When you’re ready to see the world without passing too many time zones, consider these 10 locations, selected by SYTA member tour operators as the top North America travel destinations favored by students and teachers.
With an easy-to-navigate subway system and walkable attractions, students can do it all in Québec’s largest city—where European charm meets North American attitude—whether holding creepy-crawlers, ice skating year-round, taking part in an immersive planetarium experience, or exploring the archaeology and history of Montréal’s first inhabitants. Don’t miss one of the world’s largest botanic gardens and admiring the first “connected” bridge in the world.
Students can have an authentic Niagara Falls experience by taking in the famous falls that share the city’s name on a cruise or by stunning tower views—520 feet in the air! Historic sites along the Niagara Parkway give way to scenes from some of the most famous turning points in Canadian history. Museums brimming with oddities and waterparks filled with splashy fun make Niagara Falls, unsurprisingly, a popular choice for students and teachers.
An island full of true adventure, Puerto Rico offers students a chance to enjoy the unmatched beauty only found in the Caribbean. Whether ziplining through the rainforest, letting their imaginations run wild while exploring centuries-old castles, discovering pristine beaches and majestic mountains, or immersing themselves in new cultures, traditions, and the rich island cuisine, students will ask when they can return— before they even leave. Puerto Rico is truly a treasure worth discovering.
This Mexican resort city on the country’s Pacific coast is defined by the natural charm of its beaches embraced by the Sierra Madre mountains. Enjoy eco-tours and offroad adventures mixed with fun on the beach, take in art galleries around the city, sail around the bay, and enjoy the incredible local cuisine. Students can also experience botanical gardens, whale watching and a great naval museum.
Situated along the Saint Lawrence River, the mostly French-speaking and truly European-feeling Québec City is a UNESCO World Heritage site, filled with picturesque architecture. Take in North America’s oldest streets while enjoying locally led tours—on foot, bus, bike, boat or horse-drawn carriage—and spending a quiet moment inside the oldest pilgrimage site north of Mexico. An interactive museum sheds new light on diverse societies while Eastern Canada’s largest theme park provides exhilarating thrills.
Canada’s capital city offers ample opportunity to learn about government, amid the Victorian architecture of Parliament Hill and beyond. Museums feature renowned collections of indigenous and Canadian art and more; elsewhere are waterpark adventures, hands-on fun with science and technology, lessons in aviation and space, and experiences with food and agriculture. Take in the beauty of the Ottawa River between education-filled excursions. In the coldest months, skate on the world’s largest naturally frozen ice rink!
This diverse and dynamic metropolis situated along Lake Ontario’s northwestern shore is one of Canada’s premier arts and entertainment, business, sports, and innovation destinations—an ideal place for students to get a little taste of everything. Despite being in the big city, students could enjoy their fair share of green spaces. From hundreds of acres of trails, beautiful beaches, and trekking though the treetops to a short ferry ride offering students a chance to explore nearby islands, Toronto maintains a sense of natural beauty among its iconic skyscrapers.
Nestled between the mountains and inlets of sparkling water, Vancouver is a bustling seaport city with a thriving art, music and theater scene. Students could take in breathtaking views on suspension bridges above the forest; discover science, art, and flora and fauna at museums and galleries; and visit local markets and more. Opportunities to learn about British Columbia’s indigenous First Nations, Inuit and Métis people give students background in rich traditions.
From ballet to dinner theater, Winnipeg offers plenty of performing arts opportunities. Explore the Exchange District, known for its art galleries and well-preserved 20th-century architecture, before getting up close with polar bears and rare animals. A museum dedicated to celebrating human rights activists and events offer students a deeper understanding of the world. Be sure to take a guided tour of the building responsible for producing the gold medals awarded in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
This large peninsula branching off of Mexico, Belize and Guatemala also separates the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, making it a confluence of international culture. Students can be awed by the tropical rainforests and jungles, snorkel with sea turtles and whale sharks, and swim in cenotes. This is also the home of ancient Mayan culture and archeological sites, with so much to see and learn, including the famous Chichén Itzá, a large city featuring the Temple of Kukulcan.