Boat tours are an excellent way to experience Canada, as it’s home to many stunning lakes and has the world’s longest coastline. Tours around the country can take visitors to see whales, puffins, icebergs, fjords, waterfalls, and so much more. Here are 10 of the best boat tours in Canada.
A registered UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal runs through Canada’s capital city, Ottawa. It extends 202 kilometers (126 miles) from Ottawa to Kingston. The Ottawa section has many locks and bridges, so a cruise along the waterway is a great way to see some of the city’s best sights. There are many companies that offer boat tours along the Rideau Canal, including Paul’s Boat Lines, Rideau Canal Cruises, and Ontario Waterway Cruises.
Rideau Canal, ON, Canada
Tadoussac is said to be one of the best places for whale watching in the world. Over 200,000 people visit the Quebec town between May and October to see a variety of different whale species. Blue whales, humpbacks, minke whales, belugas and fin whales can all be spotted in St. Lawrence’s salty waters. They swim up the river to the mouth of Saguenay Fjord to feed. Otis Excursions and Croisières AML are two companies offering whale-watching tours from Tadoussac.
Tadoussac, QC, Canada
Straddling the United States and Canada border in the St. Lawrence River, the Thousand Islands were a retreat for the elite back in the late 19th century. Stately mansions, a German-style castle, and lighthouses are some of the structures located on just some of the region’s 1,800 islands. Take a boat tour with 1000 Islands & Seaway Cruises to see the most impressive landmarks. They offer both traditional and high-speed cruises.
1000 Islands & Seaway Cruises, 30 Block House Island Road, Brockville, ON, Canada, +1 888 229 9913
See Banff National Park from a different perspective and cruise around Lake Minnewanka. The national park’s largest lake, it’s perfectly surrounded by the towering and majestic Rocky Mountains. As well as admiring the scenery and turquoise lake surface, cruising along Lake Minnewanka with Brewster is also an opportunity to spot some of Canada’s wildlife, such as bears, bighorn sheep, and bald eagles.
Lake Minnewanka, Improvement District No. 9, AB, Canada
Advocate Boat Tours is actually the only company on the upper Bay of Fundy, which is known for having the world’s highest tides. Approximately 160 billion tons of water flow through the Bay of Fundy, which equals the flow of every freshwater river in the world—combined. Advocate offers two small (maximum of six guests) tours, including a wildlife tour to Isle Haute. The other option is Cape Split, which gives people a close-up view of Bay of Fundy’s impressive rock formations.
Advocate Boat Tours, 3838 NS-209, Advocate Harbour, NS, Canada, +1 902 670 8314
Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the best places in the world to see icebergs. They arrive in the area from the Arctic in early spring, but the best time to view them is usually early May to late June when they aren’t trapped in sea ice. The time between May and September is also a perfect opportunity to spot whales off Twillingate’s coast, so it’s a two-for-one deal with Twillingate Island Boat Tours.
Twillingate Island Boat Tours, 50 Main Street, Twillingate, NL, Canada, +1 709 884 2242
Although it’s Newfoundland and Labrador’s official bird symbol, tours to see the incredible puffins also happen in Nova Scotia. Donelda’s is the only Bird Island boat tour company along the Cabot Trail, near Baddeck. The tour takes visitors to the Atlantic puffins’ nesting grounds, and puffin sightings are guaranteed on every trip. Along the way, you will also be able to spot other seabirds, bald eagles, and seals too.
Donelda’s Puffin Boat Tours, 1099 HWY 312, Englishtown, NS, Canada, +1 902 929 2563
When most people think of fjords, their minds instantly wander to places like Norway. But Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne National Park is a rare landlocked fjord, which was carved by glaciers. The national park is home to the Long Range Mountains too—the northernmost extent of the Appalachians. Witness the marvel that is Western Brook Pond yourself, as well as numerous wildlife sightings and cascading waterfalls on a boat tour with BonTours. Each trip includes a live tour guide.
BonTours Tour Boat Terminal, Gros Morne National Park, Western Brook Pond Trail, Division No. 9, Subd. A, NL, Canada, +1 709 458 2016
The best way to see any island is by boat. Archipelago Wildlife Cruises is the number one tour company in Ucluelet. Let the husband-and-wife team show you Vancouver Island’s most beautiful sights, as they spot wildlife, whales, and bears while cruising down the sheltered Broken Group Islands’ channel. See what makes Pacific Rim National Park one of Canada’s most naturally stunning areas. The company also offers both day and night cruises.
Archipelago Wildlife Cruises, 1634 Cedar Road, Whiskey Landing Marina, Ucluelet, BC, Canada, +1 250 726 8289
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.