Beach, Mountains or Woods: Whichever You Prefer, Here’s Where to Find Solace in CanadaBy James March
From feeling a gentle breeze against your face on a secluded coast to sheltering beneath the stars in the shadows of mountains, the great outdoors is the best place to find peace in a hectic world. And with mental health more of a priority than ever, the benefits of spending time outdoors are clear.
Covering an eye-watering 3.85 million square miles, Canada is a smorgasbord of ancient landscapes, quiet coves and calming coastlines. Where better to find serenity than amid the stunning Canadian wilderness?
As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.
Stanhope Beach, Prince Edward Island
A tranquil land of meandering trails and sun-kissed shorelines, Prince Edward Island is Canada’s smallest province and a perfect escape to seclusion.
Find your moments of Zen on PEI by heading up to the quiet shores of Stanhope Beach on the island’s north coast. Facing out toward the rolling waves of the Gulf of St. Lawrence with northern Quebec in the far distance, Stanhope Beach has miles of dunes to explore and pleasant views to soak up (especially of the quaint wooden Covehead Harbour Lighthouse).
Just a 30-minute drive from the charming capital of Charlottetown, it’s an ideal spot to ease your mind.
Sandcut Beach, British Columbia
British Columbia boasts more than 15,000 miles of wild coastline, and some of its most tranquil Canadian shores can be found on Vancouver Island. Watch as the waves tumble back and forth onto the idyllic Sandcut Beach and wait for the sunset to bathe the beach’s rocks with glorious golden light.
One particularly healing feature of Sandcut is the presence of the picturesque waterfalls cascading from the small sandstone cliffs down to the beach below.
Located only one hour from BC’s capital, Victoria, there are few finer places to come and breathe than Sandcut Beach.
Crystal Crescent Beach, Nova Scotia
If its alluring name isn’t enough to convince you of its beauty, then Crystal Crescent Beach’s gleaming white sands and glittering Nova Scotian waters should do the trick. Much quieter than the popular Peggy’s Cove, Crystal Crescent is actually a provincial park made up of three arcing beaches with a scenic boardwalk separating them.
It’s also the trailhead for a six-mile hike to Pennant Point with some great opportunities for a calming spot of wildlife viewing and bird-watching.
While the bright lights of Halifax are just 40 minutes away, Crystal Crescent is the place to be for a quiet Canadian escape on the Atlantic.
Banff National Park, Alberta
While the town of Banff is one of Canada’s most popular resorts, the park itself covers more than 2,500 miles of soaring mountains, shimmering lakes and dense forest. Avoid busy hot spots like Lake Louise and take solace walking the gorgeous trail around Bow Lake or spending time alongside the soothing sounds of the Panther Falls.
Just an hour’s drive from Calgary, Banff National Park is well-known but contains an almost endless wealth of secluded spots within its majestic alpine landscapes.
Jacques Cartier National Park, Quebec
As one of the oldest cities in North America, Quebec City holds plenty of charm for visitors to the province. However, if you want some true Quebecois escapism, then make the 40-minute drive north to the vast green expanse of Jacques Cartier National Park.
Pierced by the Jacques Cartier River, the yawning U-shaped valley rises on either side in a flurry of beautiful birch, maple and conifer trees. With 62 miles of trails to explore and 114 campsites, it’s easy to find a quiet place here for simple peace of mind.
Thousand Islands National Park, Ontario
As Lake Ontario’s northeastern corner merges with the mighty St. Lawrence River, it’s welcomed by an archipelago of more than 1,800 islands that are perfect for finding a restful haven for a little while. Only a 30-minute drive from the historic city of Kingston, Thousand Islands National Park is a unique scattered landscape unlike anywhere else in Canada.
And because most of the islands here are only accessible by water, it means that each morning is perfectly still and the only sounds you’ll hear are the gentle flow of the river and the friendly calls of the local birds.