Vancouver to Tofino, British Columbia
Even if you’re not a Vancouverite, this is one road trip worth travelling across Canada to do. (Simply fly in to the Vancouver airport and rent a car!) Head to Horseshoe Bay for the ferry to Nanaimo, then hit the Pacific Rim Highway (BC Highway 4) for a gorgeous, windy drive through ancient temperate rainforests boasting views of mountains, lakes the coastline. Blink and you might miss the sight of a mama bear and her cubs frolicking in a stream.
Essential stops along the way include Coombs Country Market for locally made souvenirs, and a view of their famed Goats on the Roof; and a stroll through Cathedral Grove, a forest of majestic Douglas fir trees – some of them 800 years old!
Before Tofino, Canada’s surfing capital, you’ll hit Ucluelet, which also boasts big waves and a laid-back vibe—at a slightly lower price point than its sister down the road. Spend a couple days here and then continue along the coast to Tofino’s Relais & Chateaux-accredited Wickaninnish Inn, your HQ for surfing world-famous Chesterman Beach. Other attractions include whale-watching tours, winter storm-watching, fishing and hiking. Want to take it easy? Sit back and take in the region’s great locavore cuisine, or unwind at The Wick’s famed Ancient Cedars Spa.
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Calgary to Lake Louise, Alberta
Book off four days to do the trek from Calgary to Lake Louise, suggests Debbie Monahan, Montreal-based regional director with Carlson Wagonlit Travel:
Day two: “Rent a vehicle, pack a lunch, and depart early the next morning for Lake Louise, stopping at the Columbia Icefield for a quick snowmobile tour on the way. You should arrive at Lake Louise in the mid-to late afternoon, which is a perfect time to take a stroll around the beautiful lake filled with crystal-blue water. I recommend staying at a hotel with a lake view so you can enjoy the breathtaking sunsets and sunrises,” says Monahan.
Day Three: “Plan for an early rise to allow for time to roam around Lake Louise before heading off to Sulphur Mountain, Banff Springs. You must take the gondola all the way up the mountain and bring your bathing suit, as you’ll want to spend some time in the hot springs! The Fairmont Banff Springs offers an evening treat, complete with interesting ghost stories if you opt for tour,” says Monahan.
Day Four: “Do some additional touring around Banff Springs, before heading back to Calgary,” says Monahan.
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The Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
If your idea of a dream road trip is one where your golf clubs are stowed in your car trunk and always at the ready, try the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton island—recently ranked #1 among US and Canadian island destinations by Travel + Leisure magazine.
Picture “wow” curves and coastal views, spectacular cliffs and stunning beaches—plus the region’s renowned Maritime hospitality. Stop and swim, hike, horseback ride, fish, kayak, scuba dive, or simply compare lighthouses.
Then head for the greens at one of the island’s six top-notch golf courses, making sure to book reservations at the Cabot Links, Canada’s first true “links” golf course, set to make its debut in Inverness County early this summer.
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