With fall officially underway it’s time to think about what you can do to take advantage of what I think is the best season in Canada. With a little luck we’ll get sunny warm days, cool nights and no bugs. Here are what I think are 16 of the best fall adventures and activities in Canada.
Check out the fall foliage at hot spots across Canada
Hit the road or the trails in search of the best fall foliage. Where do you find that? There are fantastic colours all over the country but the best colours are seen in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime Provinces. Some of the hot spots to visit include the Laurentians, Eastern Townships and Gatineau Hills of Quebec, Algonquin, Awenda and Mississagi Provincial Parks in Ontario, MissiCape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, the Fundy Trail, Kouchibouguac National Park and some of the river valleys like the St. John River and Miramichi River Route in New Brunswick. Don’t miss a trip to see Miscou Island in New Brunswick either. In Alberta head to Lake Louise and join the throngs hiking to the Larch Valley, located on the way to Sentinel Pass.
Go grizzly bear viewing
Have you always wanted to see a grizzly bear? With salmon spawning there is no better time to see grizzlies than right now. You can head to Bella Coola on the coast of BC or inland on a multi-day trip to Chilko Lake. Great Bear Lodge off the coast of Vancouver Island is also an excellent destination.
Take a mushroom identification course
Can you tell the difference between a poisonous and non-poisonous mushroom? If not why not sign up for a course and spend a day outside mushroom hunting. There are a number of Mycological Societies across Canada that offer meetings and outings. Terra Nova National Park in Newfoundland hosts a mushroom foray at the end of September. If you’d rather eat them than look for them check out the Sunshine Coast Mushroom Festival in mid-October.
Watch the sockeye salmon spawn
Have you ever been to the Adam’s River in the Shuswap region of British Columbia? Every October you can watch thousands if not millions of sockeye salmon return to spawn on the Adam’s River. Big years are considered to be every fourth year.
Visit Grasslands National Park
Grasslands National Park in southern Saskatchewan is now a Dark Sky Preserve. This is where you can see some of the darkest skies in Canada – and what better time than at night in the fall before it’s too cold outside. Jasper National Park also puts on programs in the fall.
Catch the Celtic Colours International Festival
The Celtic Colours International Festival on Cape Breton Island takes every year in October. This is your chance to attend a fiddle or square dancing workshop. Listen to music including Natalie McMaster, a Cape Breton girl. Catch a Gaelic breakfast, try playing the harp or learn how to quilt. There are loads of activities for all ages.
Take a train ride
I remember my grandmother raving about her trip up the Agawa Canyon near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario on the Algoma Central Railway. It’s a one day trip that transports you through the forests of the Canadian Shield. Fall colours are spectacular especially in the latter half of September and into the first week of October.
The Okanangan Fall Festival
Grapes are ripening in the Okanagan so that means the Okanagan Fall Festival is just around the corner. Take a vineyard tour, eat lunch among the vines or learn about wine and food pairings.
Drink some wine
The annual Niagara Wine Festival takes place over a couple of weekends in late September. Watch the parade, catch some concerts in the vineyards and treat your palate so some amazing wine.
Beer and bratwurst
Beer and bratwurst are the stars – at least as far as food is concerned at the annual Oktoberfest in Kitchener-Waterloo. This is the largest Oktoberfest celebration outside of Germany.
Catch a fall bird migration
If you’re a bird lover than catching one of the fall migrations is what you’ll want to do. In Ontario head for Point Pelee. On the west coast visit the Riefel Bird Sanctuary near Vancouver. Snow geese start arriving in early October in huge numbers – between 50,000 and 100,000 birds depending on the year.
See the polar bears in Manitoba
It may not feel like fall if you head to Churchill, Manitoba but if you’d like to see polar bears then mid-October to mid-November is the time to go.
Catch the Northern Lights
Head to northern latitudes in search of the Northern Lights. Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Fort McMurray all offer excellent viewing opportunities.
Go apple picking
Visit a fall fair
Visit a local fall fair and search out the biggest pumpkins and squash. Or go to a farmer’s market and support the local farms.
Get out for one last day in the kayak or canoe. Or go for a bike ride before the snow falls. Le Petit Train du Nord in the Laurentians is a great choice if you go late in September as you’ll bike on a converted rails to trails bed with fall colours everywhere you look.
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