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With such a vast expanse of land to choose from, your options for Canada road trips are practically endless. Picking the best ones can be difficult, but below are 5 Canadian road trips you have to make at least once in your lifetime.
1. Sea to Sky Highway, British Columbia
Starting in Vancouver and heading north on Highway 99 to Whistler, the Sea to Sky Highway gives you the chance to experience the incredible mountainous coastline of British Columbia.
The total route is approximately 75 miles in length and offers opportunities to explore outdoor destinations, check out cultural points of interest, and visit historic sites.
Here is a more complete list of stops along the Sea to Sky Highway:
- Cypress Mountain Lookout (20 minutes from Vancouver)
- Lynn Canyon (20 minutes from Cypress Mountain Lookout)
- Sky Pilot Suspension Bridges (One hour from Lynn Canyon)
- Shannon Falls (30 minutes from Sky Pilot Suspension Bridges)
- Brandywine Falls (30 minutes from Shannon Falls)
Get the most out of your time along the Sea to Sky Highway and make a weekend of it, starting in Vancouver and ending in Whistler, whether hotels range from the simple Mountain Side Hotel to the opulent Fairmont Chateau Whistler.
2. Icefields Parkway, Alberta
Following Highway 93, the Icefields Parkway connects Banff National Park to Jasper National Park. This 160-mile route will have your jaw dropping as towering, snow-covered mountains greet you at every turn in the road. National Geographic even named it a “Drive of a Lifetime” in 2015.
Here are the best stops along the Icefields Parkway:
- Moraine Lake (one hour from Banff town)
- Petyo Lake (one hour from Moraine Lake)
- Columbia Icefield (90 minutes from Peyto Lake)
- Jasper Glacier Skywalk (15 minutes from Columbia Icefield)
- Athabasca Falls (45 minutes from Jasper Glacier Skywalk)
You can take this Canada road trip in a single day, but be sure to fuel up before you go and pack a picnic to enjoy with the views—and be sure to search Skyscanner for flights to Calgary, where you can pick up your car and drive. You should also make sure to spend at least one night in charming Banff Town, be it at the upmarket Fairmont Banff Springs or the basic Big Horn Motel<!–.
Arguably the most famous Canada road trip, and for good reason, the Cabot Trail traces the northeastern section of Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island. You can drive the circular route in either direction, though the counter-clockwise one keeps you on the outer side of the roadway to enjoy truly epic views.
While you can theoretically complete this route in a single day, take your time and spend a minimum of 3 nights on the 180-mile route to fully appreciate the coastal and mountain views this most epic of Canadian road trips offers.
Here is a recommended list of stops along the Cabot Trail:
- Whale Cove Cemetery (2 hours from Sydney)
- Magaree Harbour (10 minutes from Whale Cove Cemetery)
- Enragee Point Lighthouse (1 hour from Magaree Harbour)
- Cape Breton Highlands Lookout (1 hour from Enragee Point Lighthouse)
Additionally, you should make a point to spend some time in the community of Ingonish (where the comfortable Cabot Shores Hotel beckons) as well as Cape Breton Highlands National Park, including stellar views of the sunset on the Skyline Trail.
4. St. John’s to Port-Aux-Basque, Newfoundland
For one mega Canada road trip, head to Newfoundland and drive the Trans-Canada Highway from St. John’s to Port-Aux-Basque. Spanning the width of the island, this 540-mile trip will take you from a colorful urban center to remote seaside villages, giving you the chance to watch whales breaching the water as icebergs float by.
You’ll also come face-to-face with the towering cliffs of the Western Broken Fjord in Gros Morne National Park, which is about 8 hours from St. John’s assuming that you don’t stop. At Western Broken Fjord meet some of the nicest and most hospitable Canadians
Popular stops along this epic Newfoundland road trip include the following:
- Bay Bulls (30 minutes from St. Johns)
- Newman Sound (4 hours from Bay Bulls)
- St. Anthony (11 hours from Newman Sound)
- Gros Morne (3 hours from St. Anthony)
Whether you do this trip in two weeks (recommended!) or have less time, end in charming Fogo Island, where Fogo Island Flats is a great lodging option.
5. The Dempster Highway, Yukon & Northwest Territories
For the truly adventurous road tripper, the Dempster Highway offers a unique experience you can’t find anywhere else in Canada. The highway begins about 25 miles east of Dawson City, Yukon and extends almost 400 miles north to Inuvik, in the Northwest Territories. Stops along the way are few and far between—there’s a reason that primarily hardcore campers are attracted to the Dempster Highway, among all Canada road trips—but many travelers enjoy a hot shower and warm bed in Eagle Plains, which is 231 miles along the highway and has a population of only 8.
Other important stops along the Dempster Highway include:
- Tombstone Range Viewpoint (2 hours from Dawson City)
- Arctic Circle Crossing (4 hours from Tombstone Range Viewpoint)
- Peel River Crossing (2 hours from Arctic Circle Crossing)
- Titheqehchii Vitail Lookout (5 hours from Peel River Crossing)
- Jak Territorial Park Campground (2 hours from Titheqehchii Vitail Lookout)
The route is a gravel road that’s well-maintained and winds its way through two mountain ranges, the Oglivie and the Richardson ranges. The Dempster Highway is also Canada’s first all-weather highway to cross the Arctic Circle and in the summer months, you’ll experience 24-hour sunshine. Plan about a week to complete this truly incredible Canada road trip, though you could drive nonstop from Dawson City to Inuvik in just under 16 hours.
Think Canada is nothing more than Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver? Think again! Whether you can manage to undertake all these Canadian road trips or simply have to choose one, our neighbor to the North is a beautiful neighbor indeed. Still haven’t booked your flight to Canada? Search for it below! 👇