Two canoes on a lake in Alberta

How to Travel Sustainably in Canada in 2020

The world is a big, beautiful place, and those who are lucky enough to travel it know that there’s something incredible to see around every corner.

From sprawling mountain ranges to lush rainforests and barren deserts, you could travel every day for the rest of your life and still not manage to find everything it has to offer! 

Canada is a country that’s home to so much biodiversity that each and every trip is an incredible natural adventure, which means sustainable tourism is a large part of the tourism industry here.

More than just a travel style or selling point, sustainable tourism works hard to ensure that the natural landscapes of a country live on for generations to come – and in a country as beautiful as Canada, trust us, you’ll want to help preserve it!

Travelling sustainably means something different for everyone, but if you’re looking to travel to Canada soon and wondering about where to go, what to see, and how to do it all sustainably, look no further: we have your guide to sustainable tourism in Canada right here. 

What is sustainable tourism?

Sustainable tourism is a quickly-growing trend amongst travellers to experience a country or destination in the most responsible and sustainable way possible.

This generally means carefully considering aspects of your trip, such as transportation, accommodation, and excursions, to ensure that you leave your destination a little better than you found it.

While people generally consider sustainable tourism to be about environmentally-friendly travel, and while that’s often a large part of it, sustainable tourism also encourages travellers to find ways to improve the lives of locals, such as by shopping and dining locally. 

How to travel sustainably in Canada

In 2018, Booking.com determined that 84% of Canadians consider eco-friendliness when planning future vacations – that means that, if you’re visiting the country, it’s important to take certain measures to extend the locals that same courtesy! 

While certain aspects of travel, such as plane rides for those coming from further afield, can’t always be helped, there are always things travellers can do to make their visit to Canada sustainable and eco-friendly. 

  • Travel off the beaten path! Avoid spending too much time in destinations that are crowded and common tourist destinations.
  • If possible, travel more slowly. Instead of bouncing from place to place, spend a more significant time in one destination and really get to know it.
  • Shop, eat, and travel like a local – talk to people and find out how the locals spend their time, and then check out those spots yourself.
  • Always pack reusable products for your travels! From water bottles to take-out containers, most Canadian businesses will be more than happy to help.
A hidden beach off the coast of Vancouver, Canada
Canada is full of beautiful nature and hidden gems | © Jan Kronies/Unsplash

Best places to visit to travel sustainably in Canada

The Rocky Mountains, Alberta

Does anything scream Canada more than the Rocky Mountains? Not only are these incredible towering mountains a natural wonder to behold, the surrounding towns and cities offer travellers a laid-back, fun atmosphere to relax after a day of hiking, photography, or hot-springs hunting. The Rockies are also an incredible place to spot wildlife, so be on the look-out for moose, bears, mountain goats, and even lynxes!

A man standing at the base of a cliff in Alberta, Canada
The Rockies are like nothing you’ve ever seen before! | © Kalen Emsley/Unsplash

The Cape Breton Highlands, Nova Scotia

Cape Breton Highlands National Park was the first Canadian national park in the Atlantic, and it’s a can’t-miss spot for travellers looking for some serious nature in Canada’s already amazing east coast. Located on the northern tip of Nova Scotia, this park covers an incredible 948 square kilometres, and travellers are encouraged to enjoy nature to its full potential here! From summer swimming to hiking on one of the park’s 26 marked hiking trails, you’re sure to appreciate Canada’s natural beauty. 

Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada
Green as far as the eye can see in Cape Breton Highlands National Park | © Adam Jang/Unsplash

The Inside Passage, British Columbia

The Inside Passage is the name for the coast of British Columbia as it travels up into Alaska. While most often used to refer to a route taken by cruise ships, the nature surrounding the passage is like nowhere else in the world, and travellers can visit places such as Vancouver, Port Hardy, Prince Rupert, or even the Canadian island paradise of Haida Gwaii to gain a better understanding of what makes Canada’s west coast just so amazing. 

Vancouver, Canada, at sunset
The city meets nature in Vancouver, an endpoint of the Inside Passage | © Mike Benna/Unsplash

Muskoka, Ontario

Known simply as “up north” or “cottage country” to locals, Muskoka is the ultimate in adventure… and relaxation! In the summer, travellers from around Ontario and the world flock to the area to swim in pristine lakes, hike through hills and forests, and reconnect with friends and family. In the winter, Muskoka is transformed into a snowy wonderland, and travellers can ski, snowboard, snowshoe, ice fish, and much, much more. 

Friends around a campfire in Muskoka, Canada
Muskoka is all about getting into nature and spending time with friends! | © Tegan Mierle/Unsplash

When you bring home photographs and souvenirs from your travels, you’re sure to inspire your friends and family to get out and see more of the world as well. When you travel sustainably, you can make sure that everyone can enjoy these amazing parts of the world for generations to come. 

The best part about trying to travel sustainably in Canada? It’s easy – you barely have to think twice about the best options for the environment, because locals, tour operators, and attraction staff will always be quick to point you in the right direction.

Where will you go to see Canada’s natural beauty?

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.

person in red coat standing on an iceberg
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