8 of Canada’s most beautiful day-trip drives

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Updated: May 3, 2019

Niagara-on-the-lake Photo by Kiev.Victor/Shutterstock

There’s nothing quite like feeling the sun on your face as you jump behind the wheel, ready to see where the day takes you on your latest road trip. But what if you have only one day to spare? Not to worry. There are plenty of great one-day drives to take throughout Canada. Here are just eight ideas to get you started.

The King’s Road, QB

This road, which extends between Montreal and Quebec City, was built in 1737 after officials ordered a “royal road” that would connect New France’s two biggest settlements. As you traverse the same tracks carts and stagecoaches used to tackle, you’ll have the chance to stop at numerous old towns, beautiful churches, and other historical landmarks.

The New France Route, QB

Take in all the history of Canada’s Belle Province by experiencing Quebec the way early settlers did on this former supply road. The route connects Quebec City to the coast of the St. Lawrence, and features plenty of small communities, older homes, churches, and farms along the way. Have some extra time on your hands? Be sure to stop at one of the many museums dotting the area.

North Cape Coastal Drive, PEI

Tour Prince Edward Island’s Western Coast while packing in plenty of once-in-a-lifetime experiences on this pretty drive. From viewing the Instagram-worthy Bottle Houses in Cape Egmont and picnicking at Tignish Bicentennial Park, to getting up close with alpacas at Green Gable Alpacas and walking the sandy beaches at West Point Lighthouse & Museum, there’s plenty to pack into an unforgettable day.

The Sea-to-Sky Highway, BC

This stretch of winding highway between Vancouver and Whistler is exhilarating thanks to the picturesque views of soaring cliffs and crystal blue waters. Along the way you’ll see mountains, canyons, waterfalls, and rivers, not to mention several tourist attractions like the Sea-to-Sky Gondola and Britannia Beach.

The Cabot Trail, NS

Take in a bit of Scottish history as well as plentiful views along this 300-kilometre trek that stretches across the coast of Cape Breton. The winding roads give snapshots of the seaside cliffs, while a variety of restaurants offer fresh local seafood (the province features more than 60 varieties of chowder alone). Stop off for a hike along one of the many trails, or keep your eyes peeled on the coast for a seasonal whale sighting to complete the day.

The Heritage Run, NL

This 463-kilometre loop along the Burin Peninsula is more than a snapshot of the province’s beautiful scenery; it’s also a drive that offers plenty of wildlife sightings (whales, bald eagles, moose, and hawks) and historical stops. Hop off in Fortune and Placentia Bays for a traditional meal, or carry on to Burin for a picnic to feel like Captain Cook, who once spied on smugglers and illegal French privateers there.

The Icefields Parkway, AB

Grab a National Park Pass and hit up this 232-kilometre stretch of commercial-free road between Alberta’s Jasper and Lake Louise. Along the way you’ll take in seven icefields and more than 20 glaciers, not to mention several tourist stops and wildlife sightings.

Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

 Head out on the Niagara Parkway to experience Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake in all their glory. From the breathtaking falls and the touristy downtown area to the calmer vineyards and historic Fort George, there’s plenty to see and do as you wind down the scenic road. Be sure to stop at one of the many award-winning wineries for delicious food, or else pack a picnic and eat lunch waterside.

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