Crowsnest Highway, British Columbia
Stretching from BC to Alberta, the Crowsnest Highway passes through breathtaking mountains and charming towns. After departing from the bustling city of Vancouver, head toward the Fraser Valley on Highway 1. Stretch your legs after a few hours of driving with a hike at E.C. Manning Provincial Park and then get a good night’s rest in one of the rooms or cabins at the Manning Park Resort. The next day, make your way to the Similkameen Valley and stroll around the many vineyards in Keremeos, before continuing your trip to Osoyoos — which is home to the warmest lake in Canada.
Icefields Parkway, Alberta
Thinking about the Canadian Rockies for your Canada road trip? Then the 235-kilometre Icefields Parkway is your front-row seat to some of the range’s most fetching glaciers and turquoise lakes. Leaving the hamlet of Lake Louise in Banff National Park, head north along Highway 93 to savor such sights as mirror-like Herbert Lake, the sweeping Athabasca Glacier and double-barreled Sunwapta Falls. Hang your toque at the newly renovated Glacier View Lodge on the way up or at Jasper’s cozy Chateau Jasper in Jasper National Park at route’s end. Count on a full day but take a few to explore the icefields and both parks during less-busy spring and colourful fall.
Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan
Exploring Saskatchewan’s eclectic roadside attractions just got better. Thanks to the 2019 opening of the Badlands Parkway, you can now see Grasslands National Park on not one but two revealing Canada road trips. From the village of Wood Mountain, drive south to the paved, seven-mile parkway in the park’s East Block to glimpse a wild but fragile prairie landscape. Then make tracks to the West Block just south of Val Marie to spot plains bison, black-footed ferrets and settler homesteads on the 80-kilometre-loop Ecotour Scenic Drive. Take one to a few days; 286 kilometres total.
Interlake Region, Manitoba
Immerse yourself in history and nature on this 186-mile, one-to-three-day journey through Manitoba’s Interlake region, straddled by the province’s two inland seas of Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba. From the bustling capital of Winnipeg, make tracks north to Lower Fort Garry Historic Site, Oak Hammock Marsh, Lake Winnipeg’s iconic wooden piers, and swim-friendly Winnipeg Beach. Detour west for the Narcisse Snake Dens – visit in spring or fall for best viewing – before returning to the lakeshore for Viking-rich Gimli and Hecla Village. End with a round of golf and overnight at the Lakeview Hecla Resort.
Toronto to Stratford, Ontario
Take in big-city sights and theater-town delights on this two-day sojourn in southeastern Ontario. Spend a day strolling Toronto’s museums and galleries, and a night at the artsy Gladstone Hotel or chic Kimpton Saint George. Then motor west 150 kilometres for a dose of Victorian architecture and live theatre in Stratford, home to the province’s annual Stratford Festival. Along the way, take a peek at Baden’s ornate Castle Kilbride Museum.
Montreal to Gaspésie, Quebec
Take a week or more to hit several Quebec sweet spots on this charming 975-kilometre drive, which should be on everyone’s best road trips in Canada bucket list. Visit Montreal and Quebec City – voted forth and first top Canadian cities, respectively, in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards 2021 – before heading northeast along the St. Lawrence River to the Gaspé Peninsula and its striking Percé Rock. Watch for whales, caribou and northern gannets – you can’t miss their distinctive black-tipped wings. Alternatively, skip the cities for the full-on Gaspésie Tour or check out these other scenic drives.
Irish Loop, Newfoundland and Labrador
Start with a stroll past colourful row houses in Newfoundland and Labrador’s capital of St. John’s, also North America’s most easterly and oldest city. Then head south on a 309-kilometre coastal loop packed with outdoor adventure and natural wonders. Spot whales and seabirds on a Witless Bay boat tour or hike by sea stacks and cliffs on the East Coast Trail. Pick up fresh sandwiches and lemonade in Lighthouse Picnics’ historic 1870 lighthouse, then enjoy them outside while watching icebergs float by.
Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick
Explore the wild ways of water on New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy – a hot spot on a top Canada road trip. Here, some 150 billion tons of water flow in and out every six hours, making for the world’s highest tides at up to 50 feet. Ease into this four-day 225-kilometre trip by taking tea at Moncton’s quaint 1883 Thomas Williams House, then pad about the ocean floor during low tide at the Hopewell Rocks – eroded tree-topped sandstone formations a.k.a. Flowerpot Rocks. Catch August’s Rising Tide Festival in Fundy National Park, and be sure to kayak St. Martins’ red-rock sea caves on the route’s last leg. See more on these road trips.
North Cape Coastal Drive, Prince Edward Island
It might be Canada’s smallest province, but Prince Edward Island boasts its fair share of road trips too. Foodies in particular will want to wind their way around the western peninsula, sampling the island’s fresh bounty on a four-day 350-kilometre drive. Find out why Prince Edward Island’s potatoes are so famous at the Canadian Potato Museum, then fill up on a fully loaded baked spud – choose from lobster, pulled pork and more – at the onsite PEI Potato Country Kitchen. Slurp back world-renowned oysters at the rustic Malpeque Oyster Barn during the summer months, and savor mussels and lobster rolls at the Catch Kitchen + Bar. Rinse it all down with a Drag’n Anchor blonde ale at Moth Lane Brewing.
Halifax to the Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia
Get your urban fix in the lively capital of Halifax before striking out for rural Cape Breton Island and the world-famous Cabot Trail – considered to be not only one of the best road trips in Canada but in the world. Named after Italian explorer John Cabot, who landed on these shores in 1497, the 300-kilometre coastal loop climbs from sea-swept beaches and sleepy fishing villages to forested slopes and cliff-tops. Plan for a full four days to take in Baddeck on the shore of Bras d’Or Lake; Cape Breton Highlands National Park and its 26 hiking trails; and the traditional Acadian town of Chéticamp.