Canada is famous worldwide for its natural beauty and varied landscape. You’ll see mountains, glaciers, secluded forests, and lakes, all in a dizzying mix of breathtaking scenery. Few nations can rival Canada in abundance and range of natural treasures. Boasting more coastline than any other country, arctic lands, and even a little bit of desert, “The Great White North” offers visitors more ways of experiencing the outdoors than they can go through in a lifetime. But its wild side is not it’s only appeal, Canada also has clean, safe and friendly cosmopolitan cities. In fact, according to the 2019 Best Countries Report, it scored the fourth best country to live in, one of its qualities being multiculturalism.
Canada might be a lovely place to visit, but when you factor in the climate, long distances, and rather expensive domestic travel options, it might also be challenging to get acquainted with. The freedom to throw your luggage in the trunk and go whenever and wherever you please makes self-driving a tempting option.
Why Canada is a great place for a road trip
Due to its beautiful routes, Canada is a perfect realm for a road trip. You can easily stray away from the beaten path in the vast, uninhabited countryside, and that’s what road trips are all about.
You don’t have to rush to catch a train or a bus; you can drive as much as you want and take breaks whenever you want, flexibility is one of the greatest advantages to car travel. Not to mention, you can bring your pets along to keep you company on your adventure. Pets are usually not well accommodated for on planes, and it can be very stressful for them. Car rides, on the other hand, seem to be very enjoyable, especially for dogs.
Road trips also require a lot less planning as you don’t have to buy tickets in advance. It can take weeks to schedule for a smooth journey.
You can find accommodation in the countryside where the level of comfort is the same but prices are lower because of the location, you can stay in campsites, or you can stay on a campground if you’re traveling with an RV.
Often, the best sights are located far away from public transit roads and otherwise inaccessible, but if you choose to do the driving yourself, you can see countless beautiful villages, hills, and small towns. You’ll also be able to stop and take pictures as you please.
How to rent a car in Canada
To rent a car in Canada, you need to be at least 21 years old.
You have to have a valid driver’s license, and if it’s not in English or French, you also need to have an International Driver’s Permit and keep your original driver’s license on you.
You may have to show your passport and return ticket when you collect your car, and you need a credit card. You can’t rent a car in Canada without a credit card.
Kids under 18 kg or 40 lbs have to use a child seat. If you ask a bit a little in advance, most car rentals will be able to provide one for you for an extra charge.
There are plenty of places such as Discount Car where you can rent a vehicle on a budget, just remember to return it with a full tank, otherwise you will be charged for it, and the gas stations you find on the country road are cheaper than the ones in the city, where the car rental company operates.
A few things to keep in mind when choosing a car are:
- How much space you need for luggage and how many people will be traveling with you. Are you bringing your kids along, how about the family dog? They all need to travel comfortably.
- Does it come with a GPS? Sometimes you won’t have any internet connection on the road, and it can be very useful. You can also bring your own.
- Is it the radio only or are there other options? Canada is a big place and moving from A to B can take a while.
- Are you planning to travel to the USA as well? If so, does your car hire allow cross-border travel?
Best Routes in Canada
Hitting the open road with your windows down is more Canadian than maple syrup. Now that you have your car, where can you go?
The Cabot Trail
With spectacular ocean views, old forests, and the enigmatic Cape Breton Highlands, the Cabot Trail is regarded as one of the most scenic destinations in the world. It stretches for about 300 kilometers or 186 miles and does indeed have a lot to offer. There’s the Skyline Trail for hiking, the craftsmen from the Artisan Road Trip Itinerary and the mix of Celtic and Acadian hospitality.
The Icefields Parkway
The Icefields Parkway is the Alberta Rockies ‘ main north-south road. It runs from Jasper National Park to Lake Louise and covers 232 km or 144 miles. Visitors praise the scenery and you can expect to constantly pull over and admire cascading waterfalls, turquoise lakes, and winding valleys.
The Sea to Sky Highway
The Sea to Sky Highway is the name given to a segment of Highway 99, namely from Horseshoe Bay to Pemberton. It offers those incredible West Coast views that British Columbia is famous for. You can stop by places like Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver, Shannon Falls, and take your kids to the Britannia Mine Museum.
These are just a few of the many places you can drive to in Canada. This country covers more than 9 million square kilometers and spans over 6 time zones. You’d have to have more vacation time than a royal heir. We just hope that this article has piqued your interest and triggered your wanderlust.
Travelling may sometimes be uncomfortable, sometimes everything hurts, even your heart (hopefully in a metaphorical sense) but the journey changes you, that’s what it’s supposed to do. It leaves its traces on your brain, your mind, your soul. You’ll be taking a part of Canada with you and ideally leave something good behind.