Canada’s islands is overwhelmingly beautiful. From one coast to the other, you will venture through an assortment of exhilarating experiences. Spectacular natural sceneries, exotic wildlife, lush wilderness, vibrant cities, ethnic cultures, delectable epicurean delights at each island – these beautiful nature island spots in Canada are the true hiker’s paradise.
But there’s more… Canada extends your travel experiences to adventure expeditions when you start exploring its pristine collections of Canadian Islands. Located away from the Canadian coasts, these islands of Canada have an enigmatic charm that takes your Canadian holiday experience a notch up, leaving you with remarkable memories.
The charisma of the Canadian Islands has to be visited and experienced to be believed.
Here are our Top 14 selections of Canadian Islands to explore:
1. Vancouver Island – An ultimate Canadian Outdoor Experience
Possibly the most conspicuous island in Canada, Vancouver is distinguished as one of the popular places to see in Canada. For any outdoorsy traveller, Vancouver Island is a treasure trove of activities and experiences.
If you are a beach lover, Tofino welcomes you to laze around at its gorgeous stretches of beaches. Enjoy barefoot leisure, bask in the warm sunshine and splash around in the water here. You can try surfing and challenge the waves as Tofino is also the best surf town in North America. In fact, Tofino is a one stop hot spot in Vancouver Island for all kinds of adventure.
Want to reconnect with nature? There’s abundance of rainforests, marshes, and mountains with an incredibly diverse ecosystem. Keen on spotting some amazing wildlife? You can enjoy a whale watching adventure, watch grizzly bears fishing in the wilderness and view thousands of amazing species of birds.
Craving for some water adventures? There are plenty of water activities to indulge in such as kayaking, fishing, and canoeing. If you need to unwind, there are hot spring coves where you could just dip in and feel your stress melt away.
Vancouver Island is flanked by an impressive snowy mountainous terrain which serves as a perfect location for fantastic skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports activities amid breathtaking vistas. Kootenay Rockies are particularly famous for its powdery white snowy landscapes where you can enjoy heli-skiing. That’s just a gist of some of the things you can do here in Vancouver Island. The art, culture and history scene is fantastic with plenty of art exhibits, museums, and galleries to explore. This islands of Canada is teeming with a myriad of farms, orchards, vineyards, breweries, and an amazing array of restaurants, hotels, and spas to give you the ultimate plentiful yet healthy experience in wine, dine and relaxation.
2. Prince Edward Island – A haven for beach and seafood lovers
Those who are familiar with Lucy Maud Montgomery’s much-admired children’s novel ‘Anne of Green Gables’ would have admired the beautiful dreamlike settings of Prince Edward Island. For those ardent fans, Prince Edward Island is dotted with the attractions related to the fabled tale.
Set in the east of Canada in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Prince Edward Island is not just an island but an entire Canadian province. Those who enjoy blissful days at the beach and love delving on sea food cuisines would fall in love with this Island. Teeming with stunning beaches fringed by jagged red cliffs and lush green mountains, Prince Edward Islands is a great place to experience life like an islander.
Renowned for its fresh farm produces, vineyards, and delicious succulent seafood, Prince Edward Island is rightly known as Canada’s food island. If you are a foodie, this island province will spoil you with its extravagant culinary delights and sea food delicacies, especially lobsters and mussels.
3. Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia – Hiker’s Paradise
Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia is another breathtaking Canadian island that lets you experience a beautiful blend of remarkable nature, history, and culture. It is a paradise for hikers and wanderers who love to explore nature escapes. Cape Breton Highland National Park is a perfect place to bond with nature. The scenery of mountains slowly ebbing away into the sea is simply astounding.
There are around 26 nature trails, of which Cabot Trail and Ceilidh Trail are popular Canada tourist attractions. These picturesque nature trails offer spectacular opportunities for a scenic walk and drive tours. You can head for off-beaten expeditions through verdant forests, come across spectacular waterfalls, and wind up your day with stunning sunsets.
Explore the dramatic panoramas of rolling highlands and coastlines unfold at every curve on a bike ride on Cabot Trail. The best part of bike rides or drive tours is that you can spend as much time gazing at breathtaking views as per your heart’s desire. Truly a hiker’s paradise.
Get on board some incredible outdoor adventure and nature activities in Canada in Winter
Baffin Island is Canada’s largest island located in Canadian Territory Nunavut. Most of the island is set extensively through the Arctic Circle. Its strategic location lets its visitors experience an amazing assortment of unique adventures. Enjoy spotting an exotic collection of wildlife such as polar bears, arctic foxes, bowhead whales, walruses. Step on a floe edge at Arctic Bay, Clyde River, Igloolik, Pond Inlet. Build an igloo and stay overnight in it at Iqaluit.
Pump up your adrenaline with rock climbing at rugged terrain having terrific vertical drops. Gear up for adventure activities at Auyuittuq and Sirmilik National Parks. Spend the night under the gleaming northern lights skies. These are just few of the amazing things you can do in Baffin Islands. Being one of the best Arctic playgrounds in the world, you can only imagine the once in a life time experiences you will witness on your journey.
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5. Haida Gwaii, British Columbia – Exceptional culture and nature vistas
Another beautiful nature spots in Canada is Haida Gwaii. It is a small cluster of islands just off the northern coast of British Columbia in Canada. It comprises of some of the gorgeous island panoramas and indigenous cultures you have ever encountered. Popularly referred as Canada’s Galapagos, Haida Gwaii Islands is one of the best nature reserves in North America teeming with an impressive collection of foliage and wildlife.
These islands of Canada are also culturally enriched and the essence of Haida and Aboriginal culture can be seen in its surroundings and ambiance. Embark on an expedition through rainforests at SGang Gwaay that offers an adventurous trek amid diverse wilderness. Wander around the wildlife to get a glimpse of remarkable heritage works and native totem poles. Haida Gwaii Islands are also a favored spot for surfers as it is the only surf spot in Northern British Columbia.
6. Ellesmere Island – Arctic Wildlife Adventure
Another spellbinding island in Nunavut – Ellesmere Island is a part of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Most of the island’s landmass is covered in glaciers and ice. For those who are keen on venturing into extraordinary adventures, Ellesmere Island is a definite feature in their bucket list. A hike in Quttinirpaaq National Park that has a very close proximity to the North Pole is once in a lifetime opportunity and an unforgettable experience.
The world’s northern most National Park is home to exceptional wildlife such as muskox, ptarmigan, arctic fox and Peary caribou. Hues of blue fading into pristine white dominates the landscape offering picturesque views of majestic snowy mountains, icy glaciers, magnificently chiseled fiords and ice shelves descending into the sea. With much of the island not inhabited and inaccessible, there are very few places that can be visited. But once you have visited Grise Fiord and Quttinirpaaq National Park, every other experience of your life seems underwhelmed. With secluded stillness echoing in its ambiance, Ellesmere islands feels like a surreal realm away from the reality.
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7. Grand Manan Island: Astonishing Island in the Bay of Fundy
Grand Manan is the most populated Fundy Island in Canada. There is a population of at least 2,400 people that reside in this New Brunswick island. This gorgeous island has been the home of many talented and inspiring people such as Pulitzer Prize winner Willa Cather, John Sterling Rockefeller and John James Audubon. These notable people knew the true beauty of this island in Canada. Coastal kayaking, camping, bird watching and hiking are perfect hobbies to take on while visiting Grand Manan.
A view to the Hole in the Wall Park, as well as a hiking trek is a must during a stay in Grand Manan Island. The unique shape that has occurred during rock erosion has created the famous “Hole in the Wall” in Grand Manan. Although cliff camping is no longer permitted, guests can use tents or trailers for traditional camping at the Hole in the Wall Park.
8. Deer Island: Hiking and Biking Quests
Not to be confused with the famous Deer Islands of Maine or Massachusetts, this Deer Island is an island in Canada. It is one of the many Canada islands of the Fundy Isles. A few of the most exciting adventures on Deer Island include whale watching, hiking, kayaking and fishing. The most desirable hiking trails on this Canada Island are at Mount Carleton, Sackville Waterfowl Park, Sugarloaf Bike Park and Fundy Trail Parkway. Climbing, hiking, ziplining and biking are just some of the stimulating outdoor activities to partake in.
This circular island is less than 2 square miles, but it home to stunning birds and stupendous views. This is the perfect place for a devoted bird lover to witness firsthand more than 200 species of birds on 1 island, the Bonaventure island. Some of the special birds one can see on this island are the razorbills, herring gulls, great cormorants, boreal chickadees and black-legged kittiwakes. The numerous hiking trails along this island allows you venture through meadows, forests, flowerbeds and greenery! Unfortunately, there are no lodging areas on this island, which means you will have to leave when the last boat departs. But no sad faces, the view from the mainland of Perce gives you stunning views of Bonaventure Island and Perce Rock.
10. Manitoulin Island: Largest freshwater island in the world
Manitoulin Island is located in Lake Huron, Ontario, Canada. There are many lakes and hidden islands within this enormous hunk of natural beauty. Flowing from the Kagawong River is the Bridal Veil Falls. Once you visit these falls, you will understand exactly why it is named this. Hiking enthusiasts can take the time to trek up the 5-mile trail of M’Chigeeng.
Due to the extremely large size of this island in Canada, there are tons of activities that will grab your attention. Manitoulin Island is a bike lovers’ fantasy. There is an official cycle tourism organization that allows tourists to hit the cycling routes of Manitoulin. The best hiking trails can be found on the Cup and Saucer trail. There is no disputing that the panoramic views atop the cliffs are just breathtaking. Views from the double tract Bebamikawe Memorial Trail will definitely leave you speechless. During the winter months, skiing and snowshoeing is allowed at the Maple Ridge Trails. Limestone ridges, green forests and glacial boulders keep you company during your outdoor venture.
11. Sable Island: Treacherous Island of Sand
Close to 200 miles from Halifax, Nova Scotia is the most mysterious yet interesting isle of Sable Island. This island in Canada was once a place for pirates, outlaws and shipwrecked sailors to spend their nights before fleeing the rough waters! Since the early 1800’s, this island has been witness to hundreds of shipwrecks, treacherous waves and the deaths of many brave sailors. If you want to visit Sable Island, then you need permission from the government!
This sand dune in the shape of an odd smile is home to gray seals, hundreds of horses and a few macho souls. Close your eyes and imagine the Sahara Desert, only will less heat and humidity and that is what Sable Island will look and feel like. Hiking, bird and animal watching and beach-fun are all the activities that this “dangerous” island offers.
12. Jedediah Island: A marine park perfect for Wilderness lovers!
British Columbia, Canada is home to diverse islands and exciting places to explore. Jedediah Island has more than 600-acres of land for guests to travel around, but it is only accessible via boat. The original owners of Jedediah Island were The Palmers and they fought hard to preserve the sites of this stunning island. This island is considered a territorial park, in which it supports tourism, protects nature and historical sites.
Boaters and kayakers should take note to visit this island because it makes for a tranquil kayak ride along Long Bay and many other coves around the island. Other activities that tourists can engage in are canoeing, hiking, fishing and swimming. Camping is totally allowed in this natural sanctuary, even in the winter.
13. Oak Island: The land of buried treasure
It seems that no matter what island you are on, there is always a legend of buried treasure on the island. Since the 18th century, treasure hunters have scavenged the island for “Captain Kidd’s hidden treasure”. This island near Halifax is not open to the public but there are organized tours that allow for weekend visits to give tourists a chance to see the famous “Money Pit”.
14. Private Island: Own or Rent?
If you ever thought of buying your own island or renting one, then why not a Canadian Island? It sounds crazy right? The thought of buying your own island may sound crazy, but think of it as an investment. You can help shape the island into a protective environment for the wildlife, all while hiking in your own backyard. Just to get an idea, there are more than 90 Canada islands for sale/rent.
Let’s be real, most people reading this probably cannot afford to buy their own island, but that shouldn’t stop you from visiting the most beautiful islands in Canada? The islands in Canada on this list are each special and filled with magnificent activities to occupy your trip.
Getting to Canada is fairly easy; all you need to do is get your Canada visa sorted. But planning your Canadian tour can get confusing regarding where to go in Canada and which Canada points of interest to be included in your trip. By adding a few Canadian islands in your holiday itinerary would make a big difference in terms of experiences on your journey. Whichever island you choose to visit, you will be bewitched by its spectacular natural scenery. Be it serene coastlines, snow-peaked glacial mountains, stunning fjords or icy landscapes, every experience will be spellbinding.
The islands of Canada suits all genres of visitors. The adventures on these islands are intense with plenty of activities for thrill-seekers and sports enthusiasts to get involved in. Couples, families and those who seek for leisure vacations find simple joys of life in serene stillness. The delightful splashing in crystal waters, indulging in ethnic cultures and a lip-smacking palette of culinary treats complements your island journey. Whatever experience you have on the Canadian islands will exceed your expectations with memories that stay with you long after you leave.
Canada is one of my favourite top countries for the great outdoors. If you haven’t got enough and are looking for the whole list of top outdoor adventure destinations beyond Canada, here’s introducing to you my Top 15 destinations.