Here’s why you need to add Canada’s arctic to your bucket list

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Bucket List Worthy  

By the time most people get around to planning their much-anticipated vacations, most usually look to popular destinations where they can relax and indulge like Europe, the Caribbean or South America.

After all, who would want to use that time to go somewhere cold and less hospitable than the place they are now?

We get it, a trip to the arctic is certainly counter intuitive. But we’re guessing the frozen roof of the world is likely so far off your radar, that you probably don’t even know what it has to offer. Check it out:

Nahanni National Park

Nahanni National Park
Flickr/Fort Simpson Chamber of Commerce’s photostream

With a thundering waterfall twice the height of Niagara Falls, natural Jacuzzis and views that might actually leave you breathless, this arctic gem could be Canada’s best kept secret ever. Nahanni National Park Reserve in the Northwest Territories was crafted by the last ice age, and remains largely untouched today. While it is a little bit tough to access (you need to take a floatplane), the trip is definitely worth it if you’re looking for adventure. You can spend the day conquering the rapids of the South Nahanni River before relaxing in the park’s sulfur hot springs–all while taking in the views of mountain ranges and some of Canada’s coolest wildlife including bears, beavers and moose. Better hurry though: visiting season runs between June and August.

The outdoors like you’ve never seen them

Northern Lights
Flickr/Andrés Nieto Porras

Sure, beaches are cool and all. But what about dog sledding into the sunset around Great Slave Lake? Or finding the perfect seat to gaze up and watch the northern lights after dark? These are once-in-a-lifetime sights you won’t get at some resort, and they’re a whole lot more rewarding to experience than a week-long nap on the sand. And speaking of sleep, try catching some Zs in an igloo under the stars!

Two words: The Yukon

Whitehorse
Flickr/JLS Photography – Alaska

The Yukon is great for those who want their adventure with a side of relaxation. In the summer, the weather is sunny and warm, and there’s a selection of luxury spas and hotels to choose from. At the same time, the Yukon is loaded with incredible snowshoeing, hiking and biking trails (like Fish Lake, located just minutes away from Whitehorse). While Fireweed Market can be a great place to fuel up afterwards on locally-made products. If you still have energy, you can soak up the mineral-rich Takhini Hot Pools or even explore the Klondike Highway to learn about the haunted history of the region’s historic gold rush.

Cruise the Northwest Passage

16698025435_1b76d2eac1_o
Flickr/Roderick Eime

The quest to find the Northwest Passage is one that proved dangerous and often deadly. Now that it’s mapped though, you can follow in the footsteps of intrepid explorers without any of the risk. Cruises are a luxurious way to take in the arctic. While they aren’t cheap, they boast incredible wildlife sightings including narwhals, muskox and polar bears. Most companies also dock the boats daily to allow for some hiking, exploring and chances to integrate with some of the local communities.

Swap stories with some of the toughest folk around

Dirty Northerner
Flickr/Amanda

Northerners get hit with some of the harshest weather nature has to offer. Which means it’s safe to say they have a crazy story or two about getting snowed in or facing some other extreme event. Nunavut MLA Pauloosie Keyootak got lost in the arctic with his son recently and made an igloo with a small knife to survive. Seventy-year-old Jimmy Iqaluq from Sanikiluaq, meanwhile, made a pair of pants out of a fox after he went hunting for polar bears. Just imagine who you’ll meet at the local bar!

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