Did you know that Lonely Planet recently named Canada the best travel destination of 2017? Yes, really! A combination of our low dollar, our exciting diversity and the fact that we will be celebrating our 150th year as a nation in 2017 earned us the top spot. Celebrations are planned year-round and Parks Canada has even made admission to all national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas free! Here are some budget friendly suggestions if you would like to explore our beautiful country!
Prince Edward Island
Known for being the home of Anne of Green Gables, red soil and one of the longest bridges in the world, PEI has tons to offer. Even as the smallest province of Canada, PEI will surprise you with the amount of activities happening in the summer. From deep-sea fishing, to lounging on the beach, music festivals and beautiful golf courses, it has it all. With lots of campgrounds, this easily fits in to the smallest of budgets, just keep in mind the approximately 50$ bridge toll if you’re driving there. Make sure to drive around the island to enjoy the colorful fields, and don’t forget to get yourself a souvenir shirt dyed with real PEI red dirt!
Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia
Filled with gorgeous wineries, this area of Nova Scotia is a breathtaking romantic getaway about an hour and a half from the Halifax airport. Enjoy a picnic at a winery with your other half, or bring along your girl friends for an awesome time. Some of the wineries will offer a free tasting and tour of their grounds time permitting. Go during the week to avoid groups of people and the owners will be extra generous. You can simply purchase a bottle (or a few!) of their delicious wine as a courtesy and you will have spent a beautiful day with very little spending.
Also on the east coast of Canada, New Brunswick is a much-underrated destination. It is home to the Fundy National Park, named after the Bay of Fundy, which has the highest vertical tides in the world. Go kayaking or whale watching at high tide, then walk on the sea floor at low tide, you will be amazed at how drastically the landscape will change.
The east coast of New Brunswick is lined with beautiful beaches; some are the warmest in the country. You will also find awesome hiking and biking trails, sand dunes and barrier islands to provide fun for the whole family in the Kouchibouguac National Park. Bring your tent and make it a camping trip or stay in a bed and breakfast for a little more comfort. Either way there is enjoyment for everyone!
With the 150th celebrations this year, Ottawa as the capital of Canada will be a hot tourist spot. With celebrations planned all year long and festivals almost every weekend of the summer, you will not run out of things to do in this normally corporate feeling city. However, all this will also mean that accommodation prices will surge. The solution? Hop over the provincial border to the Quebec side and stay in Gatineau! A short drive will take you to where all the action is and the accommodations are more affordable.
Let's not forget however that Gatineau also has it’s own attractions. The Gatineau Park has kilometers of beautiful hiking trails, some open year-round with cross-country skiing and snowshoeing for you to take pleasure in even in the snow. And if you want some time to unwind, enjoy a sweet relaxing day at the Spa Nordik close by. Open year-round, you can enjoy the Scandinavian baths rain or shine (or snow!).
Visiting the Rockies is an item on a lot of people’s bucket list. However, it’s unfortunately super expensive no matter the time of year. Instead of going to the most popular locations, try to get off the beaten path a little and look for accommodations in places such as Canmore, Alberta. When driving from Calgary, Canmore is located just five minutes before the entrance of the Banff National Park. A lot of people rent out their cottages in this area so search on sites such as Airbnb for cheaper accommodations.
Make sure you have a car and drive around to see all the beauties hidden behind each mountain. Clear blue lakes, mountain tops that reach the clouds and hiking trails for every level, from absolute beginner to expert, you will find this all here.
Final words: These are just a few suggestions out of the thousands of possibilities our country offers. Ultimately, to travel Canada on the cheap you need to have a car and to avoid overnights in the main cities. If you’re traveling from far, rent a car. It’s relatively inexpensive if you avoid rental locations from airports and major city centers and will make a huge difference in the amount of activities available to you. Canada is a huge but safe country, travel off the beaten path and you will find hidden treasures and beautiful people all along the way.
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