With a rich natural heritage spread over an incredible expanse of land, Canada offers virtually endless room for exploration. If you want to see everything the Great White North has to offer, grab your car keys and plan a road trip across Canada!
From world-class cities to breathtaking views and inspiring historical finds, a road trip across Canada is the best way to get to know the unique sights and experiences in every corner of the country. Get your exploration started with our top five road trip ideas!
Calgary to Banff
Hot Stops: Banff National Park, Bragg Creek, the Icefields Parkway
Why We Love It:
Starting in busy and bustling Calgary and ending in the peaceful quiet of Banff national park, this road trip takes you through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Alberta. The perfect destination for a weekend getaway — or even a full week — this trip lets you get to know the prairies’ largest city first. The Calgary to Banff route is an all-season road trip, but if you’re taking the drive in the summer, check out our Calgary guide to get the most out of the city!
Heading west out of Calgary brings you to the numerous rural communities that dot Southern Alberta’s rolling foothills. Take a detour south to Bragg Creek and stop for lunch or simply admire the area’s charming log houses and ranches.
Once you’re back on the road, it won’t be long until you arrive in Banff National Park, one of the country’s most beloved national parks. Take some time to check out beautiful views of the Rockies and drive the Icefields Parkway!
Cabot Trail to Sydney
Hot Stops: Ingonish Beach, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Cape Breton Highland Links
Why We Love It:
This Nova Scotia coastal highway is perhaps the most stunning stretch of road in all of Canada. As you drive along the edge of the sea, you’ll see why the Cabot Trail is considered one of the best road trips in Canada. The trail makes a loop around the coast, so pick your starting point — any point — and go!
Be warned — the area’s diverse and breathtaking landscape makes it hard to resist frequent stops. Hiking, whale-watching and kayaking are just some of the activities you can check-off your Cabot Trail itinerary as you make your way through the Cape Breton Highlands National Park on this road trip. In order to get the full experience, set aside several days for this wonderful journey — the best places to see on the Cabot Trail include the Cape Breton Highland Links, where even the non-golfers will be in awe of the coastal views.
Make stops at the many beaches along the highway. Ingonish Beach’s Freshwater Lake Trail straddles Freshwater Lake and the Atlantic Ocean, so book a stop here on your road trip planner and take a dip on either side.
Take your time exploring this ultimate Canadian road trip — Cape Breton has a number of enchanting cottages and rentals that will charm you.
Montreal to Quebec City
Hot Stops: Montreal, Quebec City, Trois-Rivieres and Val Notre-Dame Abbey
Why We Love It:
The ultimate Quebec road trip will not only take you to the province’s two most well-known cities, but through the beautiful small towns that make up the heart of Quebec’s countryside.
Enjoy the best that Montreal and Quebec City have to offer on either end of your trip, from Montreal’s museums and nightlife to the stately architecture and attractions of old Quebec City. In between the two, there’s no shortage of things to do and sights to see!
Quebec’s rich religious and cultural heritage has left its mark on the province. Use that for inspiration for road trip ideas and visit the picturesque, secluded and surprisingly contemporary monastery Abbaye Val Notre-Dame as you leave Montreal. After the Abbey, add a stop in Trois-Rivieres, Canada’s oldest industrial city, to your road trip itinerary.
Vancouver to Whistler
Hot Stops: Sea to Sky Gondola, Stawamus Chief trail, Porteau Cove Provincial Park, Brandywine Falls
Why We Love It:
British Columbia’s best road trip route is something you need to put on your bucket list (check out our other bucket list ideas). Winding mountain roads take you through valleys and peaks, past lakes and streams, and into the heart of some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes. The Sea to Sky Highway will leave you breathless at every turn!
While this can be a quick one-day trip to Whistler from Vancouver, plan for frequent stops on this scenic road trip, because there are dozens of fascinating attractions along the way. Porteau Cove Provincial Park is a popular stop, with a sunken ship feature for divers and snorkelers.
Don’t miss a chance to enjoy the Sea to Sky Gondola or challenge yourself hiking the Stawamus Chief trail — be sure to bring your camera and snap some Instagram-worthy shots of Howe Sound! As you near your final destination, take a detour and hike the spectacular Brandywine Falls before you finish off your British Columbia road trip in Whistler.
Make sure you budget time on either end of your trip to explore Vancouver and Whistler. A downtown Vancouver condo rental and a mountainside cabin in Whistler make for perfect bookends to this road trip!
Viking Trail in Newfoundland
Hot Stops: L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site, The Arches Provincial Park, Port au Choix National Historic Site
Why We Love It:
Load up your Maritime road trip itinerary — this is a road trip no one in Canada should miss! The trail connects two of Newfoundland’s World Heritage sites, Gros Morne National Park and the thousand year old Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows. Officially known as Route 430, the Viking Trail is home to North America’s only confirmed viking-era settlements. If you’re interested in visiting Newfoundland and seeing a viking village, this is the road trip for you.
Along the way, you’ll find a multitude of ecological and historical stops to capture your eye. Stop for a picnic in The Arches Provincial park and get to know the unique rock formations with naturally carved arches. When you’re ready to continue your road trip, make sure you stop at the Port au Choix National Historic Site, an archaeological site that has been occupied by Canada’s indigenous peoples for thousands of years.
Finish off this Canadian road trip at L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site, the viking village that the trail is named after.
Start this nordic road trip right with a rental in Deer Lake, where the Viking Trail begins.
Taking a longer trip through Canada? Whether you want to rent a condo in Calgary and drive to your vacation rental in Banff, or rent a chalet in Quebec City and drive to a condo in Montreal, you can experience the area like a local with a vacation rental from CanadaStays.