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With summer just around the corner, many are finalizing their summer travel plans. Some will be heading abroad and some plan to stay close to home, but regardless of where people plan to travel, it’s clear that a large number of people will be taking a trip this summer.
While America’s national park system receives much love from travelers, both domestic and international, the most popular sites are likely to suffer from overtourism, leaving a visit that could be noisy, crowded and stressful.
So, if you’re looking to get out into nature, you can visit some of the less crowded and underrated national parks in the US, or you can head north and visit some of Canada’s postcard-perfect national parks.
With 37 national parks spread across the country, Canada’s park system offers fantastic nature, epic views, and great opportunities to get outside and fill your lungs with fresh, fresh air. There is a wide range of natural beauty to enjoy, and the parks offer breathtaking views, from lakes, to glaciers, to mountains, and everything else you could want.
This summer is a great time for American travelers to visit our neighbor to the north, from the favorable exchange rate and cheap flights to the ability to drive across the border to avoid flying altogether. So if a visit to Canada is on the table this year, what better way to explore the beautiful nature of this country than visiting some of your national parks?
These are the most popular parks in Canada, based on visitor statistics from April 2022 to March 2023:
1. Banff National Park – Alberta
As the most popular national park in Canada, Banff receives many visitors, last year 4,130,081 people came to explore this park full of natural beauty, and this year that number is only likely to increase.
Famous for its otherworldly colored lakes and numerous outdoor adventure options, this Canadian Rocky Mountain gem deserves all the attention it gets. Visitors should not miss a trip to the impressive city of Banff, and Upper Hot Springs as well.
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2. Jasper National Park – Alberta
Jasper National Park is famous for being the second largest dark sky reserve in the world and the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies. With 2,415,463 visitors last year, this is a park that can get very crowded, so if you’re lucky enough to plan a trip here, plan ahead to avoid disappointment.
Come experience the impressive mountain peaks and wide variety of wildlife, and take in over 4,000 square miles of beauty.
3. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve – British Columbia
With more than 500 square kilometers of rocky ocean shoreline and dense forest, it’s easy to see the appeal of this national park. Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Pacific Rim is known for its powerful winter storms, diverse marine life, and trees that are hundreds of years old.
With an estimated visitor count last year of 1,163,362, Pacific Rim is popular, so plan ahead if you’re headed there this summer.
4. Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park – Quebec
An estimated 1,070,634 people visited this epic national park last year, an increase of nearly 25% over the previous year. Many come hoping for a chance to spot the whales that call these waters home.
With more than 2,200 species, Saguenay is considered one of the best places in the world for whale watching. You can also get on a sailboat and let yourself be carried away by the wind from the Ría, or enjoy nature with your feet firmly on the ground.
5. Mount Revelstoke National Park and Glacier National Park – BC
These two parks count visitor attendance as one unit, with a combined total visitor count for 2022 of approximately 775,190. Both beautiful parks offer great hiking, wildlife viewing, cool rainforests and alpine valleys and villages.
6. Yoho National Park – BC
663,878 people took a trip to Yoho National Park last year, and many came to see Emerald Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Like Banff National Park, Yoho offers whitewater rivers, wildlife, and ice-blue lakes.
7. Kootenay National Park – BC
574,126 people visited this British Columbia national park last year, and more are expected to visit this year. Kootenay is known as the land of fire and ice, and the glaciers, hot springs, fossils, and prairies offer much to enjoy on a visit here.
To complete the 10 most visited national parks in Canada, we have:
- 8. Point Pelee National Park – Ontario
- 9. Waterton Lakes National Park – Alberta
- 10. Bruce Peninsula National Park – Ontario
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com