10 Things To Do On A Summer Vacation To Canada

Summer is many Canadians’ favorite season – after a long hard winter and a virtually non-existent spring, it’s a season of soaking in the sunshine, socializing in backyards, and enjoying the great outdoors. Of course, it’s also many tourists’ preferred season, too. But what is there to do in Canada in summer?

When visiting Canada during summer (late June to mid-September), these are some of the top things to experience on a vacation to this beautiful and adventurous country in North America.

10 Go Hiking In The Canadian Rockies

Wooden boardwalk trail through flat marshland with mountains in the background
Photo by Mike Cheshire on Unsplash

Hiking trail near Canmore, Alberta 

The Canadian Rockies straddle Canada’s two westernmost provinces, Alberta and British Columbia. This region is one of the best places in Canada to visit in summer; it offers some of the most picturesque landscapes in the country and is where travelers will find incredible national parks, including Banff National Park (home to a town center and park), Jasper National Park (which also offers superb places to stay), and the famous Yoho National Park.

  • Top Hiking Trails In The Canadian Rockies To Try
    : Big Beehive, Larch Valley Trail, Wilcox Pass, Joffre Lakes Trail

9 Stay At A Cottage In Muskoka, Ontario

Muskoka chairs by a firepit overlooking trees and a lake
Photo by henry fournier on Unsplash

Cottage in Muskoka, Canada, with chairs by the water 

In Ontario, a popular summer pastime is heading to the cottage in the Muskoka region, just a couple of hours north of Toronto. Muskoka cottage country can be expensive, so be sure to book a rental on Airbnb or Booking.com well before a summer visit. Once at the cottage, time is spent swimming in the lake, canoeing, boating, fishing, hiking, and barbecuing.

8 Go Stand Up Paddle Boarding In Lake Ontario

Man in blue shorts on a green SUP
Photo by Andrea Junqueira on Unsplash

Man on a stand up paddle board in a lake 

Travelers spending time in the city of Toronto on a summer visit to Canada can cool down by getting out on Lake Ontario. Although not the best lake for swimming, it’s a vast body of water that is perfect for activities like stand-up paddle boarding (or SUP for short). There are plenty of beaches in the city where renting these boards and taking lessons is possible.

  • The Best Beaches In Toronto:
    Woodbine Beach, Hanlan’s Point Beach, Sunnyside Beach

7 Go On A Carriage Ride Through Old Montreal

historic street with pink flowers and brown buildings
Photo by Beverly Castro on Unsplash

Summer in Old Montreal 

A carriage ride through town is one of the best ways to discover Old Montreal; it’s ideal for seeing the city or enjoying a romantic summer evening with one’s significant other. Visitors should reserve a carriage online in advance and book the length of the tour suitable for the group. Carriages can hold up to 4 guests at a time and prices vary for durations of 60-minute rides up to 180-minute rides.

  • Old Montreal Carriage Ride Cost (for groups of up to 4 people):
    From $259 plus tax

6 Hit The Beach At The Toronto Islands

The Toronto Skyline from Ward's Island 
Photo by Baraa Dukhan on Unsplash

The Toronto Skyline from Ward’s Island 

The Toronto Islands are a group of 15 small islands in Lake Ontario. Travelers can reach the islands by ferry from downtown Toronto’s harborfront at the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal. The main islands to visit are Ward’s Island, Hanlan’s Point, and Centre Island. For families with kids, Centre Island offers the most fun with a child-friendly amusement park and activities. Ward’s Island has a charming view of the Toronto city skyline and great beaches, as does Hanlan’s Point.

Related: The Ultimate Travel Guide To Toronto: When To Go, Budgeting, Foodie Tips & More

5 Go Camping In Algonquin Park, Ontario

Blonde woman in a red plaid shirt paddling a canoe
Photo by Suzanne Rushton on Unsplash

Woman canoeing in Algonquin Park, Ontario 

Travelers spending time in Ontario during the summer won’t want to miss out on a camping trip to Algonquin Park, which offers plenty to do and see. Visiting this provincial park is one of the best things to do in summer in Canada; it’s huge, spanning 7,635 square kilometers, and is home to dense forests, bogs, freshwater lakes, hiking trails, and many campsites.

  • The Best Campgrounds In Algonquin To Book:
    Canisbay, Two Rivers, Pog Lake, Kearney Lake, Racoon Lake, Tea Lake, and Mew Lake

4 Rent A Canoe At Lake Louise, Alberta

People canoeing on Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada
Photo by Giordana Provenzano on Unsplash

People canoeing on Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada

Another reason to visit Banff National Park during the summer is for the chance to get out on the unbelievably turquoise glacial waters of Lake Louise. This lake is always busy on the shore, in any season, with tourists taking photos. However, by renting a canoe and paddling out into the middle of the water, there is a chance to experience a new perspective and feel like you’re alone in this gorgeous place.

Related: Summer Is Coming: Time To See Canada’s Banff & Yoho National Parks

3 Attend A Music Festival In A Park

three women sitting in the grass watching a show
Photo by Aranxa Esteve on Unsplash

A summer music festival in a park

Music festivals are a big part of summer in many of Canada’s major cities, from Toronto to Montreal to Vancouver. Plan a trip with some friends to spend a few days in one of these cities enjoying great food, music, and good vibes while lounging on the grass at the park venues.

  • Some Of The Best Music Festivals In Canada This Summer:
    Vancouver Folk Music Festival (Jericho Beach Park), Veld Music Festival (Downsview Park), and Osheaga Music and Arts Festival (Parc Jean-Drapeau).

2 Cruise The Cabot Trail

open highway with sunset
Photo by Albert Laurence on Unsplash

Sunset on the Cabot Trail 

Travelers who find themselves on the east coast of the country this summer should add cruising the Cabot Trail to their Great Canadian Summer bucket list. The Cabot Trail is a scenic highway on Cape Breton Island that offers scenic views and lots of exciting stops along the route. All in all, road-tripping this trail is one of the best things to do in Canada in summer for those with a sense of adventure.

Related: Vacationing In Canada This Summer? 10 Places To Consider

1 Tour A Winery In Canada

Winery in the Okanagan Valley, BC
Photo by Kym Ellis on Unsplash

Winery in the Okanagan Valley, BC

Whether in Niagara, Ontario, or the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, a winery tour and tasting is the perfect summer activity in Canada. Many of the wineries in Niagara specifically are dog-friendly, allowing travelers who have their furry friends with them to enjoy a day of fun that includes everyone. Schedule tours and tastings at popular wineries in advance to ensure you get the experience and time slot you desire during peak season.