1. Hike the Rockies

A hiker enjoys a lake in the Canadian Rockies.
One of the best things to do in Canada is hike the Rockies.Photo Credit: Galyna Andrushko / Shutterstock

Canadians love to hike, and the hiking trails in the Canadian Rockies are some of the best in the world.

Banff National Park, in Alberta, was Canada’s first national park, and it’s easy to see why. With soaring mountains, glacier lakes, and deep green forests, this is the spot to immerse yourself in Canadian wilderness.

You can hike, bike, and ski to your heart’s content in Banff, or get a taste of Old World glamour with afternoon tea at the 19th-century Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. For panoramic views of the park’s glaciers, head to the Columbia Icefield Skywalk to test your courage on the glass-bottomed observation deck.

2. Travel Tofino

A porch overlooking the ocean in Tofino.
Tofino draws surfing enthusiasts from around the world.Photo Credit: Urban Images / Shutterstock

Tofino is a coastal paradise for both nature lovers and adventure seekers.

A West Coast wonder, this quirky surf town on Vancouver Island is a haven for kayakers, surfers, and fisherfolk. Gaze out over the Pacific Ocean from Tofino’s Long Beach, where surfers ride the waves in the summer, and fantastic storms batter the coast in the winter.

If you're looking for the best time to visit Tofino for wildlife, each season brings about different guests. For instance, during the autumn, you can spot sleek black bears roaming the beaches, while the spring is for whale-watching—Tofino welcomes the migration of thousands of gray whales returning from Mexico. It's no wonder Tofino is popular with Canadians when they're looking for their own Canada vacation!

3. Brush up on your French and head to Quebec

A popular street in Quebec covered in snow and visitors.
Beautiful Quebec is as delightful in the winter as it is in the summer.Photo Credit: iPIX Stock / Shutterstock

This province offers a French foray without crossing the Atlantic.

Exploring Quebec City feels like you’ve traveled back in time; with its historic architecture and winding cobblestone streets, the picturesque 17th-century Canadian city offers a glimpse into Canada’s past. It’s perfect for the traveler who loves to walk, and is compact enough that you can fully immerse yourself in the city’s treasures.

In the summer, the public squares bustle, while the Quebec Winter Carnival is famous across the country for its winter sports events, masquerade ball, and snow sculpture displays.

Related: 13 Don't-Miss Bucket List Experiences in Canada

4. Experience famous Canadian friendliness in Newfoundland

Bright houses in a sunny bay in Newfoundland.
Renowned for its rugged coastal beauty, vibrant cultural heritage, and warm hospitality, Newfoundland is a Canadian gem.Photo Credit: Doug Gordon / Shutterstock

Dance the night away to the sound of fiddles and a tin whistle.

St. John’s, Newfoundland, is Canada’s easternmost city and the perfect place to experience the warmth of an Atlantic Canada welcome. Downtown, grab dinner at one of the many restaurants along Water Street. Here you’ll find candy-colored buildings that have earned the neighborhood the nickname “Jelly Bean Row.” After, head to George Street to discover up-and-coming musicians.

Though St. John's may be a city, it has a small-town atmosphere with plenty of hospitality, yet it also provides access to Newfoundland's extraordinary wilderness. From cozy “kitchen parties” filled with traditional music and dancing, to the awe of watching whales spyhopping among icebergs, Newfoundland offers plenty of rugged charm.

5. Sample international cuisine in Toronto

A pretty street in Yorkville, Toronto.
Toronto's picturesque streets are a result of the city's preservation efforts.Photo Credit: JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock

A multicultural city with plenty to savor.

Toronto is more than just its famous tourist attractions like the CN Tower. It's one of the best cities to visit in Canada for foodies, a veritable paradise for shoppers and diners alike. Historic St. Lawrence Market is open every day of the week except Mondays, and is filled with specialty vendors and local produce stalls.

After stocking up on maple syrup to stuff into your luggage, head to Kensington Market and Chinatown. These adjoining neighborhoods are the perfect place to wander as you build up an appetite for lunch. If you’re in the mood for something extravagant, the Yorkville neighborhood is also known for its number of fine-dining experiences.

6. Take in Niagara Falls

Tourists get close to Niagara Falls.
Millions of visitors a year flock to see the natural wonder of Niagara Falls.Photo Credit: Lidiia Kozhevnikova / Shutterstock

People say the Canadian side has a better view, so don’t miss out.

For many Americans, deciding where to go in Canada for the first time is a fairly easy choice—you can walk right into the country via the Rainbow Bridge (with your passport in hand from the US Niagara Falls, to the Canadian Niagara Falls (yes, the share the same name). The natural wonder is a 2-hour drive from Toronto, and the Canadian side of this iconic attraction is not to be missed.

Some of the best things to do in Niagara Falls includes venturing into a cave behind the Falls to watch the awesome power of the water, while thrillseekers can opt for a zipline ride that takes you past the Falls for a one-of-a-kind view. To unwind after the excitement, explore Niagara’s wine country and sample some ice wine—Canada is the world’s largest producer of this unique dessert tipple.

7. Watch polar bears in Churchill

A polar bear in the snow in Churchill, Manitoba.
Wildlife watchers may be greeted by polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba.Photo Credit: Vaclav Sebek / Shutterstock

With bears, bird-watching, and northern lights, Churchill has it all.

Looking for cool places to visit in Canada? Just go north—it gets plenty cold up there! Northern Canada may be remote, but its beauty is undeniable. Head to Churchill, Manitoba on Hudson Bay to view the polar bears roaming the shores, and to watch belugas splash in the summer.

Make sure to learn about the history of the region, stretching back millennia—archeology in the area indicates human activity dating to 4,000 years ago, and today it is the traditional territory of the Inuit. For more history and culture about the area, visit the Itsanitaq Museum, where you can view carvings and artifacts that date from 1700 BC.