Want to have the best summer ever? Here's how


Fly high with a friend

If you'd like to try flying on the wild side, then head for Golden, B.C. Canadian Rockies Heli-Paragliding is pioneering the use of helicopters to reach remote launch sites for tandem paraglide flights. The day-long experience includes pre-flight training, a heli-lift to one of four nearby summits, a short alpine hike and then a long flight down to the valley below, with a pilot who will keep you in the air and away from trouble. (On demand; $525; heliparagliding.com)

See the biggest caribou herd

Humans have travelled to Nunavut's Kazan River to visit the Beverly caribou for 8,000 years. But while Inuit and Dene hunters came to harvest the animals, today's canoe trippers come just to marvel-at 300,000 caribou, the Beverly herd is considered the largest on earth. Wanapitei's 12-day canoe trip down the lower Kazan-a Canadian Heritage River-offers excellent chances of seeing the caribou and also grizzly bears, muskox, wolves and falcons. The paddling is a mix of flat and moving water, up to Class II. (August 3 to 15; $5,500; wanapiteicanoe.com)

Go on a pilgrimage

Like Spain's famous Santiago de Compostela, Quebec's Sentier Kapatakan is one part spiritual trail and one part sweat trail. The 215-kilometre route follows trails, bike paths and country roads across the Saguenay region, from Rivière Éternité to the St-Antoine Ermitage. Broken into 12 sections, from six to 35 kilometres in length, each day includes numerous holy sites, none more spectacular than the Notre-Dame-du-Saguenay, a statue of the Virgin Mary overlooking the Saguenay Fjord. (ville.saguenay.qc.ca)

Sea kayak the Cabot Trail

While the crowds are driving around Cape Breton's famous Cabot Trail, you can experience the same landscape up close and personal in a sea kayak. On Rising Tide Expeditions' five-day Highlands Heart trip, you'll paddle along the remote, exposed coastline on the northwest tip of the island. In addition to the incredible coastal features-500-foot cliffs, sea caves and arches-there are beautiful campsites at Pollett's Cove, where three rivers meet, and Cape St. Lawrence, with 180 degree views of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. (Various dates; $1,025; risingtideexpeditions.ca)

Party with the stars

Sagittarius's bright stellar nurseries and the always impressive Jupiter will be highlights of the largest star-gazing event in Nova Scotia this year. The Nova East Star Party at Smiley's Provincial Park includes three nights of open telescope time for the public, sun viewing during the day, workshops and also non-astronomy talks on subjects such as the inner workings of rainbows. Interesting. Camping is on-site. (September 3 to 5; halifax.rasc.ca/ne)

See orcas out east

It's true that most people think B.C. when they think orcas, but it is possible to see killer whales on the East Coast as well. And one of the best places is the ocean near Battle Harbour, Labrador. On Wildland Tours' 10-day Southern Labrador Adventure, you'll spend several days searching for orcas and other whales, and you'll also explore abandoned communities along the Labrador Coast. (August 28 to September 6; $4,790; wildlands.com)

Do the Tong & Shuck

PEI's Malpeque Bay is home to what many consider the best-tasting oysters in the world. And there's no better way to appreciate this natural bounty than to take part in the  traditional harvest. On the Tong & Shuck daytrip from Experience PEI, you'll learn the delicate technique of raking and plucking the oysters from the bottom, and the subtle art of shucking them clean of their shells. Then it's time for the delicious slurp. (Weekdays at high tide; $85; experiencepei.ca)

Race against the clock

Ontario's RockstAR Adventure Race begins normally enough with a marked, 25-kilometre mountain-bike course. Then things go a little crazy. During the remaining unmarked trekking and paddling portions of the race, the two- or three-person teams have to find as many checkpoints as they can. The team with the most checkpoints wins. The race offers two different lengths-four or eight hours-and a new figure-eight course at the Bark Lake Leadership Centre in the Haliburton Highlands. (July 24; from $105; racetherockstar.com)

Spot one of Canada's rarest animals

Last fall, 34 black-footed ferrets were reintroduced to Saskatchewan's Grasslands National Park, making it the first time these animals have roamed the Canadian prairie since 1937. The ferrets join a 150-strong herd of plains bison-reintroduced in 2006-in addition to pronghorn antelope, burrowing owls, eastern short-horned lizards and other prairie wildlife. The best way of spotting the ferrets is to hike randomly through the natural grassland; this is one national park where off-trail hiking is encouraged. (pc.gc.ca)

Camp without the fuss

Imagine going camping without the prep or clean up. That's what's on offer at Ontario's Georgian Bay Islands National Park this summer. You bring the food and sleeping bags, and the park takes care of the rest-including a canoe, boat shuttles from Honey Harbour to the Beausoleil Island campground, and even dinner on the first night. From the pimped-out base camp, a guide is also available to lead day hikes or canoe trips, at no extra charge. (Various dates; $300 for two adults; pc.gc.ca)