Looking to plan a Canadian road trip? Our comprehensive Canadian road trip planner takes the stress out of organizing your first cross-country itinerary.
Canadians are known for being the nicest people on earth. But it’s not just our friendly smiles that have everyone writing Canadian Road Trip on the top of their travel bucket list.
The ultimate Canadian road trip offers jaw-dropping nature, ancient Indigenous culture, world-class luxury hotels, multicultural culinary scene, the adrenalin rush of outdoor adventure, and cosmopolitan cities filled with awesome art.
Planning a Canadian Road Trip
If it’s your first time organizing a Canadian road trip it can feel a bit daunting. Canada is the second largest country in the world after all. Most people planning their first road trip of Canada often bite off more than they can chew, not realizing how massive the country actually is.
A Canadian road trip will have you spending most of your time enjoying beautiful views from the Trans-Canada Highway. The historic highway follows a direct route across Canada, so it’s a good road to stay close to. But you’ll need to take other highways and rural roads to see the country properly.
Whether you’ve travelled through Canada extensively or are keen to plan your first visit, it’s important to research your Canadian road trip in advance.
We suggest using the newest edition of Eyewitness Travel Canada. The guide is perfectly organized for those planning a west-to-east coast Canadian road trip. If you’re a first time visitor you’ll want to take notes on the “Reasons to Love” section, which sums up all of the top sights and experiences in Canada.
Eyewitness Travel Canada also features five helpful itineraries:
- 2 Days in Vancouver
- 2 Days in Toronto
- 7 days in British Columbia and the Rockies
- 7 days in the Maritimes
- 2 weeks in Canada
Eyewitness Travel Canada also includes detailed itineraries and “don’t miss” destination highlights at a glance, illustrated cutaway 3-D drawings of important sights, floor plans for major museums, area maps marked with popular sights, top hotel and restaurant listings, as well as a slew of info on niche interests such as maple syrup, dinosaur fossils in Alberta, Inuit Art, and the Northern Lights.
We suggest reading Eyewitness Travel Canada from cover to cover. Take notes on the destinations and experiences that most excite you and then sketch out a Canadian road trip itinerary that is realistic based on your vacation time. You’ll find the informative guidebook acts as an excellent companion on long driving days. Once home, DK Eyewitness Travel Canada is a perfect memento to showcase on your bookshelf.
When To Go On a Canadian Road Trip?
Canada’s busiest road trip season is the summer, when families from around the world hit the highway to explore Canada with their kids. A Canadian road trip in winter is ideal for ski and snowboard fans. While in the Spring, flower lovers flock to gorgeous gardens and wildlife enthusiasts snap photos of newborn animals at Canada’s national parks. The Fall is my favourite time of year to plan a Canadian road trip, as ancient forests transform into a multi-coloured Autumnal tapestry.
If you only have 2-3 weeks vacation, we suggest reading through our favourite destinations in each province. Based on your personal interests and the time of year you’re traveling, you’ll quickly get an idea of what region interests you most.
How Long Does It Take to Travel Across Canada By Car?
Looking to drive across Canada’s vast landscape by car? The length of time it takes to drive coast to coast really depends on how much time you have to pause and enjoy points of interest along the way. Have all the time in the world and want to enjoy a Canadian road trip from shore to shore? Measure the approximate distance and time between your start and end point on Google Maps.
In the Canada Road Trip map above, I’ve selected two of Canada’s most famous boutique luxury hotels as Point A and Point B. There’s no better way to start an epic journey than by relaxing at a luxurious resort. And there’s no greater reward, after finishing an unforgettable Canadian road trip, then crossing the finish line at one of the country’s best hotels.
Both luxury resorts sit perched over the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean – Wickaninnish Inn is located in Tofino on the west side of Vancouver Island, while Fogo Island Inn is located within a remote fishing village on Newfoundland’s east coast. Google Maps tells us it would take 83 hours of non-stop driving to connect between the two resorts, a total of 7,100 km. Take into account that you’ll likely want to take pit stops along the way.
We strongly suggest you reroute to visit destinations not marked on this Canadian road trip map, such as Ottawa, Toronto and Niagara.
After reading our comprehensive Canadian road trip planner, you’ll see there is plenty to enjoy along the way. If you’re stopping at roadside attractions and enjoying meals and breaks to stretch your legs, plan to drive 300km to 400km a day. At that pace you can cross Canada in around two weeks time (one way).
Renting a Car for a Canadian Road Trip
If you’re flexible on where you begin and end your Canadian road trip, it may be advantageous to call and see if driving one direction is cheaper than another. During certain times of year, car rental companies get an influx of new arrivals (the popular Calgary to Vancouver route in the summer for example). You may be able to score a very good deal if the Canadian car rental company is desperately looking to get a fleet of cars back to the other side of the country.
Car rental prices are most expensive during the summer and long weekends. If you’re on a shoestring budget, try and plan your Canadian road trip during the shoulder seasons.
Canada has plenty of international airports offering car rental services. In an effort to save time I’d suggest starting your Canadian road trip in one city, and then dropping off the car at the airport of your final destination. Book a flight into Calgary for example, and fly home from Vancouver. The flights may be slightly more expensive but you’ll likely notice that the price of your one-way car rental makes up for it in time and money.
You may also want to drive for a portion of your Canadian road trip and then spend the remainder of your journey enjoying a scenic Via Rail journey, or exploring a cosmopolitan city like Montreal by foot or bike.
What Do You Need To Rent a Car in Canada?
- The minimum age for car rental in Canada is 21 years old, with the driver requiring a minimum of 12 months driving experience. An additional “Young Renter Fee,” is applied to car rentals, if you’re between the ages of 21 and 24.
- Valid Driver’s license and International Driver’s Permit if your license is not in English or French.
- Passport and proof of return airline ticket.
- Credit Card for the car rental deposit. Your drivers’ license and credit card must be the same name.
- Traveling with kids? Children under 18kg require a child seat fastened with a seat belt.
Canadian Road Trip Insurance
All drivers in Canada require car insurance. Before embarking on your trip contact your credit card company to ensure your covered throughout the duration of your visit. Or purchase car insurance when you pick up your rental car.
We also highly suggest paying for travel insurance if your embarking on a Canadian Road Trip. We suggest World Nomads Travel Insurance, which you can purchase and claim easily online, even after you’ve left home. Travel insurance from World Nomads is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
Canadian Road Trip Highlights
Taking a sabbatical to enjoy a slow-paced 6 month Canadian road trip? Or do you only have two weeks to cover as much ground as you can? If you’re planning a trip to Canada you’ll soon realize there are endless options.
Our Canadian road trip planner is organized for those driving from the West to East Coast. You can easily organize a shorter trip in segments or drive backwards from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island.
We’ll visit all the best Canadian landmarks. We start in British Columbia, drive through the Rocky Mountains, cross the pretty Prairies, explore Ontario, practice our French in Quebec and finish our journey in the Maritimes.
The Best Canadian Road Trips
There are several famous Canadian road trip routes popular with drivers. These Canadian road trips are famous for their unforgettable views and awesome attractions, which you can enjoy along the way.
- The Cabot Trail from Halifax, Nova Scotia
- The Heritage Run from St. John’s, Newfoundland
- The Gaspesie Tour from Montreal, Quebec
- The Muskokas and Algonquin Park from Toronto, Ontario
- Riding Mountain National Park from Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Big Muddy Badlands from Regina, Saskatchewan
- The Columbia Icefields from Edmonton, Alberta
- Moraine Lake and Lake Louise from Calgary, Alberta
- The Coast Mountain Circle Route from Vancouver, British Columbia
Things To Do in British Columbia
British Columbia is where the Canadian Rocky Mountains meet the Pacific Ocean. Canada’s West Coast offers an enticing mix of mountain vistas and wild ocean adventures. BC is also home to Canada’s largest Asian population, centred around Vancouver and Richmond. It offers some of Canada’s best Cantonese, Japanese, Vietnamese and Thai cuisine. British Columbia is also the best province to learn about Pacific Indigenous culture via art galleries, museums, restaurants and tours.
If you’re looking to create a list of must-see British Columbia tourist attractions be sure to visit Vancouver, Victoria, Tofino, Whistler, Shuswap, and Haida Gwaii.
Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and Rocky Mountains, Vancouver is both sophisticated and outdoorsy. Consistently recognized as one of the world’s most livable cities, Vancouver is home to two million people who enjoy a mild climate, inspiring scenery, thriving entrepreneurial scene and some of the best Asian inspired cuisine on the continent.
Vancouver Itinerary Highlights: Granville Island Market, Vancouver Theatre Sports, Stanley Park, Vancouver Art Gallery, Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coastal Art, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden, Gastown, Capilano Suspension Bridge, and Yaletown.
Visitors to Vancouver find a combination of everything a world-class destination should be: diverse shopping and neighbourhoods, award-winning multifaceted cuisine, outdoor adventure and an exciting, constantly refreshed roster of arts, culture, festival and performances. There’s no doubt after you’ve adventured through YVR for the first time you’ll be chirping to your friends back home, “on a Canadian road trip the West Coast really is the Best Coast!”
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Whistler is an all season resort town in British Columbia, which was part of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Two million visitors annually come from all over the world to experience alpine skiing or snowboarding in winter and mountain biking in summer. The best way to join them is by starting in Vancouver and driving to Whistler. The Canadian road trip route takes you through some of the most stunning landscapes in the country. Along twisting highways and fog-shrouded fiords. When you arrive in Whistler stunning landscapes continue, surrounding the pedestrian village which has won numerous design awards, in the form of the southern Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains.
Take a ride up in the air with Blackcomb Helicopter and you’ll feel like you could reach out and touch Black Tusk before landing at Beverly Lake. Along the way, you’ll come to appreciate how singular a place Whistler is owing to its geography and natural beauty. In summer, trails lead from the village all throughout the mountains and along the Cheakamus River through forests dense enough to make you forget there’s a city anywhere nearby. If relaxation is key to your visit, the Scandinave Spa is another year round option that’s singular to Whistler. No matter the season you visit, make sure you have a camera as this is one place you won’t find a shortage of photographic vistas.
British Columbia’s Shuswap is located between Vancouver and Calgary, offering an excellent stop for those driving east to Alberta on a Canadian road trip. The Shuswap is also located just north of Kelowna, the provinces most celebrated wine region. Kamloops is the region’s largest city, while the remainder of Shuswap territory is made up of pristine lakes, rivers and scenic small towns.
Quaaout Lodge & Talking Rock Resort is Shuswap’s most unique hotel, owned by Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band. Guests at Quaaout Lodge can visit an authentic Kekuli (Pit House), Salmon Smoke House and sacred Sweat Lodge. Tourists flock to the nearby town of Salmon Arm each year to wander up Adams River, home to the world’s largest return of sockeye salmon.
While the Salmon Run has been on every nature enthusiasts hit list for a millennia, the Shuswap in recent years has become popular as a luxury houseboat destination. Twin Anchors, a pioneer in the industry, becoming the first commercial operator in Western Canada in 1964. Today their combined fleet includes more than 100 houseboats. Renting a houseboat on the Shuswap during the summer is an excellent way to experience British Columbia’s natural beauty on a Canadian road trip.
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Roll your car onto a BC Ferry bound for Vancouver Island and start your visit by exploring British Columbia’s capital. Victoria is a popular tourist town, acting as a port of call for cruise ships sailing to Alaska. The city is also serviced by a speedy ferry to Seattle. In the summer months you’ll hear plenty of American accents exclaiming, “the architecture in Victoria is so British!”
Victoria is known for being very British thanks to its jaw-dropping architecture, eye-catching Buchart Gardens and the dozens of hotels and restaurants that continue the English tradition of Afternoon Tea.
The focal point of Victoria’s walkable downtown is its picturesque harbour. In the busy summer months Canada’s best buskers entertain crowds in front of Victoria’s historic Fairmont Empress. Victoria’s most famous hotel dominates the city skyline with its ivy-covered Gothic splendour. You don’t have to be a guest to experience the luxurious decor of the hotel’s public bars and lounges, such as the Crystal Ballroom, with its Tiffany-glass dome. The hotel’s most popular tradition is Afternoon Tea – often listed as one of the top spots in the world to enjoy the British tradition of slowly sipped Earl Grey with lemon curd slathered scones.
It’s no wonder that Tofino, located on Vancouver Island’s west coast, is Canada’s surf capital. The waves roll along 35 kms of sandy surf-able beach. There’s plenty of room for all boarders, from absolute beginners to seasoned surfers. Surfing in Tofino flourished by 1971, when the newly-paved Highway 4 to Vancouver Island’s west coast attracted many newcomers. Most of them were drawn to the dramatic beaches and wilderness, and some to the lively beach-dwelling subculture that emerged here in the late 60s.
If you’re a seasoned surfer used to splashing around with tropical fish, turtles and dolphins you’re in for a treat. Grab your board and head out to Tofino’s famed Long Beach and after an hour spent taming the waves you’ll find yourself catching your breath under ancient cedar as a cute otter family playfully wink up at you.
Haida Gwaii, formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, is an archipelago of about 150 islands located off the coast of mainland British Columbia. For thousands of years they have been home to the Haida Nation, a people renowned for their carvings and sculptures of silver, gold, cedar, and argillite (a black, slate-like stone found only on these islands).
S’G̱ang Gwaay Llanagaay (known as Ninstints in English) has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981. This Haida village on Anthony Island has more totems standing on their original sites than any other Haida village and is accessible only by boat. A visit here offers one of those rare take your breath away moments.
Places to Visit in Alberta
I was born in Alberta and always like to describe the province as Canada’s very own Texas. Alberta is most famous for its oil, cowboys and succulent steaks. Alberta also offers some of the best Canadian road trips, ideally located between British Columbia and the Prairies. The most popular Alberta road trip itineraries wiggle from Alberta’s flat farmland through the jaw-dropping Rocky Mountains.
If you’re looking to create a list of must-see Alberta tourist attractions, be sure to plan a Canadian road trip with stops in Edmonton, Calgary, Banff, Jasper, and Drumheller.
Calgary is Alberta’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. The city’s skyscrapers can be attributed to its rapid growth and status as the centre of Canada’s oil industry. Though, it’s still steeped in the wild west culture that earned its nickname, Cowtown. Calgary’s love for cowboys is most evident during the Calgary Stampede, a massive rodeo hosted in July.
Calgary is also home to the closest airport for those looking to explore Banff and Jasper. Before hitting the road to explore Alberta’s most famous nature parks, spend a few days in Calgary to enjoy the city’s unique attractions, award winning restaurants, and Prohibition-inspired cocktail bars.
Calgary Itinerary Highlights: Glenbow Museum, Fort Calgary, Inglewood, Wonderland Sculpture, Calgary Tower, and Dkyline Luge at the Winsport Olympic Park.
First timers to Calgary will be delighted to discover that the city’s most popular attractions are located within walking distance of each other. Calgary also has some of North America’s most developed bike paths so on a sunny day zooming around on a two-wheeler is easy peasy.
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Banff is one of Canada’s most visited tourist attractions. One can only appreciate its unique popularity by looking back at history. How did a tiny village in the middle of Canada’s Rocky Mountain wilderness come to be?
In 1883, two years before the completion of Canada’s first transcontinental railroad, three railroad workers stumbled upon a series of hot springs on the lower shoulder of what is now called Sulphur Mountain. By 1885, after a heated ownership dispute, the springs and surrounding area were set aside as Canada’s first national park. The Canadian Pacific Railway immediately recognized the tourism potential of the Canadian Rockies. In 1888, under the direction of William Cornelius Van Horne, they opened the elegant 250-room Banff Springs Hotel.
The railway then constructed a series of grand hotels along its main line and began advertising Banff as an international tourism stopover on the steel highway that had suddenly become the fastest and most direct route from Europe to the Far East. The Rockies quickly became popular with the Victorian gentry, who came to drink in the scenery and soak in Banff’s “healing hot springs.”
Today, Banff National Park sees over 4 million visitors each year. Its peak being in the summer months when adventure seekers enjoy the sunshine while river rafting along turquoise waters, hiking up lush alpine mountains and soaking in therapeutic hot spring pools. Be sure to allocate a few days in Banff if your Canadian road trip passes through BC and Alberta.
Banff was also a skiers playground for the 1988 Calgary Olympics. With three resorts a stones throw aways from the village of Banff, it’s a popular winter resort for those who have a penchant for ploughing through powder.
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From the Northern Lights to taking selfies with Canadian wildlife, Jasper is a top place to visit while traveling in Alberta, Canada. You can’t travel through Alberta without making a stop in the beautiful town of Jasper. One of the most popular Canadian road trips is through Jasper National Park. The drive is jaw-dropping, quickly eliciting many “Woooooows” as you pass by untamed wilderness, windy forest roads, and snow-capped mountains.
With over 11,000 sq kms, Jasper National Park is one the top places for animal lovers to travel in Canada. If you’ve ever wanted to see a bear, a moose or any other Rocky Mountain wildlife, you’re bound to see it in Jasper. The region has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the diversity of wild animals found here. If you’re looking for the best way to photograph and see wildlife up close, be sure to take a professional wildernesses bus tour.
Speaking of Mother Nature, if you’re interested in seeing the Northern Lights, Jasper and the surrounding area is one of the best spots to catch them at night. Jasper National Park has the second largest dark sky preserve in the world. This means that the town has the most ideal conditions for dark sky viewing, including seeing the Northern Lights shine bright!
One of Alberta’s most unique tourist experiences can be found by driving south from Calgary towards the border of Montana. After a two hour drive you’ll find Sierra West Ranch, located in the heart of Alberta’s Cattle Country.
The property straddles the banks of Todd Creek and features three log cabins as well as a cutesy village the owners have erected called Cowtown, complete with Longhorn Saloon, Cantina and three bunkhouses.
Sierra West Ranch is owned and operated by lifelong ranchers, Randy and Ginny Donahue. Sierra West Ranch consists of approximately 270 acres of deeded land and another 800 acres which they rent. The land is used to run a few head of cows and calves however most of it is used for yearlings that they buy in the Spring and sell in the Fall.
Each summer fans of Wild Wild West films fly from all over the world to participate in Sierra West Frontier Cattle Drives. The Canadian Signature Experience offers cowboy wannabes the opportunity to move cattle through various picturesque pastures on horseback. If you’re planning a trip to Canada and want to experience a truly unique horseback riding experience book a stay at Sierra West Ranch.
The Canadian Badlands lie northeast of Calgary and southeast of Edmonton. The region offers unique landscapes like no other you’d find on a Canadian road trip. Drumheller is close enough to Calgary to manage as a day trip. But, with so much to see and so many miles to explore, you might want to stop in town for at least a night or two.
The highlight of Drumheller is the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology. Named after the geologist Joseph Burr Tyrrell, who accidentally discovered the Albertasaurus while searching for coal, the museum is world-renowned for its research and collection of more than 130,000 fossils.
The Royal Tyrrell Museum offers full and half-day itineraries for adults and families with children. In addition to the galleries, guided hikes take place during the warmer months, and hosted dinosaur digs are available during the summer.
A stop at the Hoodoos Trail is a must to explore these unique formations familiar to most of us only via Road Runner & Wile E. Coyote cartoons. If you’re not hiked or dinosaur-ed out, climb up the 106 steps to the mouth of the “World’s Largest Dinosaur” and enjoy the view of the Badlands and beyond.
As Canada is so vast it can be difficult for visitors to see much more than the highlights. But it’s also a shame that Canadians often don’t know much of their own country. It’s practically the same price for someone from Halifax to fly to London, England as it is to Vancouver.
And so smaller cities like Edmonton are often undiscovered by Canadians. To a Maritimer, Edmonton may be simply thought of as the home of the Oilers hockey team or the biggest mall in North America. With more than 1.35 million city dwellers, there is so much more to the city.
And while Edmonton gets a bad rap for its long winters, they aren’t nearly as cold as those on the Prairies. Locals embrace it by cross country skiing and other outdoor winter sports.
What many don’t realize is that Edmonton has an incredible river valley park with over 100 kilometres of trails. It is over 20 times the size of Central Park in New York City. In some parts of the Saskatchewan River Valley you wouldn’t realize you’re in a city because there are no buildings to be seen and only wildlife surrounds you.
Like Calgary, getting around Edmonton is incredibly easy. The city streets were constructed in a numbered grid so a newcomer can easily find their way around. The transit system is inexpensive and buses traverse throughout the city. Cyclists enjoy an extensive bike lanes that make it easy to safety get around the city.
Restaurants in Edmonton are incredibly diverse and deserving of national recognition. From Rostizado’s Mexican rotisserie to Bar Bricco’s 28-seat Italian wine and spuntini (snack) bar, there’s something for everyone. And the evening doesn’t end with dinner as Edmonton is known as Canada’s Festival City, with over 30 annual festivals and events each year, there is no bad week to visit.
Places to Visit in Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan is one of Canada’s most overlooked destinations. If you’re Canadian road trip has you driving between Vancouver and Toronto you’ll need to make a stop or two in the Prairies. While Saskatchewan is best known for its flat, seemingly never ending farmland, the province is home to vibrant cities like Saskatoon and Regina, uncrowded parks, freshwater fishing and abundant wildlife.
In 1882, the Toronto-based Temperance Colonization Society was granted 21 sections of land straddling the South Saskatchewan River. The aim of the group was to escape the liquor trade in that city and set up a “dry” community in the Prairie region. The following year settlers arrived on the site of what is now Saskatoon and established the first permanent settlement. Years later the city bustled as an important stop along the Canadian Railway. Saskatchewan was affectionately dubbed Canada’s Bread Basket as some of the countries most bountiful farms sprung from its freshly tilled soil.
xToday, Saskatoon is considered Saskatchewan’s trendiest city. From the bustling city centre, vibrant Broadway and revitalized Riversdale district to 80 km of parkland trails along the scenic South Saskatchewan river spanned by eight bridges, to the burgeoning local food and drink scene. Saskatoon is a city of contrasts admired for its theatre venues, prolific arts and culture scene as much as its funky festivals and “small town meets big city hospitality.”
Saskatoon Itinerary Highlights: Saskatoon Farmers Market, Western Development Museum, Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Solar Gardens and Lucky Bastard Brewing.
Saskatchewan is home to one of the largest Ukrainian and Polish communities in Canada. Saskatoon’s most beloved restaurant offers visiting foodies a unique taste of the communities culinary traditions. Baba’s Pierogies is recognized as “Canada’s only Pierogi Drive-Thru.” The hole-in-the-wall restaurant is a local favourite serving cabbage rolls, smokey sausage, pierogies and borscht.
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Let’s be honest: chances are you haven’t visited Regina, and chances are it isn’t even on your list. Chances are you probably mispronounce the name of it too. It’s fine, really, it happens all the time. It’s called the “Place that Rhymes with Fun” for a reason. But, is that why I call it Canada’s “Secret City”? No, so let’s talk about it.
First, did you know that Regina is home to one of the largest urban parks in North America? Wascana Park is twice as large as Stanley Park and three times as large as Central Park. Seriously. Take a ruler and measure it if you don’t believe me.
Along with our park, you probably also haven’t heard of our one-of-a-kind Stone Hall Castle, Royal Saskatchewan Museum, RCMP Heritage Center or Elvis Presley Museum. You probably also haven’t heard of our award-winning breweries, restaurants or celebrities. From actors in The Walking Dead, Airplane and even Frankenstein, Hollywood wouldn’t be the same without Regina.
You probably also haven’t heard that Regina is home to the longest-running historical dramatic production in North America, or that we have the oldest continuously operating orchestra in Canada. You also probably didn’t know about the cartoons that takes place here, the award-winning films that are produced in Regina or our internally acclaimed artists.
Did you know Regina, not Calgary, is home to the deadliest tornado in Canadian history? Or that Regina, not Winnipeg, is home to the most famous execution in Canadian history? Or how about that Regina, not Quebec City, used to be the capital city of Northern Quebec? For all those reasons and more, Regina is Canada’s Secret City, worthy of a few days stop on a Canadian road trip.
Things To Do in Manitoba
Manitoba is sandwiched between Saskatchewan and Ontario, smack dab in the centre of Canada. Its landscape is made up of lakes, rivers, mountains, and forests. A perfect Canadian road trip stop for those looking for a wilderness adventures. There are more than 80 provincial parks where hiking, biking, canoeing, camping and fishing are a popular pastime.
Manitoba’s capital offers a unique cosmopolitan flare featuring a world-class ballet, art museum, trendy restaurants and celebrated zoo. The provinces most prized attraction is the tiny town of Churchill located on Hudson Bay. It’s here, where wealthy nature enthusiasts embark on unforgettable arctic safaris in search of Polar Bears and Beluga Whales.
What’s most fascinating about Winnipeg is that it was built with the intention and aspirations to be one of North America’s great urban centres. In 1881 all eyes were on Winnipeg as the city rapidly developed with the launch of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Located in the centre of the country, “The Peg” acted as one of North America’s most important transportation hubs. One quickly gets a sense that she was built for greatness as the downtown is dotted with beautiful Wall Street style buildings and her sidewalks stretch far and wide. By 1911, Winnipeg was Canada’s third-largest city. It faced financial difficulty when the Panama Canal opened in 1914 as it reduced reliance on Canada’s rail system for international trade.
Winnipeg Itinerary Highlights: Winnipeg Art Gallery, Assiniboine Park Zoo, The Forks Market, Canadian Museum of Human Rights, Therma by Nordik Spa-Nature and The Manitoba Museum.
The Winnipeg of today is enjoying a revitalization and renaissance. The city’s diverse cultural make-up shines brightly through its globally inspired cuisine, must-see Human Rights Museum, and a wide array of world-class festivals.
Winnipeg’s must-do experience is a Hermetic Code Tour of the Manitoba Legislative Building. The fascinating tour is hosted by Dr. Frank Albo, who takes you on a step-by-step adventure, which has been dubbed “Canada’s Da Vinci Code.” Dr. Albo reveals a trail of occult clues concealed in the Manitoba Legislative Building’s architecture including: hidden hieroglyphic inscriptions, numerological codes, and Freemasonic symbols so intelligently masked they have escaped historians and visitors for nearly 100 years.
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There is a place in the northern region of Manitoba that will make you feel as though you are on a different planet. Exploring the foreign tundra brings you face to face with the region’s most famous attraction, the mighty polar bear.
Known as the polar bear capital of the world, Churchill is located 1,100 km from Winnipeg. For decades, nature lovers have been flying to this remote part of Canada during the months of October and November to watch polar bears in their natural element as they prepare to launch themselves onto the Hudson Bay once it freezes over.
While the Fall is Churchill’s busiest season I strongly suggest planning your trip in the summer months. There are so many more things to see and do when the weather is warm in Churchill. In August I saw a handful of polar bears, went paddling with thousands of friendly Beluga whales, enjoyed mushing with enthusiastic sleigh dogs, jaw-dropped at the awe inspiring Northern Lights, explored an old shipwreck, plane crash and ancient fort.
So how do you get to Churchill? You’ll have to hit pause on your Canadian road trip to get here. From Winnipeg, Manitoba’s landscape shifts from prairie, to parkland, to boreal forest to tundra if you chose to hop on a two and half day long train ride north. Or you can enjoy incredible aerial views of Manitoba’s coastline along the Hudson Bay on descent after a short flight.
Ontario is vast – larger than France and Germany combined! And its impressive geography is home to spectacular natural wonders waiting to be explored. Charming towns invite you to come antiquing and sample local cuisine. Multicultural metropolises offer a rich variety of nightlife and urban adventures. From First Nations’ Pow Wows to joyous Pride Parade celebrations, over 3,000 festivals ignite every interest.
Most people planning an Ontario Road Trip spend their time driving around the Golden Horseshoe. The region wraps around Lake Ontario, stretching from Durham to Niagara. Southern Ontario is the most highly populated region of Canada, connecting Niagara Falls and Buffalo, New York to Toronto and beyond.
If you’re looking to plan the ultimate Canadian road trip in Ontario, be sure to consider Toronto, Markham, Hamilton, Ottawa, Prince Edward County, Niagara, Muskoka, Tobermory, The Kawarthas, Norfolk County, Waterloo, Hockley Valley, Wasaga Beach, Guelph, Stratford and Collingwood.
Since the 1960s, Toronto has thrown itself into a spate of serious image-building, with millions of dollars lavished on glitzy architecture, slick museums and the redevelopment of the waterfront. Torontonians are justifiably proud of their vibrant metropolis as Canada’s largest city has a tremendous amount to offer, including a thriving theatre, music, and arts scene, top museums, world-class restaurants, luxurious hotels and pretty little parks.
If you ask a local on the street “what do you love most about your city?” they’re most likely to highlight Toronto’s cultural diversity (over 100 ethnic groups are represented here) rather than a particular museum, festival or neighbourhood. Toronto’s heartfelt embrace for its unique multicultural make up and diversity is one of the many reasons it continues to be listed as the most liveable city in the world, year after year.
Toronto Itinerary Highlights: CN Tower Edgewalk, Toronto Islands, Royal Ontario Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, The Distillery District, St. Lawrence Market, China Town, Kensington Market, Trinity Bellwoods, The Gay Village, Yorkville, Casa Loma, and the Aga Khan Museum.
In recent years, “Canada’s little city on the lake,” has drawn the attention of the world. Drake swoons for his hometown while perched on the CN Tower. The Toronto International Film Festival continues to attract the world’s biggest filmmakers. You could plan to eat at a Toronto restaurant every day and still never find time to take a break. If your’e looking for a big city vibe, take a week-long break on your Canadian road trip to enjoy all Toronto has to offer.
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Fans of Asia’s wildly diverse cuisines find happiness dining at restaurants in Markham. The best Markham restaurants offer authentic dishes brought over by immigrants from China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and beyond.
Located a short drive north of downtown Toronto, Markham is famously known as the home of the best Asian restaurants in Ontario. Celebrated NYC Chef David Chang even paid a visit to a Chinese restaurant in Markham on his show Ugly Delicious on Netflix.
When people think about where to eat in Markham, delicious Asian feasts instantly come to mind. Markham’s diverse Asian restaurant scene offers Taiwanese Bubble Tea, Japanese Souffle Pancakes, All-You-Can-Eat Sushi, Szechuan Hot Pot, Cantonese Dim Sum, Hong Kong-style waffles with ice cream, wonton soup, hand-pulled noodles, Bejing roasted duck, Japanese mochi, Taipei fried chicken, Vietnamese coffee, Korean katsu burger and Malysian laksa.
If you’re driving to Markham for dinner it’s best to eat a light lunch, or skip the meal entirely!
As the cost of living in Toronto skyrockets, residents have been packing themselves out of the city in search of more affordable housing. It looks as though Hamilton is experiencing the biggest welcoming boom.
For years Hamilton was most famous for its thriving steel industry. Today, the port city, located between Burlington and Niagara, is home to half a million residents. As Hamilton continues to boom, entrepreneurs and creatives priced out from the big city have opened up shop here.
The trendiest hipster strip can be found on James Street North. The street is now covered in inspiring graffiti and plays home to nerdy coffee shops, local boutiques, and bustling restaurants.
Other must-see attractions in Hamilton include Dundurn Castle, Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton Farmer’s Market and Collective Arts Brewing. Hamilton is also known as the “City of Waterfalls,” boasting more than 100 frothing natural fountains along the Bruce Trail and Niagara Escarpment.
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Canada’s capital has so much to offer that one can easily find themselves with sore heels after spending a weekend marching through the city’s stellar museums. Located between Toronto and Montreal, Ottawa is an ideal Canadian road trip stopover before arriving into Quebec.
Ottawa’s icon, Parliament Hill, sit dramatically perched over the Ottawa River. A walking bridge connects the Canadian capital with Gatineau on the French speaking side of Quebec. It’s while standing in the centre of this bridge you can enjoy the best panorama of the city. You’ll also appreciate why Ottawa was selected as the country’s capital. Ottawa simultaneously touches the English and French speaking part of the country. The Canadian Parliaments elevated location over the river also acted as a safeguard from a military attack.
Ottawa very much feels like a big little town. The majority of the community who live here are spread out across suburbs. Ottawa’s most popular attractions are all centrally located and easily walkable. Many of Canada’s best museums are located in Ottawa so it’s a great place to soak up the country’s unique history.
Ottawa Itinerary Highlights: white water rafting on the Ottawa River, The National Gallery of Canada, ByWard Market, Canadian War Museum, Canadian Museum of Nature, Canadian Aviation and Space Museum and Rideau Canal.
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Prince Edward County sits perched over Lake Ontario between Toronto and Kingston. In recent years Prince Edward County has experienced a tremendous tourism boom thanks to entrepreneurial locals. Prince Edward County is one of the most popular Toronto weekend getaways as its just a short 3 hours drive away.
Prince Edward County is most famous for its beverage producers, which include award wining wineries, craft breweries, cider farms and a distillery. Most on a Canadian road trip stay in the towns of Picton or Wellington. For a region that feels so rural, Prince Edward County offers all the trapping of a luxury getaway. With the increase in wine tourism here, luxury boutique hotels have bloomed along with stellar restaurants.
The quirkiest property in town is The Drake Devonshire, ranked as one of the best luxury boutique hotels in the world. If you’re keen to sleep over at this stylish art and design hotel, be sure to book your stay months in advance.
If visiting Prince Edward County in the Summer, be sure to pack your swimming and tanning gear as Sandbanks Provincial Park offers one of Ontario’s most celebrated stretches of sand.
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My favourite weekend getaway from Toronto is the charming historic town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Located a stones throw from the awe inspiring Niagara Falls, the petite vine village dazzles first time visitors with her choir of cute boutique hotels, romantic main street lined with horse drawn carriages, the Shaw Festival’s spectacular theatrics and handful of world class wineries.
TripAdvisor recently ranked NOTL as the #1 Food and Wine Destination in Canada, a testament to the close-knit communities commitment to producing high quality local food and beverage experiences for culinary tourists keen on taking a bite out of Ontario’s best.
Nestled below the Niagara Escarpment amidst a landscape of vineyards and orchards stretching from the picturesque Niagara River Parkway to Lake Ontario, Niagara-on-the-Lake’s over 20 wineries are a mere minutes from each other.
The region’s well marked wine route offers cycle fans a perfect opportunity to sip through the Spring, Summer and Fall. If you’re planning an extended stay check with your hotel to see if they offer complimentary bikes for their guests. There are also a handful of companies that offer daily bike rentals.
Winter is Niagara on the Lake’s slowest season but it’s when I always encourage Ontario locals to visit. Niagara’s winery’s are far less busy this time of year so you can enjoy a more attentive tasting. February is also Niagara on the Lake’s annual Icewine Festival, a month long celebration of the regions most celebrated syrup.
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Muskoka is Ontario’s most sought after cottage country. The region, located 3 hours drive north of Toronto, was recently dubbed “Malibu of the North,” as marvellous lakeside mansions play home to A-List celebrities such as Martin Short, Goldie Hawn, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks.
Muskoka stretches from Gravenhurst to the entrance of Algonquin Park, ranked as one of the best Canadian road trip routes. The pristine freshwater lakes in Muskoka make it one of Canada’s most sought after spots to rent a cottage, camp or cozy up at a luxury resort such as Taboo Resort.
Muskoka is a great place to visit year round. In the winter head to Muskoka to enjoy snowshoeing, downhill skiing, cross country skiing, ice skating and Canada’s favourite pastime, hockey on a frozen over lake. Come Spring and Summer, Muskoka’s lakes fill with water-sports lovers on motorboats, sailboats, canoes and kayaks. Fall is my favourite time of the year to visit Muskoka as the trees transform into a jaw-dropping cavalcade of colours.
Tobermory is a nature lovers Nirvana, found at the tip of Ontario’s Bruce Peninsula – a jut of land dividing Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. A great place for naturalists, photographers, hikers, cyclists, campers, boaters and scuba divers on a Canadian road trip. It makes up the core of the UNESCO Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere and is home to the picturesque Bruce Peninsula National Park and Fathom Five National Marine Park.
Tobermory is most popular in the Summer and Fall with locals saying that the small town pretty much closes up shop in the winter. Most visit Tobermory to explore the region’s nature trails, which offer jaw-dropping panoramas over the crystal clear waters of Georgian Bay. Tobermory is ranked as the best destination to scuba dive in Ontario thanks to clear waters, curious cave systems and several shipwrecks.
Start your visit at the Bruce Peninsula National Park Visitors Centre then enjoy a hike to Indian Cove Beach and wildly popular Grotto. Local tour operator Blue Heron Cruises offers daily tours of Fathom Five National Marine Park. On the three hour tour you’ll peer overboard to spot two shipwrecks and enjoy a pleasant stroll on Flower Pot Island. The island’s iconic windswept stones appear as flower pots jetting out of the water.
Located two hours north east of Toronto, Viamede Resort is a picture-perfect property situated right on the shores of Stoney Lake. Guests can stay in the more hotel-like rooms in the lodges, or book a cottage on the water’s edge. In addition to spacious bedrooms, cabins are outfitted with a kitchen and living room area.
If there is one thing you should not miss, it’s dinner at Mount Julian. Served in the former inn, the multiple course meal unfolds over the evening, with talented chef Kevin McKenna’s locavore commitment visible on every plate. The 9-course tasting menu — an ode to the Tragically Hip — saw a parade of dishes reach from the freshest of salads, to rabbit with wild boar sausage.
Be sure to make time to explore two of The Kawarthas most popular natural attractions: Warsaw Caves and The Teaching Rocks. The Warsaw Caves came to be when limestone bedrock was shaped through various glaciations, especially when glaciers from the Wisconsin ice age began to retreat 12,000 years ago and meltwaters formed underground channels. The resulting caves are pretty neat to check out though not for claustrophobes.
The Kawarthas are also home to the largest concentration of carved images in all of Canada. Kinoomaage-waabkong — the teaching rocks — are images that are believed to have been carved into white marble prior to the arrival of the Europeans. Due to the sacred nature of the glyphs, visitors are not allowed to take any photos. Boats, snakes and turtles dance across the rocks, carrying spiritual significance to many First Nations people.
If your Canadian road trip plans have you driving west from Toronto to the Windsor-Detroit border be sure to make a stop in Norfolk County. The regions biggest draw is the quaint town of Port Dover, which sits perched over Lake Erie, south of Hamilton.
Historically Norfolk County was one of Canada’s tobacco farming hubs. When anti-smoking sentiment swept the nation, the government switched up its quota system and the region’s tobacco farmers were forced to quickly decide what to grow next. Today, these farm families operate award winning winery’s, harvest aromatic lavender and craft phenomenal berry spiked cider.
Port Dover is one of the best weekend getaways from Toronto, a short two hours from the city. Visitors to Norfolk Country enjoy a beach retreat at Long Point Provincial Park, award winning wine at Burning Kiln Winery, craft brews at New Limburg Brewery, blueberry cider at Blueberry Hill Estates, perfumed fields at Bonnieheath Estate Winery and Lavender Farm and Zip Lining at Long Point Eco Adventures.
Norfolk may be dubbed “Ontario’s Garden” and the “Strawberry Capital of Canada,” but it’s the regions friendly locals that make a visit to Port Dover certifiably “fresh for the picking.”
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There’s a magical little place in Ontario that comes alive each Fall as it hosts Canada’s most celebrated beer festival. For nine days in October, the sister cities of Kitchener Waterloo host Ontario’s Oktoberfest soiree. The beer splashed bacchanal is in honour of a happy harvest thanks to the German tradition of slurping suds, nibbling on pretzels and dancing in lederhosen to lively polka.
Kitchener Waterloo is the most German destination you can visit on a Canadian road trip. Did you know that Kitchener was once called the city of Berlin? And that today, the Village of St Jacob’s is famed for its lively German Mennonite community, which ride horse and buggy to the market?
Kitchener Waterloo’s local craft brewery community works 365 days a year to produce some of Canada’s most sought after beer. The majority of the regions top microbreweries are fresh on the scene and experimenting in their infancy to make Ontario beer lovers swoon. Whether you’re high on hoppy, best on bitter or enjoy a light lager, a road trip through Ontario’s Waterloo Region offers craft beer fans the perfect opportunity to sip in search of a new favourite brew.
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Take a short drive from Kitchener Waterloo and you’ll arrive in Cambridge, home to one of Canada’s most celebrated luxury boutique hotels.
Langdon Hall is one of our favourite Toronto weekend getaways, just a short 90 minute drive from the city. In recent years the historic manor house has garnered a long list of swoon-worthy accolades, placing her in the choir with Canada’s creme de la creme.
Langdon Hall still exudes the air of an old Ontario estate, but few people are aware of the international connections in the property’s hundred-year history. Built in Canada by the son of an English man who inherited American wealth, the grand home was intended as a summertime contrast to life in New York, London and a chateau in the Loire Valley. Now owned by William Bennett and Mary Beaton, their Country House Hotel is now known across the globe for serving up fine fancies to discerning globetrotters.
If you’re looking for a truly spectacular service experience, indulge at Langdon Hall’s world-class spa and award winning restaurant by Chef Jason Bangerter.
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Nestled in the heart of Ontario’s scenic Headwaters, Hockley Valley is an easy day trip for those visiting Toronto. The scenic rural region is located halfway between Toronto and Collingwood.
If you’re looking to sleep over and explore, book yourself a suite at the Hockley Valley Resort. This all-seasons resort offers a world-class spa, farm to table dining, award-winning golf course and ski and snowboard slopes.
Hit the regions rural roads and you’ll drive past some of Canada’s poshest horse farms. Hockley Valley offers plenty of tasty treats for foodies. Enjoy a wine tasting at nearby Adamo Estate Winery, local craft beer at GoodLot Farmstead Brewing and everything apple at Spirit Tree Estate Cidery.
Art lovers should be sure to sign up for a creative class at the historic Alton Mills Arts Centre. If nature and hiking is your thing, strap on comfy shoes and enjoy the trails at Mono Cliffs Provincial Park on the picturesque Bruce Trail.
Wasaga Beach is located a short two hour drive north of Toronto, a stones throw from Barrie and Collingwood. In the summer Wasaga Beach is famous for its long sandy beach, pretty paddles and Canadiana cuisine.
Wasaga Beach is home to the world’s longest freshwater beach, and its sandy shores on Georgian Bay are the draw for those on a Canadian road trip looking to rest and relax in July and August. Wasaga is an ideal destination in Ontario for families planning a trip to Canada as it caters to those looking for affordable accommodation. Within a 10 minute drive from Wasaga’s beach you’ll find a handful of RV parks, campgrounds, motels and B&Bs.
When you’re not tanning on the beach and splashing in the lake, fun family friendly activities include Skull Island Mini Golf, Wasaga 500 Go-Karts, Paintball at Wasaga Beach Adventure Park, and a canoe paddle on the Nottawasaga River with Free Spirit Tours.
You’ll also find plenty of restaurants in Wasaga, a short walk from the beach. Head to the Main Street Market to indulge in food truck fare and a pint of beer at Wasaga Beach Brewing. Maple Diner and Smokehouse offers massive burgers, poutine, roast chickens and brisket. Mr Norm’s Nephew is a Wasaga Beach staple serving up ice cream and frozen yogurt. If looking for a romantic, upscale meal, Catch 22 Grill is the Wasaga Beach go to for steaks and seafood.
The best Canadian road trip balances big city energy with relaxing farmland and forests. The city of Guelph is located a short drive from Kitchener Waterloo. The friendly city is best known as the headquarters for Agriculture Canada and home to the University of Guelph. From September to June the city doubles in size with its lively student population. Guelph’s downtown is filled with bustling bars, farm to table restaurants and an inspiring assortment of local boutiques, book stores and indie theatres.
In recent years, Guelph has been ranked as one of the top 20 places to live in Canada. Guelph is often compared to Berkley, California, a well-educated community of hippies, vegans and art enthusiasts. Visit the historic Guelph Farmers Market on a weekend and you’ll get an excellent snapshot of the city’s quirky diversity.
Guelph’s biggest draw for those looking to enjoy a Toronto weekend getaway is a sip and nibble tour through the local food scene. Beer lovers will find happiness at Wellington craft brewery. Thatcher Farms is a perfect place to introduce kids to the inner-workings of a family-run Ontario farm. Indulge in fresh farm to table fare at Borealis Grille, Artisanale Restaurant and The Woolwich Arrow.
The historic Albion Hotel is Guelph’s best bar to enjoy a night out, offering nightly dance parties for lovers of Funk, Reggae and Folk. If a hike through nature is more your thing, strap on your boots and explore the Starkey Hill Interpretive Trail.
The picturesque town of Stratford is located a short drive west of Kitchener Waterloo. Theatre fans planning a trip to Canada should be sure to prioritize a visit to attend the celebrated Stratford Festival. The small town’s famous theatre festival has featured a handful of bold faced names on stage such as Maggie Smith and Christopher Plummer.
Stratford is also known a the pork capital of Canada. Foodies can purchase a pass to the city’s Bacon & Ale Trail, which includes five stops on a self guided tour of Stratford’s best beer and bacon pairings. In classic small town Ontario-style, take a walk down Stratford’s main street and you’ll find tea emporiums, chocolate shops, indie coffee shops and farm to table restaurants. On a sunny day take a stroll down to Shakespearean Gardens and enjoy watching elegant swans paddle across Lake Victoria.
Most theatre fans visit Stratford on a Toronto weekend getaway to take in as many shows as they can. If you’re looking for a unique place to stay we suggest Rosehurst Stratford. The well appointed B&B in Stratford is owned and operated by Theresa Albert, a food media personality turned boutique hotelier.
From a steamy outdoor spa, an Apple Pie Trail and ancient caves to wintertime snow-covered ski hills, Blue Mountain, two hours north of Toronto in southern Georgian Bay, is a four-season resort region that always offers plenty to do. The focal point for those on a Canadian road trip is Blue Mountain Village, a Whistler-esque holiday town filled with chalet-style hotels, boutiques, restaurants and activities. Surprisingly, the Blue Mountains aren’t really mountains at all; they’re the highest part of the Niagara Escarpment, a 450-mile-long ridge that’s been named a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
In the winter the big draws are skiing and snowboarding, with 42 ski and snowboard trails boosted by a world-class snowmaking system. Other cold weather activities include cross-country skiing, skating, snow tubing and snowshoeing, and it’s easy to organize excursions at the central Activity Centre in the village.
In summer the shores of Georgian Bay move to the forefront. Nicknamed the “Sixth Great Lake,” this vast body of water offers beaches, boating and beautiful views, and vies for attention with other outdoor adventure ops in the region such as hiking, ziplining, golf and cycling the Georgian Trail. One sport that’s gained big traction in the area is mountain biking, easy to see why as Blue Mountain has the largest downhill mountain biking facility in Ontario.
The destination has gone a long way into creating a family-friendly atmosphere, developing fun activities such as the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster, the Cascade Putting Course, a Timber Challenge Ropes Course, Wind Rider Triple Zips and a private seasonal beach. And while Georgian Bay might be too cold for splashing in winter, the Plunge! Aquatic Centre offers year-round ways to get wet with the kids, and the Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain is an ideal adult escape – a blissful circuit of outdoor pools, cedar saunas, steam and relaxation rooms set in a tranquil forest – especially gorgeous in fall.
Quebec Road Trip
The best Canadian road trip includes a series of stops in Quebec, the country’s French speaking province. Quebec has done an excellent job at creating laws that protect and promote the French language. Once you step across the Quebec border, you instantly feel you’ve been transported to a very special place indeed. The chatter of Quebecois, smell of maple and creton in the morning and distinct French Canadian arts and culture movement leave a lasting impression.
Must-see destinations on a Canadian road trip to Quebec include Montreal, Montebello, Quebec City, Charlevoix, Mont Tremblant and Saguenay.
If you’re planning a Canadian road trip to Quebec and are arriving through Ottawa be sure to enjoy a few days in Montebello. Located an hours drive from the Canadian capital, Montebello plays home to one of Canada’s most unique luxury hotels, the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello. It proudly claims the title as “the world’s largest log cabin.”
The dream of Swiss-American Harold Saddlemire, who dubbed it “Lucerne-in-Quebec,” Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello was inspired by the luxurious alpine lodges from Switzerland. A crew of 800 worked around the clock using 10,000 giant cedar logs to build the resort’s three main buildings, all cut and set by hand. The central log chateau, which houses all the guest rooms in the resort, has a three-storey central atrium, at the heart of which stands a massive six-sided fireplace with a central chimney.
The hotel’s jaw-dropping lobby is truly dazzling. The open-concept space is designed in the shape of a hexagon with a booming fireplace acting as the impressive focal point. Look up and you’ll find a double decker balcony featuring hallways adorned with vintage photographs of the property. You can also spot the celebrities, politicians and royals who have visited the Fairmont Montebello in the past, such as George W Bush, Sir Richard Attenborough, Sandra Bullock, Margaret Thatcher and the Royal Family of Monaco.
Foodies should explore the small town of Montebello to sample tasty treats at Bistro Montebello, ChocoMotive, Les Brasseurs de Montebello and Fromagerie Montebello.
If you’re a die hard craft beer lover planning a trip to Canada be sure to dedicate a few days to explore Montreal’s food and drink scene. Quebec’s most cosmopolitan city is also the province’s most Anglophone-friendly. It’s a must-see for those planning a Canadian road trip of the country’s urban trifecta – Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.
Montreal recently celebrated its 375th anniversary and understandably is an ideal destination for history buffs. It’s restaurants are also regularly ranked as some of Canada’s best. Anthony Bourdain was a huge fan of the city’s food scene, which a decade ago helped endear her uniquely Quebecois restaurants to the world.
Beyond craft beer and fancy food, Montreal’s biggest draws are the Jean-Talon Market, Montreal’s Museum of Fine Art, Scandinave Spa, and the iconic Montreal Smoked Meat joint owned by Celine Dion, Schwartz’s. The city is also home to Canada’s only W Hotel, W Montreal, and the world’s first Ritz-Carlton, The Ritz-Carlton Montreal.
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No city in Canada showcases the nation’s Winter Wonderland potential quite like Quebec City. It’s as if she’s sitting inside a snow globe, a blanket of fluffed marshmallow hugging each building tight. During the winter month’s festive wreaths and pretty red bows decorate the shops in Old Quebec. A heroic bronze statue standing in a petite cobblestone square offers a nod to the city’s 400 year old European charms.
The city’s architectural icon is the Fairy Tale castle, Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac. Quebec City’s historic castle sits perched over the mighty St. Lawrence River, offering guests a perfect panorama. If you’re visiting Quebec City in the winter, be sure to budget for a once-in-a-lifetime experience at Hotel de Glace. It’s the world’s most famous ice hotel, allowing guests to sleep over in one of 40 jaw-dropping suites. Plan your visit to coincide with Carnaval de Quebec, one of Canada’s most popular winter festivals.
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Those on a Canadian road trip keen to learn more about indigenous traditions can take a short 30 minute drive north of Quebec City to visit the Hotel-Musee Premieres Nations in Wendake.
The museum is dedicated to promoting aboriginal culture and tourism by showcasing a collection of widely varied artifacts that serve to protect and share the nation’s indigenous heritage. Temporary exhibits, activities and workshops are also offered throughout the year, many of them suitable for children.
The complex building and hotel areas are decorated in traditional and modern art created by Canadian First Nation artists, with many items available to purchase in the shop. Staff, many of whom are First Nations people, take great pride in telling visitors about the artworks, as well as traditional folklore stories that are referenced by many of the pieces.
Staying in the beautifully decorated and comfortable hotel for one or more nights will give you the chance to fully explore the complex and also makes a superb base for enjoying the outdoor activities available in the wider area such as hiking, boating, and fishing.
Do make sure to visit the traditionally constructed Ekionkiesthaí longhouse, to learn more about First Nation myths, as well as cooking, hunting and craft-making. Overnight stays in the longhouse are great fun for families or touring groups.
Another appealing aspect of any visit is the opportunity to learn more about First Nations cuisine, including some of the unique ingredients farmed and foraged from the local landscape, such as cloudberry, dune pepper, coltsfoot and horsetail. Elegant onsite restaurant La Traite showcases traditional ingredients in classic and modern dishes.
Located just an hours drive east of Quebec City, Charlevoix is nestled between the provinces historical capital and the jaw dropping fjords of Saguenay. It’s here you’ll find award winning luxury hotels, swoon-worthy spas, awesome art galleries, awe-inspiring nature trails, decadent restaurants, and a colourful collection of culinary producers. Charlevoix’s food scene is truly awe inspiring, offering foodies everything from organic lavender, duck rillettes, creamy ewe’s cheese and the world’s only tomato wine!
The rural region is surprisingly home to two world-class luxury hotels. Le Germain Charlevoix in Baie-Saint-Paul offers a modern aesthetic on a small organic farm. The historic Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu has been serving luxury travellers in Charlevoix for 115 years, and recently hosted the G7 summit.
Must-see Charlevoix itinerary highlights include Azulee Organic Lavender Farm, Doamine de la Vallee du Bras, Le Ferme Basque de Charlevoix, MicroBrasserie Charlevoix, La Maison d’affinage Maurice Dufour and Cidrerie et Vergers Pedneault.
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Planning a Canadian road trip in search of our best ski slopes? Quebec’s most celebrated powder can be found a short drive north of Montreal in the alpine village of Mont Tremblant. Most people think to visit Mont Tremblant in the winter for ski season, but summer is also a great time to enjoy the regions great outdoors.
If you’re a live music lover, organize a visit to Mont Tremblant in July to enjoy its al fresco concert series. The highlight is the Tremblant International Blues Festival, which offers lively concerts in the heart of Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains.
There’s plenty to see and do in Mont Tremblant outside of the traditional ski season. Hop on a gondola to enjoy a hike at the top of the mountain and you’ll enjoy breathtaking panoramas. Or if rest and relaxation is your game plan, spend a day pampering yourself at Scandinave Spa.
Mont Tremblant is also a delight for foodies looking to sample Quebec’s unique farm to table cuisine. The best Mont Tremblant culinary itineraries include brunch at the Fairmont Tremblant, maple butter slathered pancakes at Creperie Catherine, fine dining at Resto Quintessence, and craft beer at Microbrasserie La Diable.
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The Eastern Townships (Cantons-de-l’Est) offer a lot for foodies on a Canadian road trip. Playing home to 21 vineyards, it is Quebec’s wine country and first wine-growing region in the province. Even the monks at the must-visit Saint Benedict Abbey make ciders, champagne-style Calvados, and award-winning cheeses.
The region emphasizes the use of regional products and flavours of the Eastern Townships by specific designations: Créateurs de saveurs (Flavour Creators) for producers and Chefs créateurs (Creative Chefs) for chefs. One such restaurant is Auguste Restaurant, a must-try in Sherbrooke. Quebec’s biggest gourmet festival, Fête des vendanges Magog-Orford, celebrates The Eastern Townships Flavour Creators.
For adventurers, Bromont, montagne d’expérience (Ski Bromont) is the largest lit skiable area in North America. There are 9 chairlift routes, 24 downhill runs for mountain biking, and summer waterpark with a 24,000 sq. ft. heated wave pool.
For a health and wellness getaway, Spa Eastman is a 320-acre destination spa and wellness resort offering an all-inclusive stay that includes tonic cuisine meals (non-dairy, gluten-free, organic and local), hydrotherapy, daily physical activities, 15-km of hiking trails and more.
Accessible by ferry or plane, Îles de la Madeleine is a small archipelago in the Gulf of Saint-Lawrence. Mostly French-speaking, these beautiful Québec islands are a mixture of Québecois, Acadian, and Basque cultures, with a wee bit of English thrown in as well.
Comprised of seven islands, six of which are connected by sand dunes and a road, Îles de la Madeleine is welcomingly removed from life on the mainland. A haven from the chaos of city life for those on a Canadian road trip. You may be struck by the bright colours of the houses in the French communities (some claim it is so fisherman can find their way home, others say it is just for fun) or the lack of fences on the islands. Perhaps it’s the pungent smell of herring being smoked or the rugged beauty of water crashing against the red cliffs.
Adventure lovers will find plenty to see and do in the archipelago, from hiking to kayaking and kite sailing. La Grave on Havre Aubert is one of the first settlements and home to the archipelago’s superb maritime museum. Foodies begin their journey to the archipelago towards the end of May when lobster season is underway and soon discover that Îles de la Madeleine is bursting with sumptuous artisanal products and delightful gourmet restaurants (Quai 360 and La Table des Roy are favourites).
Days spent on the beach will often reward one with seashells and sand dollars, and nights at a local pub or the archipelago’s micro-brewery, À l’abri de la Tempête, are always entertaining. Îles de la Madeleine is a true treasure, a place where one can feel at home the moment they arrive on the islands, and long to return the moment they step on the plane or ferry to leave.
Many places like to claim that they offer access to a pristine nature experience but few can compare to the gorgeous, unspoiled wilderness around Saguenay, Quebec. The Saguenay region is only a few hours drive north of Quebec City, but feels like it’s in another world.
Saguenay Fjord National Park and its waterway, the Saguenay St. Lawrence Marine Park, are home to awe-inspiring cliffs, wide open skies, and phenomenal sea kayaking opportunities. But kayakers aren’t the only people who adore the Saguenay Fjord. It’s also popular with hikers, trail runners, bird watchers, fishing fans and some of the world’s boldest daredevils, those who climb and walk the Via Ferrata cliff walk route. For anyone on a Canadian road trip looking for some support and guidance in their adventures, there are plenty of good local outfitter and excursion organizers.
Should your quest for adventure continue to your off hours, there are local accommodations perfectly suited to unconventional tastes. For instance, Parc Aventures has truly original and other-worldly accommodation choices. There’s a spacious white dome with a fantastic porch featuring Adirondack style chairs and a stunning view of the Saguenay River. You’ll also find wacky and futuristic spheres – yes, spheres – perched high in the sky, like giant hovering orbs. One is cleverly camouflaged while the other glints in the sun like a spaceship. Inside, carefully concealed cupboards and drawers hide important necessities like corkscrews, wine glasses, rustic coffeemakers, and tiny espresso cups.
If your idea of relaxation skews towards room service and fluffy towels, rest assured that Saguenay is home to a Delta Hotel. And a trip to the town centre means access to great cafes, museums, and amenities.
New Brunswick Road Trip
If you’re driving east on a Canadian road trip from Quebec you’ll soon find yourself in the Maritimes. Atlantic Canada, known for its heartwarming hospitality, is made up of Canada’s four smallest provinces.
A drive through New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland is one of the best road trips in Canada. In a short amount of time you can enjoy four unique destinations famous for their scenic trails, fresh seafood, Celtic and Acadian roots, and awesome Atlantic ocean views.
New Brunswick shares a border with Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Maine in the Unites States. While driving through New Brunswick we suggest making stops in Fredericton and St Andrews By the Sea.
If you organized a Canadian road trip to Fredericton in the late 1990s, you could be forgiven for thinking it was a craft beer wasteland. Beer enthusiasts had one choice – Picaroon’s – the only microbrewery in the city at the time. Road-trippers wanting great beer passed by Fredericton and headed to Saint John or Halifax.
Fast-forward to 2019 and Fredericton’s beer scene has gone through a time warp. There’s now a thriving, well-connected community of microbreweries. While Picaroon’s is still the granddaddy of them all, others, like Gray Stone Brewery with their popular, hoppy Patagonia IPA and TrailWay Brewing, where all of the beers are unfiltered, fill the gaps for beer lovers with varied tastes. Want to taste them all? Then come to the Winter Beer Olympics in February or the Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, a five-day annual event in March at the Fredericton Convention Centre.
Enjoy a beer while you eat at the Snooty Fox, a popular brunch destination for locals. If you’re there on Saturday, stop by the Boyce Farmers Market for breakfast. If you’re staying out late, the Diplomat is open 24 hours a day. Want to sit somewhere and enjoy a selection of craft beer from around New Brunswick and the Maritimes? Check out the James Joyce Pub.
Formerly a “sleepy” seat of government, Fredericton is now a beer destination in the Maritimes. And while it may not yet be the well-known destination that New Brunswickers want it to be, it’s well on its way to being a perfect road trip destination for beer-loving road-tripper whose journey makes its way through Atlantic Canada.
St. Andrews, New Brunswick is barely in Canada. It is one of the southernmost cities in New Brunswick with views across a narrow bay of the U.S. state of Maine. It is this proximity that defined the town. It was founded by loyalists who fled the fledgeling United States after the Revolutionary War.
These days the town is known more for its seaside location than its love of the Queen. The town has been a tourist area since the late 1800s and tourists still come to get a glimpse at the dramatic tidal changes of its bay which is connected to the Bay of Fundy. You can still stay in the historic Algonquin Resort which was built in the 1880s.
Formerly a Fairmont Hotel property, The Algonquin Resort in St. Andrews by the Sea was rebranded as Autograph Collection by Marriott in 2012. Between that time and March 2014 the property was closed and underwent a $50 million renovation. The entire property was reimagined, transforming New Brunswick’s historic signature luxury experience into a modern retreat.
Today, The Algonquin Resort features newly renovated suites, twelve additional patios overlooking Passamaquoddy Bay, a new gym, indoor pool, hot tub and three storey water slide. For foodies, The Algonquin Resort also offers an updated restaurant, Braxton’s, named after one of the hotels original Executive Chefs from the late 1800’s.
The crowning jewel of The Algonquin Resort St. Andrews by the Sea is its redesigned golf course. The property worked with Canadian Golf Course designer, Rod Whitman and is now ranked as one of the Top 50 Golf Courses in Canada. There’s no better way to enjoy St. Andrews by the Sea then by taking a pause on the green to enjoy breathtaking views over the Bay of Fundy.
The Hopewell Rocks are flowerpot rock formations located on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick. Twice daily, 150 billion tons of water flows from the bay with a span of 15 metres (52 feet). When the tide is out, you can walk for several kilometeres exploring the ocean floor, the base of the rocks and sea caves.
For three hours on either end of low tide, visitors are allowed to explore the Hopewell Rocks. At high tide, you can still visit, but need to stay on the viewing platform or take a kayaking excursion.
We recommend doing a three to four day Canadian road trip from Moncton to Saint John. Overnight at the “Hopewell Rocks Motel and Country Inn” so you have time to view the rocks at both high and low tide. Leave Fundy National Park in the morning with a stop at the Cape Enrage lighthouse and sea cliffs followed by lunch in Alma. Alma is a picturesque town located at the entrance of the National Park.
Fundy National Park has hiking trails, waterfalls and gorgeous views of New Brunswick’s coastline. Book an oTentnik through Canada Parks to overnight in the national park and then take day three to explore the Fundy Trail Parkway. This 30km (19mile) is considered one of Canada’s most scenic drives with massive sea cliffs and secluded beaches. It ends near Saint Martins, which is home to sea caves that can be explored at low tide.
Nova Scotia is the perfect province to dedicate your time on a Canadian road trip. The province has a manageable size and can easily be explored in 1-2 weeks by car. Halifax is the travel hub for travel in the Maritime provinces, the most cosmopolitan city on Canada’s east coast.
Nova Scotia’s attractions are best explored on the mainland on a coast drive. The region of Nova Scotia that captures most people’s hearts is the island of Cape Breton, famous for the scenic Cabot Trail.
Nova Scotia points of interest include Halifax, Peggy’s Cove, Lunenberg, The Bay of Fundy, Wolfville and Cape Breton.
While the area around Halifax has been inhabited by native Mi’kmaq for millennia, modern Halifax was founded in 1749 as a British military outpost. Easily defended and featuring the world’s second largest natural harbour, the city proved its worth during the Seven Years’ War against the French and later in the American Revolutionary War. In the 19th and 20th century Halifax was the entry point for European immigration to Canada.
Today, Halifax is Nova Scotia’s friendly capital, offering small town charms in a bustling economic centre. Downtown Halifax is easily walkable, featuring a pretty pier and some Nova Scotia’s best restaurants and museums.
One of our favourite things to do in Halifax is hiking around the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site. The historic fort offers a tangible taste of the city’s past and the guards here delight in traditional Celtic kilts. Other popular Nova Scotia attractions in downtown Halifax include the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and hilarious sud-sloshed tour of Alexander Keith’s Brewery.
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Peggy’s Cove is a small rural community located on the eastern shore of St. Margarets Bay in Nova Scotia. It is one of Canada’s most photographed architectural icons and easy to fit into a Nova Scotia itinerary as it’s a short one hour drive from Halifax.
The first recorded mention of the cove was Eastern Point Harbour or Peggs Harbour in 1766. The village is likely named after Saint Margaret’s Bay (Peggy being the nickname for Margaret), which Samuel de Champlain named after his mother.
Today, the graceful Peggy’s Point Lighthouse sits high upon smooth wave-worn granite and in the summer months fills with flocks of camera happy photographers. The tiny harbour below is a masterpiece of seasoned fish sheds and colourful fishing boats which are dotted amongst a handful of cute shops where artisans sell locally produced arts and crafts.
Picturesque Lunenburg lies nestled along the scenic shores of southern Nova Scotia, one hour from Halifax. The quaint town is a haven for history buffs on a Canadian road trip as it’s a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Uncover the secrets of quaint Lunenburg on a Canadian road trip via bubbly 7th generation Lunenburger Shelah Allen who runs Lunenburg Walking Tours. Shelah’s hour-long tour explores Old Town Lunenburg, a National Historic Site. Ideal for history and architecture buffs, Shelah offers a humorous, personal narrative dotted with anecdotes that have been passed down through her family over the years. Take Note: Lunenburg Walking Tours is the only operator with guaranteed access to St John’s Anglican Church and the Lunenburg Academy grounds. Consider yourself a VIP with a key to the city!
If you’re looking for a quick bite before hitting the road grab a seafood snack at local hot spot, The South Shore Fish Shack in Lunenburg.
The Bay of Fundy
The awe-inspiring Bay of Fundy stretches between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. It’s famous for its extremely high tides and stellar whale watching tours. Those keen to come face to face with the world’s largest mammals can do so by hopping on tours from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia’s Petit Passage Whale Watch offers 3 hour whale watching tours, which departs each day from the East Ferry on the Digby Neck. The most commonly sighted whales in The Bay of Fundy are the Humpback whale, Minke whale and Finback whale. The Bay of Fundy is teaming with marine wildlife, with reports of as many as 300 whales in the bay at one time.
The whale watching season in the Bay of Fundy runs from June to October, with August being the ideal time to go. If you’re keen to see whale’s up close on a Canadian road trip be sure to plan your visit during the Summer and Fall.
No Canadian road trip to Nova Scotia is complete without a visit to the province’s premiere viticulture region, The Annapolis Valley. It’s Eastern Canada’s most celebrated wine region. In recent years The Annapolis Valley, which rolls outside of Wolfville, has gone beyond wine production to offer stellar craft cider, beer and spirits.
Each November Wolfville hosts a famous festival, Devour! The Food and Film Fest. The unique week-long festival is the world’s largest film festival that specifically celebrates stories about food, agriculture and the restaurant industry.
If you’re a lover of both food and film Devour! offers a unique opportunity to nerd out while exploring Canada’s East Coast culinary culture. Devour has also played host to culinary celebrities such as Anthony Bourdain and Chef Dominique Crenn. The Devour Food and Film Festival offers film screenings, often paired with Q&A sessions with the directors or producers. You can also sign up to attend live food demos by famous chefs and walking tours of The Annapolis Valley’s most popular food and beverage producers.
Each night the festival celebrates its gala screening with a feast hosted inside the Wolfville Farmers Market. A group of award-winning chefs from around the world share a tasting menu inspired by the themes of that nights film. If you’re a serious food and film lover planning a road trip of Canada be sure to stop in Wolfville to enjoy a weekend at Devour!
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Want to drive around and explore three separate tectonic plates on just one island? Then a visit to Cape Breton is a Canadian road trip perfect for you. From its wide variety of landscapes, rich local Celtic music culture and seafood rich cuisine, there’s plenty to enjoy on a road trip of Cape Breton.
A visit to the Cape Breton Highlands is a must for any nature lover. You should also drive along the famed Cabot Trail, which takes an entire day. Be sure to make time to explore the many side trails. The Cabot Trail is especially beautiful in the Fall when the highland hills turn hues of red and yellow.
One of Cape Breton’s most popular trails is the Skyline Trail, which offers an incredible view of Nova Scotia’s rugged coastline and Atlantic Ocean. After you’re done exploring the Cape Breton Highlands, make your way to the Fortress of Louisbourg. Here you can not only discover the landmarks interesting reenacted history, but can also dig into a hot meal right out of the 18th century.
Prince Edward Island is the smallest province to tackle on a Canadian road trip. The tiny island in the Atlantic offers one of the best road trips in Canada. Start in the Charlottetown, PEI’s capital, and spend two or three days driving in a loop.
PEI is most famous for its fresh lobster, oysters, potatoes, Acadian culture and that iconic novel, Anne of Green Gables. The petite Maritime province offers jaw-dropping beaches, postcard perfect lighthouses and award winning restaurants. Once you’ve enjoyed a Prince Edward Island vacation you’ll understand why people fall in love with her charms so easily.
The perfect PEI road trip begins in Charlottetown, at the capital’s iconic Lobster on the Wharf. The popular seaside restaurant has been “the place for lobster” in Prince Edward Island since it opened in 1981. Lobster on the Wharf in Charlottetown was at that time that the original lobster pound. It was later transformed into a seafood restaurant, which today has expanded to include 240 indoor and 110 outdoor seats.
In the summer tourists flock to the restaurants patio on the wharf while locals pop by to shop for live lobster to take home from the seafood market, which operates out front.
Lobster on the Wharf’s paper placemats are hilarious, offering guests a quick education on “8 Easy Steps: how to properly feast on a whole lobster at the dinner table.” Fish fans should order the restaurants signature “Lobster on the Wharf,” featuring freshly steamed lobster, melted butter, lemon, boiled baby potatoes and sour cream.
After you’ve finished your lobster feast, stroll along Charlottetown’s waterfront to enjoy local ice cream at Prince Edward Island’s famous Cow’s Creamery.
Luxury travellers looking for the best things to do in PEI should be sure to book a room at The Inn at Bay Fortune. Known throughout Canada for its Farm to Table philosophy and innovative use of local PEI products, the Inn at Bay Fortune is both a boutique hotel and award winning restaurant.
The Inn at Bay Fortune was once home to the wildly successful TV cooking show “The Inn Chef,” which introduced Chef Michael Smith to Canadian audiences in the late 1990s. Walking up to the property one is greeted by lush gardens and a picturesque inn, which features two sky-high towers where sumptuous suites offer Canadian road trippers an enviable space to rest and relax.
Dinner at The Inn at Bay Fortune is without a doubt one of PEI’s tastiest attractions. It’s within the inn’s elegant dining room where seasonal tasting menu’s showcase the best food and drink on Prince Edward Island.
Just down the road you’ll find another one of the best places to visit in PEI, Strait Shine. It’s the only distillery in Canada that legally sells moonshine, coined originally by bootleggers smuggling illegal liquor back in the days of Prohibition.
Avonlea Village of Anne of Green Gables
One of the most popular things to do in PEI on a Canadian road trip is a visit to Avonlea Village. If you’re an Anne of Green Gables fan planning a trip to Canada, a stroll through Avonlea Village will make you squeal.
Visitors are transported back in time 100 years, joining the characters of Avonlea for a fun day of interactive experiences. Join Anne throughout the day via kitchen party, horse and wagon ride, oyster shucking, dance lesson and pig race while strolling through heritage buildings and a spectacular garden. Built in 1999 in Cavendish PEI, Avonlea was the fictitious name that Prince Edward Island author, Lucy Maud Montgomery gave to the wee town in her world famous novel, Anne of Green Gables. A visit to Avonlea is an essential stop for any Anne Fan, allowing star stuck children and smitten adults to chit chat with the novels most beloved characters.
Located at the tip of Prince Edward Island’s north west coast, West Point Lighthouse Inn sits perched over Cedar Dunes Provincial Park. The boutique hotel offers 13 rooms with fantastic views, two of which are located inside the historic Lighthouse.
West Point Lighthouse was built in 1875, put into operation in 1876, and managed until 1963 when the keeper, who lived in the attached dwelling, retired. In 1987, the inn was established, offering lighthouse nerds a dream come true.
At 69 feet tall, West Point Lighthouse Inn is one of PEI’s tallest and a popular stop on a Canadian road trip. It’s also the only lighthouse in PEI offering overnight accommodation. Surrounded by pristine red sandy beaches and rolling cedar dunes, West Point Lighthouse is one of the most popular spots to take photos in Prince Edward Island.
During your visit you can enjoy an informative marine museum, local craft shop, recreational marina, and daily continental breakfast.
Things To Do in Newfoundland
The final stop on our Canadian road trip is the country’s most easterly province. Wondering what to do in Newfoundland? The rugged and mostly rural Maritime province offers a distinct dialect, food heritage and fascinating fishing history. If you’ve got all the time in the world, we suggest organizing a Newfoundland road trip itinerary that includes the wild wonders of Labrador. It’s a paradise for nature lovers, filled with otherworldly nature parks.
The classic Newfoundland road trip starts in St. John’s and zig zag’s north. Be sure to celebrate the end of your Canadian road trip by treating yourself to the award winning service and scenery at The Fogo Island Inn.
For discerning travellers looking for a unique Canadian road trip experience, Fogo Island Inn is the place to be. It’s not easy to get to Fogo Island, the largest island off Newfoundland and Labrador’s vast coast, but it’s worth every effort if you have the chance. Designed by Newfoundland-born architect Todd Saunders, the 43,000 square-foot property is perched on stilts and hovers over the rugged North Atlantic coastline.
Each of the 29 suites not only offers floor-to-ceiling views of the sea and sky, but also contains small details that reflect local designs in a very modern way. Every element is bespoke, made specially for the Fogo Island Inn and its guests. The entire space is one impressive cultural hub.
There’s a beautiful serenity and silence to the space. Friendly locals who work here deliver exquisite and attentive service. Food lovers are in for a treat as everything on the menu is locally sourced (a few ingredients are brought over via ferry). Getting the full board option is highly recommended as there aren’t many restaurants on the island. With a constantly changing menu, the chef is sure to delight your palette and surprise your senses.
Be sure to take the opportunity to accept Fogo Island Inn’s offer to tour the island with locals. They will introduce you to the artists on the island and take you to unknown spots on what some deem to be one of the four corners of earth. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a few icebergs!
Forty-five minutes off Newfoundland’s Trans Canada Highway comedian and This Hour Has 22 Minutes alum Sean Majumder has created a glamping wonderland. The ten luxurious tents of ‘Ome dot the coastline in his hometown of Burlington in Central Newfoundland.
Picture this for a Canadian road trip overnight: Perched on a pillow-top mattress covered in bright homemade quilts looking out at the ocean sipping a hot cup of coffee made in the solar-powered coffee maker. Have you relaxed already?
When not in bed whale watching, glampers can spend a few hours hiking up Chipp’s Hill (which isn’t really a hill) for sweeping views of Northwest Arm. Take a dip in the local swimming hole and then head back to camp to cook up a scoff. For those not up for camp-side cooking head to the Corner Cafe in Middle Arm for fish and chips, and Ome has its own food truck operating seasonally. Make sure to print off the directions to Ome before you hit the road — cell service is pretty much non-existent in Burlington. Those in desperate need to email can stand near the cell tower by the town hall for a glimmer of service.
The Great Northern Peninsula is ideal for those on a Canadian road trip wanting to poke around the remote areas of Newfoundland. Especially those interested in icebergs and vikings.
Iceberg season on the island tends to change from year to year, although the Great Northern Peninsula is usually a sure bet in late spring and early summer. The bergs here are large and imposing, and the best way to see them is by boat tour. (Keep in mind the North Atlantic is still cold during even the warmest summer months, so wear layers.) The tour captain will guide the boat at a safe distance around the entire behemoth berg, and the sunlight hitting pure ice gives way to dazzling blues and whites. Icebergs seem to change shape depending on how you look at them.
Seeing as how driving around the Great Northern Peninsula is rather time consuming (it’s a 12 hour drive from St. John’s to St. Anthony), it’s a good idea to make the most of your time here along Viking Trail (the name given to the highway extending north). Visit L’Anse Aux Meadows – a 1,000-year-old viking settlement. Visit the recreated living norse village at Norstead, and throw some axes with some norsemen. Top it all off with a delightfully cheesy viking-themed dinner theatre, complete with endlessly flowing wine.
There are some parts of Newfoundland that feel special and untouched, and the Great Northern Peninsula is one of those. The stark tundra gives way to mountains and hills, and drivers are reminded to keep their eyes firmly on the road for moose. But there’s a special sort of energy radiating off the hardy people here, and it makes the trip worthwhile.
Newfoundland is famous for its coastline and its fishing villages. But you’ll also find tremendous hiking on an island with enormous sea cliffs, towering mountains and Instagram-worthy villages. One of the most rewarding – and easiest – is called the Skerwink Trail.
Located in Port Rexton on the Bonavista Peninsula, it’s a trail that starts out relatively flat but quickly accelerates through beautiful forests and out on to a relatively flat plateau with steep drops to the water below. The views are hugely rewarding and it’s not difficult for anyone who can walk a few miles and handle the odd bit of steep terrain. When you’re finished your walk, reward yourself with a craft beer at Port Rexton Brewing.
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