Top 10 Places to Visit in Canada and Tips for American Travelers
From the sharp peaks of Banff to the slippery surge of Niagara Falls, Canada has a variety of natural, cultural and urban wonders to explore. Planning can be daunting with so many destinations to choose from but we've narrowed down these top places to visit on your next Canadian vacation.
Or jump straight to our section on Canada travel tips for Americans.
Best Places to Visit in Canada
1. Banff National Park & Lake Louise, Alberta
Nature lovers flock to the Canadian Rockies year-round to explore its sights. In the winter months, the small towns of Banff and Lake Louise open their doors to skiers. Those looking to warm up can take a dip in Banff's Hot Springs. During the summer months, couples and families in search of outdoor adventure can enjoy horseback riding, hiking, outdoor swimming, and even lake cruises. For those looking to discover hidden gems, neighboring Jasper National Park, home to Athabasca Falls, is perfect for a scenic drive.
2. Montreal, Quebec
Montreal is filled with old-world charm. The multitude of cafes and restaurants make it a great stop for a foodie tour. View the well-known Notre-Dame and take a tour break in Montreal Botanical Gardens. For the art lover in your group, check out the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
3. Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Foodies will also appreciate the selection of eats on Vancouver Island, including teahouses and freshly caught seafood. Vancouver Island holds a bounty of natural sights. Head to Tofino for some whale watching or take a wildlife tour. Afterward, take a stop at one of Vancouver Islands many gardens, Victoria Butterfly Gardens and Victoria Butchart Gardens are just a few stunning examples of what British Columbia has to offer.
4. Halifax, Nova Scotia
For those visiting Nova Scotia, one of Canada's coastal provinces, exploring Peggy's Point lighthouse is a must. The hundred-year-old lighthouse is the perfect backdrop for some travel photos. Go for a swim in Point Pleasant Park or stroll the Halifax Public Gardens.
5. Toronto, Ontario
Don’t miss Niagara Falls--one of Canada's most well-known attractions, or catch a game at Rogers Centre. In search of local eats, St. Lawrence Market has a number of shops and restaurants to discover. The annual Toronto International Film Festival attracts filmmakers and movie lovers alike. Traveling with kids? Don't miss the pandas at the Toronto Zoo.
6. Winnipeg, Manitoba
Looking for places to take the family? The kids will love the Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Zoo. Folklorama, Winnipeg's August summer festival, has a variety of local eats and art. Tour Constance Popp chocolate factory and take a chocolate making class.
7. Kelowna, British Columbia
Fall and summer visitors to the Okanagan Valley have a number of local orchards and wineries to choose from for tours and tastings. The areas breathtaking views make it a prime destination for walking tours and outdoor adventures. Winter visitors can enjoy some fresh powder at Big White Ski Resort.
8. Regina, Saskatchewan
Ready to hit the beach? Regina Beach is fun for the whole family. Take a walking tour and explore the Mackenzie Art Gallery. Finish your trip off by unwinding in Canada’s largest mineral water pool. Those traveling with kids can learn about dinosaurs and see a model T-Rex at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum.
9. Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Catch the Northern Lights in the Canadian Northwest. Art lovers visiting Yellowknife should be sure to stop by the Gallery of the Midnight Sun. Don't miss the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Center and the Yellowknife Mining and Geological Museum. Visiting in March? Check out the month-long Snowking Winter Festival.
Also Read: Find Nature’s Brightest and Boldest Nighttime Displays
10. Edmonton, Alberta
You can’t go wrong with stopping at West Edmonton Mall, known as one of the largest malls in the world. The mall features a year-round indoor waterpark and an indoor amusement park. Music lovers can check out big-name artists at the nearby Edmonton International Jazz Festival or grab a bite to eat a Taste of Edmonton.
Canada Travel Tips for Americans
- Check the weather forecast before you go and dress in layers just in case you encounter any sudden changes in weather. The north of Canada stretches into the Arctic Circle and it can get chilly! Depending on the season, good snowboots and a waterproof jacket are must-haves.
- Learn to speak a bit of French. It's the official language in Quebec. You'll be able to get around fine speaking English in tourist areas, but if you're headed to any far flung spots, a bit of French will go a long way. And it's always nice to say “Bonjour!” to shop owners and locals.
- Your U.S. drivers license is valid in Canada! Take note that speed limits are noted in kilometers rather than miles and cell phones are not allowed for use when driving.
- Get some Canadian currency before heading north. Though many places will accept U.S. Dollars, especially nearer to the border, many areas will only accept Canadian Dollars. And, even if they take your U.S. money, you won't likely get a good exchange rate.
- U.S. Citizens need a valid passport or equivalent document to enter Canada and return to the U.S. Travelers under the age of 15 only need to present a birth certificate.
Tips for Flying
- Flying to Canada? TSA's website tells you what can be carried on or checked during your flight. If you have questions regarding specific items check with your airline regarding rules and regulations.
- Just in case luggage is lost or delayed, pack medications, documents, and a change of clothes in your carry-on.
- Many travel insurance policies include necessary coverage in cases where your baggage is lost or delayed. This includes plans offered by Generali Global Assistance.
Also read: How Travel Insurance Can Help When You Fly
How Travel Insurance Can Help Protect Your Canadian Vacation
Travel insurance is recommended for any vacation, but especially when traveling internationally.
Canada made the list of the 10 Most Popular Trips Covered by Travel Insurance. Find out why.
Here are some ways a travel insurance plan can help:
- In the event of an emergency illness or accident, travel insurance plans from Generali Global Assistance include coverages like Emergency Assistance and Transportation that can especially be helpful if you're traveling in wilderness or outdoors areas and need emergency medical evacuation.
- If your itinerary includes a road trip, Rental Car Damage coverage can help protect against costs associated with collisions or theft. This coverage can be added to our Standard and Preferred plans, and it comes included with our Premium plan.
- Health insurance policies may not offer coverage when traveling outside of the country and U.S. Citizens using the Canadian medical system will have to pay for medical care. Medical and Dental coverage included with our plans can reimburse you for medical care you need while traveling, and our 24-Hour Emergency Assistance Services can help you find the right medical provider when abroad.
- Have you booked a ski vacation? It’s even more important that your gear arrives on time and in one piece. Our Preferred and Premium travel insurance plans include Sporting Equipment coverages so you don’t miss a day of the action.
With so many places to explore, it's no wonder Canada topped international destinations in our annual summer travel survey. Follow our top ten places to visit in Canada and you'll be well on your way to planning your trip north.