Alyssa has been writing about exciting travel topics for Trips to Discover since 2013. After living the big city life in Chicago, Washington, DC, and Atlanta, Alyssa sold the bulk of her possessions and became a digital nomad, living full-time in her camper and working from wherever she could find an outlet and an internet connection for her laptop.
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Many people travel to Canada in the winter to spend time at ski resorts and experience other fun snow activities. But when summer rolls around, Canada gets even more accessible and welcoming with pleasant temperatures, exciting cities, and epic outdoor recreation.
Here are some of our favorite summer getaway destinations in Canada to inspire your next trip.
Toronto is a popular vacation destination throughout the year, but it’s a particularly special place in the summer if you enjoy festivals, concerts, and sporting events. This is when Toronto really comes alive with lots of events, including Blue Jays home games and food festivals. There are also some great summer markets in Toronto for farm-fresh produce and unique souvenirs. There are many restaurants with outdoor dining in the Distillery District to check out in Toronto. Bruce Trail is one of the many great spots for hiking, and Niagara Parks is a good spot for biking.
Foodies and anyone looking for fun cultural experiences will enjoy a trip to Victoria. This is a capital city with sunny summertime weather and lots of festivals, including the Fringe Festival, a vegan festival, and beer festivals. You can find lots of farm-to-table restaurants here to satisfy your inner foodie and then work the extra calories off on the many hiking trails nearby. Other fun outdoor things to do around Victoria include taking a craft beer biking tour, checking out the local gardens, and going kayaking. Victoria also offers historic castles, the oldest West Coast lighthouse in Canada, and plenty of history lessons through fun sightseeing excursions.
Art and culture are easy to find in Montreal, which is another top summertime getaway in Canada. This bilingual city has lots of festivals, culinary events, and restaurants with outdoor seating to check out when the weather is warm. Meanwhile, music fans will enjoy going to the International Jazz Festival and other local concerts. Visiting Montreal is a great way to have a European-like experience without having to travel overseas.
Although most people think of the famous ski resort when Whistler is mentioned, this is also a great place for a summer getaway. It’s in the Coast Mountains and a couple of hours north of Vancouver, and it offers lots of warm-weather outdoor recreation. There’s a family adventure zone at the base of the Blackcomb Mountains and sandy beaches with concession stands and play areas. The gondola in Whistler will give you a bird’s eye view of the area, and the hiking trails will set you up for an awesome adventure. Mountain bikers love spending time in Whistler, and there are some lovely chalets to stay in for summertime travel.
The Canadian side of Niagara Falls should be on every traveler’s bucket list, and summer is the perfect time to make this trip. Niagara Falls offers opportunities for romance and family fun with the many popular attractions here, such as the SkyWheel, water cruises, casinos, and more. There are lots of wineries in the area to enjoy with your sweetheart on a trip here in the summer. For families, consider staying at the Great Wolf Lodge because there’s a huge waterpark here.
Scenic water views, lots of local history, and amazing seafood can be all yours when you visit Halifax in the summer. Halifax is a place to learn about the seafaring history and visit excellent farmers’ markets. There are also public gardens here that are perfect for enjoying a picnic in the summertime. It’s fun to shop in Halifax and stroll down the boardwalk. Day trips to Peggy’s Cove area are popular among tourists to see the idyllic community along the rocky shores with its famous lighthouse and fishing village culture.
For a fun city escape during a Canadian summer, consider a trip to Quebec City. You’ll experience the local French-Canadian culture and enjoy quaint buildings, cobblestone streets, and lots of opportunities for family fun. The Baie de Beauport is the local beach here for sunbathing, kitesurfing, and playing beach volleyball. Make sure to explore the Old Quebec District when you’re here and also walk the Wall of Quebec, explore the Quartier Petit Champlain, try some local poutine – a culinary delight and a specialty in Quebec. If you have extra time, you might also take a trip to see Montmorency Falls and sample some local wine at Ile D’ Orleans.
Tofino is another British Columbia destination for summer trips and a great place to escape from the routines of city life. It is filled with great spots to hike at Pacific Rim National Park, as well as scenic views of the mountains and boat tours. Tofino is a stunning place to visit, with charming inns to stay at and also campgrounds if you feel like roughing it a bit. To fill your summer days on a trip to Tofino, plan to go surfing, hike through old-growth forests, and join a whale-watching tour. In this part of Canada, it’s also fun to kayak in the Clayoquot Sound, take a bear-watching tour to see black bears, check out the Naa’Waya’Sum Gardens (formerly the Tofino Botanical Gardens), and go deep-sea fishing.
To experience a remote and truly wild Canadian adventure this summer, take a drive along the Alaska Highway through the Yukon. The highway extends through British Columbia, the Yukon, and up to Delta Junction in Alaska. It’s an unforgettable scenic drive with hot springs, local communities, mountain ranges, and plenty of wildlife along the way. For example, the Kluane National Park and Reserve is along the Alaska Highway and is home to most of the high mountain peaks in the country. You can set out on a mountaineering adventure here, check out the large ice fields, and take a flightseeing tour to see the ice fields down below.
Prince Edward Island is another popular spot for summer trips in Canada, especially the beautiful Cavendish Beach. It gets busy here in the mid-to-late summer, so make your accommodations bookings early. Parasailing, golf, kayaking, and standup paddleboarding are all popular activities. When you visit, it’s also worth taking a walking tour of Charlottetown to learn about local history and to see a production of Anne of Green Gables.
While the coastal destinations in Canada often get all the attention, it’s also fun to visit the Saskatoon area of Saskatchewan for an agro-tourism adventure. Foodies enjoy this area because of all the local farms that offer fresh foods and homegrown products, especially berries, during the summer season. You can get in your outdoor recreation at the Meewasin Trails by running, walking, or biking here. Meanwhile, the South Saskatchewan River is an ideal place for kayaking and canoeing. Grasslands National Park is also in this area and is a popular spot for family vacations. Book this trip for your summer if you want to get outdoors with a country vibe and learn about historic pioneers and indigenous groups who once lived here too.
Travelers enjoy spending summer days at Fundy National Park, one of Canada’s most beautiful national parks, to experience a pristine coastline and the highest tides in the world. This park in New Brunswick will give you a bit of Atlantic Canadian culture and many outdoor opportunities, including kayaking at low tide and camping in a yurt. There are also many other sites nearby worth visiting too while you’re in this area, including the Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site, Kouchibouguac National Park, Andrew’s Blockhouse National Historic Site, and Fort Beauséjour – Fort Cumberland National Historic Site.
Family vacations are nothing but fun when you plan your summer trip to Cape Breton Island. You’ll be living the coastal life here and enjoying plenty of fresh seafood with awesome views. The Cabot Trail is an awesome place to enjoy some scenery and time outdoors. Guided bicycle tours are also a fun way to experience this area. You can experience the natural wildlife of the area by taking a guided boat cruise to see the bird populations. Cape Breton has been ranked the top island in North America by Condé Nast Traveler readers. Come find out why this summer!
A unique place to visit in Canada is the Canadian Badlands in Alberta, including Dinosaur Provincial Park. Lots of dinosaur bones have been found here, making it a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the public to enjoy responsibly. The Badlands Trail offers great views of interesting rock formations, such as hoodoos and pinnacles. To learn even more about dinosaurs, you can check out the Royal Tyrrell Museum, which is full of impressive dinosaur skeleton displays. Overall, the Canadian Badlands is a 35,000-square-mile region that’s truly like no place else on earth. A few other must-sees in the area include Horseshoe Canyon, the ancient pictograph and petroglyph carvings, and the sandstone boulders.