The Best Summer Road Trips in Western Canada

With travel to Canada from the US once again an option, a road trip is a great way to safely see new sights. Whether your adventure takes you to the Canadian Rockies, Vancouver Island, the Yukon or beyond, our team of expert road trip planners will ensure it all goes smoothly.

Unsurprisingly, a drive through the Canadian Rockies is one of our most requested trips, boasting emerald lakes, sparkling glaciers and awe-inspiring peaks. Even better, the Fairmont properties in the Rocky Mountains – Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel – are particularly unique, offering cozy alpine cabins, picturesque views and castle-like grandeur.

But perhaps you've already traveled to the Rockies and want something else to see. If this is you, a trip along Western Canada's coast reveals some truly stunning sights. Visit Victoria, the nation's capital, or Tofino, a small surf town with a relaxed air. Or, travel north to the Yukon and find yourself swept away by views of Canada's tallest mountain and ample wildlife encounters. Whichever you choose, rest assured these are the best summer road trips in Western Canada.

But first, a few common questions we receive from our US travelers:

Do you need a passport to go to Canada by car?

Yes, Canadian law stipulates that anyone entering Canada from the US by car has proof of citizenship and proof of identity. A passport will cover both these needs, so when in doubt, bring a passport. That said, children under 16 only need proof of U.S. citizenship, and in some cases a valid Nexus card is enough.

What's it like crossing the Canadian border by car?

Since Canada reopened its border to fully-vaccinated U.S. citizens on August 9, traveling by car is once again an option for a trip. There are multiple crossing points all along the border, and this Wikipedia page has a fairly helpful list to find the closest one to you. You can also check this government web page for wait times at various border crossings.

Once you get there, you'll line up for a chance to speak to a Canadian customs agent. They will ask you for proof of citizenship and identity (your passport will do!) and perhaps some other questions about your trip and length of stay. If you are traveling with a minor and the other parent is absent, you will also need a copy of the child's birth certificate, a letter of authorization signed by the parent who is not traveling and a photocopy of that parent's signed passport or identity card. You should also check ahead of time what you are and are not allowed to bring into Canada. You can find a helpful list of restrictions here.

That's it, you're on your way! If you booked with our team you're in for a seamless, awe-inspiring journey.

1. Luxury Lodges & Resorts of the Canadian Rockies

On this week-long luxury road trip, experience some of the best sights in Alberta and stay at Canada's 'Castle in the Rockies,' the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Moraine Lake Lodge, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge & Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Enjoy guided activities with local experts, observe wildlife in their natural habitat (black bears, elk and coyotes to name a few!) and experience one-of-a-kind outdoor activities like a helicopter tour of the Columbia Icefields.

  • DAY 1 Calgary to Banff | 115 km/72 mi
  • DAY 2 Banff | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 4 Excursions
  • Option 1. Banff Gondola
  • Option 2. Lake Minnewanka Cruise
  • Option 3. River Explorer Canoe Tour
  • Option 4. Bow River Horseback Adventure
  • DAY 3 Banff to Moraine Lake | 78 km/49 mi
  • DAY 4 Moraine Lake to Jasper | 237 km/148 mi
  • Ice Explorer Ride onto the Athabasca Glacier + Glacier Skywalk
  • DAY 5 Jasper | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 3 Excursions
  • Option 1. Maligne Lake Cruise
  • Option 2. Jasper River Float
  • Option 3. Jasper Nature Walk
  • DAY 6 Jasper to Lake Louise | 208 km/1129 mi
  • Columbia Icefields 55 min Heli-tour
  • DAY 7 Lake Louise to Calgary | 177 km/110 mi

2. Jurassic Adventure Southern Alberta

Discover the remarkable terrain of the Canadian Badlands and the Rockies on this 9-night Southern Alberta road trip. Dig for dinosaur bones, explore Cypress Hills Provincial Park, Waterton Lakes National Park and Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Plus, take your choice of tours in Banff from sightseeing on the Banff Gondola, cruising Lake Minnewanka, paddling rivers by canoe or exploring the Bow River by horseback. This is the perfect hands-on itinerary in Alberta's most beautiful and historical regions.

  • DAY 1 Arrive in Calgary
  • DAY 2 Calgary to Banff | 115 km/72 mi
  • DAY 3 Banff | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 4 Excursions
  • Option 1. Banff Gondola
  • Option 2. Lake Minnewanka Cruise
  • Option 3. River Explorer Canoe Tour
  • Option 4. Bow River Horseback Adventure
  • DAY 4 Banff to Drumheller | 251 km/156 mi
  • DAY 5 Drumheller to Dinosaur Provincial Park to Cypress Hills Provincial Park (336km/208 mi)
  • DAY 6 Cypress Hills Provincial Park Exploring
  • DAY 7 Cypress Hills Provincial Park to Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park to Lethbridge | 297 km/185 mi
  • DAY 8 Lethbridge to Waterton Lakes National Park | 119 km/74 mi
  • DAY 9 Waterton Lakes National Park Exploring
  • DAY 10 Waterton Lakes National Park to Calgary | 290 km/180 mi

3. Wineries & Spectacular Rockies Lodges

Spoil your senses on this 7-day luxury Western Canada road trip. Travel through the sun-kissed hills and valleys of the Okanagan where lakes, orchards, food and wineries await, then continue to the Canadian Rocky Mountains to stay in remote luxury Lodges in stunning wilderness. Your journey begins with a 2 night stay at Sparkling Hill Resort & Spa, and in the Rockies you'll stay in luxury boutique lodges located on the shores of pristine lakes and surrounded by majestic peaks.

  • DAY 1 Vancouver to Vernon
  • DAY 2 Okanagan Region | Wine Tour
  • DAY 3 Vernon to Emerald Lake
  • DAY 4 Emerald Lake to Moraine Lake
  • DAY 5 Moraine Lake to Banff | Ice Explorer + Skywalk
  • Ice Explorer Ride onto the Athabasca Glacier + Glacier Skywalk
  • DAY 6 Banff | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 4 Excursions
  • Option 1. Banff Gondola
  • Option 2. Lake Minnewanka Cruise
  • Option 3. River Explorer Canoe Tour
  • Option 4. Bow River Horseback Adventure
  • DAY 7 Banff to Calgary

4. Canadian Rockies & Vancouver Island

Explore the very best of Alberta and British Columbia on a Western Canada road trip between Calgary & Vancouver. Discover spectacular mountains, emerald lakes and charming mountain towns, then travel to Vancouver Island's rugged west coast for sensational scenery and wildlife excursions. This 12-day itinerary has been carefully created to take you through the most scenic highways in the regions, and allows you to choose your own tours in Victoria, Tofino, Jasper and Banff for a personalized experience.

  • DAY 1 Vancouver to Victoria
  • DAY 2 Victoria | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 3 Excursions
  • Option 1. Butchart Gardens Admission
  • Option 2. Eat like a Canadian Food Tour
  • Option 3. Whale Watching Cruise
  • DAY 3 Victoria to Tofino/Ucluelet
  • DAY 4 Tofino | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 3 Excursions
  • Option 1. Coastal Bear Watch Cruise
  • Option 2. Whale Watching Cruise
  • Option 3. Tofino Food Tour
  • DAY 5 Tofino/Ucluelet to Whistler
  • DAY 6 Whistler | Peak 2 Peak Gondola Ride
  • DAY 7 Whistler to Sun Peaks Resort
  • DAY 8 Sun Peaks Resort to Jasper
  • DAY 9 Jasper | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 3 Excursions
  • Option 1. Maligne Lake Cruise
  • Option 2. Jasper River Float
  • Option 3. Jasper Nature Walk
  • DAY 10 Jasper to Banff
  • Ice Explorer Ride onto the Athabasca Glacier + Glacier Skywalk
  • DAY 11 Banff | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 4 Excursions
  • Option 1. Banff Gondola
  • Option 2. Lake Minnewanka Cruise
  • Option 3. River Explorer Canoe Tour
  • Option 4. Bow River Horseback Adventure
  • DAY 12 Banff to Calgary

5. Whistler and Canada's Pacific Coast

Combine Vancouver Island and Whistler on this week-long road trip in British Columbia. Ride the Peak 2 Peak Gondola in Whistler, go whale watching or bear viewing in Tofino and visit the world-famous Butchart Gardens in Victoria to immerse yourself in 50 acres of flower displays. For foodies, you'll even have a chance to treat your taste buds to a food tour in Tofino and Victoria. Whichever way you plan to make this exciting trip your own, this is the perfect itinerary to see some of British Columbia's best in limited time.

  • DAY 1 Vancouver to Whistler
  • DAY 2 Whistler Exploring | Peak 2 Peak Gondola
  • DAY 3 Whistler to Tofino/Ucluelet
  • DAY 4 Tofino | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 3 Excursions
  • Option 1. Coastal Bear Watch Cruise
  • Option 2. Whale Watching Cruise
  • Option 3. Tofino Food Tour
  • DAY 5 Tofino/Ucluelet to Victoria
  • DAY 6 Victoria | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 2 Excursions
  • Option 1. Butchart Gardens Admission
  • Option 2. Eat like a Canadian Food Tour
  • DAY 7 Victoria to Vancouver

6. Discover Whistler and the Canadian Rockies

Swap the west coast for the Rockies on our Discover Whistler and the Canadian Rockies road trip. This itinerary is ideal for those who want to travel at a leisurely pace, and includes the Whistler Peak 2 Peak Gondola, an Ice Explorer Ride on the Athabasca Glacier and your choice of tours in Jasper & Banff. Everything is pre-planned to include the best Canadian Rockies hotels and unique activities available. Plus, our special rates allow you to pick up your rental vehicle in Vancouver and drop of in Calgary with no one-way drop-off fees!

  • DAY 1 Vancouver to Whistler
  • DAY 2 Whistler | Peak 2 Peak Gondola Ride
  • DAY 3 Whistler to Sun Peak
  • DAY 4 Sun Peaks to Jasper
  • DAY 5 Jasper | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 3 Excursions
  • Option 1. Maligne Lake Cruise
  • Option 2. Jasper River Float
  • Option 3. Jasper Nature Walk
  • DAY 6 Jasper to Banff | Ice Explorer + Skywalk
  • Ice Explorer Ride onto the Athabasca Glacier + Glacier Skywalk
  • DAY 7 Banff | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 4 Excursions
  • Option 1. Banff Gondola
  • Option 2. Lake Minnewanka Cruise
  • Option 3. River Explorer Canoe Tour
  • Option 4. Bow River Horseback Adventure
  • DAY 8 Banff to Calgary

7. Road Trip Through the Canadian Rockies

Experience the classic Canadian Rockies road trip on this six-day drive through iconic alpine towns. Discover the stunning scenery of Jasper and Banff National Parks, plus enjoy your choice of one-of-a-kind activities in Banff and Jasper. Hosted by local experts, you can observe wildlife in their natural habitat (think black bears, elk, and coyotes to name a few!), cruise Maligne Lake, take the Banff Gondola up Sulphur Mountain, embark on a river float or ride on horseback along the Bow River. We've made it easy for you to design your dream trip your way, so you can simply sit back, relax and enjoy the adventure of a lifetime.

  • DAY 1 Calgary to Banff | 115 km/72 mi
  • DAY 2 Banff | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 4 Excursions
  • Option 1. Banff Gondola
  • Option 2. Lake Minnewanka Cruise
  • Option 3. River Explorer Canoe Tour
  • Option 4. Bow River Horseback Adventure
  • DAY 3 Banff to Lake Louise | 62 km/38 mi
  • DAY 4 Lake Louise to Jasper | Ice Explorer + Skywalk | 208 km/129 mi
  • DAY 5 Jasper | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 3 Excursions
  • Option 1. Maligne Lake Cruise
  • Option 2. Jasper River Float
  • Option 3. Jasper Nature Walk
  • DAY 6 Jasper to Edmonton | 365 km/226 mi

8. Highlights of the Yukon

Home of the Klondike Gold Rush, Canada's tallest mountains and the world's largest non-polar ice fields, all explored on this 10-day Yukon road trip itinerary out of Whitehorse. Visit a town where the population of residents is fewer than that of the grizzlies in its national park, and feel as though you've landed in another century where steamers, casinos and Can-Can floor shows are all current. From the "Land of the Midnight Sun" to wildlife preserves and National Parks to the historic sights of Dawson City, get ready to fall in love with Canada's north.

  • DAY 1 Whitehorse | Arrival
  • DAY 2 Whitehorse | Yukon Wildlife Preserve
  • DAY 3 Whitehorse to Hains Junction | 154 km/96 mi
  • DAY 4 Kluane National Park | 250 km/155 mi
  • DAY 5 Haines Junction to Tok | 467 km/290 mi
  • DAY 6 Tok to Dawson City | 297 km/185 mi
  • DAYS 7 – 8 Dawson City | Exploring
  • DAY 9 Dawson City to Whitehorse | 532 km/333 mi
  • DAY 10 Whitehorse | Departure

9. Yukon & the Dempster Highway

The Dempster Highway road trip is one of the most spectacular self drives on earth, and yet, many people have never heard of it. It’s the only road in Canada that takes you across the Arctic Circle, entering the land of the midnight sun where the sky stays bright for 24 hours a day. Explore subarctic wilderness at Tombstone National Park, witness wildlife at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, see the world's largest non-polar icefields and discover the "Dog Mushing Capital of Alaska. " In Inuvik, we recommend the sightseeing flight to see the Arctic Ocean from above.

  • DAY 1 Whitehorse | Arrival
  • DAY 2 Whitehorse | Yukon Wildlife Preserve
  • DAY 3 Whitehorse to Hains Junction | 154 km/96 mi
  • DAY 4 Kluane National Park | 250 km/155 mi
  • DAY 5 Haines Junction to Tok | 467 km/290 mi
  • DAY 6 Tok to Dawson City | 297 km/185 mi
  • DAY 7 Dawson City | Exploring
  • DAY 8 Dawson City to Eagle Plains | 408 km/254 mi
  • DAY 9 Eagle Plains to Inuvik | 366 km/227 mi
  • DAY 10 Inuvik | Exploring
  • DAY 11 Inuvik to Eagle Plains | 366 km/227 mi
  • DAY 12 Eagle Plains to Dawson City | 408 km/254 mi
  • DAY 13 Dawson City to Mayo | 230 km/143 mi
  • DAY 14 Mayo to Whitehorse | 406 km/252 mi
  • DAY 15 Whitehorse | Departure

Feeling inspired? Chat with one of our travel designers to create a custom trip that's just for you, or visit our Freedom to Explore page for trip ideas to take this summer. Prefer to simply stay in touch? Subscribe to our newsletter for up-to-date deals, trip ideas and more!

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