10 Great Canadian Outdoor Summer Adventures

Tired of hearing about staycations and other frugal ways to travel?  Want to experience something truly amazing that you’ve only read about or seen on television?  Not to worry, there’s still plenty of time to plan your very own epic Canadian adventure this summer.

Here is a list of 10 great Canadian outdoor summer adventures to try:

Summer, Yukon Style

Canoe in moose country, sink into a wilderness hot spring, and drive across the Arctic Circle beneath the midnight sun.

  • Swing on a suspension bridge above a wild river.
  • Hike and golf under the midnight sun.
  • Watch bears fish for migrating salmon.
  • Share traditional dried whitefish smoked in a teepee by native Gwich’in.
  • Find treasure at the bottom of your gold pan near Dawson City.
  • Learn about the strange things done under the midnight sun.

Pacific Storm Watching in Tofino

Watch the perfect storm from your luxury hotel on Vancouver Island’s remote west coast, then venture out to experience it.

  • Relax in your cushy suite while sipping award-winning BC wine.
  • Read a book by the fire while the storm rages outside.
  • Receive a healing Kahi Loa or Lomilomi treatment at Ancient Cedars Spa.
  • Eat seasonal, local dishes such as pan-roasted Qualicum scallops or Tofino Dungeness crab.
  • Learn to surf.
  • Kayak in the sheltered Tofino Inlet.
  • Explore the nearby towns of Tofino and Ucluelet.

Dinosaurs in Drumheller

Experience a dinosaur dig, explore the natural spectacle of Alberta’s badlands, examine the fossilized world of the Royal Tyrrell Museum

  • Take a self-guided tour along the Hoodoo Trail.
  • Stand inside the world’s largest dinosaur.
  • Take home some local art by a Badlands artist.
  • Head out with the experts and do some digging for fossils.
  • Explore the Badlands by car.

Kayaking Northern Saskatchewan

Journey through a little-known wilderness of 100,000 lakes and rivers in the comfort of a kayak or canoe.

  • Paddle back into the history of Canada along the Churchill River.
  • See an untouched, unchanged wilderness of 100,000 lakes.
  • Catch walleye, trout, and pike and dine by firelight.
  • Portage over to Canada’s premier boreal forest wilderness lodge.
  • Learn to run rapids on the Churchill River.
  • Paddles in the path of voyageurs along the Fond du lac River.

Bird, Bears and Belugas in Churchill

The Birds, Bears and Belugas adventure in summer combines the thrill of seeing and hearing beluga whales with summer polar bear viewing and more.

  • Watch polar bears playing around.
  • Pick tundra blueberries.
  • Get up close and personal with a beluga.
  • Walk among the cloudberries.
  • Stay in comfort near Churchill, MB.

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Dodge a giant whirlpool, get drenched under a thundering waterfall, sip chardonnay at its source, and be inspired by water.

  • Get misty-eyed and ‘explore the roar’ of the falls on a boat tour.
  • Catch the Bike Train and cycle in the Niagara region.
  • Get in touch with your inner child at the Fallsview Indoor Water Park.
  • Cycle, jog or rollerblade along the Niagara Parkway.
  • Sip celebrity wines from the wineries of Dan Akroyd, Wayne Gretzky or Mike Weir.
  • Dine local along the Niagara Culinary Trail.
  • Go below and behind the falls.
  • Take in a concert; throw some dice.
  • Bed down in a Victorian inn or a luxury boutique hotel.
  • Get married.

Whale Watching in Tadoussac

Experience the majesty and thrill of whale-watching while exploring a charming and historic french-Canadian town.

  • Spend the night in a historic landmark hotel; watch minke whales from the window of your hotel room.
  • Follow the tracks of real adventurers on a zodiac tour.
  • Discover why Tadoussac Bay is a member of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World.

The World’s Highest Tides, New Brunswick

Walk on the ocean floor, raft a tidal bore, watch whales frolic, cycle the seashore, picnic on local seafood and go with the ebb and flow.

  • Go tidal-bore rafting.
  • Take a roller-coaster road trip along the Fundy coast.
  • Check out life in the intertidal zone.
  • Cycle the seashore.
  • See water flowing backwards up the falls.
  • Forage for fossils and visit Joggins Fossil Cliffs, a new UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Stroll among “flowerpot rocks.”
  • Tee off, then check into a classic, Tudor-style manor.
  • Watch the highest tides in the world.

Tall Ship Maritime Voyage

Voyage by Tall Ship through historic waterways, try hands-on sailing, explore rugged coastlines and delight in Maritimes culture and cuisine.

  • Sail down the St. Lawrence River and spot fin, humpback, minke, beluga and blue whales, as well as porpoises and seals.
  • Explore the cliffs, capes and 200-ft sand dunes of the Saguenay Fjord.
  • Savor local live entertainment, wine and heritage.
  • Dine gourmet-style on the region’s seafood bounty.

Arctic Caribou Migration, Nunavut

Drift down an Arctic River, watch a wave of caribou surging across the barrenlands, camp under the midnight sun.

  • Choose a once-in-a-lifetime rafting adventure that has you crossing the Arctic Circle.
  • While on a canoe trip, hike to an ancient Inuit campsite with tent rings and artifacts.
  • Spot mossy caribou antlers lying on an ankle-deep bonsai tundra forest at Kathawachaga Lake.
  • View migrating caribou, wolves, muskoxen, grizzlies, plus nesting peregrines and gyrfalcons.
  • Look forward to your first hot shower in two weeks at Bathurst Inlet Lodge.

So quit complaining about those high gas prices, get up off your couch and enjoy one of these great Canadian outdoor summer adventures this year.  Don’t let your frugal ways stop you from enjoying the kind of experience you will remember for the rest of your life.

Readers, what are some other great Canadian outdoor summer adventures that you’ve experienced or have always wanted to experience?

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  1. Richard on July 26, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Great tips! I was just in Niagara this past weekend with my wife and in-laws and I really like the drive on Niagara Parkway to Niagara on the Lake. Highly recommend!

    • Echo on July 26, 2011 at 10:58 am

      Thanks Richard, one of my travel goals is to experience Niagara Falls.

  2. Kristina on July 26, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Newfoundland – I drove east a few years ago (I’m a westerner) and spent a week there. I had lots of comments about ‘didn’t people go west, not east?’

    -Western Brook Pond Boat Tour
    -Hike Gros Morne and discover geological wonders!
    -Visit the UNESCO world historic site Viking settlement at L’Anse Aux Meadows
    -Iceberg, Whale & Moose Watching
    -Tour Quidi Vidi Brewery, and walk around old St. John’s, visit signal hill, and the most eastern point in North America.

    It was awesome (even the cod tongues!)

    • Echo on July 28, 2011 at 8:54 am

      I’m from Alberta and I’ve been to Fredericton, Quebec City, and Ottawa and they were all beautiful. I love the rich history in those cities, which don’t really exist out West.

  3. My Own Advisor on July 27, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Fun post, great ideas 🙂

  4. FrugalGremlin on July 31, 2011 at 11:12 am

    A good list to choose from! I would choose these vacations any day over sitting on a caribbean resort. I hope to get around to some of these in the near future. Im from southern Ontario so I do a few trips a year to Provincial parks (mainly Algononqion also Killarney) with the boys. Usually only costs $200 and we always have a great time. I find if I spend a lot on vacations I just worry about whether Im having enough fun to justify the cost

  5. Mental Mosaic on August 3, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    You list a lot of fun-sounding ideas, but in the midst of this Texas heat wave, the most appealing idea regarding a trip to Canada at the moment is that it would surely be much cooler than the 110 degree day I am sweating through down here!

    Thanks again for contributing this post to the Traveler’s Show & Tell blog carnival over at Mental Mosaic. Hope to see you there again! 🙂


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