6 Family Road Trips less than 2 hours drive from major Canadian Cities

I love a great road trip! No cramped airplane spaces, no security lines, and all the beauty that travel in Canada brings. And I’m not the only one! According to a recent Aeroplan survey, 3 out of 4 Canadians are planning a road trip within the next 12 months! You should join them.

Give me an open road, a car to drive and a bright, sunny day and you’ve got one Happy Heather.

We are really lucky in this country because we truly don’t have to go far from home – wherever home is – to find a beautiful spot to relax or adventure in.
Recently, I popped over to The Morning Show on Global Television in Toronto to share three cities you should add to your summer travel lists. Below you’ll find those and three more to consider.

Calgary, Alberta

Alberta is an incredible province with plenty to offer by way of road trip excitement.

family road trip canada
courtesy of Royal Tyrrell Museum

Dinosaurs: If you’ve got Dino lovers in your crew, consider the 90-minute drive northeast to the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller. The Museum is the centrepiece of an incredible interactive dinosaur experience that is a must-do with young dinosaur fans. You can actually get hands on and dig for fossils . www.tyrrellmuseum.com

Indigenous History:
For a deep dive on Indigenous history in the area consider the 1 hour and 45 minute trip south to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. The area pays homage to the custom of hunting buffalo that was practiced by First Nations people in the area for almost 6,000 years. Here you can join Blackfoot guides for hikes, tours and demonstrations. There’s even a 3-hour immersive program (anyone over the age of 6 is welcome)that includes participation in a traditional blessing, trying dried buffalo meat and re-enacting the buffalo jump all while exploring the UNESCO World Heritage site.

Or if you want to get up close and personal with some cowboys. The Bar U Ranch National Historic Site is about an hour south of Calgary. They’ve got authentic cowboy experiences, costumed interpreter demonstrations and more. It’s open daily from May – September. https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/ab/baru

Quebec City, Quebec

Quebec City is always a good spot to visit and such a walkable city, but road trips can take you a little further out.

family road trip canada

Island Life: If what you’re after is a short trip that feels like you’ve gone far away, you’ll love Iles d’Orleans. It’s a less than 40 minute drive from Quebec City, and once you cross the scenic bridge you’re in a farm-to-table wonderland. There really isn’t a bad stop on the island. At Cassis Monna & Filles, mom and dad can try out The Monna family’s delicious cassis liqueur while kids sample the delicious signature soft serve, all while exploring the family’s longstanding ties to both the island and the product. Other great stops include: La Roulotte du Coin for foie gras-topped duck burgers; Tigidou for homemade jams and La Boulange for a fresh pizza lunch. Plenty of places to picnic with scenic views of Quebec City in the distance.

The Mighty St. Lawrence: If you want to explore a bit further, it’s only about a 90-minute drive up to Charlevoix, Quebec and the drive along the St. Lawrence is stunning. Part of the reason for the rolling hills and charming villages is a meteorite than hit hundreds of millions of years ago creating a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Everything from Montmorency Falls to Baie St. Paul is worth a visit and you could easily take a few days to enjoy it all.

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Manitoba often gets overlooked in Canadian Travel Stories, but there is plenty to do right outside Winnipeg.

Time Travel: Take a 30 -minute drive from the city and you’ll be at the Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site . It’s the easiest way to go back in time. More than 300 years of history on site help you step back to a time when prairie life included fur trading posts.
There are guided tours and re-enactments from both First Nations and New Canadian perspectives.

Viking Lore: The other reason to road trip beyond Winnipeg is all the small towns and parks waiting to be explored. A cool one that I want to check out is Gimli (about an hour north of the city). It is home to the largest Icelandic population outside of Iceland! You can spend a quirky day or two exploring the New Iceland Heritage Museum or taking photos with the15-foot tall Viking statue that sits in Harbour Park. There’s also an annual Icelandic Summer Festival that happens in August. Plus, there are plenty of places you can pop into for tasty treats. Icelandic Summer Festival

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

We tend to underestimate our prairie provinces but one of the coolest things our country has to offer is a short drive from Saskatoon.

family road trip Saskatoon - Travel Canada 150
Beautiful Saskatoon

Day of the Dead: About 90 minutes away you’ll find Little Manitou Lake that has been called “Canada’s Dead Sea!” Because it is extremely salty water, you can actually climb in and float effortlessly in the mineral-rich waters just like the Dead Sea that is between Jordan and Israel. After your dip you can hang out on the beaches or cross your fingers for a Northern Lights sighting.

Sea and Sand: And there are plenty of other shoreside options in the province At Lake Diefenbaker you can sail, kayak and camp. It’s a popular getaway for locals and the perfect antidote for when you want to escape the city. It’s about 1 hour and 40-minute drive from Saskatoon.

The Entirety of Prince Edward Island

PEI is a gift that keeps giving. The whole island feels like a collection of small villages and driving between them offers a road tripping bonanza.

Family Road Trip Canada

Eat and Greet: The island has great food and friendly people. If you fly into Charlottetown, you can hop on any one of the three scenic coastal routes the province’s tourism board has created. They’ll help you find the best beaches, tourist attractions and eats on each section of the island.

Go Further: Another great thing about the east coast is that from Charlottetown you can hop on a ferry with your car or take the bridge and continue your road tripping ways throughout the area. How far you go is only limited to your time and gas money. https://www.tourismpei.com/pei-coastal-drives


So few of us make it north to the Canadian Territories, but we should and a road trip through the Yukon is high on my must-do list. One of those reasons is the Kluane National Park and Reserve.

Family Road Trip Canada
Dall sheep on Sheep Mountain, Kluane National Park

Yours to Explore: The best town to explore it from is Haines Junction. It’s about two-hours from Whitehorse and you take the historic Alaska Highway to get there. Once you do you’re in a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to 17 of Canada’s highest mountains. It is one of the largest international protected areas on the planet. It has everything: First Nations History, Hiking trails, and incredible wildlife – including bears, Dall sheep, wolves and mountain goats.

Family road Trip Canada

Your turn! Where have you taken your best Canadian Road Trip?