There's something special about the freedom of the open road in Canada. You've got the window rolled down, a cool breeze in your face, a ribbon of highway ahead - and countless possibilities on the horizon. Indeed, some 38,000 kilometres of paved pathways crisscross the country.
But it's all the more sweet if you're exploring Canada by camper, RV or trailer, checking into campsites at the end of the day. You can make your own meals, huddle around a crackling fire, fall asleep to the call of loons, and wake up to the sun rising over a lake. Plus, there's no packing and unpacking between destinations.
To help you make the most of your RV experience in Canada, and guide you through those countless possibilities, here's a province-by-province coast-to-coast top RV road trip list.
1. Coast to the Rockies, British Columbia
It may only take two days to drive, but this seaside-to-peak-side route screams for several days of exploration. From hot springs and award-winning wineries to enchanting provincial and national parks, the variety of British Columbia sites along the way will have you stopping often. Hop into your RV or camper rental in Vancouver, then head east to Hope and Hwy. 3 (also known as the Crowsnest Hwy.). Pull into all-season Manning Provincial Park to spot 206 species of birds while canoeing on Lightning Lake. Then sample local fruit and wine in the southern Okanagan town of Osoyoos and sink into steamy Radium Hot Springs before arriving at the bustling mountain town of Banff, Alberta.
Starting point: Vancouver
Length: 700 miles
Time: 3-5 days
2. Cowboy Trail, Alberta
Catch a glimpse of Alberta's Wild West and ranching life on the fabled Cowboy Trail. Tucked among the Rocky Mountain foothills, this gently rolling route is ideal for experiencing Canada by mobile home. After picking up a pair of cowboy kicks at Calgary's Alberta Boot Company, you're all set to explore Bragg Creek's antique shops, Millarville's famous farmers' market, Turner Valley's Western arts and crafts, and Longview's Bar U Ranch National Historic Site. And lay down at these campgrounds.
Starting point: Calgary
Length: 65 miles
Time: 1-2 days
3. Trans-Canada Hwy., Saskatchewan
The Trans-Canada Hwy. is an ideal choice for motoring across the country while stopping to enjoy sites lesser known along the way - especially in Saskatchewan where pleasant plains and rolling hills give way to accessible side trips and places to pull into for the night. Heading east to west, first stop is Moose Mountain Provincial Park and its network of forested hiking trails just 36 miles off the highway. Other stops cater to the foodies and nature lovers on board.
Starting point: Whitewood
Length: 963 miles (includes side trips)
Time: 3-6 nights
4. City to Country Circuit, Manitoba
Stock up on locally sourced supplies and goodies at Winnipeg's historic The Forks, then head west from the provincial capital on the Yellowhead Hwy.. Take time to explore the southern Manitoba towns dotting the route, including Neepawa and its Margaret Laurence Home (a Provincial Heritage Site), and Wasagaming on the sandy shores of Clear Lake in Riding Mountain National Park. Here, settle into your campsite before embarking on a self-guided bison tour through fescue grasslands. Also stay a spell in Spruce Woods Provincial Park to the south, where landmarks like Spirit Sands and Devil's Punch Bowl delight. Swing back east to Winnipeg to complete the circuit.
Starting point: Winnipeg
Length: 372 miles
Time: 2-3 days
5. Georgian Bay, Ontario
Hit a few of Ontario's top natural beauties, along with several provincial parks and ample campgrounds, on this RV driving loop in the province's vibrant southeast corner. Start with a Journey Behind the Falls Tour at Niagara Falls, where some 168,000 cubic metres of water plummet every minute on summer days. Then take to the road around lighthouse-lined, clear-blue Georgian Bay, hopping the ferry to laidback Manitoulin Island on the way. Head west for the return jaunt past canoe-friendly French River Provincial Park and Killbear Provincial Park with its sublime bay sunsets. Explore more Georgian Bay RV road trips.
Starting point: Niagara Falls
Length: 720 miles
Time: 1 week
6. Summit Drive, Quebec
Leisurely motor up the highest mountains in southern Quebec while cruising past shimmering lakes and 18 lively villages on this Eastern Townships journey. Panoramic views are guaranteed, including from outlooks in Frontenac National Park on the shores of Grand lac Saint-Fran?ois, Mont-Ham National Park and Mont-M?gantic National Park - the latter boasting a star observatory in the world's first International Dark Sky Reserve. Pull in for the night at one of these well-serviced campgrounds.
Starting point: La Patrie
Length: 120 miles
Time: 1-3 days
7. Viking Trail, Newfoundland and Labrador
Fossils, Vikings and icebergs, oh my. Discovering Canada by camper puts you in touch with the country's natural and human history - especially on western Newfoundland's storied Viking Trail. The route passes not one but two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, each celebrated for profound discoveries and captivating landscapes. Fossil-rich Gros Morne National Park impresses with fjords, mountains, and beaches just beyond the start of the trail, while L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site harbors the remains of a Viking settlement at the northernmost tip of the province. Also here, 12,000-year-old icebergs floating off the coast - watch them from your own ride or on a guided boat tour.
Starting point: Deer Lake
Length: 327 miles
Time: 3-5 days
8. River Valley Ride, New Brunswick
Dip into culture and cuisine along New Brunswick's St. John River - designated a Canadian Heritage River for its First Nations and early explorer history. Capture the waterway at its most spectacular in the city of Grand Falls, named for the 23-metre-high waterfalls plunging into a gorge - its 401 steps await you. Then visit Potato World in Florenceville-Bristol, dubbed the French Fry Capital of the World, and pick up fresh fiddleheads and fruit at the Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market in the provincial capital. Tour the artsy Village of Gagetown or the twisting Kennebecasis River on the southern stretch of the route. And choose from this mix of campgrounds.
Starting point: Edmundston
Length: 310 miles
Time: 3-4 days
9. Central Coastal Drive, Prince Edward Island
Scenic seaside drives abound on Prince Edward Island - making it ideal territory for campers and RV travelers. In particular, the Central Coastal circle route serves up two different sides of the province that can easily be enjoyed on one trip. The southern Red Sands Shore tempts with its namesake rouge-hued beaches, cliffs, and clay roads. And while more red landscapes beckon along the Green Gables Shore, so do white-sand beaches, 11-plus golf courses, and Anne of Green Gables points of interest - learn all about Canada's famous fictional redheaded heroine at Green Gables Heritage Place.
Starting point: Charlottetown
Length: 157 miles
Time: 2-3 days
10. Eastern Shore, Nova Scotia
Adventure on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Nova Scotia's Eastern Shore RV driving route skirts a rocky coastline interspersed with sandy beaches - all within reach of well-kept campsites. Surf at Lawrencetown Beach and sunbathe at Martinique Beach provincial parks, then take a break to browse Canadian folk art at the Black Sheep Gallery. Get up close and personal with the province's 100 Wild Islands on a kayak day trip before winding down the day - and your Eastern Shore journey - over a refreshing Rare Bird IPA in the sleepy seacoast town of Guysborough.
Starting point: Halifax
Length: 249 miles
Time: 3-4 days
11. Klondike Kluane Loop, Yukon
Fly into the Yukon capital of Whitehorse to pick up your RV or camper rental, then make tracks north on the Klondike Highway for a flash of gold rush history. Take a guided walking tour along wooden boardwalks in the National Historic Site of Dawson City before striking out for the nearby goldfields. Next up, nature. Veer west on the Top of the World Highway with its mountains-forever views, and southeast on the famous Alaska Highway along Kluane Lake - watch for grazing Dall's sheep on the slopes above. The loop's return stretch passes through the wilderness village of Haines Junction at the foot of the massive Saint Elias Mountains. Choose from a variety of campsites en route.
Starting point: Whitehorse
Length: 892 miles
Time: 1 week
12. Deh Cho Travel Connection, Northwest Territories
Explore a slice of Canada's vast north on this all-encompassing circle trip. Starting in either British Columbia or Alberta, the mostly paved route passes by two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, three major river systems and seven Insta-worthy waterfalls in the Northwest Territories. Along the way pick up aboriginal arts and crafts in the hamlet of Enterprise and supplies in the town of Fort Simpson - steeped in First Nations, gold rush and fur trade history. Then roll into comfortable campsites at Sambaa Deh Falls, Queen Elizabeth and other territorial parks.
Starting point: Dawson Creek, B.C., or Grimshaw, Alberta
Length: 1,864 miles
Time: 1-2 weeks
Tips for Travelling in Canada by Camper
- Campsites in Canada's parks fill up fast. For national parks, visit https://reservation.pc.gc.ca to make reservations and purchase a park pass. For provincial parks, visit individual government websites to reserve. Aim for mid-week stays to avoid the busier weekends.
- Note that many campgrounds and establishments are seasonal or scale back on services and availability from late fall to spring.
- Respect campground quiet times and house rules.
- Check if campfires are permitted, and always make sure your fire is completely out before leaving.
- Store all food away to help prevent bear and other wildlife encounters.
- Pack out what you pack in and leave each site as you found it.
- Whenever possible, stay on established hiking and biking trails to reduce erosion.
RV Renting and Driving
- Book your Canadian RV, mobile home, camper or trailer rental well in advance of your trip. And confirm what is and isn't included, such as mileage, insurance and convenience packages (dishes, utensils, cleaning supplies, etc.).
- Make sure you have the proper licence and insurance requirements for driving an RV in Canada (check with individual provinces and your car insurance broker).
- Be courteous on the road by staying in the right-hand lane to let faster vehicles pass on the left.
- Talking on a hand-held device while driving is against the law and subject to distracted driving legislation.
- When passing emergency vehicles at work, Slow Down, Move Over laws apply.
Visit Go RVing Canada for more tips.
Wondering where to experience Canada by mobile home?