Let's celebrate Canada's 150th birthday the BEST way—by going outside and having a real adventure.
Are you looking for unique and wild experiences you can only have in Canada?
Here are 10 essential adventures—an must-do list for all adventurous Canadians! (And travellers too!)
PLUS: Scroll to the bottom for access to 150 amazing adventures!
Here they are, starting in the West:
1. Surf a West Coast Wave in British Columbia
Tofino is Canada’s quintessential surf town—reliable waves, sandy beaches, waterfront cabins and a famously laidback vibe. All of this comes with a hippie-dippy West Coast twist, of course. With eight surf schools in-town, it’s the best place in the country to learn to ride a wave. Chesterman and Long beaches are good bets for beginners. More advanced folks might head to Cox Bay. And real rippers can follow locals to remote breaks in the north where winter swells can reach six metres or more. (But don’t worry, you can surf knee-high waves all summer long too.)
2. Hunt for Dinosaurs in Alberta
Travel Alberta/George Simhoni
Step back in time—way back in time—at Dinosaur Provincial Park, in southeastern Alberta. Located near the town of Brooks, this arid paleontological mecca contains the world’s richest cache of dinosaur bones. And you can find them! Wander the easy Badlands Trail or Trail of the Fossil Hunters for a solid introduction to not only the otherworldly landscape but the Thunder Lizards that once called this place home. Guided tours and fossil digs run throughout the year; RV or tent camping is available, or reserve the onsite “comfort camping” wall tent.
3. Trek the Grasslands in Saskatchewan
Grasslands National Park—Canada’s only national prairie park—is a throwback to the turn-of-the-last-century, when native grasses like gamma, spear and fescue covered the prairies and bison roamed freely. The most accessible front-country hiking is found in the West Block of the park, with 70 Mile Butte being a favourite. A surprisingly challenging hike, this trail passes cacti and buffalo berry and offers sightings of roaming bison herds and bounding pronghorn antelope as well as dive-bombing and peregrine falcons and other birdlife. Look for centuries-old tipi rings; there are some 12,000 in the park.
4. Swim with Belugas in Manitoba
Everybody goes to Churchill for the polar bears. But those in the know understand there is another elusive white mammal that is just as fascinating. Head to Hudson Bay in summer and you’ll stand an excellent chance of spotting wild beluga whales in the icy water. Wait—you won’t just spot them. Don a dry suit and jump in the water. You’re going snorkelling with these sociable marine creatures—and don’t be surprised if they swim in for a kiss.
5. Explore Temagami’s Wilderness in Ontario
Ontario’s Temagami Region is rife with wilderness canoeing. How does one even decide on a park, let alone a route? Here are four to get you started: Marten River Waterway (Marten River Provincial Park) is a paddle-route that snakes through old-growth pine forest, yet is accessible from the Trans Canada Highway. Lady Evelyn River (Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Provincial Park) is a wilderness river with some great early-season whitewater; access is fly-in or via portage route. Maple Mountain Route (Obabika River Provincial Park) is a portage route through a chain of small lakes between Maple Mountain and Montréal River. And Lake Temagami (Finlayson Point Provincial Park) offers thousands of kilometres of shoreline to explore, along with scenic day-hikes on High Rock Island and Ferguson Mountain.
6. Rock-On at Mingan Archipelago in Quebec
Parks Canada/La Jeunesse
Set remotely on Quebec’s Lower North Shore, Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve is a feast for the eyes and a less-visited outdoor recreation hot spot. For starters, this chain of more than 1,000 rocky islets rims the Gulf of St. Lawrence and features Dr. Seuss-like wave sculpted granite and limestone formations galore. Walk the beaches—it’s a selfie mecca. Above, the sky is rife with seabirds. In the distance, whales breach. Perhaps later you’ll paddle a kayak through the biodiverse waters, finishing with a night in a comfy oTENTik.
7. Canoe with the Seals in New Brunswick
Parks Canada/Chris Reardon
Kouchibouguac National Park, on New Brunswick’s Acadian Coast, is home to lush mixed-wood forests, colourful salt marshes and warm ocean waters. You’re here for the latter, and the Voyageur Canoe Experience is the best way to explore these environs. Paddle inshore waters in a replica Voyageur Canoe as your interpreter-guide illuminates the region’s Mi’kmaq and Acadian heritage. The day’s highlight comes when you reach a 25-kilometre-long stretch of golden sand dunes—home to a bustling colony of grey seals, numbering in the hundreds and reaching sizes of more than 450 kilograms.
8. Cycle the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia’s scenic Cabot Trail is a road ideal for a self-propelled pace. So grab your bike and set out on a six-day cycle tour through this diverse and culturally rich landscape—with a support vehicle packing your gear. Experience a dramatic coastal environment, which is particularly stunning in autumn; engage with vibrant Acadian culture. Hike secluded trails in a national park. View spouting whales and soaring eagles; golf at an oceanside course. Travel at a slower pace and connect with your environment in Canada’s Maritimes.
9. See the "New Land" in Newfoundland & Labrador
Located just an hour from the town of Gander, Terra Nova National Park offers 400-square-kilometres of pristine landscape where ocean collides with boreal forests, ancient rocks fascinate with geological secrets and lumbering moose roam the marshlands. Enjoy the best vista of all from atop Ochre hill, a 215-metre hump of rock that overlooks sinewy fiords, dense woodland, vast bogs and glacier-scarred rock. Watch for moose, marten and eagles. Take in the province’s best sunset. Be present and in the moment in Terra Nova—the New Land.
10. Paddle the Nahanni in the Northwest Territories
Paddling expeditions remain the premier reasons visitors make the trek north of 60 into Nahʔą Dehé (Nahanni National Park Reserve)—particularly the famed trips on the South Nahanni River. Usually starting at Gahnįhthah Mįe (Rabbitkettle Lake), paddlers of a variety of skill levels can set out on weeklong (or longer) itineraries along the same watercourses travelled by First Nations for thousands of years—and later made famous by folks such as Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Bill Mason. Canadian River Expeditions, Black Feather and Nahanni Wild offer summer-season guided trips ranging from a week to 21 days or more.
Discover MORE Adventures!
These 10 adventures are just the start.
Discover these, plus 140 MORE amazing outdoor adventures in our brand-new, totally free e-book: CANADA'S 150 MOST AMAZING OUTDOOR ADVENTURES.