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Canada Road Trip Planning + 12 Epic Itinerary Ideas

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Canada is filled with stunning landscapes and driving through provinces and national parks is the best way to explore this massive country (by area). We will share an epic Canada Road Trip Planning Guide here, packed with ready-made itineraries to follow.

Canada Road Trip Planning Guide

Canadian Road Trips

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Decide where you want to go in Canada

So, your first step is to make a bucket list of places you want to see or the route you wish to embark on for your Canada road trip. Being a diverse country of landscapes, terrain, and 4 different time zones, it might be a tough choice deciding on where to do. You can browse our Canada Destinations list, or use one of the itineraries mentioned below to get started!

What to see on your Canadian Road Trips?

It all depends on your travel style. There are mountains and pristine lakes in western Canada, pretty central coastal drives in the Maritimes, chasing Northern Lights in the Northwest Territories, or specific attractions like Toronto’s skyline/Niagara Falls, Gros Morne National park in Newfoundland to check out fjords, also a UNESCO world heritage site to polar bears in Manitoba. 

So you see there is tons of explore in Canada, just take it slow, stop along the way to make the most of your visit. Also give yourself enough time to hike, eat and drive.

Budget for your Canada road trip should be as follows 

  • National Park Fees: $20 CAD per vehicles ($15.50 USD)
  • City Attractions: Many museums have entry fees start at $7.99 CAD ($6.20). CN Tower or any type of observation towers in major cities, starts at $30 CAD ($23 USD)
  • Food: Minimum $30 CAD ($23 USD)
Canada Road Trip Planning: Canmore Alberta
Canada Road Trip Planning Tips

When are you planning to travel for your road trip?

Whether it is a city-bound road trip or a journey through our national/provincial parks, it is important to make note of the seasons. Canada experiences all four seasons, and each season is beautiful in its own unique way. 

  • Summer – Summers are a great time to embark on a road trip. We recommend choosing the country-side to escape the crowds. If you are hitting the popular national parks like Banff (from Calgary or Edmonton), ensure you start early to beat the traffic rush.
  • Winter – Driving in winters can be tricky. Ensure you follow provincial winter driving regulations. Also add additional travel time due to the road conditions, poor visibility, etc. on certain routes. 
  • Spring and fall – These are off season months in Canada. Fall is our favorite time to visit as the weather is still warm, and attractions not too crowded. Spring is a tricky situation for visiting Parks, as many of the sightseeing spots may not be open. Finding accommodation in cities and small towns this time will be easy, minus fewer crowds.

Where to stay on a Canada road trip?

When you are road tripping in Canada, there are tons of options for accommodation.

  • Hotels, Airbnbs & Lodges: You can book a hotel, Airbnb, lodge, or a cabin for your accommodation in Canada. Book them ahead of time, especially during peak seasons. 
  • RV & Campervan: One of the popular ways to explore national parks in Canada is on a campervan or an RV, and save money on hotel accommodation. It is also a nicer alternative if you do not own a lot of camping gear, and planning to explore on the go. 
  • Camping: If you are planning to camp overnight, ensure you reserve camp-sites when bookings open for the season. You do not need to reserve for day campsites (like picnics as part of your road trip), especially in provincial parks. 

Pin the spots on Google Maps

Use Google Maps plan and plot your road trip itinerary. And don’t forget to download offline maps on your phone, so that you can access that from the car. 

Maps Canada road trips
Plotting attractions on a Google Map (credit)

Important Driving Tips in Canada Highway & Parks

  • Carry your driver’s license (Canadian, US or International).
  • Must be at least 21 years of age to rent a vehicle.
  • The most common cars on the road in Canada are left-hand drive vehicles, and cars are driven on the right side of the road.
  • Canada uses kilometres and metres to measure the distance (unlike miles used in the USA)
  • The typical speed limit in most provinces is 100 km/h (62 mph) or 110 km/h (68 mph). 
  • When you are driving to national parks speed limits will differ, depending on major routes (90 km/hr max.) and secondary routes (60 km/hr max.)
  • Gas/Mileage: 8.9 litres of gasoline per 100 kilometres (62 miles)
  • Be mindful of wildlife corridors and posted wildlife signs along the highways

What to pack on a road trip in Canada?

Maligne Lake Road in winter
Maligne Lake Road in winter

Here is a list of items to pack for your road trip in Canada!

  • Clothes & Comfortable shoes – Comfortable shoes are a must, they are helpful while you are behind the wheel or while taking rest stops
  • Warm clothes (for winter) – While driving in Canadian winters, don’t forget warm clothing
  • Hand warmers are great little items to keep inside the car
  • Travel Mug – Coffee and tea lovers, pack your travel mug, and refill it on the go!
  • Water bottle – Super important, carry your water bottle. Stay hydrated!
  • Healthy snacksLOVE this care package, and they are healthy snacks to carry on your road trip. Munch them if you are hungry, whilst feeling light!
  • Medications
  • Flashlight – Super handy if you are camping or even driving overnight
  • Emergency car kit – An emergency car kit is essential should things happen on the road. You can create one from scratch or buy one pre-pack from Amazon
  • Emergency first aid kit – Check the first aid kit inside the car (check for expiry dates). If you don’t have one, here is one that you can buy from Amazon. 
  • Dashboard mount for phone or GPS – Use a dash mount to keep your phone or GPS for navigation. 
  • GPS or navigation system – Don’t forget navigation systems or Google maps (offline) on your phone. Prepare it with your routes prior to your trip. It is also important to keep TomToms (or any navigation system) updated. 
  • Charging cables – Unless your car has cable-free charging, it is important to pack one for your road trip. We do have wireless charging in our car, but it can only charge one at a time, so we also carry charging cables (to charge the second phone and to charge inside the hotel). Buy yours here
  • Playlist – No road trip is complete without an amazing playlist.
  • Cell-phone – Don’t forget your cell-phone. Stay connected with family, store the hotel or campsite contact information, plus roadside assistance number for emergencies. 
  • Car freshener
  • Road trip games – License plate, sing-along, card games (for kids)
  • Travel insurance – Car insurance is essential, so is travel insurance if you are traveling from overseas. For the car, you can also secure insurance with the rental company when you pick up the vehicle. 

12 Canada Road Trip Itinerary Ideas

Canadian Rockies Road Trip Itinerary, Alberta 

  • Number of days – 10 to 14 days
  • Route –  Edmonton – Jasper National Park – Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise – Banff National Park – Calgary  (Alberta) 

This Canadian Rockies itinerary will allow you to explore all the best of the mountains and cities in Alberta. It covers the capital city, the largest city in Alberta, two national parks in the Canadian Rockies (Jasper being is the largest one), visit the pretty Lake Louise, explore our provincial parks at Pembina, and also check out small Prairie (Edson, Entwhistle) and mountain towns (Banff, Jasper) in one single trip.

How to plan a road trip in Canada
Canadian Rockies Road Trip

A fast paced version of this road trip itinerary can be done in 10 days. But 2 weeks will be perfect! 

Fly to Edmonton, pick up a rental car, and explore the capital city of Alberta. Visit the Legislature Grounds and the neighborhood of Strathcona. (If you have time on your hands, visit Elk Island National Park, located about 50 minutes away from the city, known for bison conservation and is a dark sky preserve). Spend one full day in Edmonton to experience the culinary and city centre delights, along with museums and art galleries. 

From Edmonton, drive to Jasper National Park (it takes 4 hours). Stop by the small Prairie towns of Edson, Entwhistle, or Pembina Provincial Park for a picnic. You will arrive in Jasper town by evening. Stay at the Pocahontas Cabin for the night. 

Pocahontas Cabin in winter review
Pocahontas Cabin in winter

Spend 2-3 days in Jasper. Hit trails, Pyramid and Patricia lakes, Athabasca falls, soak in mountain views, eat, and visit a local brewery. 

From Jasper, head to Lake Louise, via the Icefields Parkway (with a quick stop at Sunwapta Falls). Non stop drive is 2.75 hours. You can also add Athabasca Glacier Adventure to your road trip itinerary and stay in Lake Louise for the night. 

Set aside 8-10 hours to explore Lake Louise, and then head to Banff in the evening (50 minute drive). 

View of Banff town - Alberta towns
View of Banff town – Alberta towns

Spend 3-4 days in Banff National Park. There are tons to see and do here, from lakes – Vermillion, Two Jack Lake, Minnewanke, to hiking trails, exploring Banff Avenue, Cave & Basin Site, Cascade Gardens, Minnewanka Lake Cruise, and Johnston Canyon. Stay at Elk + Avenue Hotel.

After exploring Banff, head to Calgary, and spend one day or two. Explore downtown city highlights like the Calgary Tower, wander the Stephen Ave Walk, visit Calgary Fort, Heritage Village, etc. 

Drop off your car rental at Calgary International Airport, and fly back home!

Icefields Parkway, Alberta 

  • Number of Days – It is possible to drive the Icefields Parkway in 2.5 hours if you don’t get out of your car, but it would be a travesty not to take your time to enjoy the sights along the way.
  • Route – Lake Louise to Jasper in the province of Alberta passing through Banff National Park and Jasper National Park.

One of the most famous road trips in Canada is the Icefields Parkway, which is a 230km (144 miles) journey through some of the country’s most magnificent landscapes. With vistas of mountains, valleys, glaciers, rocky cliffs, forests, and lakes, there is a lot to see along the way.

Take a tip and start early in the morning to avoid traffic, and you will enjoy the experience so much more if you are not rushed. The Icefields Parkway has so many incredible places that you will want to explore. 

Jasper winter wildlife
Wildlife in Jasper

Early morning is a good time to spot wildlife that usually make an appearance when you

least expect. When you’re driving, keep your eyes peeled for bears, deer, elk, moose and bighorn sheep. Depending on what you might see by the side of the road, you may need extra time to linger and take photographs.

On your first road trip along the Icefields Parkway, make sure you allow time to see Columbia

Icefield, which is some of the largest glaciers outside the Arctic Circle, or“fields of ice” straddle and are the largest south of the Arctic Circle. 

Another awe-inspiring attraction is the Glacier SkyWalk, where you can walk on a glass-floored platform 280 metres (918 feet) above the stunning Sunwapta Valley.

Winter Sunwapta Falls
Winter Sunwapta Falls

Besides glaciers, this Canadian road trip is also known for its beautiful lakes. The two most famous ones are Bow Lake, which is the best place to gaze at the Crowfoot Glacier, and Peyto Lake, which is a must-do to fill your Instagram stream with stunning photos. Also, visit Sunwapta and Athabasca Falls; both are places of natural beauty.

Stay at Mountaineer Lodge in Lake Louise or the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

By Christina from Travel2Next

Sea to Sky highway – Vancouver to Whistler

  • Number of days – 2 days
  • Route – Start in Vancouver, stop in Squamish to Whistler (British Columbia)

The Sea to Sky highway is one of the most scenic roads in Canada. Also known as Highway 99, the section that connects Vancouver to Whistler is known as the Sea to Sky

Although the total journey time from Vancouver to Whistler is just 2 hours, there’s plenty to see and do along the way as well as further afield. This road trip can be amended for families or adrenaline seekers. While it’s easy to drive from Vancouver to Whistler in a day, splitting it up into several days is recommended. 

After leaving Vancouver, one of the first points of interest in Whytecliff Park, this is somewhat of a hidden gem in Vancouver and a nice scenic spot to stretch the legs. When the tide is low you can walk across the rocks to Whytecliff Islet.

Seton Lake Lookout Hiking British Columbia
Seton Lake Lookout Hiking British Columbia

Your drive along the Sea to Sky highway will then bring you through the town of Lions Bay and Britannia Beach. Here is where you’ll find Porteau Cove Provincial Park and the Britannia Mine Museum, which is a great stop for families. 

Soon after Britannia Beach is the town of Squamish, many people bypass this town but it’s definitely worth a night’s stay at least. There are so many amazing restaurants here, some of our favourites include the Wigan Pier for fish & chips and Sonny Chibas for Mexican and fried chicken. 

There are also several craft breweries here that are worth checking out. Squamish is famous for its hiking and rock climbing. The Chief is a granite monolith that towers above the town and is a bucket-list hike in the area. If you aren’t feeling up to hiking, you can take a ride on the Sea to Sky Gondola. 

The town of Whistler is usually people’s main destination when taking this route. This mountain town is home to Whistler Blackcomb ski resort and bike park. There are tons of things to do for every season in Whistler. Although it’s famous for skiing, other activities include snowshoeing, snowmobiling, dog sledding and hiking and biking in the summer. 

Nita Lake Lodge is our favorite hotel in Whistler, it’s the only lakefront hotel in the resort town. It’s far enough away from the main village that you’ll get lots of peace and quiet here. 

There is plenty to see and do further afield too! Less people visit Pemberton and Lillooet but they are just as beautiful and the rest of Highway 99. Joffre Lakes is one of BC’s most beautiful hikes in BC. 

Seton Lake near Lillooet is one of our favourite places in all of Canada, and the short hike to the lookout is breathtaking! 

By Rachel from A City Girl Outside

Vancouver – Kelowna – Banff

  • Number of days – 2+
  • Route – Starting in Vancouver British Columbia to Kelowna, BC to Banff National Park, Alberta

While driving from Vancouver to Banff is technically possible in one day, a stop in Kelowna not only breaks up the trip, it’s also more scenic. The mountainous Highway 3 is the best way to get to Kelowna in terms of scenery.

In Kelowna, be sure to enjoy the waterfront parks, hiking in the hills outside of town, shopping around Bernard Ave, and wine tasting at local vineyards.  If staying overnight in Kelowna, treat yourself to The Royal Kelowna hotel for views of the water and proximity to downtown and the cultural district.

Vineyard overlooking a subdivision Okanagan Lake Kelowna British Columbia Canada in the fall
Vineyard overlooking a subdivision Okanagan Lake Kelowna British Columbia

From there, you can take the spectacular drive through Glacier and Yoho to Banff on Highway 1. The biggest highlight on this leg is simply looking out your window!

Two points of interest along the way are quite close to each other: Three Valley Gap and the town of Revelstoke. Three Valley Gap is a big hotel on the shore of a large lake, visible from the highway. There is a bit of a ghost town to visit and just one restaurant, inside the hotel.

For more dining options and amenities, make your next stop 20 minutes down the highway, in the little town of Revelstoke. Whether it’s to stay the night or even just to grab a bite to eat, it’s a nice place to visit.

Next, you’ll pass through Glacier and Yoho National Parks, both of which are worthwhile places to visit for hiking, camping, scenic drives, and more.

Vancouver Kelowna Banff Canada road trip
Vancouver Kelowna Banff Canada trip

Finally, saving the best for last, you’ll arrive in Banff National Park. Take the tram to scenic overlooks, hike to a tea house, admire the emerald Lake Louise, bike, look for wildlife, camp, or relax at an upscale inn. From Banff, you can take countless scenic drives to extend your road trip in different directions, like Yoho or Jasper National Parks. This is a true outdoor wonderland and worth staying for several nights.

By Michelle from Intentional Travelers

Nanaimo to Tofino, British Columbia

  • Number of Days – 1
  • Route – Nanaimo to Tofino, British Columbia

While not the longest by any means, driving from Nanaimo to Tofino on British Columbia’s Vancouver Island is one to add to your to-do list!

Tofino is still a hidden gem, even for many Canadians, and the stops along the way make it the perfect West Coast road trip.

There is only one main road that takes visitors from Nanaimo to Tofino (HWY BC4). While summer is traditionally Tofino’s high season, this rugged part of Canada sees storm watchers venture to the coast to watch the full power of the Pacific Ocean hitting land.

Tofino Sunset Views
Tofino Sunset Views

Along the 3 hour route, there are a few essential stops. Coombs is a little detour, but it’s popular market and goats on the roof are a delight for all visitors. 

Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park is right along the route. You will literally drive through an amazing old growth forest right on the highway. If you stop at Cathedral Grove, you will find a small parking area and a trail that takes about 30 minutes to see some of the oldest trees in British Columbia.

Ucluelet is the last stop you should make, before the final stretch to Tofino.  Take the time to walk the Wild Pacific Loop. It is less than 30 minutes from Ucluelet to Tofino, you can always add this to a day trip activity while you stay in Tofino. 

The last stretch of drive will bring you past Pacific Rim National Park where the strong Pacific Ocean waves crash on the sandy beaches. There are plenty of places to stop along the way if you want to take a closer look. Tofino is home to stunning sandy beaches, you will have plenty of time to enjoy the waves and the sand.

Two of the best places to stay are Pacific Sands Beach Resort and Long Beach Lodge. Both offer beachfront accommodations and are perfect for couples and families. 

By Lindsay from Uncovering British Columbia

Dawson City (Yukon) to Tuktoyaktuk (North West Territories) 

  • Number of days – Minimum 3 days one way
  • Route – Dawson City (Yukon) to Tuktoyaktuk (North West Territories) 

Starting in the historic Klondike Gold Rush town of Dawson City and ending on the edge of the Arctic Ocean, this Canadian road trip is a must do for adventurous travelers. The main part of the route (737km of 875km total) follows the Dempster Highway, a legendary rough dirt road traversing tundra and limitless wilderness. 

The Dempster is the only road in Canada to cross the Arctic Circle. Consequently, travelers who visit in summer will be accompanied by the Midnight Sun (24 hours of daylight). The long days allow for endless exploration. It’s disorienting yet exhilarating and ensures this road trip experience to be like no other in Canada! 

View of Scenic Road Leading to Tombstone and Mountains in Canadian Nature. Dempster Highway, Yukon, Canada.
View of Scenic Road Leading to Tombstone Park via Dempster Highway, Yukon, Canada

Tombstone Territorial Park, located around 110km from Dawson City, is a real highlight. Here, the expansive landscape is backdropped by impossibly jagged mountain peaks. Be sure to stop at the interpretive centre before heading out onto one of the established hiking trails. Keep your eyes peeled for some of the local residents, including grizzly bears, moose, caribou, porcupine and black foxes. 

Epic as this road trip may be, there is some caution needed. This is a truly wild area, with almost zero phone signal along the entire route. The elevated dirt road is rough in places and can become very slippery after rain. A good spare tire is absolutely essential as is a puncture repair kit, air compressor and jack. Most importantly, the drive should not be rushed. 

Facilities are few and far between (all part of the adventure!) but one of the most convenient places to stop on this road trip is Eagle Plains. 

There is a campground, hotel, gas station, and restaurant here. Inuvik has the biggest choice of services and places to stay, with the Arctic Chalet being a top choice. While in town, be sure to check out the Igloo Church and Community Greenhouse (built in an old ice rink), 

Tuktoyaktuk is your final destination; a place where you can dip your toes in the freezing Arctic Ocean and reflect on your incredible journey through Canada’s northern wilderness!

By Gemma from Off Track Travel

Saskatchewan Road Trip 

  • Number of Days – 5-6 
  • Route: Regina to Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park (Centre Block) 

Saskatchewan often isn’t the first place that comes to mind when planning a Canada road trip. Most people head straight to the Rocky Mountains, Vancouver Island, or Niagara Falls. While these destinations are all very much worth a visit, so is Saskatchewan!  

This underrated Canadian province features two beautiful National Parks, several Provincial Parks, cute little towns and rolling hills covered in rippling grain as far as the eye can see. If that’s not enough, Saskatoon and Regina are two lively cities with a relaxed vibe, plenty of restaurants and lots of worthwhile sights. Plenty of reasons for a Saskatchewan road trip

Saskatchewan Canada Road trip
Saskatchewan Canada Road trip

Start your road trip in Canada by exploring Regina, the capital city of Saskatchewan. Spend two days here and visit the Provincial Legislative Building, stroll around Wascana Lake, and learn about history in the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. A nice place to stay is the Ramada by Wyndham (Emerald Park). 

Hop in your car and drive to Grasslands National Park (West Block) in approximately 3.5hours. This National Park is a great place to see rare native wildlife such as the bison as well as an excellent stargazing location as there is very little light pollution. Hike the 70 Mile Butte Trail and take one of t 

After spending a day (or if time allows, two days) in Grasslands National Park, drive to Eastend and visit the T-Rex Discovery Center to marvel at one of the few T-rex skeletons ever found. Continue your road trip and drive to Cypress Hills Provincial Park.  

This Provincial Park is perfect for swimming, camping, and hiking. A must-do is visiting Bald Butte and Lookout Point. The views from both viewpoints are breathtaking, you can see for miles and will really come to appreciate the vastness of Saskatchewan.  

By Lotte from Phenomenal Globe Travel Blog 

Road Trip from Saskatoon (Saskatchewan) to Winnipeg (Manitoba)

  • Number of Days – 1
  • Route – Saskatoon – Yorkton – Langenburg – Russell – Portage La Prairie – Winnipeg

Saskatoon to Winnipeg takes about 8 hours 10 mins by car if you drive non-stop. Both cities are located in two Prairie provinces of Canada. Start from Saskatoon Saskatchewan, and pretty much along the way you will find small Prairie towns, mom & pop shops, cute barns, and farms.

Saskatoon is nicknamed as the ‘Paris of the Prairies’, due to the many bridges found here. From Saskatoon, make way for Yorkton (in about 3.50 hours). Yorkton also has a Western Development Museum, just like Saskatoon which is worth visiting. 

Saskatoon - Delta Bessborough Hotel
Saskatoon – Delta Bessborough Hotel

If you wish to stretch your legs, head to the York Lake Regional Park for a quick stroll. From Yorkton, arrive at Langenburg, and this is where you can break for lunch. 

Up next on the road trip is Russell, located about 15 km (9 miles) from the Saskatchewan border. The town is known for the Manitoba’s Beef and Barley Festival, which is held annually in October. 

From Russell, the next stop is Portage La Prairie (in 3 hours). In case you didn’t know the Prairies are home to the some of ‘world’s largest’ like Tomahawk (Cutknife, SK) or Easter Egg/Pysanka (Vegreville Alberta). So Portage La Prairie has the world’s Largest Coca-Cola Can. Don’t forget to stop by, and snap a few photos!

Esplande Riel at night
Esplande Riel at night

From here, Winnipeg is another hour’s drive. Spend 2 days in Winnipeg, exploring some of the iconic attractions like the pedestrian Esplanade Riel Bridge, named after the 1848 revolutionary Louis Riel. 

Wander the French part of Winnipeg – St Boniface. Eat out, and hang out at the city centre. The Forks is a must visit in the city. This site is a National Historic Site of Canada. 

Assiniboine Park also deserves a place in your itinerary. It is a beautiful park with tons of walking trails, river views, and more. Finally, visit the Royal Canadian Mint, and go on a guided tour to learn about coins, and maybe take some home with you!

East Coast City Delights – Toronto – Montreal – Quebec City

  • Number of days – 3 days + 
  • Route – Toronto – Montreal – Quebec City

This classic road trip starts in Toronto and travels through Eastern Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick, before ending in Halifax, NS. From start to finish, this road trip will take about 18 hours of straight driving. 

You could do it all at once, but you’d miss out on so many fantastic places! Instead, we’d recommend stopping a few times along the way, making this road trip into a 3 to the 5-day trip, and taking the time to explore a few places along the way. We will cover Toronto to Quebec City, as one road trip, followed up by Quebec City to Halifax (and of course you can combine both).

CN Tower & the Canadian Flag

Beginning in Toronto, follow Hwy 401 east from Toronto until you reach the border of Quebec and it becomes Autoroute 20. Stay overnight in Montreal – the Old Town is much more scenic, but the downtown section has more dining options. Alternatively, you can pass through Montreal and continue another 2.5 hours to Quebec City.

Montreal Lanes
Old Montreal Lanes

On day 2, drive Hwy 40 along the north shore of the St. Lawrence, or 20E/TransCanada via the south shore. Either way the drive is close to 3 hours. Arrive in Quebec City mid afternoon, and you’ll have plenty of time to explore the Old Town, marvel at the Chateau Frontenac and soak up the European feel of the city. 

There are plenty of hotels to choose from – you can splurge on a stay at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac or choose more moderate options like the Quebec City Marriott Downtown. 

By Erin from Three is Us

Quebec City to Gaspésie

  • Number of days – 5 – 7 days  (return)
  • Route – Quebec City – Forillon National Park – Gaspe – Perce Village – Matapedia – Quebec City

One of the epic Canadian road trips is the one around Gaspesie. Gaspesie is a peninsula in the province of Quebec. It’s a loop route that starts in Quebec City and also ends there. You’ll need about 5-7 days to get the most of the area.

Set out from Quebec City early in the morning and take the QC- 132 road towards the east. Enjoy the ride along the picturesque coast, make frequent stops at viewpoints. In the evening you should reach Forillon National Park where you stay overnight.

Gaspe Canada Road Trips
Gaspe

Spend the next day hiking in the park. There are many trails to choose from, so pick the ones suitable for your level of fitness. The park administration will provide you with a map. Move to the town of Gaspe, where you’ll spend the night and the next day exploring local sights and museums such as Haldimand Beach, Gaspesie Museum, and Micmac Museum.

The next stop is in Perce Village where you can catch a boat to Bonaventure Island which is the main local attraction. This small uninhabited island is home to the largest Atlantic seabird colony in North America. After hiking on the island, check out Perce Village and try some local food and beer.

From this point, the road trip will return to Quebec City, but around the southern shore. The south offers amazing viewpoints, several lighthouses, Micmac village, and a beautiful Philomene Waterfall. The one-stop you shouldn’t miss is the Miguasha National Park that is also a UNESCO World site for its valuable fossil site and museum.

In Matapedia, take the QC-132 towards the north. Before you reach Quebec City, the sights worth seeing are Pointe-au-Pere Lighthouse and Jardin de Metis Botanical Garden. Do stop in one of the local ‘fromagerie’ to buy some delicious cheese sorts.

By Slavka from On2Continents

Quebec City – Fredericton to Moncton, via Hopewell Rocks to Halifax

  • Number of days – 4 days + 
  • Route – Quebec City – Fredericton to Moncton, via Hopewell Rocks – 251km,  Moncton to Halifax – 260km

You can start this road trip from Toronto, and follow the itinerary above to stop in Montreal and Quebec City. From Quebec City, follow the TransCanada Hwy north along the St. Lawrence River to Rivière-du-Loup, then head south-east to New Brunswick. 

*Note* As you cross the border into New Brunswick, the time changes and clocks go back an hour. 

Although there isn’t much to see in Edmundston, if you prefer a shorter drive today or just in need of a rest and stretch break, it is a good stopping point around 3 hours from Quebec City. 

If you prefer to keep on driving, Fredericton is another 3 hours south. Along the way, be sure to stop for a quick visit to Grand Falls about 45 minutes south of Edmunston and farther south, the Covered Bridge in Hartland. Continue on to Fredericton where you’ll stay the night.   

Continue your drive through New Brunswick and be sure to take a slight detour off of the Trans Canada Highway south to the Hopewell Rocks.

Just an hour south of Moncton, the Hopewell Rocks are a remarkable place to experience the highest tides in the world! Happening twice a day, be sure to check the tide tables to be aware of high and low tides. 

The final stretch of this road trip heads into Nova Scotia. After crossing the border, it’s about 2 hours to Halifax. **There is a toll on this portion of the highway. It’s approximately $4 CAD. 

An hour after the border lies the town of Truro, which is a good spot to stop, have a rest and if the timing is right, to watch the twice daily tidal bore. If you’re adventurous, try Tidal Bore Rafting on the Shubenacadie River, close to Truro. 

Halifax near Peggy Cove
Halifax Fishing Villages

Another hour’s drive and you’re in Halifax –  stay here for a few days in Halifax, and enjoy the East Coast. While you’re in Halifax, be sure to visit Peggy’s Cove, Lunenburg, Halifax Waterfront, and Dartmouth.

There are many hotels to choose from, whether you’re looking for something close to the waterfront (which are more expensive) or something a little further away. Clayton Park, just off Hwy 102 is a good option, with hotels such as Coastal Inns and Future Inns – both highly recommended from our family!

By Erin from Three is Us

Maritimes Magic: Fundy Coastal drive from Campobello Island (NB) to the Confederation Bridge (PEI) 

  • Number of days – 5 days
  • Route – New Brunswick and the Fundy Coastal drive from Campobello Island to the Confederation Bridge at Prince Edward Island (PEI)

Coastal New Brunswick and the Fundy Coastal drive from Campobello Island to the Confederation Bridge at Prince Edward Island makes for a scenic and less traveled area of Canada. In five days, you can cover the highlights in the Maritimes, along with the iconic Hopewell Rocks.

Hopewell Rocks Canada
Hopewell Rocks

Start from Campobello Island, the only International Park in the world and summer home of the U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. 

On day 2 head to Saint Andrews. An old fishing village, on the Bay of Fundy, where the most dramatic tides in the world shift daily, Saint Andrews has lots of restaurants and cute shops. It is also a great take-off spot for whale watching and kayaking trips. Don’t miss the Huntsman Marine Science Center and Kingsbrae Gardens.

On day 3 and 4, drive to Saint John and explore the city. Stay at the St. John Hotel & Suites. A must-see is The Reversing Falls, where the Bay of Fundy tides overtake the flow of the Saint John River, a UNESCO GeoPark. Then, make the quick 3-minute drive to Carleton Martello Tower located high on a hill overlooking the Bay of Fundy.

The New Brunswick Museum is a great way to get some history on the area with exhibits on the region’s lumber, shipbuilding, farming industries.

City Market of Saint John is a vibrant and bustling market with stalls of fresh produce, meat, seafood, even local art and souvenirs, and restaurants. 

Another must-see destination, Hopewell Rocks is a unique landscape, where you can walk along the ocean floor and see the towering sandstone sculptures with trees on top thanks to the Bay of Fundy’s dramatic tides

From there, you can continue winding along the Bay of Fundy Highway to 15E. Crossing the Confederation Bridge is an adventure in and of itself — it is the longest bridge (8 mi/12.9 KM) that crosses ice-covered waters in the world.

By Lori from Maps, Memories and Motherhood

Cape Breton Highlands National Park: Cabot Trail East Coastal Drive

  • Number of days – 3+ days
  • Route – Halifax – Cape Breton Island along the Cabot Trail

The Cabot Trail is a scenic driving route on the island of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia. Cape Breton is the largest island, and is home to 14% of the population. 

Cabot Trail offers one of the best scenic views along Canada’s Atlantic Coast. Cabot Trail is over 300 km, and can be easily completed in one day. However, we recommend stopping along the way to make the most of your trip, including exploring the great outdoors of Cape Breton Highlands National Park and soaking in the views of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 

Beautiful rugged coastline scenery  in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia along the Cabot Trail on the Atlantic Ocean in Maritime Canada
Cape Breton

You can start from Halifax (fly there), and then head towards the Cabot Trail (3.50 hours).  Do make a stop at the Highland Village. This village has re-created the life of Gaelic settlers in Cape Breton and is beautifully set on the Bras d’Or lake. 

Set a day aside for Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Camp, picnic or go on a hike. Check out the Cape Breton Highlands Lookout, and capture sunset on Skyline Trail Hike. 

Whale watching is popular here, so seafood including lobster treats! Being a coastal drive, do stop at the Margaree Harbour or Enragee Point Lighthouse. 

Final Thoughts on Road Trips in Canada

You see, it is impossible to squeeze everything in Canada on a single trip (be it week or 2 weeks long). But you can always come back, and check off these wonderful road trips from your Canada bucket list. 

Pick one that speaks to you the most – mountains, cities or culture, or food – pick your car rental (check gas, your licences, insurance) – and let’s go!

Where will you head to first? 

Pin: 12 Canada Road Trips to take this year: Explore Canada by road trips

Canada road trip ideas

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