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June Regional Travel — Northern Adventures in Alaska and Canada
During summer, America’s northern regions enjoy extended days and short nights. Pack in all the fun you can have during the long daylight hours in the following places.
The Frontier State parties during June. Locals and visitors alike fill the streets in the cities to celebrate Summer Solstice, while tourists embark on trails and waterways to see the state’s magnificent wilderness. Before embarking on Alaska, make plans for the long drive north.
See Wildlife and Get Glacial in Anchorage and Nearby
Alaska’s biggest city is a great base camp for adventures in the nearby wilderness. Southeast of the city on the Seward Highway, the Alaska Wildlife and Conservation Center delights visitors with a hearty population of indigenous wildlife. Take a Walk on the Wildlife Tour and get close-up looks at black and brown bears, moose, lynx reindeer and more.
Sea Otters on an ice berg. Getty Images.
If you prefer getting out on the water, then take a kayak trip to the majestic glaciers that rise like ice castles into the sky. Guide services like Ascending Path take visitors on a train ride from Anchorage to Girdwood. From there, kayakers can launch their craft and paddle at the base of some of these larger-than-life monoliths. Along the way, kayakers can learn how huge glaciers carved the landscape and are now receding. Guests also can take hikes in surrounding trails for great views of the ice.
Can’t get enough of that late-night sun? During the June 21 summer solstice, Anchorage throws the Downtown Solstice Festival, a family-friendly event with live music, street parties and kids activities. More than 300 miles to the north, Fairbanks hosts the Midnight Sun baseball game on June 21, an annual tradition accompanied by the rollicking Midnight Sun Festival.
Say ‘Hi’ to Santa at the North Pole
Thirteen miles outside of Fairbanks, the town of North Pole keeps the spirit of the holidays alive 365 days a year. Originally planned as a factory town for toys, the city has established itself as the home of jolly St. Nick. At Santa Claus House, visitors can shop a wide assortment of classic toys, apparel and collectibles. You might even see Kris Kringle himself. Nextdoor, the Antler Academy is home to real reindeer, reminding visitors of Santa’s hardworking sleigh team. Arrange for Santa to send a letter to the kids in your life.
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Downtown Vancouver. Getty Images
British Columbia serves up an enticing blend of city life and outdoor adventure. Sample both sides of Pacific Province on your visit.
Shop and Dine in Vancouver
The third-largest city in Canada has an international flair, with world-class restaurants and cultural celebrations representing both European and Asian communities. Take a stroll through Granville Island, a 35-acre shopping and cultural center located on False Creek. The public market offers cuisine from 50 different food purveyors from around the world. The Net Loft Shops and Railspur district provide spaces for some of the region’s top artists and designers. Visitors also will discover performing arts in the area.
Visitors seeking wide open spaces will find lots of room to roam in Stanley Park, a sprawling rustic getaway close to downtown. Check out the totem poles at Brockton Point or the vibrant sea life at the Vancouver Aquarium. Stroll the gardens to witness the colorful flowers and trees.
Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver.Getty Images
Cross two Beautiful Bridges
Just a few miles outside of the cities, visitors can treat themselves to thrilling outdoor experiences. Lynn Valley Park, about 10 miles north of town, entices hikers with several trails, including the Baden Powell Trail, which leads to a spectacular waterfall. Walk the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge, which hangs high above the canyon. Find a more challenging route in the Grouse Grind, a steep, two-mile ascent up Grouse Mountain. For another thrilling walk, drive five miles north of town and traverse the 459-foot-long Capilano Suspension Bridge, which hangs 230 feet above the Capilano River.
Stay: Burnaby Cariboo RV Park, Burnaby
Christ Church at Closson Chase Winery in Prince Edward County. Getty Images
The Heartland province is home to North America’s most magnificent waterfall and lush wine country. Experience both on your June visit.
Tour Wineries and Go Beachcombing in Prince Edward County
Located on the north bank of Lake Ontario, just west of the St. Lawrence River Inlet, Prince Edward County is a rustic getaway with beautiful beaches and a thriving wine scene. The county’s 390 square miles are almost completely ringed by picturesque beaches, which allow for unparalleled access to swimming, sailing, fishing and scenic photography.
Tour amazing wineries and let someone else do the driving in one of Canada’s major wine-making powerhouses. PEC Wine Tours whisks visitors to top vintners for unique tasting experiences. Take a half-day tour, a group tour and a private limousine tour. There’s even a Rolls Royce tour! Once you’ve got your bottle, enjoy a relaxing picnic in Sandbanks Provincial Park. Go swimming on the shallow shores or kick back on a beach blanket and toast scenery.
Niagara Falls, with Canadian side to the right. Getty Images
Navigate Niagara Falls
Straddling the Canadian and American border with a width of 2,600 feet, this natural spectacle is one for the bucket list and can be explored in a multitude of ways. Folks who prefer to stay dry and watch the falls from one of the many viewpoints on the banks of the Niagara River and witness 600,000 gallons of water crash 167 feet into the gorge every second.
Intrepid travelers can take the Journey Behind the Falls, which leads visitors behind the awesome curtain of water for magnificent, thundering views. Join the Voyage to the Falls Boat Tour to get up close to the Canadian Horseshoe Falls, American Falls and the Great Gorge.
Hiking, Wine and History
While the falls get all the attention, several spots in the Niagara region are equally dazzling. Immerse yourself in the pristine countryside by traversing the Niagara River Recreation Trail. Spanning 35 miles, this paved route links Fort Erie to Niagara-on-the-Lake and weaves through wineries, historical sites and the Niagara Falls along the way.
Canadian wine. Photo: Getty Imges
Lovers of fine vintages can take the Wine Route of Ontario by car, bike or guided tour. The 250-mile trail opens the doors to more than 50 wineries nestled by the shores of Lake Ontario. Stop in charming Niagara-on-the-Lake for tastings and regional cuisine at large estates and boutique wineries. Inniskillin, Peller Estates, Trius and Jackson Triggs are just some of the iconic names you’ll come across.
Located just three miles from the Falls, Chippawa Battlefield Park was where approximately 200 American, British, Canadian and First Nations fighters lost their lives during the war’s longest battle. Take a self-guided walking tour through the grounds to learn more about the clash and check out the memorial cairn, which celebrates the lasting peace between Canada and America since the end of the war.
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