10 Long Weekend Getaways in Canada You’re Going to Love

A three-day weekend is just enough time to escape the daily grind. The best long weekend getaways are the ones where you just grab your suitcase and , knowing your own home-away-from-home is waiting for you.

From visiting the iconic parliament buildings in Victoria’s harbour to whale watching in the Bay of Fundy and everything in between, Canada has a lot of fun places to go for a long weekend break. We’ve rounded up our top 10 — where will you go?

Niagara On the Lake, ON

Everyone knows about Niagara Falls — but what about Niagara on the Lake? It’s close enough to the falls for a day trip, with enough to do to please long-time Niagara region regulars and first-time visitors alike.

Dedicate at least one day to touring a winery. There are many in the region; we recommend checking out the Niagara College’s Teaching Winery. As the first commercial teaching winery in Canada, it’s a hub of wine education for amateur winemakers and visitors alike. You can tour the winery, sample exclusive cider, and see what the students are learning.

Local tip: The Niagara College’s Teaching Winery is on one of the most beautiful campuses in Canada. In addition to touring the brewery, take a hike along the wetlands ridge trail.

When you’re looking for a bite to each on your long weekend getaway, check out HobNob at The Charles. Old school tea room charm meets an upscale menu prepared by a talented chef! Alternatively, if you’re in the mood to prepare your own meals, head to the Market at the Village in town for locally grown and prepared food.

Ottawa, ON

A long weekend trip to Canada’s Capital means spending some time touring the parliament buildings, of course — but there’s so much more to do in Ottawa.

If you’re going to Ottawa for a long weekend away this summer, pop some popcorn and check out the Centretown Outdoor Film Festival. For 6 months every summer, a marathon of movies are screened downtown Ottawa. Bring a blanket to sit on and enjoy this unique outdoor activity.

Like many capital cities, Ottawa offers numerous national attractions and museums. Book a trip to the Canada Aviation and Space Museum on your long weekend getaway for a journey through Canada’s history. During the summer, the museum hosts regular flights in genuine WW2 biplanes that you can ride in. The 25-minute flight will take you over the parliament buildings and beyond.

Montreal, QC

Like Ottawa, Montreal hosts a lot of history. The Notre-Dame Basilica  is one of the most iconic historical buildings in Montreal. Spend a day of your long weekend getaway in Old Montreal, starting at the Basilica. Visitors are welcome — for a small fee — and guided tours are available.

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From historical to contemporary, spend one of your days in the Mile End, Montreal’s premiere shopping neighbourhood. Here, you’ll find trendy boutiques, restaurants and art galleries — take a stroll!

Local tip: if the weather is a little too hot to spend the day in the sun during your weekend getaway, find your way into Montreal’s Underground City. This pedestrian network right under the heart of the city features unique spots to eat, shop and experience local art.

You can’t end your Montreal long weekend break without a Montreal bagel. The sweet Montreal bagel is prepared in a unique way — if you haven’t had one yet, this is your chance. There are good bagel spots all over the city, but the ones you can’t miss are St-Viateur Bagel Shop and Fairmount Bagel.

Banff, AB

There is an of things to do in Banff, Banff National Park, and nearby Canmore.

A long weekend trip to Banff calls for a visit to the famous Banff Upper Hot Springs, of course. With an outdoor pool and mountain views, the hot springs are a good stop no matter what time of the year you’re visiting.

Pack a backpack and plan a day hiking the Banff National Park trails. Bring your binoculars, because the park is teeming with wildlife. Be sure not to feed them — there are hefty fines — but keep your eyes peeled for the majestic caribou that make Banff home.

Sample local liquor before your long weekend break draws to an end. Park Distillery, located in downtown Banff, brews up high end and unique batches of gin, rye, and more. Take a free distillery tour and then have a bite to eat at their restaurant.

Okanagan Valley, BC

If you’re thinking of taking a long weekend trip during golf season, put Okanagan Valley on your list. The Okanagan Valley sees over 2,000 hours of sunshine every year — it has one of the longest and driest golf seasons in the country.

There are plenty of 18- and 9-hole courses around the valley for golfers of any level. We recommend Gallagher’s 9-hole Pinnacle Course in Kelowna. New to golf? Take one of their lessons.

Arion Therapeutic Farms, 10 minutes southeast of Kelowna, is an interactive, therapeutic farm open daily for tours and visitors. The on-site vegan cafe is delicious; make a reservation for brunch on the weekend. The farm offers many educational activities for kids, including animal care workshops and summer camps. Adults can enjoy the farm through their summer retreats and family programs. There are over 50 farm animals for everyone to get to know.

The Okanagan Valley is one of Canada’s premier winemaking regions. Wineries and cideries across the valley open their doors to visitors and guided tours alike. With over 100 wineries in the area, it is hard to choose just a few to enjoy over a long weekend. If you want to spend more time experiencing and less time driving, we recommend sticking to the ones closer to your vacation rental. Discovering new wineries is always a rewarding experience and we promise you won’t go wrong with nearly any of them.

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Victoria, BC

A long weekend getaway to Victoria means spending time on the water.

Head to the Victoria Harbour to get iconic shot of Victoria’s parliament buildings before you board a whale watching tour. There are a few different whale species in Victoria’s waters, but the most common ones you’ll come across are the three Killer Whale pods.

Pick a night for a Ghostly Walk guided tour across historical, haunted Victoria. There are two tours a night throughout most of the year and the earlier tour takes you through a different route each night. This means that you could come back twice and have a different experience each time.

Local tip: during the Halloween season, Ghostly Walks adds a third tour time and pulls out all the stops for immersive, spooky ghost tours. If your long weekend trip is during October, this is an absolute must-see.

For something quirky to do on your last day, swing by Victoria’s Bug Zoo. Approximately 50 species of insects make the Bug Zoo their home, some of which you can handle yourself if you’re feeling brave. The Bug Zoo features Canada’s largest ant farm — yep, that’s a thing — and is dedicated to destigmatizing the creepy crawlies of the world.

Bruce Peninsula, ON

The Bruce Peninsula is a 2-hour drive from Toronto — 4 if you want to go all the way to Tobermory, like taking a hike along the Bruce Trail. The peninsula is a popular Ontario long weekend spot because of its warm summer weather.

If you’re planning a beach day, you can’t beat Sauble Beach, the second longest freshwater beach in the world. Climb the sand dunes (watch for poison ivy!), walk the boardwalk, and splash in the waters of Lake Huron.

Fathom Five Marine Park is home to over 20 sunken shipwrecks. You can dive or snorkel in the waters to see them or take a glass bottom boat tour with Blue Heron Cruises. Tours start in Tobermory near the Big Tub Lighthouse and end with a stop at Flowerpot Island, so this is an all-in-one way to see Tobermory’s top sights in a day.

Before you leave, make sure you spend a night checking out Bayside Astronomy. The Bruce Peninsula’s lack of light pollution means you can see stars and planets that are completely drowned out in other parts of the country.

Calgary, AB

Calgary is known as the . On your long weekend getaway, rent a car and get out of the city for a day. Banff is only an hour and a half away, so you can make a long weekend in Calgary Banff if you’d like.

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Alternatively, Drumheller is another hour and a half drive away from Calgary. If you’re vacationing with the kids, you need to make a stop here on a day trip — it’s one of the dinosaur capitals of North America, if not dinosaur capital of the world. Visit the World’s Largest Dinosaur and the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

For a day in Calgary itself, head up the Calgary Tower. While it hasn’t been the tallest building in Calgary for a while, you still get an incredible 360° view of the city. Make sure you jump on the glass floor (don’t worry, it’s been tested by elephants).

Local tip: the Calgary Tower’s own restaurant is top notch, but if you’re afraid of heights, try out one of the trendy spots along 17th Ave instead.

Year round, Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park hosts programs and events. Rent a mountain bike and spend a long weekend speeding down the hill.

Bay of Fundy, NS and NB

The Bay of Fundy features more of Canada’s pristine wine country. Tour a winery and sip some of the local wines. Nova Scotian wine is comparatively rare when up against the bigger wine production regions of Canada, so take home a bottle as a souvenir from your long weekend trip.

Whale watching is big in the Bay of Fundy. Dedicate a day to getting to know the local whale pods. If you’re lucky, you might also see the dolphins and seals that make the Bay of Fundy home as well. Keep your eyes peeled and your camera up for a rare North Atlantic right whale, one of the rarest whales in the world.

Nova Scotia is full of preserved fossils. Any long weekend getaway should include time at one of the many fossil museums in the bay. We recommend the Fundy Geological Museum in particular, with some of Canada’s oldest dinosaurs on display.

Local tip: a trip to the museum isn’t complete without a beach tour. Plan ahead and hunt for fossils on the beach!

Cape Breton, NS

Last but not least, Cape Breton is a top long weekend getaway spot for golfers and hikers.

Bike or hike the Cabot Trail. Numerous hiking trails off the beaten path mean that you could spend a whole day of your trip just walking and exploring. The views along the trails are breathtaking; bring a camera.

You should also dedicate a day to golfing in Cape Breton. The local courses feature water views, mountain sights, and beautifully landscaped holes for a memorable golfing experience. Some courses have restaurants for a bite to eat after your game, ideal for romantic long weekend getaways.

Visit the Fortress of Louisbourg for an afternoon. It’s a massive historical reconstruction of a 1700s-era military fort, staffed by actors and lively with activity. You can dress up in period clothing, eat in historically accurate restaurants, and get to know what life was like for colonists.

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About the Author: Tung Chi