Canada Day road trip routes
It's Canada's 150th birthday, and as Canadians, we’re lucky to have such a wide range of travel opportunities in our own backyard. No matter what part of the country you live in, and regardless of whether you’re looking to camp out or spend the night at a luxury resort, there is a road trip for you!
Halifax – The Cabot Trail
The Cabot Trail is one of Canada’s most famous road trips. It is a 297 km loop around a large chunk of northern Nova Scotia. Passing through Cape Breton Highlands National Park, this drive has amazing ocean views and it’s not uncommon to see moose, a variety of birds and other wildlife along the way. The Cabot Trail passes through many quaint towns with a wide range of accommodation and restaurant options. Check out The Cabot Trail’s website to help you plan!
St. John’s – The Heritage Run
The Heritage Run is one of Newfoundland’s most popular drives. It’s a 463 km loop, and an easy weekend road trip from St John’s. Located on the Burin Peninsula, this drive offers some of the province’s most spectacular scenery, whale watching opportunities and the chance to visit important historical sites. The Heritage Run is so popular that it has an official website with lots of great resources to help you plan your road trip. Visit their website to learn more.
Montreal – The Gaspesie Tour
The Gaspesie Tour is a famous Canadian scenic drive that was featured by National Geographic Traveler in its 20 Best Trips of 2011. Starting in the metropolitan city of Montreal, this road trip is about 1500 km and could be done in a long weekend but you may want to consider taking the week! It’s a long drive through seascapes, bird sanctuaries, stunning national parks and incredible hiking opportunities. If this route seems too long, have a look at the Gaspesie website which can help you plan a variety of routes that might be a better fit for you and your family! Check out their website!
Toronto – The Muskokas and Algonquin Park
The beauty and tranquility of the Muskokas and Algonquin Park simply can’t be beat. There are so many towns and lakes to visit in the area, why not just leave your travel plans at home and see where the days take you? You may find yourself falling in love with your first stop and spending the whole weekend, or you could fit in Huntsville, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge and Port Carling all in one trip! Tourism Muskoka has a great website that will help you find the right towns, at the right times to ensure you have the best trip possible! See what the area has to offer on this site.
Winnipeg – Riding Mountain National Park
Less than 300 km from Winnipeg is one of Southern Manitoba’s gems – Riding Mountain National Park. With options to camp, rent a cabin, or stay in a nearby hotel, this park offers accommodation options that will suit any group. Riding Mountain is on the edge of the Canadian Prairies, with sub-tundra and rocky ridges. This wide variety of eco-systems to explore is a big draw for visitors. Visit the charming resort town of Clear Lake, and consider taking a Bison Safari – there are adventurous options for the whole family! Parks Canada has a website with lots of information and photos of this beautiful park.
Regina – Big Muddy Badlands
The Big Muddy Badlands are one of the most remote, rugged and driest areas of Saskatchewan. It’s situated about 160 km from Regina and offers incredible history and the opportunity to learn about the geology of the area. Take a guided tour, or explore on your own; either way you’ll be sure to be amazed by the unique landscapes of Big Muddy. This website will help get you started.
Edmonton – The Columbia Icefields and Jasper
A road trip to Jasper with a stop at the Columbia Icefields is an incredible road trip, with its destination only 3.5 hours from Edmonton. Make sure to take your time along the drive and stop often. You mustn’t miss the historic Num Ti-Jah Lodge, the ice bus ride over the glaciers at The Columbia Icefields and Athabasca Falls. Jasper has a variety of accommodation options from a campsite to world class hotels, so you can tailor your trip to meet the needs of any family. Information about accommodations, activities and other things to do is available here.
Calgary – Moraine Lake and Lake Louise
Moraine Lake (pictured right) and Lake Louise, only a 2.5 hour drive west of Calgary, has some of the world’s most spectacular scenery and hiking opportunities. Close by to Banff and Canmore, this area of the Canadian Rockies will cater to anyone, and will allow you to spend the weekend roughing it on the trails, playing on world-renowned golf courses, pampering yourself at luxury spas or just relaxing with a good book and breathtaking views. Lots of information about accommodations, hiking trails, golf courses, etc. can be found here.
Vancouver – The Coast Mountain Circle Route
The Coast Mountain Circle Route is a long road trip for a weekend, but certainly can be done. If it’s possible, add an extra couple of days to make sure you really enjoy the phenomenal scenery, culture and history that you’re passing through. Starting in Vancouver, you’ll head north to Squamish where you can experience some of Canada’s best-known rock climbing sites, then continue on to Whistler for world-class hiking, accommodations, and adventure options. The road from Whistler to Lillooet is steep, winding and clings to the mountain side. It truly does take your breath away. Next head to Lytton, explore the Fraser Canyon, check out Harrison Hot Springs before returning to Vancouver with a new found respect of the Coast Mountains and this incredible province. Maps and travel ideas can be found here.
Victoria – The Coho Ferry
Start your weekend road trip in Victoria and hop on board the 90 minute Coho Ferry taking you across the Juan de Fuca Strait to Port Angeles, Washington (bring your passport). Recently made famous by the Twilight series, Port Angeles was long known as a sleepy seaside town and the gateway to Olympic National Park, one of Washington State’s treasures. With incredible old growth forests and hiking trails that accommodate people looking for any level of challenge, this majestic park is definitely worth a visit! Check out the ferry schedule ahead of time.