Manitoba

The shores of Hudson Bay are home to one of the densest populations of polar bears—the largest bears and the largest carnivores in the world—anywhere.

Having observed that one small peninsula in particular was highly frequented by the bears, Mike & Jeanne Reimer staked it out and realized their dream in the wonderful Seal River Lodge. As anticipated, daily sightings are common from the surrounding hiking trails and even from the lodge windows.

In addition to walking with the bears—who are more keen on berries and seals than humans, fortunately—the lodge features swimming with the beluga whales that gather at the mouth of Seal River. Heading out in top-of-the-line custom zodiacs, you’ll don a dry suit, grab your mask and snorkel, attach a rope to your feet, and relax as you’re towed along the surface. Soon enough, curious whales will swing by to visit, turning their heads (the only whale species that can) to stare at you, and singing along to whatever tune you hum through your snorkel. Talk about a choral experience to remember!