O Canada — it’s more than just America’s hat. This massive country is absolutely packed with places to go and marvelous sights to see, from rugged wilderness to the most refined in arts and culture. How does one decide, though, when there’s so much ground to cover? Read on for three of the best attractions Canada has to offer — we’re sure you’ll find something to love, no matter what kind of travel experience you’re looking for.
JASPER NATIONAL PARK
The largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, picturesque Jasper National Park absolutely deserves its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site. With its mountainous landscape, glacial lakes and the breathtaking Columbia Icefield, Jasper is a sight that you won’t want to miss.
There are plenty of things to do at the park: well-manicured trails offer fantastic hiking, and roads throughout allow you to take in the sights without getting too sweaty. Adventurers will want to try out Jasper’s mountain biking trails, or canoeing or kayaking in its many lakes and springs. If you’re really brave, you might want to try the Skywalk, a glass-bottomed trail some 900 feet in the air that offers astonishing views of the glaciers!
But the attractions don’t end come wintertime. If anything, there’s more to do there in the “off-season.” Jasper is home to fantastic skiing, skating, fat-wheel biking and even snow coach tours — think if a bus had treads like a tank!
Jasper is also home to an astonishing amount of biodiversity — animals to be seen include eagles, wolves and grizzly bears, oh my! There are also cuddlier options, however, like caribou and the adorable pika. Be careful, though — Jasper is famously home to warning signs that read “DO NOT LET MOOSE LICK YOUR CAR.”
Don’t worry that it’s part of French Canada — English speakers can do fine in Montreal. While many in the area prefer French, they can get by in English just as well, so there’s no need to worry about being understood. You could even break out a phrasebook and lean into it if you like, knowing that you have your mother tongue to fall back on if you need it.
Montreal, though, is more than just its languages. It’s a place with a long, long history. Old Town Montreal is home to beautiful historic architecture, dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. There are all kinds of historically-themed tours offered, too, so you can really get into the island city’s illustrious past. If you’re a history buff, Montreal is definitely the place for you.
Even if history’s not your speed, Montreal still has a lot to offer. The city is a major cultural center, featuring one of the world’s premier art museums — the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, or Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal if you’re feeling fancy. If you’re looking for a less traditional approach to museums, however, you could try the city’s Insectarium, which is exactly what it sounds like. But if you’d just like to appreciate natural beauty without the creepy-crawlies, the botanical garden is the place to be!
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Thus far we’ve shone the spotlight on places that are either especially cosmopolitan or especially remote. But what about a happy medium? If you’re looking to strike the right balance between silky and crunchy — or if you’re a fan of Anne of Green Gables — Prince Edward Island is the destination for you!
We mean it — Anne is PEI’s favorite daughter, and there are plenty of things for fans of the books (or show) to do. And yes, Green Gables is a real place, and you can go there, and it is beautiful. Other attractions include literary tours, the author’s birthplace, carriage rides and a museum.
But as much as they love Anne, it isn’t all about her. There are plenty of things to do on Prince Edward Island, ranging from outdoorsy adventures like beaches and horseback riding to quieter, nerdier pursuits like museums and the Island’s rich theater scene. If you’re a fan of history, Prince Edward Island rivals Montreal in its dedication to its past–including a focus on native communities. And if you’re a member of the LGBT community, Prince Edward Island is more than happy to welcome you! Their yearly Pride festival is a summer mainstay.
So, what’s it going to be? Based on what sorts of sights you’re looking to see — and how dirty you’re willing to get your hands — we’ve covered three destinations that are sure to wow you. (And really, why not visit all three?) But this is absolutely just a starting point, the very very tip of the iceberg. Canada is an enormous place with so, so much to offer, so you owe it to yourself to dig a little deeper and find the perfect getaway for you!