Canada’s top scenic summertime escapes
The birds chirp, the bees buzz, and the smell of freshly cut grass fills the air: summertime has returned! With it comes the promise of adventure and the call of the open road. You have a full tank of gas and time to spare, but where should you go? We’ve put together a list of Canada’s top five scenic road-trip destinations to get you on your way.
Saguenay Fjord National Park, Quebec
Who says you have to go to Scandinavia to find a world-class fjord? We call this one the “Fjord and the Stone” route, because every kilometre of this stunning journey will give you plenty of both.
Saguenay Fjord National Park sits at the eastern end of the Saguenay River, about three hours north of Quebec City. Once you reach your destination, you can explore the imposing cliffs, take in the local wildlife (watch for whales!), and camp out under the stars. While the fjord itself is the main attraction, local villages line its shores, each with their own distinct charms.
Lake Superior’s Northern Shore, Ontario
Southern Ontarian destinations get plenty of press, but when it comes to beauty per square kilometre, nothing beats Lake Superior’s northern shore. A drive that runs from Sault Ste. Marie up to Thunder Bay and beyond, it promises countless breathtaking vistas, striking flora and fauna, and powerful waterfalls. With your camera at the ready, prepare to stop frequently as you discover hidden beaches and historic lighthouses tucked into the route along the way.
The Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia
Historians may disagree whether Cabot landed at Cape Breton in Nova Scotia or in Newfoundland, but one thing is for certain: the trail that bears his name is one of Canada’s greatest scenic destinations. Running for almost 300 kilometres around the northern part of the island, it mixes ocean views, golf courses, friendly locals, and a national park. Ruggedly beautiful (and admittedly a bit harrowing at times), this striking coastal route offers picturesque panoramas you won’t soon forget!
The Icefields Parkway, Alberta
Don’t be put off by the name, come summertime, this magnificent drive rivals the best tours in the country. With stately mountains rising all around you, you’ll enjoy a diverse array of wildlife, meadow flowers and shimmering lakes as you wind your way through an all-star roster of natural attractions: Lake Louise, Jasper and Banff National Parks, the Canadian Rockies, and more. Make sure to bring hiking boots and strap your bike to the back of the car – you will want to get out there and experience the natural beauty of western Canada first-hand.
Osoyoos Desert, British Columbia
When you think of Canadian landscapes, forests, mountains, ice fields, prairies and coastal views probably come to mind. What about a desert? With a unique distinction as Canada’s only arid desert, Osoyoos in British Columbia is unlike any other experience you can have without digging out your passport. Expect much more than cacti as you pass through the Okanagan Valley, sample wine and fine cuisine, jump into the famously warm Osoyoos Lake, or lounge on one of the region’s many sandy beaches.
Summer really is the best time to explore Canada by car: the snow has melted (in most places, anyway!), the weather is fine, the flowers are in bloom and the open road beckons. No matter which route you choose, you are sure to come across something memorable, such as breathtaking scenery, an iconic landmark or some rich Canadian culture. Whether it be for a day trip, a weekend or longer, get out there and explore what our country has to offer this summer.
Now, buckle up and enjoy!