Canada is a beloved holiday destination for many reasons. There is something for everyone, from the spectacular natural beauty of the scenic Rocky Mountains to the wild elegance of Churchill’s polar bears.
But Canada has much more to offer than the usual ‘must-sees,’ and just because you may not have heard of Hopewell Rocks or Manitoulin Island does not mean that they are not worth the effort.
If traveling off the beaten track is for you, this is your ultimate guide to eight of the best of Canada’s weird, wild, and wonderful hidden gems. Just make sure you bring your camera to capture their unique sights!
The 100 Lakes of Manitoulin Island, Ontario
Manitoulin Island is the world’s largest freshwater lake island. It is located within Lake Huron in Ontario and is a massive 1,068 square miles (2,766 km2) in size. It even has over 100 inland lakes throughout the island, including Lakes Manitou, Kagawong, and Mindemoya.
If you have a few days to spare, there’s no better place for stunning island views, peaceful hiking trails, and a rambling shoreline with countless inlets where you can find your very own perfect spot for fishing.
The Dunes of Carcross Desert Yukon
Are you interested in getting some desert sand between your toes, but you don’t have the time for a trip to the Sahara? Then, the Carcross Desert in Yukon may be the place for you.
It is widely considered the smallest desert in the world, with just under one square mile (2.6 km2) of stunning dunes that reach the shores of Bennett Lake. It is not, in fact, a desert but rather a series of dunes. The climate is too humid for it to be considered a true desert.
Sandboarding is one of the main attractions in the area, but all-terrain vehicles are also a great way to get adventurous. And for those of you who like a bird’s-eye-view – check out this link to learn more.
Explore the Past at Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta
You can step back in time at Alberta’s Dinosaur Provincial Park. Located just two hours from Calgary, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a great place to look for dinosaur fossils.
Kids and adults can even join a Fossil Safari and try to unearth your very own dinosaur! Just remember, you’re not allowed to keep any fossils that you find.
The Singing Sands of Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is known for its delicious seafood, especially lobster and mussels, its beautiful red sand beaches, and for being the home of Anne of Green Gables, a fictional character who was a big hit.
It’s also the only place in Canada where you can squeak as you walk. The honey-colored sands of Basin Head Provincial Park emit a distinctive whistle with each step you take.
Just don’t forget to take a dip in the ocean, which boasts the warmest waters in the area.
A View of the Rockies at Eagle’s Eye Restaurant
For those of you who enjoy a unique culinary experience as part of your travels, Eagle’s Eye Restaurant in British Columbia will be right up your alley—perched 7,700 feet (2,346 meters) above sea level, it’s Canada’s highest elevation restaurant.
What better way to finish a hectic day of sightseeing than by relaxing with a fine meal and a glass of wine, feasting your eyes on the spectacular crags of the nearby Rocky Mountains?
But beware, you need to catch the gondola from Kicking Horse Resort to get there, a trip not for the faint-hearted!
The Amazing Tides of Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick
You can find Hopewell Rocks nestled in the Bay of Fundy between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Here, you’ll get to experience the highest tides in the world.
For those of you with a love of spectacular natural landscapes, the towering formations of Hopewell Rocks will surely catch your eye. Reaching up to 70 feet (21 meters) tall, they formed through tidal erosion some 600 million years ago due to the area’s amazing tidal habits.
Make sure you take the time to see the rocks during both high and low tide to get the most out of your visit. Head over to the Great Canadian Bucket List to read more on this amazing place.
The Wolves of Parc Oméga
If sleeping just a few feet from a pack of wild wolves sounds like your idea of fun, Quebec’s Outaouais region is for you.
At Parc Oméga safari park, just a couple of hours from Montreal, you can spend the day viewing the park’s beaver, elk, wolverine, coyote, and bison. And if you choose to spend the night, you can book a stay in one of the three dedicated wolf experiences: wolf cabin, wolf lodge, or wolf chalet.
Just don’t worry if you wake up face to face with a curious grey wolf!
The Eerie Remains of the Canso Plane Crash
The Canso Plane Crash is a great attraction to satisfy your morbid curiosity for those of you whose with macabre interests.
In the wilds of Tofino on the western coast of Vancouver Island, you can hike deep into the forest to see the decaying remains of Royal Canadian Air Force Canso 11007. It crashed in 1945, not long after taking off, and has been lying in the forest ever since. For more information, click on the link.
With a marked hiking trail and easy-to-use boardwalks, it’s not hard to get to the crash site and experience this slice of Canadian aviation history.
Photo by [James Wheeler]