Ten tips to make the most of your visit

We've compiled 10 tips to help you have the best possible Parks Canada experience. Put these planning and booking tips to action and figure out how to avoid the crowds, choose the best time to visit, and decide what destination is best for you.

A Parks Canada staff member reaches a brochure out of a kiosk window at Prince Edward Island National Park

1. Plan ahead

With over 220 destinations across Canada and an average of 20M+ visitors per year, planning ahead is key! Always make the necessary reservations ahead of time (camping, parking, shuttles) and check the status of trails and/or area closures before you go. Knowing what to expect, how to prepare, and what services are available will help ensure the best visit possible.

Two young adults on the deck of an oTENTik tent and talking with two other young adults at a picnic table at Grasslands National Park

2. Reserve your spot

Level up your Parks Canada experience by staying the night in a tent or RV, or a furnished accommodation like a cabin, yurt or oTENTik. For the best experience possible check out our camping tips and tricks and reserve early because spots fill up fast.

 Two adults holding hands on the boardwalk near the water at sunset in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

3. Go somewhere new

Step out of your comfort zone! From lesser known national parks, to historic houses, forts, lighthouses, ranches and everything in between, explore by region to discover unique, off the beaten path travel destinations. Or consider less busy but equally exciting alternatives to the most popular national parks.

Three young adults exploring the grounds of Fort Wellington National Historic Site

4. Travel midweek

Avoid the weekend rush, especially long weekends, during the busy summer season and travel during the week when the crowds are quieter. Take advantage of these quieter times to reconnect with nature and culture.

Shot of the photographer's legs as he sits and contemplates a mountain landscape in the background at sunrise in Jasper National Park.

5. Explore early or late in the day

Be an early bird, literally! Birds are most active in the early morning, and the beautiful natural lighting makes for fabulous photos. Dusk is also another great time to explore. Many animals avoid the midday sun and can be seen travelling at dusk. Please remember to keep your distance and give all wildlife plenty of room to travel freely.

A starry sky over a lake with mountains in the background at Waterton Lakes National Park.

6. Be a night owl

Enjoy the celestial landscape in one of Parks Canada's 13 Dark-Sky Preserves, a welcome escape from glaring city lights. Learn about stars, the moon, galaxies and constellations during special programming and events throughout the year. Stay overnight and camp under the stars to get the full experience.

Four visitors and a costumed guide stroll at sunset with lanterns in the courtyard of the Halifax Citadel.

7. Go on a special tour

Treat yourself to a unique experience and learn about Indigenous cultures, go stargazing, enjoy food and drink, visit a haunted location, learn how to fire a canon, take part in historic activities you would never have guessed you could do in a historic site, and so much more! Young or old, there is an activity just waiting for you to come explore.

A mother and daughter wrapped in blankets by a campfire enjoying a hot drink at Prince Albert National Park.

8. Travel during the off-season

Watch the forest come to life after a long winter, behold the magic of changing leaves in the fall, or bundle up and explore a winter wonderland. There is so much to do in Parks Canada destinations. Not only are places quieter during these times, but you will also be able to book accommodations easier than during peak seasons!

Three cell phones showing the Parks Canada application on their screens.

9. Become an insider

Arm yourself with the best tools to help plan and enjoy your next Parks Canada vacation. Get seasonal updates by signing up to our Newsletter. Download the Parks Canada app to enjoy valuable travel tips, self-guided tours and more! Check out our vacation planners for top-notch ideas and endless inspiration, and don’t forget to follow us on social media to get the latest scoop.

Two adults holding each other by the waist look out over a calm, forested lake in La Mauricie National Park.

10. Know what’s expected of you when you visit

Exploring protected areas is a privilege that comes with responsibilities. Limit your impact while ensuring your safety. Make sure you follow the 10 golden visitor rules, which include but are not limited to choosing activities that match your level of experience, respecting wildlife and leaving no trace.

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