Planning your first trip to Canada? Here are five tips you should keep in mind:

1. Do your research

Canada has something for everyone, whether you're looking to lie out on the beach or visit a bustling metropolis. However, many travelers underestimate Canada's sheer size and try to jam too much into a single trip. Do plenty of research so you can pick a region to focus on - even if you only visit one part of the country, you're sure to discover some wonderful things.

2. Get traveler's insurance

No matter where you're traveling, there's always a chance something will go wrong. Picking up trip cancellation insurance before you head out on vacation can save you a serious headache if you have to end the trip early for a medical emergency or other unexpected event. It's also worth checking whether or not your medical health insurance works abroad - if it doesn't, you may want to take out a temporary policy so you stay covered.

"Make sure you have an up-to-date passport."

3. Check your passport

Many people don't realize that U.S. citizens need a passport to get into Canada. "Wait," you protest, "but I have a friend who went to Canada and all she needed was her birth certificate!" That's almost certainly true - however, it means your friend ventured north before 2007. Since then, all visitors have needed a passport book or card to get into the country. Make sure you have one - and that it's up to date - so you don't end up stuck at the border.

4. Consider the weather

Canada has a reputation for cold winters, but that's not the case everywhere. It's a huge country, and while some parts may get many feet of snow, others could simply experience a little rain. In addition, much of the country totally transforms come summer. You can find beaches where the weather reaches a comfortable 85 degrees Fahrenheit and parks with warm air and cool shade. The reality is, Canada's weather varies widely, so take a look at the forecast for the areas you're visiting and plan accordingly.

5. Explore nature

Don't get the wrong impression - Canada has plenty of excellent and exciting cities to visit on your trip. However, you'd be remiss to skip out on all the beautiful parks the country has to offer. Whether you hit the waves at the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve or take a scenic hike through Cape Breton Highlands National Park, you'll be left in awe at the stunning landscapes and incredible sights.