If you don’t live near the border, you might never think of Canada as a place worthy of spending your summer vacation. Maybe you have aspirations to backpack across Europe, taking in the beauty of the French countryside and the numerous castles and historic sites. But a ticket to Europe (unless you get lucky with a sale) can be pretty pricey. So why not consider our friendly neighbors to the north instead? From Quebec City to Vancouver, there’s a lot to love about Canada in the summer (plus, it’s the one time of year the country isn’t frigid and blanketed in snow). And it helps that to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday (she doesn’t look a day over 100), Rail Canada is offering $150 dollar unlimited travel passes for adventure seekers under 25.
The deal is perfectly timed to correspond with college students’ summer vacation (if you’re over 25, you can still get one with a student identification card), allowing you to spend all July traveling back and forth across the homeland of Jim Carrey, Drake, Ryan Reynolds, Eugene Levy, The Kids in the Hall, and John Candy. The only question is: where should you stop while you’re there?
Halifax is more than just the home of The Trailer Park Boys. With tons of beaches and attractions such as the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and a veritable boatload of historic sites, Halifax is a great place to start your Canadian adventure.
Obviously, Quebec City is known for its winter festival. But it’s a great place to visit in the summer, as well. You don’t need to fly all the way to Paris to feel like you’re in France. The city feels like it was plucked right out of Europe with its many landmarks, including Chateau Frontenac and the Musee National des Beaux-arts du Quebec.
The largest city in Quebec (and one of the largest in Canada), Montreal is the home of the Montreal Canadians, Montreal Impact (MLS) and the former home of the Montreal Expos. This beautiful city is also home to the Casino de Montreal as well as countless architectural wonders including the Notre Dame of Montreal Basilica.
If you’re spending your summer traveling around Canada, you have to stop in Toronto. Go to the top of the CN Tower for the most breathtaking view of the city, Lake Ontario and possibly even Rochester (NY) across the water. Before you leave, take in a Blue Jays game or visit Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada.
Now that you’ve visited some of the most well-known cities in the Great White North, it’s time visit the lesser-visited (but no less awesome) interior. The “Gateway to the West” is the largest city in Manitoba and home to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Western Canadian Aviation Museum, and so many summer festivals that we can’t name them all here.
The largest city in Saskatchewan, Saskatoon is an outdoorsy traveler’s dream city. The city is full of spacious, beautiful parks and is home to the Meewasin Valley Trail, a popular trail for joggers and bikers along the Saskatoon River. Plus, since the Canadian Football League plays its games in the summer, you can catch a game between the hometown Roughriders and one of their rivals.
The fifth largest city in Canada, Edmonton is known as “Canada’s Festival City,” with a whole slate of festivals running all throughout the summer, including The Sourdough Raft Race (yes, you read that right). It’s also a great city for nightlife, especially if you’re in the Jasper Avenue area Downtown.
Vancouver is constantly making the lists of the best places to live in the world. Surrounded by stunningly beautiful natural landscape, the city is home to the most diverse population in the country and is a short ride away from hiking trails and a seemingly never-ending shoreline.