The two most popular road-trips in Canada are the Cabot Trail on the East Coast and the Icefields Parkway in Alberta, but there are many other great road-trip itineraries to follow, with fewer crowds. If it's seclusion you're after, check out these alternatives.
There’s a special charm to Canada’s Maritime provinces which makes this region a favorite amongst road trippers.
Start in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada’s oldest incorporated city. Head east along the Bay of Fundy and visit the Fundy Trail and Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park.
Spend a day in Moncton before crossing Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island (PEI). Take 3-4 days to explore Canada’s smallest province, including a visit to Prince Edward Island National Park, the singing sands at Basin Head Beach, Green Gables Heritage Place, cycle a portion of the Confederation Trail, and indulge in Cow’s ice cream and a traditional lobster supper at New Glasgow Lobster Suppers.
From PEI, take the ferry to Nova Scotia and make a point to check out Annapolis Royal, Kejimkujik National Park, the historic town of Lunenburg, the iconic Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse, and wrap up your trip in Halifax.
If you have an extra few days or a week, head over to Cape Breton Island and tackle Canada’s most famous road trip, the Cabot Trail.
Distance: Just over 620mi (1,000km).
Time to allow: Two weeks.
Those who venture as far east as Newfoundland are rewarded with one incredible road trip. This 900+km journey spans the width of the island, starting in St. John’s and finishes in Port-Aux-Basque.
Following the Trans-Canada Highway, this trip will take you from colorful urban cities to remote seaside villages. Catch sight of whales and icebergs off the coast, and come face-to-face with the towering cliffs at the Western Broke Fjord in Gros Morne National Park.
Notable areas off the highway to explore include the communities of Trinity, Bonavista, Twillingate, and charming Fogo Island.
Distance: Approximately 560mi (900km)
Time to allow: 10-12 days
This route is perfect for those who love the outdoors, plus cultural and historic sites. There are seven interpretive centers shaped like cedar-bark hats along the route which give insights into the cultural significance of the region.
Photo-worthy stops include Brandywine Falls, the Lynn Canyon and Sky Pilot Suspension Bridges, and Shannon Falls.
Distance: Approximately 100mi (160km)
Time to allow: 2-3 days
It sure is flat, but central Canada, or the Prairies as it’s more commonly known, offers some great experiences for a week-long road trip.
Start in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and head west along the Trans-Canada Highway. If you love oversized, novelty road-side attractions, this road trip is for you! First, grab a photo with the large Coca-Cola can in Portage la Prairie. Continue west through Brandon, and grab another photo with the massive statue of a chief’s head in Indian Head. Learn about the origins of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Regina, Saskatchewan, and grab yet another photo with Mac the Moose in Moosejaw.
Afterwards, treat yourself to a relaxing experience at the Temple Gardens Hotel and Spa, home to Canada’s largest geothermal mineral water pool. Once in Calgary, don’t miss visiting Drumheller, just northeast of the city, known for the biggest collection of dinosaur bones in the world.
Distance: Approximately 810mi (1,300km)
Time to allow: One week
Want to know more about Canada? Check out our podcast. We discuss when a traveler becomes a snack; the perils of wilderness adventure, a culinary tour of the provinces for foodies, and we speak to World Nomads photography scholarship mentor Richard I'Anson.
We look at the best wilderness escapes and adventures outside of Montreal and Quebec. From day hikes to winter sports, here are a few day-trips to throw in the mix.
Whether you’re driving the Cabot Trail, searching for a challenging hike, or looking for a quiet place to kayak, Nova Scotia’s parks and colorful fishing villages will leave you wanting more.