The Yukon at night

Canada off the Beaten Track

Canada is one of those destinations that could take a lifetime to explore completely. Let’s make sure you start on the right foot!

While it’s occasionally (and mistakenly) thought of as a quirkier USA, Canada is home to incredible nature, famously-friendly locals, and unexpected adventure around every corner. Where else could you swim in the ocean one day and come face-to-face with polar bears in the wild the next?

Sustainability and adventure go hand in hand for Canadians, which is great news for travellers looking to explore the world while decreasing their impact on it. One of the best ways to assist with problems of overtourism in dreamy destinations like Canada is to travel a little more off-the-beaten-track. While Canada’s most famous tourist destinations are popular for a reason, this massive country (the second-largest in the world) has so much more to offer! Not only will you be doing the planet a favour, you’ll be able to explore places you won’t believe. 

Travel to: Canada

Ways to enjoy Canada off the beaten track

Travelling in the low season

A simple way to experience Canada without the crowds and business that come with peak-season travel is, of course, to travel to Canada when fewer tourists are visiting the area! Peak-season for travel in Canada is during the months of July and August, when temperatures (and prices, and crowds) tend to soar across the country. While summer is a fantastic time to visit Canada, consider visiting in September and October, when temperatures are often not too cold (and, as is often the case in September, downright warm!) but the summertime crowds have dispersed. 

Of course, Canada has a second peak season for the winter sports enthusiasts! Visits during December tend to be expensive and crowded, but travellers willing to brave the coldest month of the year in January will be treated to lower costs – January tends to be the cheapest month for winter travel in Canada. 

A vintage pick up truck driving down a dirt road in Saskatchewan, Canada
Saskatchewan is full of surprises! | © Weston MacKinnon/Unsplash

Travelling to unique destinations

It doesn’t matter when you travel if you’re already travelling to an off-the-beaten-track destination! Canada is home to some extremely popular places – Toronto is famous for its towering skyline and waterfront location, Montreal and Quebec City bring a European charm to North America, and British Columbia’s rainforests and staggering natural beauty should be experienced by everyone at least once. If you’re looking to push the boat out a little and discover something entirely new in Canada, though, you’ve come to the right place! 

Best off the beaten track destinations in Canada

1. The Canadian Territories

Canada is divided into ten provinces and three territories, the latter making up the northernmost parts of the country. While they’re often considered too cold and remote to be vacation destinations, nothing could be further from the truth! 

  • Yukon Territory is occasionally known as Canada’s answer to Alaska, but this territory is even more sparsely-populated and remote. Nature lovers will be met with towering mountains and expansive lakes, but all travellers will love kicking back in the Yukon. Known as the more laidback “west coast-style” territory, come to the Yukon for a little R&R, Canada style.
  • The Northwest Territories is where travellers should go if they mean business about taking the road less travelled and exploring the unexplored parts of Canada. Home to four expansive national parks, NWT will awe travellers with its grand nature — but the sparsely populated (and physically massive) territory is a draw in its own right. On average, more people go to space each year than visit Aulavik National Park!
  •  Nunavut is home to some of the greatest adventures Canada has to offer! From dogsledding to chasing the northern lights and spotting polar bears and narwhals, Nunavut is where travellers go when they think they’ve seen it all. 
The northern lights over the Yukon
The Canadian territories are truly special! | © Leonard Laub/Unsplash

2. îles de la Madeleine

There aren’t very many places where you can go stand up paddleboarding and spot baby harp seals in the wild at the same time, but the îles de la Madeleine (or Madeleine Islands) in Quebec is one of them! These islands are a rarity in the world: untouched nature meets fresh, local food, nightlife, and culture. The main draw of the islands for most are the pristine beaches, where travellers will find massive caves not seen anywhere else in Canada, and plenty of opportunities for sea kayaking, sailing, surfing, diving, and kitesurfing!

3. The Maritimes

Canada’s east coast doesn’t always get enough credit – the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick are each unique and lesser-traveld parts of the country that offer something to please each and every traveller. From wine tasting in Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island’s rolling green hills and Newfoundland and Labrador’s famously friendly locals and unique traditions, prepare for fun, adventure, incredible views, and, of course, plenty of some of the freshest seafood in the world! 

A man holding a baby while standing on a hill in Prince Edward Island, Canada
Stunning Prince Edward Island | © Natalie Toombs/Unsplash

4. Churchill, Manitoba

Many people see Canada as an Arctic country home to more polar bears than people, and while that’s certainly not true in most of the country, Churchill, the polar bear capital of the world, delivers on that expectation. Year-round, travellers can come here to view polar bears in their element – with their cubs, hunting, and exploring the rugged tundra found in the far-north regions of Canada. Travellers can make their way from Winnipeg, the province’s capital city, to Churchill via plane, or through a gorgeous train ride that runs twice a week. 

5. Saskatchewan

Canada’s prairie provinces are sometimes unfairly thought of as endless, flat terrain where nothing much happens, and Saskatchewan is sometimes considered merely a stopover on the way to Alberta and Canada’s west coast. However, as Lonely Planet says, “there are no boring parts of Saskatchewan, just boring visitors.” This uncrowded and beautiful province is home to two of Canada’s sunniest cities, Regina and Saskatoon, which means travellers can plan for sunny days spent exploring up-and-coming cities, immersing themselves in local culture, and enjoying a truly off-the-beaten-track experience. 

Canada’s tourism industry is growing more and more every year, which is a good thing! More travellers should be able to experience this awe-inspiring country. But if you’re not sure about dealing with all those crowds, or you’re worried about leaving more of a mark on the country than you’d like, the best part of visiting Canada is that there’s more than enough space for everyone who wants to explore to have a grand Canadian adventure of their own!

Where would you most like to visit in Canada?

Maggie is a life-long traveller with a special affinity for the United Kingdom. When she's not reading, writing, or dreaming about her next trip, you can find her talking at length about her dog to anyone who'll listen.

standing person wearing white, black, and gray collared t-shirt holding ice cream and facing back
Up Next:

Bucket List for Foodies: Three Places to Visit Now

Bucket List for Foodies: Three Places to Visit Now