Canada is a large and beautiful country that certainly takes time to explore properly. However, many tourists to this North American nation only stick with the West coast, where they do things such as check out the ski fields in British Columbia or Alberta, explore Vancouver and the nearby Vancouver Island, look out for eagles and bears or ride the famous Rocky Mountaineer train.
Yet, travelers need to remember that there is much more to this big, diverse country than what’s found on its most visited side. Read on for a selection of top sites and attractions to put on your itinerary beyond the West side on your next vacation to Canada.
Spend Time in Niagara Falls
If seeing the beauty of Mother Nature is something you always love, make your way to one of Ontario’s most visited and most famous attraction, Niagara Falls. Located on the border between Canada and the United States, this phenomenon is created from three separate waterfalls which demonstrate amazing power — in fact, millions of cubic feet of water flow through the falls every minute.
There are many great ways to see Niagara Falls, such as via a Ferris wheel, the Niagara SkyWheel; by boat, with Hornblower Niagara Cruises from the Canadian side; and from behind and below, via the awesome underground Journey Behind the Falls experience.
In addition, while you’re in the Niagara region, you’ll find many other fun things to do, such as taste test local wines and cuisines, explore the funky area of Clifton Hill, explore the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens and more. Check out some of the great Niagara Falls packages currently available for vacation options to suit all tastes and budgets.
Visit Quebec City for Some French Culture
If you’re looking for a different cultural experience while in Canada, visit Quebec City, in the province of Quebec. This is a key area where you will see Canada’s French side at play. Lots of people don’t realize that Canada is a dual-speaking country, but in Quebec City you’ll listen to people speak the pretty language every day, while you at the same time take in the European feel and culture of the destination.
Quebec City is one of the prettiest spots in Canada, and the streets will make you feel like you’re on the other side of the world with their French names (e.g. Rue du Petit Champlain) and the flower boxes on building entryways, painted signs hanging from eves and cast-iron lanterns illuminating walkways.
The fortified Old Quebec area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, too. Wander around its streets and you’ll be in the presence of the towering Chateau Frontenac. This late 19th-century building boasts architecture that makes it look like it has come from the Middle Ages or the Renaissance, yet inside its tall castle walls you’ll find a lush, high-end hotel.
If you’re not able to stay there, at least wander through the public areas and stop for a meal in the restaurant. By doing this, you’ll join the ranks of countless celebrities who have enjoyed the Chateau’s charm over the years, such as Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Grace of Monaco, Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Alfred Hitchcock and King George VI.
See the Hopewell Rocks
Head further east in Canada and you’ll get to the province of New Brunswick. Here you’ll find the Hopewell Rocks, which are well worth adding to your itinerary. This natural attraction is made up of numerous rock formations which all look like sculptures standing in the Bay of Fundy. The rocks were carved out, over thousands of years, by erosion, and can be seen to differing degrees throughout the day and year depending on the tides and time you’re there.
The Hopewell Rocks are one of the biggest tourist attractions in New Brunswick, and are a prime example of Mother Nature’s power and beauty that you have to catch on camera. Check out the spot at low tide, when billions of tons of water empty out of the Bay of Fundy and you can actually walk along the ocean floor. There are all sorts of intriguing coves to explore plus over a mile of beach to walk along. When you’re done, climb the custom-built stairs from the beach up to the nearby interpretative center. Here you can learn more about the Rocks and the geography and history of the Bay of Fundy and its surrounds.