8 Canadian road trips to take this summer that lead to cute small towns and iconic landmarks (2024)

Nothing says summer more like a road trip! With Canada being the second-largest country in the world, the best way to see it is to simply hop in the car and drive.

Knowing where to go, however, may seem daunting — to help, we've rounded up some iconic Canadian road trips that you really can't go wrong with.

Whether you want to explore the natural wonders of Canada's Rockies or the coastal towns and national parks along the Georgian Bay, you'll want to have these routes on your summer bucket list.

Start your engine — here are eight road trips in Canada to take for epic adventures and views this summer.

Cabot Trail

Location: Nova Scotia

Distance: 298 kilometres

Why You Need To Go: The Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island is said to be "one of the world's most scenic drives," offering some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Atlantic Canada.

The route will take you through Cape Breton Highlands National Park and past enchanting valleys, rolling hills and stunning coastal views.

Points of interest along the route include the MacKenzie Mountain and North Mountain lookoffs, where you'll get incredible views of Nova Scotia, and the picturesque Beulach Ban Falls.

Be sure to make a stop at the Skyline Trail, where you can enjoy a scenic hike.

While you're on the route, consider a stay at the Keltic Lodge Resort, and don't miss out on enjoying classic East Coast eats like lobster and chowder.


Georgian Bay Coastal Route

Location: Ontario

Distance: 1,350 kilometres

Why You Need To Go: The Georgian Bay Coastal Route will take you through some of Ontario's most scenic islands and shorelines, including Bruce Peninsula National Park, home to the spectacular Grotto swimming hole, and Flowerpot Island, which is famous for its unique rock formations.

From southern Ontario, the route begins in Tobermory, where you can explore Bruce Peninsula National Park, the Grotto and Fathom Five National Marine Park.

From here, you'll continue on to Manitoulin Island, the world’s largest freshwater island where you'll find pristine beaches and plenty to see and do.

Next, you'll travel to Sudbury, where you can visit the Big Nickel and the Science North science museum. You'll then continue to Killarney, where you can visit the iconic Killarney Provincial Park.

Heading south from Sudbury, you'll pass through Parry Sound and come to Midland, which hosts a butter tart festival every summer, and Wasaga Beach.


Icefields Parkway

Location: Alberta

Distance: 232 kilometres

Why You Need To Go: The world-famous Icefields Parkway should definitely be on your bucket list this summer.

This iconic journey through Banff National Park and Jasper National Park has been rated as one of the top drives in the world, offering 232 kilometres of breathtaking scenery including valleys, turquoise lakes, and alpine peaks.

You can stop along the route to see the iconic Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, glacier-fed lakes known for their brilliant turquoise blue water, and the breathtaking Athabasca Falls in Jasper National Park.

Jasper is also the world’s largest dark sky preserve, so be sure to stick around after dark for some stunning stargazing.

While you're there, you could also take a dip in the Miette Hot Springs, the hottest hot springs in the Canadian Rockies.


Sea-to-Sky Highway

Location: British Columbia

Distance: 163 kilometres

Why You Need To Go: This popular route will take you from Vancouver to Whistler, and should only take a few days to complete.

Officially known as BC Highway 99, the route winds its way past hiking trails, beaches, provincial parks, stunning viewpoints and points of interest full of history and culture. Towns and villages like Horseshoe Bay, Squamish, and Brackendale can be stops along the way.

Be sure to stop at Britannia Beach, where you'll find incredible mountain views and fjords, and the Sea-to-Sky gondola, which will take you 885 metres above sea level.


Fundy Coastal Drive

Location: New Brunswick

Distance: 430 kilometres

Why You Need To Go: This scenic drive leads you on a breathtaking voyage along the wild Bay of Fundy coastline.

The full route will take you from the community of Aulac to St. Stephen, otherwise known as "Canada's Little Chocolate Town."

On the drive, you'll pass charming small towns, coastal cities and impressive natural wonders, including the world-famous Hopewell Rocks, Fundy National Park, the spectacular Fundy Trail Provincial Park, the sea caves of St. Martins, the bustling city of Saint John and the resort town of St. Andrews by-the-Sea.

Along the way, consider checking into the Algonquin Resort, a historic hotel in St. Andrews that's said to be haunted, and don't forget to visit the Chocolate Museum in St. Stephen at the end of the journey.


Viking Trail

Location: Newfoundland

Distance: 526 kilometres

Why You Need To Go: This 526-kilometre scenic road trip snakes along the northern peninsula coast of Newfoundland.

The Viking Trail is where you'll be able to see stunning mountains and wildlife and get to experience Newfoundland culture.

The trail begins at Deer Lake, travelling through Gros Morne National Park, where you'll find land-locked fjords, 2,000-foot waterfalls, and billion-year-old cliffs.

On the way, you'll pass coastal towns and scenic communities like St. Anthony, a town where 10,000-year-old icebergs float by.

The route ends in L’Anse aux Meadows, the only authenticated Viking site in North America.

The Viking Trail is also a great trail for whale watching, with plenty of opportunities along the way, and serves as jumping-off point for a visit to southern Labrador.


Thousands Islands Parkway

Location: Ontario

Distance: 238 kilometres

Why You Need To Go: You can drive the Thousand Islands Parkway in Ontario this summer for tranquil views of the St. Lawrence River and the Thousand Islands.

Beginning in Kingston, you can travel to Gananoque to connect with the Thousand Island Parkway. The waterfront village is a beautiful spot to stop in, with crystal clear waters that make it an idyllic place for summer.

Continuing on the parkway, you'll travel through Rockport and Brockville to Prescott and Athens before returning to Kingston via Highway 15.

In Brockville, you'll find some of the world’s best freshwater scuba diving, with century-old shipwrecks and statues located along the bottom of the river for enthusiasts to explore.

The city is also a gateway to the 1000 Islands, with 1000 Islands and Seaway Cruises departing several times daily from Blockhouse Island, taking visitors on excursions of the eastern end of the islands.

You'll also find here the Brockville Railway Tunnel, Canada's first railway tunnel, which passes half a kilometre from Brockville’s waterfront and is decked out with lights and music.

Other points of interest along the route include the 1000 Islands Tower, Fort Wellington in Prescott, and Mac Johnson Wildlife Area north of Brockville.


Alaska Highway

Location: B.C., Yukon

Distance: 2,450 kilometres

Why You Need To Go: This five-day road trip stretches from British Columbia, through the Yukon, and goes all the way to Alaska, offering stunning views of turquoise waters and rugged mountains along the way.

From Vancouver or the Lower Mainland, your trip begins by following the Trans Canada Highway 1 east through the towns of Hope, Lytton, and Cache Creek.

You'll then continue north on Highway 97 through Williams Lake and Prince George before heading north along Highway 97 to Dawson Creek, where the Alaska Highway begins.

You'll continue through B.C., passing places including Fort St. John, Fort Nelson, Stone Mountain Provincial Park and Muncho Lake Provincial Park. These parks offer hiking, fishing, and incredible wildlife viewing opportunities.

The last stretch of the highway in B.C. passes through the Liard River Hot Springs, the second largest hot spring in Canada where you can soak in the warm water and may even be able to spot moose.

From here, you'll continue to cross the Yukon border. On the Yukon portion of the road trip, you'll pass through Watson Lake, Whitehorse and Haines Junction.

The nearby Kluane National Park, home to the highest peak and largest ice field in Canada, is a must-see as you cruise along.

The Yukon portion of the Alaska Highway ends in Beaver Creek. From here you can continue on to drive the Alaska portion of the highway.



Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

From Your Site Articles

  • 8 Spooky Abandoned Towns To Visit In Canada For An Eerie Road Trip ›
  • 9 short and sweet road trips from Toronto that aren't just to Niagara Falls ›
8 Canadian road trips to take this summer that lead to cute small towns and iconic landmarks (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Nicola Considine CPA

Last Updated:

Views: 6687

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (49 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Nicola Considine CPA

Birthday: 1993-02-26

Address: 3809 Clinton Inlet, East Aleisha, UT 46318-2392

Phone: +2681424145499

Job: Government Technician

Hobby: Calligraphy, Lego building, Worldbuilding, Shooting, Bird watching, Shopping, Cooking

Introduction: My name is Nicola Considine CPA, I am a determined, witty, powerful, brainy, open, smiling, proud person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.