Best budget places to visit in Canada 

Want a cheap summer vacay? These are the best places to visit in Canada
These views and $20 lobster suppers await in New Brunswick.

How do you plan where you’ll go for your summer vacation? Personally, I search out where’s cheapest. (That’s why I’m such a big fan of the Maritimes!) July and December are typically the most expensive months for air travel, but this year domestic flights in Canada are down 7% according to a recent KAYAK survey.

Read on to learn the best budget places to visit in Canada during the summer months. Or, catch my segment on Calgary’s Global TV this morning at 7:50 a.m. 

Places to visit in Canada


Call me biased, but I used to spend my summers in New Brunswick and there’s few places that offer such great value. Moncton is only a half hour drive to the Fundy Coast, where you’ll find stunning white sand beaches such as Parlee Beach Provincial Park.

Just as beautiful, but less less busy is Cap Pelé Beach. You can rent an entire beachfront cottage for $100/night!

family sand castle beach
I’ve been dreaming of this beach (Parlee) since I first visited a few years ago.

A half hour drive in the other direction from Moncton takes you to the famous Hopewell Rocks AKA flower pot rocks. You’ll want to spend at least half a day here to watch the rise and fall of the highest tides in the world.

For families visiting Moncton, there’s Magic Mountain a large water park that also sports an arcade and two mini golf courses. The park is nearby Magnetic Hill, an optical illusion where vehicles roll uphill. I’m most stoked to try out the new USVA Spa Nordic that just opened up.

flower pot rocks
Tides change every 6 hours and 13 minutes, so try to hit Hopewell Rocks right in the middle to catch both tides.

Did I mention the lobster? Many connoisseurs (such as my neighbour, Amy:) think Bay of Fundy lobster is the tastiest of all the lobsters in the land.

Last time I visited the Maritimes, a full lobster dinner (with salad, potato and bucket of mussels) cost $30 in Nova Scotia, $25 in P.E.I., but only $20 in New Brunswick. Way pay more, people?

Viking Trail

For this epic journey, you fly in Deer Lake – which according to KAYAK has a median airfare of $454. From Deer Lake, it’s a 30 minute drive to Gros Morne National Park. Here, you’ll want to hike the Tablelands Trail and take in one of the new Taste of Gros Morne culinary tours.

Gros Morne National Park
Eve loved hiking the Tablelands Trail in Gros Morne National Park

From Gros Morne, head to north to L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site. Many Canadians don’t realize Vikings were in Canada 500 years before John Cabot and this carefully preserved 10th century Viking village is an actual archaeological site, with plenty of activities for families. For more info on the best way to travel the Viking Trail, check out my book, as I dedicate an entire chapter to it.

Viking settlement Newfoundland
The Vikings at L’Anse aux Meadows were always in character and served up this awesome berry cider during their night performance.

Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton can get super busy in the summer months. This time of year is my favourite time to  visit and a Taste of Waterton food festival is your perfect excuse. During the festival, there are a variety of events to lure foodies to this picturesque spot in Southwestern Alberta.

spring in Waterton Lakes National Park
And the wildflowers are out at this time of year, too!

My top pics are the pie cruise along Upper Waterton Lake and Dining Under the Dark Sky – a three course meal with dark sky interpreters who can dish on what the stars are doing. There are loads of other events (such a musical performance at Historic Waterton Lakes Opera House) for non-foodies, too.

Waterton lake cruise
The boat cruise along Upper Waterton Lakes is nice, but it’s waaay better with pie!

And if you’re a first time visitor, you’ll want to check out this guide to Canadian culture, eh. 

Where do you plan on going this summer?

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