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Plan your visit

Ten pro tips for making the most of Parks Canada places!

To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, admission to Parks Canada places will be free throughout 2017 and we expect more visitors will want to experience Canada’s amazing national treasures than ever before!

To have the best time possible during this special busy year, here are 10 tips to make the most of Parks Canada places in 2017.

1. Plan ahead

A mother and daughter look at a map with a Parks Canada employee. Start planning your next trip to a Parks Canada place now!
© Parks Canada

With 47 national parks, 171 national historic sites and 4 national marine conservation areas there is a lot to discover from coast, to coast, to coast. For more information on Parks Canada places and experiences visit: parkscanada.gc.ca/visit. Here you can also find electronic versions of six regional Visitor Guides to assist with your planning for a fantastic 2017!


2. Go somewhere new

A male hiker on a shoreline leaps from one rock to another. Take a leap and try something new in 2017!
© Parks Canada

Certain national parks, trails, lookouts and parking lots are always very popular. Try out a different trail in one of the less busy national parks or celebrate the 100th Anniversary of national historic sites in 2017 by visiting one! Look here for 10 hidden gems to discover for some really off the beaten path travel ideas. 


3. Travel in the shoulder seasons

Two cyclists bike through autumn leaves. There is nothing like the sound of crisp autumn leaves underfoot!
© Parks Canada

Spring and fall are both exciting and beautiful seasons to explore Canada’s national parks. Also they are times when it’s easier to find accommodation. Watch life come to bloom or change colours right before your eyes.


4. Have a winter adventure

Three female visitors make a snowman in the mountains. Be cool not cold - get outside and immerse yourself in winter fun!
© Parks Canada

For a true Canadian experience, there are many kinds of winter activities available in Parks Canada places. From cozy horse-drawn sleigh rides to skating on the world’s longest skating rink, you won’t even notice the cold as you warm up to winter.


5. Travel midweek

A female takes in the forest scenery. To truly experience nature, travel midweek!
© Parks Canada

Avoid the weekend rush, especially long weekends, and travel during the week when the crowds are quieter. Enjoy a picnic around a scenic lake and listen to the natural world around you.


6. Reserve your spot

Four campers sit around a campfire in front of an oTENTik accommodation. Use the Parks Canada reservation service so you can sit back and relax a little longer!
© Parks Canada

You can reserve a campsite or a variety of other accommodation options as early as January 1st each year. Use the Parks Canada reservation service to ensure that there is space available – and then you can rest easy knowing you have a cozy spot waiting for you.


7. Go on a special tour

A young boy and girl look through old fashioned view-masters inside a national historic site. Get up close to history during special behind-the-scene tours!
© Parks Canada

To get a more exclusive experience, take in a special program such as a guided tour and listen to thrilling stories. Families and young adults alike will find something that will surely surprise and delight them. Treat yourself to something special; after all, you didn’t have to pay the admission fee.


8. Be an early bird

A woman does yoga on a beach at sunrise. Take in a deep breath of morning air and start your day off right!
© Parks Canada

Once you’ve settled in your destination, get up and out early in the day. The birds are most active and the lighting makes for fabulous photos. It can feel like you have the whole place to yourself.


9. Explore at twilight

Two photographers take wildlife photos by a lake. Wildlife viewing is better as the day moves into night.
© Parks Canada

Many animals avoid the midday sun and can be seen travelling at dusk. There is a greater chance of seeing beavers, bears and moose at these times. Please remember to give all wildlife plenty of room to travel freely; Canada’s national parks are their homes.


10. Be a night owl

Two cabins lie underneath a starry night sky. Look up and travel to another world!
© Parks Canada

Many Parks Canada places are designated as Dark-Sky Preserves. Enjoy the night skies at any time of year. Don’t forget to make a wish under those brilliant stars.

AND of course,


11. Join the Celebration!

Six hikers leap up in the air on a winter trail. Join in on the fun, Canada 150 is a year to celebrate together!
© Parks Canada

If you can’t beat them, join them! It’s a special year and a variety of Canada 150 events including concerts, parties and festivals are planned in Parks Canada places throughout the year. So come and be part of the action.

Along the way, meet Canadians and international visitors while celebrating this important milestone together. Take some time to find out where they are from and the highlights of their visit. They may have even more tips for you on how to make the most of Parks Canada in 2017!