It’s time to explore our own beautiful backyard!
As Canada’s typically chilly winter draws ever closer, you may be starting to consider travelling for a change of scenery. When planning a trip for the snowy season, we often tend to look outside of our country for inspiration. However, with travel restrictions to several popular destinations such as the United States and Europe currently in full force due to COVID-19, many Canadians will be searching for places to go within Canada’s borders for a winter staycation.
Fortunately, there are plenty of places we can go to for a cozy winter getaway in our country. Canada is a remarkable place full of populous, cosmopolitan cities, small, quaint towns, and boundless natural beauty to experience and explore. With all the options available to us, it can be hard to know which places are worth seeing, so we’ve compiled a list of winter destinations to visit in Canada to narrow it down and give you inspiration of where to go for the perfect staycation.
1. Banff National Park, Alberta
It would be hard to start this list with anything other than Canada’s oldest and most famous national park. Banff National Park in Alberta is truly the epitome of a winter wonderland. The park attracts millions of tourists from around the world for its scenic landscapes, diverse wildlife, and overall charming atmosphere. With iconic Rocky Mountain destinations such as Banff and Lake Louise and popular ski resorts such as Mount Norquay and Sunshine Village, there’ll be no shortage of things to do during your stay. The area may be a bit calmer this year due to the pandemic, so now could be a great time to go to avoid the usual crowds.
2. Columbia Valley, British Columbia
Located not too far from Banff National Park, the Columbia Valley in British Columbia makes another fantastic choice for a staycation primarily due to its several natural mineral hot springs in the middle of the mountains. You can use the charming town of Invermere as a base to visit Radium Hot Springs or Fairmont Hot Springs, two destinations where you can soak yourself in soothing hot thermal water while being surrounded by nothing but nature.
3. Churchill, Manitoba
When it comes to winter travel destinations, it doesn’t get much more quintessentially Canadian than the polar bear capital of the world: Churchill, Manitoba. In this northern city, you’ll be able to get a good taste of the arctic and have a high chance of spotting polar bears, beluga whales, and the breathtaking aurora borealis. Churchill is considered to be one of the best places on Earth to see these animals and the northern lights. If you want to fully experience Canada’s wild winter nature, this destination is for you.
4. Ottawa, Ontario
If you love to skate, you have to check out Ottawa’s Rideau Canal. Every winter, the 7.8 km long canal freezes over and becomes the world’s largest skating rink where you can skate with hundreds of others. There are also numerous museums and art galleries for visitors to explore in Canada’s capital city, and you could also time your trip for the Winterlude festival in February where you can see beautiful ice sculptures and play in a giant snow playground.
5. Quebec City, Quebec
If you want the sensation of going to Europe without having to leave the country, Quebec City is the go-to destination for that. The capital of Canada’s primarily French-speaking province is one of the oldest cities built by Europeans in North America, and its historic district is filled to the brim with picturesque cobblestone streets, fortified city walls, and European-style architecture. Quebec City also plays home to the world’s largest winter festival, the Carnaval du Québec, and the Hôtel de Glace, a hotel made of ice and snow (the only one of its kind in North America!).
6. Whistler, British Columbia
Winter sports fanatics around the world know of Whistler as one of the best destinations for alpine skiing and snowboarding. The popular BC resort town brings in millions of visitors per year for its magnificent mountain views and unique, laid back atmosphere. In addition, Whistler has the largest ski area in North America, making it the ultimate winter playground for lovers of adventure and the great outdoors. The village located at the base of the mountains features a pedestrian-only stroll for tourists to unwind and recharge from their daily activities.
7. Niagara Falls, Ontario
The Niagara Falls are a sight to behold in Canada, and that absolutely doesn’t change in the winter. The impressive power and natural beauty of this group of three waterfalls is captivating, and the area is lit up every winter to make the sight of them even more magical. While visiting, you could also check out the nearby Niagara-on-the-Lake, a cute 19th-century town often described as the prettiest in Ontario.
8. Vancouver, British Columbia
With its mild winter temperatures and generally lower levels of snowfall, Vancouver is easily a top retreat for those seeking to escape from Canada’s cold winter weather. Our iconic west coast metropolis is sandwiched between the mountains and the ocean, providing visitors with an abundance of ways to immerse themselves in nature. The city itself is extremely lively and developed, so there will be endless amounts of food and entertainment options during your stay.
[Featured Image: Ian Keefe on Unsplash]