The best way to see any country is by jumping in the car or camper and taking to the road. So we have compiled the Top 10 Canadian Road Trips.
At 3.8 million square miles (9.8 million square kilometers), Canada is a vast and interesting country. It boasts ever-changing and diverse landscapes, bustling cities, quaint towns and villages, and numerous places of interest from coast to coast, all just waiting to be explored. The open road is waiting for you, so take your pick of these 10 trips, and start your engine.
⦿ To watch our Top 10 Canadian Road Trips, visit our YouTube video HERE and be sure to use the highest quality playback settings. Or, keep reading for valuable information and photos.
Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick
If you feel the East Coast of Canada beckoning you, consider exploring New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy. More than 150 billion tons of water flow in and out every 12 hours, creating some of the world’s highest tides — some in excess of 50 feet.
This 225-kilometer trip will take 3-4 days depending on how many stops you make to take in the sights, such as Moncton’s historic Thomas Williams House built in 1883, as well as Hopeful Rocks Park. Sometimes called Flowerpots Rocks or simply The Rocks, these are formations that stand 40 – 70 feet tall and are caused by tidal erosion. Visiting during low tide will yield the best views. If time permits, think about kayaking through St. Martins’ red-rock sea caves.
Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia
The world-famous Cabot Trail is named after Italian explorer John Cabot and is considered to be one of the best and most scenic road trips in the world. This 300-kilometer loop incorporates rural Cape Breton Island and hugs the coastline. The route rises from Nova Scotia’s scenic beaches and quaint fishing villages and ascends to hilly forests and striking clifftops that offer beautiful panoramas.
Set aside 3 to 4 days for sights that include the tranquil beauty of Baddeck Bay on the shore of Bras d’Or Lake; Cape Breton Highlands National Park that features 26 picturesque hiking trails; and the old-fashioned Acadian town of Chéticamp.
Dempster Highway, Yukon
Situated in the northwest corner of Canada, the subarctic plateau of the Yukon was once famous for the Klondike gold rush. The landscape features plenty of mountains and a breathtaking road trip along the Dempster Highway. You’ll need to pack supplies for this one because there aren’t many places to stop but there IS plenty to see, including Dawson City which is famous for its gold rush history. Take a walking tour here before moving onto the portion of the drive that includes the wildlife-rich tundra and crossing the Arctic Circle.
Getting to Inuvik will require hopping on 2 ferries but the scenery is well worth it no matter the season. Be inspired by the fiery orange-red tundra in autumn and the midnight sun during the summer months.
Georgian Bay Coastal Route, Ontario
Located in Ontario, Georgian Bay includes more than 30,000 islands and 2,000km (1,240 miles) of scenic shoreline. The Coastal Route starts near Toronto, then winds around the bay and includes many points of interest. Some of the best include Bruce Peninsula National Park, famous for its Grotto and turquoise waters.
The tourist towns of Parry Sound and Wasaga Beach are included on this route as well as Killarney Provincial Park. Also, be sure to explore the stunning natural beauty of Manitoulin Island, the world’s largest freshwater island.
Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan
Thanks to the Badlands Parkway that opened in 2019, road trippers can now experience the Grasslands National Park from 2 routes. This national park is north of the U.S state of Montana and sits adjacent to the border. The drive itself can be done in a day but budget for 2 or 3 days so you can take your time and experience the sights.
Starting in the rural village of Wood Mountain, visitors can head south and embark on the seven-mile parkway in the park’s East Block to see the vast prairie landscape. Afterward, head to the West Block to see bison and other native wildlife such as black-tailed prairie dogs, swift foxes, and burrowing owls. Settler homesteads can also be seen on this 80-kilometer Ecotour Scenic Drive.
Icefields Parkway, Alberta
Do you want to see the Canadian Rockies on your Canadian road trip? Then think about driving the Icefields Parkway, a 235-kilometer stretch that offers gorgeous views of mountains, glaciers, and beautiful turquoise waters.
Explore the enchanting town of Banff and enjoy the scenery of Lake Louise in Banff National Park before heading north along Highway 93. Along the route, be sure to stop and marvel at the mirror-like effect of Herbert Lake, as well as the broad Athabasca Glacier, one of the largest non-polar ice fields in the world.
If time permits, take a jaw-dropping walk along the glass-floored Skywalk at the cliff’s edge. Finish your trip in Jasper National Park, located at the end of the route, and be sure to witness the magnificence and power of the double-barreled Sunwapta Falls.
Montreal to Gaspésie, Quebec
Plan on taking several days to see a number of Quebec hot spots on this delightful 975-kilometer drive. Enjoy the many sights in Montreal and Quebec City before heading northeast along the St. Lawrence River to the Gaspé Peninsula. This is where tourists will find the massive Percé Rock that rises from the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
This beautifully rugged region will keep photo buffs snapping pictures from morning till night. When it comes to wildlife in the area, watch for caribou, moose, bobcats, and the northern gannet sea bird. Also, watch for whales swimming near the coast.
Sea to Sky Highway, B.C.
To get everything out of this scenic trip, set aside a few days and prepare for a twisty, curvy drive of 162 kilometers through forests and mountains and alongside the ocean. Start out in the scenic, coastal city of Vancouver and take Highway 99 — otherwise known as the Sea to Sky Highway. Head north through the adventure towns of Squamish and Whistler and then work your way to the charming village of Pemberton.
Be sure to stop at Shannon Falls Provincial Park where you can hike, experience the Capilano Suspension Bridge, and take a Sea to Sky Gondola for aerial views.
Vancouver Island, BC
Vancouver Island has a mild climate and diverse landscapes that include scenic cities and towns, mountains, rainforests, and miles of magnificent coastline. In short, this nature and wildlife haven has all the ingredients for a memorable road trip. Tourists can opt for a coastal drive that includes the capital city of Victoria, as well as Nanaimo and Ladysmith. Then dart to the opposite side of the island to visit Tofino, a remote seaside resort town that offers hiking, surfing, fine dining, memorable accommodations, and stunning sunsets.
Be sure to take pictures of the various totem poles in the region and visit Cathedral Grove where you will be jaw-dropped by the massive Douglas Fir trees. The largest trees in the area are approximately 800 years old and measure 75 m (250 ft) in height and 9 m (29 ft) in circumference. Wildlife in the region includes marmots, otters, black bears, elk, wolves, and cougars. Visitors will also see eagles soaring overhead and the spectacular sight of orcas swimming off the coast.
Of course, the best way to see ALL of Canada, including most of the routes we have already discussed, is to take the Trans-Canada Highway from coast and coast. This one requires stamina and at least two weeks to complete, possibly even longer depending on how many stops you want to make along the way. This 7,800-kilometre route was opened to the public in 1962 and allows passage through all 10 of Canada’s provinces, as well as most of its major cities. You can start your journey on either coast, in Victoria, British Columbia if starting from the west, or from St. John’s Newfoundland if starting from the east.
Buckle up and be prepared for the trip of a lifetime.
Road Trip Tips
No matter where your road trip through Canada, drive with extra caution during busy summer traffic, through wildlife corridors, and especially during winter conditions. Some establishments and attractions, especially in rural areas, are only open in summer so it’s wise to call ahead in the off-season.
Check the most up-to-date travel restrictions, including border closures, before planning your trip, and be sure to contact businesses prior to travel to book reservations and confirm availability.