Top scenic road trips in Canada


Canada is known for its stunning natural beauty, diverse landscapes, and vast wilderness. With over 46 national parks and thousands of kilometers of coastline, it’s no surprise that road trips are a popular way to explore this country.

In this guide, we’ll take you on a journey through some of Canada’s hidden gems – from mountain peaks to coastal drives – that will leave you in awe and wanting more. Plus, keep reading for tips on staying safe on the road and how to keep your home secure while you’re away.


Top scenic road trips in Canada

Icefields Parkway

The Icefields Parkway, stretching between Jasper and Banff, is often hailed as one of the most breathtaking drives in the world. This 230-kilometer route winds through the heart of the Canadian Rockies, offering stunning views of glaciers, turquoise lakes, and dense forests. Highlights include the Athabasca Glacier, Peyto Lake, and the Weeping Wall. Don’t forget to stop at the Columbia Icefield to walk on the glacier itself.

Icefields Parkway highlights

  • Athabasca Glacier: Walk on the glacier or take a guided tour to learn about its history and significance.
  • Peyto Lake: Known for its striking turquoise color, this lake offers a beautiful viewpoint ideal for photography.
  • Weeping Wall: A series of waterfalls cascading down a cliff, a must-see for nature enthusiasts.

Cabot Trail

Located in Nova Scotia, the Cabot Trail is a 298-kilometer loop around Cape Breton Island. This scenic drive is famous for its dramatic coastal views, lush highlands, and quaint fishing villages. Key attractions include the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, where you can enjoy hiking trails and wildlife spotting. The trail also takes you through charming communities like Baddeck and Ingonish.

Cabot Trail highlights

  • Cape Breton Highlands National Park: Enjoy hiking trails, scenic lookouts, and wildlife spotting opportunities.
  • Baddeck: Visit the Alexander Graham Bell Museum and explore the charming town.
  • Ingonish: Relax on the beach or hike the nearby trails for stunning coastal views.

Pacific Rim Highway

The Pacific Rim Highway (Highway 4) on Vancouver Island takes you from Parksville to Tofino, covering approximately 163 kilometers. This route offers a mix of lush rainforests, rugged coastline, and peaceful beaches. Along the way, you can explore Cathedral Grove with its ancient Douglas firs, visit the surfing town of Tofino, and enjoy the serene beauty of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Pacific Rim Highway highlights

  • Cathedral Grove: Walk among ancient Douglas fir trees and experience the tranquility of this old-growth forest.
  • Tofino: A popular destination for surfers, nature lovers, and those seeking a relaxed beach town vibe.
  • Pacific Rim National Park Reserve: Explore the diverse ecosystems, from rainforests to sandy beaches.

Fundy Coastal Drive

New Brunswick’s Fundy Coastal Drive spans around 460 kilometers, offering travelers a chance to witness the world’s highest tides at the Bay of Fundy. This scenic route includes picturesque coastal villages, stunning cliffs, and rich wildlife. Must-visit spots include the Hopewell Rocks, where you can walk on the ocean floor during low tide, and Fundy National Park, known for its forests and waterfalls.

Fundy Coastal Drive highlights

  • Hopewell Rocks: Witness the dramatic tidal changes and walk on the ocean floor during low tide.
  • Fundy National Park: Enjoy hiking trails, waterfalls, and the chance to see diverse wildlife.
  • Saint John: Explore the historic city with its vibrant arts scene and beautiful coastal views.

Dinosaur Trail

In Alberta, the Dinosaur Trail offers a unique road trip experience through the badlands of Drumheller. This 48-kilometer loop takes you through a landscape rich in dinosaur fossils and geological formations. Key attractions include the Royal Tyrrell Museum, showcasing impressive fossil displays, and the Hoodoos, strange rock formations created by erosion. It’s a journey back in time that’s perfect for families and history enthusiasts.

Dinosaur Trail highlights

  • Royal Tyrrell Museum: Discover an extensive collection of dinosaur fossils and exhibits on paleontology.
  • Hoodoos: Marvel at the unique rock formations created by erosion over millions of years.
  • Drumheller: Visit the town’s attractions, including the World’s Largest Dinosaur statue.

Highway 60 Corridor

Ontario’s Highway 60 Corridor runs through Algonquin Provincial Park, covering approximately 56 kilometers. This scenic drive is perfect for nature lovers, offering opportunities for wildlife spotting, hiking, and canoeing. Notable stops include the Visitor Centre, where you can learn about the park’s ecology, and various lookout points providing panoramic views of the forested landscape.

Highway 60 Corridor highlights

  • Algonquin Visitor Centre: Learn about the park’s natural history and enjoy the panoramic views.
  • Lookout Points: Stop at various lookouts to take in the stunning forested landscape.
  • Canoe Lake: Rent a canoe and explore the serene waters of this popular lake.

Sea to Sky Highway

British Columbia’s Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99) stretches from Vancouver to Whistler, covering about 120 kilometers. This route offers stunning coastal and mountain scenery. Highlights include Shannon Falls, the Britannia Mine Museum, and the Squamish Chief Mountain, a popular spot for hiking and rock climbing. The drive culminates in Whistler, a world-renowned resort town known for its outdoor activities and vibrant village atmosphere.

Sea to Sky Highway highlights

  • Shannon Falls: Admire the beauty of one of British Columbia’s highest waterfalls.
  • Britannia Mine Museum: Take a tour of the historic mine and learn about its significance.
  • Squamish Chief Mountain: Hike the challenging trails for rewarding views of the surrounding area.

Gaspésie Tour

The Gaspésie Tour in Quebec spans approximately 885 kilometers, taking you around the Gaspé Peninsula. This route offers dramatic coastal views, charming villages, and a rich cultural heritage. Key attractions include Forillon National Park, known for its cliffs and wildlife, and the iconic Percé Rock. The tour also takes you through the picturesque town of Gaspé and the artistic enclave of Sainte-Flavie.

Gaspésie Tour highlights

  • Forillon National Park: Explore the park’s rugged cliffs, diverse wildlife, and scenic hiking trails.
  • Percé Rock: Visit the iconic rock formation and enjoy boat tours around the area.
  • Sainte-Flavie: Discover the artistic community and its unique outdoor art installations.

Viking Trail

In Newfoundland, the Viking Trail runs from Deer Lake to L’Anse aux Meadows, covering around 489 kilometers. This scenic drive offers a journey through history, with stops at Gros Morne National Park, known for its unique geology and natural beauty, and the L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site, where you can explore the remains of a Viking settlement. Along the way, you’ll encounter stunning coastal views, quaint fishing villages, and opportunities for whale watching.

Viking Trail highlights

  • Gros Morne National Park: Experience the park’s unique geology, fjords, and hiking opportunities.
  • L’Anse aux Meadows: Explore the archaeological site of a Norse settlement, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • St. Anthony: Enjoy whale-watching tours and visit the Grenfell Historic Properties museum.


Safety tips for road tripping in Canada

Driving in varying weather conditions

Canada’s weather can be unpredictable, so it’s essential to be prepared for varying conditions. During the summer, you may encounter rain, fog, or even snow in higher elevations. Always check the weather forecast before setting out and be prepared to adjust your plans if necessary. Ensure your vehicle is equipped with appropriate tires and that you have an emergency kit, including blankets, food, and water.

Wildlife encounters

Canada is home to a diverse range of wildlife, and encountering animals on the road is common. Be vigilant and watch for wildlife crossing signs, especially in national parks and rural areas. Reduce your speed and be prepared to stop if you see animals near the road. Never approach or feed wildlife, as this can be dangerous for both you and the animals.

Emergency preparedness

Having a plan in case of an emergency is crucial for a safe road trip. Ensure your vehicle is in good working condition and carry a spare tire, jack, and basic tools. Know the location of the nearest medical facilities and keep a first aid kit on hand. It’s also essential to have reliable communication, such as a fully charged phone and a backup power source.


Have the right type of insurance

Having the right protection when you’re on the road is key. While you may be a great and cautious driver, there’s no telling what can come your way – which is why you should review your insurance policy and make sure you have the right coverage before you set out. Ensure you are properly covered as different provinces have different laws on accidents, and if you’re passing through a couple of them you’ll want to make sure your coverage is up to par.

The type of insurance you choose depends on the vehicle you choose for your road trips. Many Canadians hit the road in their recreational vehicles (RVs), which require specialized insurance, given they’re you’re home on wheels. RV insurance offers:

Financial protection in the event of an accident

Accidents can happen anytime, anywhere. With RV insurance you are financially protected against damage to your RV and any other vehicles involved. Whether it’s a minor fender bender or a major collision, your insurance can cover repair costs, saving you from potentially crippling expenses.

Liability coverage

One of the standout features of RV insurance is liability coverage. This protects you against legal claims for property damage or bodily injury caused to others. In today’s litigious society, this protection is invaluable. Imagine accidentally backing into another vehicle or, worse, causing an accident that results in injuries. Your RV insurance will have you covered, ensuring you don’t have to pay out-of-pocket for legal fees or settlements.

Protection for personal belongings

Your RV is more than just a vehicle; it’s your home on wheels. It likely contains valuable personal belongings like electronics, camping gear, and kitchen appliances. RV insurance covers these items, protecting them against theft, damage, or loss. This means you can travel with peace of mind, knowing that your possessions are protected.

Emergency services coverage

One of the most stressful aspects of road trips is dealing with unexpected breakdowns or emergencies. RV insurance often includes coverage for emergency services like towing, fuel delivery, and roadside assistance. Being stranded on a deserted highway or running out of fuel in the middle of nowhere can quickly turn a dream trip into a nightmare. With RV insurance, help is just a phone call away.

Alternative living arrangements

This coverage is specific to RVs for when accidents or damage can make your RV uninhabitable. Some RV insurance policies include coverage for alternative living arrangements, ensuring you have a place to stay until your RV is repaired. This feature is especially crucial for long road trips where finding temporary accommodation can be both challenging and expensive.


Keeping your home safe while you’re away

Preparing your home

Before leaving for your road trip, take steps to secure your home. Make sure all doors and windows are locked and consider installing a security system or cameras for added peace of mind. Ensure your water is shut off, to reduce the likelihood of water damage while you are away. Arrange for a trusted neighbor or friend to check on your home periodically – having them collect mail and maintain the appearance of your property can keep the illusion that someone may be home. While you may be excited to share your travels on social media, be cautious about who you share information with, especially if you’ll be away for an extended period of time. Saving your posts for when you’ve returned home is a great way to still engage in social media and keep your home safe.

Home insurance is key

While you’re away, ensuring your home and belongings are protected is essential. Taking preventative measures like the tips above helps mitigate the risk of emergencies, but they can still happen. Home insurance covers theft, damage, and other unexpected events. Review your policy to understand what’s covered and consider updating it if necessary. Additionally, some policies may offer coverage for items inside your vehicle during your road trip.