As the world’s second-largest country, it is no surprise that Canada is home to myriad stunning locales, from large metropolises and iconic national parks to quaint small towns and remote islands. However, since the Great White North is so vast, it’s important to plan your trip with care and attention. To help take the guesswork out of planning, T+L A-List Travel Advisor Jessica Renshaw recommends working with a professional who, like her, specializes in Canada. For example, Renshaw notes that “certain locations in Canada are best for self-drive, while others will [require] you to access remote wilderness, either by seaplane or charter plane.”
Marc Telio, another T+L A-List Travel Advisor and Canada expert, encourages travelers to head off the beaten path, in both destination and trip time. “To avoid tourists and to see more than the most popular spots, I suggest that guests consider new locations and shoulder seasons. And don’t be shy about choosing a destination in the colder months, or a northern destination that requires warmer clothing. In Canada, we say there is no bad weather, [just] bad equipment.”
Without further ado, here are 21 of the most beautiful places in Canada, plus expert tips and recommendations.
This picturesque lakefront town near Niagara Falls is especially popular with oenophiles. Sample wines from a few local makers, then spend time strolling in Historic Old Town, which is lined with charming mom-and-pop shops, boutiques, bakeries, and eateries. For time in nature, enjoy the greenery-filled Queen’s Royal Park, where you’ll find stunning views of the Niagara River and Lake Ontario. In terms of accommodations, travel advisor Alicia Thompson of TTI Travel, a Virtuoso Agency, recommends booking a stay at the Oban Inn, which she describes as “quaint, with great service, accommodations, food, and location.”
Tofino, British Columbia
A quick 45-minute flight from Vancouver, Tofino is an outdoor lover’s oasis. Thompson says that, no matter your experience level, you can enjoy hiking, year-round surfing, kayaking, and paddle boarding here. You’ll also find several stunning stretches of sand, including the nearly 10-mile-long Long Beach. Part of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, this wide sandy beach is nothing short of show-stopping — and, if you’re lucky, you may even spot gray whales from the shore. And don’t skip town without checking out the Rainforest or Big Tree trails, both of which are lined with towering trees and lush flora.
Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
Renshaw calls this national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site “stunning for the outdoor lover.” Park visitors can explore awe-inspiring fjords on foot or mountain bike, or via boat or kayak, and wildlife spotting opportunities abound. The park is also a Dark Sky Preserve, making it an excellent stargazing spot.
Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia
Annapolis Valley, situated in Nova Scotia’s countryside, is surrounded by rolling fields and vineyards, quaint towns, and scenic hiking trails. Per Renshaw, it’s also “becoming a well-known wine destination.” No trip here is complete without a visit to Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens, which spans 17 acres, and its lush grounds overlook a tidal river valley.
South Shore, Nova Scotia
According to Renshaw, Nova Scotia’s South Shore is “host to beautiful towns like Lunenburg and Mahone Bay.” In Lunenberg, stroll though Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to take in its colorful historic buildings, waterfront views, and eclectic shops. The area is also home to dozens of lighthouses, including the 19th-century Sandy Point Lighthouse.
Québec City, Québec
For a taste of France in North America, head to Quebec City, an urban center that’s more than “400 years old, which is older than Canada itself,” says Renshaw. The picturesque city is known for its cobblestone streets, eye-catching European architecture, and an enchanting Old Town, which happens to be the most intact walled city in North America north of Mexico. Splurge on a room at the castle-like Fairmont Château Frontenac, which is a Quebec City landmark.
Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia
Those craving an off-the-beaten-path escape with abundant outdoor activities and wildlife-spotting opportunities should consider the Clayoquot Sound, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Renshaw recommends taking a “wildlife marine safari [to] view orca whales, gray whales, sea otters, seals, and black bears scouring the beach for shore crabs.” Make Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge, a luxury glamping property, your home base for exploring; lodge guests can participate in unique on-site activities like heli-fishing and salmon snorkeling.
Fora Travel co-founder and advisor Henley Vazquez likes to think of Montreal as a “mini Paris,” with incredible shopping, art, and culinary scenes. Old Montreal is (much) quieter than bustling downtown, and a visit to the former feels as if you’ve taken a step back in time. The historic neighborhood is famous for its narrow cobblestone streets, cafes, and lively squares, including Place Jacques-Cartier.
Niagara Falls, Ont
“Niagara Falls is such a quintessential travel destination, it almost feels campy,” says Vazquez. “But, the falls are incredible.” Niagara Falls is actually composed of three waterfalls — Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls — and the best way to see them is via boat. Alternatively, adventure seekers can tie their laces tight and follow one of the hiking trails that offer postcard-worthy views of the falls.
Golden, British Columbia
“A key stop on British Columbia’s acclaimed Powder Highway, and nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Golden, British Columbia is a pure paradise for outdoor enthusiasts,” says Fora travel advisor Alli Widman. The small town — which serves as a gateway to Yoho, Glacier, Banff, Jasper, and Kootenay national parks — offers picture-perfect mountain scenery. It’s also home to the Golden Skybridge, where visitors can wander tranquil forests and wilderness via suspension bridges or trails. An alpine coaster and zip line adventures are also offered here.
Joffre Lakes Park, British Columbia
With ice-capped peaks and turquoise-hued lakes, Joffre Lakes Park in British Columbia is a sight to see. “Hike Joffre Lakes Trail, and make sure to go to the top so you don’t miss the beauty of all three lakes,” says Fora travel advisor Dahlia Swerdloff. In colder months, the park transforms into a snow globe-esque winter wonderland with myriad skiing and snowshoeing opportunities.
Cheakamus Lake, British Columbia
Located in Garibaldi Provincial Park, this glacier-fed lake is flanked by mountains that rise 5,000-plus feet above its tree-covered shoreline. While Swerdloff says the views of the lake are spectacular in any season, in the winter months “the best view is at the top of the Symphony chairlift on Whistler Mountain.” If visiting in the warmer seasons, she recommends hiking the High Note Trail, which “wraps around the back of Whistler mountain, giving you ample time to take in the beauty of this lake.”
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
Also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, this remote archipelago just south of Alaska is described by Swerdloff as “remote, uncrowded, and unspoiled.” Awe-inspiring wildlife can be found on land (including black bears and deer), in the sea (several species of whales, sea otters, and seals), and in the sky above (bald eagles, sandpipers, and hundreds more). She also notes that the destination boasts some of “the best chinook salmon and halibut fishing in the world.” For a truly incredible experience, book a stay at one of Haida Gwaii’s many fishing lodges.
Banff National Park, Alberta
Banff is one of Canada’s most beautiful national parks; whether you visit in summer or winter, you’re sure to be dazzled by the destination’s mountains, turquoise lakes (including the iconic Lake Louise), cascading waterfalls, and lush pine forests. “Outdoor activities abound with hiking, biking, rock climbing, kayaking, fishing, and trail running,” says Widman. Banff also has natural hot springs where visitors can relax.
Tombstone Territorial Park, Yukon Territory
Telio counts Tombstone Territorial Park in Canada’s Yukon Territory as one of the country’s most scenic places. “This remote landscape, accessed by air or the legendary Dempster Highway, is home to countless wildlife species, permafrost landforms, and rich Indigenous culture,” Telio says. The park’s jagged peaks are even more incredible when explored on foot.
Kluane National Park, Yukon Territory
“The sheer and remote beauty of this park is indescribable,” says Telio of Kluane National Park. Those who make it to the destination will surely stop at Kathleen Lake, which is known for its crystal waters and the snow-capped peaks surrounding it. Trails, canoes, campsites and even A-frame tents are available right near the shore.
Somerset Island, Nunavut
Those craving a secluded escape might head to Somerset Island. Part of the Canadian territory of Nunavut, this expansive uninhabited island is described by Telio as the “perfect location for Arctic exploration,” with “endless canyons, riverbeds, coastline, and even frozen sea ice.” During the summer season, it’s light here 24 hours a day, and you might spot Beluga whales congregating in the Cunningham Inlet. And there’s more. “Polar bears wander the coastline, and other species include muskoxen, arctic fox, narwhal and a host of arctic birds,” says Telio.
Bonavista Peninsula, Newfoundland & Labrador
“This region in Eastern Newfoundland is a unique location filled with ultra scenic spots, dramatic seascapes, and over 50 small and welcoming communities,” says Telio of Bonavista Peninsula. His must-sees include Trinity, “an impeccably maintained ancient village, from where [you] can go whale-watching and iceberg viewing,” and the UNESCO Global Geopark, “where you can go to Spillar’s Cove and the Dungeons to see ancient geological formations coming out of the Atlantic Ocean, or hike the Skerwink Trail for stunning views of the open sea.”
Torngat Mountains, Newfoundland & Labrador
Telio says the Torngat Mountains are “one of the most undiscovered locations in Canada, and arguably among the most beautiful.” Expect jagged peaks, glacier-carved fjords, and blue-hued, iceberg-filled waters here. Telio also recommends stopping by Torngat Mountains Base Camp, where Inuit hosts welcome guests. Travelers might also spot polar bears, whales, walruses, and countless other species while visiting ancient Indigenous village sites like Hebron and Rose Island.
Prince Edward Island
What Prince Edward Island lacks in size (it is Canada’s smallest province) more than makes up for in coastal scenery. There are 90-plus beautiful beaches here, including a handful of red-sand ones, as well as charming small towns to explore. The capital city of Charlottetown features tree-lined streets, a historic waterfront area, and some of the country’s best seafood.
Victoria, British Columbia
There’s so much to love about British Columbia’s capital city. Spend time strolling the Inner Harbor before stopping at the Fairmont Empress for cocktails (pro tip: snag a table on the outdoor patio for prime views of the water). Old Town Victoria is lined with colorful buildings, while Butchart Gardens — about 30 minutes from the city’s downtown area — is home to over 900 varieties of flora.