It doesn’t get much more rugged and untouched than the wide open pastures of Canada and Alaska.
With three-quarters of all Canadians living within 160 kilometres of the US border, there’s hundreds of thousands of acres of untouched wilderness just waiting to be explored. And while most consider Canada a haven for snow bunnies, skiers and general winter lovers alike, we bet you didn’t realize the mercury can soar in the summer months as well. For a destination without a reputation of sun and sand, Canada has more stretches of coastline (including sandy beaches) than any other country in the world. That, and the impressively expansive lakeshores, makes for a waterfront scene worth forgoing the ski season for, and experiencing some Canadian sunshine.
Canadian Rockies rail journey - Rocky Mountaineer
The Okanagan valleys boast some of the most beautiful beaches in Canada, and a lush wine region, that warrants several days to explore. But if you are on the hunt for a ski season holiday, you’ll be familiar with the names Whistler and Banff. The two are some of the most popular ski resorts in Canada, with more than enough pristine white stuff for carving at your leisure. Banff, located on the shores of Lake Louise in the Rocky Mountains, is a pristine wonderland in wintertime, with some of the most picturesque skiing and boarding in the country. Whistler Blackcomb, is the biggest resort in the country, and is a stone’s throw from everyone’s favourite Canadian city: Vancouver.
The bustling east coast seaport has fast become an expats haven, and in turn, a cultural melting pot of ethnicities. Constantly voted as one of the world’s best places to live – and most recently, as the 10th-best city for millennials – there’s no coincidence Americans jump the border in droves to set up shop in Vancouver. While we can’t guarantee you won’t want to move there after visiting, there are plenty of things to keep a short-term visitor occupied too, like the markets of Granville Island, the not-for-the-faint-hearted Capilano Suspension Bridge, and the greenery of Stanley Park.
Grizzly Bears of Knight Inlet Tour - Adventure World
For the culturally minded, the thriving art, theatre and music scene has enough to hold you captivated for weeks. And interestingly, if you venture further north, you’ll actually end up back in the United States. Alaska is the largest and most sparsely populated US state, known for its diverse terrain, including lush green forests, craggy mountains, wide open pastures and abundant wildlife – making it a perfect destination for outdoor activities.
Remote Juneau may be one of America’s most interesting state capitals – being beside a great channel, unfrozen at all times, and under a great ice field that never melts. It’s also the only US state capital inaccessible by car – making it perfect for cruisers. Great cruise liners traverse the icy channels and visit popular ports such as Ketchikan, Skagway and Juneau, as well as the beautiful Inside Passage – a coastal route which weaves through the islands on the Pacific Northwest.
Alaska Cruise - Princess Cruises
There’s no better way to take in the immense ice formations of Glacier Bay and Icy Strait than on the decks of a ship. Further north, it’s an easy sail through to Kenai Peninsula and Anchorage, which is also the perfect jumping off point for tours to Fairbanks, Yukon, and the massive Denali National Park, home to North America’s highest peak, Denali.
Be on the lookout for bears – and Sasquatch.