Driving across Canada is not for wimps. In Europe, you can drive across some countries in less than a day but that is definitely not the case in Canada. The main route across the country, the Trans-Canada Highway, spans 8,030 kilometres (4,990 miles). You'll pass through ten provinces and six time zones. It's a beautiful drive in the summertime but you need to make sure you're prepared for your trip. You need to decide where you're going to stop, what you're going to see, what you need to bring, and how you're going to get there. We hope this guide can help you plan your trip.
Starting PointYou're going to need to decide where your great Canadian road trip starts, how you're going to get there, and what vehicle you're going to use to drive across the country. There are a few "starting points" to choose from. If you want to depart from British Columbia then you can start your trip in Victoria, Vancouver, or Haida Gwaii. If you're determined to travel from the furthest western point in Canada then you'll have to start your journey in Beaver Creek, Yukon.
There are only a hundred people living in this small northern community. If you're planning on departing from the East Coast of Canada then there are lots of options. Cape Spear, Newfoundland is the easternmost point in Canada and North America as a whole; it's also a beautiful (and windy!) National Historic Site. If you're not willing to cross over to Newfoundland then you could start your trip in Main-à-Dieu, Nova Scotia. Main-à-Dieu is the most easterly community in Nova Scotia. If you're short on time then you could start your road trip in Halifax, Montreal, or even Toronto but you'll be missing some of Canada's beautiful Maritime Provinces if you do decide to shorten your trip.
What Vehicle Should You Drive?It depends what your options are. If you have a new Honda Civic then that will work great. If you have a 1982 Ford truck then you might want to consider driving something else. Fuels costs for a road trip of this length are going to add up. You will want to drive something that is a) fuel-efficient and b) reliable. If you have more people then you're obviously going to have to bring a larger vehicle - perhaps a minivan or an SUV. If you don't own a car then you'll likely have to rent one. After you've decided where you want to depart from, you can call rental companies in those cities to see if they need any cars driven across the country. There are sometimes discounts for cars that need to be returned to another rental office. These deals are only available from large national rental companies. Some people even buy cars or vans before taking a long road trip so that is an option too - especially if you're planning to spend a lot of time in some of the cities you visit across the country. If you're not able to afford hotels or if you don't like camping then you might want to bring a camper van or some vehicle that you would feel comfortable sleeping in.
We couldn't possibly list all of the amazing things to see and do across Canada. It really depends what you want to get out of your trip. If you like city life then you'll likely want to see Halifax, Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Victoria. There are many beautiful national parks across Canada. If you like camping then you'll find great campsites in almost every province. The amount you will be able to see depends on the amount of time you have allotted for your trip. You can drive across the country in a week if you're very ambitious but you'll get more enjoyment out of the trip if you take a few weeks, or even a few months. If you drive across the country in a week you won't get to see much, besides the highway. After you've decided your starting and ending points, and you've decided how long you have to drive across the country then you can start narrowing down the things you want to see and do. Start by making a list of the cities you think you might want to pass through. Write down all of the museums, parks, restaurants, clubs or bars, sporting events, and other attractions that you want to see. Once you've got both those lists you can start narrowing down your route and deciding where you want to stop, and for how long.
Canada is a beautiful place to visit anytime of the year but a road trip across the country is best made during the summer months. You don't have to deal with snow, poor driving conditions, and a lot more attractions are open during the summer too. Good luck with your planning process and if you've already decided you're going to make the trek across Canada in a car then have a great trip!