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Clayoquot Wilderness Resort

The Top 20 Bucketlist Trips in Canada

By Stephanie Hood

The best bucketlist trips in Canada are set in spectacular scenery and include transformative moments that spark lifelong memories. Whether it's dancing under the northern lights, bonding with grizzly bears in temperate rainforest or road tripping along the rugged coast of the Atlantic, here are the top 20 bucketlist trips in Canada, based on our 20 years experience.

Opening image courtesy of Clayoquot Wilderness Resort

WIN YOUR DREAM BUCKETLIST ADVENTURE! In celebration of our 20th anniversary, we're giving away one of the below dream trips in Canada! Simply read through this list to choose the package you want to win, then comment the name and number along with your contact details at the bottom. For additional entries, find our contest posts on Facebook and Instagram. Contest is open until April 15, 2020 5:00 PM Pacific Standard Time (PST) for legal residents of the US and Canada. Full rules and regulations here.

Image courtesy of Spirit Bear Lodge / Cael Cook

1. Search for the Mystical Spirit Bear in the Great Bear Rainforest

Trip Type: Wildlife Viewing | Length: 8 Days / 7 Nights | Package Details: Spirit Bears of the Great Bear Rainforest

Wander within the largest coastal temperate rainforest in the world, located on the Pacific coast of British Columbia, in search of the mystical spirit bear. Staying in the small village of Klemtu at the waterfront Spirit Bear Lodge, you'll learn about the local Kitasoo/Xai’xais Indigenous people and the coastal ecology of the region. Offering even more than the quest for these blonde, beautiful bears, you can go searching for grizzlies and whales, try sea kayaking and participate in an ancient cultural tour to Dis'ju Big House and heritage site. Be sure to plan your trip during spirit bear season and book ahead as this time is highly coveted.

Image courtesy of Travel Yukon

2. Witness the Aurora Borealis in the Yukon

Trip Type: Northern Lights | Length: 4 Days / 3 Nights | Package Details: Northern Lights in the Yukon

See the spectacular Northern Lights on a magical 4-day trip with flights from Vancouver to Whitehorse included. Upon arrival you'll opt in for unique winter adventures like snowmobiling, ice fishing or snowshoeing and be fitted for the appropriate winter gear that will keep you warm and comfortable throughout the trip. As the stars take over the sky each evening you'll gather inside a cozy heated cabin or wall tent. Sip warm drinks, enjoy snacks and chat with other travelers while the Aurora strikes up its dance.

Image courtesy of Fogo Island Inn

3. Helicopter to a Luxury Inn at the Edge of the Earth

Trip Type: Luxury Lodge | Length: 5 Days / 4 Nights | Package Details: Fogo Island Escape

Discover an eclectic mix of luxury and local authenticity with a stay at Fogo Island Inn. Located on the east coast of Canada, experience the culture, people and pastimes of Newfoundland & Labrador, from star gazing and craft making to boat building and bread baking. The Inn itself is a pinnacle of luxury in the area, combining warm Fogo Island hospitality, traditions and craftmanship with contemporary architecture and amenities. Enjoy local cuisine, a spa and art gallery plus private transfers from Gander by heli.

Image courtesy of VIA Rail

4. Travel Across Canada by Train

Trip Type: Train Tour | Length: 22 Days / 21 Nights | Package Details: Grande Canadian Rail Journey

It's the big bucketlist trip and our most popular request – traveling across Canada by train. On this epic journey you'll ride aboard both Rocky Mountaineer and VIA Rail, encountering Kamloops, Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, Toronto and the Atlantic Coast. Enjoy sightseeing tours and overnight accommodation on VIA Rail with delicious gourmet meals served in the dining car. Upon arrival to the East Coast you'll enjoy sightseeing at Niagara Falls and Quebec before continuing on to the charming Atlantic provinces.

Image courtesy of Churchill Wild / Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge / Jerry Grajewski

5. Go Polar Bear Viewing in the Polar Bear Capital of the World

Trip Type: Wildlife Viewing | Length: 6 Days / 5 Nights | Package Details: Hudson Bay Odyssey Polar Bear Viewing

Churchill, Manitoba, is best known for its spectacular polar bear viewing and this journey takes you to its heart. Staying at the remote Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge – one of National Geographic's Unique Lodges of the World – and stepping out on foot to find Polar Bears, you'll spend time with a knowledgeable guide and learn all about these magnificent creatures and their home. After each day of excitement, reconvene at the lodge for appetizers, cocktails, a gourmet dinner and a chance at viewing the aurora.

Image courtesy of Travel Yukon

6. Chase the Midnight Sun in the Yukon and Alaska

Trip Type: Self Drive | Length: 20 Days / 19 Nights | Package Details: Grand Prospector Alaska and the Yukon Circle

Explore the magic and mystery of Alaska and Canada's Yukon Territory as you chase the midnight sun along the historic Gold Rush Trail Mileposts. Drive through Whitehorse, Skagway, Valdez, Anchorage and Talkeetna, then visit Denali National Park for an eventful backcountry adventure. Observe grizzly bears, moose and wolves in the park or take a cruise in Prince William Sound to see glaciers, whales and sea lions. Find yourself in Fairbanks, take a ferry to Dawson City and end the road trip back in Whitehorse.

Image courtesy of Farewell Harbour Lodge

7. See Grizzlies and Whales in the Great Bear Rainforest and Broughton Archipelago

Trip Type: Wildlife Viewing | Length: 4 Days, 3 Nights | Package Details: Farewell Harbour Lodge

Experience the beauty of BC's Broughton Archipelago and Great Bear Rainforest while staying at a remote family-run wilderness lodge. Situated within a 10-acre old growth forest, Farewell Harbour Lodge offers whale watching in Johnstone Straight plus grizzly bear viewing by foot or boat at several estuaries. Take your choice of activities by day and relax at a cozy lodge with delicious meals and stunning views by night. Each room offers ocean views from your bed, with part of the lodge floating on the water itself.

Image courtesy of Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort

8. Stay at a Floating Wilderness Lodge in British Columbia

Trip Type: Luxury Lodge | Length: 4 Days, 3 Nights | Package Details: Nimmo Bay Wilderness and Wildlife

Every good bucketlist has brag-worthy photo ops, and Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort steals the show. On a convenient circle trip from Vancouver by helicopter or floatplane, you can stay in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest whilst enjoying a beautiful resort with spectacular amenities. Your intertidal chalet features views over the bay, where by day you can enjoy kayaking or paddle boarding at your leisure. The lodge also offers hiking, whale watching, grizzly bear viewing, marine life tours and so much more.

Image courtesy of Frontiers North

9. Witness the Beluga Whale Migration and Polar Bears in Manitoba

Trip Type: Wildlife Viewing | Length: 6 Days, 5 Nights | Package Details: Beluga Whales, Bears and Blooms

For the intrepid traveler's bucketlist we have a truly iconic trip that shows off unique Canadian wildlife, culture and history. Travel in July or August to Churchill, Manitoba, and see thousands of belugas migrate to the shallow waters of the Churchill River. Listen to their whalesong and find yourself overwhelmed by their beauty, then enjoy summer wildflowers and a chance to see polar bears from the comfort and safety of a Tundra Buggy. As an added bonus on the trip, you'll meet an adorable dog sled team!

Image courtesy of Travel Alberta

10. Drive the Iconic Icefields Parkway on a Classic Rockies Road Trip

Trip Type: Self Drive | Length: 7 Days / 6 Nights | Package Details: Spirit of the West

Every bucketlist needs a classic Canadian Rockies road trip. Breathe in the spirit of Western Canada through its rugged canyons, weeping waterfalls, unique wildlife and National Parks. Travel between Vancouver and Calgary, passing through Sun Peaks, Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff as you soak up breathtaking views of the Joffre Glacier, Pyramid Falls and Mount Robson. Drive along one of the most scenic highways in the world, the Icefields Parkway, and take time to unwind in the pools at Banff Upper Hot Springs.

Image courtesy of Ocean House

11. Explore Ancient Cultures with Local Legends in Haida Gwaii

Trip Type: Luxury Lodge | Length: 5 Days / 4 Nights | Package Details: Island Explorer Experience at Ocean House

If ancient culture and untouched nature are what call to you, consider this trip to Haida Gwaii. The Ocean House is an eco-cultural lodge tucked within the mystical beauty of old-growth forests, sacred waters and rare geological shorelines. Embark on guided excursions to ancient village sites and discover the living culture of the welcoming Haida. This uninhabited region is home to the highest population of black bears on the planet, along with eagles, orcas, humpbacks, sea lions and other marine wildlife.

Author's note: Since the time of publishing, it has come to our attention that Ocean House will be closed for the 2020 season. Should this property be unavailable, it will be replaced by Haida House at Tllaal.

Image courtesy of Destination Canada / Linkum Tours

12. Spot Icebergs, Puffins and Whales in Newfoundland

Trip Type: Self Drive | Length: 6 Days / 5 Nights | Package Details: Iceberg Alley Newfoundland

Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada's easternmost province, is a truly special destination best explored on the open road with an open heart. Drive the Avalon Peninsula, Twillingate and Trinity Bay, stopping to see whales, the Atlantic puffin and thousands of sea birds. Enjoy National Historic Sites, welcoming locals, and charming architecture like white and pastel colored clapboard houses. Each spring offers the chance to witness 10,000-year-old icebergs and see humpback whales in one visit.

Image courtesy of Canadian Mountain Holidays

13. Heli-hike in the Canadian Rockies and Bugaboo Mountains

Trip Type: Soft Adventure | Length: 7 Days / 6 Nights | Package Details: Heli-Hiking in the Canadian Rockies

Whether you're nine, 90 or somewhere in between, CMH offers heli-access adventures that are suitable for all bucketlists. Fly by helicopter into the Columbia Mountain sub-ranges to trek amongst ancient glaciers, jutting pinnacles, placid lakes and snow-capped peaks. With the Rocky Mountains providing a picturesque backdrop to your stay, the remote Bugaboo Lodge will serve as your home with après-hiking appetizers, drinks, delicious meals and a hot tub. The guided hikes can be as carefree or as challenging as you like, with options to try the Skyladder Via Ferrata and the Bugaboo Spires Glacier Trek.

Image courtesy of Sonora Resort

14. Floatplane between BC’s Best Luxury wilderness Resorts

Trip Type: Luxury Lodge | Length: 8 Days / 7 Nights | Package Details: Luxury Lodges of the West Coast

An over-the-top bucketlist trip for those looking to splurge, combine two of British Columbia's best luxury wilderness resorts – Sonora Resort and Clayoquot Wilderness Resort – on one remarkable trip. While one touts west coast inspired waterfront rooms and suites the other offers deluxe safari-style tents, and both are set in remote nature with renowned Relais & Chateaux status. Floatplane between the resorts, indulge in culinary exploration, spend time at the spas or try a range of activities. Horseback riding, fishing, wildlife viewing, rock climbing, hiking, kayaking and heli-touring are just the beginning.

Image courtesy of New Brunswick Tourism

15. Experience the World’s Highest Tides in Canada's Maritimes

Trip Type: Self Drive | Length: 18 Days / 17 Nights | Package Details: Grand Maritimes

Explore the Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island on a road trip through stunning coastal scenery and vibrant Celtic culture. A circle drive from Halifax, you'll pass by historic buildings, uncover history at Lunenburg and walk the ocean floor at Hopewell Rocks, home to the earth's highest (and lowest) tides. Wander Peggy's Cove and snap a photo at the lighthouse, then continue to Charlottetown and the famous Cabot Trail. This is one of the most spectacular drives in Canada!

Image courtesy of Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures

16. Kayak with Whales off the Coast of Vancouver Island

Trip Type: Soft Adventure | Length: 4 Days / 3 Nights | Package Details: Kingfisher Wilderness Adventure Kayak with Whales

There is no better place in the world to kayak with humpback and orca whales than Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound off the coast of Vancouver Island. On this bucketlist trip to Kingfisher's Base Camp you'll be right in the heart of it, surrounded by islands and small islets teeming with sea birds, bald eagles and seals. Spend days kayaking, watching whales and relaxing in the comfort of your tent. Your guides will plan each day based on weather conditions, wildlife viewing and your personal interests.

Image courtesy of Niagara Falls Canada

17. Witness Niagara Falls on a Rail Journey in Eastern Canada

Trip Type: Train Tour | Length: 9 Days / 8 Nights | Package Details: Eastern Canada By Rail

Niagara Falls is a classic on every Canadian bucketlist, and what better way to arrive than by rail? On this train tour through Eastern Canada you'll take VIA Rail from Toronto, discovering the unique history, architecture and French-Canadian culture of Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City. Sightsee the powerful Niagara Falls and the nation's Parliament Buildings, the Notre Dame Basilica and Vieux Quebec. Indulge in local wines, dig into dishes like poutine and let the charm of Eastern Canada transform you.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

18. See Spectacular Fall Colors on a Road Trip in Eastern Canada

Trip Type: Self Drive | Length: 15 Days / 14 Nights | Package Details: Best of the East

For those who prefer to have their hands on the wheel, explore Eastern Canada by car. Let the gorgeous reds, yellows and oranges of fall foliage fade into your rearview as you drive from Toronto to Niagara Falls, the Muskoka Region and Mont Tremblant. Go hiking, observe wildlife or try canoeing, then follow the flow of cars into Quebec City, Montreal and Kingston. With each turn of the wheel a new sight will be revealed, from Parliament Hill and the National Arts Centre to the Notre Dam Basilica and Vieux Quebec.

Image courtesy of Alaska Railroad

19. Train through Canada and Alaska on One Epic Rail Journey

Trip Type: Train Tour | Length: 14 Days / 13 Nights | Package Details: Canadian Rockies & Alaska Ultimate Rail Adventure

What makes this trip so bucketlist worthy? You'll see two naturally breathtaking destinations up-close and unobstructed in one ultimate rail vacation. Departing from Vancouver, ride aboard VIA Rail into the Canadian Rockies, exploring the wonders of Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff. Continuing to Calgary you'll board a plane for Fairbanks, then take Alaska Railroad to Denali National Park. Enjoy the sights and wildlife on a Denali Backcountry Adventure, then ride to Anchorage and cruise on Prince William Sound.

Image courtesy of Sheldon Chalet / Totement

20. Sleep in a Luxury Chalet atop a Glacier in Alaska

Trip Type: Luxury Lodge | Length: 4 Days / 3 Nights | Package Details: Sheldon Chalet Luxury Adventure

Okay, so Alaska isn't Canada, but what better way to compliment your trip than with a short excursion to the state? Incredibly engineered on a nunatak just 10 miles from Denali’s summit, Sheldon Chalet is a remote, exclusive and luxurious getaway that showcases the beauty of Alaska at its best. Arrive to the chalet by helicopter, indulge in fine foods and wines, relax in the sauna or try a range of activities. Glacier trekking, rappelling, rock climbing, sledding and gourmet picnicking are just the beginning.

READY TO WIN YOUR DREAM TRIP? To enter, simply comment the trip name and number along with your contact details below. For additional entries, find our contest posts on Facebook and Instagram.

Comments

How do I decide!? First would be heli-hiking with CMH (#13), second pick would be great bear rainforest (#1) and 3rd choice is all of them!!

Ruby Hogg,02/12/2020

19. Train through Canada and Alaska on One Epic Rail Journey.... but these all sound amazing!!!

Cari,02/13/2020

#19..I always wanted to ride the rails on a vacation.

Julie,02/13/2020

I always wanted take a vacation to see the beauty of the Spot Icebergs, Puffins and Whales in Newfoundland!!

John,02/13/2020

They all look amazing! My first choice would be #14: floatplane between BC’s best luxury wilderness resorts with my second choice being #8: stay at floating wilderness lodge in births Colombia and third would be #4: travel across Canada by train!!

LaTia Allain,02/13/2020

Wow! What a difficult decision! I would choose #19 (Canadian Rockies & Alaska Ultimate Rail Adventure) as my favorite, because I love beautiful scenery!

Nancy Staves,02/14/2020

My first choice is 2. Witness the Aurora Borealis in the Yukon!

Marla Curtis,02/14/2020

#14 Floatplane between BC’s Best Luxury wilderness Resorts Oh.....My......God!!!!

Andrea,02/14/2020

#4, Travel Across Canada by train would be AMAZING!!. My husband and I are both retired teachers and have this trip on our BUCKETLIST!

Cynthia Skrovan,02/14/2020

My dream would be the train through Canada and Alaska! It looks amazing! # 19

Martha Pekarek,02/14/2020

Canada is SO beautiful and varied! LOVE traveling up there! The one part that I have not been to that is on my bucket list is the Maritimes! So, I would want to do #15 first! #5 would be my second choice, as I would love to see the polar bears! There is no bad choice in the bunch!

Alana Wallace,02/14/2020

Canada is SO beautiful and varied! LOVE traveling up there! The one part that I have not been to that is on my bucket list is the Maritimes! So, I would want to do #15 first! #5 would be my second choice, as I would love to see the polar bears! There is no bad choice in the bunch!

Alana Wallace,02/14/2020

7. I have done most of these. Need to get to the most remote parts.

Linda de Sosa,02/14/2020

After taking one trip on the west coast last year, I would love a second chance to see more of the beautiful Canadian wilderness! 7. See Grizzlies and Whales in the Great Bear Rainforest and Broughton Archipelago

Mary Anne Morgan,02/14/2020

I like trip #2. I'm fascinated by the Northern Lights.

pamela joseph,02/14/2020

#3 Helicopter to a luxury Inn at the edge of the earth

Terry Pierse,02/14/2020

I can’t wait- I’ve always wanted to visit Canada #12 looks like my bucket list adventure !

Sally Wolf,02/14/2020

#19the train trip through both western Canadian Rockies and Alaska. As I am a plein air painter, this would give me an opportunity to paint some magnificent landscapes. A second choice would be to drive through the Canadian Rockies for the same reason. Do a lot of painting.

Linda Lea Bertrand,02/14/2020

WOULD LOVE, AND I MEAN LOVE TO WIN #14 LUXURY FLOATPLANE IN BC.

LARRY BRYANT,02/14/2020

#4 Grande Canadian Rail Journey - it encompasses all that I have wanted to see in Canada! From Banff to Niagara Falls to Prince Edward Island!

Rachelle Killackey,02/14/2020

travel across Canada by train

gwen ziegler,02/14/2020

travel across Canada by train

kimberly basey,02/14/2020

travel across Canada by train

chris ziegler,02/14/2020

I would choose #4. Travel Across Canada by Train! This is totally a bucket list trip for me!

Lizzy,02/14/2020

dream vacation for sure

Jonathan Mannings,02/14/2020

It was so hard to choose but my choice is #14: floatplane between BC's best luxury wilderness resorts

jessica crawford,02/14/2020

12 Love them all, but Newfoundland is the only Province / Territory that I have not yet travelled to!

Karen Schalitz,02/14/2020

My first choice would be #2 and my second choice #4

William Wheeler,02/14/2020

I would love trip 4, traveling across Canada by rail!

Christine ,02/14/2020

Number 4- Travel Across Canada by Train

Brian G,02/14/2020

Like so many others have indicated, all the trips are spectacular, but I must go with the one that tops my bucket list...#5. Go Polar Bear Viewing in the Polar Bear Capital of the World

Steve dAdolf,02/14/2020

I would love any of these amazing trips, But I especially like the Beluga whale trip and the fall colors. And of course staying on floating wilderness lodge would be amazing! Never been to Canada and would love to visit!

Anne Senko,02/14/2020

No 2 seen a lot of Canada but never up north

Hebert Roy,02/14/2020

I'd love trip #4. Always wanted to do the train trip across Canada

Cheryl Penner,02/14/2020

#19 would be my first choice, but it was a hard decision to make. All the adventures seem so tempting. I just would love to see all that beautiful country on a train!

Ramona Hogan,02/14/2020

Hard choice all amazing but..... 9. Witness the Beluga Whale Migration and Polar Bears in Manitoba

Katherine ODriscoll,02/14/2020

19. Train through Canada and Alaska on One Epic Rail Journey sounds amazing

Julie Lawrence,02/14/2020

#3 would be a dream. Ive been dying to stay at the FOGO inn for years but its out of my budget! But im getting married march, 4th and id love to take my new husband with me if I were to win.

Rachel Coffman,02/20/2020

2. Witness the Aurora Borealis in the Yukon

Melissa Krouse,02/20/2020

My bag is packed! First choice: Helicopter to the Luxury Inn at the edge of the earth – Fogo Island (trip option #3); Second choice: Spot Icebergs, Puffins and Whales in Newfoundland – Iceberg Alley (trip option #12); Third choice: Search for the Mystical Spirit Bears (trip option #1).

Sue Scheeren Watchko,02/20/2020

Definitely #19 - Train through Canada and Alaska on One Epic Rail Journey

Jonathan G.,02/20/2020

OMG almost impossible decision!! But I will go with 4. Travel Across Canada by Train as I love travel by rail

Sharon Dutchak,02/20/2020

4. Travel Across Canada by Train

Keith Hoey,02/20/2020

I have heard so much about the Fogo Island Inn that # 3 would have to be my first choice. Newfoundland is amazing so this particular experience can't help but be as fantastic as it sounds!

Marilyn Munroe,02/20/2020

My choice would be 14. Floatplane between BC’s Best Luxury wilderness Resorts since I'm all about luxury.

nosogirl,02/20/2020

#4 Travel Across Canada by Train would be my wife's and my "dream trip". Have wanted to do this ever since we retired and something has always gotten in the way. This is our chance!! Thanks for the opportunity to win such a great prize. No matter which trip you pick they are all winners.

J Fred Hubbs,02/20/2020

It would be so awesome to win a train ride across Canada, #4! Haven't been to the Martimes yet, and would love to see the majestic Rockies again!!

annie hulewick,02/20/2020

5. Go Polar Bear Viewing in the Polar Bear Capital of the World It has been my bucket list trip since 1990 to go visit the Polar Bears. Unfortunately, my Mom had become ill and so I quit working and took care of her 24/7 from August 18, 2014 to April 2, 2019 when she passed away from Alzheimer’s, Dementia & multiple strokes that occurred the last week of her life. I have been taking care of my Dad since, he had a heart attack the day after she passed away (Takotsubo we assume) and has been on the path to getting well but he misses her terribly. I would love to win my bucket list trip and take my Dad along with me. I have this ridiculously high hope that if I can get him out in the world doing and seeing epic things, it will keep him around longer, selfishly for myself, my siblings and his 2 grandchildren. I hope I win, it is my dream to see the Polar Bears and get to Churchill. How rad that would be! And maybe we could shed some Northern Light on how important it is to enjoy our time with our parents while we still have them here with us!

Nichole Coudayre,02/26/2020

Thanks for the chance to see the land of my father’s birth. #19.

Gerald Stacy,03/02/2020

Ich liebe Nimmo Bay seit ich die Serie Boston Legal geschaut habe. Hier kann man den Alltag und dieser hektischen Zeit entfliehen. Also die Nummer 8!!!

Silke Westphal,03/04/2020

I would love to see the beluga whales in Churchill so I would pick #9. Witness the Beluga Whale Migration and Polar Bears in Manitoba

Joan Brown,03/13/2020

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