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The Pan American Highway: The Longest Road In The World

The Pan American Highway: The Longest Road In The World

At its fullest extent the Pan-American Highway is a network of roads stretching from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Ushuaia, Argentina, a distance of around 48,000 kilometres (30,000 miles).

According to Guinness World Records, the Pan-American Highway is the world’s longest “motorable road” . However it is not readily possible to drive all the way since the route is interrupted by the 160 kilometre-wide (100 mile) Darién Gap between Central and South America.

The Highway consists of both official and unofficial elements. The official section, which is referred to in Spanish variously as the Autopista / Carretera / Ruta Panamericana, runs from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico on the U.S. Border to Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina.

However, as shown on the map there are extensive unofficial sections to both the north and south of this.

The route shown on the map runs through 14 countries:

  • The United States
  • El Salvador

It also has links to a number of other countries. In the process it passes through all the major climate zones and many varied landscapes including arctic tundra, boreal forest, mountains, prairies, arid deserts and tropical jungles.

Moving from north to south, the route starts at Deadhorse, Alaska near the Prudhoe Bay oilfields and for the first 662 kilometres (414 miles) follows the Dalton Highway to Fairbanks.

The Dalton Highway was constructed in 1974 as a supply road to support the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. It is a challenging drive, with no services of any kind on one 384 kilometre (240 mile) stretch, and was the first road to be featured in the BBC’s World’s Most Dangerous Roads .

From Fairbanks there is a 155 kilometre (96 mile) link to Delta Junction at the northern end of the Alaska Highway, the next part of the route.

The Alaska Highway was constructed in 1942 by the US Army Corps of Engineers, as a wartime project using around 10,000 troops . Its purpose was to link Alaska with the 48 contiguous states through Canada to help defend against a possible Japanese attack.

It was originally around 2,700 kilometres long but as of 2012 had been shortened to 2,232 kilometres (1,387 miles) and is now paved over its entire length.

The Alaska Highway terminates at Dawson Creek, B.C. from where the route shown continues to Edmonton, Alberta. After Edmonton the map identifies two possible routes.

The first goes through Minneapolis after which it follows the Interstate 35 through Dallas/Fort-Worth to the Mexican border at Laredo, Texas.

The second route runs through Calgary, Alberta and Billings, Montana and then connects with the Interstate 25 through Denver, Colorado to Las Cruces, New Mexico and from there on the Interstate 10 to San Antonio, Texas, where it joins the first route.

In practice, given the unofficial status of the routes through Canada and the United States, many other alternatives are possible.

The Mexican city of Nuevo Laredo, just across the border from Laredo marks the start of the official section of the Pan-American Highway.

From there it runs to Mexico City along Mexican Federal Highway 45 and on to the border with Guatemala along Mexican Federal Highway 190.

It then proceeds through Central America, passing through Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. With the exception of Honduras, its route takes it through the capital cities of each of these countries, namely:

  • Guatemala City (Guatemala)
  • San Salvador (El Salvador)
  • Managua (Nicaragua)
  • San José (Costa Rica)
  • Panama City (Panama)

One of the most challenging sections of the route lies in Costa Rica, where it rises to 3,335 metres (10,942 feet) at the ominously named Summit of Death (Cerro de la Muerte).

This summit marks the highest elevation on the Pan-American Highway in Central America. Indeed, following the completion of the Christ the Redeemer Tunnel between Chile and Argentina (see below), it may well be the highest elevation along the entire route.

The route through Central America terminates abruptly at Yaviza, at the edge of the Darién Gap and resumes on the other side at Turbo, Colombia in South America.

All but the most intrepid circumvent the Gap by taking one of the ferries that go from Panama to Colombia or Ecuador, from where they can reconnect with the Pan-American Highway.

In Colombia the route runs through Medellin and Cali before crossing the border into Ecuador at Tulcán.

In Ecuador the highway goes through the capital, Quito. At 2,850 metres (9,350 feet) Quito is the world’s second highest capital city , exceeded in elevation only by La Paz, Bolivia. From there the route heads south to Peru, where it follows Peru Highway 1, which runs the length of the country and connects all major cities in the coastal area, including the capital, Lima.

On crossing from Peru into Chile the highway enters the Atacama Desert, the driest non-polar location in the world . The highway then follows Chile Route 5 through Antofagasta to Valparaiso.

As shown on the map, there is an unofficial branch of the highway that continues on down the Chilean coast on Route 5 terminating in Quellón on Chiloé Island.

At Valparaiso the official route heads east following Chile Route 60 across the Andes Mountains to Argentina, where it becomes Argentina National Route 7 and crosses the Pampas to Buenos Aires.

Before 1980, the border used to be at the Upsallata Pass, which at 3,832 metres (12, 572 feet) made it the highest point on the Pan-American Highway. However, 1980 saw the opening of the Christ the Redeemer Tunnel (Túnel Cristo Redentor) at 3,200 metres (10,499 feet), which became the new crossing point.

The final (unofficial) leg of the Pan-American Highway runs for 3,045 kilometres (1,892 miles) from Buenos Aires on Argentina National Route 3 to Ushuaia passing through Bahía Blanca and Comodoro Rivadavia.

Near its southern end the route goes back into Chile and crosses the Straits of Magellan via a short ferry ride before going back into Argentina and on to Ushuaia, which is located on Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, the largest island of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago.

Argentina claims Ushuaia as the world’s most southerly city , a fact that is disputed by Chile which claims Puerto Williams for this distinction. While the Chilean town of Puerto Williams is indeed farther south , Ushuaia has a much larger population (71,000 vs. 3,000) , so take your pick.

The record for the fastest trip by car from Ushuaia to Prudhoe Bay (mostly on the Pan-American Highway) is credited to Tim Cahill and Garry Sowerby in the astonishing time of twenty-three days, twenty-two hours, and forty-three minutes .

Tim wrote about his experience in his book Road Fever . In 2003 Kevin Sanders broke the Guinness World Record for the fastest traversal of the highway by motorcycle , taking 34 days.

No account of the Pan-American Highway would be complete without a discussion of its missing link, the Darién Gap .

This area of undeveloped swampland, forest and mountain straddles the border between Panama and Colombia. Thus far, plans to build a road through the Gap have come to nothing .

There are a number of reasons for this including:

  • The sheer difficulty and cost of building a road through such difficult terrain.
  • Pressure to protect the rainforest environment
  • Concerns by indigenous groups, such as the Embera-Wounaan and Kuna that a road would pose a threat to their traditional cultures.
  • And concerns that a road would make it easier for foot and mouth disease to enter North America.

Over the years, the enormous challenge of traversing the Gap has attracted a number of diehard souls.

The first vehicular crossing of the Gap was by the Land Rover La Cucaracha Cariñosa (The Affectionate Cockroach) and a Jeep of the international Trans-Darién Expedition of 1959–60, which took 136 days!

The first crossing by a standard two wheel drive passenger car took place in 1961 with three Chevrolet Corvairs, only two of which made it out of the jungle.

Up to this point, the expeditions had used river boats for some sections. The first fully overland wheeled crossing of the Gap was that of British cyclist Ian Hibell, who rode from Cape Horn to Alaska between 1971 and 1973.

The first motorcycle crossing was by Robert L. Webb in March 1975.

The first all-land auto crossing was in 1985–87 by Loren Upton and Patty Mercier in a Jeep, taking an incredible 741 days to travel 201 kilometres (125 miles).

Ed Culberson was the first to follow the entire Pan-American Highway including the Darién Gap on a motorcycle.

There have also been a number of crossings on foot, including that of George Meegan in 1981, who walked the entire distance from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska over a period of 2,425 days !

The most unusual walker was evangelist Arthur Blessitt who traversed the Gap in 1979 while carrying a 12-foot wooden cross as part of what Guinness World Records recognized as “the longest round the world pilgrimage”.

Principal References:

  • Pan-American Highway
  • Dalton Highway
  • Alaska Highway
  • Pan-American Highway (South America)
  • Atacama Desert
  • National Route 3 (Argentina)
  • The southernmost settlements in the world

Tim Cahill, Road Fever (1991) Ed Culberson, Obsessions Die Hard: Motorcycling the Pan-American Highway’s Jungle Gap (1966) George Meegan, The Longest Walk (1988) Russell Braddon, The Hundred Days of Darien (1974) John Blashford-Snell, Something Lost Behind the Ranges (1994) Ian Hibell, Into the Remote Places (1984) Mark A Smith, Driven by a Dream (2004) Wade Davis, The Rucksack Man (1976) Arthur Blessitt, The Cross (2009) Joseph R. Yogerst, Long Road South: The Pan American Highway (1999) Raymond and Audrey Pritchard, Driving the Pan-American Highway to Mexico and Central America (1998) Brad and Sheena Van Orden, Drive Nacho Drive: A Journey from the American Dream to the End of the World (2013) Ben Cunningham, The Longest Road: An Irish Pan-American Cycling Adventure (2009)

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Nicolás Valencia says

May 20, 2016 at 7:57 pm

I would like to clarify a point related to Chile. In our country it’s known as Route 5, but instead of arriving to Valparaiso, it goes to Santiago. In fact, in a short section, Route 5 is crossed by Route 60 (Valparaiso – Buenos Aires), before arriving Santiago, capital of Chile.

Route 5 cross Santiago as a north-south axis (well-known as “La Norte-Sur”), then continues on down to Puerto Montt. Then, you have to sail the Chacao Channel from Puerto Montt to Quellon, the southernmost city on Chiloe Island.

GeoNie says

November 2, 2021 at 10:14 pm

It’s on the internet dude!! Geez

November 2, 2021 at 10:18 pm

Hey NicolásValencia. Chile looks so beautiful in its beach front glory to that big wall separating Argentina. I envy you guys and will land in Santiago soon

Veronica Philips says

July 9, 2017 at 8:47 pm

Image what can happen on a family road trip, when your son asks the innocent question, “What’s the longest road in the world?” This was a great read, and I’m thinking it needs to be a bucket list item..

Tom Swinburn says

August 13, 2018 at 7:53 am

Meegan traversed 12 miles a day for YEARS to make his journey. Almost seven years in fact. So there were no sick days, no breaks of any kind? I guess I’m going to have to buy his book. The 12 miles a day was the average, but some days he could have walked much further, other days, like in the Darien gap a mile a day would have been tough. And the elevation changes! The feat seems almost superhuman.

August 10, 2019 at 10:06 pm

Without modern technology, navigating, writing and Reading about this would not be possible. Someday like the Jetsons someone will just be able to fly their own personal vehicle the whole way !!

Ian Sarad says

September 27, 2019 at 5:00 pm

I just did a little research and discovered that it’s actually 30,000 km (not miles).

Muhammad Naeem Khalid says

October 28, 2019 at 6:01 pm

Pan American Highway is 30000 KM or 30000 Miles please clarify

Bill Emerson says

February 23, 2020 at 9:57 pm

In 1998 I drove from my home in Kansas City to Panama…..It was a great trip! To return I put my car on a ship to Florida, and then drove back home. Even though I do not speak Spanish, I did not find language to be a problem. In fact, I had virtually no problems. I have always wanted to do another trip thru South America to southern Chile. Is there anything more that I should know?

Regards, Bill Emerson

Andrus says

September 11, 2020 at 3:51 pm

For a trip to south america, Route 40 in Argentina is far more interesting than the pan-american highway. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Route_40_(Argentina)

September 12, 2020 at 10:21 pm

In Argentina, the 5000 km of Route 40 are much more scenic that panamerica highway.

wayne winzer says

April 7, 2023 at 4:00 am

follow transmigratoty route. easier now than then. I drive Wichita to Guatemala every year

Jane Carpenter says

June 16, 2020 at 9:10 pm

Muhammad I think you’ll find your answer here in this article. Although you may not – it’s still slightly confusing! 🙂 https://www.dangerousroads.org/north-america/usa/4638-pan-american-highway.html

joana galarza johnson says

April 4, 2020 at 1:51 pm

What an interesting article, thank you. I would like to offer one more reason why the Darian Gap’s closure has come to nothing. Colombian drug lords. Colombia’s notorious Pablo Escobar and countless other drug cartel leaders, hid (and had drug distillation industries) at the northernmost tip of South America. In the rainforests.

Also, there is a new book, To Shake the Sleeping Self by Jedidiah Jenkins (2019) about traversing the Pan American Highway on bicycle, from Oregon south to Patagonia. Lovely book.

Stefan White says

April 5, 2020 at 7:01 am

My stepfather was the mechanic of an Inter-American Expedition in 1953 that drove a Sunbeam Alpine non-stop from Fairbanks, Alaska to the southern tip of Tierra del Fuego, using rafts to cross the Gap and sleeping with headhunters in Central America. That would be preceding the claim made here.

June 13, 2020 at 2:43 am

I just came up with about 22,000 kilometers on Google Maps, depending on the specific routes chosen. Clearly, 30,000 kilometers, or miles, is incorrect, since the straight line pole-to-pole distance is only 20,000 kilometers, as measured on Google Earth.

stephen morrow says

March 7, 2021 at 12:59 am

Mileage stated here is way off…19,000 miles is more like it.. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan-American_Highway

V CLEVE WALSTROM says

August 9, 2021 at 8:38 pm

Danny Liska of Niobrara, Nebraska rode a BWM motor cycle the length of the Pan American Highway (he hiked the Darien Gap) in the early 1960’s . His book Two Wheels to Adventure is a classic that out shines all.

Cleve Walstrom

Waithumbi says

October 3, 2021 at 1:34 pm

It’s a Wonderful article to read, like now when the migrants from Haiti are WALKING through the Darien Gap Jungle.

jane doe says

August 23, 2023 at 2:29 pm

wait a minute – migrant Haitians are walking the Gap? Haiti is an Island in the Caribbean – how do they get from there to the Gap? Something is off…

Gerard Deveau says

February 6, 2023 at 6:15 pm

Great article and comments as well! A Bucket List Adventure for sure God willing.

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Travel Tips

The longest road trip roads in the world.

If you dream of epic adventures you should definitely consider traveling down one of the longest road trip roads in the world. Whether you’re in search of some good ol’ American fun, or looking to experience other countries, or even entire continents, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most unique and longest highways systems on earth.

List of the longest road trip roads in the world (header)

At nearly 3200 miles (5200km) U.S. Route 6 is the second longest road trip road in the United States

Also known as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway, U.S. Route 6 is a main route of the United States Highway system. Battling U.S. Route 20 for the title of the longest “continuous” transcontinental highway in America, this road will take drivers through fourteen different states starting in California and ending in Massachusetts.

U.S. Route 6 is one of longest road trip roads in the United States

At over 3300 miles (5400km) U.S. Route 20 is the longest road trip road in the United States

U.S. Route 20 covers 3,365 miles, from Boston, Massachusetts to Newport, Oregon. In 1926, it officially became a U.S. Highway, and during its early years, terminated at Yellow Stone National Park. Now U.S. Route 20 is the longest highway in the country, it crosses through twelve states of America’s beautiful landscape.

U.S. Route 20 is one of longest road trip roads in the United States

The Golden Quadrilateral Highway is the longest road trip road in India at 3600 miles (6000km)

The Golden Quadrilateral Highway in India is a network of highways connecting India’s four top metropolitan cities; Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, forming a quadrilateral. Launched in 2001 as part of India’s National Highways Development Project, it is the largest highway project in India. Overall the quadrilateral consists of four, six lane express highways.

The Golden Quadrilateral Highway in the longest road trip road in India

The Trans-Canada Highway is the longest road trip roads in North America

Crossing through six time zones, this once-in-a-life time road trip starts at one end of Canada and ends at the other. Commenced in 1962, the Trans-Canada Highway takes you through ten Canadian provinces and crosses the Pacific Ocean on the west and to the Atlantic Ocean on the east.

The Trans-Canada Highway is the longest road trip road in North America

The Trans-Siberian Highway runs the entire length of Russia and is the third longest road trip roads in the world

Spanning from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok, the Trans-Siberian Highway is a network of federal highways. As one of the more dangerous roads on this list, it has some of the toughest environments and uneasy terrain, from the Baltic Sea of the Atlantic Ocean to the Japan Sea of the Pacific Ocean.

The Trans-Siberian Highway is the third longest road trip roads in the world

Highway 1 in Australia, also known as the “Big Lap,” is the second longest road trip roads in the world

As the second largest road in the world, it joins all the mainland capitals of Australia. Constructed almost half a century ago, the first section of the route was signposted between Brisbane and Adelaide in 1955. At the time is was Australia’s only true national highway. Now there are more direct routes that crisscross throughout the country, none of them are more scenic than Australia’s Highway One.

Highway 1 in Australia is the second longest road trip roads in the world

At nearly 30,000 miles, The Pan American Highway is by far and away the longest road trip roads in the world

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Pan American Highway is the longest designated road in the world. At its fullest extent it links most of the nations of North and South America. Stretching from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina, but briefly interrupted by the 100-mile Darien Gap between Central and South America.

 the Pan-American Highway is the longest road trip roads in the world

You’ll notice that two of the world’s longest highways are located in the United States, however there are many other scenic and unique systems in other parts of the world. When you’re considering your next family vacation or solo adventure, consider road tripping down one of the longest road trip roads in the world.

If you’re looking to travel one of these longest road trip roads and need a vehicle, check out Car Rentals for a great deal.

What's the farthest distance you can drive in North America?

The Pan American Highway, almost 30,000 miles away, is by far the longest win streak trip in the world. Also, Pan American Highway is the longest designated highway throughout the globe, and as per the Guinness Book of World Records. This unites almost all of the nations of North and South America to its greatest extent.

What are the best US road trip routes?

While planning a great American road trip, you must wonder the best of bests road trips in the USA. The list of incredible USA road trips includes Route 66, Pan American Highway, Great River Road, Pacific Coast Highway, Overseas Highway, Hill Country and many more.

What are the longest road trip roads in the world?

The United States boasts of some of the world's longest highways. The Pan-American Highway is the world's longest 'motorable road,' according to Guinness Book of World Records. At over 3300 miles (5400km) U.S. Route 20 is the longest road trip road in the United States of America.

Mike Shubic

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Tags: longest road trip roads , Longest road trip roads in the world , longest road trips , longest road trips in the world , What are the longest road trip roads in the world

17 Comments

Bill and I travelled Hwy 6 and 20 in our travels.

Hi Jan…is that right? Did you do the entire length?

I would love to do the longest road trip in the world, but I just don’t like the countries it goes though.

It would be epic indeed.

Hey, Mike! I noticed on the Pan Am Highway, coming south from Alaska, it veers into two sections in Canada. When one fork enters the U.S., is it I-35? Thanks a lot, I enjoyed your blog!

Hi Mike…thanks for stopping by. That’s a good question, I’m not sure. Alaska is actually the only state I have not yet road tripped around. Are you thinking of driving this Pan Am Highway soon? Cheers, Mike

I am looking for travel companions to go anywhere. In some languages I am fluent, in some not, but even I do not speak Spanish I travel every winter in Mexico without any problems so far. From Maharaj to Germany I can communicate with locals, and many of them speak English as well.

Regardless of what the Guinness book of records states, the Darian gap separates the road, pretending otherwise is ridiculous.

Thank you for your thoughts.

The farthest you can drive in Alaska is Prudhoe Bay, which is a full 5335 miles from Miami, FL.

Thank you for sharing, and, for stopping by. Cheers, Mike

Wow, can you imagine road tripping one of these. Very interesting.

Epic indeed.

Such an interesting post. Your blog is amazing!

Glad you enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by.

I would like to thank you for the efforts, this is a great post.

My pleasure. Thank you.

Comments are closed.

Novel: Lines, Signs & Forks

Featured road trips, roadside attractions, travel experiences, most road tripped man in the world, latest posts.

It Takes This Long To Drive North America's Longest Highway

This is the longest national highway in the Western Hemisphere and anyone would enjoy driving it for its stunning sceneries.

Quick Links

Trans-canada highway - the longest in the americas, driving the trans-canada highway, how long to drive the trans canada highway.

The longest national highway in the Western Hemisphere is the Trans-Canada Highway. The highway goes all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and is the ultimate Canadian road trip. For a much smaller Canadian road trip, consider just visiting the Canadian Pacific Northwest.

If one is looking for even more extreme road trips around the world, then Australia's Highway 1 is the longest national highway in the world - the highway circumvents the country. But the longest "motorable" road in the world is the Pan American Highway which runs all the way from Alaska to the southern end of Argentina.

The main route of the Trans-Canada Highway travels through nine of ten of Canada's provinces (but not its territories). It connects most of the country's major cities including Quebec City, Fredericton, Calgary, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Montreal.

The main route stretches from St. John's in Newfoundland on the Atlantic Ocean and runs all the way to Victoria in British Columbia on the Pacific Ocean. The highway system is signed by the distinctive white-on-green maple leaf route markers.

There are a number of other routes that make up the Trans Canada Highway system, but this article is mostly concerned with the main route and not the spurs. Over the years, a number of multiple alternative routes have been added to the main route (Yellowhead Highway being the largest). Other major offshoots include Highway 17 in Ontario and the Confederation Bridge that connects the tenth province - Prince Edward Island.

  • Beginning And End: The Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean
  • Beginning Cities: St. Johns and Victoria
  • Main Route Length: 7,476 km (4,645 mi)
  • Full Length: 12,800 km (7,950 mi)

In all the Trans-Canada Highway is considered the fourth-longest highway in the world and the second-longest national highway (after Highway 1 in Australia). While the main route is 7,821 kilometers long, with the spurs and alternative routes it is some 12,800 kilometers.

Related: Nova Scotia To Ontario: Guide To This Three-Day Road Trip

Driving the Trans-Canada Highway is likely to be easier than driving Australia's Highway 1. That is because vast distances of Australia's Highway 1 are extremely remote and don't really connect large population centers in the country. The drive from Darwin to Perth is likely to be a very lonely road. But the Trans-Canada Highway connects most of the major cities of Canada and follows the most populated parts of the country.

The climatic challenges are the opposite of Highway 1 in Australia. Australia's roads can be exceptionally hot (so take plenty of water), but parts of Canada's highways can become very hazardous in the winter during blizzards. In the Prairies, one can plan for around 12-14 hours of daylight in the summer but only around 6 hours in the depth of winter.

If one would like to drive the Trans-Canada Highway, then drive it in the spring or summer.

  • When To Go: Spring Or Summer

Driving the Trans-Canada Highway is a rewarding experience. One will see much of Canada's diverse landscapes and scenery. See everything from the stunning rolling hills of the Maritimes to the Canadian Shield to the vast prairie provinces to the majestic Rockies of British Colombia.

Along the route, one will see some of the best of Canada's national parks and an innumerable number of Tim Horton's.

  • Note: The 401 is not part of the Trans Canada Highway

Related: Vancouver To Calgary: One-Week Road Trip Guide

Canada is a big country - a huge one and only Russia is larger. Canada has a slight each over the United States and China in geographic size. To drive all the way across Canada takes determination and a lot of time.

How long it takes to drive the Trans Canada Highway depends on which route one takes (if one just drives the main route or also some of the spurs) and how long one is willing to spend driving each day.

Driving from Newfoundland's St John's to BC's Victoria it takes around 20 days. It takes around 100 hours of pure driving time to travel the whole Trans Canada Highway

Time To Travel The Trans Canada Highway:

  • Pure Driving Time: Around 100 Hours
  • Time Needed: Around 3 Weeks (Average of 250 miles a day and Some Sightseeing)

If one is feeling more adventurous and if one could like to terminate one's trip on the Alaska border it would take around 23 days.

longest road trip in canada

Longest Road Trips in the World You Could Drive

Everyone loves a road trip – out on the open road, free to explore wherever and whenever you want. with a classic playlist on shuffle, plenty of car snacks and a roughly drawn route into the unknown, there’s a reason why road trips feel synonymous with chasing adventure and freedom. with this list, we’re focusing on distance, drawing up some of the longest and most ambitious road trips we can think of. grab a bag, a map and some friends, and head for the sunset… .

longest road trip in canada

London to Cape Town 

This one’s a classic, and many brave adventurers have crossed this monster journey off their list. One of the longest north to south journeys in the world, the fastest known completion of this route was 13 days, 8 hours and 48 minutes, as part of a publicity campaign for the new Ford Cortina. This beat the previous champions by 18 minutes! If, however, you’re keen to actually soak up the incredible sights, a month is likely the minimum time needed to cover this two-continent trip.

Starting with the Eurostar to Calais, passengers can enjoy scenic drives through rural France and Spain, take the ferry across the Strait of Gibraltar and down into the heart of Africa. For those that make it across the harsh Saharan Desert, the road evens out to provide breath-taking drives across countless National Parks, from the primate-filled rainforest reserve of Dja Faunal in Cameroon, to the lion and elephant filled landscape of Etosha National Park in Namibia. Pulling into Cape Town at the southern tip of South Africa, this drive will have covered 13,207km (8,207 miles) and 13 countries.

longest road trip in canada

Australian Coastal Loop

Driving ‘The Big Lap’ is another adventure that is often planned and rarely attempted. With huge swathes of the continent uninhabited due to its searingly hot desert climate, Australian road trips can be lethal to those without a map and plenty of backup fuel. The best bet for anyone looking to cover the whole country is to stick to Highway 1, a 14,935km (9280 miles) long highway that essentially follows the entire Australian coast in one big loop. Starting in Sydney, drivers can follow the coastline up to Brisbane, past Cairns, Darwin, Port Hedland, Perth and Adelaide, before hitting the spectacular Great Ocean Road to Melbourne and finally, back to Sydney.

The drive is perfectly possible to do within a month, but three months will give drivers time to better explore each stop fully. Because of the size of Australia, it is important to also keep an eye on the seasons. It is recommended to start the north in winter and summer in the south, following the milder temperatures round as you go.

longest road trip in canada

Europe to Ulaanbaatar

Centuries ago, nomadic settlers made their way along the central Asian steppe, seeking new lands and adventures. Now you can follow their route, making your way through Eastern Europe and down into Turkey. Crossing the Istanbul bridge, Europe slowly turns into Asia, swapping crumbling Christian churches for Islamic minarets and the sweeping rural expanse of Lake Van. From Turkey you have two choices, head down through the ancient Persian settlements of Iran, or up over the Caspian Sea into Russia. Both routes reconvene in the sweeping grasslands of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, before the Gobi Desert springs over the horizon.

In recent years, adventurers have made this journey into a challenge, dubbing it the Mongol Rally . Each year, participants sign up, buy a beaten-up old car and race from Europe to Mongolia. Generally broadcasting their progress (or non-progress) on social media, the challenge is designed to be as disaster-filled as possible, creating opportunity for “motoring stupidity on a global scale” and unexpected adventures. If this sounds like your cup of tea, sign up for the Mongol Rally 2022 , and start looking for your rubbish vehicle!

longest road trip in canada

Pan-American Highway 

So you might have done a cross-US road trip, but how about dreaming a bit bigger? This mammoth road trip covers almost the entirety of the Americas, from northernmost Alaska, down through Canada and the US, into Colombia, coastal Peru and Chile. The only break to the journey is the Darien Gap , a roadless region preventing driving access between Panama and Colombia (and by extension the entirety of North America to South America). Though there have been several attempts to build a highway, the impenetrable dense rainforest and prevalence of tropical diseases (not to mention the importance of protecting the indigenous communities that remain in the forests), means a road crossing has never been possible.

The only option, bar a famously hellish 5-day ferry journey , is to take a flight, but once safely into Medellin or Bogota, the journey south can carry on unimpeded. Assuming one drives from Prudhoe Bay in Alaska to Panama City, and then Medellin in Colombia to Quellon in Chile, this insane road trip should clock up a cool 23,662km (14,703 miles). Assuming you drove for 8 hours a day, this trip would take you a month. Those who have done it, however, take anytime between 2 months to 2 years.

longest road trip in canada

Trans-Eurasian Belt

Our final route on this list doesn’t actually exist yet. It is an imagined driving route that follows much the same path as the Mongol Rally – from London to Ulaanbaatar. Yet once it hits Mongolia, it carries on, heading up through the easternmost point of Siberia and crossing the Bering Strait into Alaska. From there, the entirety of the Americas is possible, even linking down to South America. This journey is not yet possible, since the Bering Strait remains unconnected. However, plans for a Trans-Eurasian Belt Development are in the works, and we may soon see a connecting bridge be built to truly connect the world.

Who knows what such a connecting bridge will do for global trade, as well as perceptions of East and West? All we know is, it sounds like an epic road trip.

If you're planning a road trip across multiple countries, remember to get yourself covered with adequate car insurance just in case.

longest road trip in canada

Starting from Skratch? Here are a Few Tips to Get You Started:

https://www.outbackcrossing.com.au/Touring/How_Long_Does_it_Take_to_Travel_Around_Australia.shtml

https://medium.com/@katheryn.watson/mapped-the-longest-road-trips-f6cf454b967c

https://www.skratch.world

longest road trip in canada

World's Longest Driving Routes at a Glance:

🇬🇧london to cape town🇿🇦.

Distance: 13,207 km (8,207 miles)

Number of Countries: 13

Time Taken: 17 days (assuming 8 hours a day driving)

🇦🇺Australian Coastal Loop🇦🇺

Distance: 14,935 km (9,280 miles)

Number of Countries: 1

Time Taken: 19 days (assuming 8 hours a day driving)

🇵🇹Lisbon to Ulaanbaatar🇲🇳

Distance: 13,000 km (8,077 miles)

Number of Countries: 16

🇺🇸Pan-American Highway🇨🇱

Distance: 23,662 km (14,703 miles)

Number of Countries: 12

Time Taken: 30 days (assuming 8 hours a day driving)

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13 of the Best Canada Road Trips That Will Blow Your Mind

April 30, 2019 By Matthew G. Bailey 12 Comments

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Alberta Road Trips in the Kananaskis

Canada Road Trip Last updated: April 1st, 2022

If the thought of being behind the wheel while driving amongst some of the most beautiful scenery in the world excites you, then this Canada road trip article is for you.

As world travellers that specialize in Canada travel, we’ve done some epic road trips in our lifetime, including the Australian East Coast, the Oregon Coast, California, and parts of Mexico, Malaysia, Peru, and New Zealand. Still, nothing compares to the 150-day road trip across Canada we did back in 2017. Comprising over 27,000 kilometres of asphalt (and some dirt roads as well), we got to explore Canada from coast to coast to coast. However, not everyone has 150 days to dedicate to driving across Canada.

While there are many other road trips not listed here, as well as a variety of incredible destinations that may not include an iconic road trip, we believe these 13 itineraries below are some of the best road trips in Canada and we hope they are helpful suggestions when you’re ready to take your next Canada road trip.

Let’s get started.

icefields parkway canada

Table of Contents

Icefields Parkway, Alberta

How could I not start an article about Canada’s best road trips without first mentioning the Icefields Parkway, which has often been ranked as one of the best road trips in the entire world? Stretching 232 kilometres through both Banff National Park and Jasper National Park, this highway invites you into a journey of mind-blowing scenery, including mighty mountains, waterfalls, turquoise-coloured lakes and rivers, and glaciers too. While the drive from Banff to Jasper really only takes upwards of three-four hours, you’ll probably want to budget an entire day for all the stops you’ll be making to take photos, short hikes, or even full-on tours at the Columbia Glacier. Popular stops include Lake Louise, Peyto Lake, Columbia Icefield, Sunwapta Falls, and Athabasca Falls, just to name a few. For those coming from Calgary to Banff , you just continue towards Lake Louise and then head North on highway 93.

Best time to go: This Alberta road trip is best from June to September, although May works as well. October is also good if you don’t mind a higher chance of rain in exchange for much fewer tourists. From November until April, you should expect snow and ice. This is also a beautiful time to do the road trip, but you’ll need to be much better skilled at driving and expect delays. In addition, many things such as the Columbia Icefield tour are closed.

Bonus: Due to the popularity of this area, it’s also a great place for delicious food. There are so many restaurants in the area and we’ve made some extensive guides, such as our guide to the best Banff restaurants and the best Canmore restaurants .

things to do frank slide

Cowboy Trail, Alberta

If you’re looking for some prairie and mountainous “wild west” scenery, Alberta’s Cowboy Trail is the road trip for you. Primarily located just south of Calgary, you could start your experience in the province’s biggest city, taking time to explore the many things to do in Calgary such as the Glenbow Museum, Heritage Park, Studio Bell, or the new central library. If you’re up for a party, time your visit with the Calgary Stampede, which is known as the greatest outdoor show on Earth. You could even stop by the Alberta Boot Company and grab yourself some authentic Cowboy boots or other Western-style clothing.

While the actual “Cowboy Trail” refers to Highway 22, which travels all the way from the Edmonton area down into the USA, our favourite part starts around Bragg Creek and takes you down past Turner Valley, Black Diamond, Okotoks, High River, Longview, and down towards Pincher Creek. You’ll pass a lot of stunning scenery and historical sites such as the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site as well as a number of Western-style towns before winding up in the Rocky Mountains such as the Crowsnest Pass and Waterton Lakes. If you’re not wanting to continue into the USA, you could return to Calgary via Highway 2, stopping to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Head-Smashed-in-Buffalo-Jump .

Best time to go: This is one of the best road trips from Calgary and is best done between May and October.

Parque Nacional de Banff

Banff to Vancouver via the Trans-Canada Highway

While the Trans-Canada Highway can take you across the entire country, the most beautiful part, in our opinion, is from Calgary to Vancouver . After just an hour or so, you’ll arrive in Banff with nothing but gorgeous scenery for the remainder of the drive. This 900-kilometre slice of the Trans-Canada takes you through Banff National Park, Yoho National Park, Mount Revelstoke National Park, Glacier National Park of Canada, and finally into Vancouver, which is nestled next to the Pacific Ocean. While this drive can be done in one very long 12-hour day, you’ll obviously want to take as long as possible to make use of the incredible national parks you’ll be driving through. There are also a number of side trips you could take, such as highway 93 down into Radium Hot Springs, and Highway 97, which will take you down to Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley.

Tour Idea: Click here for a Smartphone Audio Driving Tour Offer .

Best time to go: This largely depends on what you aim to do. The safest time to go is during the warmer months when the highways are clear. However, if you’re into skiing, this is one of the best places in the world to shred powder, which is typically best between January and March.

For more tips on what to bring on a road trip, check out our Road Trip Essentials article.

There are so many things to do in Kelowna, which is why it makes such a great Canada road trip.

Road Trip around the Okanagan Valley, BC

While the Okanagan Valley isn’t really known as a specific “road trip”, it is home to one of Canada’s most famous wine regions, a gastronomic hot spot, and beautiful Lake Okanagan. There are all sorts of beautiful towns to visit, such as Kelowna , Penticton, and Vernon. There are all sorts of award-winning wineries, farm-to-table restaurants, and sandy beaches as well. This also happens to be one of Canada’s warmest regions, which can hit 40 degrees Celcius in the summer months.

Best time to go:  June to September for the warmest temperatures. April, May, and October are also great and a bit cooler.

best things to do in bc

Sea to Sky Highway, BC

This is the shortest road trip mentioned in this article but a great one to take if you’re in the Vancouver area. The Sea to Sky Highway links Vancouver to Whistler, which are less than two hours apart, making this one of the most popular road trips from Vancouver. Driving along the coast, this is a great place to see the beautiful west coast. Popular stops include Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver, Shannon Falls, and the Britannia Mine Museum. There’s also the Sea-to-Sky Gondola, which provides unforgettable views and a suspension bridge and of course, Squamish and Whistler, which provide all sorts of adventurous activities. In addition, don’t forget to experience Vancouver whale watching while in the city as well as all the other fun things to do in Vancouver .

Tour Idea: Sea-to-Sky Gondola and Whistler Day Trip Tour .

Best time to go:  July to September is Vancouver’s dry season, but if the rain doesn’t bother you, almost any time of year is good. If you’re into skiing or snowboarding, January to March is best.

things to do on vancouver island

Vancouver Island, BC

Vancouver Island is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in Canada and is home to some of the best things to do in British Columbia . Not only does it have one of the mildest climates in the country, but it’s also home to a variety of landscapes, including rainforests, mountains, rugged coastlines, and scenic towns and cities, making it a great place for a BC road trip. It’s also home to beautiful gardens, epic hikes, surfing, scuba diving, and whale-watching tours. Two of the most popular places to visit include Victoria and Tofino, which are on opposite sides of the island. While driving between the two, don’t forget to stop at Cathedral Grove to marvel at the massive trees as well as the many other parks and towns along the way. Finish the trip with one of Tofino’s stunning sunsets.

Best time to go: a West Coast road trip is best between March to May and September to November. Summer is great too but is very busy and expensive.

Before you go, check out our article about things to do in Victoria BC .

One of the most adventurous Canada road trips is the Dempster Highway and this is how to drive the Dempster highway

Dempster Highway, Yukon

As Canada’s only all-weather road that goes past the Arctic Circle, the Dempster Highway has become one of the most unique road trips in Canada. However, this is not your average highway. The Dempster Highway is a 700-kilometre extremely isolated dirt road with only one service station (they also offer accommodation and a restaurant) option along the way in Eagle Plains. This road trip takes a little more preparation than the others and will be much harder on your vehicle than any other road trip mentioned in this article. However, for those who choose this adventure, you’ll be rewarded with incredible arctic scenery and the chance to drive all the way to Tuktoyaktuk and the Arctic Ocean!

Best time to go: The best time to go would be in the warmer months between May and early October. The road is open year-round but the driving becomes much more dangerous in the winter. Spring will bring a lot of bugs, summer will bring a lot of tourists, and the fall has no bugs and beautiful fall foliage (hint: our favourite time is the fall). However, if you time your arrival in Inuvik for mid-July, you might be able to experience the Great Northern Arts Festival.

These are the best views of niagara falls Ontario Canada. Located close to Toronto and Ottawa, Niagara Falls is a great place to visit during a Canada road trip.

Georgian Bay Coastal Route, Ontario

Looking for one of the best road trips from Toronto? With more than 30,000 islands and over 2,000 kilometres (1,243 miles) of shoreline, the Georgian Bay Coastal Route loops around the Bay from Toronto and features some of Ontario’s most stunning scenery. Some of the most popular stops include the Bruce Peninsula, Parry Sound, and Killarney Provincial Park. There’s also beautiful Manitoulin Island, which is the world’s largest freshwater island, as well as Wasaga Beach, which is the world’s largest freshwater beach.

In addition, you could also extend the road trip and add in the Chatham-Kent Corridor, which is comprised of 23 small communities overlooking Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, and the Thames River. Basically, it goes from Toronto to Amherstburg, which makes this one of the most popular road trips from Toronto. This route is popular with motorcyclists but is equally impressive on four wheels. Without a doubt, the most famous stop along the way is Niagara Falls Canada .

Best time to go: Summer is great but also busy. Shoulder season in late August to mid-September or in the spring from May to June is also great. Either way, this is one of the best things to do in Ontario .

If you like lakes, the lake superior circle tour is a great Canada road trip.

Lake Superior Circle Tour, Ontario

While the entire Lake Superior Circle Tour takes you to both Canada and the USA, you could opt to do a half-circle tour and just stay on the Canadian side. Either way, it’s a beautiful drive and a really cool place to get out in nature. Lake Superior is absolutely massive and will make you feel as if you’re driving alongside the ocean. It’s home to some incredible scenery as well as some interesting history from the war between Canada and the USA. In fact, you can even go scuba diving to see shipwrecks. Popular stops include Sault Ste. Marie, Lake Superior Provincial Park, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Ruby Lake Provincial Park, Pukaskwa National Park, and Thunder Bay. This is one of those places where you should plan to spend at least a few days and perhaps go camping, hiking, or enjoy some time on the lake. It’s a great road trip in Ontario for those who love the outdoors.

Best time to go: The warmer months from May to October. July and August will be the busiest. Before going, don’t forget to enjoy one of the many awesome things to do in Toronto !

things to do in quebec

Montreal to Gaspé Peninsula, Quebec

For those wanting to experience a world-class city like Montreal, followed by a scenic road trip, the Gaspe Peninsula is the one for you. This 9-hour trip takes you along the St. Lawrence River, from Montreal to Quebec City, and up to the Gaspé Peninsula. Known for its pine forests and looming cliffs, the Gaspé Peninsula is a stunning place to visit. Some of the highlights include visiting the pierced rock in Percé, spending some time at the Parc de la Gaspésie, and taking a boat tour to Bonaventure Island. Obviously, the cities of Quebec and Montreal aren’t so shabby either. This is a great road trip for those wanting to mix urban and rural fun.

Best time to go:  June to mid-September. Want more? Here are other things to do in Quebec as well as the top things to do in Montreal .

best things to do in prince edward island

Prince Edward Island Coastal Drives

With so many beautiful coastal drives, the hardest thing might be picking the right one. Then again, you could always do all three. The tourism board has three road trips they recommend, which include the North Coast Coastal Drive, Central Coastal Drive, and Points East Coastal Drive. The North Coast will introduce you to its Mi’kmaq culture as well as some unique stops, including a potato museum and a college for the Highland arts. The Central Coastal Drive includes the Red Sands Shore and the Green Gables Shore region. This area is great to experience the beautiful red sand that PEI is famous for as well as the historical landmark of Anne of Green Gables. Lastly, there’s the Points East Coastal Drive, which is characterized by its parks, trails, and lighthouses. Either way, you’ll be treated to an array of stunning coastal views and delicious seafood along the way.

Best time to go:  The Eastern Canada road trip is best in the warmer months, as many attractions close in the winter. Want more ideas? Here are other things to do in Prince Edward Island .

Cabot Trail Nova Scotia

Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia

For those visiting the East Coast, don’t miss a scenic drive on Cabot Trail, which is easily one of the best things to do in Nova Scotia . Cradling the coast of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, the Cabot Trail has become one of the most famous road trips in Canada and the most famous East Coast Canada road trip. At 300 kilometres in length, most of which hug the coastline, this road trip is perfect for those who love the ocean and incredible views. Traversing through Cape Breton Highlands National Park, there are all sorts of places to stop off and go for a hike as well. One of the most popular hikes is the Skyline Trail, which takes you up to the peak of the highlands for jaw-dropping views of the Atlantic Ocean. There are also some small communities of Celtic and Acadian descent, which are also home to many artisans. This is another road trip that only takes 3-4 hours to complete but is better done over one day or more.

Tour Idea: Click here to learn about a low-cost Smartphone Audio Driving Tour .

Best time to go: June to September is best for good weather but October is great to see the fall foliage.

Spending more time in Nova Scotia? Don’t forget to enjoy some of the best things to do in Halifax !

Gros Morne National Park Hiking

The Viking Trail and Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland

Known to locals as “The Rock”, Newfoundland is one of the most unique and beautiful provinces in Canada. It has its lively music, food, culture, and a really friendly laid-back charm. It’s also a great place for a Canada road trip thanks to Gros Morne National Park and the Viking Trail. In fact, there are many great road trips in Newfoundland but this one stands out as the best. If you’re looking for incredible scenery, wildlife, adventure, and ancient history, there’s no better place to go. It all starts with Gros Morne National Park, which is home to landlocked fjords, mountains, forests, barren cliffs, and the sea. It’s also home to the only place in the world where you can walk on the Earth’s mantle. There’s also loads of wildlife, including moose and caribou. Then there’s the Viking Trail , which takes you from Gros Morne National Park up to St. Anthony’s. This is the tip of Newfoundland and home to the thousand-year-old Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site. Both Gros Morne and L’Anse aux Meadows are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Best time to go: June to early October is the best time for good weather. It’s also the only time L’Anse aux Meadows is open. For more, check out our article on the best things to do in Newfoundland

icefields parkway canada

Road Trip Canada – Canada’s Trans-Canada Highway

The Trans-Canada Highway is the most epic and incredibly long road trip you can take in Canada. It stretches across the country through all 10 provinces. Starting in Victoria, it ends in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Some of the (many) highlights awaiting road-trippers include Vancouver, Banff National Park , the Alberta Badlands, Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec City, Montreal, Fundy National Park, and Gros Morne National Park, just to name a few. In fact, there are far too many highlights to include here. Just make sure you have a lot of time. Stopping only to sleep, this trip will take approximately 7 days. Personally, I’d want at least one month to do the whole journey from coast to coast. Add in an additional 2-4 weeks if you plan on going North to the Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

Best time to go:  April to October for optimal weather coast to coast. However, some parts of Canada still get snowstorms up until May.

We hope this list has inspired you to take a Canada road trip somewhere in this country, if not all the way across.

If you’re exploring Canada, we have many other articles you might enjoy as well, including:

  • Things to Do in Drumheller
  • Things to Do in Jasper
  • Whale Watching Canada
  • Things to Do in Calgary
  • Camping in Alberta

Happy Travels!

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13 Canada Road Trip Ideas

About Matthew G. Bailey

Matthew G. Bailey is the founder and editor-in-chief of Must Do Canada. Growing up in Alberta to a mother from Quebec and a father from Newfoundland, Matt spent his childhood playing hockey under the Northern Lights and hanging out in the forest before moving to Calgary and travelling to more than 250 cities spanning 42 countries and 6 continents. He loves travel, learning new things, playing sports, writing, making videos, photography, and scuba diving. You can also find him at LiveLimitless.net .

Reader Interactions

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March 18, 2020 at 5:18 am

Traveling by car can get you places which can be very difficult to reach by public transport or tour. It gives you the convenience of going your own way, in your own time, and it can often be cheaper than public transport alternatives, especially if traveling as a couple or a group. Many car rental services are giving comfortable rides at affordable rates Here, some top road trip ideas to inspire you : 1) The Trans-Canada Highway 2) Sea to Sky Country, British Columbia 3) Icefields Parkway, Alberta 4) Country Routes, Quebec 5) The Dempster Highway, Yukon and Northwest Territories 6) Coastal Drives, Prince Edward Island

I mentioned above places are when I visited last time in Canada by ReRyde ride share service. It is easy for me to travel all the places at affordable rates within the scheduled hours. I enjoyed my trip happily by seamless ride To get more information: https://www.reryde.com/

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June 9, 2020 at 7:33 pm

I am especially interested in the Dempster Highway drive. Could you send me a guide please?

Mike Richins 325-660-8904

5058 Oaklawn Drive Abilene, Texas 79606

' src=

June 10, 2020 at 3:23 pm

We don’t have any guides to sell. We might create a digital one, but it wouldn’t be ready anytime soon.

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June 24, 2020 at 8:56 pm

I’m looking for some good road trips as I’m RVing from Kingston, Ontario to Vancouver Island in September and taking a month to do it.

June 25, 2020 at 1:23 am

Oh awesome, that sounds like a great trip. So much to see along the way. Riding Mountain NP, Grasslands NP in Sask, Calgary, the Rocky Mountains, etc 🙂

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September 9, 2020 at 6:37 pm

My wife and I are planning to drive from Surrey BC to London Ontario. Leaving October 9th, or 10th 2020. wish me luck. we are hoping for good weather.

September 9, 2020 at 7:16 pm

Very cool! That’s a big drive! Just going for fun?

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January 30, 2021 at 8:32 pm

There is the Northern Woods and Water Highway road trip that is the furthest North people can travel east west in Canada. See the website http://www.NWWR.ca As an Association we promote a different view of the prairies. It can be connected with the TransCanada or Yellowhead for a circle tour of Western Canada from Winnipeg to Vancouver and return. Get on anywhere and experience woods, water and wildlife.

February 1, 2021 at 3:56 pm

Very cool! Thanks for sharing! Are you like a Tourism Board for the area? We’d love to feature this one day on the channel

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April 28, 2021 at 5:12 pm

just got some new wheels so anxious to hit the road….when we can once again do that! thanks for the great ideas!

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April 3, 2023 at 9:01 pm

Do you have suggestions for renting a car that would allow you to rent the car on the west coast and leave it on the east coast?

April 4, 2023 at 1:51 pm

Not really. Some do allow that though for a fee. Sometimes you can book it this way through a site like Rentalcars.com, Expedia, etc.

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Coastal road in Canada

How to plan the ultimate road trip adventure in Canada

Whether along polar highways, coastal roads or through the rainforest, taking a road trip in Canada is to encounter some of the world’s most spectacular natural sights 

Canada is one of the rare places on Earth where wide, well-maintained roads carve their way through remote, uncompromised wilderness. Behind the wheel of a car, you can skirt the icy feet of glaciers, wind through forests populated by foraging megafauna, climb Rocky Mountain slopes and explore storm-sculpted coastlines, where ocean waves are plied by migrating cetaceans. Adventurous travellers can even explore the all-season Dempster Highway, which runs from boreal wilderness north through the Arctic Circle and on to the stark polar coastline.

It’s for this reason that road trips are not to be rushed in Canada, a country that’s home to the second-longest national highway in the world. Scenic A-to-B drives are a thrill in themselves, but the joy of making it this far into the wilds is allowing plenty of time to get out and explore. After all, across provinces and territories like British Columbia and the Yukon, there are near-endless opportunities for mountain hiking, wild swimming in remote lakes, white-water paddling in a dugout canoe or back-country cycling under endless skies. In Nova Scotia, meanwhile, lighthouses lead drivers to coastal villages, where roadside inns serve seafood chowders to ancient recipes and words are still spoken in French Acadian and Scottish dialects. To get where your car or feet won’t reach, fly-and-drive opportunities abound. In British Columbia, seaplanes fly low above Pacific temperate rainforests and rugged coastlines, gently setting down on lakes for a spot of bear-watching. Over in the Yukon, small excursion planes access stellar sights like Kluane National Park, which has the world’s largest non-polar ice fields.  

Motorhomes and RVs are another popular travel choice, allowing your accommodation to come right along with you where it may otherwise be scant — and the country’s regions and territories have plenty of campgrounds that supply vehicles with power and water. There’s a lot to be said for camping in Canada, be it with a motorhome, the pre-set tents and cabins often available for rent in national parks, or a simple sleeping bag, as long as you follow local guidelines about wildlife and safety. You can expect evenings entirely devoid of light pollution, lit with a dazzling canopy of stars and — season and northerly latitude depending — a never-setting sun or heavenly displays from the Northern Lights.  

View of Dawson City's greenery and rivers

Itinerary 1: British Columbia

Start: Vancouver Finish: Tofino Distance: 410 miles Time: 7 to 10 days

The great outdoors? Make that the greatest. British Columbia, on the west coast of Canada, has all the ingredients to set any wilderness-lover’s pulse racing, from driftwood-strewn beaches to vast forests of evergreen giants, under whose canopies you’ll experience the hush and reverence of a cathedral. It’s here that some of planet Earth’s most charismatic creatures roam: galumphing grizzlies, skittish black bears, cougars and even elusive coastal wolves, which pick their way between glacier-fed inlets to feast on the Pacific’s larder.  

To get into the thick of it you must first pass through Vancouver, the province’s largest city — and surely a contender for the most scenic on the planet, above which floatplanes circle like honeybees over a hive. Amid the totem poles and skyscrapers in and around Stanley Park is one of Canada’s most exciting food scenes, known for innovative fine dining and hyper-local dishes. You can budget a week to take in the city and west coast of Vancouver Island, but it’s worth tacking on a few days to add one of the country’s most scenic routes to the itinerary: the aptly named Sea to Sky Highway, which winds up to the mountain resort of Whistler. After a ferry hop across the Strait of Georgia, island life awaits, with the soaring cedars of Cathedral Grove, windswept beaches and boardwalked trails of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, and pretty Tofino, the laid-back surfer town few ever want to leave.

Large totem poles in the park

Six highlights in British Columbia

1. Vancouver Vancouver sits in all its glassy glory between peaks and sea, with the old-growth forests of Stanley Park at its heart. Search for its nine Indigenous totem poles, then the choice is yours: seek out the new constellation of Michelin stars or slip south in search of spicy wontons on the Richmond Dumpling Trail.

2. Whistler The Sea to Sky Highway climbs up from Vancouver with rock walls on one side, the Pacific on the other and nothing ahead but sky. Make for Whistler, home to North America’s biggest ski resort and a hiking hotspot, and visit the Whistler Train Wreck, which has turned the site of a rail accident into a graffiti venue. Time your trip back into town with dusk for the best chance of spotting black bears.

3.   Nanaimo   The rest of the trip is on Vancouver Island, which can be reached via a 30-mile ferry crossing from the mainland to the town of Nanaimo. Stick around to try a classic Canadian treat, the Nanaimo bar (coconut crumbs, custard icing and chocolate ganache). It was invented here, and there’s even a trail to tick off all varieties in town.

4. Cathedral Grove   En route to the coast, the highway runs through MacMillan Provincial Park. Fringing both sides of the road is one of the world’s few easily accessible stands of old-growth temperate rainforest, where you can stroll along fern-lined trails between mammoth trunks and branches draped with lichen.

5. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve Head on and through Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, a protected swathe of evergreens protruding on rocky fingers into the Pacific. Wander by Long Beach, best known for surfing and storm-watching, or head into the forest tracing the pawprints of coastal wolves.  

6. Tofino A town of First Nations art galleries and surf shacks at what feels like the edge of the world, Tofino is as chilled as it is picturesque. End the journey at Long Beach Lodge Resort, where cottages peek out from spruce trees a few steps from the coast. longbeachlodgeresort.com

The Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver at dusk

Itinerary 2: Yukon

Start: Whitehorse Finish: Latitude 66° 33’ Arctic Circle Distance: 605 miles Time: 7 to 10 days

There’s nowhere like the Yukon for feeling like a pioneer-era explorer. Reaching above the Arctic Circle and dotted with gold rush towns, glacier-topped mountains and highways through boreal wilderness, this northerly territory is over three times the size of England, populated with far more creatures of fur and fin than people.  

Start in Whitehorse, the local capital city and travel hub, where the great Alaska and Klondike Highways meet. Then, it’s on to Dawson City, rich in gold rush history, and up the Dempster Highway — Canada’s only all-season public access road to the Arctic Circle — before tracing your route back to the start. Even allowing seven to 10 days for this itinerary, drives between major stops can take up to six hours, so plan ahead to access garages, shops and service suppliers in the larger towns and cities. On the plus side, there will be plenty of spectacular places to stretch your legs. The looped hiking trails at Five Finger Rapids between Whitehorse and Dawson, for example, take in mountaintop panoramas with the chance to kayak and canoe.  

And if all that’s not enough, Haines Junction, just under two hours west of Whitehorse, is a great addition to either end of this itinerary. Here, short flightseeing trips take you over the world’s largest non-polar ice fields: the glaciers of Kluane National Park.

A caribou standing in the snow

Five highlights in the Yukon

1. Whitehorse   The 1890s encampment on the Yukon River’s White Horse Rapids has grown into the Yukon’s lively capital. Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters has artisan brews and bike hire, perfect for freewheeling the Waterfront Trail spanning the city. Next, explore the SS Klondike , a 19th-century boat-cum-museum revealing the scale of the region’s gold rush, and enjoy the wild game menu at Klondike Rib & Salmon, which is housed in the city’s oldest operating building. Nearby, Yukon Wildlife Preserve , Emerald Lake, Miles Canyon and Takhini Hot Springs offer further action and adventure.

2. Dawson City   Make sure you have a full tank of petrol: it’s around a six-hour drive to the next stop. You can top up on food an hour in at Braeburn Lodge , famed for its delicious, dinner-plate-sized cinnamon buns. Your destination, the atmospheric frontier town of Dawson City, has welcomed both dignitaries and the desperate over the centuries, including pioneer-era author Jack London, whose wood cabin is now a museum . Take in this national historic site’s old theatres, clapboard houses and saloon bars on a walking tour. A must-see is the Sourdough Saloon, located in The Downtown hotel, which serves the infamous Sourtoe Cocktail (a strong alcohol of your choice, with a preserved human toe in it). Just beyond town, the Klondike fields are where Canada’s gold rush began in 1896. Try gold-panning at Discovery Claim National Historic Site and get a view of it all from Midnight Dome lookout; during the colder months, the panorama is often lit by the Aurora Borealis.

3. Dempster Highway   Wind your way along the Dempster Highway through remote tundra towards the dramatic wilderness of Tombstone Territorial Park, about an hour north of the Dempster Corner turnoff. Named for its craggy granite peak, the park is populated by wind-carved mountains and scenic viewpoints like North Fork Pass and Two Moose Lake. Numerous trails crisscross this ‘Patagonia of the North’.

4. Eagle Plains   The road winds along the Ogilvie River Valley then climbs to the Eagle Plains plateau for spectacular views of the region. This is more or less halfway along the Dempster Highway, before it heads into the Northwest Territories. Eagle Plains Hotel , the only one for many miles, is a hub for travellers to exchange tales from the road and refuel (try the double-decker Arctic burger). The town also has an RV park and campground.

5. Latitude 66° 33’ Arctic Circle   You’ve reached the end of your journey — and what an end it is. Just an hour’s drive north of Eagle Plains is latitude 66˚ 33’N, better known as the Arctic Circle, marked by a roadside sign. Despite its icy connotations, it can surprise visitors: in midsummer, the sun circles the sky but never sets; in autumn (August to September), the Richardson Mountains are ablaze with fiery colours. For those keen to complete the route, it’s six hours or more to the town of Inuvik, with the Arctic Ocean a further three hours’ drive away.  

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Nomadic Matt: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Better

Canada Road Trip: A One Month Suggested Itinerary

People canoeing on the bright, clear waters of Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

Spanning 9,306km (5,780 miles) and six time zones, Canada is the second-largest country in the world. It’s home to rugged coastlines, vast prairies, dense boreal forests, towering mountain ranges, and upwards of two million lakes.

But what makes Canada special is its people. It’s a place that embraces its diversity and that encourages people to be friendly, caring, and polite.

Due to its large size, though, traveling across Canada can be a little challenging. Domestic flights are prohibitively expensive due to low competition and, outside of the eastern part, trains don’t go many places.

That means if you really want to see Canada, you need to drive.

To help you explore this amazing country, Chris Oldfield, our Canadian team member , helped create this suggested itinerary for a one-month road trip. It’s packed, since you’ve got a lot of ground to cover. However, it’s also not too rushed (though you can easily extend this out to six or eight weeks as well).

(Note: Canada is huge, and there are many routes and itineraries you can take. This one is by no means comprehensive but instead meant to give you a good overview and introduction to the main cities and sights.)  

Days 1-3: Vancouver, BC

The towering skyline of Vancouver, Canada overlooking the ocean

It’s also the third-largest city in Canada, so there’s plenty to see and do while you’re here. There’s an amazing foodie scene here too.

Here are a few suggestions to help you start your trip off right:

  • Visit Granville Island – Granville Island is a shopping district in the middle of the city. It’s also a hub for foodies. Explore the public market, grab a beer at Granville Island Brewing Company, and wander the cool shops. There are also galleries, some performing arts venues, and all kinds of events and festivals held here too!
  • Enjoy the view from Grouse Mountain – Ride the gondola to the top, where you can enjoy the view over the metropolis and mountains. There are lots of trails for hiking in the summer and sections for skiing and snowboarding in the winter. You can also hike to the top (which takes 1.5–2 hours) and then take the gondola down for just $15 CAD.
  • Relax in Stanley Park – Located in the heart of the city, this enormous park (a 400-hectare natural rain forest) is a perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown. Its waterfront path right on the Pacific is a nice place to go for a stroll, swim, or bike ride. There are also sports fields here and over 20km of trails.
  • Walk the Capilano Suspension Bridge – This 450-foot long suspension bridge stands 230 feet high and offers views of the surrounding forests and trails. I don’t love heights, but it’s worth it for the view! Tickets are $54 CAD.

For more suggestions, here’s a detailed list of things to see and do in Vancouver .

Where to Stay

  • Cambie Hostel Gastown – Located in the historic Gastown district, this hostel has comfortable beds, a small common room for hanging out, and access to The Cambie, the hostel’s bar.
  • HI Vancouver Downtown – Tucked into a quieter part of town, HI Vancouver Downtown is in a good location for exploring the popular Granville and Davie Streets, which offer plenty of cafés, bars, clubs, restaurants, and shopping.
  • Samesun Vancouver – With cozy pod beds, clean bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, and free breakfast (including eggs and hot cereal), this is my favorite hostel in the city.

Here is my complete hostel list with even more suggestions!  

Day 4-5: Whistler, BC

A calm lake with a small floating dock near Whistler, BC, Canada

In the summer, there are tons of outdoor activities to enjoy such as hiking, swimming, cycling, zip-lining, and bear watching. There’s also a 4.4km peak-to-peak gondola where you can enjoy the stunning mountain vistas that envelop the region.

Where to Stay Airbnb and Booking.com will be your best choices here. Book in advance, as they get booked fast!  

Days 6-8: Banff National Park, AB

The vivid waters of Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta

Banff is home to two of Canada’s most picturesque (and most Instagrammed) locations: Moraine Lake and Lake Louise. They are incredibly popular sights, so get there early to beat the crowds.

Beyond snapping some Insta-worthy shots, there is plenty of hiking to enjoy in the surrounding mountains. It’s a beautiful place to relax in a rustic lodge or cabin or go camping (you can rent camping gear if you don’t have any).

Be sure to spend some time in the town of Banff as well. It’s a touristy resort town but it’s also super quaint and charming.

Where to Stay Airbnb will be your best option if you’re on a budget. If you feel like splurging on a luxury resort or lodge, use Booking.com .

For camping, you can use this government website to book a site in the park.

Note : If you have more than a month for your trip, consider a stop in Jasper National Park before heading to Banff. It’s an extra nine-hour drive from Whistler but the natural beauty here is jaw-dropping (seriously, google “Jasper National Park” — it’s stunning!).  

Days 9-10: Calgary, AB

The towering skyline of Calgary, Alberta during sunset

Here are a few things to see and do during your visit:

  • Attend the Calgary Stampede – The Calgary Stampede is an annual rodeo. Expect chuckwagon races, bull riding, concerts, carnival rides, and endless fair food (deep-fried butter, anyone?). Tickets start at $18 CAD.
  • Visit Fish Creek Provincial Park – Fish Creek sits along the Bow River and is perfect for walking, cycling, and rollerblading. In the summer, people come here to fish, swim, and barbecue. It’s a fun, relaxing place to get some exercise and enjoy the weather.
  • Go brewery-hopping – Calgary has a huge number of brewpubs and small craft breweries. Citizen Brewing Company, Cold Garden Beverage Company, and Big Rock are some of my favorites. You can take brewery tours for around $25 CAD or do a brewery tour for around $90 CAD.
  • Take in the view from Calgary Tower – Built in 1967, the Calgary Tower commemorates Canada’s Centennial. From the top, it offers an uninterrupted view of the Rocky Mountains. The observation deck has a glass floor that adds an extra thrill to your visit (if you like heights, that is). Tickets are $18 CAD.

For more suggestions, check out my comprehensive free guide to Calgary!

  • HI Calgary City Centre – This is the best hostel in the city. It’s newly renovated, has a full-equipped kitchen, includes towels, and the beds are comfy.

If the hostel is booked, use Airbnb . Be sure to book in advance if you’ll be here for the Stampede.  

Days 11-12: Regina, SK

The small city of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada in the summer

Home to under 240,000 people, Regina is a small city that’s worth a quick visit. Here are some suggested things to see and do while you’re here:

  • Visit the Royal Saskatchewan Museum – This natural history museum was opened in 1906 and is home to the world’s largest T. rex cast as well as an insightful exhibition on Canada’s First Nations. It’s an educational place to visit if you’re traveling with kids.
  • Watch the Roughriders – The CFL (Canada’s answer to the NFL) is popular here as Regina is home to one of the league’s best teams, the Roughriders. If you’re visiting between June and November, catch a game at Mosaic Stadium and get rowdy with the locals! Tickets start at $32 CAD.
  • Tour the Legislative Building – The Saskatchewan Legislative Building was built in 1912. It’s a National Historic Site and Heritage Property and is home to one of the tables used by the Fathers of Confederation when they drew up their plans to create a united Canada. Take a guided tour (they last around 30 minutes) and learn about the province’s history.

Where to Stay Airbnb and Booking.com will be your best choices here, depending on your budget and what kind of accommodation you’re looking for.  

Days 13-14: Winnipeg, MB

The city of Winnipeg, Canada during the warm summer months

While it’s known for its harsh winters, Winnipeg has been working hard to evolve into a world-class city. Slowly but surely, it’s succeeding. Stop by for a day or two and check out some of the city’s best sights:

  • See the Canadian Museum for Human Rights – This museum highlights the crises and evolution of human rights in Canada and around the globe. Opened in 2008, it’s the only national museum outside of Ottawa.
  • Watch the Blue Bombers – For more CFL action, catch a Blue Bombers game. The team was founded in 1930 and is one of the best in the league.
  • Explore the Forks National Historic Site – This urban park is a relaxing place to read or have a picnic. At the intersection of two rivers, it was historically significant for trade between indigenous people and Europeans, with human settlement going back as far as 6,000 years.
  • Visit the Royal Canadian Mint – If you’re a collector or are just curious how coins are made, stop by the mint. It’s made over 55 billion coins for 75 different countries. Over 1,000 coins are made every second here! Tours are $8 CAD.

Where to Stay If you’re on a budget, try Airbnb first. If you’re looking for a hotel, Booking.com has the best rates.  

Days 15-16: Thunder Bay, ON

The coastal view of Lake Superior from Sleeping Giant Park

Tucked away on the edge of Lake Superior, Thunder Bay is one of the biggest cities in Northern Ontario. It’s just an hour from the US border and is one of the sunniest cities in Eastern Canada.

Here are some things to see and do while you’re here:

  • See the Terry Fox Monument – In 1980, cancer-survivor Terry Fox set out to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. He did so on just one leg (he lost the other to cancer). He managed to run for 143 days straight (5,373km, or 3,339 miles) before his cancer returned and he had to call off his quest.
  • Go hiking in Sleeping Giant – Sleeping Giant Provincial Park is located on Lake Superior and offers 80km of hiking trails, including both short day hikes and multi-day routes.
  • Visit Fort William Historical Park – This park is where the reconstructed Fort William is located, a fur trading post from 1816. There’s a traditional blacksmith, cooper, and canoe builder, and you can interact with actors playing the various people you would have met here in the 19th century.

Where to Stay Airbnb doesn’t have many options here, but if you can find one, they start at $45 CAD per night. For hotels and motels, use Booking.com .  

Days 17-19: Algonquin Provincial Park, ON

A sweeping vista of forests in Algonquin Park in Ontario, Canada

There are several different campgrounds in the park, dozens of hiking trails, and over 1,500 lakes (it’s massive!). You can also rent canoes and kayaks to explore and go deeper into the park. Multi-day portages are possible too.

Even if you’re a newbie camper and don’t have gear, you’ll be able to rent what you need to have an enjoyable, relaxing getaway for under $50 CAD per day.

Days 20-23: Toronto, ON

The iconic skyline of Toronto, Canada as seen from the island

There’s a ton to see and do here. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:

  • Relax on Toronto Island – Spend an inexpensive day at Toronto Island Park and enjoy the beach, play volleyball, have a picnic, and take in the view of the city from the water.
  • Visit the ROM – The Royal Ontario Museum has thousands of artifacts and specimens spread over 20 exhibits. There are displays on dinosaurs, ancient China, indigenous Canadians, medieval Europe, ancient Egypt, and more. It’s the best museum in town and a fun place for kids and adults alike!
  • Hit the beach – The beaches near Lake Ontario are a relaxing way to spend the day during the humid summer. You can stroll along the boardwalk, eat at one of the many restaurants, or rent a boat and head out on the lake. Some of the best beaches are Cherry, Woodbine, and Centre Island.
  • Wander Kensington Market – This bohemian neighborhood offers an eclectic mix of alternative restaurants and shops. It gets quite bustling in the summer, and there are often free concerts too. It’s one of my favorite places to wander around!

For more suggestions as well as money-saving tips, check out my free guide to Toronto!

Where to Stay Hotels in Toronto are expensive, so use Airbnb if you’re on a budget. If you do want to stay in a hostel, Planet Traveler Hostel is the best in the city.  

Days 24-26: Ottawa, ON

The Canadian parliament building in Ottawa, Ontario

Located four hours from Toronto , it’s is full of historic buildings and museums, and is just a short walk from Québec (Canada’s French-speaking province).

Here’s what I would focus on in Ottawa during your stay:

  • Wander the Byward Market – This massive market is full of restaurants, shops, and open-air stalls. There is a lot happening all year round, though in the summer it’s bustling with fresh produce and many local artisans. If you’re looking for a souvenir or just want to people-watch, this is the place!
  • Visit the Canadian Museum of Civilization – While technically not in Ottawa (it’s across the river in Québec), this world-class museum is one of the best in all of Canada. It does an amazing job of showcasing Canada’s entire history, including some insightful exhibitions on First Nations. There are lots of kid-friendly exhibits too. This museum shouldn’t be missed!
  • Try a beaver tail – These are not actual beaver tails, don’t worry! They’re delectable desserts resembling a flat donut, made of fried dough and covered in all sorts of sweet toppings. They’re a must!
  • Visit the Canadian War Museum – Canada is known as a peaceful nation, but it’s been involved in its fair share of conflicts too. This museum does an excellent job of highlighting Canada’s military history. It has exhibits on both world wars as well as modern conflicts Canada has been engaged in.
  • Skate on the Rideau Canal – Every winter, the Rideau Canal is frozen over and turned into a massive skating rink that stretches for miles (it’s the longest skating rink in the world). If you’re visiting during the winter, you can rent skates for around $20 CAD if you don’t have your own.
  • Ottawa Backpackers Hostel – This laid-back hostel has some of the cheapest accommodation in the city. The dorms are spacious, it’s social, and it’s right near the Byward Market.
  • HI Ottawa Jail Hostel – This hostel is located in a former jail. The rooms are small (they’re former cells), but it’s an incredibly unique space — and a little spooky too!

Days 27-30: Montreal, QC

The skyline of Montreal, Canada in the summer

Personally, I think it’s one of the best cities in Canada. The Old Town looks like something straight out of medieval France, and the French-inspired cuisine and eclectic nightlife (especially the jazz clubs) leave little to dislike.

Here are my suggestions for things to see and do while you’re here:

  • Wander Old Montreal – This is the most attractive part of town. It has cobblestone streets, and its historic gray-stone buildings date back to the 1700s. Some of the city’s finest museums and art galleries (such as the Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History) are here too.
  • Hike Mount Royal – For a view over Montreal, hike up Mount Royal (after which the city is named). You can also jog, picnic, or just people-watch around the park too. It’s a relaxing green space.
  • Visit the Notre-Dame Basilica – This 17th-century Gothic Revival basilica has dual towers that are reminiscent of Notre-Dame in Paris. Its interior is stunning and full of religious paintings, colorful stained glass windows, and gold-leaf decoration. There’s also a 7,000-pipe organ. A 60-minute tour costs $15 CAD.
  • See the Museum of Fine Arts – This huge museum has over 43,000 works of art. There are both permanent galleries and rotating exhibitions, so there’s always something new to see. Admission is $24 CAD.

For more suggestions, as well as money-saving tips, check out my guide to Montreal!

  • HI Montreal – HI Montreal is just a two-minute walk from the metro, offers both dorms and private rooms, and has a pool table. There’s also free breakfast and daily activities, including bike tours, walks, a pub crawl, and even poutine tastings!
  • Alternative Hostel of Old Montreal – Located in the historic area of town and a short jaunt to the city center, it has an eclectic and artsy vibe. Free breakfast is included, and there are plenty of common areas for relaxing and meeting other travelers.

Here are some other great hostel suggestions too!

This is a packed itinerary, but with a month at your disposal, you’ll be able to experience the majority of Canada’s sights and cities without having to rush. With an additional 10-21 days, you can add more of Québec and the Maritimes, Canada’s rugged and picturesque east coast (or simply spend more time in the destinations above).

No matter what you decide, Canada is such a massive, diverse landscape and it truly has something for everyone. While this itinerary only covers a portion of Canada, it does give you a peek into just how awesome it is!

Book Your Trip to Canada: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned!

Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

  • Safety Wing (for everyone below 70)
  • Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
  • Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)

Need a Rental Car? Discover Cars is a budget-friendly international car rental website. No matter where you’re headed, they’ll be able to find the best — and cheapest — rental for your trip!

Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.

Want More Information on Canada? Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Canada for even more planning tips!

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Hi, I’m Nomadic Matt, the New York Times best-selling author of How to Travel the World on $50 a Day and Ten Years a Nomad, as well as the founder of this website! And I’m here to help you save money on your next trip.

Got a comment on this article? Join the conversation on Facebook , Instagram , or Twitter and share your thoughts!

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I use and the income goes to keeping the site community supported and ad free.

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The charming streets of old Montreal, Canada in summer

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Tips for getting on the road in Canada

Sep 16, 2020 • 6 min read

Icefields Parkway in Alberta, Canada © Witold Skrypczak / Lonely Planet Images

Icefields Parkway in Alberta, Canada © Witold Skrypczak / Lonely Planet Images

Canada is big and beautiful, but climate, distance and the high cost of domestic travel make it a hard country to get to know. Having the freedom to throw your stuff in the trunk and set off as you please makes driving a tempting way to explore this spectacular country.

The Trans-Canada Highway is one of the world's longest roads, spanning 7821km (4859 miles) from St John’s, Newfoundland , to Victoria, British Columbia . The route spans all ten provinces and flirts with the Atlantic and Pacific oceans at its limits. It crosses four islands, passes through tundra, boreal forests, national parks and prairies, glaciers, a few thousand lakes and twists beneath the shadows of vast peaks. But you need more than wanderlust to hit the road; you need a car, a plan and what's that about winter tires? Never fear, this practical guide will see you zooming across Canada in no time.

Editor's note: please check local travel restrictions before planning any trip and always follow government health advice.

How to rent a car in Canada

This is the easiest way to get on the road, but one-way penalties can exceed hundreds of dollars and rentals between some locations are prohibited. Experiment with your route – returning your vehicle where you collected it will save you money. Most rates don’t include comprehensive insurance, which the agency will coax you to purchase for an additional daily fee. Many credit cards and travel insurance policies do cover rental car insurance.

Clarifying the fine print with all parties could save money and bring peace of mind. Remember to confirm the number of miles included, especially with RV rentals. If you're flexible, you could get lucky with a relocation, where you pay a drastically reduced rate to deliver a vehicle between depots, sometimes with free fuel. Relocation contracts for private vehicles can also be found.

Toronto is the perfect cosmopolitan stop on a cross-country trip © d3sign / Moment / Getty

More information: renting and relocation

  • www.kayak.com/cars – compares rates
  • www.torontodriveaway.com – private vehicle relocations from east to west
  • www.canadream.com – RV relocations (under the Hot Deals tab)

Buying a used car in Canada

Long-term visitors on a working holiday might want to investigate buying (and reselling) a used vehicle. Mandatory insurance should be your first concern – it’s expensive. In Ontario , ownership is not transferable until the purchaser's insurance has been issued. In British Columbia, Saskatchewan  and  Manitoba , car insurance is operated by the government. In all other provinces and territories, you're on your own.

Rates vary by location, driving history, vehicle age and type. You can purchase a vehicle without a Canadian license, but you need to have a fixed address for insurance and registration. Regardless of your driving experience back home, you'll be considered a 'new driver', which will elevate your premium and make you ineligible to insure vehicles 15 years or older. Banks have the best premiums for new drivers –  private insurers are reluctant to take on the liability. Be sure to clarify the cancellation penalties if you plan on selling after a few months, as policies are sold on a yearly term.

More information: researching insurance

  • www.tdinsurance.com – cheapest premiums for new drivers
  • www.rbcinsurance.com – comparison rates for new drivers

A tour around Cape Breton is an iconic Canadian road trip © Barrett & MacKay / All Canada Photos / Getty

Where to buy your vehicle will be dictated by your circumstances and where you plan to travel. Ontario has a huge market for used cars. It may seem like looking for a limo in a lemon tree, but bargains can be found. The Catch-22 is that Toronto has the highest insurance premiums (provinces to the east have the lowest) and if you buy here, you must insure here.

Tips and tricks for buying a vehicle in Canada

Trusting your seller is important. A good dealership will 'do it all for you', but their prices include commission and vehicles may not be what they seem. Many dealers offer 'as-is' vehicles, which usually do not include safety certification – avoid these tempting 'bargains'. They may appear to be priced well and look great, but without certification, cannot be driven from the lot. It is the buyer's responsibility to tow and certify the vehicle elsewhere, at unknown expense, or have the dealer certify the vehicle for an elevated fee. Such vehicles may also harbour undisclosed mechanical problems. When buying privately, try to get the seller to include the vehicle certification in the price. Find out if the vehicle has a maintenance history with a reliable mechanic.

It is mandatory for dealers (but not private sellers) to disclose if a vehicle has any outstanding liens (unpaid debts) against it. Legally, once such a vehicle is resold, the onus on repaying these debts transfers to you, the buyer. Reputable dealers and trustworthy private sellers should provide a Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP) outlining the car's ownership, accident and finance history. If they don't, ask for one. You can obtain a UVIP yourself from the Licensing Offices of the Ministry of Transportation for $20.

Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City © David Chapman / Design Pics / Getty

Searching online for the terms 'one owner' and 'service history' might uncover those harder-to-find, well-loved cars, put up for sale by honest owners. Exercise caution whichever route you take. It is possible to buy a reliable vehicle for around CAD$3000, all in. You should be able to sell it when you’re done and recoup a chunk of your investment.

Post-2000 Toyotas and Hondas are generally fuel efficient, inexpensive to maintain and have good resale potential. Volkswagens and Volvos are noteworthy, but parts are more expensive. Cheap SUVs seem perfect for cross-Canada treks, but may harbor costly problems with the chassis and suspension.

More information: buying a used car

  • www.ebayclassifieds.com – free classifieds site
  • www.autotrader.ca – largest paid classifieds site
  • www.edmunds.com - used and new car reviews
  • www.gasbuddy.com - lists gas prices and calculates estimated fuel costs

Winter weather driving in Canada

Driving through a winter road in British Columbia © Christopher Kimmel / Getty

Canada’s roads are salted in the winter – check your prospective vehicle thoroughly for signs of the demon rust. Most older vehicles need their timing-belt replaced every so often – failure to do so can destroy the engine. Confirm with the seller when this was done. Check the brakes and tire tread. Are winter tires included? Do you need them? Are gear changes smooth? When considering price, remember you have to pay tax on the sale, which can be as high as 13%.

Registering your vehicle in Canada

Once you’ve found your chariot, everything you need to know about registering your vehicle in Canada is below:

  • Alberta – www.servicealberta.gov.ab.ca
  • British Columbia – www.icbc.com
  • Manitoba – www.mpi.mb.ca
  • New Brunswick – www.gnb.ca
  • Newfoundland & Labrador – www.gs.gov.nl.ca
  • Nova Scotia – www.gov.ns.ca
  • Ontario – www.mto.gov.on.ca
  • Prince Edward Island – www.gov.pe.ca
  • Québec – www.saaq.gouv.qc.ca
  • Saskatchewan – www.sgi.sk.ca

Finally, save yourself some heartache by registering for the Canadian Automobile Association’s roadside assistance .

If you're keen to get intimate with Canada from coast to coast, a little research and proper planning will reveal the best means of getting around. Make comparisons, do the math and be sure to explore your options before setting out – it doesn't need to cost the earth.

Planning your dream route

So you've got wheels, now what? Be inspired by one of our favorite journeys around Canada:

  • Canada's 10 best road trips
  • Coves, cliffs and lighthouses of Canada’s epic east coast
  • Craft beer heaven in the Eastern Townships

This article was first written in March 2013 and last updated September 2020.

This article was first published Jul 9, 2019 and updated Sep 16, 2020.

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  • Road trip in Canada: The best itineraries for 7, 10, 15, 21 days and 1 month

Visit Canada by car: The 5 best road trip itineraries

You’re planning to do a road trip in Canada and you’re looking for the best itinerary?

You’re at the right place!

Visiting Canada by car is the best way to optimize your itinerary and discover all the must-see attractions of the country.

In order to help you plan your stay , I have prepared this guide with the 5 best road trips itineraries in Canada depending on the duration of your stay (7, 10 days, 2 and 3 weeks and even 1 month!).

For each duration, I will give you a summary of the itinerary as well as the link to read the detailed itinerary article.

And at the end of this guide, I will also give you my list of the best accommodations in Canada depending on your budget as well as my best tips to enjoy the perfect road trip.

Which airport to choose to start a Canadian road trip?

Renting a car for a canadian road trip, canada road trip: a week in the east, 1) vancouver (2 days), 2) whistler (1 day), 3) wells gray provincial park (2 days), 4) jasper national park (2 days), 5) banff national park (2 days), 6) calgary (2 days), 2) victoria (2 days), 3) pacific rim (2 days), 4) whistler (2 days), 5) wells gray provincial park (2 days), 6) jasper national park (2 days), 7) banff national park (2 days), 8) calgary (1 day), 1) western canada (13 days), 2) eastern canada ( 8 days), 1) montreal (2 days), 2) ontario (5 days), 3) the province of quebec (21 days), where to stay during your canadian road trip, what’s the best time to go on a canadian road trip, you’re traveling in canada these articles will help you.

Canada boasts several international airports .

For a road trip through Western Canada , your best bets are:

If you’re planning a Canadian circuit but this time in the East , I’d recommend the airports in:

For these itineraries, I’ve assumed you’d be landing in either Vancouver or Montreal . Simply because I believe these are the most convenient spots for journeying through eastern or western Canada by car .

To travel to Canada , you’ll need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) beforehand. This form, which you can fill out online must definitely be completed before your trip to Canada.

The eTA applies to all travelers who don’t require a visa.

You’ll find all the information you need on this site .

A must-have for any successful Canadian exploration: a car !

I’d advise you to rent it directly from the airport . That’s where you’ll find the widest range of rental services . Plus, it’s way more convenient to return it at the end of your trip, as opposed to dropping it off at a city branch.

The best option you got is to use Booking.com Cars to book your rental car in Canada. I use it all the time, Thailand , Sicily , Scotland , you name it… and have always been super pleased. The customer service is top-notch , and their services are high quality.

On their website, you can:

  • Compare all rental rates at the airport with a single click . It’s super handy to see which service is the cheapest and who has the best customer reputation.
  • Benefit from comprehensive insurance coverage: this is your only way (unless your credit card already offers coverage) to get a refund in case of an accident or theft. Having tested this system multiple times, I can assure you that the reimbursement process is swift and guaranteed. They’ve refunded me over 1,300 euros in total over the years!
  • Modify or cancel your booking for free . This allows you to reserve your car in advance for a great rate.

Given the vastness of this country, and the long distances between places, I suggest trying to select a comfortable and well-equipped car . Long hours on the road are not uncommon, so comfort is key!

If you’re planning a winter road trip through Canada, don’t worry, the cars are tailored to the climate and come equipped with winter tires for instance.

The option to have a second driver (often included for free) is also a good idea to prevent the primary driver from getting too tired.

Click on the button below to compare car rental prices for a Canadian itinerary:

You’re not required to have an international driving permit to rent a car for your Canadian road trip.

Your regular driver’s license will do , as long as it’s in the Latin alphabet and you’ve had it for over 12 months .

If you prefer to present an international driving permit, you’ll still need to show your national driver’s license . Without it, you won’t be able to pick up your car.

First up, I propose a road trip starting from Montreal , taking you through Eastern Canada in a week.

The itinerary for this one-week Canadian road trip includes Montreal , the Thousand Islands , Toronto , Ottawa and Mont-Tremblant .

This tour is a summary of my detailed article: A week in Canada .

Day One : Discovering the city of Montreal:

  • Old Montreal district
  • The Old Port
  • Mount Royal Park
  • Mount Royal district 
  • And don’t forget to taste the local delicacy: poutine!

For even more info on exploring Montreal in one day, you should read my post: Best things to do in Montreal !

Day Two : Embark on a scenic cruise through the Thousand Islands , known as Mille Îles in French. This captivating archipelago is comprised of 1,865 islands nestled along the picturesque St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario.

To book your 3-hour cruise around the Thousand Islands, just click the button below:

Day Three and Four : I suggest continuing this one-week Canadian road trip with a visit to Toronto, Ontario .

Here are the attractions you won’t want to miss :

  • Kensington Market
  • The Distillery district
  • St. Lawrence Market
  • Ripley’s Aquarium
  • The CN Tower
  • The Royal Ontario Museum
  • The Toronto Islands

For all the details on these Toronto attractions, give a look at my article: Best things to see and do in Toronto .

Toronto

Day Five : An excursion to Niagara Falls

A cruise at the foot of the falls is a must to truly appreciate them!

Remember to book your tickets in advance to avoid waiting in line:

And if you want to experience something extraordinary during this 7-day Canadian road trip, consider taking a helicopter ride over the falls :

Day Six : Heading to Ottawa , the capital of Canada.

Here’s what I’d suggest you explore:

  • Byward Market
  • Parliament Hill
  • The Canadian Museum of History : one of the most fascinating museums you’ll come across on your one-week eastern Canada road trip.

Wrap up your day with a stroll along the Rideau Canal , a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

For more details, make sure to check out my dedicated article: Visiting Ottawa .

Day Seven , make sure to stop by Omega Park , located in Montebello. The park is explored by car as the animals roam freely.

Next, head to Mont-Tremblant , where you can go hiking or indulge in water activities by the lake. In the winter, the village turns into a ski resort .

Day Eight : The holiday’s end is nigh, head back to Montreal for your return flight.

Thinking about doing a one-week road trip in Canada ? Well, I’ve got you covered with my detailed article : One-week itinerary in Canada .

Quite handy, you’ll find loads of tips and recommendations for places to stay at each stage . The ultimate guide to effortless trip planning !

Montreal Mount Royal view

Road Trip in Canada: 10 days

For this next adventure, I’ll take you on an exhilarating 10-day road trip through the stunning landscapes of Canada.

You’ll get to discover western Canada , from the bustling metropolis of Vancouver to the vibrant city of Calgary . The perfect tour for checking out the two major cities of this part of the country and, above all, the stunning natural landscapes of Canada’s national parks .

On the agenda for this 10-day road trip in Canada:

  • Wells Gray Provincial Park
  • Jasper National Park
  • Banff National Park

All the details to plan this road trip are in my article: 10-Day Itinerary in Canada .

I’ve summarized the main stages for you below:

We kick off this 10-day Canadian road trip with Vancouver . The city is located on the West Coast , in British Columbia.

To discover its main tourist attractions and recover from jet lag, I suggest you spend 2 days there.

First day – Here’s an idea of what you can do on your first day in Vancouver:

  • The historic district of Gastown
  • Canada Place and the Waterfront
  • The FlyOver Canada
  • Stanley Park
  • Vancouver Lookout
  • Yaletown district

On the second day , continue your tour by visiting Granville Island , followed by the Anthropology Museum , and a walk through Van Elsen Botanical Garden .

Then hit Robson Street for a bit of shopping, the main commercial artery of Vancouver.

To best plan your 2 days in Vancouver, check out my article: Top 25 Things to Do in Vancouver .

Vancouver

The next day (day three) , head to one of the best ski resorts in the world: Whistler .

In winter , you can hit the slopes or go on a sled dog or snowmobile ride .

In summer , it’s time for hiking trails, biking or relaxing in a luxury Spa . And don’t forget to ride the longest zip line in Canada , at over 60 mph! Activity that can be booked directly by clicking here .

Days four and five will be dedicated to the Wells Gray Provincial Park .

Don’t miss out on:

  • Helmcken Falls : one of the most beautiful in western Canada.
  • Bailey’s Chute where you can watch salmon swimming upstream
  • The Spahat Falls
  • And Dawson Falls

As for activities, you can also go swimming or canoeing at Clearwater Lake, hike one of the numerous trails, or go black bear watching .

Day six brings us to a must-visit destination on your 10-day Canadian road trip: Jasper National Park .

You’ll get to check out two stunning lakes: Maligne Lake , the biggest lake in the Canadian Rockies, and Medicine Lake .

And of course, there’s nothing better to tour the national park than a little hike !

Jasper National Park

Day seven my friends, brings us to yet another breathtaking spectacle: Banff National Park . Hop in the car in Jasper and treat yourself to one of the most beautiful scenic routes the country has to offer: the Icefield Parkways .

Connecting the two parks over nearly 230 km, it’s a feast for your eyes with sublime landscapes . The road is well designed, boasting plenty of parking spots and lookouts to safely stop . Here are a few pit stops to consider :

  • Athabasca Falls , towering more than 20 meters high
  • The Sunwapta Falls
  • Explore Athabasca Glacier and the Columbia Icefield . If you’re going to make a single stop along the Icefields Parkway, make it this one. Strap yourself into a bus fitted with giant tires for a tour. It’s one of the most popular activities in the area and the good news is, you can book it directly by clicking here !
  • Peyto Lake, a quick 15-minute stroll away. You’ll be amazed by its turquoise waters, a result of glacier melt.

On day 8 , you should explore Banff on foot . Make your way to the famous Lake Louise , one of the most photographed spots in the world due to its stunning turquoise hue.

Moraine Lake is also a must-see!

To check the trail conditions and see all the possible hikes, visit Parks Canada’s website .

Cap off this 10-day Canadian West road trip by heading to Calgary .

On day nine , take some time to explore the city:

  • Glenbow Museum with its collection of 33,000 works of art
  • The 360° views from the Calgary Tower
  • Heritage Park Village to learn about the old-fashioned lifestyle of a typical Canadian village
  • Kensington Village : a lively neighborhood with great shops and restaurants

On day ten , it’s time to catch your return flight from Calgary Airport.

If you’re after more details on this 10-day Canadian road trip , you should check out my comprehensive article: 10-day itinerary in Canada .

There, you’ll find our list of the best accommodations for each stage. Trust me, planning your 10-day trip to Canada is going to be a breeze !

Calgary Canada

Canada road trip: Two weeks

For this 15-day Canadian road trip , let’s set off to discover the must-see sights of the west of the country.

This 2-week Canadian road trip also starts in Vancouver and ends in Calgary.

You can find all the details to plan this Canadian circuit in my article: 2-week itinerary in Canada .

Here’s a quick breakdown of the stages:

We kick off this two-week Canadian road trip by spending 2 days in Vancouver .

You’ll get a good look at most of the places I mention in my Top 25 must-see places in Vancouver .

First and second day – Things to do:

  • Gastown district
  • Chinatown and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Chinese Garden
  • The Waterfront and Canada Place
  • A seaplane flight
  • Granville Island
  • Robson Street

Day three of your 15-day Canadian road trip, you’ll need to hop on the ferry to Vancouver Island and head for Victoria .

On your agenda for the day, I’d recommend:

  • Visiting Butchart Gardens
  • Taking a stroll through Chinatown
  • Market Square
  • Bastion Square
  • Inner Harbour

On the fourth day , you’ll get a chance to set sail on a whale-watching cruise .

Be sure to book well in advance by clicking here:

The rest of the day can be spent exploring Victoria, where you can visit the Parliament and the Royal BC Museum and wrap up at Beacon Hill Park by the sea.

Victoria Vancouver

Day five – Journey from Victoria to Ucluelet, the gateway to Pacific Rim National Park.

Two stops worth making: the village of Duncan and Cathedral Grove .

Day six – Explore the Pacific Rim reserve : plenty of hiking opportunities and a mandatory stop at Long Beach .

Day seven of your 15-day Canadian road trip, allow a day for the journey to Whistler .

On day eight, there’s loads of activities to do in Whistler, whether it’s winter (skiing, snowshoeing) or summer (hiking, biking).

And for those without a fear of heights, you can try out Canada’s longest zipline ! Activity that can be booked directly by clicking here !

For day nine , point your compass towards Wells Gray Provincial Park, travelling along the beautiful Route 99 , one of the country’s finest! Day ten – Adventure in Wells Gray Park where you can choose from:

  • Helmcken Falls
  • Bailey’s Chute, Spahat Falls or Dawson Falls , among other waterfalls
  • Clearwater Lake
  • Black bears spotting with a guide

Wells Gray Park Helmcken Falls

Impossible to explore Western Canada in 15 days without hitting up Jasper National Park . It’s just not done!

So, on the eleventh day , hit the road to this gem, a UNESCO World Heritage Site . You’ll be able to check out Maligne Lake and Medicine Lake .

Day twelve , it’s time to tie up those hiking boots and spend the day trekking the many trails in Jasper .

Post-Jasper , you’ll continue your Canadian road trip with another national park: Banff .

Day thirteen , you’ll be taking Route 93 (the Icefield Parkway) which links the 25 parks together. Covering nearly 230 km, it’s a route jam-packed with stunning scenery . And to enjoy it all, you can pull over safely at the many viewpoints and car parks .

As for the must-see spots , I highly recommend:

  • The Athabasca Falls
  • The Athabasca Glacier and the Columbia Icefield . You can explore on foot or on a bus tour equipped with giant tires for some off-roading . Book this activity directly by clicking here !
  • Peyto Lake with its unbelievably colored water

On the fourteenth day , it’s time to immerse yourself in the beauty of Banff National Park . Here too, the best way to admire the landscapes is to opt for a hike . The most famous trails allow you to circle around Lake Louise and Lake Moraine , the two most renowned lakes.

Banff National Park

Here you are at the fifteenth day of your two-week Western Canada road trip.

Wrap up your holidays in Calgary , where you can notably visit the Glenbow Museum, the Heritage Park Village or ascend to the top of the Calgary Tower. You should get your skip-the-line tickets in advance by clicking here !

I also provide all the necessary information to visit Calgary in this article: Best things to do in Calgary !

Calgary

Canada road trip: 3 weeks

For this 3-week road trip across Canada , I suggest dividing your vacation into 2 parts :

  • Western Canada for about two weeks featuring Vancouver , Victoria, Jasper National Park, Banff National Park
  • A week-long road trip in the East of Canada to uncover the delights of Montreal , Toronto , and Ottawa .

To help you organize your Canadian road trip down to the last detail, I’ve got you covered in my article: 3-week itinerary in Canada !

Simply click on the orange link above to discover: the different stages , travel times, places to visit, hotels for a good night’s sleep and the best activities to get involved in.

I’m still going to give you a quick rundown of the visits planned during these 3 weeks so you get a taste:

Start your 21-day Canadian road trip in the West for the first 13 days.

Day 1 and 2 – Vancouver

Day 3 – Victoria , the capital of British Columbia

Day 4 – Whale watching , an essential part of your 3-week Canadian road trip!

Days 5 and 6 – Whistler , one of Canada’s top ski resorts ! No worries, there’s plenty to do in the summer too.

Days 7 and 8 – Discover the Wells Gray Provincial Park and its many waterfalls

Days 9 and 10 – Explore Jasper National Park by car and on foot

Days 11 and 12 – Continue your three-week Canadian road trip with Banff National Park and the famous Lake Louise

Day 13 – Head on over to Calgary and catch your flight to Montreal!

Vancouver view from Granville Island

After 13 glorious days in western Canada, it’s time to continue your 20-21 day Canadian road trip in the east of the country.

Day 14 – Explore Montreal with a stroll around the old Montreal neighborhood and up to Mount-Royal

Day 15 – Cruise to the Thousand Islands or helicopter ride

Days 16 and 17 – Discover must-see places in Toronto and don’t miss out on the view from atop the CN Tower

Day 18 – A day at the Niagara Falls , the major tourist attraction of this 3-week Canadian road trip. Whether it’s on a cruise at the base of the falls , a helicopter ride or by climbing up the Skylon Tower , you’ll get to see the falls from all angles!

Day 19 – Dedicate a day to Canada’s capital: Ottawa .

Days 20 and 21 – Return to Montreal to finish off your 3-week Canadian road trip by exploring the city a bit more .

To read the complete version of my 3-week itinerary , complete with advice and accommodation suggestions, click here !

Niagara Falls

Canada road trip: One month

Final itinerary for those lucky ones who get to embark on a month-long road trip in Canada !

I’m suggesting you discover a great chunk of the East over about thirty days. You’ll get to visit Montreal , Ontario, home to the famous Toronto , along with the province of Quebec and the Gaspé Peninsula (Gaspésie in French).

All the must-see cities of the east and gorgeous national parks are on the menu for this 1-month Canadian road trip.

 I’ve got you covered with all the juicy details to plan your epic eastern Canadian adventure in this post: A one-month adventure: Exploring Canada . For each day, you’ll get a list of things to do and see, travel times, and the best accommodations to rest at each stop.

To give you a taste, I’ve prepared a summary of the itinerary’s stages :

To kickstart this fabulous one-month road trip across Canada, I suggest landing in Montreal and taking a couple of days to recover from your flight and the inevitable jetlag.

Day 1 and 2 – Get a taste of Montreal , dive into the iconic neighborhoods of Old Port and Mount-Royal .

Montreal-by-night

The second chapter of this 1-month Canadian adventure unfolds in Ontario .

Day 3 – Boat trip around the Thousand Islands

Days 4 and 5 – Explore the marvels of Toronto and its popular neighborhoods like Kensington, Chinatown, The Distillery…

Day 6 – Day trip to the breathtaking Niagara Falls

Day 7 – Head to Ottawa , Canada’s capital. Don’t miss out on the Canadian Museum of History !

CN Tower

The third act of your 1-month road trip through Canada is entirely dedicated to Quebec .

Day 8 – Visit the Omega Park and Mont-Tremblant

Days 9 and 10 – Engage in varied activities based on the season (hiking, canoeing, dog sledding, snowmobiling…) in La Mauricie National Park

Days 11 and 12 – Tour around Lake St-Jean : the Wild Zoo of St-Félicien , the Native Museum of Mashteuiatsh , the ghost town of Val-Jalbert .

Days 13 and 14 – Discover the lovely villages of Fjord-du-Saguenay and take a boat or kayak ride on the fjord

Day 15 – Whale watching cruise in Tadoussac , experiencing whales in their natural environment, one of the most unforgettable experience of your one-month Canadian road trip!

Days 16, 17, and 18 – Journey through Gaspésie National Park

Days 19 and 20 – Your itinerary includes: Forillon National Park, Percé, and Bonaventure Island

Day 21 – Relaxation day at Chaleur Bay that the locals call “Baie des Chaleurs” (litteraly heat bay) that boasts several long beaches

Days 22 and 23 – Hiking or cycling on one of the numerous trails in Bic National Park

Days 24, 25, and 26 – Visit Quebec City and its surroundings . You’ll find all the things to do in my article: Best things to do in Quebec City !

Days 27 and 28 – This one-month road trip in Canada wraps up and you’ll return to Montreal where you can take some time to finish exploring the city.

To make it easy for you, here’s the link to the full itinerary: How to visit Canada in 1 month ?

Gaspé Peninsula Quebec

Now you’re well-equipped to plan your road trip across Canada ! But there’s a final point we can’t ignore: where you’ll lay your head at night .

Where to stay at each stage of your Canadian journey?

Fear not, I’ve got you covered with a selection of the best hotels in Canada, categorized by city and area , and based on your budget, in all the road trip articles I’ve previously mentioned.

You can also find them by clicking directly on the links below :

For Western Canada:

  • Pacific Rim

For Eastern Canada:

  • The Thousand Islands
  • Mont-Tremblant
  • La Mauricie National Park
  • Lac Saint-Jean
  • Fjord-du-Saguenay
  • Gaspésie National Park
  • Chaleur Bay
  • Bic National Park

The Château Frontenac

Good news, there’s no bad time to go on a road trip through Canada.

It all depends on the activities you fancy.

Winter is the best time to visit Canada by car if you want to enjoy a whole range of winter activities: skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, and snowmobiling.

And if you’re doing this Canadian road trip with family , your kids will be thrilled to sled down the slopes or try snow rafting and ice skating .

Driving in winter? No worries, cars are well-equipped, and roads are maintained and cleared. However, some routes in national parks might be closed, but you’ll always find something to do!

If you plan to embark on a Canadian road trip in spring , it’s the perfect season to explore national parks, enjoy nature and go hiking . The crowds are scarce, and the weather is delightful.

As for autumn, this is the time when you can experience the vibrant colors of the trees and landscapes in shades of orange, yellow, and red. A treat for photography enthusiasts!

Summer ? No problem with the temperature, it’s hot and sunny . But as with many destinations, it’s peak tourist season , so expect crowds pretty much everywhere.

Keep in mind, many Canadian companies shut down in July and August for “ construction holiday ” when many Canadian companies shut down. It’s the perfect time for Canadians to hit the road as well!

If you’re hoping to visit national parks (Jasper, Banff, in the province of Quebec and Gaspésie), options can be limited, so you should book your accommodations as early as possible .

For all cities, both in the west and the east, you can discover all the attractions at any time of year .

Discover all my articles about Canada : All my articles to help you plan your trip to Canada are listed there.

  • 20 Best Things to do in Canada
  • 20 Best Things to do in Quebec – All best places to visit in the French-speaking province!
  • Itinerary: One week in Canada: The perfect itinerary to visit Canada in 6, 7 or 8 days!
  • Itinerary: 10 days in Canada: All my best tips for organizing your 10-day trip to Canada
  • Itinerary: 2 weeks in Canada: How to visit Western Canada in 15 days.
  • Itinerary: 3 weeks in Canada: My epic itinerary to visit Western and Eastern Canada in 21 days
  • Itinerary: 1 month in Canada: How to visit Eastern Canada in a month!
  • Itinerary: One week in Quebec: How to visit Quebec in 6, 7 or 8 days, with all my best tips!
  • Itinerary: 10 days in Quebec: An amazing 10-day itinerary in Quebec
  • Itinerary: 2 weeks in Quebec: All my best tips to visit Quebec in 14, 15 or 16 days
  • Itinerary: 3 weeks in Quebec: the perfect 3-week road trip in Quebec !
  • Road trip in Quebec: The best itineraries for 7, 10, 15 and 21 days
  • Calgary : Top 11 things to do during your visit
  • Montreal : 33 best things to see and do
  • Ottawa : 15 epic places to visit
  • Quebec City : Top 17 things to do and see
  • Toronto : The 17 things to do during your stay
  • Vancouver : Top 25 places to visit and activities
  • Toronto in 3 days – The perfect itinerary to visit the city in 72 hours!

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Canada road trip itinerary

Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

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Canada Crossroads

Canada Road Trip Planning + 12 Epic Itinerary Ideas

Love it? Share it!

Canada is filled with stunning landscapes and driving through provinces and national parks is the best way to explore this massive country (by area). We will share an epic Canada Road Trip Planning Guide here, packed with ready-made itineraries to follow.

Canada Road Trip Planning Guide

longest road trip in canada

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Decide where you want to go in Canada

So, your first step is to make a bucket list of places you want to see or the route you wish to embark on for your Canada road trip. Being a diverse country of landscapes, terrain, and 4 different time zones, it might be a tough choice deciding on where to do. You can browse our Canada Destinations list, or use one of the itineraries mentioned below to get started!

What to see on your Canadian Road Trips?

It all depends on your travel style. There are mountains and pristine lakes in western Canada, pretty central coastal drives in the Maritimes, chasing Northern Lights in the Northwest Territories, or specific attractions like Toronto’s skyline/Niagara Falls, Gros Morne National park in Newfoundland to check out fjords, also a UNESCO world heritage site to polar bears in Manitoba. 

So you see there is tons of explore in Canada, just take it slow, stop along the way to make the most of your visit. Also give yourself enough time to hike, eat and drive.

Budget for your Canada road trip should be as follows 

  • National Park Fees: $20 CAD per vehicles ($15.50 USD)
  • City Attractions: Many museums have entry fees start at $7.99 CAD ($6.20). CN Tower or any type of observation towers in major cities, starts at $30 CAD ($23 USD)
  • Food : Minimum $30 CAD ($23 USD)

Canada Road Trip Planning: Canmore Alberta

When are you planning to travel for your road trip?

Whether it is a city-bound road trip or a journey through our national/provincial parks, it is important to make note of the seasons. Canada experiences all four seasons, and each season is beautiful in its own unique way. 

  • Summer – Summers are a great time to embark on a road trip. We recommend choosing the country-side to escape the crowds . If you are hitting the popular national parks like Banff (from Calgary or Edmonton), ensure you start early to beat the traffic rush.
  • Winter – Driving in winters can be tricky. Ensure you follow provincial winter driving regulations. Also add additional travel time due to the road conditions, poor visibility, etc. on certain routes. 
  • Spring and fall – These are off season months in Canada. Fall is our favorite time to visit as the weather is still warm, and attractions not too crowded. Spring is a tricky situation for visiting Parks, as many of the sightseeing spots may not be open. Finding accommodation in cities and small towns this time will be easy, minus fewer crowds.

Where to stay on a Canada road trip?

When you are road tripping in Canada, there are tons of options for accommodation.

  • Hotels, Airbnbs & Lodges : You can book a hotel, Airbnb, lodge, or a cabin for your accommodation in Canada. Book them ahead of time, especially during peak seasons. 
  • RV & Campervan : One of the popular ways to explore national parks in Canada is on a campervan or an RV, and save money on hotel accommodation. It is also a nicer alternative if you do not own a lot of camping gear, and planning to explore on the go. 
  • Camping : If you are planning to camp overnight, ensure you reserve camp-sites when bookings open for the season. You do not need to reserve for day campsites (like picnics as part of your road trip), especially in provincial parks. 

Pin the spots on Google Maps

Use Google Maps plan and plot your road trip itinerary. And don’t forget to download offline maps on your phone, so that you can access that from the car. 

Maps Canada road trips

Important Driving Tips in Canada Highway & Parks

  • Carry your driver’s license (Canadian, US or International).
  • Must be at least 21 years of age to rent a vehicle.
  • The most common cars on the road in Canada are left-hand drive vehicles, and cars are driven on the right side of the road.
  • Canada uses kilometres and metres to measure the distance (unlike miles used in the USA)
  • The typical speed limit in most provinces is 100 km/h (62 mph) or 110 km/h (68 mph). 
  • When you are driving to national parks speed limits will differ, depending on major routes (90 km/hr max.) and secondary routes (60 km/hr max.)
  • Gas/Mileage: 8.9 litres of gasoline per 100 kilometres (62 miles)
  • Be mindful of wildlife corridors and posted wildlife signs along the highways

What to pack on a road trip in Canada?

Maligne Lake Road in winter

Here is a list of items to pack for your road trip in Canada!

  • Clothes & Comfortable shoes – Comfortable shoes are a must, they are helpful while you are behind the wheel or while taking rest stops
  • Warm clothes (for winter) – While driving in Canadian winters, don’t forget warm clothing
  • Hand warmers are great little items to keep inside the car
  • Travel Mug – Coffee and tea lovers, pack your travel mug, and refill it on the go!
  • Water bottle – Super important, carry your water bottle. Stay hydrated!
  • Healthy snacks – LOVE this care package , and they are healthy snacks to carry on your road trip. Munch them if you are hungry, whilst feeling light!
  • Medications
  • Flashlight – Super handy if you are camping or even driving overnight
  • Emergency car kit – An emergency car kit is essential should things happen on the road. You can create one from scratch or buy one pre-pack from Amazon . 
  • Emergency first aid kit – Check the first aid kit inside the car (check for expiry dates). If you don’t have one, here is one that you can buy from Amazon.  
  • Dashboard mount for phone or GPS – Use a dash mount to keep your phone or GPS for navigation. 
  • GPS or navigation system – Don’t forget navigation systems or Google maps (offline) on your phone. Prepare it with your routes prior to your trip. It is also important to keep TomToms (or any navigation system) updated. 
  • Charging cables – Unless your car has cable-free charging, it is important to pack one for your road trip. We do have wireless charging in our car, but it can only charge one at a time, so we also carry charging cables (to charge the second phone and to charge inside the hotel). Buy yours here
  • Playlist – No road trip is complete without an amazing playlist.
  • Cell-phone – Don’t forget your cell-phone. Stay connected with family, store the hotel or campsite contact information, plus roadside assistance number for emergencies. 
  • Car freshener
  • Road trip games – License plate, sing-along, card games (for kids)
  • Travel insurance – Car insurance is essential, so is travel insurance if you are traveling from overseas. For the car, you can also secure insurance with the rental company when you pick up the vehicle. 

12 Canada Road Trip Itinerary Ideas

Canadian rockies road trip itinerary, alberta .

  • Number of days – 10 to 14 days
  • Route –  Edmonton – Jasper National Park – Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise – Banff National Park – Calgary  (Alberta) 

This Canadian Rockies itinerary will allow you to explore all the best of the mountains and cities in Alberta. It covers the capital city, the largest city in Alberta, two national parks in the Canadian Rockies (Jasper being is the largest one), visit the pretty Lake Louise, explore our provincial parks at Pembina, and also check out small Prairie (Edson, Entwhistle) and mountain towns (Banff, Jasper) in one single trip.

How to plan a road trip in Canada

A fast paced version of this road trip itinerary can be done in 10 days. But 2 weeks will be perfect! 

Fly to Edmonton , pick up a rental car, and explore the capital city of Alberta. Visit the Legislature Grounds and the neighborhood of Strathcona. (If you have time on your hands, visit Elk Island National Park, located about 50 minutes away from the city, known for bison conservation and is a dark sky preserve). Spend one full day in Edmonton to experience the culinary and city centre delights, along with museums and art galleries. 

From Edmonton, drive to Jasper National Park (it takes 4 hours). Stop by the small Prairie towns of Edson, Entwhistle, or Pembina Provincial Park for a picnic. You will arrive in Jasper town by evening. Stay at the Pocahontas Cabin for the night. 

Pocahontas Cabin in winter review

Spend 2-3 days in Jasper . Hit trails, Pyramid and Patricia lakes, Athabasca falls, soak in mountain views, eat, and visit a local brewery. 

From Jasper, head to Lake Louise, via the Icefields Parkway (with a quick stop at Sunwapta Falls). Non stop drive is 2.75 hours. You can also add Athabasca Glacier Adventure to your road trip itinerary and stay in Lake Louise for the night. 

Set aside 8-10 hours to explore Lake Louise , and then head to Banff in the evening (50 minute drive). 

View of Banff town - Alberta towns

Spend 3-4 days in Banff National Park . There are tons to see and do here, from lakes – Vermillion, Two Jack Lake, Minnewanke, to hiking trails , exploring Banff Avenue, Cave & Basin Site, Cascade Gardens, Minnewanka Lake Cruise, and Johnston Canyon.  Stay at Elk + Avenue Hotel .

After exploring Banff, head to Calgary, and spend one day or two. Explore downtown city highlights like the Calgary Tower, wander the Stephen Ave Walk, visit Calgary Fort, Heritage Village, etc. 

Drop off your car rental at Calgary International Airport, and fly back home!

Icefields Parkway, Alberta 

  • Number of Days – It is possible to drive the Icefields Parkway in 2.5 hours if you don’t get out of your car, but it would be a travesty not to take your time to enjoy the sights along the way.
  • Route – Lake Louise to Jasper in the province of Alberta passing through Banff National Park and Jasper National Park.

One of the most famous road trips in Canada is the Icefields Parkway , which is a 230km (144 miles) journey through some of the country’s most magnificent landscapes. With vistas of mountains, valleys, glaciers, rocky cliffs, forests, and lakes, there is a lot to see along the way.

Take a tip and start early in the morning to avoid traffic, and you will enjoy the experience so much more if you are not rushed. The Icefields Parkway has so many incredible places that you will want to explore. 

Jasper winter wildlife

Early morning is a good time to spot wildlife that usually make an appearance when you

least expect. When you’re driving, keep your eyes peeled for bears, deer, elk, moose and bighorn sheep. Depending on what you might see by the side of the road, you may need extra time to linger and take photographs.

On your first road trip along the Icefields Parkway, make sure you allow time to see Columbia

Icefield, which is some of the largest glaciers outside the Arctic Circle, or“fields of ice” straddle and are the largest south of the Arctic Circle. 

Another awe-inspiring attraction is the Glacier SkyWalk, where you can walk on a glass-floored platform 280 metres (918 feet) above the stunning Sunwapta Valley.

Winter Sunwapta Falls

Besides glaciers, this Canadian road trip is also known for its beautiful lakes. The two most famous ones are Bow Lake, which is the best place to gaze at the Crowfoot Glacier, and Peyto Lake, which is a must-do to fill your Instagram stream with stunning photos. Also, visit Sunwapta and Athabasca Falls; both are places of natural beauty.

Stay at Mountaineer Lodge in Lake Louise or the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise .

By Christina from Travel2Next

Sea to Sky highway – Vancouver to Whistler

  • Number of days – 2 days
  • Route – Start in Vancouver, stop in Squamish to Whistler (British Columbia)

The Sea to Sky highway is one of the most scenic roads in Canada. Also known as Highway 99, the section that connects Vancouver to Whistler is known as the Sea to Sky . 

Although the total journey time from Vancouver to Whistler is just 2 hours, there’s plenty to see and do along the way as well as further afield. This road trip can be amended for families or adrenaline seekers. While it’s easy to drive from Vancouver to Whistler in a day, splitting it up into several days is recommended. 

After leaving Vancouver , one of the first points of interest in Whytecliff Park, this is somewhat of a hidden gem in Vancouver and a nice scenic spot to stretch the legs. When the tide is low you can walk across the rocks to Whytecliff Islet.

Seton Lake Lookout Hiking British Columbia

Your drive along the Sea to Sky highway will then bring you through the town of Lions Bay and Britannia Beach. Here is where you’ll find Porteau Cove Provincial Park and the Britannia Mine Museum, which is a great stop for families. 

Soon after Britannia Beach is the town of Squamish, many people bypass this town but it’s definitely worth a night’s stay at least. There are so many amazing restaurants here, some of our favourites include the Wigan Pier for fish & chips and Sonny Chibas for Mexican and fried chicken. 

There are also several craft breweries here that are worth checking out. Squamish is famous for its hiking and rock climbing. The Chief is a granite monolith that towers above the town and is a bucket-list hike in the area. If you aren’t feeling up to hiking, you can take a ride on the Sea to Sky Gondola. 

The town of Whistler is usually people’s main destination when taking this route. This mountain town is home to Whistler Blackcomb ski resort and bike park. There are tons of things to do for every season in Whistler. Although it’s famous for skiing, other activities include snowshoeing, snowmobiling, dog sledding and hiking and biking in the summer. 

Nita Lake Lodge is our favorite hotel in Whistler , it’s the only lakefront hotel in the resort town. It’s far enough away from the main village that you’ll get lots of peace and quiet here. 

There is plenty to see and do further afield too! Less people visit Pemberton and Lillooet but they are just as beautiful and the rest of Highway 99. Joffre Lakes is one of BC’s most beautiful hikes in BC. 

Seton Lake near Lillooet is one of our favourite places in all of Canada, and the short hike to the lookout is breathtaking! 

By Rachel from A City Girl Outside

Vancouver – Kelowna – Banff

  • Number of days – 2+
  • Route – Starting in Vancouver British Columbia to Kelowna, BC to Banff National Park, Alberta

While driving from Vancouver to Banff is technically possible in one day, a stop in Kelowna not only breaks up the trip, it’s also more scenic. The mountainous Highway 3 is the best way to get to Kelowna in terms of scenery.

In Kelowna , be sure to enjoy the waterfront parks, hiking in the hills outside of town, shopping around Bernard Ave, and wine tasting at local vineyards.  If staying overnight in Kelowna, treat yourself to The Royal Kelowna hotel for views of the water and proximity to downtown and the cultural district.

Vineyard overlooking a subdivision Okanagan Lake Kelowna British Columbia Canada in the fall

From there, you can take the spectacular drive through Glacier and Yoho to Banff on Highway 1. The biggest highlight on this leg is simply looking out your window!

Two points of interest along the way are quite close to each other: Three Valley Gap and the town of Revelstoke. Three Valley Gap is a big hotel on the shore of a large lake, visible from the highway. There is a bit of a ghost town to visit and just one restaurant, inside the hotel.

For more dining options and amenities, make your next stop 20 minutes down the highway, in the little town of Revelstoke. Whether it’s to stay the night or even just to grab a bite to eat, it’s a nice place to visit.

Next, you’ll pass through Glacier and Yoho National Parks , both of which are worthwhile places to visit for hiking, camping, scenic drives, and more.

Vancouver Kelowna Banff Canada road trip

Finally, saving the best for last, you’ll arrive in Banff National Park. Take the tram to scenic overlooks, hike to a tea house, admire the emerald Lake Louise, bike, look for wildlife, camp, or relax at an upscale inn. From Banff, you can take countless scenic drives to extend your road trip in different directions, like Yoho or Jasper National Parks. This is a true outdoor wonderland and worth staying for several nights.

By Michelle from Intentional Travelers

Nanaimo to Tofino, British Columbia

  • Number of Days – 1
  • Route – Nanaimo to Tofino, British Columbia

While not the longest by any means, driving from Nanaimo to Tofino on British Columbia’s Vancouver Island is one to add to your to-do list!

Tofino is still a hidden gem, even for many Canadians, and the stops along the way make it the perfect West Coast road trip.

There is only one main road that takes visitors from Nanaimo to Tofino (HWY BC4). While summer is traditionally Tofino’s high season, this rugged part of Canada sees storm watchers venture to the coast to watch the full power of the Pacific Ocean hitting land.

Tofino Sunset Views

Along the 3 hour route, there are a few essential stops. Coombs is a little detour, but it’s popular market and goats on the roof are a delight for all visitors. 

Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park is right along the route. You will literally drive through an amazing old growth forest right on the highway. If you stop at Cathedral Grove, you will find a small parking area and a trail that takes about 30 minutes to see some of the oldest trees in British Columbia.

Ucluelet is the last stop you should make, before the final stretch to Tofino.  Take the time to walk the Wild Pacific Loop. It is less than 30 minutes from Ucluelet to Tofino, you can always add this to a day trip activity while you stay in Tofino. 

The last stretch of drive will bring you past Pacific Rim National Park where the strong Pacific Ocean waves crash on the sandy beaches. There are plenty of places to stop along the way if you want to take a closer look. Tofino is home to stunning sandy beaches, you will have plenty of time to enjoy the waves and the sand.

Two of the best places to stay are Pacific Sands Beach Resort and Long Beach Lodge . Both offer beachfront accommodations and are perfect for couples and families. 

By Lindsay from Uncovering British Columbia

Dawson City (Yukon) to Tuktoyaktuk (North West Territories) 

  • Number of days – Minimum 3 days one way
  • Route – Dawson City (Yukon) to Tuktoyaktuk (North West Territories) 

Starting in the historic Klondike Gold Rush town of Dawson City and ending on the edge of the Arctic Ocean, this Canadian road trip is a must do for adventurous travelers. The main part of the route (737km of 875km total) follows the Dempster Highway , a legendary rough dirt road traversing tundra and limitless wilderness. 

The Dempster is the only road in Canada to cross the Arctic Circle. Consequently, travelers who visit in summer will be accompanied by the Midnight Sun (24 hours of daylight). The long days allow for endless exploration. It’s disorienting yet exhilarating and ensures this road trip experience to be like no other in Canada! 

View of Scenic Road Leading to Tombstone and Mountains in Canadian Nature. Dempster Highway, Yukon, Canada.

Tombstone Territorial Park, located around 110km from Dawson City, is a real highlight. Here, the expansive landscape is backdropped by impossibly jagged mountain peaks. Be sure to stop at the interpretive centre before heading out onto one of the established hiking trails. Keep your eyes peeled for some of the local residents, including grizzly bears, moose, caribou, porcupine and black foxes. 

Epic as this road trip may be, there is some caution needed. This is a truly wild area, with almost zero phone signal along the entire route. The elevated dirt road is rough in places and can become very slippery after rain. A good spare tire is absolutely essential as is a puncture repair kit, air compressor and jack. Most importantly, the drive should not be rushed. 

Facilities are few and far between (all part of the adventure!) but one of the most convenient places to stop on this road trip is Eagle Plains. 

There is a campground, hotel, gas station, and restaurant here. Inuvik has the biggest choice of services and places to stay, with the Arctic Chalet being a top choice. While in town, be sure to check out the Igloo Church and Community Greenhouse (built in an old ice rink), 

Tuktoyaktuk is your final destination; a place where you can dip your toes in the freezing Arctic Ocean and reflect on your incredible journey through Canada’s northern wilderness!

By Gemma from Off Track Travel

Saskatchewan Road Trip 

  • Number of Days – 5-6 
  • Route : Regina to Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park (Centre Block) 

Saskatchewan often isn’t the first place that comes to mind when planning a Canada road trip . Most people head straight to the Rocky Mountains, Vancouver Island, or Niagara Falls. While these destinations are all very much worth a visit, so is Saskatchewan!  

This underrated Canadian province features two beautiful National Parks, several Provincial Parks, cute little towns and rolling hills covered in rippling grain as far as the eye can see. If that’s not enough, Saskatoon and Regina are two lively cities with a relaxed vibe, plenty of restaurants and lots of worthwhile sights. Plenty of reasons for a Saskatchewan road trip ! 

Saskatchewan Canada Road trip

Start your road trip in Canada by exploring Regina, the capital city of Saskatchewan. Spend two days here and visit the Provincial Legislative Building, stroll around Wascana Lake, and learn about history in the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. A nice place to stay is the Ramada by Wyndham (Emerald Park). 

Hop in your car and drive to Grasslands National Park (West Block) in approximately 3.5hours. This National Park is a great place to see rare native wildlife such as the bison as well as an excellent stargazing location as there is very little light pollution. Hike the 70 Mile Butte Trail and take one of t 

After spending a day (or if time allows, two days) in Grasslands National Park, drive to Eastend and visit the T-Rex Discovery Center to marvel at one of the few T-rex skeletons ever found. Continue your road trip and drive to Cypress Hills Provincial Park.  

This Provincial Park is perfect for swimming, camping, and hiking. A must-do is visiting Bald Butte and Lookout Point. The views from both viewpoints are breathtaking, you can see for miles and will really come to appreciate the vastness of Saskatchewan.  

By Lotte from Phenomenal Globe Travel Blog 

Road Trip from Saskatoon (Saskatchewan) to Winnipeg (Manitoba)

  • Route – Saskatoon – Yorkton – Langenburg – Russell – Portage La Prairie – Winnipeg

Saskatoon to Winnipeg takes about 8 hours 10 mins by car if you drive non-stop. Both cities are located in two Prairie provinces of Canada. Start from Saskatoon Saskatchewan, and pretty much along the way you will find small Prairie towns, mom & pop shops, cute barns, and farms.

Saskatoon is nicknamed as the ‘Paris of the Prairies’, due to the many bridges found here. From Saskatoon, make way for Yorkton (in about 3.50 hours). Yorkton also has a Western Development Museum, just like Saskatoon which is worth visiting. 

Saskatoon - Delta Bessborough Hotel

If you wish to stretch your legs, head to the York Lake Regional Park for a quick stroll. From Yorkton, arrive at Langenburg, and this is where you can break for lunch. 

Up next on the road trip is Russell, located about 15 km (9 miles) from the Saskatchewan border. The town is known for the Manitoba’s Beef and Barley Festival, which is held annually in October. 

From Russell, the next stop is Portage La Prairie (in 3 hours). In case you didn’t know the Prairies are home to the some of ‘world’s largest’ like Tomahawk (Cutknife, SK) or Easter Egg/Pysanka (Vegreville Alberta). So Portage La Prairie has the world’s Largest Coca-Cola Can. Don’t forget to stop by, and snap a few photos!

Esplande Riel at night

From here, Winnipeg is another hour’s drive. Spend 2 days in Winnipeg, exploring some of the iconic attractions like the pedestrian Esplanade Riel Bridge, named after the 1848 revolutionary Louis Riel. 

Wander the French part of Winnipeg – St Boniface. Eat out, and hang out at the city centre. The Forks is a must visit in the city. This site is a National Historic Site of Canada. 

Assiniboine Park also deserves a place in your itinerary. It is a beautiful park with tons of walking trails, river views, and more. Finally, visit the Royal Canadian Mint, and go on a guided tour to learn about coins, and maybe take some home with you!

East Coast City Delights – Toronto – Montreal – Quebec City

  • Number of days – 3 days + 
  • Route – Toronto – Montreal – Quebec City

This classic road trip starts in Toronto and travels through Eastern Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick, before ending in Halifax, NS. From start to finish, this road trip will take about 18 hours of straight driving. 

You could do it all at once, but you’d miss out on so many fantastic places! Instead, we’d recommend stopping a few times along the way, making this road trip into a 3 to the 5-day trip, and taking the time to explore a few places along the way. We will cover Toronto to Quebec City, as one road trip, followed up by Quebec City to Halifax (and of course you can combine both).

longest road trip in canada

Beginning in Toronto, follow Hwy 401 east from Toronto until you reach the border of Quebec and it becomes Autoroute 20. Stay overnight in Montreal – the Old Town is much more scenic, but the downtown section has more dining options. Alternatively, you can pass through Montreal and continue another 2.5 hours to Quebec City.

Montreal Lanes

On day 2, drive Hwy 40 along the north shore of the St. Lawrence, or 20E/TransCanada via the south shore. Either way the drive is close to 3 hours. Arrive in Quebec City mid afternoon, and you’ll have plenty of time to explore the Old Town, marvel at the Chateau Frontenac and soak up the European feel of the city. 

There are plenty of hotels to choose from – you can splurge on a stay at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac or choose more moderate options like the Quebec City Marriott Downtown .  

By Erin from Three is Us

Quebec City to Gaspésie

  • Number of days – 5 – 7 days  (return)
  • Route – Quebec City – Forillon National Park – Gaspe – Perce Village – Matapedia – Quebec City

One of the epic Canadian road trips is the one around Gaspesie . Gaspesie is a peninsula in the province of Quebec. It’s a loop route that starts in Quebec City and also ends there. You’ll need about 5-7 days to get the most of the area.

Set out from Quebec City early in the morning and take the QC- 132 road towards the east. Enjoy the ride along the picturesque coast, make frequent stops at viewpoints. In the evening you should reach Forillon National Park where you stay overnight.

Gaspe Canada Road Trips

Spend the next day hiking in the park. There are many trails to choose from, so pick the ones suitable for your level of fitness. The park administration will provide you with a map. Move to the town of Gaspe, where you’ll spend the night and the next day exploring local sights and museums such as Haldimand Beach, Gaspesie Museum, and Micmac Museum.

The next stop is in Perce Village where you can catch a boat to Bonaventure Island which is the main local attraction. This small uninhabited island is home to the largest Atlantic seabird colony in North America. After hiking on the island, check out Perce Village and try some local food and beer.

From this point, the road trip will return to Quebec City, but around the southern shore. The south offers amazing viewpoints, several lighthouses, Micmac village, and a beautiful Philomene Waterfall. The one-stop you shouldn’t miss is the Miguasha National Park that is also a UNESCO World site for its valuable fossil site and museum.

In Matapedia, take the QC-132 towards the north. Before you reach Quebec City, the sights worth seeing are Pointe-au-Pere Lighthouse and Jardin de Metis Botanical Garden. Do stop in one of the local ‘fromagerie’ to buy some delicious cheese sorts.

By Slavka from On2Continents

Quebec City – Fredericton to Moncton, via Hopewell Rocks to Halifax

  • Number of days – 4 days + 
  • Route – Quebec City – Fredericton to Moncton, via Hopewell Rocks – 251km,  Moncton to Halifax – 260km

You can start this road trip from Toronto , and follow the itinerary above to stop in Montreal and Quebec City. From Quebec City, follow the TransCanada Hwy north along the St. Lawrence River to Rivière-du-Loup, then head south-east to New Brunswick. 

*Note* As you cross the border into New Brunswick, the time changes and clocks go back an hour. 

Although there isn’t much to see in Edmundston, if you prefer a shorter drive today or just in need of a rest and stretch break, it is a good stopping point around 3 hours from Quebec City. 

If you prefer to keep on driving, Fredericton is another 3 hours south. Along the way, be sure to stop for a quick visit to Grand Falls about 45 minutes south of Edmunston and farther south, the Covered Bridge in Hartland. Continue on to Fredericton where you’ll stay the night.   

Continue your drive through New Brunswick and be sure to take a slight detour off of the Trans Canada Highway south to the Hopewell Rocks.

Just an hour south of Moncton, the Hopewell Rocks are a remarkable place to experience the highest tides in the world! Happening twice a day, be sure to check the tide tables to be aware of high and low tides. 

The final stretch of this road trip heads into Nova Scotia. After crossing the border, it’s about 2 hours to Halifax. **There is a toll on this portion of the highway. It’s approximately $4 CAD. 

An hour after the border lies the town of Truro, which is a good spot to stop, have a rest and if the timing is right, to watch the twice daily tidal bore. If you’re adventurous, try Tidal Bore Rafting on the Shubenacadie River, close to Truro. 

Halifax near Peggy Cove

Another hour’s drive and you’re in Halifax –  stay here for a few days in Halifax, and enjoy the East Coast. While you’re in Halifax, be sure to visit Peggy’s Cove, Lunenburg, Halifax Waterfront, and Dartmouth.

There are many hotels to choose from, whether you’re looking for something close to the waterfront (which are more expensive) or something a little further away. Clayton Park, just off Hwy 102 is a good option, with hotels such as Coastal Inns and Future Inns – both highly recommended from our family!

Maritimes Magic: Fundy Coastal drive from Campobello Island (NB) to the Confederation Bridge (PEI) 

  • Number of days – 5 days
  • Route – New Brunswick and the Fundy Coastal drive from Campobello Island to the Confederation Bridge at Prince Edward Island (PEI)

Coastal New Brunswick and the Fundy Coastal drive from Campobello Island to the Confederation Bridge at Prince Edward Island makes for a scenic and less traveled area of Canada. In five days, you can cover the highlights in the Maritimes , along with the iconic Hopewell Rocks.

Hopewell Rocks Canada

Start from Campobello Island, the only International Park in the world and summer home of the U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. 

On day 2 head to Saint Andrews. An old fishing village, on the Bay of Fundy, where the most dramatic tides in the world shift daily, Saint Andrews has lots of restaurants and cute shops. It is also a great take-off spot for whale watching and kayaking trips. Don’t miss the Huntsman Marine Science Center and Kingsbrae Gardens.

On day 3 and 4, drive to Saint John and explore the city. Stay at the St. John Hotel & Suites . A must-see is The Reversing Falls, where the Bay of Fundy tides overtake the flow of the Saint John River, a UNESCO GeoPark. Then, make the quick 3-minute drive to Carleton Martello Tower located high on a hill overlooking the Bay of Fundy.

The New Brunswick Museum is a great way to get some history on the area with exhibits on the region’s lumber, shipbuilding, farming industries.

City Market of Saint John is a vibrant and bustling market with stalls of fresh produce, meat, seafood, even local art and souvenirs, and restaurants. 

Another must-see destination, Hopewell Rocks is a unique landscape, where you can walk along the ocean floor and see the towering sandstone sculptures with trees on top thanks to the Bay of Fundy’s dramatic tides

From there, you can continue winding along the Bay of Fundy Highway to 15E. Crossing the Confederation Bridge is an adventure in and of itself — it is the longest bridge (8 mi/12.9 KM) that crosses ice-covered waters in the world.

By Lori from Maps, Memories and Motherhood

Cape Breton Highlands National Park: Cabot Trail East Coastal Drive

  • Number of days – 3+ days
  • Route – Halifax – Cape Breton Island along the Cabot Trail

The Cabot Trail is a scenic driving route on the island of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia. Cape Breton is the largest island, and is home to 14% of the population. 

Cabot Trail offers one of the best scenic views along Canada’s Atlantic Coast. Cabot Trail is over 300 km, and can be easily completed in one day. However, we recommend stopping along the way to make the most of your trip, including exploring the great outdoors of Cape Breton Highlands National Park and soaking in the views of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 

Beautiful rugged coastline scenery  in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia along the Cabot Trail on the Atlantic Ocean in Maritime Canada

You can start from Halifax (fly there), and then head towards the Cabot Trail (3.50 hours).  Do make a stop at the Highland Village. This village has re-created the life of Gaelic settlers in Cape Breton and is beautifully set on the Bras d’Or lake. 

Set a day aside for Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Camp, picnic or go on a hike. Check out the Cape Breton Highlands Lookout, and capture sunset on Skyline Trail Hike. 

Whale watching is popular here, so seafood including lobster treats! Being a coastal drive, do stop at the Margaree Harbour or Enragee Point Lighthouse. 

Final Thoughts on Road Trips in Canada

You see, it is impossible to squeeze everything in Canada on a single trip (be it week or 2 weeks long). But you can always come back, and check off these wonderful road trips from your Canada bucket list. 

Pick one that speaks to you the most – mountains, cities or culture, or food – pick your car rental (check gas, your licences, insurance) – and let’s go!

Where will you head to first? 

Pin: 12 Canada Road Trips to take this year: Explore Canada by road trips

longest road trip in canada

Mayuri Kashyap is an Indian Canadian traveler, writer and photographer based in Alberta. She moved to Toronto as a student in 2009, and has been calling Canada home ever since. She started the blog - Canada Crossroads - to share her travel and living experiences in the Great White North!

A History graduate and an MBA, Mayuri is a destinations marketing expert. She loves traveling with her husband, Salil and soaking in experiences across Canada, India and Europe.

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Planning a Vancouver to Victoria day trip itinerary? You are at the right place! In this detailed post, we will share all the transportation options to get from Vancouver to Victoria and sightseeing in both cities. Vancouver and Victoria are both Canadian cities, located in the western part of the country – in the province…

Fairmont Lake Louise Afternoon Tea Review

Fairmont Lake Louise Afternoon Tea Review

Heading to Banff National Park, and wondering if the Fairmont Lake Louise high tea is worth it. Then you are at the right spot. In this detailed guide, we will share our honest Fairmont Lake Louise Afternoon Tea review, and also provide insider tips for visiting the Canadian Rockies – any time of year! Fairmont…

Jasper to Lake Louise via Icefields Parkway Drive

Jasper to Lake Louise via Icefields Parkway Drive

Icefields Parkway Drive is one of the most scenic drives in the world. The route connects many of the stunning destinations in the Canadian Rockies, making it a bucket list road trip from Jasper to Lake Louise and Banff National Park.  We have driven this route from Banff and Lake Louise to Jasper, and vice…

Epic 10 day Canadian Rockies Itinerary & Road Trip

Epic 10 day Canadian Rockies Itinerary & Road Trip

Canada’s showstopper mountains await you in Banff, Jasper and Yoho National Park. In this post, we will share an EPIC 10 day Canadian Rockies Itinerary in a road trip format.  At these national parks located primarily in Alberta, you will see the Canadian Rockies in all their glory. Living in Edmonton, the Canadian Rockies have…

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Solo Trips And Tips

Epic Canada Road Trip Driving Across Country in 6 Days

By: Author Susan Moore

Posted on Last updated: December 6, 2023

Who wants to spend 50 hours driving across Canada in one week? In August I did just that. I drove 50 hours from Calgary Alberta to Bridgewater Nova Scotia in only 6 days. Solo. I know, I could fly there so much faster. But then I wouldn’t have my car. And my stuff. And the adventure of a cross Canada road trip on my own!

It was a great experience to drive those 3,100 miles (5,000 km) from Southern Alberta to the South Shore region of Nova Scotia all by myself. Alberta – Saskatchewan – Manitoba – Ontario – Quebec – New Brunswick – Nova Scotia . I drove through 7 provinces in six days.

No speeding tickets :)

Canada road trip map and Moose and Canada Geese

Canada Road Trip

This road trip happened in mid-August and weather conditions cooperated with my travel plans. I would not attempt driving from Calgary to Nova Scotia in the winter.

I’m strictly a fair weather solo road tripper.

Bright red skeleton of the Peace Bridge which connects pedestrians to downtown Calgary. Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava

Bright red skeleton of the Peace Bridge which connects pedestrians to downtown Calgary

My longest road trip in Canada until this big cross Canada driving experience started in Vancouver, included stops in Armstrong BC, Lake Louise , Banff , and ended in Calgary .

READ: 5 Awesome glacial lakes in Alberta and BC

If you are driving across Canada from Vancouver then I would recommend stops in the Okanagan Valley for the wineries and wonderful fruit orchards. Also make time for at least a couple of these national parks:

  • Mount Revelstoke National Park in BC
  • Glacier National Park in BC
  • Yoho  National Park in BC – check out Emerald Lake and Kicking Horse River plus a beautiful and easy hike to the amazing Wapta Falls and check out Takakkaw Falls too! Golden BC is an excellent place to stay while exploring the national parks.
  • Kootenay National Park in BC
  • Jasper National Park – Amazing hiking , kayaking , and fishing in Jasper. Drive the Icefields Parkway highway from Banff to Jasper – one of the most beautiful drives in the world!
  • Banff National Park – Camping, hiking , fishing, canoeing and kayaking, and wildlife viewing

LEARN MORE: 15 Famous Landmarks in Canada

Goslings galore feeding at Prince's Island Park in downtown Calgary AB Canada

Goslings galore feeding at Prince’s Island Park in downtown Calgary

My previous longest road trip I drove over 2,500 miles (4,025 km) from Lafayette LA to Calgary AB including stops in Yellowstone NP in Wyoming ( read my guide to planning a trip to Yellowstone )  and Glacier National Park in Montana.

READ: 5 Reasons you must go to Yellowstone

In This Article:

Drive across Canada via USA or northern Ontario route?

Well it wouldn’t be a cross CANADA road trip if I skipped down to the USA for a bit now would it!?

In the beginning stages of planning my road trip across Canada I began with Google maps to find the best route and how many hours it takes to drive from Alberta to Nova Scotia.

Google presented me with three route options, all roughly the same mileage and total driving time of 49 hours.

READ now: 9 Cape Breton Hikes on the Famous Cabot Trail

Cross Canada road trip from Calgary to Nova Scotia driving route options from Google Maps

Cross Canada road trip from Calgary to Nova Scotia driving route options from Google Maps

Route 1 via Trans-Canada Hwy

Drive across Canada without entering the USA. This route is Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia.

Route 2 via US-2 E

Drive from Alberta to Saskatchewan, into the USA at North Dakota, then Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, back to Canada via Ontario, then Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia.

Route 3 via I-90 E

Drive from Alberta to Saskatchewan, into the USA at North Dakota, then Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York , Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine , cross back into Canada via New Brunswick, ferry to Nova Scotia.

I opted to go with the all Canada driving route because two border crossings, into the US and back into Canada could add time to my trip.

Driving in the busy summer holiday time I figured I would do better to avoid border crossings and stick with the Trans-Canada Highway most of the way.

The route goes through Northern Ontario for several hundred kilometers on secondary highways with less traffic than the Trans-Canada Highway.

READ: 10 Day Nova Scotia Road Trip Itinerary (with Maps)

Kapuskasing River is a branch of the Mattagami River in Ontario Canada

Kapuskasing River is a branch of the Mattagami River in Ontario Canada

Ferry or drive from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia?

The idea of taking a ferry may be alluring, but it probably won’t save you any time.

The ferry from News Brunswick to Nova Scotia only shaved 20 or 30 minutes off the trip so I opted to drive instead.

The reason I chose to drive is that I didn’t want to buy a ferry ticket in advance, just in case I experienced a delay in my trip. And ferries can be cancelled due to weather.

Plus, it costs around $150 CAD for the ferry and you need to be checked in 1 hour before departure time. That’s way too much pressure for driving Day 6.

This small replica lighthouse next to the Welcome to Nova Scotia sign greets travelers entering Nova Scotia from New Brunswick Canada

This small replica lighthouse next to the Welcome to Nova Scotia sign greets travelers

Planning where to stop while driving across Canada

You could simply drive until you decide to stop and then find a place to stay each night during a road trip.

But I prefer to know where I am staying in advance.

I don’t want the hassle of being stranded and having to sleep in my car.

My Toyota Yaris is a compact car and it’s loaded up with all my stuff, so sleeping in my car would be my last choice and I would only do it in an emergency.

If you have a van set up and you can sleep in your vehicle then you have a lot more flexibility on where you stop for the night.

If I were sleeping in my vehicle, I would plan a few options for locations to stop each night.

Camping out I would plan to visit a lot of National Parks and Provincial Parks along the way.

READ: Icefields Parkway itinerary – from Banff to Jasper

Grant Hall Hotel in Moose Jaw SK features burrowing owls atop pillars in the Burrowing Owl Lobby. Owls by artist Gus Froese.

Grant Hall Hotel in Moose Jaw SK with burrowing owls (by artist Gus Froese) atop pillars in the Burrowing Owl Lobby

How many hours per day do you want to drive?

Are you one of those people that can drive for 14 hours and not feel exhausted? If you are, I’m jealous!

Although I am improving, normally I prefer to spend around 6 to 8 hours driving per day when I relocate from one nomad home to the next location.

I generally spend one month at each location but sometimes only a week to 10 days.

READ: Pros and cons of a nomadic lifestyle

After my mom died in January 2017 and I needed to get back to Calgary to help my siblings take care of my dad (who has Alzheimer’s) I opted to drive 3 days in a row for 10-plus hours per day. It worked out okay and I found out I could do these long-haul road trips.

You need to know how many hours you will want to be behind the wheel.

You can take the slow and steady approach and drive 3 -4 hours per day, leaving you time to explore at each stop along the way. If you are traveling with young children this might be your best option.

Or you can spend all day driving in order to get to your final destination with time to relax and explore.

Pristine lakes and wilderness are the constant companion driving through Quebec

Pristine lakes and wilderness are the constant companion driving through much of Quebec

How many days do you want to drive?

The most perfect summer road trip would take me across Canada over three or four months.

But I didn’t have that kind of time, after visiting with family, so I made a choice to drive across the country within a week.

I wanted time to explore Nova Scotia during summer.

There’s so much Canada but only so much summer!

With my cross Canada trip taking an estimated fifty hours of driving I could split my trip into 5 days of 10 hours driving per day.

Sounds reasonable, but instead of 5 evenly paced driving days I opted to start my trip with a short 6-hour drive to Moose Jaw SK on Day 1, then 4 longer (9 – 10 hr) driving days and finish up with a short 5-hour drive on Day 6, New Brunswick into Bridgewater NS.

Al Capone's desk in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan - Tunnels of Moose Jaw Tour

Al Capone’s desk in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan – Tunnels of Moose Jaw Tour

I chose my driving schedule based on how it would fit with my work schedule. I have one client for which I work on a pre-set time of Monday afternoon and Wednesday morning.

So, I left on Wednesday and planned to arrive in Bridgewater Nova Scotia by Monday afternoon, working from my apartment rental.

READ: Tips for planning solo travel

Some people would prefer to drive 4 days straight with 12+ hour driving time each day.

This is a better option if you are on a tight budget, for both money and time, because you would save 2 nights lodging.

You could also sleep in your vehicle if you have it set up for van life, or camping is yet another option.

Terry Fox Memorial and Lookout in Thunder Bay ON commemorating the young cancer research activist and his Marathon of Hope

Terry Fox Memorial and Lookout in Thunder Bay ON

Summer is high season for travel in Canada

Remember that summer is always high season for travel in Canada, so accommodation can be tricky, popular tourist spots like Banff and Jasper are booked weeks or months in advance.

Sometimes you can get last minute bookings but those are rare.

If you can’t book your accommodation in advance, then it’s best to be flexible with your plans and check to see what are the other options around the area.

The blue eye of this wolf-dog caught my eye in Kapuskasing ON, and his owner had a remarkable life story.

The blue eye of this wolf-dog caught my eye in Kapuskasing ON, and his owner had a remarkable life story

Planning the stops on a cross country road trip

Here’s how I planned out my stops while driving across Canada over six days.

I used Google maps to plan out my road trip and find the driving distances. Figuring out my main route for the whole trip, then dissecting the trip into chunks of time.

It took me a few tries to figure out where to make each stop during my trip because sometimes there were no accommodations around the 10-hour portion of the driving day I planned.

Basically, I would eyeball on Google maps an approximate stopping point and enter the nearest town as my ending point to see how many hours it would take to drive that section of road.

Then I checked for nearby motels or budget hotels for availability and pricing. I wanted to keep the costs under control, so I set a budget of $75 USD ($100 CAD) per night for lodging.

READ: Cutest cottage in Cape Breton

I used both Booking.com and apartment rental sites to book my accommodations.

On one occasion I called a motel directly because it was not listed on any of the internet booking sites, but I could see it on Google maps.

Kapuskasing Ontario welcome sign. The name derives from the Cree word for branch

Kapuskasing Ontario welcome sign. The name derives from the Cree word for branch

Calgary AB to Bridgewater NS road trip stops

Driving day 1 – calgary ab to moose jaw sk.

685 km (425 miles) 6.5 hours driving time Highlight: Visiting Al Capone Tunnels in Moose Jaw

Driving day 2 – Moose Jaw SK to Ignace ON

1,100 km (685 miles) 11 hours driving time Highlight: Not getting hit by irresponsible drivers passing unsafely

Driving day 3 – Ignace ON to Kapuskasing ON

840 km (520 miles) 9 hours driving time Highlight: Terry Fox Memorial in Thunder Bay

Driving day 4 –  Kapuskasing ON to Prevost QC

900 km (560 miles) 10 hours driving time Highlight: Moose in Quebec and most scenic drive of the trip

Driving day 5 – Prevost QC to Jemseg NB

925 km (575 miles) 9 hours driving time Highlight: Getting lost around Montreal, my daft brain couldn’t get Ouest and Est straight LOL, Ouest is West and Est is East, pretty easy…but not for me evidently!

Driving day 6 – Jemseg NB to Bridgewater NS

460 km (285 miles) 4.5 hours driving time Highlight: Driving near Bay of Fundy at low tide, amazing!

Driving across Quebec I spotted these two young moose grazing near the water

Driving across Quebec I spotted these two young moose grazing near the water

Driving across Canada pay attention to time zones

When driving from west to east you lose an hour as you move into each new time zone, grrrr that’s not fun.

Of course, you gain an hour when driving from east to west, so much better!

And remember, Canada has a couple of extra time zones compared to the US.

There’s Atlantic time in the Maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

Plus Newfoundland time zone is an additional 30 minutes. That’s right a 30-minute time zone, not an hour.

Check sunrise and sunset times

I checked the sunrise and sunset times for the locations I would be stopping during my road trip.

I wanted to be at my hotel before dusk if possible. It’s nice to have time to enjoy a sit-down dinner and go for a walk after driving all day.

I don’t drive at night and prefer to stop driving before dusk because there is a higher chance of wildlife crossing the highways.

Hitting a deer would probably total my little Toyota Yaris…not to mention the fate of the deer :/

What does it cost to drive across the country?

Here is the breakdown of costs (August 2018) for my road trip across Canada from Calgary AB to Bridgewater NS over six days.

This includes gasoline, lodging, and dining out during my cross-country drive.

Note that the costs for petrol and lodgings have increased substantially. It’s best to do research before your trip so you don’t have sticker shock when you book accommodations or buy gasoline.

Gasoline cost for cross Canada road trip

Gasoline total cost: $332 USD ($440 CAD)

Priciest budget item on my cross-country journey turned out to be gasoline.

The most expensive place I purchased gasoline during this road trip was in Ontario. Two of the places charged over $1.50 per liter in northern Ontario. That works out to over $6 CAD ($4.50 USD) per gallon of gas.

Trading Post Motel in Ignace ON complete with super heroes and airplane on display along Hwy 17

Trading Post Motel in Ignace ON complete with super heroes and airplane along Hwy 17

Lodging costs for cross Canada road trip

Total accommodation costs: $304 USD ($402 CAD)

Average $61 USD ($80 CAD) per night

I drove an extra hour to avoid staying in Dryden ON because the cheapest place I found charged $125 CAD per night. I continued onward to Ignace Ontario and paid $80 (CAD) per night.

My cheapest night was at Travelodge Moose Jaw SK for $52 USD ($69 CAD) total including taxes.

Most expensive accommodation was Prevost QC at $73 USD (97 CAD) including taxes.

Here’s the list of places I stayed at during my drive across Canada in 6 days/5 nights:

  • Travelodge Moose Jaw SK $52 USD ($69 CAD)
  • Trading Post Motel in Ignace ON $60 USD ($80 CAD)
  • Park Inn Motel in Kapuskasing ON $62 USD ($82 CAD)
  • La Voyageur Motel in Prevost Quebec $73 USD ($97 CAD)
  • Cottage in Jemseg New Brunswick $57 USD ($76 CAD)

Food costs for cross Canada road trip

Total food spend for restaurant meals $166 USD ($220 CAD)

You could save money on food during your road trip with some pre-trip planning. Think about the foods you’ll eat while on the road and stock up on those items beforehand.

Here are some of my preferred road trip snacks and meals:

Pumpkin seeds Plantain chips Crackers Dried fruit Cherry tomatoes Cucumber Cookies Bananas Apples Jerky – did you know about BACON jerky?!! Also turkey, and salmon jerky, it’s not all about beef. Sardines – goes great with some crackers, and beer :)

If I could eat nuts, I would bring those too, but I’m allergic :/

My reward at the end of a long day of driving is usually a sit-down meal and a beer or two, preferably at a locally owned restaurant within walking distance of my lodgings.

Feasting on fish cakes with veggies, dinner salad, and cornbread at Creekview Restaurant in Gagetown NB

Feasting on fish cakes with veggies, dinner salad, and cornbread at Creekview Restaurant in Gagetown NB

Just in case no restaurants are open or close by, I also bring emergency rations.

My emergency food is sardines and crackers.

Probably a lot of people would find that repulsive, but I like sardines and crackers, goes great with beer.

Meal costs while roadtripping across Canada

Moose Jaw Saskatchewan dinner x2 (fish $23 CAD and Greek salad/pork stick $27 CAD) and breakfast $15 CAD

Ignace Ontario – dinner at hotel across the highway $40 CAD Walleye/salad/2 beers, breakfast $15 CAD at hotel across the highway

Kapuskasing Ontario – dinner/beers at O’Brien’s pub $49 CAD, breakfast of 3 biscuits with bacon from Timmy’s (Tim Hortons) $10 CAD

Prevost Quebec – no restaurants within walking distance and I was too tired to drive another minute, so dinner of sardines and crackers. No breakfast :/  Maybe that’s why I got lost around Montreal.

Jemseg New Brunswick – I drove to Creekview Restaurant in Gagetown NB for chowder, beer, fish cakes and salad $40 CAD

Notice I ate two dinners in Moose Jaw. What’s up with that? Driving is hungry work!

Seafood chowder with biscuit at Creekview Restaurant in Gagetown NB

Seafood chowder with biscuit at Creekview Restaurant in Gagetown NB

What about Canada highway toll charges?

There are a few toll charges according to Google Maps, but I don’t remember paying any tolls during this road trip across Canada.

When I left Nova Scotia to drive south to Maine there was a toll charge in New Brunswick.

Also note that if you take either of the USA routes you can expect to pay tolls.

In my experience, most places either accept cash payments or they will take a photo of your license plate and mail a toll invoice to you later.

Massachusetts sent me a bill for $2.30 when I drove through on my way to St Augustine Florida to enjoy the Florida coast and beaches .

Total cost of road trip across Canada

Total cost of my road trip across Canada from Calgary AB to Bridgewater NS for lodging, meals, and gas added up to $1,061 CAD ($802 USD) total.

Plus, snacks I purchased before I left Calgary, around $5/day so I’m going to say $29 CAD ($22 USD) to make it a nice even number for the total.

Total cost of road trip: $1,090 CAD ($824 USD)

The total cost for this epic 6-day cross country road trip is right in the ballpark for how much I estimated I would spend.

While my lodgings cost a bit less than my budget, gas and food cost a bit more.

Overall this Canadian road trip worked out great for me and I would do it again.

Driving for 6 days in order to spend a month exploring Nova Scotia was totally worth the effort, money, and time.

My dream Canada road trip would start from Tofino on Vancouver Island and finish in Newfoundland .

But I would want a few months for that 7,400 km (4,600 miles) monster road trip.

Greeting travelers at the visitor center in Nova Scotia, a bagpiper in a kilt

Greeting travelers at the visitor center in Nova Scotia, a bagpiper in a kilt

Tips for planning a cross country solo road trip

Download Google offline maps – this is a must because you will not have internet access in some locations.

Bring some cash with you. Sometimes there are cash only places in remote towns.

Get a AAA (America Automobile Association) or CAA (Canadian Automobile Association) membership so that you will have emergency roadside assistance if you need it.

Get paper maps in case all your technology dies.

If you have AAA membership you can get maps for free. CAA and AAA are affiliated so your membership in one allows you to the services in the other association/country.

They also have location guidebooks with listings for lodgings and restaurants.

Remember summer is high season for travel anywhere in Canada.

Book lodgings in advance, particularly if you are staying in popular tourist spots. Banff National Park or Jasper National Park are the two most visited national parks in Canada and the hiking is the BEST!

Read now: Hiking Valley of the Five Lakes in Jasper National Park

Tips for driving across Canada on a budget

Plan your meals in advance and shop at discount grocery stores, buy in bulk when possible.

Watch for sales and stock up on non-perishable items before your road trip.

Foraging for food is another way to save money on meals. You need to know what you’re doing otherwise you could become seriously ill or even die from eating something poisonous. Take classes and learn, or bring a foraging expert with you on your road trip :)

Gasoline may be the largest percentage of your budget, if possible, use a vehicle that gets great gas mileage.

Don’t keep luggage/cargo on your roof. Do use cruise control (when roads are dry) to keep your speed within the posted speed limit.

Typically, when driving over 50 mph (80 kph) gas mileage decreases quite a bit.

If you camp or sleep in your vehicle you will save a bundle of cash.

You need to know where it’s okay to park overnight and where to find free camping. The website Fresh Off the Grid has a resource listing in this post about finding free camping in the USA and Canada . They also have recipes for camping meals.

How about you, what’s on your roadtripping bucket list? What’s your best road trip tip?

Save it for later on Pinterest and SHARE!

Wednesday 27th of July 2022

I am planning a trip with my husband from Ottawa, Ontario to Nova Scotia early August. Have about 3 weeks to do it in. Planning to stay in Hilton hotels along the way, looking for any suggestions on where to stop for attractions, food along the route. Thanks

Susan Moore

Friday 29th of July 2022

Liz, You have lots of time so you may want to stop in Quebec City on the way, so many great restaurants in the old city. And visit Montmorency Falls too! For Nova Scotia you can have a look at my 10-day road trip itinerary for lots of ideas for attractions and food recommendations. Also check out my list of places to visit in summer in Nova Scotia. Have a wonderful road trip! Susan

Friday 15th of July 2022

Hello Susan, Very helpful to read this. I need to drive from Blue Hill, Maine to Whidbey Island, WA leaving August 18th. I have 10-11 days. I'll be alone, I'm 65, and drove across the US from Whidbey two years ago. Now I'll be moving to Washington State and need my car there. Since I have a little extra time, I'm wondering if there are a couple of places you recommend I should spend a 1-2 days? Both to rest and to sightsee. Since I'm moving to Whidbey I can easily travel up to BC from my new home at a later time, so am asking for places east of there for this trip. I've also looked at google maps and see their basic route recommendations. Wondering if you have any thoughts about whether to go the southern route through Sault Ste. Marie, or the more northerly one that goes above Lake Superior and through Winnepeg, or a mix of the two routes, or something else? Also, I see that someone mentioned ferries in their reply. Will I encounter the need to book ferries while in Canada? All of this is given that Covid restrictions allow this of course!

I thank you for the article and any other tips.

Sunday 17th of July 2022

@CL, You're welcome! If you search for "hotels near Batchawana Bay" on Google and then have a look at the map and zoom in a bit, it shows a few options for cabins and motels close by: Chicken Shack Motel, the Sawpit Bay Motel. I stayed at the Parkway Motel in (or near?) Wawa on my most recent road trip across Ontario and I liked it a lot. In Wawa there's a beautiful waterfall called Magpie Falls, I think the signage is Scenic High Falls. Also the Wawa Goose - it's big! Wawa means "Wild Goose" in Ojibwe. Have FUN! Susan

Saturday 16th of July 2022

@Susan Moore, thank you so much!! Batchawana Bay area looks wonderful, though no hotels along that entire shoreline area on either booking.com or google maps? There is something called the Lakeview Inn in Wawa though, so perhaps that will work! thanks again!

Cynthia, That's going to be a great summer road trip! And since you've already made the cross country drive before you have some good experience with making the long drive.

For the 1 - 2 days resting/sightseeing I think Lake Superior is the best place to stop along the way. From Blue Hill drive to Batchawana Bay on Lake Superior and continue the trip on the north side of Superior. I suggest staying at (or close to) Lake Superior Provincial Park, Pukaskwa National Park, or Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. Continue to Thunder Bay ON - a lovely place to stay as well! And then follow Lake Superior down to Minnesota, across North Dakota into Montana. The Rocky Mountains are another perfect place to stop for a rest and enjoy gorgeous scenery. Bozeman MT is a beautiful small town to stop for a night or two.

Alternatively, you could drive from Thunder Bay across Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and into Alberta. Stop in Waterton Lakes National Park and then south into Glacier National Park in northern Montana. But that's also easy enough for you to visit from Whidbey later on - and after Labor Day it's less crowded!

As to ferries, no you won't need to take any ferries for your trip in Canada. I believe the previous comment was regarding a trip across Canada to Newfoundland and that does require a ferry trip.

I hope you have a wonderful road trip with great weather, stunning scenery, and all good vibes along the way!

Cheers, Susan

Friday 20th of May 2022

Enjoyed reading your blog Susan. I am also from Calgary and planning a 6 week road trip to Newfoundland. The plan is to take 8 - 9 days to cross Canada and then spend 4 weeks in Newfoundland before driving back. The plan is to get across Saskatchewan and into Manitoba as quickly as possible and then slow down once I hit Ontario. Any recommendations on stops along the lake Superior route in Ontario? I have set ferry reservations, but since I have allocated a couple of extra days to get across the country I thought I would break up the trip a little. Looking forward to reading more of your adventures

Maria, Thank you, glad you're enjoying the blog. You're plan sounds great, the drive along Lake Superior is absolutely gorgeous. Last year I drove Calgary to Maritimes in 6 weeks and stopped in Emo Ontario and the drive along Hwy 11 was beautiful. The drive along Lake Superior is stunning. I stopped in Thunder Bay for a week and enjoyed staying there and I stopped 1 night in Wawa because it's close to Lake Superior Provincial Park. If you only have a day or two I would try to stay in/near the parks. Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Pukaskwa National Park, Lake Superior Provincial Park, and Batchawana Bay are all great places to do some hiking and enjoy the view of Lake Superior. Basically you can't go wrong with a stop along Lake Superior! I was blown away by the beauty and would like to drive it again and spend 2 or 3 weeks along Superior. I'm driving to Newfoundland too, at the end of May, but from Nova Scotia :) I hope you have an amazing road trip! Susan

Friday 8th of April 2022

Greetings, your article is the best, loaded with great information. I am going from Niagara area to Radium Hot Springs later this year...looking forward to using your tips. Thanks

Thank you, I hope you have an amazing road trip adventure from Ontario to BC. And to be honest, I'm a bit jealous, I haven't driven east to west in Canada yet! But I have driven Hwy 93 to Radium and it is spectacular. Enjoy your travels! Cheers, Susan

Wednesday 6th of October 2021

Susan, THANKS for sharing your epic solo driving trip across Canada! It’s inspiring as I’m planning a 4-6 weeks roadtrip next year. Appreciate all your helpful hints! Years ago I took a Greyhound bus ride from Vancouver to Toronto for $99!

Thursday 7th of October 2021

Hi Helen, Vancouver to Toronto by bus WOW! That is a looooong bus ride LOL, but the price, so cheap! Glad you found this article helpful and I hope you have beautiful weather and wonderful experiences on your road trip next year. I did the Calgary to Nova Scotia trip again this summer, BUT I took 6 weeks and it was an outstanding trip. I spent quite a bit of time around Lake Superior, simply gorgeous! And I finally made it to PEI, stunning scenery and scenic drives all around the island. Canada has so much natural beauty to enjoy and explore. Best wishes on your adventures, Helen! Susan

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The 10 Longest Road Trips in the World

By Nick Mafi

There are perhaps few things more liberating than a road trip. With miles and miles of concrete ahead of you, the only two obstacles are the gas in your tank and the end of the road. While the former can easily be handled with intermittent stops at a gas station, the latter will eventually end, effectively stopping the road trip. So why not consider the longest roads so as prolonging the experience? Modern technology and government collaborations have allowed, for example, for one strip of road to span from the northern tip of North America to the southern expanse of South America—a feat, no doubt, that would've left Magellan speechless. As such, this summer, as you prepare to plan your next road trip, consider the ten longest highways in the world (just make sure you have enough gas money).

road with desert next to it and one cloud in the sky

Interstate 80

Spanning 2,899 miles, Interstate 80 is roughly 120 miles shorter than I-90. Starting in Teaneck, New Jersey, the highway stretches across 11 states before arriving in San Francisco. I-80 runs a similar route to the Lincoln Highway. Built in 1913, the Lincoln Highway was among the earliest transcontinental highways for automobiles to cross the country.

Interstate 90 over a blue lake

Interstate 90

Barely surpassing 3,000 miles, Interstate 90 is the longest interstate highway in the United States. Beginning in Boston, the road travels across the northern half of the country, continually uninterrupted until it runs through Seattle. Between those two cities, I-90 spans some 11 states.

green sign for US Route 6 with highway in background

U.S. Route 6

Almost running the entirety of the country, U.S. Route 6 begins in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and ends in Bishop, California (near the Nevada border). In total the highway stretches 3,199 miles, at one point going through the Loveland Pass, where it crosses the Continental Divide.

bridge running over Mississippi River

U.S. Route 20

Spanning 3,365 miles, U.S. Route 20 runs east to west, covering some 12 states. Completed in 1926, the road begins in Boston and ends in Newport, Oregon. Pictured here is the Julien Dubuque Bridge, which is a part of U.S. Route 20, and runs over the Mississippi River, connecting Dubuque, Iowa, and East Dubuque, Illinois.

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road snacks through grassy fields

China National Highway

Ranging some 3,541 miles, the China National Highway is the longest road in the country. It runs from Tongjiang in the eastern edge of the country all the way to Sanya, on the southern tip next to the South China Sea.

road running under a bridge

Golden Quadrilateral National Highway

The Golden Quadrilateral National Highway is India's largest highway project, and one that connects many of the major cities in the country. Spanning 3,632 miles, the concrete road connects Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Kanpur, Surat and Bengaluru, and more, effectively linking many of the major industrial, agricultural, and cultural centers of India.

highway with mountains and clouds in the background

Trans-Canada Highway

The 4,860-mile-long Trans-Canada Highway crosses the entirety of Canada from east to west. If ever one finds themselves on a long stretch of road in Canada and wonders if it's the Trans-Canada Highway, it's easily identifiable by a distinctive white-on-green maple leaf route marker on its signs.

highway with truck and snow on road

Trans-Siberian Highway

The Trans-Siberian Highway, which starts in metropolitan St. Petersburg, runs 6,835 miles through the heart of Russia before ending in Vladivostok, on the far eastern end of the country, next to the Pacific Ocean.

highway with trees on both side of the street

Australia's Highway 1 circles around the entire country/continent, totaling some 9,000 miles. Passing through all the major cities, the road covers a wide range of terrain such as tropical swamps, deserts, and ocean coastlines.

The Panamerican Highway with two cars and mountains in the background

Pan-American Highway

Spanning some 19,000 miles, the Pan-American Highway is the longest roadway in the world. Starting in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, the road moves south, passing through Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Central America. There, the road hits a small bump, where travelers have to pass a gap connecting Central and South America briefly by sea before moving through Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile, and ultimately ending in the southern tip of Argentina.

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Road through valley

The world's longest and greatest road trips

Road-trips are the perfect way to experience many different countries, cultures and landmarks all in one epic journey.

Being in control of your destiny and the freedom that comes with jumping in the car and driving wherever you see fit can be liberating. Whilst road-trips do need a decent period of time to undertake there are plenty of options to suit whether you’ve got a long weekend or taking a year to travel the world.

We’re concentrating today on those longer trips, those inspirational life affirming journeys that take you from one side of the world to the other by looking at the world’s longest road trips.

Sagres to Talon Road Trip

Sagres to Talon: The Longest Overland Road Trip

The furthest that you can drive without the need of ferries or trains is from Sagres in Portugal to Talon in eastern Russia.

This 9,414 mile (15,151km) journey will take around 200 hours of continuous driving. Clearly you’ll be wanting to break up the journey, doing so means you’ll be able to explore a number of wonderful countries from the start point in Portugal, through Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Belarus and across the breadth of Russia via Moscow, Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk and to Talon.

Pan American Highway Road Trip

Prudhoe Bay to Ushuaia: Pan American Highway

The Pan American Highway spans the North and South American continents, from Prudhoe Bay in Alaska to the southernmost city in the world Ushuaia in Argentina.

It’s a distance of 19,000 miles (30,000km) making it the longest road in the world. It would take an estimated 720 hours to drive the length of the Pan American Highway – which is a solid 3 months of driving, but most people choose to take a much more leisurely approach over the course of 6-12 months.

The journey takes you through Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, United States and Canada – which gives you plenty of places to explore and enjoy along the way. From the Patagonian icefields to the Atacama Desert and the Rockies mountains.

We should be honest and admit that this isn’t fully achievable by car alone, the Darien Gap, which separates South America and Central America is a region of mountainous rainforest and swampland which can only be covered by boat.

Highway 1 Australia's Big Lap Road Trip

Highway 1 in Australia: The Big Lap

Australia’s Big Lap is essentially the world’s biggest ring road. The 9,000 mile (14,500km) Highway 1 connects the capitals of Australia’s states (except Hobart and Canberra) by joining Perth (Western Australia), Darwin (Northern Territories), Brisbane (Queensland), Sydney (New South Wales), Melbourne (Victoria) and Adelaide (South Australia). 

In doing so it becomes the second largest road in the world. It showcases all that Australia has to offer from the Great Ocean Road between Melbourne and Adelaide to the isolation of the north eastern coasts with swamps, deserts and scrubland in between.

Although the record for the Big Lap is a remarkable 6 days, those of us with more time could enjoy the journey over the course of 3-6 months. Taking in all that Australia has to offer in that time.

Trans-Siberian Highway Road Trip

St. Petersburg to Vladivostok: The Trans-Siberian Highway 

Many would have heard of the Trans-Siberian Railway, but did you know there was a highway as well?

Running the length of Russia from St Petersburg in the north west to Vladivostok in the south east it covers 7,000 miles (11,000km) making it the third longest road in the world.

The journey takes goes from the Baltic Sea coast to the Sea of Japan, through some inhospitable terrain making it one of the toughest road trips you can choose to do.

Driving constantly and going at full tilt will still take around 14 days to make it from one side to the other. Happily though, if you allow 4-6 weeks you can make the journey in a more manageable way and enjoy the cities of Moscow, Kazan and Irkutsk whilst the natural wonder of Lake Baikal. 

St John's to Vancouver - Canada's Road Trip

St John’s to Vancouver: The Trans-Canada Highway 

Canada is the second biggest country in the world, so it’s not a surprise to see it on a list of the world’s longest road trips. The Trans-Canada Highway meanders from St John’s in Newfoundland and Labrador in the east to Vancouver, the largest city in British Columbia on Canada’s west coast.

The journey is 5,000 miles (7,000km) takes you through ten Canadian provinces and takes you from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Coast in the west. In total, it would take around 120 hours of pure driving, but more realistically a 2-month trip would allow you to leisurely journey where you can take in all that Canada has to offer.

Along the route, stop in the beautiful Quebec City, explore the lakes and mountains of Alberta and try whale watching in Vancouver Bay.

The Golden Quadrilateral - India Road Trip

Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata: The Golden Quadrilateral Highway 

India’s longest road trip in 3,600 miles (6,000km) long and connects 4 of India’s largest cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.

In doing so it forms a quadrilateral where the highway gets its name. It is the newest highway on this list having been completed in 2001

2-4 weeks driving this route around India would be able to provide good time to explore each city and immerse yourself in some of India’s most famous landmarks including the world-famous Taj Mahal. 

US Route 20 Boston to Newport Road Trip

Boston, Massachusetts to Newport, Oregon: U.S. Route 20

America and road trips go hand in hand, although Route 66 is probably the famous road trip in the world, the longest road trip in the United States is actually Route 20 which connects Boston, Massachusetts on the east coast with Newport, Oregon on the Pacific coast in the north west of the country.

Covering 3,365 miles (5,415km) it runs through 12 different states and some fascinating cities including Cleveland – where you can visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Minneapolis - for some retail therapy at the Mall of America, and Chicago - The Windy City. Aside from cities you can also experience the USAs natural beauty including Yellowstone National Park, Craters of the Moon National Preserve and, if you’re willing take a 2-hour detour, you can see Mount Rushmore.

The 60 hours of driving that it will take can make for an excellent 3-week journey across the route, giving you enough time for a leisurely drive and multiple night stays along the way. 

Asian Highway 1 Road Trip

Istanbul to Tokyo: Asian Highway 1

The longest road trip across Asia spans 12,774 (20,557km) from Istanbul in Turkey – known as the gateway to Asia – to Tokyo in Japan.

Asian Highway 1 takes around 125 hours to complete, but given the number of different countries through which it runs you’ll likely want to allow yourself 4-6 weeks to fully appreciate everything that this route has to offer.

The route runs through South Korea, North Korea, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. Whilst some of these countries may not be the easiest to navigate through geo-politically speaking the routes does hold some magnificent treasures throughout south east Asian and parts of the Indian sub-continent.

If you’re not sick of driving by the time you arrive in Istanbul, it is possible to continue the trip via the E80 which will lead you across Europe to Lisbon in Portugal. 

John O'Groats to Cape Town Road Trip

John O’Groats, UK to Cape Town: The Longest Euro-African Road Trip

Here’s one that is perfect for us Brits. A 200 hour drive takes us 9,100 miles (14,650km) from the UK’s most northerly mainland point – John O’Groats to Cape Town in South Africa.

It would take just over a week of solid driving to make the distance, but a much more sensible timescale will be 2 to 3 months – that way you can enjoy your trip through Europe and down the length of Africa.

This unique journey travels through France, Spain, Algeria, Nigeria, Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, Namibia and South Africa – allowing you to get up close and personal with the wildlife of Africa in the various deserts, game reserves and national parks with the Algerian Sahara and Deadvlei and Etosha National Park in Namibia being particular highlights.

Serai, Indonesia to Cape Town, South Africa: The Longest Land Route with Ferries

If you’re willing to push the definition of a road trip a bit further and are happy to use a number of ferries, then the longest land route you can do with ferries is between Cape Town and Serai, North Sulawesi in Indonesia.

The longest road trip covers a distance of 20,885 (33,612km) through Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Kazakhstan, Russia and then across Europe from Belarus to Spain. Then head over to north Africa and travel through Algeria, Niger, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and more.

This is a mammoth journey that with constant driving would take 550 hours – the equivalent of 23 days straight!

Ready to hit the road for your next adventure?

Have we inspired to take a road trip? Even if you don’t have the time or the willing to travel tens of thousands of miles there are some excellent road trips closer to home including:

  • North Coast 500 – Scotland
  • Wild Atlantic Way – Ireland
  • Ring Road - Iceland
  • The Amalfi Coast - Italy
  • Atlantic Road – Norway

If you are planning a driving adventure this year, remember to get yourself covered with travel insurance and car hire excess cover and breakdown cover to make sure you’re fully protected before you hit the open road.

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10 best road trips canada has to offer in 2024.

Bradley Williams

In March 2021, we set out on what would prove to be the single longest road trip within one country that we've ever done.

Or probably will ever do…

Spanning a combined 4 months of driving, we visited almost every province (at least those that can be accessed in a 2 wheel vehicle).

Covering more than 15,000km this took us from the very eastern coast in Halifax, all across to the Rocky Mountains!

Up through the Yukon (with a cheeky road trip through Alaska ) and then all the way down the west coast to Vancouver.

Along the way exploring and road tripping many of Canada’s best places to visit .

The Yukon, Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, the Great Lakes, Niagara Falls, Cape Breton and a whole bunch more!

But instead of writing what would end up being an impractical and unending 4 month Canada road trip post; I instead wanted to break things up.

Highlighting what we believe to be the 10 absolute best road trips to take within the country.

Each one broken down into manageable 1 - 2 week lengths!

Let's get started…

Travellerspoint

First up… do you have your vehicle sorted?

For our journey across Canada we had our trusty camper called Helen (who we converted ourselves by the way!).

We shipped her all the way from England, and after finishing in Canada headed south all the way to the bottom of South America.

But if you don't already have a vehicle sorted, you have two main options ...

1. Hire an RV / campervan

hiring a campervan in canada

There are plenty of fantastic RV rental firms in Canada , offering a whole host of vehicles to fulfil the needs of any camper or road tripper.

The best thing about renting an RV is that you have your vehicle, accommodation and often your meals all in one place.

Which can save a LOT of money on accommodation and eating out.

Plus you have far greater flexibility in where you can stay each night and what you can see, so this would definitely be my top choice.

To rent a camper, your best bet is to head on over to either:

  • GoSee Travel - These guys compare all the top RV rental firms in a given area within Canada, great if you want to hire from an actual company.
  • Outdoorsy - These guys are the largest and best private RV rental firm in Canada, allowing you to rent all kinds of vehicles directly from individuals. Kind of like the Airbnb of the RV rental world!

2. Hire a car

Some RVs can be large and more difficult to manoeuvre, so people might want to take on a Canada road trip by car.

You can check out our guide to the best car rental sites if you're unsure of who to go with! 

Better yet, we've got an in-depth guide on the best car rentals in Canada which will help you narrow down your search.

Quick answer? Check out Rentalcars , they are always our top pick.

If you want to road trip Canada by car, then you'll need to arrange accommodation. 

To help save time and money I have put together an in-depth guide on how to find cheap hotel rooms all around the world. This will definitely help save you money in a more expensive country like Canada.

Alternatively, if you prefer staying in unique accommodation or even homestays (which can be much cheaper than hotels) then my guide on the best vacation rental sites should be useful.

Especially for finding unique properties in places like the Rockies or Whistler!

10 Best road trips in Canada

The list below is based on when we visited each region (so east to west).

It's not based on what we believe to be best to worst; as making such a list would be very difficult.

Though I can safely say that my top two favourites are numbers 6 & 7.

Okay here it goes…

1. Cape Breton Trail (+ Eastern Nova Scotia from Halifax)

Halifax Nova Scotia road trip

This is where we started!

Cape Breton is an island at the eastern end of the Nova Scotia province .

It’s best known for its Cabot Trail , a roadway encircling the island, taking travellers through dense forests and rugged coastline. 

This has to be one of the most stunning drives in all of Canada.

We visited Cape Breton Island in March/April and were the only ones there. It was a truly magical and unique experience!

It was wild, and the weather got crazy at times, but even at that time of year it was a beautiful and unforgettable adventure.

longest road trip in canada

The drive along the Cabot Trail passes through the Cape Breton Highlands National Park , with amazing views along the way.

There are plenty of stops to camp and hike, as well as loads of other adventure activities such as gold panning, sea kayaking, cycling, or even a whale watching tour.

In the winter months skiing and snowmobiling are popular activities.

For the best experience, why not check out this audio driving tour which will allow you to learn all about the Cabot Trail whilst you're admiring the views! 

There are a total of 26 hiking trails throughout the National Park, the most popular being the Skyline Trail . It’s a 5 mile loop encompassing incredible views of the Gulf of St Lawrence, as well as fantastic opportunities for spotting wildlife including moose, bald eagles and bears.

camping on the cabot trail

We only got to see the northern part of Nova Scotia, but nevertheless the 360 km drive from Halifax along the eastern shore toward Cape Breton was wonderful. We saw so much wildlife and the ocean views there are amazing.

You could always take more time to then see the southern end of Nova Scotia too.

You can find more information on the best things to do in Cape Breton here...

longest road trip in canada

2. Halifax to Quebec City

Halifax to Quebec City road trip map

There’s over 1,000 km between Halifax and Quebec City, a journey which passes through New Brunswick and a bunch of National Parks.

Some of the best things to do in New Brunswick include:

  • Bay of Fundy and Fundy National Park
  • Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park
  • Whale watching
  • Grand Manan Island

Throughout our journey through New Brunswick, we stayed at Dumfries Maple Syrup Farm for the night, and it was amazing!

I’d highly recommend you take part in a similar experience in either New Brunswick or Quebec if you’re visiting in the brief maple season.

Maple season takes place between February and April, so if you’re lucky enough to visit New Brunswick or Quebec during this time, I’d highly recommend you take part in a maple syrup farm experience.

maple season in canada

As the capital of the Quebec province, there are lots of great things to do in Quebec City .

Some of our favourites are:

  • The Château Frontenac
  • A trip to Montmorency Falls
  • Visit the Parliament Building
  • Wander around the Old Town - this 2-hour walking tour will show you all the best sites

For those with some extra time, you can always head out on a sightseeing cruise which is a fantastic way to see the city! 

longest road trip in canada

If the conditions allow for it, this road trip can be extended to Prince Edward Island and Northern Quebec.

Prince Edward Island is Canada’s smallest province, and can be accessed from New Brunswick via the 12.9km Confederation Bridge.

The best thing about this tiny province is, you’re never more than 16 km away from the ocean. This means there’s some great seafood options around, giving PEI the title of ‘Canada’s Food Island’.

Northern Quebec forms the largest part of the Quebec province , stretching over 1 million square kms.

There’s incredible nature in this area, with Arctic tundra in the north where the winters are long and harsh.

longest road trip in canada

3. Quebec City to Toronto

Quebec City to Toronto road trip map

This Canada road trip took us over 800 km through the Quebec Province and into Ontario .

Quebec City lies just over 800 km from Toronto , so of course there are lots of fascinating spots to enjoy throughout this journey.

The first stop of this Canada road trip is Saguenay . 

We opted for a slightly longer route so we could stop at Montmorency Falls on the way.

Although it’s only 7.5 miles away from the city you'll want to allow a good few hours to explore here.

Fun fact: at 83m tall, the waterfalls here are 30 m higher than Niagara falls. To see some of the best views of the park and waterfalls, take the cable car .

The drive from Montmorency Falls to Saguenay will take you via the Laurentian Mountains , which is one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world.

montormency falls

Saguenay is best known for Saguenay Fjord, which leads to the St. Lawrence River. The Fjord is definitely one of the best places to visit in Quebec, with incredible scenery throughout the whole year!

Some of the other great things to do in Saguenay are:

  • Visit a museum - there’s loads to choose from including the Musée du Fjord , La Pulperie de Chicoutimi , and the Musée de la Petite Maison Blanche
  • Parc de la Rivière-du-Moulin - with its 35 km of maintained trails, 7.5 of which are open in the winter for walking, running or cycling
  • Go back in time at the The Val-Jalbert Historic Village
  • Enjoy some local food
  • Skiing if you’re visiting in the winter  

The next stop, and our first big city on this Canadian road trip is Montreal. It’s definitely worth stopping here for a few days. Some people even choose to start their road trips here as there are plenty of RV rental options .

There are loads of amazing things to do in Montreal , and it’s easy to see why it’s a bucket list destination for so many.

longest road trip in canada

Some of our top recommendations for Montreal include:

  • Axe Throwing - definitely one of the most unique activities in the city, we did it at a place called Rage
  • Food tour around Mile End
  • Montreal Botanical Gardens
  • Visit the Underground City - Montreal has the largest underground pedestrian network in the world.

You could always explore the city on this guided bus tour which will take you past all the best spots!

From Montreal there’s around a 2 hour drive to Ottawa. This takes us out of the Quebec province and into Ontario, and involves a slight detour from the straight route through to Toronto.

However, it’s a necessary detour to get the Canadian capital ticked off on this Quebec road trip itinerary .

Yes that’s right, neither Montreal nor Toronto are the capital of Canada! It’s Ottawa, which I’m sure is surprising for some of you to hear.

ottowa canada

There are definitely some interesting sites and beautiful buildings to see in Ottawa, and as the Canadian capital there are of course some interesting historical and cultural sites, however you won’t need more than a day here.

Some of the best things to do in Ottawa include:

  • Byward Market - one of the oldest markets in Canada , the Byward Market consists of main buildings, and open air stalls. It’s the number one tourist attraction in Ottawa. 
  • Rideau Canal Skateway - this UNESCO World Heritage Site becomes the longest outdoor skating rink in the world during the winter months. It’s 8 km long and is open 24 hours a day! Make sure you enjoy a Beaver Tail whilst skating here. They are deep fried dough sweets which you can buy at kiosks along the ice rink.
  • Visit some of the museums - including the Canadian Museum of History, the National Gallery of Canada , the Canadian Museum of Nature , the Canada Agriculture Museum and the Canadian War Museum
  • Enjoy the nightlife - there’s a whole host of pubs, bars, lounges, nightclubs, and live jazz and blues music throughout the city. So there’s something for every kind of night owl!

There's also this fantastic river sightseeing cruise that will take you along the Ottawa River and past many of the city's iconic landmarks.

Here's some information on the best things to do in Ottawa ...

Our final stop before Toronto is the beautiful Algonquin Provincial Park . It’s Ontario’s oldest and most famous provincial park , so it must be worth a visit! This park is 7,635 sq km of maple hills forests, bogs, lakes, rivers and rocky ridges.

longest road trip in canada

There are eight camping grounds to choose from at Algonquin, some of which are open all year round, as well as a wide range of biking and hiking trails , fishing opportunities, and wildlife viewing.

Some of the best and most popular hiking trails include Booth's Rock Trail , Centennial Ridges Trail , and Mizzy Lake Trail . 

In the winter , there’s great opportunities for skiing, snowshoeing and skating at the park. 

longest road trip in canada

From Algonquin Provincial Park it’s around a 3 hour drive to reach our destination for this Canada road trip - Toronto!

4. Toronto to Thunder Bay

Toronto to Thunder Bay Ontario road trip map

This road trip encompasses around 1,600 km of some of Canada’s most famous sites in the Ontario province.

Ontario is an amazing road trip destination, with lots of RV rental opportunities .

Your starting point, the provincial capital Toronto, is full of amazing things to do , so make sure you give yourself adequate time to enjoy this incredible city.

Why not take a look at this 'Best of Toronto' city tour which includes transport and entry tickets?

longest road trip in canada

This city is also a great place to start a Canadian road trip as there are lots of RV rental firms in Toronto to choose from.

And better still, it’s just a road trip away from the world renowned Niagara Falls .

It really isn’t a trip to Ontario without a trip to Niagara Falls, so head south from Toronto, then cut eastwards again, and you’re at this famous beauty spot. Also stop at the town of Niagara and surrounding vineyards - it's amazing here!

If you’re planning on spending a little longer in this area, you might want to treat yourself to a night in a hotel with a view of Niagara Falls .

Or, you can just take a day trip from Toronto as there are plenty of fantastic tour options! 

hotel with a view of niagara falls

Heading west from Niagara Falls sees you take in lots of the best places in Ontario . 

Manitoulin Island should be a must on this Canadian road trip. It’s a lake island found in Lake Huron, which is one of the Great Lakes of North America, and one of the largest lakes in the world. The island is best accessed by a ferry from Tobermory, which is around 300 km from Toronto.

The island is absolutely MASSIVE, and is in fact the largest freshwater island on the planet. It actually has over 100 lakes of its own!

Another interesting fact about Manitoulin Island is that it’s the first site of European settlement in Canada. The pace on this island is really slow and life is pretty laid back. With amazing scenery, and no crowds, it’s a nature lover's haven. 

The easiest and most popular way to get to Manitoulin is via the MS Chi-Cheemaun ferry , with the crossing taking around 2 hours. Of course, the island is an incredible place, but the crossing alone is fantastic.

Fares can vary depending on the time of year, and the type of vehicle you are travelling with, so check their website for a fare estimate. 

Now I’ve mentioned before that Lake Huron is one of the Great Lakes of North America, but there are four more - Lake Superior, Michigan, Erie and Ontario. Lake Superior is the largest lake in the world.

The drive from Manitoulin to Thunder Bay is a long and unending road through Ontario. It’s over 1,000 km altogether, and the road runs along Lake Superior. There’s a whole lot of nothing along the route , really Winnipeg is the next major city, and that’s over 2,200 km away!

But if you want to just road trip Ontario, after crossing Manitoulin and driving along the Great Lakes, you could then cut back and take the other road all the way back eastwards. It’s more about the journey than the destination with this one.

Our big recommendation is to rent or buy a kayak and spend days at a time exploring the many national parks in this area.

longest road trip in canada

Thunder Bay is the largest city in Northwestern Ontario, but it’s still not big enough to escape the untouched wilderness of this province.

Some of the best things to do in the city are:

  • Thunder Bay Historical Museum
  • Thunder Bay Art Gallery
  • Thunder Bay Military Museum
  • Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame

Check out this guide for inspiration on the best things to do in Thunder Bay ...

There’s also lots around the city for outdoor enthusiasts including Sleeping Giant Provincial Park , Kakabeka Falls and Cascades Conservation Area .

5. Winnipeg to Calgary

Winnipeg to Calgary road trip map

This Canadian road trip takes us from Winnipeg, the largest city in the Manitoba Province , across to Calgary in Alberta.

The 1,300 km route passes through the province of Saskatchewan on the way, so you can say you drove all the way across this vast state!

It's funny, most Canadians we met actually ridicule Saskatchewan for being flat and boring. I quite liked it, but it's very open and you drive for unending hours with the reward being the Rockies. 

A fun fact about Saskatchewan is that it’s home to Mac the Moose , the world’s largest moose and one of the most photographed roadside attractions in Canada.

winnipeg attractions

Winnipeg is a fun city, and as the largest city in the province, there are plenty of great things to do .

Some of our favourites include:

  • Shopping and dining at the Forks
  • The Manitoba Museum
  • Winnipeg Art Gallery

If you're not spooked easily then why not download this smartphone audio ghost tour ? Winnipeg has an interesting history when it comes to ghosts and ghouls, and it's really quite creepy! 

The large flat open plains along this route mean there are clear views of the Canadian Rockies, gradually looming larger.

Instead of just heading straight for Calgary once we reached Alberta , we headed up to Edmonton first.

There’s 300 km between Calgary and Edmonton, but it’s definitely one of the best places to visit in Alberta , so well worth adding to this Canada road trip itinerary.

In fact, there's a pretty cool way to explore the city - by Segway tour ! 

As you head southwards from Calgary you suddenly enter the prehistoric landscapes of Dinosaur Provincial Park .

longest road trip in canada

This UNESCO world heritage site is well worth a visit. There’s amazing drives , trails, camping and a visitor centre to enjoy. It's as if you enter a whole new landscape!

‍ And outside of the rocky mountains, it’s the coolest part of Alberta to visit (based on our experience).

Another interesting sight south of Calgary is Head-Smashed-in-Buffalo-Jump World Heritage Site . This site showcases 6000 years of Plains Buffalo culture.

Admission costs 15 CAD, and visitors can enjoy vast landscapes, exhibits and programs, which teach visitors about the cultural significance of this cliff to the Plains People.

You could just as easily do this road trip the other way round. Starting the road trip in Alberta is a great idea as there are lots of RV rental options .

6. Rocky Mountains

Banff to Jasper road trip map

The Rocky Mountains are without doubt one of the best places to visit anywhere in the world .

Covering 4,800 km, the Rocky Mountains are the longest mountain range in all of North America.

Full to the brim of turquoise lakes, mountain peaks and amazing hikes, the whole area is incredible!   But there are definitely some stand-out destinations.

A road trip through the Rocky Mountains will take in some of Canadas most beautiful places, starting in the south with Banff and heading all the way up to Jasper in the north.

banff national park

There’s a 300 km drive between these two fantastic destinations, but with so much to see and do throughout this Canada road trip you’ll want to take your time to take it all in.

Banff National Park is home to some amazing lakes including Lake Louise , Lake Moraine , Emerald Lake and Two Jack Lake .

Some other must see stops as you head through Banff on this Canada road trip have to be Mount Norquay , Johnston Canyon and Sulphur Mountain , the latter you can reach via the Banff Gondola .

Banff National Park and Jasper National park are linked by the epic 232 km Icefields Parkway .

longest road trip in canada

This route is a road tripper's dream, encompassing stunning views, mountain peaks, blue lakes and 100s of glaciers - including the Athabasca Glacier which you’re able to walk on!

In fact, this glacier hike is definitely one of the best things to do in Jasper and on this Rocky Mountains road trip.

The Athabasca Glacier is thought to be most visited glacier in all of North America.

Ice Walks on the Athabasca Glacier operate from the Columbia Icefield car park, and we’d really recommend you take this unique opportunity to walk on a glacier.

Depending on which way round you do your road trip, Edmonton or Calgary are 2 of your best bets to hire a camper!

longest road trip in canada

Then either drop back at the original depot, or some companies allow you to pay a surcharge drop off fee.

7. Dawson Creek to Delta Junction (Alaska Highway)

Dawson Creek to Delta Junction Alaska Highway road trip map

There’s one road which takes you from Dawson Creek to Delta Junction , and that’s the Alaska Highway !

This 2,232 km road was constructed during World War II to contiguous America, across Canada, to Alaska .

Yes this Canada road trip ends in Alaska which is the USA, but why drive that far if you’re not going to complete the last bit?!

There are also plenty of awesome places to visit along the way so allow time for lots of stops.

hot springs on the alaska highway

When it was first completed back in 1942 it was around 2,700 km long, but it’s now over 400km shorter due to continuing reconstruction and rerouting of the highway over the years.

It was once legendary for being a rough and challenging drive, but it’s now paved the entire way.

However, there’s no denying that it’s very bumpy, and can cause a lot of damage to vehicles if you don't take it easy.

I blame this road for wrecking the fan in our van , meaning we had to ship a new one to Oregon from the UK, as well as breaking the gas regulator under our van.

But I would definitely recommend it and take it again!

Perfectly doable in a 2 wheel vehicle in my opinion.

If you’re looking for an alternative route to Alaska check out the Top of the World Highway .

This is only open for certain summer months of the year but is the only other way into Alaska by road. 

We took this highway into Alaska, and then did the final stage of the Alaska highway when leaving the state.

So yes, we did the whole Alaska highway , but in 2 different points as passing on Dawson City and our failed attempt at the dempster diverted us off it. It was a great drive!

You literally do feel like you are at the top of the world.

longest road trip in canada

They had tremendous wildfires when we did it (which are perfectly normal) so much of the drive was misty.

We even got booted off one of our wild camping spots because a helicopter landed 20 metres away from us and needed to secure the area as a depot for putting out a fire in the area! We also each got a cool stamp in our passport (will include pic).

The Top of the World Highway runs 127 km from Dawson City to near Jack Wade and is open from mid May to mid October.

8. Dempster Highway

Dempster Highway road trip map

That’s our video.

We actually broke down (kind of) just 100km in and It cost us £800 to get towed back to Dawson. Luckily it was a faulty oil light and the dempster didn't actually cause any damage. But it definitely was scary and worrying!

If you break down further along the Dempster Highway then it will cost thousands to get repaired or towed out.

We're gutted that we didn't make it the whole way as plenty of people do it in vehicles much worse prepared and in poorer condition than ours, but we lost our nerve after the experience, knowing how far we still had to go to reach the bottom of Argentina.

But we managed to do one hike before the disaster, and the views were epic!

We stopped at the Tombstone Territorial Park on our first evening, and the next morning we did a hike in the park.

Even if you weren't planning on driving the full Dempster Highway, it's worth driving to this park for the views and hikes on offer, plus the road is pretty maintained up until here! 

longest road trip in canada

So, how do you drive the Dempster Highway?

Thankfully, we had some friends who DID make it all the way up and back on the Dempster Highway.

Below is written by Gemma from Off Track Travel ...

Gemma JR Arctic Circle Dempster Highway

The Dempster Highway is Canada’s most adventurous road trip.

This epic 735km long unpaved route connects Dawson City, Yukon, and Inuvik, Northwest Territories. Elevated to protect the permafrost below, the road travels through tundra, alongside dramatic mountains and across the Arctic Circle itself.

If it’s wilderness you’re after, the Dempster will deliver. The views are simply endless, with no signs of civilisation (besides the road) in sight.

Some days, we saw more animals than people! We spotted porcupines, ground squirrels, moose and several grizzly bears.

Most people spend two days driving the length of the Dempster to Inuvik, with the long daylight hours in summer (24 hours above the Arctic Circle!) making this feat easier than it initially sounds.

Astro Van with Arctic Circle sign Dempster Highway

If you can, however, I’d suggest spending longer. If it rains, the elevated road becomes super slippery and sliding off into the (big) ditch is a real risk.

More time also allows you to explore more places along the route, such as beautiful Tombstone Territorial Park.

The experience doesn’t stop once you reach the end of the highway, however. Spend a day or two in Inuvik, a purpose built town on the banks of the mighty Mackenzie.

One of the best places to visit in town is the Igloo Church, which features an impressive domed ceiling.

Dempster Highway from above

Since 2017 it has also been possible to drive beyond Inuvik to the Inuvialuit community of Tuktoyaktuk. The extra 138km is well worth the extra effort as it offers the chance to dip your toes right in the Arctic Ocean!

Due to the isolation and lack of phone signal, Dempster Highway roadtrippers need to be self-sufficient. There are only a handful of gas stations and even fewer shops.

Crowds and traffic aren’t an issue here but you need to be prepared for what you’re getting into.

A good spare tire is absolutely essential to bring as it’s fairly common to lose a tire to the Dempster’s rocky surface. A tire repair kit and portable air compressor can be very helpful to deal with small punctures.

I’d also suggest plenty of bug repellent and bear spray!

You can read more about the road trip in their full guide on how to drive the Dempster Highway .

Driving the Dempster Highway

9. Whitehorse to Vancouver (West coast of BC)

Whitehorse to Vancouver road trip map

This 2,400 km drive takes us along the West Coast of British Columbia .

It’s full to the brim of unending stretches all the way to Whistler .

If you fancy stopping here on the way you could easily spend a full day in this scenic place, or wait until you’ve reached Vancouver and make a day trip to Whistler .

It’s around a 2 hour drive between the two destinations.

whistler

Some of the best things to do in Whistler include:

  • Ride the longest gondola in the world - the Peak 2 Peak Gondola
  • Cycle along the trails around Whistler town
  • Visit the train graveyard
  • Drink craft beer at Whistler Brewery

It’s a drive which takes 28 hours altogether, and we drove for 8 hours a day for 5 days straight just to get through it.

The views are incredible and it's shocking how remote some people still live .

‍ It was a strange experience being off the grid with no phone service for this long, but we saw a lot of wildlife.

As you get close south to reality, the mountainous passes winding through Whistler and other towns towards Vancouver are breathtaking.

Definitely worth spending a day or two in the area, or even skiing.

Once you reach Vancouver, allow yourself around about a week to explore and enjoy the city and its surroundings.

There are so many amazing things to do in Vancouver , so you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to enjoy it.

In fact it was recently voted the third most livable city in the world so it must be pretty good.

vancouver canada

If you decide to do this road trip the other way around, there are plenty of great RV rental firms in Vancouver .

And plenty of great car rental firms here as well .

Some of our top recommendations for Vancouver include:

  • Mount Seymour Provincial Park
  • Vancouver Island Day Trip
  • Stanley Park
  • Vancouver Harbour Town

You can also go on a whale-watching tour if you're visiting at the right time of year (typically between March-October).

whale watching in canada

Just bear in mind that’s it's a heck of a way to get to Vancouver from Whitehorse so make sure you allow yourself a good few weeks to visit all the sights.

10. Trans-Canada Highway

Trans Cana Highway road trip map

By far the most epic Canada road trip possible.

This monster of the road winds all the way from east to west (or vice versa) of the country. From St Johns (Newfoundland) to Victoria (British Colombia)

It covers at least 7,100 km (depending on any detours), making it one of the largest routes of its kind in the world.

Even better, the Trans-Canada Highway passes through all 10 provinces of this incredible country.

Surprisingly, Canada is actually only linked by this one major highway, sometimes splitting in two. But often just one road with one or two lanes each way.

We did most of it , but came off and rejoined at different points as it doesn’t visit all the places mentioned in this guide.

As discussed below, we also haven't been as far at Newfoundland (due to weather) so our Trans Canada road trip effectively began in Halifax.

Not to worry, we will use this as our excuse to return to this wonderful country as son as possible!

The highest point of the Trans Canada Highway is Kicking Horse Pass , at 1,627 m above sea level.

Road tripping Canada: Other common FAQs & travel tips

When is the best time of year to road trip canada.

When is the best time of year to road trip Canada

Depending on which Canada road trip you're planning on doing, and where in the country you're travelling, the weather and conditions can vary.

As Canada is such a large country there’s plenty of scope for different weather and temperatures.

June to August are the summer months where the sunniest and warmest weather is guaranteed , however if you're planning on skiing, perhaps around Whistler, you might want to visit during some of the cooler months.

If you’re road tripping across Canada in winter, be aware that the conditions could be icy and treacherous on some of the roads, so always check before you travel.

September through to November is a great time to visit Canada.

The weather has cooled down but it’s still comfortable, and the colours are changing to stunning autumnal browns and oranges.

If you want to enjoy a maple syrup experience like we did at Dumfries Maple Farm , then you’ll need to visit in the maple season which is from February to April.

What is the great Canadian road trip?

longest road trip in canada

The great Canadian road trip takes you from one side of Canada to the other, all by road.

The perfect place to start is the Mile 0 monument in Victoria, BC which marks the start of the epic Trans Canada Highway.

The route then winds the way across the country, through 10 provinces, via brilliant spots that we’ve mentioned like Lake Louise, Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump, Mac the Moose, and the Original Tim Horton’s before finally reaching Iceberg Alley in Newfoundland.

Iceberg Alley is the ‘iceberg capital of the world’, and the icebergs you can see floating here are over 10,000 years old.

How long does it take to road trip across Canada?

longest road trip in canada

Now Canada is the second largest country in the world , so it’s going to be a pretty long road trip! 

Driving across the entirety of Canada, from Newfoundland to the Alaska border, takes 23 days on the road, but to allow yourself time to see the sites, visit cities, enjoy National Parks and really take it all in, you’ll want at least 2-3 months to make the trip.

We spent around 4 months road tripping Canada.

We travelled over 15,000km , which included a trip to Alaska, and lots of other great places to visit .

Having this much time meant we had plenty of time to explore, and take it all in.

If you’re limited on time, we’d recommend choosing one of the Canada road trips above and really getting the most out of that, as opposed to cramming too much in.

Is the drive across Canada worth it?

is driving across canada worth it

ABSOLUTELY!

If this guide of the best road trips in Canada hasn’t already convinced you of this, then let me assure you that Canada is one of the best road trips we have ever been on.

Whether you’re after wildlife, mountains, nature, adventure sports, vibrant cities, historical and cultural sites or isolated remoteness Canada really does have it all.

As such a huge country, there’s so much variety on offer. It really is without doubt a bucket list destination!

Is there good service in Canada?

glocalme mini turbo

Short answer, no! It's notoriously spotty, especially in more remote parts like the Yukon and much of the Rocky Mountains.

Not only that, but it's also very expensive to get data packages in Canada!

Instead, we used a mobile wifi hotspot all across the country which worked out both cheaper and offered better coverage in all provinces than a single data provider could possibly offer.

Other road trips to take in Canada

As you can see there are plenty of awesome Canadian road trips waiting for you! 

Okay, so here are the province’s we haven’t YET visited.

Extra emphasis on the word “yet”, as we definitely can’t wait to return to Canada.

  • Newfoundland & Labrador
  • Nunavut (if even possible)
  • Northwest Territories (see above!)

Newfoundland & Labrador are two incredible popular van life destinations.

And when heading west across these gorgeous countries, we found plenty of happy Canadians heading eastwards for the summer to tackle these provinces.

Accessing this region is best done in the brief warmer months as snow and ice make them inaccessible for most the year. 

I will be sure to update this post once we make it there!

So for now, I would love to hear your recommendations if you have been to any of the above 3.

And highlight if road tripping Nunavut & the Northwest Territories is practical and even safe (ahem … bears … ahem) .

If you have any other questions about what we covered above, please do drop them below!

If you're traveling through North America here are some other guides you may find helpful:

  • Best Hotels in Banff With Private Hot Tubs
  • Ultimate USA West Coast Road Trip [4 - 8 weeks!]
  • 2 Week Colorado Road Trip Itinerary
  • ULTIMATE Utah National Parks Road trip

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The world by wheels: The longest, most epic road trips

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longest road trip in canada

From movies like Almost Famous, Little Miss Sunshine and the classic Thelma and Louise, road trips are a great way to see the world.

Comparethemarket.com used Google Maps to plot the longest route possible across each continent.

Here’s a selection of the longest trips you can take in your car, as well as some of the best sights that you can see on your journey.

Europe (South-North) – Total Distance: 4,704 miles

longest road trip in canada

Palermo – Rome – Venice – Lucerne – Munich – Prague – Berlin – Copenhagen – Oslo – Tromsø

This trip takes you from the sunny shores of Sicily up to the Arctic Circle in the far north of Norway, taking in some of the continent’s major cities en route.

Starting in Palermo, Sicily, the route takes you via a short ferry crossing through the whole of Italy, including the gorgeous region of Tuscany and a potential detour along the stunning Amalfi coast.

From there you head into central Europe, through Switzerland, Germany and the Czech Republic, before hopping onto another ferry to Copenhagen.

The final stretch takes you right through Scandinavia up to the very top of Norway, and if you don’t mind adding an extra few days on, you can take a detour through the western fjords.

South America – Total Distance: 7,615 miles

longest road trip in canada

Cartagena – Cotopaxi – Machu Pichu – Uyuni Salt Flat – Atacama Desert – Buenos Aires – El Chaltén – Torres del Paine – Ushuaia

Whether you’ve managed to ship your car across the Darién Gap or you just want to split this huge trans-continent trip in two, the South American leg begins in Colombia, before heading past the ancient city of Machu Picchu in Peru, the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia and the Atacama Desert in Chile.

The final leg takes you right down to Patagonia and the Cape of Good Horn at the very southern tip of the continent.

Africa – Total Distance: 8,723 miles

longest road trip in canada

Pyramids of Giza – Valley of the Kings – Lake Nakuru – Masai Mara National Reserve – Mount Kilimanjaro – Nyika Plateau – Mulanje Massif – Victoria Falls – Sossusvlei Dunes – Table Mountain

A trip from the very top to bottom of Africa would allow you to see some of Africa’s most iconic sights, such as the Pyramids of Giza, Mount Kilimanjaro and Victoria Falls, as well as a variety of incredible landscapes.

From the deserts of Northern Africa, through rainforests and the Serengeti, as you make your way down to South Africa, this road trip would take in a number of diverse habitats, all with their own wildlife to spot along the way.

North-Central America – Total Distance: 9,098 miles

longest road trip in canada

Denali State Park – Whistler (Canada) – Yellowstone Park – Grand Canyon – Los Angeles – Las Vegas Strip – The Alamo – Chichén Itzá – Panama City

Route 66 is the road trip most closely associated with North America, but it’s possible to head all the way from Alaska, through Canada and the US, right down to Mexico and almost into South America via the Pan-American Highway.

The route allows you to take in amazing scenery as well as cities such as Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and was it not for a 66-mile section of swampland and forest in Panama known as the Darién Gap, it could take you to the southern tip of South America too.

Australia – Total Distance: 9,264 miles

longest road trip in canada

Sydney – Fraser Island – Great Barrier Reef – Daintree National Park – Kakadu National Park – Kimberly – Perth – Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park – Great Ocean Road – Melbourne

One of the world’s most iconic road trips, Australia’s Highway 1 (also known as the ‘Big Lap’), completes a circuit of this vast country.

We’ve largely stuck to that route with this trip, with a detour through the centre of the country to take in Uluru-Kata Tjuta (formerly known as Ayers Rock). A trip around Australia also sees you visit major cities such as Sydney, Perth and Melbourne, as well as the Great Barrier Reef, various national parks, and the famous Great Ocean Road.

Europe-Asia (West-East) – Total Distance: 9,597 miles

longest road trip in canada

Lisbon – Madrid – Barcelona – Paris – Brussels – Amsterdam – Berlin – Warsaw – Vilnius – Tallinn – St Petersburg – Moscow – White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal – Yekaterinburg – Lake Baikal – Vladivostok

This mammoth trip takes you from mainland Europe’s western tip to the far eastern reaches of Siberia and the Sea of Japan.

From the Portuguese capital Lisbon, you can check off cities including Madrid, Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin before heading up through the Baltic states and onto St Petersburg in Russia.

This is where the trip becomes something of an endurance test, heading from one end of Russia to the other via the Trans-Siberian Highway to Vladivostok. This takes you all the way to the Sea of Japan and is a huge undertaking in its own right.

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This Couple Is Breaking the Record for the World's Longest Road Trip in One Country

They've already driven 29,500 miles across the U.S.

longest road trip in canada

Greg Cayea and Heather Thompson are on out to break the record for the world’s longest road trip in one country. The previous record is 22,406.66 miles, and was set in India.

The couple has already covered 29,500 miles over 103 days, passing the 22,406.66-mile mark on September 20.

They started their trip in Tempe, Arizona, and are weaving through America's 48 contiguous states, with only 11 states to go.

Cayea got the idea while listening to a Tony Robbins' audio book, and seeing a writing exercise about setting a world record. He looked into various records, and decided the longest journey completed by car could be good for the two of them to try because they were preparing to move to Philadelphia. And because “being on the road has been such a big part of my life,” Cayea told Travel + Leisure.

“Every chance I could, I would get on the road, because that’s where I felt most at home,” said Cayea, who wrote a book on his experience, “No Direction Home: The Drifter Chronicles Volume One” , which is how he and Thompson are funding their trip.

Cayea and Thompson have been to 22 national parks, and said their favorites have been Yellowstone National Park , Zion National Park , and Crater Lake National Park .

They have also discovered unexpected tourist attractions, like outdoor animal safaris in South Dakota, and have visited quirky spots like the ghost own of Bayhorse , Idaho.

Of all the roads they’ve driven, they said the Beartooth Pass on the Beartooth Highway was the most scenic.

“It’s an insanely beautiful drive that goes around lakes that look like melted glaciers, just like the ones of out Glacier National Park,” Cayea said.

To break the record, they have a set of rules they must follow, which includes no round-trips, no backtracking more than 10 percent of the total mileage, recording every stop, keeping a log book along the trip, recording at least 10 minutes of video footage of the journey per day, and making sure not to cross country borders.

They’re allowed to take two weeks of resting time, and have spent around 35 days of their trip so far on stops, sleeping in their 2008 Subaru Outback the majority of the time.

While being on the road can be tough, the two have found ways to take advantage of the lifestyle, using national park grills to make food, and parking in truck stops, rest stops, or Walmart parking lots before prepping their mattress and watching Netflix in the back of their car.

The couple is currently heading to the Hudson Valley in New York and will most likely be on the road for one more month.

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COMMENTS

  1. The Pan American Highway: The Longest Road In The World

    According to Guinness World Records, the Pan-American Highway is the world's longest "motorable road". However it is not readily possible to drive all the way since the route is interrupted by the 160 kilometre-wide (100 mile) Darién Gap between Central and South America. The Highway consists of both official and unofficial elements.

  2. The Longest Road Trip Roads in the World

    The Trans-Canada Highway is the longest road trip roads in North America. Crossing through six time zones, this once-in-a-life time road trip starts at one end of Canada and ends at the other. Commenced in 1962, the Trans-Canada Highway takes you through ten Canadian provinces and crosses the Pacific Ocean on the west and to the Atlantic Ocean ...

  3. It Takes This Long To Drive North America's Longest Highway

    Full Length: 12,800 km (7,950 mi) In all the Trans-Canada Highway is considered the fourth-longest highway in the world and the second-longest national highway (after Highway 1 in Australia). While the main route is 7,821 kilometers long, with the spurs and alternative routes it is some 12,800 kilometers. Related: Nova Scotia To Ontario: Guide ...

  4. Longest Road Trips in the World You Could Drive

    London to Cape Town. This one's a classic, and many brave adventurers have crossed this monster journey off their list. One of the longest north to south journeys in the world, the fastest known completion of this route was 13 days, 8 hours and 48 minutes, as part of a publicity campaign for the new Ford Cortina.

  5. 13 of the Best Canada Road Trips That Will Blow Your Mind

    Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia. For those visiting the East Coast, don't miss a scenic drive on Cabot Trail, which is easily one of the best things to do in Nova Scotia. Cradling the coast of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, the Cabot Trail has become one of the most famous road trips in Canada and the most famous East Coast Canada road trip.

  6. 7 of the best road trips in Canada

    4. Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia. Best road trip for a coastal drive St Ann's Bay-St Ann's Bay; 298km (186 miles); allow 1 day. One of the main reasons travelers come to Nova Scotia is to drive the Cabot Trail, the looping, dipping roller-coaster of a road that snakes its way around the northern tip of Cape Breton Island.. Offering epic views of rolling seas and thick forests, and - if you ...

  7. How to plan the ultimate road trip adventure in Canada

    4. Cathedral Grove. En route to the coast, the highway runs through MacMillan Provincial Park. Fringing both sides of the road is one of the world's few easily accessible stands of old-growth ...

  8. Canada Road Trip: A One Month Suggested Itinerary

    Take in the view from Calgary Tower - Built in 1967, the Calgary Tower commemorates Canada's Centennial. From the top, it offers an uninterrupted view of the Rocky Mountains. The observation deck has a glass floor that adds an extra thrill to your visit (if you like heights, that is). Tickets are $18 CAD.

  9. Discover the 8 Longest Roads in Canada

    The Trans-Canada Highway is one of the longest roads in Canada. Construction for the highway began in 1950 under the declaration of the Trans-Canada Highway Act. This allowed the general Canadian government to work with the provincial governments to create the highway on a cost basis. This road stretches east-west from Victoria, British ...

  10. Tips for getting on the road in Canada

    The Trans-Canada Highway is one of the world's longest roads, spanning 7821km (4859 miles) from St John's, Newfoundland, to Victoria, British Columbia. The route spans all ten provinces and flirts with the Atlantic and Pacific oceans at its limits. It crosses four islands, passes through tundra, boreal forests, national parks and prairies ...

  11. Top 20 longest ROADS in the WORLD, ranked

    The Trans-Canada Highway is the longest road route in Canada and a popular road trip route. It begins in Newfoundland and Labrador. It passes through all the provinces of Canada, and the end is marked by a monument erected in the city of Victoria. 13. National Highway 228 - 7,800 km (4,800 mi)

  12. Road Trip Canada: The 5 Best Itineraries + Tips (2024)

    1) Western Canada (13 days) Start your 21-day Canadian road trip in the West for the first 13 days. Day 1 and 2 - Vancouver. Day 3 - Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. Day 4 - Whale watching, an essential part of your 3-week Canadian road trip! Days 5 and 6 - Whistler, one of Canada's top ski resorts!

  13. Trans-Canada Highway

    Trans-Canada Highway, principal highway of Canada and the world's longest national road. The road extends west-east between the Pacific and Atlantic coasts across the breadth of the country for 4,860 miles (7,821 km), between Victoria ( Vancouver Island, British Columbia) and St. John's (Newfoundland, Newfoundland and Labrador ).

  14. Canada Road Trip Planning + 12 Epic Itinerary Ideas

    Get the ultimate Canada Road Trip Planning Guide with 12 epic itinerary samples to explore parks, cities, mountains, history & more ... Crossing the Confederation Bridge is an adventure in and of itself — it is the longest bridge (8 mi/12.9 KM) that crosses ice-covered waters in the world. By Lori from Maps, Memories and Motherhood ...

  15. 7 Great Canadian Road Trips

    Here, some top road trip ideas to inspire your planning. 1. The Trans-Canada Highway. Go big, or go home. Spanning over 7800 kilometres from Victoria, British Columbia to St. John's, Newfoundland, the world's longest national highway is undoubtedly the ultimate Canadian road trip. Some say you haven't experienced Canada until you've ...

  16. Road Trip: Driving all 1,896 Kilometres of the Longest Street in the

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