The Best Road Trips in Canada: 3 Scenic Self-Drive Holidays You Should Take

The best road trips in Canada aren’t necessarily the longest routes. Instead, they are jam-packed with scenic beauty, stunning vistas, and photo opportunities along the way. That makes them perfect for a self-driving holiday. Then, you can stop as long and as often as you’d like to admire the stops on your journey—especially when it comes to these 3 amazing routes below.

canadian rockies road trip

CONTENTS – In this article, you will discover some of the best road trips to go on in Canada, including: 

Why Go Road Tripping in Canada? 

Did you know that Canada is the world’s second largest country? 

It’s true! At 9.8 million square kilometres, you’ll discover there’s a huge amount of land to explore.

The best way to do it? Hop in your car and go for a drive. 

This may be easier said than done though, as with so much country to cover, where do you go? Depending on where you decide to visit, you’re going to see sights varying from glacier-carved peaks, bird-filled marshlands and all things in between. 

Given there is such a huge choice, this article will narrow it down and recommend some of the best road trips that you can take in Canada. 

All you need to do is have a read, take your pick and start your engine. 

Let’s go!

The Sea to Sky Highway, British Columbia 

sea to sky highway bc

How does a 100 mile (162-kilometer) drive uphill sound? Yes, it’s daunting. The Sea to Sky Highway has a 9 percent incline and at least 11 hairpin turns. But it’s an incredible take!

So you should make sure the car you will be driving in is suitable for such a journey. 

Opt for a comfortable car with 4-wheel-drive. Land Rovers are a great recommendation for such long drives and given sites such as Accept Car Finance offer Land Rover finance, you can find them for a very reasonable price. 

Once you have the right car, you’ll be able to take to the open road on this curvy drive that will take you past oceans, forests, mountains and farmland. 

It’s a scenic route that hugs the shoreline at Howe Sound on one side, and the steep mountain cliffs on the other. Be prepared to pull over from time to time to let another car pass when the road narrows.

Most importantly, be prepared for some absolutely awe-inspiring sights and attractions on the route! 

The Route:

  • Start in Vancouver, a casually hip coastal city. 
  • Cross the Lions Gate bridge from Vancouver
  • From there, take the Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99) north to Whistler and beyond. (Highway 99 is also known as the Fraser Delta Thruway south of Vancouver.)

This is a journey of about 2 hours you drive straight, but there’s so much to see along the way. To give you an idea of just how scenic this route is, here are some of the popular stops along the way.

Scenic Stops on The Sea to Sky Highway Road Trip

  • Whytecliff Park
  • Cypress Mountain Lookout 
  • Porteau Cove 
  • Britannia Mine Museum
  • Murrin Provincial Park
  • Nch’kay Viewpoint
  • Shannon Falls
  • Sea to Sky Gondola
  • Stawamus Chief
  • Downtown Squamish
  • West Coast Railway Heritage Park
  • Squamish Estuary and Spit
  • Brackendale Eagle Viewing
  • Alice Lake
  • Cat Lake
  • Brohm Lake rope swing
  • Tantalus Lookout
  • Garibaldi Lake
  • Brandywine Falls
  • Alexander Falls
  • Whistler 

Therefore, it’s a good idea to space your itinerary out over a few days. A good halfway point is to stay over in Squamish overnight. 

Related Article: What Snacks to Pack for a Road Trip

Icefields Parkway, Alberta 

Sunwapta falls banff

If you want to get out there and see the Canadian Rockies on your road trip, then you should consider taking to this 235-kilometre trip through the Icefields Parkway. 

It is your front-row seat to some of the world’s most fetching glaciers and lakes that beam a radiant turquoise. 

The Route:

  • Start in the hamlet of Lake Louise, where you’ll find in Banff National Park 
  • Head north along Highway 93 (AB-93N). 

The drive is about an hour-and-a-half long, but like the Sea to Sky Highway, there are several points of interest you’ll want to stop for. In doing so, you’ll be able to enjoy a variety of beautiful attractions en route

For instance: 

  • Bow Lake
  • Peyto Lake and Bow Summit
  • Saskatchewan River Crossing
  • Herbert Lake
  • Weeping Wall
  • Big Hill and Big Bend
  • Parker Ridge
  • Columbia Icefield
  • Glacier Skywalk
  • Sunwapta Falls 
  • Athabasca Glacier

Related Article: Consider these advantages of traveling by car

Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan 

grasslands national park badlands

The opening of the brilliant Badlands Parkway in 2019 made exploring the unbelievable roadside attractions along Saskatchewan even better. 

If you head from the village of Wood Mountain and then drive south to the parkway in the park’s East Block, you’ll be treated to a glimpse of the wild but fragile prairie landscape. 

Alternatively, if you head over to the West Block (which is south of Val Marie) you will be able to see a plethora of wildlife, including plains bison and black-footed ferrets. 

This harsh, semi-arid climate offers adaptive wildlife a unique environment. In fact, it’s the only place in Canada where you’ll find colonies of black-tailed prairie dogs. 

Other wildlife sightings you’ll want to watch for in Grasslands National Park might include:

  • Black-Footed Ferrets
  • Bison
  • Burrowing Owls
  • Coyotes
  • Elk
  • Ferruginous Hawks
  • Greater Sage-Grouses
  • Greater Short-Horned Lizards
  • Grizzly Bears
  • Prairie Rattlesnakes
  • Pronghorns
  • Swift Foxes,
  • Wolverines

You’ll find many areas to explore within the park, among them:

  • Eagle Butte
  • Ecotour Scenic Drive
  • Frenchman River Valley
  • Rock Creek’s Badlands
  • Top Dogtown Trail
  • Seventy Mile Butte. 

And while you’re there, don’t forget to look up to the night sky: it’s the darkest dark sky preserve in Canada!

You’ll want to set aside a couple of days for this trip because it comes to a combined total of 178 miles (286 kilometers), which is far too long a trip to tackle in one go. 

Final Thoughts on Canadian Road Trip

It’s easy to understand why these scenic routes are considered among the best road trips in Canada. Each one is filled with breathtaking stops that are sure to make memories. Plus, you can satiate your wanderlust at your own pace—at least until it’s time to hit the road again.

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