Canada is defined by great roadtrips. There is a rich selection of epic journeys, but at the top of the list are a few big-hitting scene-stealers. If you head further south you will see the kind of wilderness that is rare.

The roads in this country are well-maintained and drivers are courteous. You can often go a long way without seeing a gas station or good food, so stock up on supplies and emergency gear.

You can sample our favorite road trips in Canada by listening to Drake, Rush and the Tragically Hip on your mp3 player. Bruce Springsteen said "heaven's waiting down on the tracks"

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Sea to Sky Highway, British Columbia

Best road trip for families 

Allow 4–5 hours inVancouver andWhistler.

The Sea to Sky Highway doesn't let you out of its rapture even when you're in the middle of it. The most spectacular section of Highway 99, which runs from the US border to Cache Creek, traverses the steep-sided slopes of Howe Sound before heading north through the Coast Mountains.

If you're in the market for hiking, climbing or mining history, you'll find a lot of worthwhile stops on this road. The starting point for the hike up to Eagle Bluffs is the main ferry terminal, Horseshoe Bay.

Britannia Beach is a one-time company town that is now a museum and historic site. Get gas at the Shell station in the small town of Squamish and take a ride on the best gondola in BC.

Function Junction is a stop that locals recommend. You can take a hike through the forest to the train wreck that has been turned into an art project and buy lunch at Purebread, the best bakery in Paris.

Camper in wild country at Grizzly Lake campground, Yukon
The Klondike Hwy cuts into the heart of the Yukon © Scalia Media / iStockphoto / Getty Images

Klondike Hwy, Yukon

Best road trip for wilderness 

Allow 2 days in Skagway.

This sealed highway begins in Skagway, Alaska, and crosses the Canadian border near the tiny town of Fraser, before going through Carcross and the world's smallest desert to reach Whitehorse. You can learn about territorial history and the gold rush at the museum.

You can head north of Whitehorse. The Braeburn Lodge is known for its cinnamon buns and brusque service. You will miss the self-sufficient communities of Carmacks, Pelly crossing and Stewart crossing if you blink. There is a wooden staircase leading to a viewing platform over the choppy Yukon River. This rough stretch of water is where the rafts of many prospectors upended.

There are gravel piles and small ponds along the side of the road as you approach the city. The literary ghosts of novelist Jack London and poet Robert Service can be found in the town.

Beautiful scenery in the rearview mirror in the Icefields Parkway near Jasper, Canada
Scenery to die for on the Icefields Parkway in Alberta © Ferenc Cegledi / Getty

Icefields Parkway, Alberta

Best road trip for mountains and glaciers

Allow 5 to 6 hours at Lake Louise–Jasper.

The Promanade des Glaciers is also known as the Icefields Parkway. The trip links the nation's two most popular national parks, Banff and Jasper.

The route goes north through some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet, starting near the Lake Louise hotel. As you approach Jasper, giant mountains, craning trees, and powerful waterfalls are just some of the things that support the glaciers and abundant wildlife.

Superb viewpoints and short interpretive hikes are available at a number of stops along the way. Peyto Lake, Jasper's Skywalk and the Athabasca Glacier are some of the headliners. During the spring snow-melt, the thundering Athabasca Falls is at its loudest.

Scenery on the Cabot Trail Cape, Breton Coast, Nova Scotia
The Cabot Trail closely hugs the Breton Coast in Novia Scotia © Alexander Howard / Lonely Planet

Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia

Best road trip for a coastal drive

Allow one day in St Ann's Bay.

The Cabot Trail is one of the main reasons travelers come to Nova Scotia.

If you're lucky, you'll be able to see a moose, eagle or even a whale on this maritime classic, which traverses the edge of Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The park has the best hiking trails in the province.

Ingonish Beach is a long, wide ribbon of sand sheltered in a bay and Pleasant Bay is the premier whale-watching hub. There is a hiking trail that goes through evergreen forests and along windy cliff-tops.

The Alexander Graham Bell Museum is located in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, and it is one of the most popular stops.

Kayakers paddle on a lake in front of a forest.
The Viking Trail will take you past some great places to get out onto the water © jimfeng / Getty Images

Viking Trail, Newfoundland

Best road drive for archaeology

Allow one day for Deer Lake– St Anthony.

Imagine ancient indigenous burial grounds, 1000-year-old Viking remains, breaching whales, and a national park that is a textbook guide to plate tectonics. Newfoundland is home to a patchwork of fog-cloaked coves, snow-capped mountains and fjords.

The route begins in the town of Deer Lake and goes into Gros Morne National Park, stopping at the waterside hub of Rocky Harbour.

There are two important archaeological sites further north, one of which is a national historic site dedicated to the ancient burial grounds of three different indigenous groups.

St Anthony is a small fishing village with a rough-hewn charm that is perfect for whale watching.

Rocher Perce, a sheer rock formation at the tip of the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec, Canada
Rocher Percé is just one of the stunning sights on the Gaspésie Tour in Québec © Onfukus / Getty Images

Gaspésie Tour, Québec

Best road trip for French-Canadian culture

Allow 3 days in Sainte- Flavie–Sainte- Flavie.

Towering cliffs, freshly-caught seafood and Qubécois sea shanties are all on the itinerary as you circle La Gaspésie. The Battle of the Restigouche National Historic site is located near Pointe--la-Croix and is where a French-British naval clash took place in 1760.

The world's leading cache of ancient fish fossils can be found at the national park. The jewels of the Gaspé Peninsula are Percé, a huge offshore limestone rock formation with a seemingly gravity-defying archway, and Forillon National Park, where mountains plunge directly into the ocean.

You can go back along the St Lawrence waterway after rounding the tip of the peninsula. The park is inland from Sainte-Anne-des-Monts and has hiking options.

Man standing in water relaxing at Lake Superior Provincial Park, Canada
You'll find plenty of reasons to stop and admire the scenery on the shores of Lake Superior © Alexandre Moreau / Getty Images

Lake Superior Coastline, Ontario

Best road trip for lakes

Allow 2 days for the 700 km from Sault Sainte Marie toThunder Bay.

Canada's most populated province can seem remote as you drive along the northern shores of the world's largest freshwater lake, following a quiet segment of the Trans-Canada Highway.

One of Canada's finest stretches of sand can be found at Pancake Bay Provincial Park. The exposed rock of the Canadian Shield is protected by Lake Superior Provincial park.

The park is designated a dark sky preserve and has great opportunities for astronomy.

The Sleeping Giant Peninsula is jagged and looks like a large reclining man. The forested terrain here is characterized by cliffs, hiking trails and abundant fauna, including moose and wolves.

The article was first published in July of 2020.