We won’t be able to travel for a while given the current physical distancing regulations, but we hope Canadians can explore their beautiful country soon enough. In the meantime, why not have some fun planning your future Canadian road trip?
If you’ve never been to Canada, we think you should (though we’re a little biased). As the second-largest country in the world, Canada is home to many incredible natural wonders, beautiful landscapes and impressive architecture. Within Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories, there’s no shortage of destinations that should be on your bucket list.
We’ve rounded up the best road trips in Canada across the provinces and territories. Read on to learn about the incredible destinations Canada has to offer.
Alberta is home to a portion of the Canadian Rockies. If you love nature, there are plenty of beautiful, natural destinations to visit, including:
Lake Louise is world famous for its stunning, glacier-fed turquoise waters. Not only can you hike around the lake, you can also canoe in the summer, skate on it during the winter and go skiing at the nearby Lake Louise Ski Resort.
Jasper and Banff National Parks
For the outdoor adventurer there are the Jasper and Banff National Parks. During the winter, the mountains attract skiers and snowboarders but there’s also plenty to do in the summer. Between hiking, camping, waterfall sight-seeing and more, there’s something for everyone. If you’re staying in Canmore and commuting, you’re looking at a 30 minute drive to get into Banff and almost four hours to reach Jasper.
British Columbia also houses a portion of the Canadian Rockies as well as many other mountain ranges. Aside from the mountains, here are a few other places to travel to:
Though you can’t get here by road, you can visit the island village of Haida Gwaii by ferry. 4,500 people inhabit the island and there’s a lot to experience including concerts, artisan fairs, coffee houses, boat tours and events. Although it’s an island, Haida Gwaii is a year-round destination and welcomes people no matter the season.
Ride the Sea-to-Sky highway between Vancouver and Whistler and you’ll get massive cliffs on one side and the open ocean on the other. Along the 162 kilometre trek, you’ll get to see rivers, waterfalls, beaches, canyons, mountains and small towns. There are also many other scenic drives to take in BC.
Manitoba is one of the prairie provinces which makes highway driving (and road tripping) a breeze. Here are some places to cruise to while you’re visiting:
Riding Mountain National Park
About a three-hour drive from Winnipeg, Riding Mountain National Park is a mix of farmland and wilderness. When you visit, you can hike, fish, canoe, kayak, skate, snowshoe and cross-country ski, all while taking in the wildlife around you. With accommodations in the park, get ready for an outdoor adventure you won’t forget.
Just over an hour from Winnipeg, Gimli is an Icelandic town on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. You won’t want to miss the infamous mural-covered seawall and while you’re there, you can take a dip at the beach, eat fresh seafood or rent a cottage so you can explore for longer. If you visit in the summer, you can catch a flick at the Gimli Film Festival.
New Brunswick is one of four provinces on the east coast of Canada and is easy to reach by highway. Here are some of the province’s top destinations:
Fundy National Park
If the ocean is calling you, Fundy National Park should be on your list if you’re visiting New Brunswick. The New Brunswick Forest meets the high tides of the Bay of Fundy, making for incredible outdoor scenery and excursions. You can kayak through the tides as they ride up to 12 metres or more and walk on the ocean floor when the tide is low. This is a unique Canadian experience that may make you forget you’re actually in Canada.
The Hopewell Rocks are a sight to see on your travels. During high tide, they look like tree-topped islands which you can see from platforms connected by stairs. During low tide, you can descend the stairs and stand on the ocean floor (now a beach) and look up at the rocks. You can also take a guided kayak tour if you want to explore the rocks at high tide.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is Canada’s easternmost province and is filled with beautiful coastlines. Here are some places to visit:
Gros Morne National Park of Canada
The park is the second-largest national park in Atlantic Canada and is known for its fjords and mountains. Fjords are deep, narrow bodies of water that are typically surrounded by deep rock walls. When you visit, make sure to explore the beaches, bogs, forests and cliffs–all incredible parts of Canadian nature.
Signal Hill is a National Historic Site due to its military significance. It’s actually the site where the first transatlantic wireless signal was received. You can hike five kilometres of trail, check out the Visitor Centre, explore Cabot Tower and simply enjoy the beautiful view.
People say the Northwest Territories is the best place on Earth to see the Northern Lights. Here are some other attractions this destination has to offer:
Wood Buffalo National Park
This is one of the many parks in the Northwest Territories and is Canada’s largest park. Here you can experience bison up close as you hike (but watch out for bears and wolves)! If you love the outdoors, you can try backcountry camping or opt for a cabin.
Kittigazuit Archaeological Sites
This National Historic Site is a place to explore the ruins and remains of the village of Kittigazuit. The village is on the shores of the Mackenzie River and you will see remains of winter houses, cabins, graves, beluga whales and more. For a historical look at the Northwest Territories, this is the place to go.
Nova Scotia is a peninsula home to over 160 historic lighthouses almost completely surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. Here are some province highlights:
You can experience the beauty of the Cape Breton Highlands by driving the 298 kilometre Cabot Trail. This highway takes you through the Cape Breton Highlands National Park along the coast. If you stop in the park you can hike, golf, shop and even go whale watching.
Peggy’s Cove is a small fishing village along the coast and is famous for its lighthouse, coined Peggy’s Point Lighthouse. It was built in 1915 and is rumoured to be the most photographed lighthouse in Canada. A short one-hour drive from Halifax will get you exploring the houses, waves and lighthouse that make up Peggy’s Cove.
Nunavut is the most northerly and youngest territory in Canada. The territory is known for its arctic wildlife. Here are some spots to explore:
Auyuittuq National Park
This national park is located in the middle of the Penny Ice Cap. You can take a 13-day camping trek through the mountains for $8,000 and experience two incredible lookout points: Thor Peak and Mount Asgard. You’ll hike through rock formations, tundra and see glaciers and islands.
Cunningham Inlet on Somerset Island
Once you get here, you’ll be glad you did. Cunningham Inlet is an incredible spot to look for beluga whales. You’re only 800 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle and will also get to experience the wildlife and archeological sites on Somerset Island.
Ontario is home to Ottawa, the capital of Canada. Rich with our country’s political culture, here are some places to road trip to in the province:
The incredible Niagara Falls are quite the sight to see–and hear. You can go on a helicopter or boat ride tour of the falls, take a ride on the Niagara Skywheel, tour the museum or zipline to the falls. The major destination is the falls but there’s plenty to do besides sightseeing. Plus it’s only a short 1.5 hour drive from Toronto.
Mount McKay Lookout
The Mount McKay Lookout is a short 12 minute drive from Thunder Bay. You can climb the lookout until you’re 1,000 feet over the city of Thunder Bay. You’ll get a view of the city skyline, Lake Superior, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park and the countryside.
Prince Edward Island (PEI)
The coast of PEI is not only beautiful but it brings in some of the freshest seafood you’ll get in Canada. Here are some of the province’s top destinations:
Green Gables, found in Cavendish in the Prince Edward Island National Park, should be on your list. This is the site that inspired the novel Anne of Green Gables and is one of PEI’s most popular tourist attractions. Explore the grounds including Green Gables House and on-site museums.
Less than an hour from Charlottetown, North Cape is a beautiful seafront that should be on your list. Explore the beaches, check out the West Point Lighthouse Museum and the Canadian Potato Museum (where you can even take a potato fudge-making lesson).
Quebec has the most predominantly French-speaking population with French being the province’s official language. Check out these spots on your travels:
Parc national de l’Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé
This national park is a geological wonder. Gaspé Peninsula’s tip was created by the sea and it’s a piece of the park you definitely won’t forget. While you’re at the park, you can hike, look for wildlife, kayak and if you’re up for the challenge, you can go underwater diving to see the sea floor. It’s a 10 hour trek from Montreal but very worth it!
Old Montreal is the closest you’ll get to Europe in Canada. The stunning architecture is everywhere–in churches (like the Notre-Dame Basilica), museums, Old Port, hotels and restaurants. There is something magnificent to see everywhere you look.
Fun fact about Saskatchewan: it’s the only province without a natural border. Here are some spots for your next road trip:
A four-hour drive from Regina, this national historic site will teach you about the North-West Mounted Police, First Nations people, settlers and Métis people in the Conflict of 1885. You’ll learn about the Canadian Militia that fought at Fort Battleford and explore some of the buildings, land and artifacts from the time.
Wanuskewin Heritage Park
Located near Saskatoon, Wanuskewin is the site of many archeological digs and showcases the habitation, hunting and gathering and spirituality of Indigenous peoples. Wanusekwin is a place to explore Indigenous culture and their way of life.
The Yukon is the smallest of the territories and has many natural wonders including glaciers, trails and rivers. Here’s where you should plan to go:
Kluane National Park and Reserve
This park is home to Canada’s highest peak (coined Mount Logan) as well as the largest ice field and grizzly population. During the winter you can snowshoe, snowboard, ski, dog sled and ice fish and there’s plenty of summer activities like kayaking and ‘flightseeing.’
Dawson Historical Complex
541 kilometres north of Whitehorse, the Dawson Historical Complex is a national historic site that preserves over 17 buildings that are related to the Klondike Gold Rush. You’ll see frontier buildings, can explore the goldfields and take a guided tour.
There are many places to road trip in Canada and even though we won’t be travelling for a little while, there’s no reason you can’t plan your future Canadian getaway.