Canada has more coastline than any other country in the world. And it's no wonder those 202,080 kilometres of coastline are dotted with some of the world's coolest coastal towns. Whether you're into whale watching, fishing, kayaking, surfing or even snapping photos of icebergs, these six Canadian coastal towns are ones every traveller should see.
Cavendish, Prince Edward Island
Travellers seeking complete relaxation will find the small coastal town of Cavendish the perfect place to stay and play. You can have the photo-worthy Prince Edward Island beaches all to yourself during most times of year. However, the tiny town's population of 300 grows substantially in the summer months, when the shops, restaurants and attractions come alive.
Spend day after day with your toes in the sand, play a round of golf, dine on fresh lobster, or enjoy one of many family-friendly attractions, like miniature golf, deep sea fishing, Jurassic Bart's Dinosaur Museum, parasailing and more. Your Cavendish getaway can be as action-packed or relaxing as you want it to be.
Tofino, British Columbia
Tofino is one of Canada's most famous coastal towns. It's probably because it's also one of the most captivating places in the world. Surfers flock to Tofino for its abundance of swells while hikers take to the peninsula's array of wooded hiking trails. However, whether you venture out to sea or into the woods, you're never far from Tofino's pristine sandy shores and abundance of outdoorsy places to dine and shop.
Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia
The village of Peggy's Cove is a coastal destination that you'll never want to leave. This quaint East Coast town is known for its famous Peggy's Point Lighthouse, but once you're finished snapping photos, you're guaranteed to fall in love with the quaint fishing village that calls the lighthouse its own. Boulders groomed by centuries of crashing waves protect the coastal houses that sit perched above the ocean. Whether you're exploring the rocks, enjoying a day-long fishing trip or are shopping and dining at the coastal shops and restaurants, you'll immediately feel at ease in this historic Nova Scotia town.
Port Rowan, Ontario
Port Rowan is a small town along the north shore of Ontario's storied Long Point Bay. This white-sand hamlet on Lake Erie is known for some of the best camping and beachcombing in the province. More than 100,000 visitors flock to the beaches of Long Point each year to swim, hike, shipwreck dive and enjoy the pristine Lake Erie waters. The small nearby town of Port Rowan offers breathtaking views of the bay coupled with cool shops, delicious seafood restaurants, golf courses and plenty of affordable rental cottages for the ultimate family getaway.
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
The town of Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and you'll understand why it is so beloved upon arrival. The community continues to win awards each year for it's stunning downtown area and scenic shores. Take a step back to a simpler time on the town's antique streets while admiring historic homes, unique shops and tasty eateries. Despite the town's multitude of annual festivals, golf courses, historic tours, fine art galleries and museums, it seems that most visitors come to gawk at the stunning ocean views and to dip their toes in the sand.
Twillingate Island, Newfoundland and Labrador
Twillingate is a hot summer vacation destination for Canadians, but the rest of the world is missing out on this Newfoundland and Labrador gem. This small island in the North Atlantic Ocean is one of the best places in the country to trade the hustle and bustle of daily life for stunning views and non-stop family fun. Whale watching and iceberg boat tours are popular among tourists, but the island also offers unique museums, coastal shops, delicious seafood restaurants, and loads of scenic hiking trails for those who prefer to stay on land.
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Best time to travel: April, May, September, October Average price: $700 to $900 Why you want to go: Even if the Euro scares you more than the U.S. dollar does, Spain is still considered a budget-friendly country with low accommodation costs. "Spain has something for every traveller's needs whether it be a relaxing beach vacation in Malaga, exploring the Alhambra Palace in Granada or visiting the famed Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Spain is also famous for their tapas and you can get tapas and drink for $5," says Rishi Modi of travel deal site Next Departure.
Best time to travel: April, May, September, October Average price: $700 to $900 Why you want to go: For Canadians, Lisbon is one of the cheaper European cities to fly into. "It's a lively city with delicious seafood and cheap drinks. Take advantage of its inexpensive public transit to visit the historic Sintra, go to a winery in Porto and enjoy the Mediterranean weather on a beach in Faro."
Best time to travel: December to March Average price: $900 to $1,200 Why you want to go: Getting to Thailand can be pricey depending on the time you go, but once you're there, everything can fit into your budget. "Food from street vendors and markets costs you $4 to $5 and accommodations can run you as low as $20 a night [depending where you stay]. Thailand has tons of attractions to offer travellers, from trekking in the jungles of Chiang Mai to relaxing on tropical islands like Ko Samui."
Best time to travel: October to May Average price: $900 to $1,200 Why you want to go: Marrakech was named Tripadvisor's number one destination in 2015, according to travellers. "Explore the ancient palaces, shop in the markets of Marrakech and stay overnight in the Sahara desert. Food is inexpensive in local restaurants and street stalls, while accommodations are reasonably priced."
Best time to travel: Depending if you go north or south, you want to avoid cold or rainy seasons. Late December is usually the best. Average price: $900 to $1,100 Why you want to go: If you're an urban explorer or nature lover, Vietnam offers both. "Vietnam is another South Asian destination that continues to be budget-friendly with beautiful sights, including cruising along Halong Bay and visiting the rice terraces. Food is remarkably cheap — a meal and beer can cost under $3."
Best time to travel: April, May, September, October Average price: $900 to $1,100 Why you want to go: If you want to go to Europe and still have spending money, Modi suggests avoiding popular destinations like France and Italy and opting for Eastern Europe instead. "From Hungary to Romania to Bulgaria, these Eastern European countries are rich in diverse culture and its modern and historical architecture."
Best time to travel: April, May, September, October Average price: $700 to $900 Why you want to go: "Peru is known for its geographic diversity, from exploring the vast Amazon jungle to hiking the Inca Trail to relaxing on the beach coast," he says. But Peru’s most famous attraction is the ancient site of Machu Picchu — a must-see if you decide to go to this South American country.
Best time to travel: April, May, September, October Average price: $1,000 to $1,200 Why you want to go: Indonesia has thousands of islands and Bali is one of the most luxurious and popular ones. "Food and hotels are extremely cheap, where you can enjoy tasty meals from $1 to $2 and spend as little as $20 per night on accommodations." However, if you do plan on renting out a villa or eating on Seminyak's main tourist strip, it can feel like dining and living in a major Canadian city.
Best time to travel: January to March; September to November Average price: $600 to $1,000 Why you want to go: If you haven't been to Cuba, you probably know several Canadians who have — the Caribbean island is one of the most popular beach destinations for Canucks. "All-inclusive packages are affordable and offer a bang for your buck. If you’re really flexible, you can often find last-minute cheap deals on flights and all-inclusive packages."
Best time to travel: January to April; September to December Average price: $350 to $650 Why you want to go: We're not saying you should head to pricey destinations like Hawaii or Las Vegas, but some U.S. spots have taken advantage of our falling currency. "Myrtle Beach, Kissimmee, and Scottsdale are starting to offer deep discounts — around 20 to 30 per cent off accommodations, free meal vouchers and discounts off activities. Also, expect major airline carriers alongside the low-cost carriers stateside such as Allegiant and Sprint to offer discounts and seat sales as well." And when you look at your budget as a whole, many U.S. destinations tend to be cheaper than leaving the continent.