The Cabot Trail loops 298km around the north of Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. The route winds along the coast for much of its length with viewpoints overlooking the North Atlantic.
Locals tout fall as the best time to travel, but the dramatic landscapes of Cape Breton Highlands National Park look good throughout the year. Moose roam the park, where walking trails give you the opportunity to stretch your legs and breathe in the crisp sea air.
Islanders here are proud of their French-influenced Acadian heritage and Celtic ancestry, and love to celebrate it with loud live music in local pubs. Experience it in Chéticamp, a fishing village where you can tuck into locally landed lobster and seasonal seafood.
Be sure to park up in Pleasant Bay and join a cruise to spot whales and seals, and don’t miss the chance to kick off your shoes on the sand close to Ingonish.
Best for: dramatic coastal scenery
How long: 5 days
The Cabot Trail © Cindy Creighton/Shutterstock
This road trip starts with a ferry crossing: board the boat in Horseshoe Bay and relax for a couple of hours while crossing the Strait of Georgia to Vancouver Island.
The following 207km drive from Nanaimo to Tofino gives you an opportunity to stop in MacMillan Provincial Park and walk between the mossy trunks of enormous Douglas fir trees, some of which are up to 800 years old. The twisting course of the Pacific Rim Highway makes this a thrilling woodland drive – Kennedy Lake Provincial Park is a popular spot to break for a picnic.
Finally, unwind at Tofino, which is making a name as a surfing destination. Nearby Long Beach stretches for 16km and at Esowista you can meet members of the local First Nations community.
Best for: surfing and woodland walks
How long: 2 days
MacMillan Provincial Park © Chase Clausen/Shutterstock
Saskatchewan has the reputation for being a flat, prairie province as many drivers experience it only from the Trans-Canada Highway.
Start in Regina, where you can visit the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Heritage Centre and, on Tuesdays from July to mid-August, view Mounties on parade in the Sunset-Retreat Ceremony.
Then, head to Moose Jaw to learn about bootlegging during the Prohibition era, when mobsters ran booze into the USA from the small town.
Continue west, past colourful barns, to Swift Current then up to Lake Diefenbaker for sport fishing and sailing. Spend a couple of days at La Reata Ranch if you like the idea of horse riding on a working cattle ranch.
Arriving into Saskatoon on a weekend means being able to sample the city’s nightlife at its best.
Best for: mounties and western riding
How long: 5 days
Road in Regina © Pashu Ta Studio/Shutterstock
4. Icefields Parkway, Alberta
You can motor along the 232km route of the Icefields Parkway in just four hours, but that wouldn’t do justice to the magnificence of the woodland wilderness, waterfalls and jagged mountains either side of the highway.
This route runs between Banff and Jasper, cutting through the Rocky Mountains and skirting through two national treasures, Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. They are the home to the vast Columbia Icefield. Learn about the region’s geology during guided hikes on the Athabasca and Saskatchewan glaciers.
Overnighting at one of Jasper National Park’s campsites means being able to stare at constellations in one of the world’s biggest dark sky reserves.
On sunny days, the sight of snow-capped mountains and blue skies reflecting on the surfaces of the Peyto and Waterfowl will have any keen photographer stopping every five minutes.
Best for: stargazing and glacier walks
How long: 3 days
Icefields Parkway © outdoorimages/Shutterstock