7 Scenic Drives in Canada That You Can Experience Without Even Leaving The Car

Pack your car up and head out onto the open road! 🚗

Icefields Parkway in Alberta. Right: Hopewell Rocks on the Fundy Coastal Drive in New Brunswick.

Icefields Parkway in Alberta. Right: Hopewell Rocks on the Fundy Coastal Drive in New Brunswick.

With so many different landscapes from beautiful sandy beaches to huge mountain ranges, Canada has more than its fair share of scenic road trips you can embark on.

The best part is that so many of these drives offer incredible views without even having to step out of the car. However, you'll more than likely want to step out every once in a while to explore. Plus, road tripping gives you the freedom to stop whenever and wherever you live.

If you're looking for some road trip inspiration, these are seven of the most scenic drives in Canada that are well worth the gas money.

Pacific Rim Highway

Where: Between Parksville and Tofino, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

The Pacific Rim Highway connects the east and west coasts of the beautiful Vancouver Island so you're guaranteed to get some incredible views as you make your way through temperate rainforests and white sandy beaches.

The highway stretches on for 162 kilometres from the city of Parksville right up to the stunning surf town of Tofino and even on an overcast or rainy day, you'll get to see the tree covered mountains peaking through low hanging clouds.

It's well worth stopping off at some of the most scenic points on the drive such as Cathedral Grove, an ancient forest with towering fir and cedar trees that are hundreds of years old.You can also stop off at Long Beach for incredible ocean views and to watch dozens of surfers brave the waves.

Icefields Parkway

Where: Between Banff National Park and Jasper National Park, Alberta

This winding mountain road spans for 232 kilometres right through the heart of the Canadian Rockies and there's a reason it's often considered one of the "most beautiful" road trip routes in the world.

While you're on the road, you'll see so much incredible scenery from snow-capped mountains, bright blue lakes, glaciers and more. The highway is also known for its wildlife including bears and elk.

There are also plenty of great places to stop off if you need a break from behind the wheel such as the Columbia Icefields, Bow Lake, Peyto Lake and Sunwapta Falls. There are also plenty of places to camp on the route if you're keen to split the trip up into smaller journeys.

Cabot Trail

Where: Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

This 298-kilometer loop is the best way to explore all the breathtaking sights of Cape Breton Islands, all from the comfort of your vehicle.

The road closely follows the island's coastline so you'll be treated to views of Cape Breton Highlands National Park, the expansive ocean views and tons of adorable fishing villages as you follow the shore.

You can start the journey from Baddeck or the Trans Canada Highway and it's well worth spending a couple of days on the road to fully take in all the incredible views and grab some of the delicious Nova Scotian seafood on offer.

Fundy Coastal Drive

Where: Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick

You can easily spend days driving along the Bay of Fundy, taking all the beautiful scenery including the rocky cliffs and sandy beaches of New Brunswick.

The drive is 330 kilometers long and you'll pass so many stunning landmarks from the Hopewell Rocks to Fundy National Park, where you can head out and explore the lush forests, waterfalls or even take a hike to one of the higher points of the park to see panoramic views of the Bay of Fundy.

It's also well worth stopping off at Cape Enrage for some of the most breathtaking views of the coastline and you can even visit the Cape Enrage Lighthouse while you're there.

Highway 60 Corridor

Where: Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

As far as scenic drives go, this stretch of highway through Algonquin Provincial Park is shorter at just 56 kilometres but it's well worth the visit to see the dense forests and tranquil lakes in real life.

From the highway, you'll be able to find dozens of different hiking trails to break up the journey as well as scenic lookout points such as the Two Rivers Lookout, Spruce Bog Boardwalk, and the Centennial Ridges Trail that give incredible panoramic views of the forests and lakes.

The journey is especially beautiful in the fall as the colours change. Regardless of the time of year, keep your eyes peeled for Canadian wildlife such as moose, bears or deer.

Sea-to-Sky Highway

Where: Between Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia

The Sea-to-Sky Highway from Vancouver up to Whistler is around 121 kilometres but you'll see so many different landscapes from soft, sandy beaches to huge coastal mountain ranges all in the space of one drive.

As you drive you'll catch glimpses of islands, fjords and waterfalls, making it one of the most spectacular drives in B.C.

Some of the best stops on the route include Shannon Falls, one of the largest waterfalls in B.C. with a cascade reaching over 335 meters. You could also take a break and head up the Sea-to-Sky Gondola which gives stunning views over Howe Sound.

Viking Trail

Where: Between Deer Lake and Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador

The Viking Trail is a huge stretch of coastal driving at 526 kilometers but with views this stunning, you'll forget all about the time spent in the car.

As you drive, you'll see everything from ancient Viking settlements, coastlines and boreal forests. In the spring and early summer, you may even catch massive icebergs making their way along the coast too. The coast line is also a great spot for whale watching.

In Gros Morne National Park, you'll be able to see breathtaking freshwater fjords as well as cliffs and mountains. It's well worth exploring the Tablelands too, mountains of exposed Earth's mantle that look like they're straight out of a sci-fi movie.

There's no shortage of impressive road trips to take all across Canada. The real hard part is choosing which one to tackle first.

Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

Charlie Hart
Charlie Hart was a Travel Creator for Narcity Media focused on Canadian and global travel and is based in Calgary, Alberta.