. Pick up any tourist brochure for Canada and it’s almost a given that you’ll see a picture of a tranquil blue lake reflecting the surrounding snow-capped peaks. That picture is probably of Moraine Lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks.
Plenty of campsites and more upscale accommodation in towns like Banff and Lake Louise within the park make this one of the most amazing Canadian getaways for under $1000. If you want to splash out, treat yourself to a stay at the iconic Fairmont Château Lake Louise.
Source: | Slice | Vacation Canada