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Why You Should Road Trip Across Canada

I started Take Me to the World to combine my love for travel with my love for the performing arts. One travel aspect I haven’t focused on much yet is my love of road trips. Maybe it’s part of being Canadian, our collective unconscious, or maybe it’s just me, but nothing says traveling and summer like going on a road trip across Canada. I grew up on road trips, driving around Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. I’ve road tripped out east in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. In 2013 I drove by myself from Calgary to Toronto. I traveled across four provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario) and drove a distance of about 3400 km or 2112 miles.

So yes, I love road trips (I’ve done road trips in the US as well), and there are several reasons why I think you should take a road trip across Canada (preferably this summer or in early fall when the weather is nice).

A few years ago I was driving in Prince Edward Island and I came across this beach.

Why Road Trip Across Canada? You Decide

When you fly or even when you take the train (another form of transportation I enjoy) there’s usually one route you take. Sure, you might have to make an emergency landing somewhere (if there’s a medical issue or something), but for the most part you’re getting from point A to point B. It’s fine, but let’s face it, it’s also kind of boring. Often travel is more about the journey than the destination, and this is particularly true with road trips. You can change your route, spend more time in one place, less time in another place. When you’re on a plane or train you don’t get to choose the route you take, or the pace in which you can travel. When you’re on a road trip you can decide the route and the pace you will take.

Some of my best road trip memories came from taking detours and other routes. Whether its seeing the Icefield Parkways in Alberta, or detouring to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan (yes that’s really the town’s name) instead of taking the usual route I do when visiting my family in Saskatchewan detours are what make memories, and road trips special.

Icefield Parkway in Alberta

You See More

One thing I love about road trips is stopping at cheesy tourist attractions. If it says the “world’s biggest” or “world’s smallest” then I’m there. People miss seeing these quirky attractions, small towns, and beautiful landscapes when they fly. Even taking the train, while you might see some (not all) of these sites out the window, you can’t get out and see them up close.

When I did my big road trip in 2013 one reason I wanted to do that was to see more of my own country. I’d never been to Manitoba or Ontario (well aside from Toronto) before that point. Granted I didn’t spend much time in Manitoba and only spent one night in Winnipeg, but it seemed like an underrated city and one I’d like to go back to. In Ontario I was awestruck on the drive along Lake Superior (from Wawa Ontario to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario). Lake Superior is so big (the biggest of The Great Lakes) that it kind of felt like driving along the ocean.

Lake Super in Ontario

You Can Do More

It’s great to see landscapes and new places up close from a car window, instead of seeing it as a quilt patch from the sky. Road trips are also great because you can stop and explore what you want and when you want. You might be limited by time and/or by your budget, but for the most part you can do a lot more on a road trip than you can with any other type of travel.

The Odena Celebration Circle at The Forks in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Forks is a public space in Winnipeg, but it was originally a meeting place for early Aboriginal peoples of Canada.

When I was on my epic road trip I purposely made sure to stop at The Hoito in Thunder Bay, Ontario for Finnish pancakes (so yummy). I was able to spend an hour at The Forks in Winnipeg, and I could stop at Wolseley, Saskatchewan to stretch and see an opera house. It might take longer to get there, but all those stops and detours are what make the journey.

With a road trip is really is about the journey, and not just about the final destination. You’re not waiting on luggage or waiting in an airport or train terminal. You’re in transit and constantly seeing something new. Whether you take a big road trip or a small local road trip, and whether you travel alone or with others a road trip is the perfect way to see Canada. I love road trips so much that I’m heading on a short road tomorrow.

Things To Know

If you are looking to book a hotel for your Canadian road trip consider booking one here.

Have you taken a Canadian Road trip?


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11 Responses to Why You Should Road Trip Across Canada

  1. Ayngelina August 6, 2014 at 11:30 AM #

    I’m constantly amazed at how beautiful our country is, why do we ever leave?

    • Alouise August 11, 2014 at 12:57 PM #

      We leave to get the appreciation for how beautiful Canada is 🙂

  2. Megan Kennedy August 6, 2014 at 8:01 PM #

    I love road trips, especially in Canada. You go can where you want and make as many or as few stops as you need.I just got back from a road trip to and from Lytton, BC and was able to stop to jump in a lake, hime to a waterfall and explore old train tunnels.

    • Alouise August 11, 2014 at 12:58 PM #

      BC is a fantastic place for a road trip. Sounds like your road trip was amazing.

  3. Murissa August 8, 2014 at 8:45 AM #

    I love road trips. They give you the freedom, as you mentioned, to see as much or as little you want.
    I am hoping to go on a long road trip next summer in either Canada or both Canada and the USA. Normally I plan a trip to Europe but after my last visit to Paris I felt as though I needed some one on one time with vast landscapes and nature.

    Have you been to the Okanagan?

    • Alouise August 11, 2014 at 1:01 PM #

      I have extended family in Kelowna that I visited a couple years ago, but I would definitely love to go back and spend more time in the Okanagan. A road trip in Canada and the US sounds like the perfect way to spend some time next summer.

  4. Wandering Carol August 10, 2014 at 4:37 PM #

    Love road tripping. I want to do a trip in the southern states listening to Lucinda Williams all the way down the highway.

    • Alouise September 25, 2014 at 3:04 PM #

      Yes, a road in the south would be wonderful – there’s a lot of the US I’d love to see by road. Thanks for the comment Carol.

  5. Leigh July 2, 2015 at 10:19 AM #

    One of the more interesting area for roadtripping in Canada in my humble opinion is in teh Yukon. Big spaces, wildlife, mountains… such a great place to explore yet few people do.

    • Alouise April 24, 2016 at 10:31 PM #

      The Yukon looks like an amazing road trip destination, and it seems pretty underrated on the Canadian travel scene. Thanks for the comment Leigh.

  6. Agness of aTukTuk July 18, 2017 at 3:44 PM #

    Canada really seems like an amazing road trip destination, Alouise! Thanks for the idea!

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