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Best Winter Vacations In Canada

Looking for the perfect winter escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life? Have you dreamed of seeing snow-capped mountains and frozen lakes? And taking a relaxing train ride through the picturesque wilderness? If so, Canada is the destination for you. With its spectacular mountain ranges and pristine lakes, this vast country offers travelers unique experiences that can’t be found anywhere else. From Winter Carnival in Quebec to cross-country ski tours in Banff National Park, Canada has the best winter vacation for every type of traveler.

Couple sitting on a bench on a dock looking at snowy mountains

Canada is one of the largest countries on earth. Winter temperatures vary drastically across its three coasts. Typically, Canadians experience winter weather from late November to February. However, some parts may have chilly days for up to six months.

The travel experts at Canadian Train Vacations can help you plan your perfect winter trip. So lace up your warmest boots, grab your mittens, and let's go exploring!

#1 Travel tip: get useful souvenirs

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Along with maple syrup, clothing makes a functional souvenir (and can serve as extra layers during your trip.) Toques, locally know sweaters, and mukluk slippers are great choices.

Blog Author - Athena McKenzie
Athena McKenzie
Content Manager

Top 15 Canadian Winter Vacations in 2023/24

1. Whistler, British Columbia

When travellers rank Winter vacations in Canada, Whistler, British Columbia often tops the list. It is one of Canada's most popular winter destinations, offering a wide range of activities. Ski or snowboard on a range of slopes for all ability levels. There's also a variety of winter sports to enjoy as a group, such as ice skating, sledding, snowshoeing, and even night skiing. Throughout the winter, Whistler village hosts a variety of seasonal events, such as caroling shows, festive light displays, and alpine markets. The winters are especially great for family fun — tubing at Whistler is a fun activity for kids of all ages.

A person in a red jacket skiing down Whistler mountain with gondola in the distance

2. Jasper National Park, Alberta

Your winter vacation in Canada is an amazing time to explore Jasper. Jasper National Park provides wonderful opportunities for winter walks and snowshoe trips along its many trails. Visitors can enjoy breathtaking views during the winter. Local rangers organize many activities and programs each winter. Admission to the trails requires a valid National Park Pass.

Frozen Athabasca Falls and snowy landscape in Jasper National Park

3. Bow Valley, Banff, Alberta

The Bow Valley Parkway is a scenic mountain road located in Alberta, Canada. It runs from the town of Canmore, just east of Banff National Park, to the town of Lake Louise, located within the park. The parkway is known for its spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, lakes, and forests, perfect a drive during the Canadian winter holidays. It is a popular destination for tourists and outdoor enthusiasts exploring the park and taking in the scenery. The Bow Valley Parkway is also home to many endangered species, including grizzly bears, and wolves, making it an important area for conservation.

The Bow Valley Parkway is open year-round and is easily accessible from the Trans-Canada Highway. It is recommended to check for road conditions and closures before embarking on the drive, especially during the winter months.

Man standing on the snowy Bow Valley Parkway looking at Castle Mountain
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4. Iqaluit, Nunavut

The capital of Nunavut, Iqaluit, is located on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. It is one of the most northerly settlements in the world and home to around 8,000 people. Iqaluit is known for its stunning Arctic landscape, its vibrant Inuit culture, and for being the gateway to Nunavut's other towns and villages.

Visitors can explore the city's Inuit heritage by visiting the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum, which showcases the Inuit people's art, culture, and history. The city also offers a wide range of outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, dog sledding, and opportunities to see the Northern Lights. It's also a great place for wildlife viewing, including beluga whales and narwhals. Iqaluit can be accessed by plane, with regular flights from major Canadian cities.

A person dog sledding in the snow

5. Niagara Falls, Niagara, Ontario

Niagara Falls is a summer go-to, but it's also a great spot for the best winter vacations in Canada. There's everything, from wine tours, skiing, and winter activities like snow tubing to winter festivals. It hosts many seasonal events, such as the Winter Festival of Lights. There are so many ways to take in the breathtaking winter scenery from the banks of the majestic Niagara Falls.

During this time of year, visitors can also experience special winter packages offered by hotels that are conveniently located near Niagara Falls attractions. For those looking to get out and enjoy winter activities, the Niagara on the Lake Icewine Festival is a great place to start. It features ice wine tastings and talks with local winemakers.

Frozen Niagara Falls and snowy surroundings

6. Rideau Canal, Ottawa, Ontario

The Rideau Canal is a beautiful and historic waterway that runs through the city of Ottawa, Canada's capital. In the winter, the canal transforms into a massive 7.8-km-long skating rink, attracting thousands of visitors worldwide to enjoy its beauty during their Canada winter vacation. There are also heated break houses throughout the park, which offer every skater a chance to catch their breath. During the winter, Ottawa locals and tourists can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, such as speed skating races, festivals, and family-friendly events.

People skating on the Rideau Canal

7. Chic-choc Mountains, Gaspésie National Park

The Chic-Choc Mountains are the perfect Canadian winter playground, with a wide variety of activities for those who brave the cold. There is something to do here for all ages, whether it be snowshoeing, skiing, ice climbing, or zip lining. And what’s more, each year in winter, the area hosts various hunting and fishing events. The reserve is known for its diverse range of game species, making it a popular destination for hunters. The hunting season typically lasts for ten days between October and November.

A person off piste skiing in the mountains in Quebec

#2 Travel tip: bring a portable charger

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Cold weather can run down your phone battery much quicker than normal and some tours don't have easy access to chargers. An extra power source can come in handy.

Louise Weiss
Director of Legendary Hospitality

8. Quebec City, Quebec

With its festive European atmosphere, best-in-Canada architecture, and plenty of outdoor activities, Quebec is one of the best places to spend a winter vacation in Canada. From skiing and snowboarding to partying in Old Quebec City late into the night, there's something for every traveler who visits. There are also tons of great events held throughout the winter season. It includes unique opportunities to experience renowned wine tastings, art galleries, and plays that you won't find anywhere else. The Québec Winter Carnival (also known as the Carnaval de Québec) is a must-see event while in Quebec.

The festivities typically take place over two weeks in February or early March and feature a variety of winter activities, including ice sculptures, snow slides, the iconic Bonhomme mascot, and an ice canoe race. The event draws in thousands of visitors from around the world, who come to experience the unique Québécois culture and cuisine.

Bonhomme mascot on stage at the Quebec winter carnival

9. Edmonton, Alberta

Edmonton boasts some of the best snow tubing parks in Canada. Take the opportunity to enjoy a unique experience this winter season. Try your hand at whizzing down the slopes at one of the nearby snow tubing parks or ski areas. Most offer snack bars, fire pits, and lots of laughs with friends and family. Other winter activities include ice skating, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. If you're got extra time, check out some of the city's official winter events, like Silver Skate Festival. 

A dad helping a child on a toboggan with view of Edmonton city in the distance

10. Cow Bay, Nova Scotia

Cow Bay is an amazing destination for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of their day-to-day lives. Boasting pristine beaches, breathtaking views, and miles of trails, Cow Bay has something for everyone. During the winter season, Cow Bay hosts several exciting events, like artisan markets and live music shows. You can also soak up the atmosphere while enjoying a warm beverage or two. 

Pink and purple sunset over the ocean at Cow Bay

11. Kelowna, British Columbia

Myra Canyon Trestles in Kelowna offer a winter wonderland for outdoor enthusiasts. Visit during the winter months and take in the breathtaking views of the canyon while you explore over 12 km of trails. Explore the area on foot, with cross-country skis, snowshoes, or even sliding in an inner tube. If you prefer a guided experience, check out one of the many events hosted by Myra Canyon Trestles during the winter season.

People walking across a trestle bridge in the snow

12. Monts-Valin National Park, Saguenay, Quebec

Monts-Valin National Park is a paradise for nature lovers. If you're an adventure enthusiast, you'll want to spend some time exploring this incredible landscape. There's something for everyone. From summer hikes through lush forests and lots of unique wildlife to spectacular views from the top of Mount Valin towering above the trees. There are also plenty of activities available for winter adventurers: snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and sledding. Special events are organized in the park, like guided tours and workshops on the traditional stories of the Anishinaabe community living nearby.

People snowshoeing up a mountain on a sunny day and view of snowy trees

#3 Travel Tip: try maple taffy

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Don’t miss out on a Maple Taffy (“tire sur la neige”) experience – a quintessential Quebecois treat where maple syrup is drizzled over fresh snow, and rolled up into a deliciously sweet snack.

Blog Author - Athena McKenzie
Athena McKenzie
Content Manager

13. Charlottetown, PEI

Charlottetown, the capital of Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island, is a vibrant place to visit in the winter with its historic downtown area, friendly locals, and a plethora of activities to choose from. There’s sure never to be a dull moment. Whether you’re looking to march along with the Charlottetown Santa Claus Parade or enjoy outdoor skating at Victoria Park Arena.

A street of colourful houses covered in snow

14. Grouse Mountain, British Columbia

Grouse Mountain is a great destination all year round, but there's something extra special about spending time there during the winter. You won't want to miss the chance to ski, snowboard, or take a sleigh ride through the beautiful, snow-covered trails of the North Shore Mountains. For even more fun, there will be tons of family-friendly activities like kids' crafts and outdoor movies, as well as plenty of delicious treats to keep everyone happy all winter long.

People sitting on a ski chair lift above the snow with Vancouver city and ocean in the distance

15. Cape Spear, Newfoundland

Cape Spear, located in Newfoundland and Labrador, is a scenic place to take in the icy view of the North Atlantic. It is one of several winter destinations in Canada that are within driving distance of St. John's. This is not for the faint of heart. Nestled on the eastern tip of Canada, it's the perfect place to experience winter weather in all its glory. At Cape Spear, you’ll get to explore the breathtaking scenery of rugged cliffs and rolling hills extending out into the ocean. Plan a half day trip then head back to St. John's for holiday markets, live music, and culinary celebrations.

View of lighthouse on snowy cliff with a view of the sea in the distance

Best Canadian Winter Resorts

1. Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a trendy destination in Canada during the winter season. It is a luxury hotel located in the Canadian Rocky Mountains in the province of Alberta, near Lake Louise in Banff National Park. Not only can visitors take in the majestic views of the lake and mountains, but there's plenty to explore indoors as well, from relaxing at their luxury spa to snowshoeing through nearby trails or taking part in one of their exciting guest events. You can participate in many events with your partner, such as evening bonfires and culinary experiences.

Aerial view of Chateau Lake Louise, lake and mountains covered in snow

2. Club Med Québec Charlevoix

Club Med Québec Charlevoix is a world-class all-inclusive vacation resort located in the Charlevoix region of Quebec, Canada. It is a great destination for families looking to get away during winter. With stunning views of the St. Lawrence River, fantastic recreation possibilities exist. It includes alpine skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, fat biking, ice skating, dog sledding, and more.

Families can also see "Kids Club: Winter Magic in the Village." It includes activities such as an arctic obstacle course and a family snowshoeing tour led by professional guides. So if you're looking for exciting ways to enjoy the winter weather, Club Med Québec Charlevoix should be your go-to destination.

4. Sunshine Mountain Lodge

Sunshine Mountain Lodge is located in Banff in the majestic Canadian Rockies. It is a perfect Canadian winter resort. In addition to plenty of outdoor recreation, you can also take part in special winter events hosted by the lodge. From live music performances to outdoor movie screenings and weekly trivia nights, take in the magic of winter at Sunshine Mountain Lodge.

Exterior view of Sunshine Mountain Lodge next to snow-covered trees

5. Flying Moose Chalet

The Moose Chalet is a cozy mountain retreat nestled in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. Located near the small town of Revelstoke, the Moose Chalet features spectacular views of the surrounding peaks and valleys, making it the perfect spot for a romantic getaway or family vacation. The Flying Moose Chalet is the perfect retreat in Canada during the winter.

You can also enjoy regular events such as guided hikes and tours, snowshoeing trips, and an incredible array of outdoor sports that cater to all tastes and ages. So why not pack your ski gear and head to the Flying Moose Chalet?

Snow train across Canada

Step on board the train in Vancouver and prepare to experience a magical journey across Canada. Pass through picturesque towns nestled within the Canadian Rockies. You can take in a winter wonderland of snow-capped mountains and glistening forests. Step off the train for a quick walk around Jasper. Then ride onwards to your final destination, Toronto. Take the journey for an unforgettable cross-country adventure.

Embark on an unforgettable 12-day and 11-night adventure for just USD 4,990 per person between January and March. Spend four days and four nights aboard the train as you take in breathtaking views of Toronto. Make memories that will last a lifetime.

[ Explore: Top Canadian Snow Train Trips ]

A VIA Rail train travelling through a snowy forest

Here is a list of average temperatures during the winter months in each province in Canada:

Province

Average Temperature

Coldest months

British Columbia

0° to 9° C

December, January and February

Alberta

-6° to -40° C

January and February

Saskatchewan

-1° to -30° C

December, January and February

Quebec

-15° to -9° C

December, January and February

Manitoba

-20° to -35° C

January

Ontario

0° to -3° C

December, January and February

New Brunswick

-12° to 0° C

December, January and February

Nova Scotia

-10° to 1° C

December and January

Newfoundland

-9° to -21° C

December, January and February

What Clothes to pack for Canada winter?

Winter weather varies from coast-to-coast so make sure you pack plenty of layers, including a water-and-windproof outer layer for colder days and locations. A winter coat, snow boots, insulated gloves, and hats are recommended for any winter trip to Canada. Depending on your trip. you'll probably want to bring thermal underwear, ski pants, and wool or synthetic sweaters.

Be sure to pack the following items for your winter vacation in Canada:

  • Heavy winter coat: A winter coat should be waterproof and insulated, with a hood to protect your head from the snow.
  • Snow boots: Choose warm and waterproof boots to keep your feet dry and comfortable in the cold weather.
  • Ski pants: Invest in a pair of ski pants that are waterproof, breathable, and windproof. 
  • Insulated gloves: Make sure to keep your hands warm with a pair of insulated gloves or mittens. We recommend mittens, as they will keep your hands warmest.
  • Hats: A wool or synthetic hat will keep your head and ears warm in cold temperatures.
  • Thermal underwear: Layers are key when it comes to staying warm in the winter.
  • Waterproof shoes or boots: Make sure to wear waterproof shoes or boots to keep your feet dry and warm.
  • Scarf or balaclava: Cover your face and neck from the chilly winds with a scarf or balaclava.
    Outdoor activities: Depending on where you are visiting, pack items such as skis, snowshoes, or a snowmobile to enjoy the winter activities. 
Person snowshoeing while wearing a red winter coat, ski pants and a hat

5 Reasons to Book Your Winter Vacation with Fresh Tracks Canada

We’re experts in Canadian winter vacations

No one else celebrates the season quite like us, with winter festivals, sports, and activities that make the most of the snowy weather. And no one helps you enjoy them quite like Fresh Tracks — we book more than 2,000 train trips a year, including those on the iconic Winter Snow and Sleeper trains.

Whether you’re celebrating the holidays in the Canadian Rockies or immersing yourself in the magic of Quebec’s winter festivals, we’ll make sure you get there in comfort and style.

We personalize your winter wonderland

Fresh Tracks trips aren’t one-size-fits all group tours; we specialize in creating personalized vacations to Canada. Unlike other travel companies, who offer set packages as a one-size-fits-all approach, we personalize your vacation to suit your personal travel interests, whether you travel solo, as part of a couple, or with a group of your choosing.

A dedicated team of local travel experts will collaborate with you. They’ll design your itinerary around your needs and interests, and include hotels, attractions, and experiences that are perfect for you. 

We have winter activities for every traveler

Level up your winter vacation with unique experiences and activities that make memories to last a lifetime. Fresh Tracks’ portfolio of winter activities means there’s something for every type of traveler – from more traditional winter activities like dog sledding and snowshoeing to hot springs in the snow for those looking to refresh mind and body.

We’ve got the inside track on bucket list Canadian experiences

Canada is one of only a few places in the world where you can see the wonder of the Northern Lights or see Polar Bears up close. We make it easy for you to check these truly Canadian moments off your travel bucket list by connecting you with experienced partners and giving you the inside scoop on how to make the most of your trip.

We’re with you every step of the way

We’re here to take care of you and all your trip details, so you can just relax and focus on making memories. From planning your vacation to your return home and all the special meals, activities, and local advice, we’ve got you covered. 

We also offer on-the-ground support seven days a week through a dedicated helpline that will connect you to a local expert who can sort out missed connections, reschedule tours, or rebook hotels due to delays.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best part about Canadian winter?

The best part about Canadian winter is that it offers a variety of outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy. There's something for everyone. From snowshoeing and skiing in the mountains to ice skating and hockey on frozen ponds.

What is the warmest city in Canada in winter?

Victoria, British Columbia, is the warmest city in Canada during the winter months. Thanks to its mild temperatures and lack of snowfall, Victoria is a popular winter destination for those looking for an escape from the cold.

Where do most Canadian snowbirds go for the winter?

Canadian snowbirds often flock to the southern United States for their winter getaways. Florida, Arizona, and California are among some of the most popular destinations. It offers plenty of sunshine and warmth during the cold winter months.

What is the coldest city in Canada?

The coldest city in Canada is Eureka, Nunavut. The place sees an average daily temperature of -19.7°C in the wintertime.

About the author: Louise Weiss is Director of Legendary Hospitality with Fresh Tracks Canada. Having worked in the Canadian travel industry for more than 25 years, she enjoys sharing her local expertise with visitors. She is based in North Vancouver and has spent time... Read more

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