Showcasing stunning mountain ranges, phonemical glaciers, unique, untamed wildlife, world-class ski resorts, iconic railroads and more – the ‘Great White North’ is the adventure destination of a lifetime.
Endless steppes of snow overlooked by majestic mountains beneath a sapphire blue sky, the wild top end of North America is a truly breathtaking region. The whole destination remains an undiscovered gem for travellers, rugged and marvellous it calls to those with a love for nature and a sense of adventure.
Perched at the very top of the continent, the United States’ largest state still remains an untamed wilderness, fierce and beautiful. It is the perfect destination for adventure lovers with innumerable hikes, mountain trails, caves and rivers to explore. Ancient glaciers glint majestically, as snow-mantled mountains soar into the cerulean sky. The deep harbours and frontier towns welcome visitors with open arms, eager to reveal their riches.
Travel around the wild state can be difficult and often requires seaplan access crossing the interior. Expedition cruises are one of the best ways to cover all the highlights.
Along the water you can visit incredible heritage towns like Sitka; the historic capital of Russia’s Alaskan empire and Juneau, the site of three of the largest colonial gold digs in the world and a tourist must see for close to 200 years. You can also visit uniquely Alaskan towns like Ketchikan, the ‘Salmon Capital of the World’ as well as Wrangell one of Alaska’s oldest settlements and the heart of the historic fur trade that drew so many enterprising settlers to the white state.
Aside from the historic towns that are spread along the coastline, exploring Alaska by sea also gives you unprecedented access to the breathtaking natural wonders that set Alaska apart. A must visit on any itinerary is the awe-inspiring Hubbard Glacier. This immense frozen goliath is over ten kilometres wide and towers above one hundred and twenty metres in the air.
As your ship glides the past, you’ll be able to hear the symphony of creaks and groans as it makes its slow march into the sea. If you’re lucky you may even get to see a huge chunk of ice break off and fall with a thunderous sound into the bay. Due to the nature of the site, ground tours aren’t available so jumping onboard a boat is an absolute must.
If it is the natural wonders that have drawn you to Alaska then the next stop off has to be the frontier town of Icy Strait where you can stroll through pine trees as tall as skyscrapers, see humpback whales, eagles, wild salmon, black bears and more in a vibrant natural setting of the hinterlands.
If you still haven’t quite found your sea legs, there is a number of adventurous land bound itineraries that will take you through some of the best-landlocked sites. One of the must visit areas is the Kenai Peninsula famous for housing the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Centre. This is where injured or orphaned animals are brought to recuperate in a natural setting and makes for one of the best wildlife photo opportunities in Alaska. Nearby is also the famous Redoubt Bay bear sanctuary where you can glimpse iconic moments of bears snatching wild salmon right from the fast running water.
Make the most of the long days and the best weather by travelling between June and September during this time the days are long (19 hours of daylight in June) and nature is in full bloom. Sadly, the weather in this part of the world isn’t predictable. During the summertime, days can be pleasantly warm, even hot, but this can be followed in equal measure by rain, fog and then sun again.
From the coastline of Alaska, it is not far to go until you cross the border into Canada. While the eastern half of the country offers breathtaking experiences like the Niagara Falls and cultural tastings in the capital cities, it is the western portion of Canada that truly sets the nation apart as a travel destination. With famous natural regions like the towering Canadian Rockies, Lake Louise and Banff, just one trip to the region will never be enough.
Most tours of the region start in the third largest city in Canada, Vancouver. From this historic city, you can make the first step on adventures that will take you deep into the wild reaches of nature or even to the top of snowy ski fields. Nature truly takes the front seat in any holiday to British Columbia and Alberta with enormous national parks dominating the region outside of the cities. For this region, much of the area is a verdant green sea of towering pine, interspersed with Snow-capped peaks, deeps blue valleys and lakes. Lake Louise is a truly must visit destination no matter your chosen travel time. In the winter it offers great access to the incredible Banff ski fields, while in the summer the valley becomes alive with kayaking, hiking and nature watching.
If you are travelling around the region, there is no better way to do so then on board the iconic Rocky Mountaineer train. For twenty-five years this train has taken passengers right into the heart of the Canadian Rockies, giving them one of the best sightseeing travel choices in the world. Named one of National Geographies ‘World’s Greatest Trips’, the train offers five different itineraries all taking you to new and exciting places around the region. It is definitely the most unique and exciting way to get from the main airport of Vancouver through to the ski fields of Banff, Calgary, Whistler, and Jasper.
If you haven’t gotten enough nature in the British Columbia region then you can also take a short plan ride deeper into the country and to the northern region of Ontario where you can visit Manitoba and its most famous residents…the magnificent polar bear. The region is truly wild and untamed but Tauck offers a highly inclusive itinerary that will get
you there and back in style and comfort.
The best time to travel in Canada is similar to Alaska but will depend on whether you wanted to ski or not during your trip. If it is nature that you are after than the summer season from June to August offers the best opportunity to see the most of the country. But if you want to strap on your skis then November to March is the way to go.
Canada has incredible natural treasures through 13 provinces and territories. This is why it is becoming increasingly popular as a luxury travel destination. Explore more thoroughly the incredible opportunities for adventure in Canada’s eastern provinces.
Known as the Maritime Provinces are Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, the whole region is like a country within a country. You will find heaps to do in each province regardless of where your interests lie. You can see the world’s highest tides on the shores of the Bay of Fundy or go abroad a working lobster boat catching your dinner before having dinner at sea.
The Maritime Provinces
Newfoundland & Labrador
Newfoundland is an adventure destination for the curious and intrepid. It is a land marked by ancient glacial fjords and towering icebergs as can attested by the one that struck the Titanic over a century ago. It spans a huge area that reaches up into Canada’s remote north making it one of the wildest and least populated provinces in the country. There is still so much to do, like wildlife watching, hiking, biking and kayaking. The countryside is stunning and the people are warm and friendly. The fishing villages are colorful and the seas views are ever changing.
The Quebec Countryside
This alluring province hosts impressive mountain ranges and virgin forests. You can visit the natural landmarks, religious shrines and charming villages that have drawn visitors and pilgrims here for hundreds of years. Equally suited to a mellow bike ride or adrenaline-induced via ferrata trek. There are top tier whale watching expeditions or wine tasting tours in the bountiful vineyards.
Niagara Falls is probably the most famous waterfall in the world and is on the bucket list of many travellers. You can join the over 1.5 million people who have experienced the trills of riding through the Niagara rapids on board one of the 1200hp turbo diesel jetboats. The Canadian side of Niagara Falls has sweeping views and pleasant surroundings.