Canada is the world’s second largest country after Russia. Despite it’s often joked about reputation of being nothing but snow, igloos, and Polar Bears, Canada is actually a country with amazing variety in it’s landscapes, weather systems, and culture. One of the best ways to experience Canada is on the road. If you’re planning a road trip in Canada, here are some suggestions for parts of the country you might want to check out and when.
Drive from Calgary, to Canmore, to Banff to see some of the most awesome mountain views you’ve ever seen in your life. Canmore and Banff are full of outdoor sports opportunities for summer and winter and the landscape is beautiful no matter when you go. However, winter is an especially special time to be in the mountains because they’re covered in snow and you can almost trick yourself into believing you’re in the middle of the Nepalese Himalayas. The downside of winter road trips is danger due to road conditions.
Quebec and Ontario:
Drive from Toronto to Montreal and swing past Ottawa to check out the parliament buildings in early fall when it’s still warm. This is the perfect time of year to do this drive because the leaves will be turning from green, to yellow to red and you’ll feel like you’re driving through a painting. Toronto and Montreal have much to offer in the way of night life and restaurant culture, and Ottawa is an aesthetically pleasing town with it’s abundance of old government buildings and gorgeous river views. Ottawa is a great place to sightsee with kids, check out the Nature Museum just a few blocks from Parliament Hill.
Do a road trip on Vancouver Island, go island hopping on the Gulf Islands, or if you’re in it for the long haul drive though central BC up to the Yukon Territory and Alaska. All three of these road trips are best done in the summertime when you have as much daylight and heat as possible. If you do Vancouver Island check out Victoria, a small charming city and BC’s capital, then drive to the other side of the island to surf some gorgeous waves in Tofino. Another option is to take BC Ferries and island hop along the Gulf Islands until you reach the Sunshine coast. You will not be disappointed. If you’re adventurous and have a lot of time on your hands, drive up the entire length of the province inland where you’ll experience rich forests, dessert plains, and Canada’s garden of Eden; The Okanagan Valley.
Check out the beautiful Maritime provinces and Newfoundland and Labrador in the middle of the Summer. This mild climate still may not climb higher than 20 degrees but you’ll drive through impossibly green rolling hills, you’ll see little old-school fishing villages, and you’ll stand at the edge of rugged cliffs lined with crashing Atlantic Ocean waves. You’ll also have to have a few beers in a little bar and check out some live music. Locals will be friendly and funny and welcoming. Visit Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia to experience traditional Acadian farming villages that will charm the pants off of you. The east Coast is somewhat economically depressed and will appreciate your dollars.
The prairies have the reputation of being a bit drab and boring, and this is partly true. They’re made up of hundreds of kilometers of flat farmland and straight roads. However the Prairies are also vastly underrated. The huge sky and endless open road can make for unbeatable feeling of freedom. If you’re really brave, conquer the Canadian prairies in the dead of winter. Winnipeg, Manitoba yet again is vastly underrated. It’s a rough town and you’ll see things that you cannot un-see but you’ll get to experience the city that brought up Neil Young.