Whether you're looking for an adventure that gets the adrenaline going, like kayaking, climbing or heli-skiing, or you want to keep feet firmly planted on earth with a leisurely hike, Canada's natural, complex landscape is a draw for adventure seekers worldwide.
Outdoor pursuits can be tricky to plan though, especially if you're not familiar with the intricacies of the region. Here are some of the best adventure tour companies: most are Canadian and all have exceptional reputations.
This family-owned and operated expedition cruise company prides itself on cultural preservation, community investment and environmental commitment. Adventure Canada brings its passengers to Canada's off the beaten path destinations and remote communities.
The company's main passenger vessel, the Ocean Endeavour, is comfortable but not the main attraction. The appeal for passengers - many who return many times over - is threefold: 1) experts, such as biologists, geologists, and photographers, facilitate understanding of the local culture, geography, and wildlife; 2) a relatively small number of like-minded passengers makes for an intimate, engaged on-board community, and 3) a unique itinerary that includes more remote destinations and communities, made possible through a large fleet of zodiac boats.
Adventure Canada cruises include the Mighty Saint Lawrence, which voyages from Quebec City through the Atlantic maritime provinces and ends in St. John's, Newfoundland; a variety of Arctic excursions that explore fjords, glaciers, and Inuit villages; a circumnavigation of Newfoundland and Labrador, and many more.
Since 1971, Black Feather has been offering a range of adventure tours, including Nahanni river adventures, kayaking trips in Ontario and the Canadian Arctic, trekking in Baffin Island and dog sledding and cross-country winter expeditions.
Black Feather offers trips for women only, families, and other customized excursions.
A Canadian-based company that is famous worldwide for the quality of its journeys, Butterfield & Robinson offers a range of adventure tours in British Columbia, Quebec, and Newfoundland & Labrador. Butterfield & Robinson is a well-established company that specializes in biking and walking tours, including tours with kids.
Since 1993, Call of the Wild has been showcasing Algonquin Park to visitors in all its untouched glory year-round. The Toronto-based operation prides itself on a highly trained and experienced staff of guides, and state-of-the-art, lightweight equipment.
Immersing yourself in Ontario's winter wilderness does not preclude a good night's sleep and thankfully, Call of the Wild has its own eco-lodge with private rooms and an outdoor hot tub. Dogsledding, canoeing, and snowmobiling are this company's specialty.
Specializing in heli-skiing and heli-hiking, Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH) has a history of guiding visitors through the mountains of western Canada since the 1950s. CMH offers a variety of packages including those for families and girlfriend getaways. Home base for all the heli-ski adventures is at one of CMH's 12 luxury lodges.
Operating exclusively in Newfoundland & Labrador, CapeRace is a tour company for people who generally don't prefer tours, but instead want to discover a location more authentically on their own. Participants are given keys for local accommodation, a car, and a custom itinerary, with recommended pubs, nature activities and more to ensure visitors immerse themselves as naturally as possible in their new environment.
This brand of outdoorsy, soft adventure brings Newfoundland’s rich history, performing arts, and pristine wilderness together to create what CapeRace calls an "Eco-Culture Experience"™.
Specializing in small-group excursions in the Rockies, Maritimes, and Canadian Arctic, Grand American Adventures takes true adventure seekers off the beaten path. Tours range in degree of "luxury," from camping to lodging accommodation. Grand American Adventures also offers special tours geared towards families.
Since 1987, Freewheeling Adventures has been offering guided to partially-guided to supported bike, sea kayak and walking tours worldwide. The company especially prides itself on creating eco-conscious tours with nutritious, tasty meals. Canadian destinations focus on Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Labrador, and other Maritime destinations as well as the Rockies.
G.A.P is one of the biggest adventure outfitters in the world known for the scope of its operation and the affordability of its tours. In Canada, G.A.P offers camping, rail, and hiking adventures in the Rockies on the West Coast and Eastern Canada, including Ontario, Quebec, and Northeast U.S.A.
Maple Leaf Adventures has been offering natural and cultural history cruises aboard a classic tall ship since 1986. The multi-day excursions offer guests the chance to explore some of British Columbia's and Alaska's most beautiful and secluded coastlines and islands, led by expert naturalists, historians, crew, and chef.
Since 1972, Nahanni River Adventures has been taking people on what is for many a once-in-a-lifetime paddle down scenic mountain, arctic and alpine rivers in Canada's Northwest Territories.
The company abides by a "leave no trace" policy, ensuring your adventure has a negligible impact on the environment. In addition, a one guide per four guests policy ensures a customized experience with hands-on guidance.
Ocean Quest Adventures offers marine tours, whale watching excursions, scuba diving lessons, kayak rentals, and more.
Choose from tours ranging from a couple of hours, or, even better, experience some of Newfoundland's famous hospitality and treat yourself to an extended package that includes accommodation.