We love epic drives and have had the pleasure of traveling overland on five different continents. But nothing compares to the best road trips in Canada. Exploring our own backyard always takes our breath away. Canada is beautiful!
While many websites will write about the road trips in Canada that they’ve only heard of or read about, we are rounding up the best Canada road trips that we’ve actually taken. From coast to coast we’ve got you covered with links to our in-depth experiences, maps, and further information.
Best Road Trips in Canada
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The main road across Canada is the Trans-Canada Highway 1. The Trans-Canada highway spans 7821 km (4859 miles) across our home and native land from coast to coast. With an epic road like this, it’s no wonder Canada is one of the best countries in the world for taking a road trip.
These are the best road trips in Canada that we’ve taken.
1. Yukon and Northwest Territories – Dempster Highway
Duration: 2 – 4 days one way.
A lot of people don’t know of the Dempster highway but it is the most exciting road trip in Canada that we’ve done! Starting in Inuvik Northwest Territories, the Dempster Highway is a 736 km (457mile) drive through two provinces. It even crosses the Arctic Circle.
You can rent a car one way from the town of Inuvik in the Northwest and then drive direct to Dawson City or continue on to Whitehorse to fly home. This goes through the heart of the Canadian wilderness and is one of the most remote pieces of highway in the world.
Highlights of this drive include:
- Inuvialuit and Gwich’in peoples Culture of Inuvik
- Grizzly bears and caribou,
- Old RCMP headquarters
- Arctic Circle
- Stunning Tombstone Mountain Range
- Gold Rush Town of Dawson City
- Read more about the Dempster Highway
2. Nova Scotia – Cabot Trail
Duration: 3 – 5 Days. It can be driven in one day, but you’ll miss all the gorgeous hikes, adventures and scenic stops.
The Cabot Trail is usually at the top of Everyone’s Canadian road trips list and it only barely missed out on the number one spot on our list. The reason, Cabot Trail is much busier than the Yukon. It is a beautiful coastal drive located on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. Starting in the town of Baddeck, we drove in a counter-clockwise direction to Margaree Harbour.
- Skyline Trail – Stunning coastal views
- Cape Breton Highlands National Park
- Whale Watching & Zodiac tours
- Ingonish Beach
- Uisge Ban Waterfalls
- Coastal Hikes
- Glamping Tents
- 22 Incredible Stops on the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia
3. Alberta – Icefields Parkway
Duration: one to seven days.
It might be the most famous of all the road trips in all of Canada. This stretch of highway between Banff and Jasper national parks is definitely the most beautiful road trip in Canada.
You can start this trip in Calgary and drive all the way to Edmonton to really make it a multiday trip. This entire drive can easily be done in a day but we really must give yourself several to do it justice. Spend a day or two in both Banff and Jasper and take some time to explore the Icefields Parkway. Read more: The Best Things to do in Banff
- Banff National Park
- Lake Louise
- Columbia Icefields
- Athabasca Glacier
- Breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains
- Read more: Driving the Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper Alberta
4. British Columbia – Sea to Sky Highway
Duration: 1 day to 7 days
It’s rated as one of the most scenic drives and with good reason. Starting in Vancouver and ending in Pemberton British Columbia the Sea to Sky highway is 154 km (95 miles) long stretch along the coast.
Most people pass through in an hour and a half on their way to Whistler, but there are so many scenic views and the town of Squamish is an outdoor lover’s dream. Read more Famous Canada Landmarks to add to your bucket List
- Squamish Chief
- Shannon Falls
- Capilano Suspension Bridge
- Britania Mine
- Brandywine Falls
- Train Wreck Trail
- Read our full Sea to Sky Highway Itinerary
5. New Brunswick – Fundy Coast
Duration: 5 days
The drive from Moncton to Saint Andrew’s in New Brunswick is one of the most scenic routes in Canada. This beautiful road trip weaves along the north shore of the Bay of Fundy: home to the world’s highest tides. After checking out Magnetic Hill and Centennial Park in Moncton, the drive veers south towards the Hopewell Rocks.
The Hopewell Rocks are beautiful flowerpot rocks and massive formations that can be walked among during low tide. It then continues to the historic old town of Saint John and ends in the lovely fishing village of Saint Andrews close to the border of Main.
- Hopewell Rocks flowerpot rocks
- Cape Enrage lighthouse
- Saint Martins Covered Bridges and sea caves
- Fundy Trail
- The fishing village of Saint Andrews
- Saint John, New Brunswick
- Read more: 25 Best Things to do in New Brunswick, Canada
6. Prince Edward Island
Duration: 1 – 3 days
Prince Edward Island is the smallest of Canadian provinces, but it is a beautiful place to go on a road trip. We combined our trip to PEI with New Brunswick.
Crossing Confederation Bridge into PEI feels like you have really driven off the beaten path in Canada. Charlottetown is the capital and a great place to start once you cross the bridge. We then drove a counter-clockwise loop around the Central Coastal Drive. Here we enjoyed the coastal views, lighthouses, sand dunes, and East Coast hospitality.
- Charlottetown – festival, dining, and waterfront
- famous red cliffs and sand dunes of PEI National Park
- Anne of Green Gables Shore
- The fishing village of Malpeque
- Read more: Things to do in Prince Edward Island (PEI)
7. Ontario – Sudbury to Thunder Bay
Duration: 5 Days. If you extend to go completely around Lake Superior make it 7 days.
The drive from Toronto to Sudbury is not the most eventful of trips, but once you arrive in Sudbury the adventure begins. Driving north along the Trans Canada Highway Route 1 from Sudbury to Thunder Bay has some of Canada’s top roadside attractions and houses some of the Iconic places to visit in Ontario.
The route takes you from Sudbury along the northern shore of Lake Huron and then turns north from Sault Ste. Marie above Lake Superior. With names like Wawa, Marathon, and White River, you’ll be driving through some of Canada’s quirkiest towns.
- The Big Nickle in Sudbury
- The Big Canada Goose – Wawa
- Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre in the Soo (Sault Ste Marie)
- Pukaskwa National Park
- White River – Home to Winnie the Poo
- Terry Fox Memorial in Sudbury
- The waterfront of Thunder Bay
- Read all about our Lake Superior Circle Tour through the United States and Canada.
8. Quebec – Le Gaspésie Peninsula
Duration: 7 Days
This road trip starts from one of the oldest cities in North America, Quebec City. Quebec has kept its old-world charm that feels like a little piece of Europe hopped across the pond.
Driving along there are wildlife encounters, a UNESCO World Heritage Sites, awe-inspiring scenery, and culinary delights. You can start in Montreal if you want to enjoy another Canadian City as well. Driving along the St. Lawrence River out to the Gulf of St. Lawrence offers some of Canada’s most striking views and wildlife experiences.
- Old Quebec City
- St. Lawrence River
- Vertical Cliffs of Gaspésie Peninsula
- Pointe-au-Pere National Historic Site
- Camp in a Yurt at Bic National park
- Whale watching
- Spy on Seals
- Forillon National Park
- Read all about the Gaspe tour
9. Southern Alberta – Cowboy Trail
Duration: 7 – 10 days
From trail rides and dude ranches to historic sites and badlands, this drive takes you through some very unique landscapes.
- Waterton Lakes National Park – part of
- Dinosaur Provincial Park
- Canadian Badlands
- Bar U Ranch National Historic Site
- Hoodoos of Drumheller
- Read our full itinerary at the Cowboy Trail – Exploring Alberta’s South
10. Nova Scotia – South Shore
Duration: 7 days
Heading South from Halifax, most people make a day trip out to see Peggy’s Cove. This fishing village is home to the world-famous Peggy’s Cove lighthouse. But there is a lot more to do on Nova Scotia’s South Shore and we spent 10 days exploring its beauty.
From the rocks of Peggy’s Cove, we followed the lighthouse route all the way to Yarmouth. The historic route goes through old settlements, beautiful landscapes, secluded coves and beaches, and lovely towns.
- Peggy’s Cove
- Three Churches of Mahone Bay
- Yarmouth Lighthouse
- La Have Ferry and Bakery
- The Privateer History of Liverpool
- Read more at First Stop on Your East Coast Road Trip.
11. British Columbia – Sunshine Coast
Duration: 4 – 6 days
The Sunshine Coast of British Columbia is another epic drive in Canada. Starting in Vancouver, we took a ferry from Howe Sound to Gibsons Landing. Gibsons is still on the BC mainland, but it can only be reached by ferry.
Gibson’s Landing was home to the famous Canadian TV Show the Beachcombers that ran for nearly 20 years!
Once you leave Gibsons, you go through wild west coast terrain with beautiful coastal hikes, scenic lookouts, historic sites and eco-adventures. The 400km plus loop takes you north to Lund where you catch a ferry from Powell River to Vancouver Island and work your way south through Nanaimo to Crofton.
- Smugglers Cove – beautiful hike on the coast that was once a rumrunner’s hideout.
- Glamping at Rockwater Secret Cove
- National Historic District of Powell River
- Reversing Falls of Skookumchuc Provincial Park
- Desolation Sound
- Read more: Sunshine Coast BC – The Perfect Road Trip Itinerary
12. Quebec – Eastern Townships
Duration: 2 – 3 days weekend getaway from Montreal
Starting in Montreal, this Quebec Road trip takes you along Southern Quebec and the Eastern Townships.
Known for its wines and apple orchards, this route will take you on a French Canadian gastronomical journey. The cider route links apple orchards and cider houses together where you can taste local cuisine paired with premium cider.
Heading towards Saint Jean sur Richelieu may take you to the annual hot air balloon festival. And then move over Provence, Bleu Lavande in Quebec is one of the largest and important lavender producers in the country.
- Old Montreal
- HIstoric French Villages
- Wine Route
- Covered Bridges Route
- Antique Shopping at North Hatley
- Hovey Manor on Lake Massawippi
- Mont Megantic National Park
- Check out Where to Stay in Montreal
13. Ontario – Grey Bruce Superloop
Duration: 3 – 4 Days
Ontario has an endless supply of Road Trips and we’ve done them all from the Niagara Parkway to the Apple Pie Trail and Manitoulin Island. But a very cool loop is the Grey Bruce Superloop around Lake Huron.
Driving along the South Shore of Lake Huron, this road trip takes you through Bruce County. Make sure to take a detour a little farther north to Tobermory. The perfect place for adventure scuba diving the shipwrecks or climbing at Lions Head.
- Wiarton Willy – Canada’s groundhog for groundhog day.
- Kincardine Lighthouse
- Sauble Beach
- Niagara Escarpment – World Heritage Site
- Waterfalls of Grey County
- Read more at Explore the Grey Bruce Superloop
I know we have missed a couple of provinces. While we have been to Manitoba and Saskatchewan, we haven’t taken a proper road trip through those provinces, but there are some great drives.
Newfoundland is on our list and perhaps when we can all travel again, Dave and I will hop in our car and head to the east coast of Canada to finish off our great Canadian road trip planner.
If you enjoyed our round up of Canadian Road Trips, save this to Pinterest for future travel planning.
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And these are our favourite road trips in Canada. Where have you gone on an epic drive in Canada? Where should we go next?