It’s the quintessential Canadian travel or weekend experience: visiting one of the many National Parks to be away from civilization and enjoy nature. These parks are also something that is very unique for a G20 country of this size to support so many parks. Canada's Nation Parks can be found from the "Banana Belt" up to the Arctic.
13.5 million visitors came to Canada’s National Parks and Marine Conservation Areas in 2014-2015. The Banff National Park alone had 3.6 million, and I was in Spring one of them : )
My Favoured Canadian National Parks:
Thousand Islands National Park
Located is this beautiful area 3 hrs east if Toronto, or 1,5 hrs south of Ottawa:
Even though it is Canada's smallest national park, St. Lawrence Islands is spread over a remarkably wide swath of terrain. The park stretches for 80 kilometres along the shores of the St. Lawrence River.
Many of the islands are barely above the water line and are continually being washed clean of anything that might want to grow there. Most of the larger islands, however, are perfect places to while away a warm, sunny, summer afternoon.
Hidden away from much of the major traffic of Canada's greatest river, these 21 islands and 90 islets offer the perfect get-away for folks that live in the Kingston-Ottawa-Montreal triangle or anyone else travelling along the Trans-Canada Highway.
Don’t miss the nearby Prince Edward county close to Belleville with its lovely small towns, wineries and farmer markets - and the Sand Dunes Ontario Provincial Park which gives you the feeling to be on an Ocean as you will see only sand and water.
Fathom Five National Marine Park, 3 hrs north of Toronto
Georgian Bay and the waters surrounding the Bruce Peninsula are crystal-clear and a breath-taking sight. I spent a week there and will return this year for sure. Diving or chartering one of the boats with glass floors will allow you to see amazing shipwrecks in a fascinating underwater world. Lots of ship traffic during the eighteen hundreds left also lots of shipwrecks. However not only underwater, but also on dozens of island treasures can be found if you like nature: The oldest forests in Eastern Canada with very rare Orchids and Ferns. Beautiful sand beaches stretch for hundred kilometres around Georgian Bay and invite swimmers, surfers, sailers, hikers and sun-lovers.
Banff National Park
Coming from Austria in the Alps, I did not expect at all to be impressed by the Rocky Mountains. Boy, was I wrong! Leaving a rainy Vancouver in early April I headed to the mountains and expected even roads to be closed due to snow. But no, the next day turned out beautifully and I had chosen the best time of the year: The mountain tops were still snow-covered to about half of the elevation and this made for an outstanding driving experience. I guess I shot about 500 photos, and stopped every 5 km to soak in the beautiful sights. Would I have driven in summer through the Rockies, I would have seen water in Lake Louise near Banff, instead of the snow in April, but all the mountains would have been green-brown-grey and wouldn’t have so fantastic sparkled in the sun. Lucky as I was, I even found a hotel room close to Banff and Lake Louise with a million-dollar-view towards the snow-covered mountains and with a balcony for only US$28 on the internet. Cheers to the nice Australian girls who work there for the winter season. You made my day too.
I only regret that I did not drive up to the many Hot Springs in the vicinity. They must be marvellous at this time of the year, hot steaming pools surrounded by snow-covered trees and meadows.
How to Get to the Ontario Parks:
From Toronto and Ottawa are express bus rides offered to the Algonquin Park and a dozen other parks, if you don’t want to drive by car. Parkbus also offers all-inclusive packages for camping.
Where to Stay Overnight:
Many visitors camp out in the wild, but if you like it a bit more comfortable or don’t have a tent, or don’t want to carry one around, there are often tents provided or Yurts, which are equipped with a wooden floor, windows and beds. Ontario has 74 of these yurts in 10 Provincial Parks. Gatineau Park close to Ottawa features Yurts in some of its campgrounds for overnight stays.
Ontario Parks Canada also has a wildly popular program in weekend overnight sessions were you can learn to camp and cook in the outdoors.
FREE Entrance for New Canadians:
A Cultural Access Pass allows new Canadians for one year after they received their citizenship to visit four National Parks for free - including up to four of their children.
Small Selection of National Parks in Canada and Accommodations
ALL NATIONAL PARKS CAN BE FOUND HERE:
ALGONQUIN PROVINCIAL PARK
ALGONQUIN PARK ACCOMMODATION
BANFF NATIONAL PARK OFFICIAL HOMEPAGE
BANFF NATIONAL PARK ACCOMMODATION
.FATHOM FIVE NATIONAL MARINE PARK OFFICIAL HOMEPAGE
BRUCE PENINSULA AND FATHOM FIVE ACCOMMODATION
CAPE BRETON ISLAND NATIONAL PARK OFFICIAL HOMEPAGE
CAPE BRETON ISLAND NATIONAL PARK ACCOMMODATION
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK OFFICIAL HOMEPAGE
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK ACCOMMODATION
JASPER NATIONAL PARK OFFICIAL HOMEPAGE
KEJIMKUJIK NATIONAL PARK OFFICIAL HOMEPAGE
KOOTENAY NATIONAL PARK
KOUCHIBOUGUAC NATIONAL PARK OFFICIAL HOMEPAGE
KOUCHIBOUGUAC NATIONAL PARK ACCOMMODATION
MOUNT REVELSTOKE NATIONAL PARK OFFICIAL HOMEPAGE
MOUNT REVELSTOKE NATIONAL PARK ACCOMMODATION
NATIONAL PARKS BRITISH COLUMBIA
POINT PELEE NATIONAL PARK OFFICIAL HOMEPAGE
RIDING MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK OFFICIAL HOMEPAGE
RIDING MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK ACCOMMODATION
ST.LAWRENCE ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK OFFICIAL HOMEPAGE
ST.LAWRENCE ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK ACCOMMODATION
WATERTON LAKES NATIONAL PARC OFFICIAL HOMEPAGE
WATERTON LAKES NATIONAL PARK ACCOMMODATION
WATERTON LAKES NATIONAL PARK ACCOMMODATION
YOHO NATIONAL PARK OFFICIAL HOMEPAGE
YOHO AND KOOTENAY NATIONAL PARK ACCOMMODATION