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Active Canada: outdoor adventures to try near you

East Block, Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan

Active Canada: outdoor adventures to try near you

Wherever you are in Canada, amazing adventures await in your own backyard. Whether you're enjoying the best surfing in Canada next to an old-growth cedar forest on Vancouver IslandExternal Link Title or playing golf on a panoramic riverside course in Newfoundland and LabradorExternal Link Title, it's rewarding to soak up Canada's natural splendor while actively exploring. Experiencing outdoor adventures-many only a short drive away-in this vast country of 9.8 million square kilometres makes for an ideal getaway.


From coast to coast to coast, here are some of the best outdoor adventures for active travellers to try on the water, on land and in the air this summer and fall.


On the Water


Kayaking: British Columbia

Kayaking British Columbia
Kayaking: British Columbia - credit: At the Water’s Edge Adventures

Marvel as a pod of northern resident orcas swims past your campsite along the Johnstone Strait at sunset. By day, gape as humpbacks spout nearby and a 300-kilogram sea lion dives underneath your kayak. These are among the thrilling encounters that await kayakers off British ColumbiaExternal Link Title's West Coast. Sea Kayak AdventuresExternal Link Title and At the Water's Edge AdventuresExternal Link Title offer customized tours of these pristine Pacific waters with guides, gear and gourmet meals.


Canoeing: Yukon

Canoeing Tagish Lake, Yukon
Canoeing Tagish Lake, Yukon - credit: Kyle Mulinder

Paddling down the calm Nisutlin River in the YukonExternal Link Title is one of the best canoe trips in Canada. Sightings of moose, bear and migratory birds enliven the experience amid the Pelly Mountains. Try a week-long canoe trip, suitable for all skill levels, from WhitehorseExternal Link Title with Ruby Range AdventureExternal Link Title. Up North AdventuresExternal Link Title encourages paddlers to fish for lake trout and Arctic grayling along the Nisutlin.


Fishing: Manitoba

Fishing in Manitoba
Fishing in Manitoba - credit: Travel Manitoba

ManitobaExternal Link Title's epic wilderness brims with authentic fishing lodges where you can reel in catches like trophy walleye and northern pike. By night, gaze up at the Northern Lights, which illuminate Manitoba's skies up to 300 nights a year.


Situated on the Winnipeg River, Eagle Nest LodgeExternal Link Title has welcomed seasoned and novice anglers for more than 50 years, and shore lunches prepared by your guides with freshly caught fish satisfy everyone. In Atikaki Provincial Wilderness ParkExternal Link Title, the fly-in Aikens Lake Wilderness LodgeExternal Link Title has handcrafted log cabins amid birch trees and ancient Indigenous petroglyphs.


Surfing: Various spots across the country

Surfing, Tofino, BC
West Coast Surfing Cox Bay, Tofino, BC - credit: Brian Caissie

Facing the open Pacific Ocean, surfing in TofinoExternal Link Title is as breathtaking as Canadian surfing gets. On the west coast of Vancouver IslandExternal Link Title, play in the whitewash at spectacular Cox Bay and enhance your surfing or stand-up paddleboarding skills with lessons from Surf SisterExternal Link Title or Tofino Surf AdventuresExternal Link Title.


In AlbertaExternal Link Title, the Mountain Wave at Lower Kananaskis River provides surfing thrills, while the 10th Street Wave in Calgary,External Link Title situated under the Louise Bridge, is a great introduction to river surfingExternal Link Title in a vibrant urban setting.


To surf indoors, visit the all-season Oasis Surf ParkExternal Link Title at MontrealExternal Link Title's DIX30 shopping centre. From surfing at Great LakesExternal Link Title playgrounds like Burlington Beach on Lake Ontario to hitting sandy Martinique Beach with Halifax Surf SchoolExternal Link Title in Nova ScotiaExternal Link Title, Eastern Canada burgeons with surfing choices.


Beach adventures: Prince Edward Island

Kiteboarding, Malpeque Bay, PEI
Kiteboarding, Malpeque Bay, PEI - credit: Tourism PEI/Yvonne Duivenvoorden

Water sports fans flock to windswept Cavendish Beach on Prince Edward IslandExternal Link Title, where dramatic sandstone cliffs and sand dunes meet coastal forests and wetlands. Try kiteboarding with PEI KiteboardingExternal Link Title, just steps from local seafood restaurants and the house that inspired L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green GablesExternal Link Title. For a more laid-back experience, stroll GreenwichExternal Link Title's white sand beaches, which offer supervised swimming, and check out the nearby trail system, including a wheelchair-accessibleExternal Link Title loop.


On the Land

Cycling Nova Scotia
Cycling Nova Scotia

Mountain biking: New Brunswick


In New BrunswickExternal Link Title, the world's highest tides bring outdoor enthusiasts to the Bay of Fundy. Fundy National ParkExternal Link Title-ranging from coastal vistas to mossy valleys-also delivers exhilarating mountain biking. Take an easy ride to MacLaren Pond to view beavers and frogs, or get your heart pumping on the 11.3-kilometre Goose River TrailExternal Link Title, which includes backcountry campsites. Rent bikes from Outdoor ElementsExternal Link Title at Chignecto South.


Bicycle touring: Nova Scotia


Cycling Nova Scotia's 298-kilometre-long Cabot Trail features stunning Atlantic Ocean panoramas, mountainous Acadian forest, salmon pools and moose as well as bald eagle sightings. To absorb the natural beauty of Cape Breton IslandExternal Link Title, bike the Cabot Trail on a multi-day tour with Freewheeling AdventuresExternal Link Title (electric bikes available).


Golfing: Newfoundland and Labrador

Humber Valley Golf Club, Newfoundland and Labrador
Humber Valley Golf Club - credit: Tourism Newfoundland and Labrador

With views of the 120-kilometre-long Humber River and the Long Range Mountains, Humber Valley ResortExternal Link Title is a magnificent spot for golfers to tee off in Western NewfoundlandExternal Link Title. Tranquil streams and ponds adorn the 18-hole championship course designed by Doug Carrick, regularly voted one of Canada's best golf courses. It's also a perfect launching pad to explore the rugged coastal terrain of Newfoundland and LabradorExternal Link Title's 489-kilometre Viking TrailExternal Link Title.


Hiking and backpacking: Various spots across the country

Hiking Virginia Falls, Nahanni National Park Reserve
Hiking Virginia Falls, Nahanni National Park Reserve

Hiking and backpacking amid Canada's glacier-carved mountains and vast plains is the perfect way to refresh your mind and body, and what follows are just a few of the amazing options.


In NunavutExternal Link Title, head to Auyuittuq National ParkExternal Link Title on eastern Baffin Island, featuring mighty glaciers and rivers. The 97-kilometre Akshayuk Pass includes traditional Inuit pathways and Mount Thor, a tooth-like granite peak that attracts climbers with the world's tallest vertical cliff face drop at 1,250 metres. Inukpak OutfittingExternal Link Title offers guided hiking expeditions in the park. (Note: As of August 2020,  Auyuittuq National ParkExternal Link Title is currently closed to those without hunting and gathering rights, meaning it is inaccessible to visitors at the moment. Add this spot to your bucket list for future travel!)


Millennia-old fossils, alpine meadows and animals varying from wolverines to Dall's sheep grace Nahanni National Park ReserveExternal Link Title in the Northwest TerritoriesExternal Link Title. The 30,000-square-kilometre traditional homeland of the Dene people features hikes such as Secret Lakes and Sunblood Mountain. Nahanni Heli AdventuresExternal Link Title offers heli-hiking tours for backcountry adventure, and Black FeatherExternal Link Title runs a Nahanni canoeing and hiking trip that includes Glacier Lake and the renowned Cirque of the UnclimbablesExternal Link Title. (Note: As of August 2020, locals can visit the park, while travellers coming to the Northwest Territories must undertake a mandatory 14-day self-isolation in Yellowknife, Inuvik, Hay River or Fort Smith.)


A surreal landscape of hoodoos and badlands attracts hikers to Alberta's Writing-on-Stone Provincial ParkExternal Link Title, known to the Blackfoot people as ??s?nai'pi. You can respectfully view close to 140 rock-art locations, including Indigenous petroglyphs and pictographs depicting spirits and battles, at this UNESCO World Heritage Site near Lethbridge. Interpretive walking toursExternal Link Title are available.


Just outside Val Marie, SaskatchewanExternal Link Title, Grasslands National ParkExternal Link Title has more than 700 square kilometres of unspoiled, diverse terrain to explore in the Frenchman River Valley. Wildlife lovers can spot plains bison and pronghorn antelope, while bird-watchers seek golden eagles and sharp-tailed grouse. Limitless star-gazing also awaits here in Canada's darkest Dark Sky PreserveExternal Link Title.


In the Air


Flightseeing: Ottawa

Biplane flights from the Canada Aviation and Space Museum
Biplane flights from the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Ottawa

The dream of soaring like a peregrine falcon becomes reality in OntarioExternal Link Title with a vintage 1930's biplane flightExternal Link Title, taking off from the Rockcliffe Flying Club beside the Canadian Aviation and Space MuseumExternal Link Title in OttawaExternal Link Title. The two-passenger experience in an open-cockpit biplane provides amazing photo opportunities over Gatineau ParkExternal Link Title and the Ottawa River.


Walking in the sky: Toronto

CN Tower EdgeWalk
CN Tower EdgeWalk

TorontoExternal Link Title's greatest daredevil thrill is arguably the EdgeWalk at the CN TowerExternal Link Title. The feeling of walking hands-free around a 1.5-metre outdoor ledge 116 storeys above downtown Toronto is hard to put into words. Safety harnesses even enable you to lean back over the edge toward Lake Ontario.


Ziplining: Quebec

Montreal Zip Line - credit: © Étienne Lechasseur
Montreal Zip Line - credit: © Étienne Lechasseur

QuebecExternal Link Title is a ziplining paradise. Outside Quebec CityExternal Link Title, whiz over the 83-metre-high waterfall at Parc de la Chute MontmorencyExternal Link Title, or zoom over a gorge at 50 kilometres per hour on a two-seater ziplineExternal Link Title at Canyon Sainte-Anne.


MontrealExternal Link Title adventure seekers relish the urban zipline over the Old Port of MontrealExternal Link Title. Meanwhile, in the Laurentian Mountains, Tyroparc in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts beckons with Quebec's longest and highest ziplinesExternal Link Title.


The options are never-ending for active Canadians.