Ultimate Canadian Bucket List for Adventure Travellers

Ultimate Canadian Bucket List for Adventure Travellers

I know, it’s weird for a Canadian to have a Canada bucket list. I’m from here, I should have seen it all, right?

Wrong!

Canada is HUGE. It’s literally the second largest country on the planet.

While I’ve explored a fair amount of it in my 24 years, I’ve yet to cross off many of my bucket list destinations in Canada.

My family was always good about exploring our home nation, even though we went abroad a lot. We went West to Alberta to live my dude ranch fantasy, soak in hot springs, and walk on a glacier. They took us north (-ish) in the summer to bask in Canada’s cottage country. We skated across Ottawa (literally), explored old Quebec, and buried our toes in the red sand of Prince Edward Island.

I moved East for university, to the booming (bad Halifax explosion joke) city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. From there I was able to dip my toes in the Atlantic Ocean (I do NOT recommend this. It’s freezing!), come far too close to a wild moose (moosette?) for my dad’s liking, and hike along our beautiful Atlantic Coast.

So you can see why I’d want to do more. Everything I’ve seen so far can be summed up in one word: stunning.

ultimate canadian bucket list for adventure travellers
Photo taken at the Toronto Lakeshore

Although most people want to visit Canada (literally everyone I’ve ever met on my travels), they have no idea where to start. Or they only know about Toronto and the CN Tower.

I don’t know if Canada is too polite to advertise how gorgeous our country is or what. So I’m going to do it for all of us here in the Great White North!

Like I said, I haven’t done all the things on this list. In fact, this is my personal Canadian bucket list for adventure travel – my favourite kind of travel. It features amazing experiences from around the country – even our very highest peak!

Read on to find out all of the things to do in Canada for adventure travellers.

Want your own copy of the bucket list? You’ll find my free Ultimate Canadian Bucket List download at the end of this post. Download it to check off adventures as you go!

 

Things to Do in Canada

Ultimate Canadian Bucket List for Adventure Travellers
Photo of the Trans-Canada highway from Unsplash

There are some must see things in Canada that aren’t location specific. I’ve broken them out so you can cross them off at any point during your Canadian bucket list adventure.

  • Watch Canada’s classic sports games: hockey and lacrosse
  • Eat your way through Canada’s delicacies (check out my Comprehensive Guide to Canadian Cuisine)
  • Spot the Canadian Big 5 in the wild: moose, a polar bears, beavers, beluga whales, and timber wolves (Note: this is my version of the African term. We don’t actually have a big 5 in Canada)
  • Learn about Canadian indigenous peoples’ history, culture, and current lifestyle
  • Drive the Trans-Canada Highway from Victoria, BC to St. John’s, Newfoundland
  • Camp in a national park
  • Go whale watching (at Vancouver Island, the Bay of Fundy, Tadoussac, the Yukon, or Manitoba)
  • See world’s largest unguarded border between Canada and the USA, where the no man’s land marks a clear divide between the trees

 

Nunavut Bucket List

I have always wanted to go to Nunavut. Ever since I had to colour in all those crazy tiny islands in geography class, I’ve been fascinated with the northern territory.

I was planning to do a road trip around the country this summer when I was hopeful that the COVID-19 pandemic would have chilled out. Obviously that’s not the case, and winter in the north sounds like a bit too much of an adventure for me right now. So I’ll have to wait to check Nunavut off my Canadian bucket list.

  • Dog sled in Nunavut
  • Stay north of the arctic circle at the Arctic Watch Lodge
  • Visit Canada’s most northern point at Ellesmere Island, one of the most remote places on Earth
  • Cruise to Baffin Island to see the Penny Ice Cap, a remnant from the last ice age, and scale Mount Thor
  • Take a guided tour of an ice floe in the Arctic Ocean
  • Snowshoe through nature trails

 

Northwest Territories Bucket List

Photo of Northern Lights in Canada from Unsplash

Unfortunately, most people don’t think to visit Canada’s north when they visit. But they’re missing out on some amazing experiences!

The Northwest Territories should definitely be on your Canadian must see list. The area offers

  • See the Northern Lights
  • Cruise the North West Passage like the explorers of old
  • Attend the Great Northern Arts Festival to celebrate the midnight sun with indigenous arts and food
  • Fly to visit Virginia Falls, twice the height of Niagara Falls
  • Visit a national park bigger than Switzerland that is home to Canadian salt plains at Wood Buffalo National Park
  • Fly to the Arctic wilderness of Aulavik National Park and traverse the Thompson River
  • Drive the world’s longest ice road
  • Paddle the Thelon River, the site of the annual caribou migration
  • See the smoking hills of Inuvik

 

Yukon Bucket List

Ultimate Canadian Bucket List for Adventure Travellers
Photo of Emerald Lake from Unsplash

I genuinely didn’t know the Yukon was a part of Canada for most of my childhood. I think it’s because of that old TV show Yvon of the Yukon, a Canadian cartoon. The show made it seem like it was in Siberia with how outlandish the people were.

I mean, yeah, it’s a cartoon, but it was seriously confusing!

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I’ve spent the last few years learning more about the Yukon, and boy is it outlandish! So maybe it wasn’t the show’s fault; I just didn’t realize Canada had any crazy in it (we’ll get to that more when we talk about Newfoundland).

  • Hike Canada’s Patagonia at Tombstone Territorial Park
  • Take a sour toe shot (this is VERY unlikely, but I’d like to at least see one)
  • Climb Mount Logan, Canada’s tallest mountain
  • Hike to the Emerald Lake for stunning views of the glacial crater
  • Join the Yukon Conservation Society on a free hike to learn more about the region
  • Visit an original mine from the gold rush
  • Whitewater kayak through the Five Finger Rapids

 

British Columbia Bucket List


There are so many things to do in BC that this list could go on forever.

BC is the top spot in Canada for adventure travellers. In the winter, people are drawn to the skiing. In the summer, they come for the beaches and hikes.

Personally, BC is at the top of my Canadian Bucket List for adventure travel. There’s just so much to do!

The first novel I wrote, back when I was 11, was set on an island off the coast of BC. I spent so many hours looking at photos of trees and shorelines that I started to forget I hadn’t actually been to Canada’s west coast.

  • Go skiing at Whistler
  • Drive the sea to sky highway between Vancouver and Whistler
  • Go salmon fishing for Canada’s famous chinook salmon
  • Visit the world’s only bathtub race in Nanaimo
  • Arrange a guided hike of Great Bear Rainforest to spot spirit bears
  • Try to surf in Tofino
  • Visit the spotted lake of Osoyoos
  • Bike through Okanagan wine country
  • Search for Ogopogo, Canada’s lake monster, at Okanagan Lake
  • Hike the Othello Tunnels, abandoned railway lines
  • Stay at Free Spirit Spheres and sleep in a suspended orb atop the forest
  • Hike the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island
  • Soak in the Lussier Hot Springs
  • Put those legs to work climbing “mother nature’s stair master” at the Grouse Grind
  • Test your nerves at the Capilano suspension bridge
  • Bike along the Stanley Park seawall
  • Visit Haida Gwaii, the Galapgos of Canada
  • Rock climb in the bugaboos

 

Alberta Bucket List

Photo of Jasper Dark Sky Reserve from Unsplash

Alberta was my favourite spot in Canada when I was growing up (probably because I was obsessed with horses and Heartland made it seem like a Western paradise).

My dad took my sister and me to a dude ranch that made me even more certain that this was what the province was like. It was only when we left and visited the hot springs in Banff and the glacier in Jasper that I realized it wasn’t all dirt and horses.

It’s an odd mix of Badlands, glacial lakes, Rocky Mountains, and cities. I’m much more of a nature person, so of course every adventurous thing to do in Alberta is on my Ultimate Canadian Bucket List.

  • Walk on the Athabasca glacier and drink real glacier water
  • Visit the Calgary stampede and stomp on your hat
  • Hike the skyline trail
  • Visit Canada’s Badlands and the dinosaur capital of the world at Drumheller
  • Take the Rocky Mountaineer through the Rockies to BC
  • Canoe on Lake Louise
  • Drive the Ice Fields Parkway from Jasper to Lake Louise
  • Visit Vulcan – just for fun!
  • See the first UFO landing pad in Canada in Saint Paul
  • Spot elk and cougars at Waterton Lakes
  • Hike to Six Glacier Tea House for a cuppa with a view
  • See every star in the sky at Jasper’s Dark Sky Festival
ultimate canadian bucket list for adventure travellers
Photo taken at the Toronto lakeshore
  • Tour the Maligne Canyon in winter to climb from the bottom up
  • Bike Kananaskis country for a tourist free adventure
  • Recreate the iconic Canadian photo of frozen bubbles under Lake Abraham’s icy surface
  • Soak in hot springs in the Canadian Rockies in Banff
  • Camp at Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park
  • Visit the historic Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, an Indigenous hunting ground
  • See Nose Hill Siksikaitsitapi Medicine Wheel, an Indigenous monument in the Calgary prairie
  • Scuba dive through Lake Minnewanka’s underwater ghost town

 

Saskatchewan Bucket List


Saskatchewan is the province I always forget. I know, that’s not nice to say.

Honestly, it doesn’t deserve to be forgotten. It’s got some pretty amazing things to do for your Canadian bucket list.

Did you know it has sand dunes? Or picturesque rivers?

I didn’t!

Until I started making my Canadian bucket list that is.

  • Visit the Athabasca sand dunes, the most northerly sand dunes in the world
  • Explore the history of Chinese immigrants and Prohibition in the underground tunnels at Moose Jaw
  • Canoe and camp along the North Saskatchewan River
  • Drive through Qu’Appelle Valley to see historic sites, beaches, and rolling fields.

 

Manitoba Bucket List


I need to go to Manitoba!!

About a decade ago I found out that polar bears are rampant in Manitoba, and I’ve wanted to go ever since.

Now, is that sensible? Probably not. I mean, they are home to the world’s only polar bear jail. So it’s not like they want the bears there.

I, however, desperately want to see a wild polar bear. I’d rather do this farther north where the polar bears aren’t slinking around the cities for food when the ice is too thin. (Yeah, that’s right, I slipped a climate change issue into this post!)

Manitoba has more than polar bears, but really polar bears alone are enough to give it a high spot on my Ultimate Canadian Bucket List.

  • Visit the Middle of Canada – denoted by a large sign
  • Snorkel with wild beluga whales in Manitoba
  • Spot polar bears on a trek from Churchill or have them swim over you at the Polar Bear Conservation Centre at Assiniboine Park
  • Float in Canada’s Dead Sea, Little Manitou or “Lake of Healing Waters” in Cree
  • Visit Little Limestone Lake repeatedly to see the world’s largest marl lake change colours
  • Walk along Canada’s longest suspension bridge, Souris Swinging Bridge
  • Wander through the controversial Canadian Museum for Human Rights

 

Ontario Bucket List


We’ve made it to my home province!

I was born and raised in Ontario until I took off to Italy at 16.

It hasn’t been “home” to me in a while, but it’s a part of me. It’s where my family still live and where I often find myself returning to visit.

Growing up, I thought Ontario was so boring. That’s probably because I thought it was just Toronto.

I’m not even sure if I realized that going “north” to cottage country was still in Ontario.

Since I’ve been grounded in Ontario with the pandemic, I’ve started looking into the province more.

There are so many more cool things than I expected.

I thought I would have done them all. I mean, I’ve visited the CN Tower, but most of these experiences on my Canadian Bucket List are new to me. Can’t wait until my 25th birthday this fall so I can finally rent a car and check them all out!

  • Skate on the world’s longest outdoor rink, the Rideau canal, in Ottawa
  • Howl at wolves on Thursday at Algonquin Park (it’s a thing!)
  • Visit the Canadian side of Niagara Falls
  • Zipline through Ouimet Canyon in Thunder Bay
  • Cruise the 1000 islands in Northern Ontario
  • Hike the Bruce Trail and visit the natural sea caves at the Bruce Peninsula Grotto
  • Stay in Canada’s cottage country in the Muskokas
  • Take the Agawa Canyon Train through the lakes of Sault Ste. Marie and the Canadian shield
ultimate canadian bucket list for adventure travellers
Photo of the Toronto lakeshore boardwalk
  • Visit the world’s largest freshwater island, Manitoulin Island
  • Hunt for waterfalls in Hamilton
  • Admire the rock formations of Flowerpot Island
  • Explore the Bonchere caves
  • Walk the world’s largest underground mall on the PATH
  • Bike along Toronto’s lakeshore
  • Take a walk on the wild side with the CN Tower Edge Walk

 

Quebec Bucket List


Quebec is the one part of Canada that kind of feels like Europe.

Maybe it’s all the croissants, or the old architecture of some cities.

I recommend visiting Quebec and venturing beyond Montreal. While it’s beautiful (but the worst city I’ve ever driven in), it barely scrapes the surface of what the province has to offer.

For those who don’t know, Quebec is French speaking. They do speak English for the most part, but by law place names must be in French.

I do not speak French.

That’s why a lot of the things to do in Quebec will probably have accent errors. Sorry French friends and family!

I’ve done my best to accurately spell everything on this Canadian bucket list, but some destinations may have gotten away from me.

  • Visit the oldest grocery store in Canada
  • Seal watch at the Magdalen Islands
  • Walk the European streets of Old Montreal
  • Climb Monmorency Falls in Quebec City
  • Ice canoe across the St. Lawrence
  • Learn how to make maple syrup at Cabane á Sucre
  • Stay in North America’s only ice hotel, Hôtel de Glace
  • Snowboard at Mont Tremblant
  • Climb the Via Ferrata Du Diable, a mountain at Mont Tremblant
  • Hike to see the Saguenay Fjord
  • Toboggan at 70km/hr at Au 1884, a 130-year old toboggan ride
  • Visit the purest freshwater lake on Earth at Pingualuit Crater Lake
  • Walk along the trails of the Mingan archipelago

 

New Brunswick Bucket List

New Brunswick is known as a drive-thru province. That’s because most people drive through it on their way from Nova Scotia to Quebec without stopping.

I never knew it that way.

A university boyfriend introduced me to the province when I went with him to meet his family.

We explored St. John, meandered to Moncton, and watching the tides vanish in the Bay of Fundy.

It was only later that people told me it’s a boring place.

Really? They’ve got some of the world’s highest tides and a magnetic hill!

  • Watch the amazingly high tides of the Bay of Fundy at Hopewell Rocks
  • Visit the Reversing Falls, where the tides make it look like the river is flowing backwards
  • Climb Mount Carleton, the tallest mountain in the Maritimes
  • Spot puffins along the Bay of Fundy
  • Drive up (or down) magnetic hill to witness the natural optical illusion
  • Witness the effects of the Bay’s tides at the St. Martin Sea Caves

 

Newfoundland and Labrador Bucket List


Newfies are crazy. (I told you I’d get to it!)

Every Newfie I’ve ever met has been absolutely bonkers in the best way possible.

They’re a fun, heavy-accented people that feel everything very deeply.

Now, Newfies aren’t very well known globally. The musical “Come From Away” is helping explain some of their eccentricities to the world. In their opening song, they note that most people can’t understand them.

That’s 100% true.

Newfies have the strongest accent of all Canadians. And they talk a lot, regardless of whether or not you understood what they said.

That being said, I think they’re some of the sweetest people. They deal with ice bergs and storms on a nearly daily basis. And yet they’re still warm and compassionate.

I’m not even warm on a sunny day! (Or so the Toronto stereotype goes.)

  • Get screeched in
  • Kayak through Iceberg Alley
  • Hike the Gros Morne’s tablelands
  • See the caribou migration by plane
  • Venture to the easternmost point of Canada at Cape Spear
  • Fish like a real fisherman at Battle Harbour
  • Visit Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, a French archipelago in Canada
  • Visit the only Viking settlement in Canada at L’Anse aux Meadows

 

Nova Scotia Bucket List


I lived in Nova Scotia for four years while I did my undergrad. For a long time, I thought I’d never leave. Something about the close proximity to the ocean and the way everyone says good morning to each other was just so appealing.

Also, the seafood is fantastic.

I ended up moving on when I couldn’t get a job and took 8 months to travel Europe.

Then, it became harder to go back. That part of my life was over, even if there were so many things I’d still yet to see.

There’s still so much on my Canadian Bucket List from Nova Scotia. So I’ll go back one day and do it properly, but I no longer feel like it’s where I’m meant to be.

  • Drive along the Cabot Trail to hike excellent treks through Cape Breton
  • Visit Joggins Fossil Caves to search for your own fossils
  • Take a trip to Sable Islands and spot the wild horses
  • Kayak around Mahone Bay’s islands
  • Learn about Canadian immigration history at Pier 21
  • Walk through Fairview Lawn Cemetery, the final resting place of most of the Titanic victims
  • Search for the mysterious money pit on Oak Island

 

Prince Edward Island Bucket List


I like to joke to my friend (who’s from PEI) that the island is so small you could fall off it if you take more than ten steps.

That’s not true, but you can bike the length of it in a day.

PEI is the smallest province in Canada. Oddly, it’s one of the better-known places. I think that’s thanks to the Netflix show “Anne with an E” reviving the Anne of Green Gables tale.

Although my friend constantly told me there’s nothing to do in PEI, the number of things on my Canadian bucket list says otherwise!

  • Visit the red sand beaches
  • Walk or bike the Confederation Trail that run the length of PEI
  • Visit the birthplace of Anne of Green Gables
  • Climb Canada’s oldest lighthouse at Point Prim
  • Explore the Greenwich sand dunes

 

Ultimate Canadian Bucket List Wrap Up

ultimate canadian bucket list for adventure travellers
Photo from Unsplash

As you can see, there are a million things to do in Canada. It’s no wonder this bucket list is so long!

I don’t believe it’s possible to check off every bucket list destination in Canada on one trip – unless you’re a digital nomad, that is.

If you’re not, try to tackle them by region. Like I said at the beginning, Canada is huge. Getting from province to province can take a lot of time. Just driving from Toronto to Ottawa takes 5 hours, and they’re right next to each other!

Following this list will lead to the ultimate Canadian experience. You’ll probably be more Canadian than most Canadians are by the end of it!

Canada is a really underrated place for adventure travel.

Take advantage of that and complete the ultimate Canadian bucket list before the other travellers flood in!

 

That was a lot to take in, right? Wouldn’t it be handy to have your own copy of all the incredible things to do in Canada?

Now you can!

Get your free copy of my Ultimate Canadian Bucket List for Adventure Travellers, complete with check boxes so you can keep track along the way.

ultimate canadian bucket list for adventure travellers

 

Have you completed any of the Ultimate Canadian Bucket List of Adventure Travellers yet? What are you most excited to check off?



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