Given the COVID-19 crisis, the word “vacation” may not be sparking as much joy as it usually does for some of us. Many Canadians have been forced to get creative with their vacation plans and cancel trips abroad in favour of destinations within their own provinces or territories. Our recent study, Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Tourism in North America, revealed that:
- 64% of Canadians have changed or cancelled their vacation plans; and
- In the next year, 64% of Canadians plan to take more staycations and explore their local region.
With this in mind, we spoke to our employees from coast to coast and asked them to tell us about their favourite September vacation spots within their own region. Here are some of their suggestions: if you feel comfortable travelling at this time, we hope you are able to enjoy them! If you don’t feel comfortable travelling, check out our article about 5 things to do before fall starts!
If you do travel, don’t forget to check the COVID-19 restrictions in place. We have done our best to focus on outdoor activities to make it easier for you and your travel companions to maintain social distancing. ????
10 GREAT CANADIAN VACATION SPOTS TO TRAVEL TO IN SEPTEMBER
From West to East, here are our recommendations for great Canadian vacation spots to visit! Don’t forget that you can use Love, Hate, Rate on LEO to rate any of the places you visit! We would love to know what you think.
British Columbia: Kelowna
If you travel to Kelowna in early September, you’ll arrive near the end of the hot, dry summer: perfect if you love to spend time outdoors. Check out Lake Okanagan to see if you can spot the legendary Ogopogo sea monster! There are many family-friendly activities to enjoy in Kelowna, as well as more adult-friendly options, like vineyards and excellent local restaurants.
Canmore’s beautiful scenery is less than an hour away from Calgary. Great for outdoor enthusiasts, there are plenty of trails for hiking, walking, and biking (including the popular Ha Ling Peak trail). If outdoor pursuits aren’t your thing, there are plenty of activity options in town, including stocking up on soap at the very first Rocky Mountain Soap Company store.
Saskatchewan: Moose Jaw
Tourism Saskatchewan refers to Moose Jaw as Saskatchewan’s “Destination of Choice,” which makes sense to us, given the variety of activities available! Whether you prefer walking or golfing, drinking tea or eating dessert, taking ghost tours or visiting museums, you’re bound to find something you can enjoy (no matter who you are travelling with!).1
Manitoba: Spruce Woods Provincial Park
Have you ever heard of the Devil’s Punch Bowl? No, it’s not a classic cocktail at one of Manitoba’s most popular restaurants. It’s a beautiful blue-green spring-fed pond located on the Spirit Sands hiking trail, where “underground streams have eroded and collapsed the hills beside the Assiniboine River to create an unusual site.”2 You can find plenty of other unique vegetation on this trail, just watch out for the poison ivy!
Did you know that National Geographic, Frommer’s and Reader’s Digest have named Muskoka “one of the best places to visit in Canada”?3 Muskoka is a beautiful Canadian vacation spot whether you’re taking a trip with friends, your spouse, or your whole family. Pass the days kayaking, fishing, or simply relaxing by one of the pristine lakes.
Northeast of Quebec City, the Charlevoix region is breathtaking when the leaves change. Head outdoors and go whale watching (or for a bike ride or walk along the St. Lawrence river!) or stay inside and explore the numerous galleries or the Musée de Charlevoix. Don’t forget to stop for a bite to eat at one of the unique bistros or fine restaurants!
Nova Scotia: Lunenburg
About an hour’s drive from Halifax, colourful Lunenburg features a beautiful waterfront and lots of historical architecture. In fact, the town is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site: one of only two in Canada.4 Various walking tours are available (check the restrictions before you book), and along the way, there are many local shops and restaurants to explore. Don’t forget to check out the Bluenose II, a perfect replica of the legendary Bluenose ship.
New Brunswick: Bay of Fundy
Among many other things, New Brunswick is known for its seafood. Unfortunately, the Shediac Lobster Festival is cancelled this year due to COVID-19. Still, plenty of New Brunswick restaurants offer delicious seafood options: check out this article by Tourism New Brunswick about the top spots for seafood chowder. Alternately (or in addition), you could take a road trip from the safety of your vehicle to the Bay of Fundy, home to the highest tides in the world.5
Prince Edward Island: Various Locations
If you love music or comedy, you may want to check out the Island Drive-In Festival. This travelling festival (which shows up in different places across the Island until September 11, 2020) features three different films about musicians, comedians, and storytellers from PEI. Best of all, due to the drive-in format, you can enjoy the show from the safety of your vehicle.6 If you’d like to explore outside, you can go swimming near beautiful beaches, go seal-watching, or even go parasailing! There really is something for everyone.
Newfoundland and Labrador: Gros Morne National Park
Hikes, fjords, and sandy beaches: what could be better? Visit the Tablelands for different hikes of varying distances. If you prefer something a little laid back (or if the weather isn’t great), Parks Canada recommends taking route 431 from Woody Point to Trout River for a beautiful scenic drive.7 In September, the road conditions should still be good!
BONUS: EXPLORE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS FROM THE TERRITORIES!
Whether you’re observing them from the Yukon, Northwest Territories, or Nunavut, the northern lights (aurora borealis) are a sight to behold. Did you know that in Canada, they’re most active in the North, and in the Northwest Territories, you can usually see them 240 nights per year?8 Taking a road trip through the picturesque North is an excellent September vacation idea: even if you don’t manage to catch the elusive auroras, you can count on seeing views of beautiful lakes, villages, and/or wildlife.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
As much as we’d love to spend our days exploring Canada from coast to coast, we know that we don’t know everything about all the fantastic places our country has to offer.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE VACATION SPOT IN YOUR PROVINCE/TERRITORY? SHARE IT WITH OTHER LEO MEMBERS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.
Note: LEO is not affiliated with any of the websites, companies, or vacation destinations mentioned in this article.
This post is also available in: Français