No trip to Canada is complete without exploring some of the country’s stunning wilderness. The best national parks to visit in Canada offer unparalleled views of unspoiled scenery and wildlife. Plus, they’re one of the least expensive attractions in the country, giving you an easy way to stretch your budget without sacrificing the experience.
Take a trip to these 11 best national parks in Canada and get inspired by this country’s majestic outdoor wonderland!
#1 – Banff National Park, Alberta
Located in the Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park remains one the country’s most popular year-round travel destinations. Lake Louise is the park’s crowning jewel, offering opportunities for swimming, paddling, and fishing when temperatures permit. It’s also one of Canada’s top honeymoon destinations, with restaurants, breweries, and additional lodging in the nearby city of Banff.
#2 – Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, British Columbia
One of the most iconic national parks in Vancouver, Canada, the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is an outdoor lover’s dream come true. Hiking trails abound, as do unspoiled shorelines and calm waters for kayaking and canoeing. Take a waterside hike, and you’re likely to spot humpback whales – a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many travelers.
#3 – Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia
The landscape here is unlike anything else you’ll see in Canada. A mix of elevated plateaus, deep forests, and river canyons, the area has been touted as the place “where mountains meet the sea.” The park is home to bald eagles, minke whales, moose, and endangered lynx, and it’s hard not to spot them when you visit. Hikers will want to take the famous Cabot Trail that leads to panoramas of the varied landscape.
#4 – Jasper National Park, Alberta
Tucked in the eastern side of the Rockies, Jasper National Park is the ideal balance of primitive surroundings and nearby conveniences. Its trail system attracts hikers and bikers of all skill levels, particularly those who want to spot some wildlife like bears, elk, bighorn sheep, and caribou. The park is a named Dark Sky Preserve, so bring your telescope and enjoy your nights observing the sky and stars.
#5 – Fundy National Park, New Brunswick
Bathed in Acadian forests and surrounding the Bay of Fundy, this breathtaking park is rich in natural wonders. Sandstone cliffs, turquoise waters, and wide beaches offer something for every outdoorsman. This national park is home to the world’s highest tides – when waters recede, visitors can embark on a treasure hunt to uncover interesting debris and tiny marine life.
#6 – Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, British Columbia
This remote national reserve takes a little work to get to, but the scenes and adventures that await you make the journey all the more rewarding. Located on Graham Island off the western coast and north of Vancouver, Canada, visitors are greeted by moss-covered forests that look straight out of a fairytale.
There are no marked trails or modern lodging here. Everything is done “the old-fashioned way” with maps and compasses, so make sure you feel confident in your navigation abilities before you embark on your adventure.
Because of this national park’s remote location, it might be in your best interest to look into IEC insurance in case of a medical emergency.
#7 – Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan
The flat prairie landscape here is in stark contrast to most of the other national parks in Canada, but that’s exactly what makes it one of the best national parks to visit in the country. Rolling hills make for easy hikes, while lakes are perfect for watersports. If you visit during the summer, you can join the park’s cowboys and watch as they round up the buffalo that call this park home.
#8 – Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
The second largest national park in Canada, this natural wonder is one of the country’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Sparkling fjords, beaches, waterfalls, shorelines, and wildlife will surround you. Geology enthusiasts should visit the Tablelands, which are known as one of the best places in the world to find rare rocks and view a rich carved landscape full of millions of years of history.
#9 – Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba
Located in the Manitoba Escarpment, travelers flock to this national park for hiking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and biking on its sizeable trail system. Look closely and you might see the likes of moose, elk, bears, bison, and wolves, along with myriad bird species. The nearby town of Wasagaming offers shops, restaurants, and other attractions to give you the best of natural and modern living.
#10 – Wapusk National Park, Manitoba
The name of this park translates to “white bear,” so it’s no surprise that the park is home to a sizeable polar bear population. There’s no trail system or roads to reach the park, which means you’ll need to partner with a helicopter tour company to explore it. Late February and early March are the best times to visit this frozen tundra and see the polar bears play.
#11 – Yoho National Park, British Columbia
To the west of the Rockies lies Yoho National Park, one of the country’s top hiking destinations. Stunning waterfalls, deep lakes, and years of landscaping from ice and water decorate the scene. Take a guided tour to explore some of the world’s earliest fossils and marvel at the park’s pristine glaciers.
Take Advantage of the Best National Parks to Visit in Canada
This isn’t a complete list of all of the best national parks to visit in Canada, but it should give you plenty of inspiration to start planning your journey. Each national park in Canada offers something different, and you may skip the big cities altogether in favor of spending more one-on-one time with nature.
Have you visited any other national parks that aren’t listed here? Let me know in the comments below with your amazing experience!