Looking to complete your Outdoor Explorer Mission but not quite sure where to start? Let Parks Canada help you out! From the Pacific to the Atlantic and everything in between, you’ll be able to find a great spot to get outside and start exploring…and it’s probably a lot closer than you think!
Check out this list of National Parks that can help you discover the natural world around you.
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1. Gulf Islands National Park Reserve (3hr from Vancouver; 30min from Victoria)
If you’re looking for reefs, seals, and singing shorebirds, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve is the place for you! With 15 islands and one of the most at risk natural regions in south Canada, there’s tons of learning and exploration to be done. To discover the wonders of this beautiful reserve and to learn how to plan your Mission trip, see the Parks Canada website.
2. Banff National Park (1hr from Calgary)
Settled in the slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains lies Banff National Park, Canada’s first ever national park! From glaciers to forests and bighorn sheep to bears, there is a never-ending amount of sights to take in! To learn more about this amazing place, click here.
3. Elk Island National Park (30min from Edmonton)
With some of the best wildlife viewing in North America, Elk Island National Park is a great place to spot animals, both large and little! Hike the trails, get stuck in a bison traffic jam, or watch a beautiful sunrise – there’s year-round adventure waiting for you. Learn about the ample activities offered at Elk Island National Park by clicking here.
4. Riding Mountain National Park (3hr from Winnipeg)
There are endless opportunities to roam this vast prairie parkland and reconnect with the best of Manitoba and Canada. Close your eyes and listen for the rustling footsteps of animals in the woods or hike through the Aspen forest and past the beaver-filled lakes. There is plenty to see and do and you can learn more about it right here!
5. Rouge National Urban Park (within GTA, 45min from Toronto)
Right in the backyard of Ontario’s capital is North America’s largest urban park! There are plenty of sights, sounds & scents for explorers to experience – frogs, flowers, birds and beaches make Rouge Park a definite must-visit. Find out what else Rouge Park has to offer at their Parks Canada website.
6. Fathom Five National Marine Park (4hr from Toronto)
Wander the shorelines, see 400 million year old rocks, view the 43 different species of orchids, or enjoy the company of birds at Fathom Five National Marine Park. One of the best activities is a visit to Flowerpot Island, famous for its rock pillars, rare plants, scenery, hikes and even caves! Click here to help you plan your trip to this impressive marine conservation area.
7. Thousand Islands National Park (1.5hr from Ottawa; 3hr from Toronto)
For a truly unique explorer experience that will be done mostly by boat, plan a trip to Thousand Islands National Park. With over 20 islands, windswept pines, and northern wilderness, Parks Canada works hard to protect the many species that call this place home. By clicking here, you can begin to plan your unforgettable trip.
8. La Mauricie National Park (2hr from Montreal; 2hr from Quebec City)
Lakes and forests are a big part of this natural playground, perfect for those looking to enjoy themselves outdoors. With over 50 species of mammals, 19 species of reptiles and amphibians, extensive aquatic habitats, and over 200 types of birds, there won’t be a single dull moment at La Mauricie National Park! For more information on what you can do during your visit, head to the Parks Canada website.
9. Fundy National Park (1hr from Moncton; 3.5hr from Halifax)
With the world’s largest tides changing twice a day, a visit to Fundy National Park means you can discover the wonders at the bottom of the bay during low tide and the surging excitement at high tide. There are over 25 trails that await you, as well as migrating birds, pristine forests, and even the chance to snorkel with salmon! Make the most of your trip and click here to plan ahead.
10. Kluane National Park and Reserve (2.5hr from Whitehorse)
Nestled in the mountains of the Yukon Territory, Kluane National Park and Reserve has Canada’s highest peak, largest ice field, and even North America’s most diverse grizzly bears! Full of big and tall natural wonders, Kluane is also home to many smaller creatures including marmots, foxes, beavers, and hares. Check out what else Kluane has to offer and start planning your extraordinary visit!