Skip to main content

5 unexpected parks to visit this summer

Grasslands National Park

5 unexpected parks to visit this summer

Ah, summer. It’s (arguably) the best time to be outside. The weather is great, you’re on vacation and the parks are lush. Though we like our parks in every season, it’s especially lovely to spend a day laid out in the sun after hiking through the woods to a spectacular viewpoint. Here’s where to do just that in Canada’s National Parks.



Prince Edward Island: Prince Edward Island National Park

Prince Edward Island National Park
Prince Edward Island National Park extends over 40 kilometres of breathtaking coastline. Its ecosystem is home to over 400 species of plants and 300 wildlife species. Photo credit: Kyle-Mulinder

Prince Edward Island, on Canada's East Coast, is full of natural wonder. And this parkExternal Link Title along the island's north shore is no exception. Witness red sand beaches along the Gulf of St. Lawrence, or head inland to discover salt marshes. Popular here is kayakingExternal Link Title, picnickingExternal Link Title and bird watching. In fact, the park has beaches that are protected in order to preserve the endangered bird, the piping plover. With so many birds calling this park home, it's been designated as an Important Bird AreaExternal Link Title in Canada. Come for the birds, stay for the sand dunes, golfing, hiking and fishingExternal Link Title. This park really has it all.

Yukon: Ivvavik National Park

Ivvavik National Park
Photo credit: Parks Canada

Ivvavik National ParkExternal Link Title is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. In this Arctic national park, you'll come across cultural sites dating back over 9,000 years, abundant wildlife (Ivvavik means "a place for giving birth, a nursery" in the language of the Inuvialuit) and pristine wilderness that sees only a few lucky visitors each year. One of the best ways to experience this park is on a multi-day rafting tripExternal Link Title (no experience required) down the Firth River. With 24 hours of daylight in summertimeExternal Link Title, this paddling trip offers plenty of opportunities for hiking and fishing while taking in this land of contrast, from rugged mountain peaks to the vast tundra and ice-filled seas.The park bordered by the Arctic Ocean at the northern tip of the Yukon is accessible by chartered plane from InnuvikExternal Link Title, via Edmonton, WhitehorseExternal Link Title, YellowknifeExternal Link Title.

Saskatchewan: Grasslands National Park

Grasslands National Park
Grasslands National Park is the only national park in all of Canada that protects the mixed-grass prairie ecosystem. Photo credit: Tourism Saskatchewan/Chris Hendrickson Photography

Head to Grasslands National ParkExternal Link Title and experience the living skies of Saskatchewan. This park boasts wide-open plains that dance with the wind. And at night, it's just as magical. The sky lights up underneath thousands of dazzling starsExternal Link Title of the darkest Dark Sky Preserve in CanadaExternal Link Title. Besides the quintessential backpacking, birding, camping, hiking and horseback riding, Grasslands National Park is known for its geology and historyExternal Link Title, too.

Nova Scotia: Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site

For generations, families have been paddling, hiking, camping and connecting with nature and Mi’kmaw culture at Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site. Photo credit: Tourism Nova Scotia/Patrick Rojo

This parkExternal Link Title is a tradition for those who call Nova Scotia home. Why you ask? Because of its incredible beauty and expansive landscapes that are perfect for all types of activities--from paddlingExternal Link Title to hikingExternal Link Title. Besides the classic outdoor adventures, "Keji", as it's known by locals, is also home to some very important history. Throughout the park, you'll find petroglyphsExternal Link Title (or rock engravings), traditional encampment areas and the canoe routes forged by the the Mi'kmaw First Nations peoples. Get to know the land and the history by biking, fishing, exploring the beach or joining a guided Voyageur canoe journeyExternal Link Title.

British Columbia: Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve 

Credit: Parks Canada

Approximately 60 miles off the northern coast of British Columbia, you'll find the Gwaii Haanas National Park ReserveExternal Link Title. The reserve -- which covers close to 579 mi2 of land -- hosts a diversity of wildlife, from bald eagles to bears and breaching whales. Besides wildlife viewing, there are an array of activities, including peaceful kayak tripsExternal Link Title, hikesExternal Link Title through the temperate rainforest and the chance to be immersed in the cultureExternal Link Title of the Haida First Nations.


Canada is home to 48 national parksExternal Link Title, and these are just a few of our favorites. Perfect to explore in all seasons, find more outdoor inspiration on Parks Canada's website.