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5 long weekend getaway ideas for Canadians

Experience these exciting and extraordinary Canadian destinations.

Canadians love a long weekend. It’s an opportunity to break the monotony of everyday living, get out of town, spend time with family and friends, and explore both the unique cities and vast natural beauty that’s on offer.

Luckily most Canadians don’t have to travel too far to have a wondrous weekend away.

To help you narrow down where you might spend your next three-day vacation, we’ve come up with a handy guide detailing some of Canada’s best long weekend destinations and explaining exactly why you would want to visit.

Our top 5 picks for long weekend getaways in Canada

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

1. Best for a little bit of everything: Vancouver

Sip coffee by the beach in the morning, ski all afternoon and party into the night.

Vancouver is one of the most beautiful destinations in Canada. This enticing harbour city has three local mountains that are only a short trip from downtown, serene sandy beaches, endless stretches of bike paths, cafe culture, community gardens, hours of hiking trails, fruit farms and plenty of neighbourhood events.

  • What to do: The best way to explore Vancouver is on two wheels. Rent a bike, stop for coffee in Kitsilano, check out the murals in Mt Pleasant, eat Italian on Commercial Drive, explore the markets of Chinatown and cycle the sea wall in Stanley Park.
  • Day trips from Vancouver: You can easily ferry across to Vancouver Island, home to the extravagant and picturesque Butchart Gardens and British Columbia’s provincial parliament. Alternatively, you can sample local wines, craft beers and ciders in the popular Okanagan Valley and visit Canada’s unique desert oasis, Osoyoos.
  • Where to stay: Executive Hotel Vintage Park Vancouver

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Montreal, Quebec, Canada

2. Best for a hint of European style: Montréal

Pace cobblestone streets, hear conversations in French and embrace the arts.

Montréal is the most populous city in Canada’s Québec province. A charming, tight-knit municipality offering up a distinctly French-influenced blend of Canadian culture from its island location on the Saint Lawrence River. See summer festivals, European architecture and sample a range of exquisite fine-dining options as well as local street food delights.

  • What to do: Devour rustic seafood down by the Old Port area, take in the stunning views from atop Mount Royal, visit the Gothic-inspired Notre-Dame Basilica and tour the biosphere museum. There is also a ton of bars and nightspots in the Plateau area.
  • Day trips from Montréal: Quebec City is situated a few hours north on the Saint Lawrence River, while Canada’s capital, Ottawa, is just a short drive south-west.
  • Where to stay: Le Simone Bed & Breakfast

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Morraine Lake, Banff, Alberta, Canada

3. Best for a weekend of awe-inspiring wildlife: Banff

Take in the mountain air and witness bears, deer and bison in their natural habitat.

Banff is a small township in northern Alberta. It’s frequented as a popular ski resort during the winter and used as a jump-off point to a slew of national parks such as Banff, Jasper and Wells Grey Provincial Park. Take in the majesty of the Rocky Mountains and feel as free as the eagles that soar overhead when driving the great Icefields Parkway.

  • What to do: Take a stroll around town, check out the château-style hotels and explore the many different national parks and wildlife centres. There’s an endless list of visitor attractions, lakes and rivers, mountains, hiking trails, hot springs and camping sites.
  • Day trips from Banff: Calgary is only a short drive from Banff. The Calgary Stampede occurs in July and draws thousands of rodeo enthusiasts and spectators each year. Note that 2020’s event has been cancelled.
  • Where to stay: Fairmont Banff Springs

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French River, Prince Edward Island, Canada

4. Best for a secluded escape: Prince Edward Island

Cross the Confederation Bridge, play your best round of golf and embrace the fresh sea air.

Prince Edward Island (PEI) is located in the Maritimes region of eastern Canada. The country’s smallest province is full of rolling green hills, quaint coastal lighthouses, exceptional golf courses and gorgeous red-sand beaches. You’ll find delectable seafood and scintillating summer festivals. There really is something for everyone here.

  • What to do: There are plenty of golf courses to challenge your skills, you can go deep-sea fishing, explore the inspiration for the novel Anne of Green Gables and more.
  • Day trips from Prince Edward Island: Trek a portion of the extensive and easy-going 435-kilometre Confederation Trail. Visit the Magdalen Islands archipelago by ferry, just north of PEI.
  • Where to stay: The Harbour House

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5. Best for a big city experience: Toronto

Home to the Raptors, the all-imposing CN Tower and Drake.

Toronto is a bustling metropolis that remains a hub for Canadian sports fans. Music, cuisine and culture are all important mainstays for Canada’s largest city.

  • What to do: You can spend the day wandering through Toronto’s largest public park, High Park, stop by the super fresh St. Lawrence Market for a bite, explore the many popular shopping malls and spend a day getting silly in the Distillery District.
  • Day trips from Toronto: Ferry to the Toronto Islands for recreational activities and relaxation or head south around Lake Ontario to reach the impressive Niagara Falls.
  • Where to stay: Yonge Suites

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