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The best road trips in Canada

Road trip through Jasper National Park

The best road trips in Canada

At 9.8 million square kilometres, Canada is the world's second largest country. Which means the best way to see it is to hop in a car and drive . . . and drive. Along the way you'll gape at glacier-carved peaks, bird-filled marshlands and everything in between. There'll be plenty of stops to take in the views, sample local hot spots and rest your road-trip weary head too.


But knowing where to go in such a vast and diverse land might seem daunting. No worries - we've made it easy with this list of best road trips in Canada's 10 provinces and two of its three territories. (To date, there are no roads into NunavutExternal Link Title or between its communities). Take your pick, start your engine - the open road awaits!



Crowsnest Highway, British Columbia

The Crowsnest Highway weaving through Keremeos and the Similkameen Valley
The Crowsnest Highway weaving through Keremeos and the Similkameen Valley. Credit: Destination BC/Hubert Kang

Stretching from BC to Alberta, the Crowsnest HighwayExternal Link Title passes through breathtaking mountains and charming towns. After departing from the bustling city of VancouverExternal Link Title, head toward the Fraser Valley on Highway 1. Stretch your legs after a few hours of driving with a hike at E.C. Manning Provincial ParkExternal Link Title and then get a good night's rest in one of the rooms or cabins at the Manning Park ResortExternal Link Title. The next day, make your way to the Similkameen Valley and stroll around the many vineyards in KeremeosExternal Link Title, before continuing your trip to OsoyoosExternal Link Title -- which is home to the warmest lake in Canada.


Icefields Parkway, Alberta

The Icefield Parkway in Jasper National Park.
The Icefield Parkway in Jasper National Park. Credit: Roman Koenigshofer @rawmeyn

Thinking about the Canadian Rockies for your Canada road trip? Then the 235-kilometre Icefields ParkwayExternal Link Title is your front-row seat to some of the range's most fetching glaciers and turquoise lakes. Leaving the hamlet of Lake Louise in Banff National ParkExternal Link Title, head north along Highway 93 to savor such sights as mirror-like Herbert Lake, the sweeping Athabasca Glacier and double-barreled Sunwapta Falls. Hang your toque at the newly renovated Glacier View LodgeExternal Link Title on the way up or at Jasper's cozy Chateau JasperExternal Link Title in Jasper National ParkExternal Link Title at route's end. Count on a full day but take a few to explore the icefields and both parks during less-busy spring and colourful fall.


Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan

The East Block of the Grasslands National Park.
The East Block of the Grasslands National Park. Credit: Tourism Saskatchewan/Chris Hendrickson Photography

Exploring Saskatchewan's eclectic roadside attractions just got better. Thanks to the 2019 opening of the Badlands ParkwayExternal Link Title, you can now see Grasslands National ParkExternal Link Title on not one but two revealing Canada road trips. From the village of Wood Mountain, drive south to the paved, seven-mile parkway in the park's East Block to glimpse a wild but fragile prairie landscape. Then make tracks to the West Block just south of Val MarieExternal Link Title to spot plains bison, black-footed ferrets and settler homesteads on the 80-kilometre-loop Ecotour Scenic DriveExternal Link Title. Take one to a few days; 286 kilometres total.


Interlake Region, Manitoba

view of blue waters at Lake Manitoba
Lake Manitoba. Credit: Visual Soul Studios-Courtesy of Travel Manitoba

Immerse yourself in history and nature on this 186-mile, one-to-three-day journey through Manitoba's Interlake region, straddled by the province's two inland seasExternal Link Title of Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba. From the bustling capitalExternal Link Title of Winnipeg, make tracks north to Lower Fort Garry Historic SiteExternal Link Title, Oak Hammock MarshExternal Link Title, Lake Winnipeg's iconic wooden piers, and swim-friendly Winnipeg BeachExternal Link Title. Detour west for the Narcisse Snake DensExternal Link Title - visit in spring or fall for best viewing - before returning to the lakeshore for Viking-rich GimliExternal Link Title and Hecla VillageExternal Link Title. End with a round of golf and overnight at the Lakeview Hecla ResortExternal Link Title.


Toronto to Stratford, Ontario

water view of the Toronto skyline
The Toronto skyline. Credit: Destination Toronto

Take in big-city sights and theater-town delights on this two-day sojourn in southeastern Ontario. Spend a day strolling TorontoExternal Link Title's museums and galleries, and a night at the artsy Gladstone HotelExternal Link Title or chic Kimpton Saint GeorgeExternal Link Title. Then motor west 150 kilometres for a dose of Victorian architecture and live theatreExternal Link Title in Stratford, home to the provinceExternal Link Title's annual Stratford FestivalExternal Link Title. Along the way, take a peek at Baden's ornate Castle Kilbride MuseumExternal Link Title.


Montreal to Gaspésie, Quebec

two cabins beside the water at Forillon National Park in Gaspésie
Forillon National Park in Gaspésie. Credit: Toursime Québec / Mathieu Dupuis

Take a week or more to hit several QuebecExternal Link Title sweet spots on this charming 975-kilometre drive, which should be on everyone's best road trips in Canada bucket list. Visit MontrealExternal Link Title and Quebec CityExternal Link Title - voted forth and first top Canadian cities, respectively, in Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards 20External Link Title21External Link Title - before heading northeast along the St. Lawrence River to the Gasp? PeninsulaExternal Link Title and its striking Perc? Rock. Watch for whales, caribou and northern gannets - you can't miss their distinctive black-tipped wings. Alternatively, skip the cities for the full-on Gasp?sie TourExternal Link Title or check out these other scenic drives.


Irish Loop, Newfoundland and Labrador

Breaching whale seen along the Irish Loop
Breaching whale seen along the Irish Loop. Credit: Barrett & MacKay Photo

Start with a stroll past colourful row houses in Newfoundland and LabradorExternal Link Title's capital of St. John's, also North America's most easterly and oldest cityExternal Link Title. Then head south on a 309-kilometre coastal loopExternal Link Title packed with outdoor adventure and natural wonders. Spot whales and seabirds on a Witless Bay boat tourExternal Link Title or hike by sea stacks and cliffs on the East Coast Trail. Pick up fresh sandwiches and lemonade in Lighthouse PicnicsExternal Link Title' historic 1870 lighthouse, then enjoy them outside while watching icebergs float by.


Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick

Kayaking in St. Martins, in the Bay of Fundy
Kayaking in St. Martins, in the Bay of Fundy. Credit: New Brunswick Tourism

Explore the wild ways of water on New BrunswickExternal Link Title's Bay of FundyExternal Link Title - a hot spot on a top Canada road trip. Here, some 150 billion tons of water flow in and out every six hours, making for the world's highest tides at up to 50 feet. Ease into this four-day 225-kilometre tripExternal Link Title by taking tea at MonctonExternal Link Title's quaint 1883 Thomas Williams HouseExternal Link Title, then pad about the ocean floor during low tide at the Hopewell Rocks - eroded tree-topped sandstone formationsExternal Link Title a.k.a. Flowerpot Rocks. Catch August's Rising Tide Festival in Fundy National ParkExternal Link Title, and be sure to kayak St. Martins' red-rock sea cavesExternal Link Title on the route's last leg. See more on these road trips.


North Cape Coastal Drive, Prince Edward Island

the westpoint lighthouse with tress around it
The Westpoint Lighthouse Inn. Credit: Destination Canada

It might be Canada's smallest provinceExternal Link Title, but Prince Edward Island boasts its fair share of road trips too. Foodies in particular will want to wind their way around the western peninsulaExternal Link Title, sampling the island's fresh bounty on a four-day 350-kilometre drive. Find out why Prince Edward Island's potatoes are so famous at the Canadian Potato MuseumExternal Link Title, then fill up on a fully loaded baked spud - choose from lobster, pulled pork and more - at the onsite PEI Potato Country Kitchen. Slurp back world-renowned oystersExternal Link Title at the rustic Malpeque Oyster BarnExternal Link Title during the summer months, and savor mussels and lobster rolls at the Catch Kitchen + BarExternal Link Title. Rinse it all down with a Drag'n Anchor blonde ale at Moth Lane BrewingExternal Link Title.


Halifax to the Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia

long highway on cape breton island
Meat Cove, Cape Breton Island. Credit: Tourism Nova Scotia / Photographer: Tom Cochrane

Get your urban fix in the lively capitalExternal Link Title of Halifax before striking out for rural Cape Breton Island and the world-famous Cabot TrailExternal Link Title - considered to be not only one of the best road trips in Canada but in the world. Named after Italian explorer John Cabot, who landed on these shores in 1497, the 300-kilometre coastal loop climbs from sea-swept beaches and sleepy fishing villages to forested slopes and cliff-tops. Plan for a full four days to take in BaddeckExternal Link Title on the shore of Bras d'Or LakeExternal Link Title; Cape Breton Highlands National ParkExternal Link Title and its 26 hiking trails; and the traditional Acadian townExternal Link Title of Ch?ticamp.


Dempster Highway, Yukon

The Dempster Highway in fall
The Dempster Highway in fall. Credit: Yukon Government/F Mueller

Tucked into the northwest corner of Canada, the YukonExternal Link Title is home to few people (population 38,500), many mountains and 4,989 kilometres of maintained roads. Of the territory's go-to road trips, the 737-kilometre, five-to-seven-day Dempster HighwayExternal Link Title delivers the most off-the-beaten-track experience. Load up on supplies and gold-rush history in Dawson CityExternal Link Title (think historic walking toursExternal Link Title, entertainment and the infamous Sourtoe CocktailExternal Link Title). Then drive north through wildlife-rich tundra, crossing the Arctic Circle and hopping two ferries on the way to InuvikExternal Link Title in the Northwest Territories. Catch early fall's red, yellow and orange tundra, winter's ice roads, spring's foraging wildlife and summer's midnight sun.


Inuvik-Aklavik Ice Road, Northwest Territories

The Inuvik-Aklavik Ice Road.
The Inuvik-Aklavik Ice Road. Credit: R. Heming

Come winter, some 2,000 kilometres of ice roads are plowed across Canada's vast Northwest TerritoriesExternal Link Title. Impassable the rest of the year, these frozen waterways connect 12 towns and their residents to the outside world. If you're up for a more off-beat Canada road trip, make like a local and give ice-road travel a go on the 117-kilometre stretchExternal Link Title - called "pretty and pretty legendary" by the NWT tourism authority - between InuvikExternal Link Title and the hamlet of AklavikExternal Link Title. Revel in Richardson Mountain views as you cross the Mackenzie Delta. Winter travel in Canada can be unpredictable: drive with caution and be preparedExternal Link Title.

Trans-Canada Highway

Got the grit for a grand-slam road trip through Canada? Travel the country from coast to coast on the 7,820-kilometre Trans-Canada HwyExternal Link Title. Opened in 1962, the routeExternal Link Title passes through all 10 provinces and most major cities. Start your journey in the west in Victoria, British Columbia, or the east in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. Either way, take your time (at least two weeks) on the world's longest national road - it's sure to be a trip of a lifetime.