Summer is a stones throw away, and it’s time to start planning your summer trips, or at least coming up with a ballpark idea or two. Canada is huge, and while it’s easy to say check out all of these locations, realistically it might be smart to take some of Robin Esrocks advice on traveling in Canada and pick a region and stick to it. If however you’re doing the long haul cross Canada trip, here are four amazing Canadian destinations to visit this summer!
Vancouver Island, British Columbia
While the big city of Vancouver tends to get a lot of attention for its summer activities, I always urge people to spend the money and take either a float plane or hop on the ferry and check out the island. World famous camping, incredible hiking trails, beaches that stretch farther than the eye can see. There’s also tons of surfing near Tofino, fishing, kayaking, and more. Despite its relatively small size, having wheels will make it much easier to explore.
Baie St Paul, Quebec
While Montreal usually steals the limelight in Quebec, for those looking for more of an immersive experience into french culture, art, and lifestyle, I recommend heading north to Baie St Paul along the St Lawrence River. Take the Charlevoix Rail Transit from Quebec City and view the sights and experience the incredible vibes in some of the most quaint Quebecois towns. Hands down one of the most beautiful train routes in Canada. Once you arrive in Baie St Paul, check in to Le Massif’s Hotel La Ferme and be prepared to be pampered with some of the sexiest hotel rooms you’ll ever stay in. Whatever you do, don’t forget to eat at the Hotels restaurante, “Les Labours” for an unforgettable dinner.
Nearby walking/biking trails provide easy access to a small town chalk full of artists, musicians, foodies, and some of the most friendliest french Canadians you’ll ever meet. Be sure to practice your french in these parts, as you’ll quickly find that outside of the tourism industry, like many Canadians, not all Quebecois are fully bilingual, which can make for some sometimes awkward, but always fun encounters.
Halifax Nova Scotia
Summer in Halifax is one of my favourite places to be to relax and explore. There’s something whimsical about being able to enjoy the beach during the day, pubs and patios in the late afternoon, and live music all over the city at night. It makes for a superb long weekend destination, whether you’re a foodie, a history junkie, or just someone who likes being able to explore by foot, Halifax has something special for everyone.
Staying near the waterfront? The pedway system in downtown Halifax makes it easy to make it to the Casino no matter what the weather might be. Great for checking out live music on Fridays, or taking a break from the Red Flush casino website to spend some money on a little live poker action. Be sure to check out some of the best beaches in Nova Scotia, explore some of the incredible free things to do in town, or simply relax along the boardwalk while listening to fiddle music.
Churchill is truly one of those destinations that needs to be on more peoples bucket list. Not only is it a very cute town, filled with amazing pubs, surprisingly good food, and some of the most exciting wildlife including Belugas and Polar Bears in North America, but the journey to and from Churchill is going to be one for the books. The breathtaking journey from Winnipeg to Churchill via Via Rail is one of the main reasons why I have vowed to ditch airlines for VIA Rail on a more regular basis.
There’s something oddly profound about watching the prairie fields turn to boreal forest as you enter Northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan, then quickly fade to arctic tundra as you approach the Hudson Bay. Seeing the topographical changes over the course of a full two days on the train can make you appreciate the diversity of Canada. The long journey also makes the arrival one of the most exciting moments you’ll ever experience. It’s no wonder I have a tough time getting Churchill off my mind!