Where to drive in Canada
This huge North American country is a driver’s dream. Filled with awe-inspiring mountains, vast national parks and spectacular coastline, the opportunities for adventure are boundless and you’ll find breathtaking scenery around every corner. Add in wide roads and (mainly) courteous drivers and it’s a destination ideally suited to a road trip. The only challenge will be working out where to go first.
The first thing to keep in mind is that Canada is a BIG country with ten provinces and three territories and you’ll often be driving long distances, so never begin a journey without ensuring you have enough fuel, your phone and any supplies you might need. If you’re driving in the winter months, take extra care by checking road conditions in advance, packing warm clothes and blankets and taking the drive slowly.
When it comes to where to go, the first stop on many itineraries is the famous Canadian Rockies, the mountain range that spans British Columbia to Alberta. Fly into Calgary and you can collect your hire car and be on the road in no time.
A drive of little over an hour on the Trans Canada Highway 1 will get you to the ski resort of Banff, Alberta, which is surrounded by swathes of parkland that’s home to grizzly bears and elks. From here you can drive the stunning Icelands Parkway from Banff to the Alpine town of Jasper in the midst of the lakes, forests and rivers of Jasper National Park.
From Jasper, it’s less than a half hour drive to lively Vancouver on Canada’s West Coast. It’s easy to spend a few days in this port city, with attractions including the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Museum of Anthropology, Chinatown and Vancouver Art Gallery offering plenty to get stuck into.
Another must-see on any Canadian itinerary is Niagara Falls, the trio of waterfalls at the southern end of Niagara Gorge, stretching across the border from Ontario in Canada and New York in the US. The famous natural wonder is an easy 45-minute drive from Buffalo Niagara International Airport or makes a good day trip for those visiting Toronto, from which it’s around 90 minutes’ drive.
Other destinations worth driving to from Toronto include tranquil Algonquin Park – Canada’s oldest provincial park and a great spot for moose-sightings – and the Blue Mountain ski resort on the shores of Georgian Bay, where you’ll find kayaking, hiking, caving and jetskiing, along with the ski slopes for which it is most famous.
Don't miss seeing Canada's second city Montreal, with its French colonial architecture and Gothic cathedrals. And why not drive from Montreal to the old, French-speaking city of Quebec, a three-hour trip via the Chemin du Roy – or King’s Road? Dating from the 18th century, this old road takes in heritage sites, vineyards and attractions including art centres, museums and nature reserves before arriving in elegant, vibrant Quebec.
Ready to begin your Canadian adventure? Book your Canada car rental in advance for the best deals…