Experience the beauty of Canada at summertime. The fresh pine scent of a quiet forest trail. The warm sand between your toes in a hidden cove along the coast. The sweet taste of locally made ice cream as you watch the sunset. Some of the best summer family vacations can be found in Canada. And when you explore this country by train, you'll gain a unique perspective on the local culture and natural wonders of the True North.
Whether you're dining on lobster on a sunny restaurant terrace in Halifax, whale watching on Vancouver Island or listening to an open-air concert in Calgary, those bright sunny days and long, balmy evenings will be packed with fun. The summers in Canada don’t last long, which is all the more reason to get out there and make the most of every moment.
Our team of travel experts can help you plan your customized Canadian summer train vacation.
Most Popular Summer Train Tours in Canada
Speak to a Canadian Train Vacation Advisor to discuss all your options.
Quick facts about summer in Canada
- The warm season in Canada is generally from June to August. However, the hot weather will often arrive earlier and stay later in central and eastern Canadian cities such as Toronto and Montreal.
- When packing your bags, remember that layering will be your best friend. Temperatures are unpredictable and even in the summer it can be chilly at night, especially on the coast and in the Rockies.
- Canada's prairie provinces have the most extreme temperatures. Although it can dip down into -40 degrees or colder in the winter in Alberta and Saskatchewan, it can get up to 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) and hotter in the summer months!
#1 Travel tip: Avoid the crowds
Some popular areas can be quite busy during the high season of summer. A great way to avoid the crowds is on our private sightseeing tours by helicopter or float plane.
Canada Summer Trip Ideas
Summer is a great time to visit any destination in Canada, but there are some places that truly come alive during this season. This list will help you generate some ideas for your next summer vacation in Canada.
Turquoise glacier lakes glimmer in the midday sun. The dense pine forests are alive with the chirps and whistles of the birds. A dusting of snow still remains on the highest mountain peaks, contrasted against the cloudless cobalt blue sky. When you explore the Rockies on a warm summer's day you can smell the alpine wildflowers, feel the sunshine on your face and really savour every moment in this untamed wilderness.
Vancouver is a delightful city throughout the year, but it really shines in the summertime. You'll have the best of both worlds: the culture, dining and shopping of a world-class metropolis and the oceans, mountains and hiking trails of an outdoor paradise. The climate of Vancouver is also ideal in the summer — not too cold, but also not scorching hot. It's just the right temperature to treat yourself to some ice cream after a day of exploring.
The narrow cobblestone streets, steep hills and welcoming squares of this European-esque city are a delight to explore under blue summer skies. Once you’ve wandered the streets of this historic French-Canadian city, head to The Baie de Beauport, the popular local beach. Play a game of beach volleyball or just relax and enjoy the sunlight sparkling on the water.
Long days at the beach and lobster dinners are a big part of the summer months in this coastal province. Try all the fresh local seafood, in season in the summer, including mussels, oysters and lobster. Most pubs and restaurants will feature live Celtic music acts throughout the season, making for an engaging night of entertainment and a unique cultural experience.
Why do the best Canadian Summer vacations include travelling by rail?
- Don't let the country's frosty reputation fool you. Canada's summer weather brings long, warm days that create ideal conditions for soaking up the natural beauty
- The Great Outdoors: The warm weather is ideal for hiking, camping, fishing, golfing and other outdoor pursuits.
- Festivals Galore: Canadians celebrate the season with plenty of lively events, including the Canada Day fireworks on July 1st.
- Long Summer Days: Due to Canada's northerly position, it doesn't get dark on summer evenings until around 9p.m. A late sunset gives you more hours in the day for sightseeing, wildlife watching or simply admiring the view with a glass of wine. You can hike through hidden pine trails, taste the sun-ripened summer berries and watch eagles swooping over the rushing rivers. Make the most of your visit as a luxurious train carries you from one spectacular Canadian hotspot to the next.
#2 Travel tip: Take advantage of summer festivals
There are many festivals across Canada in the summer, from music and buskers to outdoor art and food events. Many include free entertainment. The Toronto and Montreal Jazz Festivals are world-renown.
The Rocky Mountaineer, a luxury sight-seeing train, only runs from Spring through to the Fall, making Summer an ideal time for this experience. The service connects British Columbia and Alberta, with stops in Jasper, Lake Louise, Banff, Vancouver, Whistler, Quesnel and Kamloops. This train only runs during daylight hours so passengers can experience the most spectacular views and optimal photo opportunities. Guests spend their nights in local hotels along the route.
VIA Rail is Canada’s main passenger train and connects Vancouver to Halifax with four major train routes. Stops you can explore include Vancouver, Jasper, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec and Halifax. The trains run year-round, but there are special presentations and activities during the summer, including live music, wine tastings and history talks. Depending on the route, they offer overnight sleeper train experiences.
There are two train routes in Canada which allow you to sleep on the train, both through VIA Rail. Travel between Vancouver and Toronto on The Canadian with stops in Jasper or Winnipeg. Or travel the East Coast of Canada on the Ocean train. Both sleeper train routes are available all year long. Some sleeper trains in Canada are equipped with special panoramic viewing cars to provide you with the best view of the scenery day or night.
Canada has two train services which offer luxury amenities. GoldLeaf service on the Rocky Mountaineer train connects Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies. The train runs by daylight and operates from mid-April to mid-October. Prestige Class sleeper service on VIA Rail’s The Canadian train operates year-round and you can travel all the way from Vancouver to Toronto or vice-versa. Both luxury train services provide fine dining, spectacular views, and optimal photo opportunities.
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About the author: Athena McKenzie is the Content Manager at Fresh Tracks Canada. An experienced lifestyle journalist, she has written about travel, design, arts and entertainment. Her work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Zoomer Magazine, Elle Canada and... Read more
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