Canada’s most incredible national parks

Erin Van Der Meer

If your'e a lover of natural beauty make sure to add Canada's national parks to your bucket list!

But as the second largest country in the world geographically, deciding which national park to visit is just a little overwhelming.

So from British Columbia in the west to Nova Scotia in the east, we’ve picked the parks so photogenic your Instagram likes will skyrocket when you post your holiday pics. Priorities!

Banff National Park

When you see a photo of a turquoise Canadian lake surrounded by dramatic mountains, chances are it was taken in Banff, Alberta, outside Calgary.

Picturesque Banff National Park is a must for anyones bucket list. Source: Instagram/ vancitywild

Smack bang in the middle of the Canadian Rockies, Banff is home to jewel-coloured lakes including Lake Winnewaka, which is so beautiful it’ll take your breath away (that could also be from the hiking though) and Lake Louise, another spot where you won’t want to put your camera down.

Banff does get crowded in summer (June – August) so visit in a shoulder season if you want to feel like you’ve got it all to yourself.

Located in the middle of the Canadian Rockies, Banff is home to jewel-coloured lakes including Lake Winnewaka. Source: Instagram/ silver944t

Waterton Lakes National Park

Part of the Rockies but further south on the border with the US, Waterton National Park is perfect for people that hate crowds.

Its location in the south-west of the country means it attracts less visitors than Banff, but it offers equally mind blowing scenery and wildlife, and is loved by hikers, mountain bikers and just anyone who hates it when another traveller walks into their shot.

A little less crowded, yet just as mind blowing is Waterton Lakes National Park. Source: Instagram / @watertonlakesnationalpark

Yoho National Park

You might recognise Yoho National Park from the default screensaver on your computer – the place is an outrageously beautiful nature landscape at every turn.

Yoho National Park located in the British Columbia wilderness. Source: @irereen

Located in the stunning wilderness of British Columbia, every nature freak should have the UNESCO World Heritage Site on their bucket list. Within Yoho’s 318,519 acres don’t miss the still, bright blue-green water of aptly named Emerald Lake, which is perfect for kayaking along and looking up at the rocky peaks and glaciers.

Within easy driving distance from there is the not-to- be-missed Takakkaw Falls.

Takakkaw Falls is another natural treasure that is in easy driving distance from Yoho National Park. Source: Instagram/ @ashleychompz

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Grasslands National Park

The wide open plains of Grasslands National Park in the state of Saskatchewan is a completely different experience to mountainous Banff, Waterton or Yoho, proving just how diverse Canada’s landscapes can be.

Here you can see groups of bison and buffalo roam across the windswept fields, but the biggest drawcard is the stargazing. Grasslands is a Dark Sky Reserve, an area kept free of artificial light pollution, so the star-filled night sky is probably unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

If you’re one of those adventurous types, you can bring your own tent and camp out under the stars, and roast marshmallows and all that cute stuff.

Visit the windswept fields of Grasslands National Park. Source: Instagram/ @vegabondpapa

Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Just off the northern tip of Nova Scotia in Canada’s south-east, Cape Breton Highlands National Park is the place for ocean lovers with its jaw-dropping driving
and hiking routes that take in the North Atlantic Ocean.

You could spend several days driving the Cabot Trail, stopping to enjoy the various scenic trails and lookouts.

There’s also the chance of spotting whales swimming by year-round.

For a jaw-dropping drive explore the Cabot Trail at Cape Breton Highlnads National Park. Source: Instagram/ jessnivea

Fathom Five National Marine Park

Fathom Five is the perfect option for those looking to get their nature hit closer to the metropolitan centres of Toronto or Ottawa.

A little under four hours’ drive from Toronto and the perfect size for a day trip, this astonishingly unique coastal spot offers unusual rock formations akin to Australia’s Twelve Apostles (okay, they’re not quite as big as the Twelve Apostles, but you get the idea) and 22 shipwrecks for scuba divers to explore.

Wondering why there are so many damn shipwrecks?

The jagged coastline was difficult for captains to navigate back in the day and if arriving in the dark, a ship was almost certain to end up on the ocean floor. A tragedy at the time, but hey, at least today they’re getting put to good use as a diver’s paradise.

Perfect for a day trip, Fathom Five offers unique coastal rock formations that are a natural wonder. Source: Instagram/_ngan.pham

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