Canada in summer: Best places to visit in Canada in summer
If you’re looking for an amazing summer destination, look no further than Canada! With its endless outdoor activities, beautiful scenery, and friendly locals, you’re sure to have a great time. Whether you’re interested in exploring the vast wilderness or hitting up some of the country’s top tourist destinations, the best places in Canada in summer will delight you!
Canada has some of the world’s most beautiful scenery and a ton of festivals are being held all year round thanks to its multiculturalism.
From the stunning Rocky Mountains in the west to the vibrant cities of Toronto and Montreal in the east, Canada has something for everyone.
Canada in summer welcomes you to many outdoor activities from hiking, and biking, to literary fests by the river banks – everything to make an epic summer vacation!
Canada in summer: Months, temperatures, and more
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Summer is the perfect time to visit Canada! The weather is warm and pleasant, and there are plenty of fun things to do. In this post, we’ll tell you all about the best places to go in summer in Canada as well as some useful travel tips to get your trip ready!
Let’s begin with the basics – months, temperatures, the possibility of rains, etc.
Summer months in Canada: June, July, and August
Now the summertime in Canada is a beautiful thing. The sun is shining, the days are long and the temperatures are perfect for enjoying all that this great country has to offer.
Canadian summers are generally warm or hot but can vary by region.
Summer temperatures: Average high temperatures generally range from 22 to 30 °C (71.6 to 86 °F). In some of the interior destinations, it could also exceed 40 °C (104 °F).
In most of Canada, it reaches its hottest point during July and August when temperatures often exceed 30°C (86°F).
While humidity is at its peak in the summer months, it’s still very comfortable in most regions.
Summers are also a rainy period in Canada. The wettest month is actually in the middle of the summer season in July.
Why visit Canada in the summer? Why Canada is a great place to visit in the summer
There are plenty of reasons to visit Canada in the summertime!
The weather is warm and welcoming, there are tons of outdoor activities to enjoy, and the cities come alive with festivities and special events.
Here are just a few of the reasons why you should visit this amazing country this season.
If you like the outdoors, there are beautiful national and provincial parks with endless hiking trails. Canada is home to different natural wonders like the Rocky Mountains, Athabasca Glacier adventure, the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, to the midnight summer sightings!
Canada’s national parks provide many different activities such as canoeing, kayaking as Lake Louise in Alberta, or Emerald Lake in British Columbia; and camping during the summer months. Canada has many lakes and rivers ideal for swimming.
There are also lots of festivals and great local culture in every city.
Canada celebrates its National Day – Canada Day – on July 1st, every year, and it is one of the biggest celebrations in all of Canada! The festive activities include art shows, food vendors, parades, and live entertainment at several different venues across the country.
Then there are music, food, and literary fests in various provinces and Canadian cities like the Jazz festival in Montreal, the Greek food festival in Toronto, and the literary fest in Saskatoon – lots of things to choose from!
So you see, there’s not a bad thing about Canada in the summer. The only downside is that you’ll want to stay for weeks and months on end!
What to do in Canada in summer?
Canada is a wonder of nature waiting to be discovered. If you’re visiting a big city, check out what festivals are happening during your stay.
Just about every city also has great neighborhoods for walking around in, so take advantage of the lovely patio weather and enjoy local delicacies and festivals!
Toronto in summer
Toronto is one of the most popular destinations in Canada during the summer season. There’s always something going on, from music festivals to film screenings to street art tours.
Here are just a few of the top things to do in Toronto during the summer:
- See the sights of Toronto’s downtown core on a Harbourfront Centre Waterfront Tour. The one-hour water tour lets you go behind the scenes of Toronto’s harbor to learn about its industrial past.
- Stop by St. Lawrence Market for some tasty treats and unique shopping. This market is home to some of Toronto’s best restaurants, so be sure to grab some tasty street food! Or hit the cool Kensington Market
- Take a stroll or bike ride through High Park. This large park has something for everyone, from playgrounds and hiking trails to ponds and gardens.
- Head to Nathan Phillips Square for some people watching and shopping. This popular square is home to a great selection of restaurants and shops, along with weekly events.
- Catch a concert or festival like the TD Toronto Jazz Festival (June), featuring multiple stages with dozens of artists from around the world!
- The popular Caribana festival (Toronto Caribbean Carnival) takes place in July and is a major Caribbean celebration featuring costumes, music, and live concerts over several days.
- The Taste of Danforth Festival is one of the most exciting street festivals in all of Canada. This two-day celebration in August features over a million people walking the streets, enjoying multicultural food and live music.
- The Harbourfront Centre is located right on the shore of Lake Ontario and includes a variety of activities throughout the summertime (like cruises, picnics, and kayaking)
From Toronto, you can also embark on day trips to enjoy the mighty Niagara Falls or Niagara-on-the-Lake vineyards.
At Niagara Falls, you can go ziplining, soak in views from the Skylon Tower, and enjoy a boat tour!
For a laid-back activity, pack a picnic lunch and take a leisurely stroll along the Niagara River Recreation Trail.
The famous annual Shaw Festival takes place in Niagara-on-the-Lake, from April to December. This event brings together theatre performers from around the world, showcasing plays by or in the spirit of George Bernard Shaw.
For epic weekend getaways from Toronto, head to Bruce Peninsula National Park and opt for camping or stay in style in a yurt.
The Canadian Rockies in the summer: Banff National Park & beyond
The Canadian Rockies are home to some of the most spectacular natural landscapes in the world. Summers are a great time to visit for great hiking, camping, and backcountry experience.
It is also an awesome time to enjoy an epic Canadian Rockies road trip when the weather is favorable for a drive, and you get epic views everywhere you go.
Keep in mind, that this is also one of the peak seasons to visit the mountains, so do book your accommodation ahead of time!
Here are just a few of the top things to do when planning your trip:
- Enjoy a road trip from Banff to Jasper National Park via the Icefield Parkway with stops in Lake Louise, admire dramatic mountain peaks, and greet wildlife along the way. Banff is one of Canada’s best national parks for summer sightseeing!
- Visit Banff’s many hiking trails. There are tons of incredible trails around the area, so you’ll never run out of places to explore during your visit!
- Snap photos of Lake Louise. This pristine lake is surrounded by mountains on all sides – so you won’t be able to resist capturing photos of this picturesque destination! You can also go on a hike (Agnes Tea House).
- See the world-famous Banff Springs Hotel. This stunning hotel features jaw-dropping architecture and luxurious suites fit for royalty!
- Wander through Johnston Canyon before going on a guided tour of the Icefields Parkway. This famous drive is home to some of Alberta’s most spectacular mountain views!
- Enjoy a picnic or two by Lake Minnewanka, Two Jack Lake (Banff), or Pyramid and Patricia Lake (Jasper)
- Head to Vermilion Lakes for a leisurely canoe trip.
- Go whitewater rafting along with the Kicking Horse River, perfect for both beginners and experienced rafters.
- Hike around Spray Valley Provincial Park. This park is home to a variety of wildlife, making it a perfect destination for nature enthusiasts during the summer months!
- Make your way to Yoho National Park in British Columbia, and enjoy canoeing on the stunning Emerald Lake.
Camping is one of the best ways to fully appreciate Canada’s wilderness areas.
If you live near or are visiting Calgary, Alberta, then there are several campgrounds that are open year-round where you can enjoy views of some of the most majestic mountains on earth.
Some of Canada’s Rocky Mountain campgrounds open in May and remain open until September or October depending on weather conditions.
Prince Edward Island in summer
Prince Edward Island is one of Canada’s most picturesque provinces – and one of its best-kept secrets!
Here are just a few top things to do on this beautiful island:
- Go on a history walk of Charlottetown, and learn about its past. Visit one of the city’s many local art galleries, then relax over a cup of coffee or ice cream in the downtown area!
- Enjoy fresh oysters at the Tyne Valley Oyster Festival. This festival takes place every July-August in the Tyne Valley on Prince Edward Island.
- Take a day trip to Cavendish National Park. This coastal park features miles of beautiful beaches, making it one of Prince Edward Island’s most popular summer destinations!
Montreal in summer
Montreal is one of Canada’s most vibrant cities. It’s also home to some of the country’s best summer festivals, so you won’t want to miss out on these hot-weather festivities here!
- First off is the incredible Montreal International Jazz Fest (June/July). This world-famous festival features thousands of musical acts, ranging from well-known international stars to local up-and-comers!
- Go on a stroll in Old Montreal, and sit at the Plaza de Armas soaking in the sun!
- Climb up to Mount Royal viewpoint, and watch the sun go down over this beautiful city.
- Enjoy summer festivities and seasonal tours/events at the Old Port of Montreal
- Check out The Just for Laughs Festival (July). This world-famous comedy festival is full of fun, laughter, and big names in standup!
- Join the party at The Formula One Grand Prix race (June). Taking place over three days each summer, this event draws thousands of visitors from around the world!
Halifax in summer
Halifax is a vibrant, historic city with an incredible natural harbor. It also has a strong community spirit and lots of history–from its colonial days all the way up until now!
So naturally, the best way to experience the beauty of Halifax in the summer is by exploring its landmarks. Plus you can also relish fresh seafood at every corner of this amazing city.
- Head to Nova Scotia to enjoy the Halifax International Busker Festival. This top-notch festival has been wowing visitors with its incredible street performers. It runs for six days over Nova Scotia’s Natal Day long weekend at the end of July/beginning of August.
- Take a tour of the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site. This impressive fortress has been standing since 1749, making it one of Canada’s oldest attractions!
- Visit nearby Peggy’s Cove for incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean. This picturesque fishing village is one of Nova Scotia’s most popular attractions, so you’ll need to arrive early to avoid crowded roads.
- Check out Alexander Keith’s Brewery for a taste of Nova Scotia’s finest beer. This brewery is home to one of the oldest brew houses in Canada, so you’ll be able to enjoy quality brews that have been aged to perfection!
Calgary in summer
Calgary is one of Canada’s fastest-growing cities – and for good reason! With so much to see and do, it’s no surprise that Calgary is a great place to spend the summer.
- Check out the Calgary Stampede (second week of July)! This annual rodeo festival draws visitors from all over the world. Join in on daily parades, exciting midway games, and delicious food stalls galore!
- Spend a day at Calgary’s Heritage Park Historical Village. This living history museum features dozens of historical buildings straight out of western Canada’s past.
- Stroll through Prince’s Island Park, Calgary’s most beautiful riverside locale. This incredible city park is the perfect place to spend an afternoon by the river.
- Enjoy Canada Olympic Park attractions. This world-class park is home to one of North America’s most popular ski hills, and hosts a ton of events in the summer as well!
- Visit Calgary Zoo, one of the finest in the province of Alberta
- The annual Calgary Folk Music Festival in July celebrates roots, world, and folk music with artists from around the globe performing on multiple stages across the river. This event is held at Prince’s Island Park! Here you may even find seasonal events and food trucks in and around the RiverWalk area in the summer.
- One of Canada’s largest festivals, GlobalFest in August celebrates worldwide culture with a series of fun family events. This event includes a multi-day international fireworks competition and over 100 different shows and activities!
Victoria in summer
Summer on the west coast of Canada is always a delight. Let’s start with the capital city of British Columbia. Located on Vancouver Island, Victoria is named after Queen Victoria of England, and it is one of Canada’s most beautiful and historic cities!
Here are just a few of the amazing things to do in the summer,
- Take a walk through the ornate Parliament Buildings. You can join a free guided tour, or enjoy a nice picnic or a photoshoot on the grounds!
- Stop by the Empress hotel for a royal afternoon tea
- Head over to the Fisherman’s Wharf and eat some seafood, while enjoying the breeze
- Visit the world-famous Butchart Gardens. This jaw-dropping garden was established over 100 years ago and features an incredible variety of flowers and plants from around the world!
- Go on a whale watching tour from the harborfront of Victoria
From Victoria, you can also drive to Tofino and the Pacific Rim National Park. The drive is for 3.50+ hours, and it is known for its ancient rainforest, marine life, and varied ecosystem. Tofino is great to go surfing!
You can go wine-tasting at the world-famous Okanagan Valley (fly or drive 8+ hours). This massive stretch of southern British Columbia is home to dozens of wineries, guaranteeing a great time for lovers of local vino!
Vancouver in summer
Whether you’re visiting Vancouver for business or pleasure, there’s always something new and exciting to do in the city!
- Wander around Vancouver’s Stanley Park. With 1,000 acres of lush greenery and beautiful landscapes, this is one of the largest parks in North America!
- Bike along the iconic Seawall of Vancouver
- Enjoy the sun and sand at the Kitsilano Beach
- Check out Granville Island for quality shopping and delicious dining options galore.
- Visit the Sun yat Sen Gardens
- Climb the Tree Tops or walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver
- Enjoy hikes at the Lynn Suspension Bridge
- Venture to nearby Grouse Mountain for some of the best views in all of Canada. This picturesque mountain is home to a small ski resort and countless hiking trails – and the view from the top is incredible!
- From Vancouver, Whistler is a 2-hour drive away. In the summer you won’t be able to ski but you can go mountain biking, hiking and enjoy the resort town, making it a perfect family vacation idea!
During the summer months, you can also enjoy music festivals in the city. More information here
Quebec City in summer
Canada is home to some of the world’s oldest and most historically significant buildings, and how about a city with a vibrant European flair?
Here are just a few highlights:
- First, just get lost in the lanes of historic Old Quebec City. The European-style architecture makes this area feel like the streets of Europe, not North America!
- Stand at the impressive Citadelle de Québec in the heart of Old Québec City. A visit to this historic landmark is a must!
- Snap a photo of the iconic Fairmont Le Château Frontenac (this is the world’s most photographed hotel)
- Discover Canada’s rich history at Pointe-à-Carcy. This beautiful historic site features displays about what life was like for early settlers in Québec City, including a typical family home and a village shop.
- Every year in July, Quebec City celebrates an outdoor musical event, called Festival d’été de Québec. It is an 11-day festival that pulls in a lot of crowds and international musicians.
- Located in Quebec City is Montmorency Falls, which is a perfect visit on a warm summer day!
Winnipeg in summer
Winnipeg is home to some of Canada’s most incredible festivals in the summer months, but it also features plenty of scenic attractions and unique things to do!
Here are just a few highlights:
- Spend a sunny afternoon at The Forks National Historic Site. Touring this site will give you a great understanding of how Winnipeg has changed over the years!
- Enjoy the exquisite artwork at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. This gallery is home to over 14,000 pieces of art, making it one of Canada’s biggest galleries!
- Go on a guided tour of the Manitoba Legislative Building. This beautiful building features an incredible dome ceiling and unique architecture that you won’t want to miss out on!
- Stay at The Fairmont Winnipeg hotel. This luxurious hotel is home to incredible amenities, including a spa and fitness center, plus delicious dining options!
- Take part in the celebrations – like the Winnipeg Folk Festival (July), Fringe Festival (July), Red River Exhibition, Íslendingadagurinn, or Icelandic Festival of Manitoba (which takes place in Gimli, an hour from Winnipeg), to name a few.
Saskatoon and nearby areas in Saskatchewan in summer
We lived in Saskatoon for 3.50+ years, and summers in the river valley were beautiful – that’s where we really enjoyed the little joys of life!
Here is what to see and do in Saskatoon and nearby areas,
- The Saskatoon Pride Festival in June is a celebration of all aspects of diversity in the community, welcoming everyone to join in the festivities. The event includes a parade, live entertainment, and plenty of local food!
- Pack your sunscreen and head west for Saskatchewan’s Wanuskewin Heritage Park. This historical site features some of the oldest human settlements in Canada!
- Check out the Saskatoon Exhibition, Saskatchewan’s largest agricultural exhibition. Held every summer, this event features fun activities for all ages!
- Saskatchewan’s arts and literary festival called the Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan begins in early July and runs to late August every summer. This festival is set on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River.
- Taste of Saskatchewan, an annual summer festival of food and fun!
Edmonton in summer
Edmonton is home to many family-friendly summer activities, including Canada’s largest outdoor farmer’s market!
- The Old Strathcona Farmers Market in Edmonton features over 150 vendors selling locally grown fruits and vegetables, artisanal bread, meat products, and much more.
- The Edmonton International Fringe is a 10-day theatre festival that takes place in August/September. With hundreds of shows happening each day at multiple venues, this is the largest Fringe festival in North America!
- The Edmonton International Street Performers Festival (sometimes known as StreetFest) in July is one of Canada’s most unique festivals. This outdoor celebration features over 350 artists performing on Sir Winston Churchill Square in downtown Edmonton! Various forms of street performance art are celebrated throughout the 10-day event (including buskers/busking, dance, comedy, magic, and more)!
Cape Breton Island in summer
Cape Breton is an awesome place to visit in Canada in the summer. Visitors can enjoy hiking in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, swimming at stunning beaches, and biking on Cabot Trail.
Plus, there are lots of events happening in Cape Breton through the summer months!
Cape Breton is located in the province of Nova Scotia.
When in NS, you must visit the Fortress of Louisbourg, a historic site. This restored 17th-century French settlement features some of the oldest preserved buildings in Canada! It is also the first observatory in Canada (to stargaze and enjoy the dark skies in Canada in the winter).
Fundy National Park in summer
Fundy National Park, New Brunswick in the summertime is a sight to behold!
Take in the fresh ocean air and enjoy one of New Brunswick’s many outdoor activities. There are hundreds of kilometers of trails for hiking, biking, or cross-country skiing.
At the end of a long day, relax with a picnic by one of the park’s lovely lakes.
Ottawa in summer
Ottawa offers many different summertime festivals and events.
One of the highlights of summer in Ottawa is the Tulip Festival in May/June. This annual celebration features over a million tulips blooming at Commissioner’s Park, as well as other displays across the city!
- Many people visit Ottawa to take in the lovely scenery from Parliament Hill. Each summer, the Hill hosts a series of concerts and Canada Day celebrations. Visitors can also enjoy tulips, trees, and lovely gardens while taking in some spectacular views!
- The Rideau Canal is another highlight of Ottawa in the summertime. Thanks to the world’s longest skating rink (7.8 km or 4.8 miles), this UNESCO World Heritage Site attracts thousands of visitors each year even in the summer.
- The Ottawa Fringe Theatre Festival in June is a 10 day celebration of theatre!
- The Ottawa Jazz Festival takes place in August. This celebration of music is held for 3 days and features dozens of artists from around the world.
- The Canada Day celebrations are Ottawa’s largest event taking place on July 1st. Locals and visitors alike take to the city for this national holiday to enjoy live entertainment, fun activities, and fireworks over the famous Parliament Hill!
- The Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival takes place in June and features teams paddling their dragon boats to the finish line. This exciting event also includes live entertainment, an international food festival, charitable activities, and more!
Yukon in summer
Many people come to Whitehorse Yukon to enjoy a number of outdoor activities including fishing, canoeing, and swimming. The weather during this time is also optimal for an epic road trip on the Alaska Highway.
The Whitehorse Canada Day Celebration in July/August is one of the biggest events in all of Yukon! This free event features live entertainment, activities for kids, food booths, and fireworks at midnight.
The Yukon River is a wonderful place to go canoeing or for a refreshing swim in the summertime!
A must-visit is the Kluane National Park in summer. It is a true highlight of Canada’s natural beauty. Visitors are able to see wildlife, hike mountain trails and relax in the park’s serene atmosphere!
The Midnight Sun Festival held in June invites visitors to attend a wide range of events including concerts, theatrical shows, sports tournaments, and more.
The Dawson City Music Festival takes place in July every year and showcases North American artists of varying genres.
Yellowknife in summer
Travelers visit Yellowknife year-round but there are plenty of great outdoor attractions during the summer months.
The city features an excellent network of trails that visitors can use for hiking, biking, and walking tours. Hikers are rewarded with great views of the surrounding landscape!
While visiting Yellowknife, don’t miss a chance to travel to and explore Fort Smith! This charming village features friendly locals and lots of outdoor activities including biking, hiking, and camping on the Slave River.
Summertime in the N.W.T. is a wonderful time to experience Canada’s north! Visitors can enjoy great outdoor activities, take part in exciting festivals and events and get a glimpse of local life up north.
What to pack for Canada in summer? Canada Travel Tips
Depending on where your summer is taking you, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes time to pack for your trip.
In the city, you’ll need comfortable clothes and shoes for exploring on foot. You’ll also want appropriate clothing for whatever activities you have planned, such as swimming or hiking.
If your plans include camping, be sure to pack clothing suitable for hiking and cooking over an open fire. And don’t forget the bug spray!
If you’re spending your summer at the cottage, then you’ll need to pack for a mix of activities that include swimming, boating, and maybe hiking.
Along with your regular clothes, be sure to bring sturdy shoes or sandals for wading in the water.
Now, here is what you must pack for Canada in summer,
- Tops (shirts, blouses, etc)
- Dresses and skirts
- Bottoms (pants, shorts, etc)
- Lightweight waterproof jacket
- Light cardigan
- Walking and/or hiking shoes
- Moisture-wicking socks
- Toiletries (sunscreen, cold cream or moisturizer, etc.)
- Electronic essentials
- Travel documents (visa, tour and hotel bookings, insurance, etc.)
All of the items are available on Amazon Prime so they can be at your door in two days or less!
Good To Know:
- Canada’s peak tourist season is in the summer. So expect crowds in popular destinations. We highly recommend booking flights, hotels, and tours ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
- The best time for cottage rental is in July and August when the weather is at its most comfortable.
- You can hang out/eat on the outdoor patio and balconies from June onwards throughout the summer.
- There are farmer’s markets, farm side selling of berries, sunflowers, etc all set up in the summer months for people to enjoy.
- You can easily spend a day exploring Canada’s major cities without once needing to use a car – multiple public transit options are available for getting around conveniently and affordably. Just make sure to keep hydrated and take advantage of washrooms whenever you’re able.
- Before heading out to camp, be sure all your gear is packed and ready to go. This includes items such as sunscreen, bug spray, a flashlight or headlamp (in case the power goes out), toiletries, water bottles, and plates.
- Canada’s major cities are home to a variety of free summer activities! Check out what your city has to offer by searching online or asking at your local library. Concerts, outdoor cinemas, and festivals are all great ways to enjoy summer in the city.
Should you visit Canada in the summer?
Absolutely yes! There’s always something exciting going on in Canada during summertime.
Canada is home to countless incredible summer events and festivals each season. Make the most of your vacation time by attending some fantastic Canadian celebrations in the sun!
Summertime is the perfect time to visit Canada and enjoy all that this great country has to offer. From music festivals, and Canada Day celebrations to outdoor concerts and fireworks displays, there’s always something exciting happening in Canada during the summer months!
So pack your bags and head on over for an unforgettable Canadian vacation experience!