Canada Travel Guide

Jagged peaks and fresh winter air, cities with over 400 years of history, and remote cabins offering peace and quiet all tempt travelers to head north for Canada vacations. Let show you the many sides of Canada; in the end you won’t know whether to book a beach Canada vacation or the ultimate ski villa!

Canada travel has many faces from buzzing cities to the quietest corners of the mountains. The pleasures Canada offers convince people to return year after year for an old favorite or to discover something new.

Looking for travel inspirations? This Canada guide will get your travel juices flowing and prompt fantasies of skiing, gourmet dining, fascinating wildlife, and adventure activities. Be forewarned! Continue reading only if you want to discover some truly enticing choices for Canada Vacations.

What to Do in Canada

Canada travel often includes skiing. Names of ski destinations such as Whistler, Banff, and Lake Louise all conjure up images of snow-covered pine trees and perfect ski conditions. After a day on the slopes, you’ll be ready to snuggle up by the fire in your vacation rental. City breaks, cultural vacations, and foodie getaways can all be part of Canada vacations as well.

Canada City Breaks

City Breaks

Had enough of the Great Outdoors? There are still plenty of reasons for a Canada vacation. From the history of New France to the more rugged cities in western Canada, you’ll discover there is more to Canada than skiing! A sophistication has recently developed in cities across the country from Edmonton to Toronto, so expect quality dining, shopping, and even spas.

Toronto is at the top of the list in any Canada guide. Located so close to the American border, it is possible to visit one of the world’s tallest buildings (CN Tower), explore the popular theme park Canada’s Wonderland, and wander through Kensington Market for a variety of imported goods without straying too far from home. Quick flights or scenic drives make Toronto easily accessible to Americans.

Vancouver is quickly becoming one of the most popular locations for a Canada vacation. This cultural city offers many attractions beyond traditional sightseeing and tours, including the largest city park in Canada (Stanley Park), historic Gastown (explore here for art galleries and nightclubs), and the fantastic Vancouver Aquarium. Every Canada guide will recommend a visit to the aquarium, especially for families.

Quebec City brings European flair to your vacation without the hassle of having to cross the Atlantic. French restaurants, sidewalk cafés, and 400-year old cobblestone streets in the historic quarter will transport you to another time and place. The cultural traveler can indulge in art galleries while those seeking nightlife will find trendy spots and delicious cocktails.

Luckily, no Canadian city is too far from the mountains, skiing, and other outdoor adventure. Plan a trip around visiting the annual Calgary Stampede and Rodeo before heading out to see some wildlife. See Canada’s Parliament buildings in Ottawa before you go river rafting. With your first trip, you’ll discover how Canada travel is never just about one thing!

Canada Wilderness

Wilderness Wonder

Beauty extends beyond the cities of Canada as well. Many Canada vacations head straight for the wilderness—and when you see the mountains, rivers, and lakes for yourself, you will understand why. Whether you want to tour Niagara Falls or head to the depths of the Rocky Mountains, Canada travel delivers landscapes that are guaranteed to take your breath away.

Looking for a Canada guide to World Heritage sites? Banff National Park has been recognized by the UN for its spectacular natural beauty. Your family will spend days skiing at Lake Louise or encountering wildlife during a hike in the Rockies. Can't wait to see the look on your kid's face when he encounters a moose for the first time? Seeing these animals in the wild is hands down superior to any zoo.

The Mecca of snow sports in Canada is also a beautiful place for a vacation rental. Whistler has 8,000 acres of terrain for the whole range of snow sports. Not into skiing? Enjoy the shopping and dining Whistler offers, or relax in your vacation rental and take in the views as you sip a mug of hot cocoa.

Don’t skip the national parks during Canada travel—they offer some of the most stunning views in the country. Gros Morne National Park offers whale watching tours through steep, narrow fjords along with hiking, cycling, and fishing. Treat your family to all the beauty of Mother Nature that Canada has to offer.

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What to See in Canada

Canada Dinosaur MuseumEach of the thirteen provinces of Canada offers distinct landmarks, attractions, and wildlife. For some provinces, the city is the star. For others, the city might never compare to the mountains. Some travelers will be drawn to historic sites while others care about what nature has carved. Whatever your reason for planning a Canada vacation, there is plenty to see during your trip!

Top attractions in the country include Niagara Falls, the fossil bed of Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, and La Citadelle, the historic fort of Quebec City. Changing of the Guard at the Ottawa Parliament Buildings is a sight worthy of a daytrip, and seeing one of the tallest towers in the world in Toronto, the CN Tower, will excite your kids and maybe even inspire a future architect.

Beyond attractions, the best Canada vacations are those that include the great outdoors. Rent a car and take the time to explore the Rocky Mountains, Banff National Park, or Gros Morne National Park. With a good map you can find your family surrounded by stunning landscapes without another tourist anywhere in sight.

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Where to Shop and Eat in Canada

Canada Travel GuideHave you ever wondered where the largest mall in the world is? Plan a Canada vacation to Edmonton, Alberta, and you can visit it yourself. The West Edmonton Mall boasts over 800 shops, restaurants, an amusement park, water park, ice rink, and putting golf. Be warned, there is so much entertainment to keep your kids busy for days at the West Edmonton Mall that they may not want to leave!

Quebec City is known for its boutiques and fashion. Quartier Petit-Champlain is North America’s oldest shopping district, and still contains contemporary fashion off the cobblestone streets. Antiques can be found along Saint-Paul while the Old City is full of art and jewelry for the serious shopper.

Toronto has the Eaton Centre, and by the numbers, this shopping mall is the biggest tourist attraction in the city. With over 250 stores to choose from, no matter what your budget, you’ll find something tempting at this 4-level glass mall.

Vancouver is another shopper’s paradise. Canada travel in Vancouver often leads to Robson Street where all the big name brands have a headquarters. The Pacific Centre mall also has a huge selection while Sinclair Centre always has something to offer the trendy or frugal shopper.

Culinary Delights Await You in Canada

Beyond great shopping, Canada vacations also include a chance to indulge in amazing restaurants. A good Canada guide will inform travelers that dining can be an international experience. From Chinatown in Vancouver to French bistros in Quebec City, restaurants offer a wide range of internationally influenced cuisine.

Planning a Canada vacation around your stomach? Your timing is perfect. Canada has woken up and gone gourmet. From farmer’s markets to internationally renowned chefs, Canada travel now boasts many options for foodies. Be prepared to taste some unique dishes as well; the adventurous eater will have plenty of opportunities to try tongue and other unique delicacies during a trip to Canada.

Looking to explore the culinary landscape on a budget? Plan a vacation around restaurant week to taste the best for a fraction of the price. Toronto and Vancouver have restaurant weeks in February. These three-course prix fixe menus allow the chefs to display their talents, and guests to discover new favorites across the city. Be sure to make your reservations in advance—tables during restaurant week fill up quickly!

Let the culinary awards and famous names guide you through Canada restaurants. From Cibo Trattoria in Vancouver to The Black Hoof in Toronto, visitors are sure to be impressed with restaurants in Canada that have come of age. Looking for the latest restaurant to try? Consult food and wine magazines that have extended their coverage to the hottest new restaurants in Canada.

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When to Visit Canada

Have you been scared away from winter vacations by a Canada guide? Don’t let cold temperatures keep you from the winter wonderland of the Rocky Mountains. Winter sports can be enjoyed from November through March or early April. Excellent ski conditions with powdery snow is what Canada is known for. Storms sometimes interrupt flights, but Canadian airports are well-equipped to deal with the snow.

Looking to skip the snow? Some of the best Canada vacations are planned for the summer. Clear blue skies, mild temperatures, and wildflowers in bloom all lure travelers away from more traditional summer destinations. Beaches, lakes, and beach vacation rentals can all add a dose of fun in the sun to your summer Canada vacation.

One of the most expensive times to plan Canada travel is during winter school breaks. If you are planning on a ski vacation during President’s Week in February, be prepared to pay a premium on your entire vacation. Reasonable rates can be found throughout the winter, although again expect to pay more during the holiday weeks of Christmas and New Years.

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What to Bring to Canada

Pack your bags for the great outdoors! Hiking boots, warm layers of clothing, waterproof jackets, and hats are a must. If you plan on doing some skiing or ice fishing, remember your equipment or be prepared to rent them.

A good Canada guide will warn readers about the extreme cold that can be found during the winter. Don’t let this fact deter you from visiting Canada, but do pack gloves, hats, long underwear, and other cold-weather gear.

Heading off on a city break? Bring something fancy for a night out on the town in one of Canada’s premier restaurants. Looking to spend quality time with the family? Remember playing cards, board games, DVDs, or favorite family recipes, so you can plan special time together.

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Local Services in Canada

During a Canada vacation you won’t feel far from home. The next bank or ATM is never too far away, and most restaurants and stores will take credit cards. Stock your vacation rental with produce from the farmer’s market, and keep your eye out for cheese and chocolate shops that show off their artisan skills.

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What to Know About Canada

There are distinct cultures to Canada, and all of them are worth exploring. From the rugged, western culture of British Columbia and Alberta to the refined, European culture of the Eastern section of the country, travelers may be surprised to discover how many sides there are to Canada.

The exchange rate of the Canadian dollar (and all currencies) fluctuates over time, so be sure to check the current rate before your Canada vacation. This will allow you to know exactly the price of things before you reach for your wallet.

Looking to simplify Canada travel? Leave your ski gear at home and rent equipment at the resort. These mountains are used to catering for great numbers of adventure-seeking travelers, and have high-quality equipment on offer to borrow for the day or week.

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Getting to Canada

Canada vacations can start with the car, train, bus, or by air. Some destinations in the east, such as Toronto and Quebec City, are popular for Americans looking to get in the car and drive. Destinations in the west such as Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary are all well-served with international airports.

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Why Canada Vacation Rentals?

What better way to enjoy the natural beauty of Canada than with the serenity of a vacation rental? Noisy, cramped hotels all detract from the spectacular wilderness. Rent a cabin for the ultimate getaway, or book a luxurious ski villa complete with a Jacuzzi to soak your muscles after a day on the slopes.

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