roadtrip-5The Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia
If you've ever taken this journey, it should come as no surprise that it has received international attention, including a "best road trip" nod from Lonely Planet. This 300 km route is the road trip to try when you want to get to know an area in a little more detail. There's no arguing the grandeur of Canada's east coast, but the events, the culture and hospitality of the area are no less of a draw.

Hike the trails of Cape Breton Highlands National Park and stop for a swim or test your skill at the Highlands Links golf course. Take in a Celtic music festival and immerse yourself in the province's Scottish and Acadian heritages. Try your hand at fishing, and find out why the Cabot Trail is really "a 300 km seafood trail" with its renowned lobster and crab dishes.

Can't make it this summer? Not to worry -- there's something to love about every season, from whale watching to leaf-peeping tours. For more information, see Discover Nova Scotia and the Cabot Trail Working Association.

road-trip-6Coastal Drives, Prince Edward Island
Looking for another island escape? This one starts with a really big bridge -- the longest one to cross ice covered water, in fact. Don't try to hold your breath -- the Confederation Bridge's 12.9 km span takes about 10 minutes to cross and reaches a height of 60 m at its highest point. The bridge even has its own weather monitoring station and warning system to let drivers updated on conditions.

There is a lot to see on the "Gentle Island", including the Green Gables of Canadian literary fame. Over 1000 km in total, three scenic drives -- North Cape Coastal Drive, Central Coastal Drive and the Points East Coastal Drive -- loop around different sections of the island. Beaches, lighthouses, beautiful cities and fishing ports await, not to mention a healthy dose of Mi'kmaq culture and Acadian culture.

If you prefer two wheels to four, the Confederation Trail Cycling Guide can help you plan an itinerary. For more information, visit Tourism Prince Edward Island.

road-trip-7The Dempster Highway, Yukon and Northwest Territories
Looking for an adventurous, road-less-travelled sort of trip? Go north! This 671 km route takes you from Dawson City, Yukon across the Arctic Circle to Inuvik, Northwest Territories. Originally built to facilitate oil and gas exploration, this once controversial route is uniquely constructed to help protect the permafrost beneath. (Picture a thick gravel base of up to 2.4 m is some parts).

The drive is more challenging than your average highway, but the rugged, northern Canadian wilderness makes it worth the trip. You'll want to time your trip just right to see the tundra and mountain ranges at their best. Consider late August when autumn colours really start to show off and some hours of darkness afford an opportunity to see the Northern Lights.

A word of caution: wildlife like migrating caribou use the highway to travel too. If you'd prefer a little guidance, many tour operators offer flying and driving journeys in the area.  For more information, visit Travel Yukon, YukonInfo.com and Spectacular Northwest Territories.

What's your favourite road trip? Let us know in the comments.

READ MORE
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Great hiking trails: Eastern Canada
Great hiking trails: Western Canada

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Elizabeth Rogers