Most of Canada has 4 seasons (other than the west coast that has only rain and summer seasons), but it really comes alive in the summer. From beach days to hiking to giant waterfalls, Canada’s beauty lies in it’s awe-inspiring nature. Growing up in Canada meant you had to take advantage of every day from May to September, so we all road-tripped around to explore this massive country of ours. Here are some of our favourite and most beautiful spots to visit in Canada in the summer.
Canada’s very own surf capital (yes Canada has surfing) and one of the most chill places to visit this summer. Tofino is on the west coast of Vancouver Island and is so incredibly beautiful. The beaches, the hot springs, the restaurants, the lux resorts, it’s a proper summer vibe. If you’re not a surf pro, you can get lessons from one of the schools or just hang out at the beaches and enjoy the scenery. Tofino is home to some of the best food as well like Tacofino (the OG taco food truck) and Wolf in the Fog. At night, settle in for a bonfire on the beach and watch the twinkling stars all night.
Victoria is the cutest and most vibrant small city on Vancouver Island that looks like it was plucked out of England and transported. There’s lots to do and see in such a small space, like wandering the harbour, whale watching, incredible land and sea-to-table restaurants, historical and heritage buildings, Butchert Gardens and afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel. Check out this video of our trip of where to go, what to see and where to stay in Victoria.
Salt Spring Island
BC’s ‘hippie island’ is a must for nature-lovers when visiting the west coast. This island is off-the-grid and eco-conscious in the best way possible with artisan markets with handcrafted treasures, farm-to-table cuisine at local eateries, lush forests and picturesque beaches. The island is a haven for creatives and has a vibrant arts scene with pottery classes, cheese-making workshops, galleries, and live performances. Don’t miss the renowned Salt Spring Island Saturday Market, where you can sample artisanal cheeses, freshly baked goods, and locally grown produce.
As the name suggests, the Sunshine Coast lives up to its reputation with an abundance of sunny days during the summer. Discover the hidden gem of Canada’s Sunshine Coast, a breathtaking destination that begs to be explored. Tucked away in British Columbia’s pristine wilderness, this coastal paradise is an unforgettable summer experience that seamlessly combines natural wonders, outdoor adventures, and a vibrant local culture. For the adventure-seeker, the Sunshine Coast has a ton of outdoor activities to get your adrenaline pumping like diving into the crystal-clear waters for kayaking, paddleboarding, or even surfing. Bask in the warmth of the sun as you relax on the sandy beaches and indulge in beachside picnics. For the avid camper, there are numerous campgrounds and seaside resorts that provide the perfect backdrop for starlit evenings and bonfire gatherings with fellow travelers.
Get the west coast vibes mixed with and city sophistication in Vancouver. From trendy neighborhoods like Gastown and Yaletown to the bustling Granville Island, Vancouver has a dynamic blend of art, music, and culinary delights for everyone. From lush rainforests to stunning beaches, the opportunities for adventure are endless. Bike the famous seawall and Stanley Park and hike Grouse Mountain for incredible views or get on the water for some stand up paddleboarding or rent a boat from Granville Island. For the adventurous foodie, Vancouver is a culinary paradise from fresh seafood to internationally inspired street food in the city’s thriving food truck scene. Don’t miss out on the Celebration of Light, a spectacular fireworks competition that lights up the night sky over English Bay.
Immerse yourself in Osoyoos’ breathtaking landscape, where rolling vineyards and orchards meet the shimmering waters of Canada’s warmest lake. Start your adventure by exploring the town’s mesmerizing natural surroundings. Hike through the dramatic desert landscape of the Osoyoos Desert Centre, home to rare plants and wildlife, or embark on a scenic cycling tour along local trails which wind through awe-inspiring canyons and vineyard-dotted hills. Get on Osoyoos Lake’s waters by windsurfing and wakeboarding. With the warm, arid climate and abundant sunshine, Osoyoos also offers excellent conditions for golfing, so don’t miss the chance to tee off at one of the region’s premier golf courses. Finish the day with a wine tasting journey, exploring the region’s boutique wineries and vineyards, known for its luscious reds, crisp whites, and refreshing rosés.
Lake Louise / Banff
Lake Louise and Banff are mountain towns in Alberta that are primarily known for ski season, but are equally fun in the summer. Lake Louise and Moraine Lake are known for their crystal-clear turquoise waters. Adventurous spirits can embark on exhilarating hikes, ascending to viewpoints that offer awe-inspiring vistas of the surrounding peaks and glaciers. Whether it’s the challenging Plain of Six Glaciers trail or the enchanting hike to Lake Agnes teahouse, each step rewards with a sense of accomplishment and vistas that leave an indelible mark on the soul. The charming village of Lake Louise is a blend of rustic charm and modern amenities like trendy cafes, cozy lodges and luxurious resorts. It’s also the gateway to the nearby Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where a scenic drive will land you on jaw-dropping vistas, waterfalls, and maybe even some wildlife like elk and bears. Banff is something between a rancher town and ski town and has charming shops, horseback riding, wild nightlife and the hot springs, which are appealing even in the summer.
Hear us out. Unless you’re from the midwest of America, few people will understand the beauty in completely flat plains where you can see forever and a sky that feels so massive and makes you feel tiny. Winnipeg is definitely worth putting on the list, but only in summer. Most of the city is residential and avoidable, but it’s the historic culture, the giant green spaces like Assiniboine Park, the markets like The Forks, the river and tons of cultural and music festivals like Folklorama and Folk Fest and of course, the people, that make it come alive in the summer. The 11pm sunsets and the overnight thunderstorms that always turn into sunny mornings are also magic.
Bruce Peninsula National Park
Bruce Peninsula National Park is a nature lover’s paradise with a wealth of natural wonders that will leave you breathless like the famed Grotto – a sea cave where you can play out your Little Mermaid fairytale by swimming through underwater tunnels. After your fantasy, you can play out some Nat Geo by hiking the Bruce Trail, a 900-kilometer path that winds its way through the park’s rugged terrain and along the cliffside, with views of the emerald Georgian Bay. If you’re into history, you can learn about the traditions and stories of the Indigenous Peoples who inhabited this area for centuries.
Toronto is the capital city of festivals during the summer, with something happening in every neighbourhood almost every day and since it’s the largest city in Canada, the diversity means there’s something for everyone. The cosmopolitan vibe has unparalleled options of international cuisines, trendy cafes, and bumping nightlife around King Street, Queen Street and the boujee Yorkville. Take in its natural beauty with a short trip to the Toronto Islands on a Pirate or Luau themed water taxi, to find sandy beaches, lush greenery, big parks and stand up paddleboarding for breathtaking views of the city skyline. Don’t miss: the eclectic Kensington Market for street art, independent boutiques, hipster cafes and take-out margaritas to walk around with.
Not to be confused with Niagara Falls (which you can go see for 15 mins, then leave), Niagara-on-the-Lake is a cute and charming town that looks like something out of a Hallmark movie. The main strip is lined with flowers, boutiques, art galleries, and cozy cafes, and Victorian-esque heritage houses in vibrant colours. Niagara-on-the-Lake is also known as the heart of Ontario’s wine region, so you can also do a biking + wine-ing trip around the area to check out the vineyards.
Ottawa is Canada’s capital city, which not only means there are beautiful and iconic places to explore, like Parliament Hill, Rideau Canal, art galleries and museums, but there’s also a thriving cultural scene, diverse gastronomic experiences and a hot nightlife. Lose yourself in the masterpieces at the National Gallery of Canada, showcasing a diverse collection of Canadian and international artworks. Nature lovers rejoice because the city’s natural landscapes are breathtaking from Gatineau Park to the Ottawa Lake. Make sure to cut the heat by getting out on the water.
Canada’s very own piece of Europe. Montreal’s unique cultural tapestry, cobblestone streets and architecture of the Old Port will have you feeling like you’re somewhere in France. But Montreal is also the perfect city to visit in summer because of the over 100 festivals and events a year like the Electric Picnic, Osheaga, Quartier des Spectacles and Just for Laughs Comedy Festival. The nightlife is by far the best in Canada with some of the hottest DJs and live music spots, speakeasies and trendy microbreweries. The food is a cultural adventure, mixed in with bagels and French-Canadian delicacies like poutine. The street art scene is another reason to visit with cutting-edge installations, art studios and a ton of museums and galleries to check out.
A top secret hidden gem in Canada – the Saguenay Fjord. A glacial valley in Quebec with the most insane views and piece of nature that’s a must for any nature lover. Fjords are a rare phenomenon, carved by glacier forces thousands of years ago, that creates a river surrounded by steep cliffs – making it a great spot for all outdoor activities on water or land like whale watching, kayaking, hiking, ziplining, visit the villages around or camp in domes so you can really connect to the outdoors.
Prince Edward Island (PEI)
If you’re an Anne of Green Gables fan, then a visit to the actual house that inspired the stories, is a must. If you could care less, there’s still a lot to do and see if Cavendish. The town’s most known for (other than Anne of GG) its red beach and red sandstone cliffs to live up the summer vibes. You can also explore the island of PEI and see the lighthouses and farmland or take a lobster and mussels fishing trip to get the freshest seafood possible.
Cape Breton Island
Straight out of a Hallmark movie where the big city girl ends up back in her idyllic and adorable hometown with the nicest people that are always celebrating some old tradition with a festival where they all gather together, this is Cape Breton Island. The untamed beauty of Cape Breton’s is in its rugged landscapes, where rolling hills, towering cliffs, and pristine beaches meet the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. Take a drive along the Cabot Trail, a route that winds through Cape Breton Highlands National Park with vistas at every turn. Cape Breton thrives on its rich cultural heritage, deeply rooted in Scottish, Irish, and Acadian traditions, so you’ll often happen upon sounds of fiddles and bagpipes during lively ceilidhs – said Hallmark town gatherings. Everyone needs to experience the charm of Cape Breton once in their lives.
The oldest city in Canada is St. John’s, a small fishing city on the island of Newfoundland. It’s the perfect blend of city lux and small town charm if you’re looking for a more relaxed place, but with modern amenities. The hilled city is easy to walk around to wander through all the historic buildings, shops, cute houses and even to Signal Hill at the top of the city, where the first trans-Atlantic wireless message came through in 1901. You can also wander past Jellybean Row to see the bright, colourful houses like in the Caribbean. But the coolest part of St. John’s, is that you can scuba dive in Conception Bay to see sunken shipwrecks from World War II.