Visiting national parks is a great way to spend time in any city and country. They offer a welcome change from bustling metropolitan cities and show you its unspoiled sceneries. In Canada, the national parks in Ontario welcome millions of tourists who want to appreciate and spend time with nature. Canadian national parks, like most national parks, are also famous for being a refuge of a plethora of plant and animal species. Additionally, they are under the protection of the law and are maintained or restored to keep their ecosystem healthy and thriving. Both a tourist attraction and natural wonder, national parks are definitely worth visiting.\r\nFrom mountain ranges, forests, and tundra to glacier parks and pristine lakes, here\u2019s a rundown of the best and must-visit Canadian national parks!\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\nHow Many National Parks Are There in Canada?\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by clement fusil on Unsplash\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThere are about 38 Canadian national parks, 10 national park reserves, and 1 national urban park. As compared to a national park, a national park reserve is a protected area that hasn\u2019t been brought under federal jurisdiction. Reasons include, but are not limited to, aboriginal rights and other matters. \r\nThe first national park is Banff Park, established in 1885 through an order to reserve a portion of the land at Cave and Basin National Historic Site to prevent it from being used for commercial or private development. Since then, the country would establish several national parks under the Canada National Parks Act. The goal of the system was to set aside lands that represent Canada\u2019s different natural regions and ecosystems. Additionally, the goal of the national parks system was to let the public visit, explore, and learn about Canada\u2019s wonders of nature.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\nMust-Visit Canadian National Parks\r\n1. Banff National Park\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by jr_jurassic on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLocation: Alberta\r\nYear Established: 1885\r\nBanff National Park is one of the most beautiful Canadian national parks with its lakeside view a staple in postcards and in social media. It is also the country\u2019s oldest national park and the world\u2019s third oldest after Yellowstone National Park in America and Royal National Park in Australia. Established in 1885, the park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks. The national park is one of Canada\u2019s top tourist destinations all year round, providing plenty of activities no matter the season. Its turquoise lakes, sprawling meadows, thick forests, and snow-frosted peaks are a sight to behold. \r\nThings to Do\r\n\r\n\tTry Nordic skiing at The Big Three (Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise, and Mt Norquay)\r\n\tTake a dip at Banff Upper Hot Springs\r\n\tGo wildlife seeing and spot elks, wolves, and foxes\r\n\tEnjoy different winter activities\r\n\tHop on a gondola and see majestic views of the mountains\r\n\r\nBest Time to Visit\r\nThe best time to visit Banff National Park entirely depends on your itinerary, but December to March and June to August offer the best weather and tourism opportunities. June to August draws in more crowds because of the weather so be sure to secure lodging in advance.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n2. Gros Morne National Park\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by C1ri on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLocation: Newfoundland and Labrador\r\nYear Established: 1973 \r\nGros Morne National Park is one of the Canadian National Parks that is also a World Heritage Site. It boasts a variety of landforms and bodies of water: from granite mountains, fjords, beaches, and waterfalls. The national park is also famous for its Tablelands, a mountain that contains rocks that are said to have originated from the Earth\u2019s mantle. Aside from this unique geological feature, Gros Morne\u2019s other highlights include the Gros Morne Mountain, Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse, and Western Brook Pond.\r\nThings to Do\r\n\r\n\tTake a boat tour to Western Brook Pond\r\n\tGo on a multi-day trek to Gros Morne Mountain\r\n\tVisit Cow Head Lighthouse \r\n\tGet a chance to see the Tablelands\r\n\tKayak across the waters of Trout River Pond\r\n\r\nBest Time to Visit\r\nSeptember and October are generally the best months to visit Gros Morne National Park. The summer crowds would\u2019ve been gone by then, so you can enjoy the cooler weather and quiet environment.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n3. Bruce Peninsula National Park\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Luke Smith on Unsplash\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLocation: Ontario\r\nYear Established: 1987 \r\nIn Ontario, you can find one of the best Canadian national parks: Bruce Peninsula National Park. With a land area of 154 kilometers, it is one of the largest protected areas in southern Ontario. It is also part of the UNESCO-listed Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve, offering plenty of opportunities for hiking, camping, and bird watching. In addition, red foxes, black bears, porcupines, and coyotes inhabit the park. For travelers staying overnight, there are several vistas at Bruce Peninsula National Park that offer sunset or sunrise views.\r\nThings to Do\r\n\r\n\tSee the Grotto at the Georgian Bay\r\n\tWalk along Bruce Trail, the oldest and longest footpath in the country\r\n\tSwim at Lake Huron\r\n\tGo kayaking or canoeing at Cyprus Lake\r\n\tTry bouldering at Halfway Log Dump\r\n\r\nBest Time to Visit\r\nMarch to May and September to November are the best times to visit the national park. In summer, access to the grotto may be limited and parking and camping spaces tend to be full.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n4. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Jenifoto on Adobe Stock\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLocation: British Columbia\r\nYear Established: 1970 \r\nIf you\u2019re staying in Vancouver, don\u2019t miss a trip to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve! Similar to the weather in Vancouver, the weather at this national park reserve is wet. However, this helps keep the forests rich and green. Pacific Rim is a hiker\u2019s paradise, boasting plenty of hiking trails including the West Coast Trail, a backcountry trail used by survivors of shipwrecks. Overall, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is a great place to visit if you want to discover and enjoy Canada\u2019s rainforests and pristine coastal beaches. \r\nThings to Do\r\n\r\n\tCatch wave and surf at Long Beach\r\n\tWalk along the many nature trails and hikes\r\n\tLearn about the culture of the First Nation at Kwisitis Visitor Centre\r\n\tRelax at Combers Beach\r\n\tJoin interpretive walks led by expert guides\r\n\r\nBest Time to Visit\r\nIt\u2019s best to plan your visit to Pacific Rim National Park from June to July. The West Coast Trail is open during those months and there are several festivals and notable events. For those planning on storm-watching, plan your visit from October onward.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n5. Cape Breton Highlands National Park\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Tobias Negele on Unsplash\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLocation: Nova Scotia\r\nYear Established: 1936\r\nCape Breton Highlands National Park is one of the Canadian national parks that feature different environments. Located near the Atlantic Ocean the park features tundra-like landscapes along with coastal cliffs and boreal forests. The park is also where you can find most of Nova Scotia\u2019s Canadian lynx and the North Atlantic right whale. Its 26 hiking trails are a favorite among visitors and even allows you to view and appreciate the scenery without leaving your car! The harmony of the ocean, forest, and mountain ecosystems and its spectacular hikes make it one of the best national parks in the country.\r\nThings to Do\r\n\r\n\tHike at one of the 26 hiking trails\r\n\tBike around Cabot Trail, one of the world\u2019s best cycling routes\r\n\tGo wildlife spotting and find different mammals, birds, and reptiles\r\n\tTake a dip at the waters of Warren Lake or Ingonish Beach and Freshwater Lake\r\n\tEnjoy a game of golf at Highlands Links Golf Course\r\n\r\nBest Time to Visit\r\nFor hikers, the best time to visit Cape Breton Highlands National Park is from May to November. On the other hand, plan your visit in the early summer if you want to go birdwatching. Visitors can enjoy warm weather for swimming and beach activities in July and August.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n6. Waterton Lakes National Park\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by korkeakoski on Adobe Stock\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLocation: Alberta\r\nYear Established: 1895\r\nThe prairie lands of Alberta meet the rugged landscapes of the Rocky Mountains at Waterton Lakes National Park! It also borders America\u2019s Glacier National Park in Montana. As its name suggests, there are numerous lakes within the park, perfect for swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and more. But aside from its lakes, you can also find towering waterfalls and rushing streams dotted with different wildflowers. The small town of Waterton Park also provides a great starting point for first-time visitors. Get a chance to see a wide variety of flora and fauna as you discover and explore the beauty of this park. \r\nThings to Do\r\n\r\n\tExplore the park on a bicycle\r\n\tTry stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking at the lakes\r\n\tGo on a boat tour around Waterton Lake\r\n\tChase waterfalls or go hiking along its trails\r\n\tHave afternoon tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel\r\n\r\nBest Time to Visit\r\nFor the best weather conditions, plan your trip from May to September. Peak tourist season is in June and August so make sure to avoid long weekends and holidays if you\u2019ll visit during these months.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n7. Forillon National Park\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Andreas Prott on Adobe Stock\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLocation: Quebec\r\nYear Established: 1970 \r\nForillon National Park is the perfect playground for land and marine-based adventurers, offering various activities in its 244 kilometers of land. It is also one of the Canadian national parks that protect different ecosystems: from rivers and marshes to farms and prairies. About 225 bird species can be found in the park along with different mammal species and 700 local flora normally found in alpine environments. With its diverse environment, one can enjoy many things to do at Forillon National Park!\r\nThings to Do\r\n\r\n\tEnjoy cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in winter\r\n\tSpot whales on a whale-watching cruise\r\n\tKayaking and other water activities at Gasp\u00e9 Bay\r\n\tWatch the sunrise from Cap-Bon-Ami\r\n\tGlamping or camping\r\n\r\nBest Time to Visit\r\nThe best time to visit Forillon National Park is during summer when the coastal weather is at its best. You can also enjoy the wildflowers in bloom and the beach is accessible. Most trails are also open in summer, although make sure to avoid weekdays and long weekends due to the crowd.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n8. Prince Edward Island National Park\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Pravakar Thapa on Adobe Stock\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLocation: Prince Edward Island\r\nYear Established: 1937 \r\nPrince Edward Island National Park features postcard-worthy shores, red sandstone cliffs, and charming lighthouses. If you\u2019re looking to spend time in the coastal areas, Prince Edward Island National Park is the best choice. Almost every angle of the national park is picturesque: from its lighthouses, seaside views, and the iconic Green Gables from the beloved children\u2019s book, Anne of Green Gables. Unlike other Canadian national parks that cater to adventurous travelers, this national park has a laid-back vibe to it. Families with young children will definitely love staying here, especially in the summer.\r\nThings to Do\r\n\r\n\tWalk along the coast and admire the views\r\n\tVisit the Green Gables Heritage Place\r\n\tFollow the Cavendish Dunelands Trail\r\n\tKayak or canoe across the Gulf of St. Lawrence\r\n\tGo camping and stargazing\r\n\r\nBest Time to Visit\r\nFor beach lovers, the best time to visit Prince Edward Island National Park is during July and August when the weather is calm. On the other hand, travelers who want to enjoy the quiet atmosphere of the park, plan to visit during spring and fall. You can still enjoy hiking, camping, kayaking, and other activities minus the crowd.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n9. Fundy National Park\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Prashanth Bala on Adobe Stock\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLocation: New Brunswick\r\nYear Established: 1948 \r\nFind the world\u2019s highest tides at Fundy National Park in New Brunswick. The park boasts a rugged coastline and more than 25 waterfalls. During the low tide, visitors can walk around the ocean floor and find different sea creatures. Meanwhile, the ocean floor disappears under 50 feet of saltwater during the high tide. Enjoy hiking at its 25 hiking trails and paths while other amenities include a golf course, saltwater swimming pool, and campgrounds. Although Fundy National Park is open throughout the year, visitors are encouraged to take precautions when visiting in winter.\r\nThings to Do\r\n\r\n\tFollow the different hiking trails\r\n\tSee the spectacular Dickson Falls, Third Vault Falls, and Laverty Falls\r\n\tWalk along the ocean floor during the low tide\r\n\tGo cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or tobogganing in winter\r\n\tStay overnight and watch the stars\r\n\r\nBest Time to Visit\r\nThe best time to visit Fundy National Park is from June to August due to its weather. There are also fewer chances of stubborn fog that hinders wildlife viewing and other outdoor activities. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n10. Kluane National Park and Reserve\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Kalen Emsley on Unsplash\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLocation: Yukon\r\nYear Established: 1993\r\nFor avid hikers, Kluane National Park is arguably one of the must-visit Canadian National Parks! Its national park and reserve\u2019s claim to fame is that it boasts 17 of the country\u2019s 20 highest mountains, including Mount Logan, the tallest in the country. But aside from the 5,959-meter tall Mount Logan, you can enjoy other outdoor activities at the park. Try flightseeing, a unique activity that lets you hop on a helicopter and view Mount Logan from a closer point of view. You can also go camping, rafting, and bird watching.\r\nThings to Do\r\n\r\n\tSee Mount Logan from a different perspective on a flightseeing excursion\r\n\tCamp overnight at the Icefield Discovery base camp\r\n\tGo kayaking or motorboating at Kathleen Lake\r\n\tGet a chance to see different bird species on a birdwatching trip\r\n\tEnjoy different winter activities like ice fishing, snowshoeing, and skiing \r\n\r\nBest Time to Visit\r\nAlthough Kluane National Park is a good destination throughout the year, the best time to visit is in summer from mid-June to September. Take note that although winter conditions are present, the weather is relatively warmer and you can enjoy outdoor activities.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n11. Jasper National Park\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Caleb White on Unsplash\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLocation: Alberta\r\nYear Established: 1907 \r\nAs the largest national park in Alberta's Rocky Mountains, Jasper National Park is the best destination for all kinds of outdoor activities. This is also the best place to see and experience the Rocky Mountains with its extensive hiking and biking network. Jasper National Park also boasts its distinction of being the second-largest dark sky preserve in the world. From majestic glaciers, towering mountains, and rugged landscapes, it is one of the most beautiful Canadian national parks.\r\nThings to Do\r\n\r\n\tGo stargazing and take photos of the night sky\r\n\tTake the Jasper SkyTram for panoramic views of the park\r\n\tSee the breathtaking Athabasca Falls\r\n\tVisit Maligne Lake, the second-largest glacier-fed lake in the world\r\n\tExplore the park on a hiking or biking trip\r\n\r\nBest Time to Visit\r\nBecause of its range of outdoor activities, it\u2019s safe to say that Jasper National Park is a great destination no matter the month. However, the best time to enjoy the mild weather and activities minus the crowd is from March to May and September to November. The months of June to August are the busiest, with thick crowds looking to bask under the warm, summer weather.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n12. Yoho National Park\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Sonyuser on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLocation: British Columbia\r\nYear Established: 1886 \r\nWith its alpine lakes, jagged mountain peaks, and deep waterfalls, Yoho National Park is one of the most beautiful Canadian National Parks. It lies between the border of Alberta and British Columbia and makes a great day trip from Calgary. In addition, it is home to the picture-perfect Lake O\u2019Hara and Burgess Shale, one of the oldest fossil beds in the world. This is the best national park for nature lovers as it gives you an opportunity to enjoy just about anything and everything that Mother Earth has to offer. Go hiking, walk to the lake, discover the fossils, chase waterfalls \u2014 that\u2019s only some of the things you can do here!\r\nThings to Do\r\n\r\n\tJoin a guided hike to Burgess Shale and see ancient fossils\r\n\tSee different waterfalls\r\n\tTake a bus to Lake O'Hara\r\n\tCamp at the four different campgrounds\r\n\tMarvel at the Natural Bridge\r\n\r\nBest Time to Visit\r\nThe best time to visit Yoho National Park depends on what you want to do. For road trips and quick day hikes, visit in autumn when the foliage is a breathtaking sight. Spring is the best time to visit as the snow melts and you can see the waterfalls in full force. If you want to visit without the crowds, avoid visiting from July to August.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n13. Elk Island National Park\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Bob on Adobe Stock\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLocation: Alberta\r\nYear Established: 1913 \r\nFrom Edmonton, Elk Island National Park is one of the most accessible Canadian national parks. The park was initially created as a sanctuary for elks, but it also became part of the conservation of the bison. Elk Island National Park is also a wildlife enthusiast\u2019s paradise, home to over a hundred bird species as well as other animals like black bears, deers, porcupines, and coyotes. Visiting Elk Island National Park is perfect if you\u2019re looking for a quick trip away from the city. \r\nThings to Do\r\n\r\n\tGo wildlife spotting\r\n\tHike Lakeview Trail and see Astotin Lake\r\n\tJoin different interpretive programs\r\n\tWalk along Living Waters Boardwalk and go birdwatching\r\n\tEnjoy a relaxing afternoon picnic\r\n\r\nBest Time to Visit\r\nIf you want to see the bison, plan your trip in July and August during the rutting period. On the other hand, visit during the autumn or in spring to enjoy the tranquil environment without the summer crowds. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n14. Thousand Islands National Park\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by jiawangkun on Adobe Stock\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLocation: Ontario\r\nYear Established: 1904\r\nAlthough Thousand Islands National Park is one of the smallest national parks in the country, it is surely worth visiting. The park features more than 20 small, granite islands as well as hundreds of inlets and bases that house marshlands and forests. You can explore these islands on a paddleboat as you find charming lighthouses, Victorian-style houses, and an abundance of wildlife. For a less tedious option, you can opt for a boat tour.\r\nThings to Do\r\n\r\n\tEnjoy a picnic at the riverside\r\n\tGo on a helicopter tour of the islands\r\n\tCamp on an island\r\n\tJoin a kayaking tour around the islands\r\n\tHike Mallorytown Landing\r\n\r\nBest Time to Visit\r\nSeptember to October is the best time to enjoy the scenery and weather. The bright hues of red, orange, and gold paint a breathtaking scenery as you paddle, kayak, or cruise your way through the island. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n15. Mount Revelstoke National Park\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by email@example.com on Flickr\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLocation: British Columbia\r\nYear Established: 1914\r\nAlthough Mount Revelstoke National Park isn\u2019t as big as most Canadian national parks, it packs plenty of scenery and activities. It is also part of the Canadian Pacific Railway along with other national parks like Yoho, Banff, and Glacier. Visitors can find temperate rainforests at Mount Revelstoke aside from rugged mountains. In addition, grizzly bears, red foxes, coyotes, timber wolves, and other animals find refuge at the national park. With a diverse environment, there are various activities offered throughout the seasons at Mount Revelstoke National Park.\r\nThings to Do\r\n\r\n\tWalk through the rainforest in summer\r\n\tTake a drive along the Meadows in the Sky Parkway\r\n\tHike to the top of Mount Revelstoke\r\n\tAdmire the views from Nels Nelsen Hill\r\n\tVisit Eva Lake\r\n\r\nBest Time to Visit\r\nThe best time to visit Mount Revelstoke National Park is in August when the wildflowers are in bloom. This is also when you can enjoy driving or biking across Meadows-in-the-Sky Parkway without the summer crowds. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nVisit the Beautiful Canadian National Parks\r\nHome to some of the world\u2019s oldest parks, Canada is a treasure trove of these protected areas. They offer you the best and most unique of the region\u2019s different ecosystems: from vast tundras and lush forests to sprawling farmlands. You can also get a glimpse of how life was years ago by viewing the fossils or by visiting different heritage sites and national monuments.