The northern lights have long been a sought-after sight. Shifty yet superbly striking, the aurora borealis form arcs, wisps, waves, and curtains of shimmering, colorful lights across northern Canadian night skies. Though this phenomenon can be seen in most parts of Canada throughout the year, these provinces are known for hosting the best views.
The Northwest Territories arguably boast the best chance to see the northern lights anywhere in the world. The lights can be seen roughly 240 nights annually between fall, winter, and summer. However, autumn and winter are most ideal. Aside from the awe-inspiring spectacle, the Northwest Territories are great for campers and fishers who seek true adventure in nature.
Autumn through late winter is the best time to visit northern Manitoba for the northern lights. The views in Churchill, Manitoba are so extraordinary that scientists flock there to study the sights. Not only do travelers get to see this aerial wonder in northern Manitoba, but they also have a strong chance of seeing incredible wildlife. Polar bears, beluga whales, and Arctic foxes are most notable.
Like Alaska, Yukon experiences the famous 24-hour Midnight Sun for half of the year. However, when Yukon finally gets dark in fall through late winter and early spring, the northern lights can be seen in their full glory. There are a few other one-in-a-lifetime activities to take advantage of here, including dog sled excursions, snowshoe tours, and hot spring soaks.
As the northernmost part of Canada, Nunavut puts tourists up close and personal to the aurora borealis and the Arctic. Early autumn through winter delivers unmatched arrays of these lights, making the experience well worth the frigid temperatures and snowy conditions. Nunavut is also home to Inuit villages, massive icebergs, and unmatched kayaking.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost region of Canada. Northern and coastal, the province is best known for its 4-billion year old rock formations and Inuit communities. However, the northern lights come out in full fashion throughout summer and winter. Both seasons bring a number of outdoor recreation options, such as snowmobiling and camping.
Right in the midst of the Canadian Rockies, Alberta is revered for its picturesque mountain ranges and alpine terrains. Naturally, it’s a prime location to see the northern lights. It even houses two of the largest dark sky preserves, which protect great swathes of land from light pollution. A trip there in fall brings great opportunity to see the lights and guaranteed hiking, kayaking, and camping fun.