Friendly and stunning, these locales have us daydreaming of life as a Canuck.

For A Cozy Winter Escape, Visit These Canadian Towns

Do you have that one friend who is always threatening to move to Canada? It’s actually not hard to see the draw. Beyond the obvious appeal of free universal healthcare, up to 61 weeks of government paid maternity leave, and a general sense of work-life balance, Canada is an absolutely stunning place not just to travel, but to live.

From breathtaking national parks like Banff and Jasper to buzzing metropolitan cities like Vancouver, there are so many reasons why we find ourselves full of wanderlust. Here are some of our favorite towns in the West for a virtual escape, or a move for those brave enough to take the leap towards Express Entry.

The spa at Wickanninish Inn in Tofino, B.C.

Courtesy of Wickaninnish Inn

Tofino, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

On this remote coast, three meters of rain come down every year, making for incredible hiking through lush rainforests. In the summer, enjoy surf breaks, whale-watching tours, fishing charters, beachfront camp-grounds, and posh hotels perched on sea cliffs. It’s an outdoors-person’s paradise. Check out our guide here.

Hot Springs and a Bonus Lake

Courtesy of Harrison Hot Springs Resort

Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia

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Located at the southern tip of Harrison Lake just 90 minutes from Vancouver, this small town is renowned for its natural hot springs, which have long been revered as a place of healing by local First Nations peoples. Considering the stress the whole world seems to be under these days, a hot spring could be just the remedy.

Jasper National Park, Maligne Lake and Spirit Island
Canada, Alberta, Jasper National Park, Maligne Lake and Spirit Island in a summer afternoon.

Francesco Riccardo Iacomino/Getty Images

Jasper, Alberta

Nestled in the heart of the famous Jasper National Park, this small alpine village is a hub for all things outdoors. While the real draw is the nearby parkland, nature often makes its way down to the center of town, where elk are known to roam the streets alongside residents.

Tourists around Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, one of many parks affected by overtourism

Banff, Alberta

There’s no place more stunning than the Canadian Rockies, which straddle the border between Alberta and B.C. Banff is surrounded by 6,500 square kilometers of parkland, including hot springs and Lake Louise’s turquoise colored waters. In addition to easy access to Canada’s alpine national parks, the resort town has plenty of restaurants, distilleries, and breweries for a taste of the city life you might eventually be missing. It’s the perfect spot for a road trip or for settling in on the long term. Check out a rundown of some of our favorite spots to stop here.

Alberta Falls at Rocky Mountain National Park

Evan Clark/Unsplash

Golden, Alberta

Surrounded by six national parks (Banff, Glacier, Jasper, Kootenay, Mount Revelstoke, and Yoho), Golden is an ideal base for exploring the Canadian Rockies. There’s white water rafting along Kicking Horse River, a wolf sanctuary, and the tentpole of any great mountain town, a burgeoning craft beer and food scene.

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