places to just BE
CANADA'S BEST SCENIC DRIVES &
FfFrom coast to coast, Canada is home to a vast collection of scenic drives and inspirational views.
Check out Places to Just BE - our Top 10 Wellness Destinations for 2014 - in the Spring/Summer issue of Travel to Wellness.
Subscribe for free to receive your own digital copy
Canada's Top Scenic Drives
Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Navigator's Route, Quebec
Parks Route, Manitoba
Icefields Parkway, Banff/Jasper, Alberta
Klondike Trail, Alberta and Yukon
Pacific Rim Highway, Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Waterfalls Route, North West Territory
Canada's Most Scenic Rail Tours
VIA Rail's Malahat Line, Vancouver Island, B.C.
Whistler Mountaineer, Vancouver to Whistler, B.C.
Kettle Valley Steam Railway, Okanagan, B.C.
Rocky Mountaineer Rail Tours, B.C. and Alberta
Polar Bear Express, Cochrane, Ontario
White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad, Yukon Territory
Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield Steam Train Gatineau, Quebec
SCENIC DRIVES & INSPIRATIONAL VIEWS IN NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR
Newfoundland has 29,000 km (18,000 miles) of coastline so you’re never very far from a fabulous ocean view. You’ll drive through historic towns and fishing villages nestled around fjords, inlets, coves, guts, bays and tickles along the way.
Skerwink winds it way through some of the most stunning landscapes - where forest and meadow meet rocky headlands. Skerwink is an ideal trail to catch glimpses of seabirds, humpback whales and pristine views of Port Rexton and the surrounding coastline. One of the most outstanding features of this walk is its unique rock formations known as sea stacks, consisting of 540 million year old Pre-Cambrian sedimentary rock.
The Viking Trail in western Newfoundland leads to L’Anse aux Meadows, a Unesco World Heritage Site and North America’s only Viking site, artifacts and interpretive centre.
Western Brook Boat Tour, Gros Morne
We wouldn’t normally recommend boat cruises (too sedentary), but the land-locked fjord of Western Brook Pond is one of the highlights of Gros Morne. You also get to warm up for the cruise with a 3 km hike from the parking lot to the dock. The hike takes you along gravel and boardwalk paths through protected bogs and marshes. The two-hour tour takes you for a spin around this spectacular fjord. For info check with Bon Tours
The Irish Loop is located near St John’s on the southern portion of the Avalon Peninsula. A few of the highlights are the East Coast Trail for hiking, The Colony of Avalon at Ferryland for history, Lighthouse Picnics for views and lunch, Witless Bay Ecological Reserve for birding.
Other Drives in Newfoundland
SCENIC DRIVES & INSPIRATIONAL VIEWS IN NEW BRUNSWICK
River Valley Scenic Drive, which runs along the 400 km St. John River, takes you from the capital city of Edmundston south to Fredericton and Saint John then north east to Sussex. You’ll pass the Grand Falls Gorge (the largest waterfall in New Brunswick) and in Hartland be sure to stop and see The Hartland Covered Bridge, the longest covered wooden bridge in the world. For those wooden bridge enthusiasts there are another eight of these ‘kissing bridges” in the town of Sussex.
Fundy Coastal Drive in southern New Brunswick, runs along the marine wonder that is the Bay of Fundy from St. Stephen (the chocolate town) past St. Andrews by-th-Sea (Canada’s oldest seaside resort town) on to Saint John and Sackville. During the summer months, whale spotting is a popular spectator sport. There are more than 15 types of whales who visit the nutrient-rich waters of the Bay of Fundy every summer. Take the ferry to Grand Manon Island, the Dulse Capital of the World and try this local seaweed. They say it's an acquired taste. Cape Enrage (pictured above) is considered one of the most beautiful views in the province.
SCENIC DRIVES & INSPIRATIONAL VIEWS IN NOVA SCOTIA
The world famous Cabot Trail is a 298 km (185 mile) loop around the northern tip of Cape Breton Island.
Other scenic drives in Nova Scotia:
Lighthouse Route (Winds past breathtaking coastal vistas.)
Glooscap Trail (Runs through the region of the world’s highest tides.)
Sunrise Trail (Runs along Northumberland Strait boasting the warmest waters north of the Carolinas.)
SCENIC DRIVES & INSPIRATIONAL VIEWS IN QUEBEC
Here are four of the provinces top scenic drives:
King’s Road (Chemin du Roy) between Montréal, Trois-Rivières and Québec City
New France Route (Route de la Nouvelle-France) between Québec City and Beaupré.
on the Charlevoix (north) side of the St. Lawrence River.
Navigators’ Route (Route des Navigateurs) from La Pocatière, near Québec
City, to the Gaspésie.
SCENIC DRIVES & INSPIRATIONAL VIEWS IN ONTARIO
Ontario's legendary "inspirational view" is, of course, Niagara Falls but we're not big on the destination for the wellness-minded traveller. Instead, go to view the falls then head over to Niagara-on-the-Lake about a 20 minute drive away.
The province has a great collection of scenic drives especially in the fall (September and October) when the colours are at their peak. Here are a few favourites:
Rideau Heritage Route running between Kingston and Ottawa in Eastern Ontario is a spot for a scenic drive through lovely little towns and villages and along lake and river shores.
Prince Edward County Taste Trail for the views of Lake Ontario and the culinary experiences.
Georgian Bay - Lake Country offers the rocky shores of this scenic region immortalized on canvas by Canadian artists known as The Group of Seven.
Other great Ontario drives
SCENIC DRIVES & INSPIRATIONAL VIEWS IN MANITOBA
The Yellowhead Highway begins in Winnipeg and travels up highway number 16 to Russell Manitoba, that borders Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Along the way, you'll find many small towns and communities tucked into rolling hills and valleys.
An area rich with wildlife, Riding Mountain National Park features almost 3, 000 square kilometers of boreal forest and open grasslands and meadows.
Churchill is the best place to view the inspirational aurora borealis (northern lights). Best time is January through March.
The drive up through the Interlake offer many parks and beachesand steep shores lined with beautiful limestone cliffs eroded over time by Lake Winnipeg.
SCENIC DRIVES & INSPIRATIONAL VIEWS IN SASKATCHEWAN
In Saskatchewan The Trans Canada Highway runs from Fleming to Maple Creek. Temple Gardens Mineral Spa in Moosejaw is one of the attractions along the way.
Trans Canada Yellowhead Highway from Langenburg to Lloydminster through scenic country sides and the city of Saskatoon.
The Red Coat Trail is the route taken by the forerunners of today's Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) when they set out to snuff the whiskey trade.
SCENIC DRIVES & INSPIRATIONAL VIEWS IN ALBERTA
Trans Canada Highway though Banff National Park is one of the most famous scenic drives in Canada.
SCENIC DRIVES & INSPIRATIONAL VIEWS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
Sea to Sky Highway, the dramatically scenic highway that runs north from Vancouver to Whistler, through Squamish and past Shannon Falls (the third highest falls in the province) takes about 2.5 hours to drive.
It passes through Brakendale, residential community that boasts the largest gathering of bald eagles in North America
Sunshine Coast - Highway 101 stretching 87-miles (139-kms)between Langdale and Lund offers coastal viewpoints plus dozens of parks with biking, hiking, canoe and kayak routes easily reached from the highway.