Up in the Great White North, an extremely vast land that stretches up to the Arctic Circle, there are some magical places to see and experience that are bucket-list worthy. Here are a few of our favorite trips that you can’t take anywhere else.
Go polar bear watching in Churchill, Manitoba
If you’re looking for lions, elephants and giraffes, go on a Kenyan safari. For something that’s even cooler, head to Churchill, Manitoba, between mid-September and mid-November to see the largest concentration of polar bears in the wild. It’s here that the massive mammals gather on land before they head north onto the sea ice for another season of seal hunting.
Operators such as Natural Habitat Adventures fly in from Winnipeg (where you can stay at Fairmont Winnipeg) and offer guided tours in customized buggies on the tundra where the bears roam. Although the temperature can hit an average low of -4 to -22 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s all worth it for that moment when you come face to face with a majestic polar bear.
Visit Alberta’s Lake Louise
They say the journey is just as important as the destination, and that’s especially true when you’re driving from Calgary to Lake Louise through the awe-inspiring Canadian Rocky Mountains and Banff National Park.
As you ascend the road toward the lake, you’ll first see Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, but don’t stop there. Once you hop out of the car and make the three-minute walk behind the hotel, that’s when your eyes catch the iconic Lake Louise, emerald as ever with the massive Victoria Glacier looming above.
During the warmer season, hike or go on a horseback ride around the scenic waterfront to the Lake Agnes Tea House. In winter, try your hand at pond skating, hockey or even “walking on water” by hiking on the lake to see the glacier up close and personal.
See icebergs and whales in St. John’s, Newfoundland
All winter long, the Arctic waters freeze up north and turn into massive icebergs. As spring brings warm weather, the icebergs begin to break and float south along Canada’s Atlantic coast.
Come April and May, nature’s massive ice sculptures float through “Iceberg Alley” along the coast of Labrador and the northeast coast of Newfoundland, creating a memorable display that’s accentuated by humpback whales and migrating seabirds. Enjoy the view from land or get closer in a boat or kayak.
Witness the Northern Lights in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Up north, the magnificent Northern Lights can be viewed far and wide, but if you’re looking for a truly remarkable experience, visit Yellowknife, the Aurora Capital of North America.
An old mining town, Yellowknife embraces its history: Take in the local aboriginal culture and participate in winter activities like dogsledding or ice fishing. The glowing skies of the aurora are best experienced from mid-August to the end of September and mid-November to mid-April.
Venture along Nova Scotia’s Cabot Trail
Head to Canada’s east coast to Cape Breton Island, where you can try the incredible Cabot Trail. By car, bike, hike, RV or camper, the 185-mile picturesque loop wraps around most of the island’s coast, offering unforgettable views of the local landscape.
It’s no wonder it’s one of the most iconic drives in the country. The rolling hills, scenic overlooks and highlands ambience complement the Celtic influence felt around the island. Take in a round of golf, whale watch or visit villages in Margaree River Valley, all while enjoying the island’s hospitable cottages or country inns.