The Great Canadian Bucketlist
Canada is my home country. You may have read about how I left my heart in the Canadian Rockies…but somehow I’m still always venturing off elsewhere – in fact, while I’ve been to nearly 40 countries so far, I have only visited a few of the provinces within Canada. This summer I intentionally decided to stay put despite my wandering tendencies because I feel it’s time to explore my own backyard.
So while doing some research to create my own adventure bucketlist, I decided to share it with you! May I present to you… “The Great Canadian Bucket list” …a composition of the most epic adventure activities you can do in the great outdoors while visiting Canada.
If you are heading to Canada yourself, be sure to check out the ‘Must Do Canada Saver Card‘ – with one card, you can get discounts on tons of tours, activities and accommodations throughout Canada.
Explore Adventures in Canada by Province or Territory:
Alberta is one of Canada’s most Western provinces and probably my favourite (though I’m biased because I lived there). The magnificent Rocky Mountains encompass the world famous Banff National Park and the stunning Lake Louise, one of the most photographed places in the country.
Hike above Lake Louise and Lake Morraine
Venture beyond the tourists and check out the view of both lakes from up above. The big beehive hike wraps behind Lake Louise and gradually takes you up to this stunning view point. The Tower of Babel hike behind Lake Morraine (a more advanced hike) takes you vertical to a view that is simply breathtaking (literally, you will be winded from the climb…but its totally worth it, I swear!)
Few people bother to make the effort or even know about these hikes so you may have the viewpoints all to yourself (SHH…let’s keep them our little secret)!
Love to Hike? | 6 Beginner Hikes near Banff National Park
Explore the Hoodoos
Alberta’s badlands highlight the provinces’s diverse landscapes. Strange tower-like rock formations jetting up out of the ground starkly contrast from the Rocky mountains just a few hours West. Drive along the ‘hoodoo trail’ or make a pit stop in Drumheller to learn more about the dinosaurs excavated in this region.
Stand on top of a Mountain in Canmore
If you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie like me, than Alberta is your ‘spirit travel destination’. You can literally sit on top of a mountain (as long as you’re willing to do the work to get up there!). I highly recommend Mount Lady MacDonald; the views are just to die for.
Feel like facing your fear of the dark or small, enclosed spaces? Caving in Canmore will definitely challenge you to do so in their guided caving tours as you scale down rock walls and shimmy through narrow passages.
Sky Dive over the Rocky Mountains
Am I the only crazy person who dreams of jumping out of a plane over serene mountain top views like this? Serious bucket list item right here.
Hit the Calgary Stampede
Check out the rodeo, hit the chuck wagon races and find out what a prairie oyster is (if you dare) at the annual stampede festival.
Go Rock Climbing
Conquer your fear of heights with a rock climbing adventure in the mountains. Try out a guided multi-pitch route, using ropes and a harness to ensure both safety and an unbelievable mountain top view!
Helicopter over the Mountains
Another epic adventure bucket list item! Whizz over the mountain tops in a helicopter and be amazed by the sheer beauty of the views you pass by. You can even take a pitstop on a mountain peak for a picnic lunch!
British Columbia (BC)
British Columbia is nestled between the Pacific and the Rockies, situated along Canada’s West Coast. It’s the place where surf life meets mountain culture, so there is definitely a “west coast” vibe. What’s even better, is there are tons of incredible natural landscapes and adventurous activities to partake in, just outside of Vancouver (though if you are exploring Van city, here are some unique souvenir ideas not to miss).
Get your Surf on
Surfers flock to Tofino, situated right on the West coastline 5-6 hours from Vancouver. While in the area, why visit Vancouver island, another surfing destination just a 2 hour ferry away. The island’s geographical location produces winds year round so it’s the perfect spot to try some water sports at any time.
Sea Kayak with Orca Whales
In the Broughton Archipelago Provincial Park in BC, you can literally kayak alongside orca whales! How cool would this be?!
Grizzly Bear Watching
BC is home to the rare white grizzly bear (aka the spirit bear) and if you’re lucky enough, you just might spot one. Visit the ‘Great Bear Rainforest‘ and take a guided tour, or visit one of the elevated viewing platforms to get a bird’s eye view of the mystical creatures.
Zipline in Nelson
In Nelson, you can experience a 300ft high zip line adventure across 2400 ft at 100km/hour, through stunning landscapes. Sounds pretty bucketlist worthy to me!
BC’s world famous Blackcomb mountain range is not to be missed during a visit to Western Canada. Standing over 7,000 ft high,Whistler has over 8,000 acres of terrain, 37 lifts and 100 trails. The longest trail alone is 11km long- get ready to feel the burn!
Wedged between the Saskatchewan plains and Ontario’s large land mass, Manitoba holds some of Canada’s best kept secrets…
Polar Bear Safari
Situated on the Hudson Bay is Churchill, Manitoba, home to Canada’s ‘polar bear safari’. You can venture out into the tundra in reinforced trucks in search of the great Canadian polar bear.
If the polar bear safari doesn’t catch your attention, from May to September you can also go on a ‘bison safari’ in search for the gentle giants which roam the provincial wilderness.
In Winnipeg, you don’t even have to leave the city to learn how to ice climb. The town maintains a 20m high freestanding tower of ice which offers incredible views of the Red river and downtown area. The wall even becomes a central focal point in February, during the annual Festiglace festival’s ice-climbing contest.
New Brunswick (NB)
New Brunswick is one of Canada’s three Maritime provinces and is a destination perfect for nature enthusiasts.
Camp in the Wild
Mount Carelton Provincial Park is as scenic as it gets with over 42,000 acres of wilderness waiting to be explored. It’s perfect for hiking and camping, and is even home to the highest peak in the maritime province, at 2690ft high.
Zipline over a Waterfall
The best way to combine your obsessions for waterfall chasing and adrenaline? Zipline over the Grand Falls Gorge in New Brunswick!
You don’t have to go to Scandinavia to stay in one of the star gazing domes that have been all over the internet! In New Brunswick, you can stay in a ‘dream dome‘ overlooking the Kingston creek.
Sleep on the water
Rent a houseboat and set sail on the St. John river for a couple of nights of undisturbed peace. Imagine waking up to the sound of water lapping against the boat and watching the sunrise from bed, or having a refreshing sundowner cocktail on board at sunset. Some of the boats are even equipped with hot tubs and slides!
Newfoundland and Labrador
Labrador, located on the east coast of Canada and Newfoundland just off the coast, both embody a vibrant and unique culture and history. A trip to the Atlantic coast will offer beautiful coastal landscapes and plenty of adventurous activities to try!
Did you know that you can do coral reef diving in Canada? In addition to stunning reefs, you can also admire some pretty amazing shipwrecks from WWII.
Snorkel with Humpback Whales
I have actually never seen a whale in the water, so I couldn’t imagine how spectacular it would be to snorkel alongside the gentle humpback whale. In Newfoundland, you can go out by boat and do just that!
Watch for Icebergs
In Newfoundland you can have an extra unique experience watching iceberg collisions… yep thats right, you can watch a 3-story high iceberg crash into the coast, smashing into pieces – or better yet, get up close and personal by boat.
Northwest Territories (NT)
Watch for wildlife at Canada’s largest park
Sometimes referred to as the ‘Canadian Arctic’, the Northwest Territories is a vast and diverse space with tons of untouched and uninhabited land. Point in case: it recognizes 11 official languages yet is only home to 1% of the population. Take advantage of this by exploring Canada’s Largest Park! Wood Buffalo National Park yields opportunities to watch for Muskoxen, Bison, Moose, puffins, Caribou, and Reindeer.
Chase the midnight sun
You don’t have to travel to Iceland or Finland to see the midnight sun: the North West Territories is a prime location. In its most northern town of Sachs Harbour, the sun doesn’t set for an unbelievable 87 days straight! Visiting during the summer months can guarantee you will witness the midnight sun in some capacity.
Nova Scotia (NS)
Another one of the maritime provinces, situated on the eastern coast of the nation is Nova Scotia. Regardless if your base is in Halifax or the Cape, there are tons of adventures to be found.
Bay of Fundy
The Bay of Funding lies between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, so it can be explored from either end. Deemed one of the 7 wonders of North America, the Bay has the world’s highest tides. In some areas, the water retreats as much as 5km so at low tide so you can literally walk around an island and see the ocean floor!
Cape Chignecto Park
The Cape Chignecto Park is a provincial park along the Bay of Fundy, where you can explore some really unique geology by sea kayak. Check out the rock arches, navigate around towering sea stacks and even explore caves!
White water Rafting
Nova Scotia is a popular spot for rafting because it’s one of the only places in the world you can experience a tidal wave…seriously. The phenomenon is created when waters from the Bay of Fundy meet Nova Scotia’s largest river, the Shubenacadie, creating intense rapids perfect for the adrenaline junkie.
Hunt for Ghosts
Halifax offers several unique ‘haunted’ tours through cemeteries or shipwreck sites. It sounds as though you will need to summon your courage to attend these freaky outings.
Nunavut became an official territory in 1999, though it has been encompassed within Canada for a century. Its Inuit peoples have maintained their culture, language and traditional knowledge forms, all of which make up the territory today.
Sea Kayak the North West Passage
High above the article circle (500km to be exact) you can stay in luxury at the Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, where they offer extraordinary adventure experiences from their family-owned establishment. You can sea kayak alongside icebergs and admire the unbelievable beauty of the great North.
Visitors to Nunavut can take a tour to spot narwhals in the Arctic water. Narwhals are sort of the modern day unicorn. Not only are they rare and vulnerable to climate change, but the exact purpose of the male’s 3m long tusk is still a mystery, making the elusive creatures almost more alluring.
Cape Dorset is located on the island of Dorset, offering sheer untouched beauty. What is so cool about this place, is that during low tide you can walk to mainland Nunavut. You can also walk a modest 45 minutes to reach the Mallikjuaq Territorial Park, where you will discover one-of-a-kind archeological sites.
Perhaps best known for its capital city, Toronto – I must tell you that Ontario offers so much more than just its urban centres.
Hike the Bruce Trail
Hiking the trail through the Bruce Peninsula is on my bucket list, though at over 800km long the entire trail can take upwards of a month to complete. Dyer’s Bay and Lion’s Head are among the most popular sections of the trail.
Portage in Algonquin
A canoe/ camping trip through Algonquin Provincial Park is a must-do in Ontario, or if that isn’t your thing simply go for a paddle through some of Algonquin’s waterways.
Take Flight in St. Jacobs
In the small town of St. Jacobs, you can go on an epic hang gliding adventure! Soar across the skies tandem with your pilot and even take over the controls for a short while!
Walk the Edge in Toronto
Toronto’s edgewalk is still up for debate as being a tourist trap or an adrenaline junkie’s dream. I have yet to take the sky walk, but have heard great things! If you’re in Toronto and feeling a little dangerous, hit the roof of the CN tower to find out for yourself.
Skate the Ottawa Canal
Skating along the frozen Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa is a quintessential activity to do during a winter visit to Canada. Not only is the canal the world’s largest skating rink but it’s been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site, having operated since the 1970s.
Set Sail in Niagara Falls
In Niagara falls, you can take a ride on the ‘Maid of the Mist’ boat, which will take you up close and personal to the world famous falls. See first hand how powerful the falls are, with 5.5 billion gallons of water poured through it each hour. Be prepared to get a little wet on this one!
Prince Edward Island (PE)
Prince Edward Island is Canada’s smallest province, situated on a small island as its name implies. It’s notorious for being the inspiration for the novel ‘Anne of Green Gables’, and for its scenic costal drives.
Confederation Bridge & Trail
The Confederation bridge joins New Brunswick and PEI, but it’s unique in that it is the world’s longest bridge crossing over frozen water. You can also bike across the province on the Confederation trail, a 180 miles long which passes through quaint towns along the way!
Stay in a Tree House
In PEI, you can stay in this cute, eco friendly Tree house during your epic Canadian adventure!
Try the Via Ferrata Course
Get your adrenaline pumping at Quebec City’s own Via Ferrata course, just 30 minutes outside of the city centre.
Bungie Jump the highest point in Canada
Did you know you can bungie jump in Canada? Yup – Just 2.5 hours from Montreal in Wakefield, Quebec you camp plummet off Canada’s highest jump point, a 200ft. high bridge.
Boat down the St. Lawrence
Quebec is home to one of the world’s longest rivers, the St. Lawrence. At just under 2000m long, you cannot miss hitting the water in some form!
Ski at Mont Tremblant
Hit the ski slopes for an epic winter weekend in Mont Tremblant, or visit in the warmer months for some down hill mountain biking.
Snowmobile the Back Country
Why not try snowmobiling? Quebec has a never-ending series of back country trails (nearly 33,000 km!) just waiting to be explored.
Stay in an Ice Castle
In Quebec City, you can stay in a hotel…made out of ice. The Hotel de Glace operates during the winter season where you book for a unique nights stay, an events, or a more luxurious package.
The prairie province is known for agriculture, but did you know it also contains over 100km of sand dunes and over 100 different lakes? The dunes and many water systems highlight just how unexpectedly diverse this province is.
Drive a dune buggy through the desert
The Athabasca sand dunes are the largest active dune fields in Canada, AND the largest this far north in the world. You can tour through the ‘desert’ by dune buggy and even camp out there under the Saskatchewan stars.
Explore the Prairies by Horse
Why not try something different, and explore the beautiful Saskatchewan prairies from the back of a horse! You can even ride alongside bison in Prince Albert National Park.
Go Dog Sledding
Among other areas in Canada, you can also dog sled here in Saskatchewan. What is most unique about this destination, is you can also track the elusive grey wolf during your dog sledding adventure in Prince Albert National Park.
The Yukon Territory is situated along the Northwest edges of Canada, bordering Alaska. Historically, the Yukon was world-renowned in the 1800’s for the ‘Klondike Gold Rush’. More recently, travellers, photographers and nature lovers alike have flocked to the Yukon to experience the Arora borealis phenomenon, or the Northern Lights.
Join the “Sour toe” Cocktail Club
Since the 1970s, travellers have come from near and far to visit Dawson City and have a cocktail infused with…a toe. Yes, that’s right, a human toe. It’s as wild (and gross?) as it sounds. Unfortunately I recently read in the news, a tourist took off with the famous toe! So.. I’m not sure the status of this one at the moment.
Search for the Aurora Borealis
Just a short drive away from the city lights of Whitehorse and you could be up close and personal with one of the worlds wonders, the Northern Lights!
What is your favourite Canadian adventure?
Do you have one to add to the list?
Let me know in the comments below!
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