So you’ve done your patriotic duty and acquired your free 2017 Parks Canada pass. Props! You’ve got a whole year of wanderful possibilities ahead: cresting over the dramatic cliffs of the Cabot Trail, bird watching in Canada’s southernmost tip in Point Pelee or how about a textbook RCMP Musical Ride at Fort Battleford?
But hold up, did someone say “tent”? Images of mouldy socks, the shadow of spiders on the tent walls and mosquito-bitten legs mar your idea of a trip away. Hold off on striking a Parks Canada trip from your 2017 plans and consider this piece of hope: accommodations near Canada’s national parks.
trivago search tip: The outdoors-loving, hotel-obsessed bunch at trivago have made it dead simple to search for your ideal accommodation near Canada’s national parks. Simply type the park name into the search bar on trivago.ca to find the nearest hotels, lodges and B&Bs.
Room5 checks into some stellar lodges and inns near national parks from the country’s first sunrise in Newfoundland down to the last sunset in the Yukon. Hook that Parks Canada pass onto the rear view mirror, it’s time to see it all from far and wide…
Gros Morne National Park
35 km north of Deer Lake, NL
A level of grandeur that could only exist in your dreams, the fjords of Gros Morne National Park are larger than life itself. At 2,644 feet, the namesake peak is the second highest point in all of Newfoundland. To get the view from above, set out on the 16 km-long Mountain Loop which leads you through ponds, vegetation and the odd Arctic hare or Woodland caribou.
Equally dramatic is a Western Brook Pond Boat Tour which sails through the park’s largest lake allowing visitors to get personal with towering cliffs and waterfalls. Bontours also offers trips around Bonne Bay by catamaran where you may meet a whale or two!
Bye bye Tent, Hello: Gros Morne Suites
From the Trans-Canada 1, take the Viking Trail north out of Deer Lake. The meandering highway leads you out to the coast with the Gulf of St. Lawrence passing through the town of Rocky Harbour. The one- and two-bedroom condominium units at Gros Morne Suites are well-suited for the self-catering visitor. If you’re making use of the en-suite kitchen or deck BBQ, be sure to stock up on groceries in Deer Lake.
Prince Edward Island National Park
24 km north of Charlottetown, PEI
Spanning over 65 kilometres of the smallest province’s northern coastline, Prince Edward Island National Park is a whole lot of red sand, tall grass and a touch of its most beloved resident, Anne of Green Gables. Bike the Cavendish Beach trail before settling into a picnic of Malpeque oysters and lobster rolls at the Greenwich Dunes.
Also included in your 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass is admission to the Green Gables Historic Site where you can wander through Anne’s world including the farmhouse and a walk along Lover’s Lane. The summer activity calendar includes a Field Day with Miss Stacy and old-fashioned Games & races “with Anne and her friends!”
Bye bye Tent, Hello: The Great George
A three-Star category winner in this year’s trivago Awards, The Great George in Charlottetown is proud to offer guests a full historic boutique hotel experience. The Historical Neighbourhood Walking Tour, a Guest Reception with local craft beer, daily continental breakfast and house-baked chocolate chip cookies are just the start. Traditional rooms feature Island antiques and European duvets while deluxe accommodations include jacuzzis, fireplaces and clawfoot tubs for a full unwind.
Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park
76 km northeast of La Malbaie, QC
Moving your way ouest ward, folks coming to the Saguenay area know well that they’re heading into a whale of a good time. Get out on the water in the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park which offers shimmering fjord waters to paddle your kayak through or chop through on a Zodiac Boat to see these leviathans of the St. Lawrence (from May to October).
Another way to see the Parc marin is by plunging right in with your scuba gear. Rose-hued hermit crabs, bubblegum pink anemones and toffee-patterned clams paint a kaleidoscope of colours to guide you on your dive.
Bye bye Tent, Hello: La Galouïne
As Québec’s unofficial capital of whale watching, Tadoussac rightfully should be your basecamp for exploring the Saguenay area. After rolling off the Tadoussac ferry, the small town unfolds along Rue des Pionniers including La Galouïne. As a Terroir & Saveurs du Québec-certified property, you can be sure that a locavore menu is served at the Inn (maple-smoked salmon, crab salad, and lobster bisque, of course). The eight bedrooms feature exposed wooden beams and pieces from Québec artists.
Bruce Peninsula National Park
107 km north of Owen Sound, ON
Cerulean Caribbean waters all without the airplane food. Isn’t it about time you saw more of what Ontario has to offer? Bruce Peninsula National Park, straddling Georgian Bay and Lake Huron, is just under four hours by car from Toronto and much of Southwestern Ontario. The Park’s crowning jewel is undoubtedly “The Grotto” which requires swimmers to bob underwater to reach a hidden cave with crystal clear waters.
A new Visitor Centre in Tobermory sheds light on the regional ecosphere and hosts an exhibit on the 1845 Franklin Expedition this summer. Climb the 65-foot observation tower to score a wide-angle view of Georgian Bay on a sunny day. Flowerpot Island cannot be missed with its astounding rock erosions, caves dating back to the Ice Age, and its trademark Light Station.
Bye bye Tent, Hello: The Inn at Cobble Beach
On the trip up along Highway 6, a detour towards the Township of Georgian Bluffs opens up onto the handsomely-groomed greens of Cobble Beach Golf Resort. Nantucket-inspired rooms come wainscoted with plush mattresses to collapse into, while the Spa can send you home squeaky clean and with a new mani-pedi.
Banff and Jasper National Parks
26 km northwest of Canmore, AB
Canada’s first national park and still leading with the highest attendance numbers annually, Banff is certainly not photo-shy and is open for admirers this landmark year. A veritable outdoor playground, Banff has no shortage of activities including 190 km of mountain bike trails, horseback riding, hot spring hopping and world-class skiing in Lake Louise.
Learn to take it slow on your drive up the Icefields Parkway towards Jasper to take in the rugged topography and the odd moose or black bear. Daredevils won’t need much convincing to stride out onto the Glacier Skywalk whose kilometre-long glass floor boldly hangs above a 918-foot drop. Once in Jasper, there is no shortage of options including a Maligne Lake Boat Tour, getting above the clouds on the Skytram or hitting the Athabasca Valley in a whitewater raft.
Bye bye Tent, Hello: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
The hub of hospitality in the Rockies is Lake Louise, a town built around its location on the Canadian Pacific Railway. Anchoring the north end of this emerald expanse is the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. A world away from a tent and a sleeping bag, indulge in high-speed internet and crisp linens all while having (what appears to be) Lake Louise and the Rockies to yourself. Take the early morning wake-up call and hop into a sunrise canoe trip which includes breakfast on the water.
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
84 km south of Port Alberni, BC
Snap into a wetsuit and fasten your leash, it’s time to hang ten on Vancouver Island! Pacific Rim National Park Reserve with its 35+ km of shoreline on Long Beach is perfect for beginners with a handful of licensed surf schools ready to help you up to standing on two in no time. Kite surfing and stand up paddle boarding will let you embrace your inner West Coast spirit animal.
Parks Canada showcases the living culture of the traditional Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations community at the Kwistis Visitor Centre and an interpretative walk along the Nuu-chah-nulth Trail.
Bye bye Tent, Hello: Wya Point Resort
It’s all about timber frame lodges and geometric yurts at Wya Point Resort in Ucluelet. The natural materials used to built these secluded lodges convincingly hide them among the 600 acres of forest which also includes private beach access. For the full glamping experience, take out a private yurt which comes equipped with a barbecue, gas fireplace and cedar lounge chairs to take in the sunset.
Kluane National Park and Reserve
154 km west of Whitehorse, YT
A bucket list item for many Canadians, a trip to the far north is unmatched for experiencing the true ruggedness and geographic diversity of the world’s second largest country. Speaking of superlatives, consider that Kluane National Park and Reserve is home to Canada’s highest point (Mount Logan at 19,551 feet) and the country’s biggest icefield. Situated in the far southwest of the Yukon, you’ll be closer to (as the bird flies) the Russian border than to Ottawa.
Once on the ground, most can’t pass up the opportunity to slow travel through Kluane on their own two feet. Parks Canada’s has a full list of day-long hikes, ideally suited to the camping-averse. Lake trout, arctic grayling and rainbow trout inhabit the park’s lakes for those looking for the big catch. Keep your eyes peeled for resident bears, marmots, mountain goats and hares.
Bye bye Tent, Hello: The Raven
The main access point to Kluane is the community of Haines Junction, where you’ll find the park’s Visitor Centre. As the town’s top-rated property on trivago, The Raven is your sure bet when exploring Kluane National Park and Reserve. trivago users rave about the helpful service and for simply being an oasis of comfort while trekking along the Alaska Highway. A continental breakfast is served every morning with a heaping view of the St. Elias Mountain Range.
What are you waiting for? Toast to Canada’s 150th with a trip to one of Parks Canada’s many outposts and a civilized stay to put your tentxiety at ease!