With summer just around the corner, many are finalizing their summer travel plans. Some will head abroad, and some plan to stick close to home, but regardless of where people are planning on traveling, it’s clear that a massive number of people will take a trip this summer.
While America’s national park system gets a lot of love from travelers both domestic and international, the more popular sites will likely suffer from over-tourism, leaving a visit that could be loud, crowded, and stressful.
So, if you are looking to get out into nature you could check out some of the U.S. national parks that are less crowded and underrated, or you could head north and check out some of Canada’s postcard-perfect national parks instead.
With 37 national parks scattered across the country, Canada’s park system offers some fantastic nature, epic views, and great chances to get outside and fill your lungs with crisp fresh air. There is a wide range of natural beauty to enjoy, and the parks offer up some stunning sights, from lakes, glaciers, mountains, and everything else you could want.
This summer is a great time for American travelers to visit our neighbor to the north, from the favorable exchange rate and cheap flights to the possibility of driving across the border to avoid flying altogether. So, if a visit to Canada is on the table this year, what better way to explore the beautiful nature of this country than by checking out some of it’s national parks?
Here are the most popular parks in Canada, based on visitor statistics from April 2022 to March 2023:
1. Banff National Park – Alberta
As the most popular national park in Canada, Banff sees a lot of visitors, last year 4,130,081 people came to explore this park full of natural beauty, and it’s likely this year that number will only increase.
Famous for its otherworldly colored lakes, and numerous outdoor adventure options, this Canadian Rockies gem deserves all the attention it receives. Visitors shouldn’t miss a trip to the stunning town of Banff, and the Upper Hot Springs as well.
2. Jasper National Park – Alberta
Jasper National Park is famous for being the world’s second-largest dark sky preserve, and the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies. With a massive 2,415,463 visitors last year, this is one park that can get crowded, so if you are lucky enough to plan a trip here, make the preparations early to avoid disappointment.
Come to experience the stunning mountain peaks and wide range of wildlife, and enjoy the over 11,000 square kilometers of beauty.
3. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve – British Columbia
With over 500 square kilometers of rocky ocean shoreline and dense forest, it’s easy to see the draw of this national park. Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Pacific Rim is known for its powerful winter squalls, diverse marine life, and trees that are hundreds of years old.
With an estimated visitor count last year of 1,163,362, Pacific Rim is popular, so plan early if you are heading there this summer.
4. Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park – Quebec
An estimated 1,070,634 people visited this epic national park last year, an almost 25% increase from the previous year. Many come hoping for a chance to spot the whales that call these waters home.
With over 2200 species, Saguenay is considered one of the best places in the world for whale watching. You can also hop aboard a sailboat and ride the wind in the Estuary, or enjoy nature with your feet firmly planted on land.
5. Mount Revelstoke National Park and Glacier National Park – B.C.
These two parks count visitor attendance as one unit, with a combined total visitor count for 2022 coming in at about 775,190. Both beautiful parks offer some great hiking, wildlife viewing, cool rainforests, and alpine valleys and villages.
6. Yoho National Park – B.C.
663,878 people took a trip to Yoho National Park last year, with many coming to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Emerald Lake. Similar to Banff National Park, Yoho offers white-water rivers, wildlife, and ice-blue lakes.
7. Kootenay National Park – B.C.
574,126 people visited this British Columbia national park last year, and more are anticipated to visit it this year. Kootenay is known as the land of fire and ice, and the glaciers, hot springs, and fossils, and grasslands offer plenty to enjoy on a visit here.
To round out the top 10 most visited national parks in Canada we have:
- 8. Point Pelee National Park – Ontario
- 9. Waterton Lakes National Park – Alberta
- 10. Bruce Peninsula National Park – Ontario
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com