Planning Your Road Trip Across Canada

There’s really a no better way to experience Canada than a road trip, covering around 4,239 miles from east to west, or vice versa. You’re in for a wide range of spectacular and diverse sights, that ideally should be done over a few months. Although it can be tackled in less than two weeks, you’re going to spend most of that time behind the wheel, and not enjoying much other than what you can see out your windshield. 

Needless to say, Canada experiences some severe winter weather, so while a road trip during this often snowy season is doable, it’s not recommended. Ideally, plan to travel during the summer months when the roads are clear. Even late spring and early fall can see snow in some areas.

When planning your road trip, one of the biggest decisions you’ll make is where to stop. We’ll make it a little easier for you by making some recommendations from British Columbia in the west to Newfoundland, Canada’s easternmost province. 


Whistler, British Columbia

Starting in one of the world’s most beautiful cities, Vancouver, head toward Kamloops by way of Whistler. While Whistler may best be known as a winter ski resort, there’s plenty to do in the warmer months, like riding the gondola that provides a bird’s-eye view of the dramatic scenery. Wildlife sightings, including mother bears and their cubs who come to gorge on the berry bushes below, are possible too.


Banff National Park, Alberta

Banff is the perfect place for your next stop, nestled in the Canadian Rockies, surrounded by dramatic peaks, with rugged canyons, hot springs and turquoise lakes. Summer brings the opportunity for whitewater rafting, hiking, mountain biking, caving, fishing, climbing, zip lining and more. Just over four hours from the park’s boundaries is the town of St. Albert – if you’ve been considering a move, you might want to stop here too and check out the St. Albert real estate. In recent years it’s frequently been named among the best places to live in the entire country.


Prince Albert, Saskatchewan

Heading directly east from St. Albert, you’ll reach the town of Prince Albert. This sparsely populated area is filled with lakes, and with the warm summer weather, you’ll find lots of open water for swimming, fishing, boating, and more. There are secluded waterways for paddling in a canoe or kayak, and even houseboats for rent too.


Winnipeg, Manitoba

Winnipeg is home to some great art galleries, trendy coffee spots, and fantastic museums like the Manitoba Museum which focuses on the human and natural history of the province, with nine permanent galleries. Highlights include an explorable replica of the 17th-century ship that made the Hudson Bay Company’s first voyage, traveling from England to what eventually became Canada. You can explore all of the vessel’s areas to experience what it might have been like for those brave passengers who crossed the Atlantic.


Thunder Bay, Ontario

In Thunder Bay, you’ll be surrounded by stunning scenery. A nature lovers’ paradise, it brings sweeping mountain and lake views that have even been compared to Norway. At Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, you’ll see the “Sleeping Giant,” formation along Lake Superior, which looks just like a sleeping giant when looking out at it from the city. 


Quebec City, Quebec

While there’s quite a bit of terrain between Thunder Bay and Quebec City, the latter is a place you’ll want to spend some time in. It offers an experience unlike any other in North America, with cobblestone pathways and lots of European charms. In fact, Old Quebec is the only North American fortified city north of Mexico with walls that still exist. You’ll also find one of the best food scenes on the planet, with everything from casual poutine to fine dining on international gourmet cuisine.


Saint John, New Brunswick

Canada’s oldest incorporated city, Saint John’s population is almost entirely made up of the descendants of British loyalists and Irish immigrants. It surrounds a deep harbor where Saint John and Kennebecasis rivers empty into the Bay of Fundy and boast an intriguing historic core with well-preserved sandstone and redbrick 19th-century architecture. 


Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Heading toward Sydney, Nova Scotia, where you’ll need to drive onto the ferry to Newfoundland, you’ll be perfectly positioned to explore spectacular Cape Breton Island and its world-famous Cabot Trail that loops around the northern tip. It’s one of the world’s most scenic drives, with views of the Atlantic, soaring emerald mountains, and sparkling lakes.



The ferry from Sydney will bring you to Port aux Basques in Newfoundland, your final province. With so much breathtaking scenery here, you’ll want to have at least a few weeks to explore. Just a few of the highlights include Gros Morne National Park with the world’s highest concentration of moose and magnificent fjord-like scenery; the postcard-perfect town of Trinity with its colorful saltbox homes offers some of the best whale watching on the planet, and the capital of St. John’s, the oldest city in North America. It boasts the most pubs and bars per square foot of any street on the continent, many of which host live music every night of the week. 



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