Canada beyond the wilderness.
Canada is a massive nation, stretching from the U.S. border to the Arctic Circle, the Pacific to the Atlantic, and is sparsely populated for its size (only about 37 million people live here). It’s also home to more diverse terrain and attractions than many travelers are aware. Mountainous national parks with world-class skiing and trekking neighbor cosmopolitan cities like Vancouver and Toronto, each a distinct cultural melting pot.
When is the best time to visit?
July-August is peak tourist season across the nation, with most travelers coming to enjoy the pleasant weather in Canada’s cities and national parks. Winter lasts from December to March (with frigid January being the coldest month) and is the best time for sports like skiing and snowboarding, snowmobiling, and even dog-sledding. Late April through June is a nice shoulder season, offering good weather with fewer tourists to contend with.
Where should you go?
For the great outdoors, visit Canada’s world-renowned national parks. Jasper, located in western British Columbia, is the largest, great for whitewater rafting and canyon hiking. Banff, in Alberta, offers some of the best ski conditions in the winter. Prince Edward Island, off Canada's east coast, is a tranquil retreat featuring green hills, red sandstone cliffs, long beaches, and fluffy white harp seals.
Then there are the cities. Montreal has a thriving culinary scene, Vancouver offers great beaches and skiing, historic Quebec City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with 17th- and 18th-century buildings. And this is just the start—from the Yukon Territory to Nova Scotia, you never need to stop exploring Canada.
How many days do you need?
It all comes down to how much free time you have. You could spend the entire winter season on the ski slopes, or take the summer to raft and hike through those same mountains. Travelers with less than two weeks should stick to one region—or at least one coast. For example, you could enjoy the highlights of the east coast—Montreal, Quebec City, Prince Edward Island, and Niagara Falls—while a west coast trip could include beautiful Vancouver and Alberta's famed Banff National Park.