Whether you’re embarking on the road trip of a lifetime or just felt like taking the long way, driving the 4,990 mile long Trans-Canada Highway a wonderful way to make lasting memories. As amazing as it is to watch an entire country flash by through your car’s windows, sometimes you just need to pull over, stretch out, and take in some of the local scenery. Before setting out, check out our list of 8 not-to-be-missed stops on the Trans-Canada Highway.
Gros Morne National Park (Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland)
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is so incredibly stunning that you may find yourself staying longer than originally planned. Setting foot in the park is a dream come true for anthropology buffs, history fans, and everyone in between. Fjords created by glaciers 25,000 years ago, the highest waterfall in eastern North America, the eerily beautiful Tablelands, and a thriving population of all sorts of wildlife come together to make Gros Morne an unforgettable experience. Should you decide to spend the night, campsites are available.
The Old City (Quebec City, Quebec)
Dust off your French books and head to the Old City for an experience that will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time and onto another continent. The only walled city in North America, this is the perfect spot to get your daily dose of culture. There are a lot of things to do in the Old City so plan ahead to ensure that you’re able to check them all off your list. Sign up for a guided walking tour, visit one of the city’s museums, take a horse-drawn carriage ride, or just kick back and enjoy the incredible food at one of the many restaurants. Vive le Quebec!
Parliament Hill (Ottawa, Ontario)
A cross-Canada road trip just wouldn’t be complete without a stop in Ottawa to check out the country’s official headquarters. Head over to the Parliament buildings to take a guided tour, head over to the Prime Minister’s house at 24 Sussex Drive, and take in the National Library and National War Museums. Be sure to time your visit so that you can see the changing of the guards and don’t forget to go to the nearby Byward Market for its shops, restaurants, and entertainment.
Whiteshell Provincial Park (Manitoba)
Situated close to the Ontario border, Whiteshell Provincial Park boasts 200 lakes, including the meteor-formed West Hawk Lake, the deepest in the province. Active road trippers will be delighted to know that the park is the perfect spot to ski, sail, scuba dive, hike, canoe, horseback ride…the list goes on. See how many sports you can squeeze into your stay or head to the Alfred Hole Goose Sanctuary in hopes of spotting a Giant Canada Goose, a bird once thought to be extinct. This four-season destination is a crowd-pleaser, guaranteed to make even the most restless passengers happy.
The Starship Enterprise (Vulcan, Alberta)
With a name like Vulcan, what do you expect? Trekkies rejoice, we’ve found your Canadian headquarters in the form of this mammoth statue of the starship Enterprise. Swing by this attraction for an outerwordly experience and excellent photo op and be sure to check out the nearby museum which features all you need to know about Vulcans of the Star Trek persuasion. Live long and prosper, eh?
Banff National Park (Banff, Alberta)
Not just a ski bum’s paradise, Banff is a beautiful area that practically begs to be photographed. Banff National Park is a love letter to nature full of breathtaking views, pristine wilderness, and unparalleled sites. Plan to stay a few days, either on a campsite or in a hotel (Chateau Lake Louise is a pretty luxe option) in order to properly take in all that the park has to offer. One absolutely unmissable spot? Lake Louise, the alpine lake that’s so blue, it looks Photoshopped.
Mac the Moose (Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan)
Because what else would you expect from a place called Moose Jaw? Created in 1984, Mac the Moose is a majestic specimen who measures 32 feet tall and is said to be the largest of its kind. Driving through Saskatchewan, you’re likely to notice that there is a lot of flat terrain so chances are, this guy will be a welcome reprieve. Stop to take some pictures, stretch your legs, and swing by the visitor centre for a little bit of roadside learning.
Stanley Park (Vancouver, British Columbia)
Situated in the heart of the city, Stanley Park is an urban oasis that is going to make you forget that you’re so close to the thriving downtown core. Mind-blowingly majestic trees, beautiful beaches, terrific trails, and the famous Seawall all make Stanley Park an unmissable stop that will have you fall in love with Canada all over again. There are activities for all ages including a miniature train, playgrounds, off-leash areas, and perhaps best of all, the Vancouver Aquarium. Set aside enough time to really explore this incredible spot, you’ll be so happy you did.
Who is Kate Walker? She’s a freelance writer, yoga addict, and citizen of the concrete jungle. When not on the mat, Kate can be found at the dog park or on the dock in Muskoka. She is also pretty fond of running, skiing, and Settlers of Catan.