Ultimate Road Trip: Top 5 Canadian National Parks

Everyone knows about Banff National Park. Its beauty is unrivaled, but you may be asking yourself, is that a good enough reason to travel all the way to Canada? We’re here to tell you Canada has a lot more to offer than just one glorious national park. Canada quite literally has hundreds of national parks, thousands of hiking trails, and millions of lakes to explore and enjoy. While 2020 may remain a bust for travelers around the world, 2021 is going to see a surge in travel like never before as people are allowed to return to our vagabond ways. So we pretty much already know Banff will be a crowded mess next summer, but what about other not so popular national parks, what else do we have to offer? Let’s cover 5 National Parks of Canada that wouldn’t you know, are quite far spread out across our beautiful country, which means one thing, planning a road trip for the ages. 

Travel Canada in 2021

Travel Atlantic Canada-Gros Morne National Park

So, without further ado, let’s start the adventure of a lifetime in our minds already! Here are the top 5 Canadian national parks you simply must visit:   

Atlantic Canada

Let's start our journey on the east coast of Canada in the Atlantic Province of New Brunswick. The Bay of Fundy may be one of the province's most popular destinations due to the interesting phenomenon of the extreme tides, but it won’t be packed to the brim with tourists. Paddleboard along the ragged and beautiful coastline at high tide and then walk the dry ocean floor at low tide. Then head a little north across a 13km long bridge to Prince Edward Island National Park for an afternoon soaking up some sun on one of the island's incredible beaches. Spend a night taking in the sights and sounds of Charlottetown then take the ferry to Newfoundland for the cherry on top, Gros Morne National Park. Experience a landscape that seems to have been plucked straight out of an epic mythical movie; plunging fjords and the astonishing Tablelands truly create an otherworldly atmosphere on this one of a kind island. 

Sirmilik National Park

Ok so we know we just crammed three parks into one, but it’s only because our next entry is for the most serious of travelers. Sirmilik National Park is in the most northerly regions of Canada, in the province of Nunavut, and well inside the arctic circle. Getting there will require flying to either the town of Pond Inlet or Arctic Bay and arranging an outfitter to transport you to the park from there. Visitors have vouched for the area's untouched beauty and have reported daily sightings of polar bears, Narwhal wales, and at night, the aurora borealis, nature's most exciting phenomenon. 

As an alternative to Sirmilik National Park, we would recommend Polar Bear National Park on the south-western banks of the Hudson Bay where you can see, you guessed it, polar bears. This will save a lot of time and money and you can hold onto that rental car you’ve become so attached to already. The park is also teeming with other interesting wildlife such as timberwolves, beavers, and moose.

Jasper National Park

Regardless of whether you braved Sirmilik or not, we will be heading east for the picturesque Canadian Rocky Mountains. For those of you who simply cannot visit Canada without checking Banff off the list, the good news is that Jasper is only 290km north of Banff. Be sure to also stop by Yoho National park as you escape Banff and check out the turquoise river and enjoy some outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, paddleboarding, kayaking, and much more. Head north to Jasper and if possible spend a night camping under the stars (spend as many nights on your road trip as possible under the stars, it will make for the journey of a lifetime we guarantee that), wake up to a sunset you will never forget and spend a few days exploring the glacier fields, rocky mountains and spotting wildlife. 

Kluane National Park

The next park is also for the more seasoned travelers, but for anyone who is willing to make the drive all the way up into the Yukon Territory, the adventure of a lifetime awaits. Nestled on the border of Yukon and Alaska lies the wild and untamed Kluane National Park. Enjoy hiking, camping, and mountaineering amongst the parks’ mountains, glaciers, and rivers. Depending on the season you will also have the opportunity to witness the Northern Lights, amongst many other incredible natural wonders.  

Vancouver Island

We figured we would end your trip a little closer to civilization, so making your way south through beautiful green British Columbia you will eventually find yourself in Vancouver, take the ferry across to Vancouver Island and enjoy your pick of thousands of campsites in national parks all over the beautiful island. Visit MacMillan Provincial Park to see thousand-year-old trees, then go hiking in unforgettable Strathcona Provincial Park. The island quite literally has thousands of sights and places to explore and is dotted with quaint small towns and larger ones that have all the amenities anyone could need. 

Which Canadian Visa Should I Get?

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Which visa you will need to get before visiting Canada all depends on your intentions while visiting Canada. If you wish to travel in Canada only, a tourist visa (also known as 'Visitor Visa') will be the way to go. If you want to help pay for your travels by working your way through Canada, you will need to apply for a working holiday visa aka the International Experience Category (IEC). Let’s take a quick look at the requirements for each.   

Canadian Tourist Visa

Every traveler needs to be in possession of a valid passport (or unabridged birth certificate in the case of children) in order to travel across the Canadian border, no matter their country of origin.

The passport needs to have an open page for immigration and passport control officers to stamp as you move across the borders or airport control points.

A number of countries are exempt from applying for a visitor visa to Canada Visitor Visa, such as EU countries and the USA, but those that are not exempt need to appear in person at the Canadian embassy in their country of residence. A biometric screening is done by an embassy consultant and the travel documents that you must collect and present are checked for approval (generally over a 4-6 week waiting period).

Working Holiday Visa

To apply for a Working Holiday Visa, you will be required to:

  • Be a citizen of one of the participating countries in the IEC programs, if your country is not participating in the IEC program, you may be able to use a registered organization (RO);
  • Be under the age of 35;
  • Be admissible to Canada;
  • Create an online profile on the IEC government webpage;
  • Have a minimum of $2,500 to cover your initial expenses;
  • Have health insurance for the duration of your stay;
  • Give biometrics at your local Canadian consulate; and
  • Hold a valid passport or travel document.

Once your profile is complete, you will be entered into a pool of applicants. If you are awarded a Canadian Working Holiday Visa, you will also apply for an open work permit. An open work permit will allow you to work for any designated employer in Canada (excluding Quebec). Remember, if you have dependents they, unfortunately, cannot accompany you on an IEC Working Holiday Visa. There is always the possibility Canada opens its borders and you could be working and traveling through Canada this year already.   

How We Can Help You

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Obtaining your tourist or IEC visa for Canada can be a bit of a process. By using our accredited Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) you will not only improve your chances of success in the visa application process, but you will get expert advice on which program is best for your specific needs. Our RCICs are highly qualified and are granted permission by the ICCRC to assist you with your eligibility evaluation, review all your documents and application forms, and submit them to the Canadian government for you. Why take the chance of having your application denied because your forms are incorrect or sent in too late.

We take care of the fineprint while you plan out your dream trip to Canada for you and your loved ones. All you have to do is complete our application form to receive your eligibility assessment today. It's just that simple.

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