It’s not hard to see why more than 20 million people visit Canada annually. After all, the land of maple syrup, hockey, politeness and breathtaking scenery is truly in a league of its own.
Whether you’re visiting vibrant metropolitan areas like Toronto and Calgary; are pining after the epic scenery found across the sprawling countryside or are looking to explore some of Canada’s charm in cosy spots like Nova Scotia or Quebec City; there’s something for every type of traveller. Stroll the world-class museums of Toronto, sip some wine in Prince Edward Island’s many vineyards or take in the enchanting scenery of Alberta – the options are limitless.
Thanks to Canada’s status as the world’s second-largest country, the main reason for visiting is usually to experience the vast and spectacular scenery. From the majestic alpine atmosphere of Banff to the wild shores of New Brunswick’s Fundy Isles, the Great White North was practically made for scenic road tripping. Whether you’re looking to city hop or take in the unbelievably diverse scenery, the best way to see Canada is by car.
While renting a car in Canada is pretty straightforward, there are definitely a few things you can do to ensure your rental process runs smoothly:
1. You can save up to 39% by booking your Canada rental more than 30 days in advance.
2. If you’re planning to do cross-border travel to the US, make sure your rental company allows this.
3. Cruise control can be a very handful feature for those long Canadian highways!
4. Road signs in the Quebec region will be in French (“Arret” is “Stop”).
5. Speed limits are measured in km/h and you drive on the right side of the road.
What better way to experience the majesty of the Canadian landscape than by road tripping through the Canadian Rockies? Weaving through 235 kilometres of some of Canada’s most iconic scenery, you’ll be met with stunning lookouts every step of the way. The route departs from the mighty Banff National Park known for the world-famous lake Louise, and trails north on Highway 93 towards Jasper National Park. Along the way, you’ll be met with countless beautiful sights such as Sunwapta Falls, Athabasca Glacier and serene Herbert Lake.
If you’re looking to experience some of the very best of Canada’s west coast, hit the road for the Sea to Sky Highway where 162 kilometres of ocean, forests and mountains await. Start in the super hip town of Vancouver where craft beer and outdoor activities abound; then head north toward adventure. The route winds through adventure hotspots like Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton perfect for an epic afternoon. Don’t forget to carve out some time to explore Shannon Falls Provincial Park.
If you’re looking for equal parts history and nature on your epic Canadian adventure, consider a drive through the Interlake Region. Covering 189 kilometres, your journey will begin in the vibrant capital of Winnipeg. From there you’ll head north to the Lower Fort Garry History Site and then the peaceful Oak Hammock Marsh. Afterwards, why not get a swim in at Winnipeg Beach before heading to Viking history meccas Gimli and Hecla Village. Spread the trip as long or as short as you want, but either way, you’re in for a real adventure.
There is simply no better way to experience the rich history and charm of Quebec than with a journey from Montreal to Gaspésie. Spanning across 975 kilometres of pavement, be prepared to make a big trip out of this once in a lifetime road trip. Along the way, you’ll get to revel in some of Canada’s most beloved cities – cough cough Montreal and Quebec City. Then, heading northwest, you’ll eventually wind up in the paradise that is the Gaspé Peninsula where you’ll be met with more scenic and wildlife wonder than you can imagine.
Start your engine at St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador’s capital which also doubles as North America’s most easterly and oldest city. Famous for its candy-coloured row houses and slow coastal charm, you’re sure to be off to a good start. After St. John’s, your journey heads south on the 309-kilometre coastal loop full of outdoor adventure like sea stack hiking and whale watching plus tons of natural wonders.
A real highlight of the trip is the Lighthouse Picnics historic 1870 lighthouse that provides ample viewing ops of the floating icebergs in the wild Atlantic waters that surround.
Despite being Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island boasts a big reputation for road trips perfect for foodies. The North Cape Coastal Drive, which spans 350 kilometres around the western peninsula, is known for its gastronomic delights. Make a stop at the Canadian Potato Museum to see why P.E.I.’s spuds are so famous. Then, get your fill of the world-famous oysters at Malpeque Oyster Barn or scarf down some lobster rolls at the Catch kitchen & Bar.
Along the way, you’ll also be met with wineries and breweries perfect for ending a day on the road.
The Cabot Trail is not only considered one of the best road trips in Canada but is regularly ranked as one of the best in the world. Start in Nova Scotia’s lively capital of Halifax, then head for the 300-kilometre coastal loop that winds from pristine beaches to steep cliffs, sleepy fishing villages and dense woods. Along the way, be sure to make an adventure stop at the incredibly beautiful Cape Breton Highlands National Park to take in some of its hiking trails and stretch the legs.