There’s no doubt about it, Canada is a big country. There’s so much to see and do that you can’t possibly experience it all in one trip – or in one place. It’s no wonder that visitors to Canada come back again and again to explore even more of this spectacular country, and take in several centres at once.
One of the best ways to discover Canada at your own pace is on a fly drive holiday. Choose one of our east or west coast tours, hire a car and get behind the wheel. Feel the freedom of the open road, stopping off wherever you please to explore your breath-taking surroundings.
There are so many opportunities to explore Canada’s natural landscape and cultural hubs not just on the country’s east and west coasts, but in the Northwest Territories, Alaska and Yukon too. See some of the country’s most iconic wildlife and experience world-class dining, one road at a time.
Here are just a few of our favourite Canadian fly drive adventures:
Flying into Halifax
Fly to Halifax and visit the Eastern Maritimes to discover rugged Atlantic coastline and picturesque fishing villages. Driving to areas such as New Brunswick, you can explore the vibrant communities and cultures shaped by European and aboriginal settlers over the last thousand years. Stopping off on our ‘Maritime Magic Treasures’ holiday, take a wander around the beautiful Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, before driving up to the stunning Cape Breton Island and exploring the Cabot Trail with its Scottish, Native and Acadian legacy. Alternatively, our ‘Best of the East’ adventure fuses cities, dramatic landscapes and adrenaline activities, commencing in Halifax and exploring amazing sites such as Kejimkujik National Park and Charlottetown, the birthplace of the Canadian Confederation. Bring a camera, because whales and icebergs can be spotted en route!
Flying into Montreal
Alternatively, choose to fly into Montreal and drive our ‘Splendid Nature of Quebec’ tour, enjoying the heritage-rich Quebec City and immersing yourself in the scenic routes of the Gaspé Peninsula. Another fantastic option for those interested in the heritage of French Canada is our French Culture, Lobster and Lighthouses Holiday. This might sound as though it appeals to a very specific set of interests, but in fact it is the perfect way to experience the French-Canadian world at its best. Explore Montreal at your leisure, sampling superb dining and walking around the colourful streets, unbridled in their artistic passion. Here you will find the Basilique Notre-Dame, beautiful botanical gardens and much more. From here, travel eastwards to Montmagny to see the unique period craftwork of the locals, on to the wilds of New Brunswick, through the old growth forests of Halifax and the stunning Kejimkujik National Park. Explore Baddeck, the gateway to the Cape Breton Highlands National Park with brilliant hiking trails, before finally reaching the UNESCO World Heritage site that is Quebec City, with its thriving Latin Quarter and cobblestone streets teeming with French empirical history.
Flying into Toronto
Dive into the diverse cultures of Canada from the very first moment by beginning your fly-drive holiday in the multicultural hub that is Toronto. Beginning in this bustling urban centre, you can take in internationally-renowned art galleries, dine on gourmet cuisine and walk through some of the world’s most impressive architecture in the city’s historic towns. From here, there are countless journeys to choose from. Perhaps you would like to take our Ontario and Quebec Discovery Holiday, driving through North Bay, Mount Laurier and the musical city of Montreal. Alternatively, follow the Route des Voyageurs, driving from Toronto to the famous site of the Niagara Falls, on to the capital city, Ottawa, and then driving along the scenic ‘King’s Highway’ through French-Canadian villages, to the UNESCO World Heritage-status cobbled streets of Quebec City and beyond.
Flying into Calgary
Nature is paramount on a west coast fly drive, as you drive through the Rocky Mountains or the wilderness of British Columbia. Fly into the ‘Stampede City’ of Calgary and explore the legendary Rocky Mountains. Prepare to be amazed as you drive past glistening lakes, rugged mountains and through the popular mountain towns of Banff and Jasper. Drive west from Jasper on our ‘Great Parks of the West’ tour, through Yellowhead Pass, Wells Gray Provincial Park and Garibaldi National Park, stopping off wherever you like to get out and explore. Choose our ‘Prairies to the Pacific’ holiday tour to discover impressive environments from the prehistoric Badlands to the lush vineyards of Osoyoos and beyond. If you’re looking for something a little off the beaten track, try our ‘Western Delights’ tour, and drive through the mountain tracks that lead through the scenic treasures of the Canadian Rockies.
Flying into Vancouver
Alternatively, fly into Vancouver and explore the beautiful province of British Columbia. Try our ‘Mountain Country’ holiday and drive from Vancouver through British Columbia and Alberta, past gigantic forests, crystal-clear lakes and snow-capped mountains. This tour also includes a cruise of the breath-taking Inside Passage, a magnificent waterway islands, cliffs and ice. On our ‘Whales, Bears and Vancouver Island’ holiday, you might even be lucky enough to spot grizzly bears or the rare Spirit Bear in the famous Great Bear Rainforest! If you’re more of an urban traveller, head to Victoria, one of British Columbia’s oldest cities. In this charming destination, you will be enchanted by the old-world atmosphere of the architecture and canals, with floating houses lining the wharf. Stroll along the waterfront or be led for the day by a traditional horse and carriage.
An easy East Coast itinerary
Although Canada might seem daunting in its size, the major towns and cities of each area are easily within driving distance of one another and have excellent road connections. On your tour, you can expect to spend just a few hours driving in a day and have plenty of time left to relax and explore. Our Ontario Taster itinerary will give you an idea of some of the easy driving distances involved:
Day 1: Fly into Toronto (approx. 8 hour flight)
Day 2: Explore Toronto – Shopping & sightseeing
Day 3: Toronto to Kingston (260km drive) – Rest of day in Kingston and 1000 islands.
Day 4: Kingston to Ottawa (192km drive) – Spend the rest of the day exploring the capital city
Day 5: Ottawa – Explore the city
Day 6: Ottawa to Huntsville (340km) – 2 hours north of Toronto. Spend the evening here
Day 7: Huntsville – Explore the city and Algonquin National Park
Day 8: Huntsville to Toronto (215km) – Finish your tour here and fly back from Toronto airport
An Express West Coast itinerary
If you want to explore the many wonders of Western Canada in a shorter period of time, there is still plenty to see and do. Our Mountain Express Ex Calgary holiday is the perfect choice, with an itinerary that packs a lot of punch in just a week:
Day 1: Fly into Calgary (approx. 9 hour flight)
Day 2: Calgary to Banff (130km drive) – Shopping & sightseeing in Banff town
Day 3: Banff National Park – Explore the mountains and lakes
Day 4: Banff to Jasper (285 km drive) – Drive via Icefields Parkway, stopping at Lake Louise
Day 5: Jasper to Sun Peaks (390 km drive) – Follow Yellowhead Highway past Mount Robson
Day 6: Sun Peaks to Vancouver (405 km drive) – Drive past Fraser Canyon and Hell’s Gate gorge
Day 7: Vancouver – City tour and sightseeing
Day 8: End of Tour – Check-in at Vancouver International Airport
Park and explore…
As well as simply sitting back and admiring the beautiful views, there are many exciting activities to enjoy on your fly drive holiday to Canada. Whether you are driving east, north or west, you can be sure that you will never go long without stumbling across some fascinating site or stunning view…
East Coast city road trips
On the east coast, discover Canada’s most populous city, the cosmopolitan Toronto. Not only does Toronto have world-class shopping and dining experiences, it’s also home to the iconic CN Tower, where those who are daring enough can see the city from a bird’s eye view on the thrilling Edge Walk. Just a two-hour drive from Toronto is the world-famous Niagara Falls, one of Canada’s most popular attractions. Watch as the cascading water crashes to the ground below, and experience it up close on the Hornblower or Maid of the Mist cruise boats. Prepare to get wet!
Drive north-east to Canada’s historical capital, Ottawa, and cross the border into Quebec. Turn inland and discover Quebec’s French heritage on our ‘Eastern Express’ tour. Drive to the Saguenay region, through the rolling hills and dense forests of the Mauricie/Bois-Francs region, towards the Francophone metropolis of Montreal, which is the second largest French speaking city in the world. Park your car and explore the city’s cobble streets, stopping off for a coffee in one of the Parisian-style cafes.
Western Canada activities
Western Canada is a natural playground, designed to be explored. With opportunities for hiking, biking, kayaking and more, we whole-heartedly recommend you park and get out the car! Try our ‘Western Explorer’ tour and stay at an authentic alpine ranch, where you can hike and horse ride, or choose our ‘Western Spirit’ tour and experience a real mountain safari, as you trek through Kootenay National Park and Okanagan Valley. Try our ‘Portraits and Wildlife of Western Canada’ tour and travel to Whistler from Vancouver on the Sea-to-Sky highway, stopping off for kayaking, beach combing and hiking along the way.
Alaska and Yukon fly drive adventures
If you’re in search of a more adventurous fly drive holiday in Canada, why not take the road less travelled in Canada’s famous Yukon Territory? Here you will find yourself surrounded by imposing mountains and rugged terrain, perfect for hikers or those who would love to discover the true wilderness of Canada on horseback. From the moment you land in Whitehorse, you will become immersed in a more rustic side of Canada’s history, which will continue to spark your curiosity as you drive through small, quaint villages on the way to Kluane National Park. Here, try something out-of-this-world on a flightseeing tour of the park, where the St Elias mountains are cut through by sweeping glacier fields. Explore unique areas such as Beaver Creek in Fairbanks as you venture into Alaska, through Denali National Park and up to the famous city of Anchorage. Why not treat yourself to an Alaska cruise to fulfil that bucket-list dream of seeing icebergs in person? Other highlights include the historic town of Dawson City and its unique gold-panning experiences, and the opportunity to spot grizzlies, wolves, lynx and moose.
Spot Canada’s Big 5…
Speaking of which, you won’t be short of opportunities to spot animals in their natural habitats on your fly drive holiday. Canada’s wildlife is abundant, and the animals here are some of the most unusual in the world. Keep your eyes peeled for whales, bears, eagles, wolves and moose, as well as a wealth of other animals en route on any of our fly drive holidays to Canada.
Choose our ‘Whales, Bears and Vancouver Island’ tour, a jam-packed trip that includes a scenic ferry crossing, whale watching boat tour and bear watching expeditions in some of British Columbia’s most remote wilderness. We also offer various wildlife tours for animal lovers, where you can see Canadian critters perfectly adapted to their rugged environments from hidden sanctuaries that offer world-class wildlife viewing. Enjoy the ultimate big-mammal experience on our ‘Grizzly Bears and Pacific Shores’ holiday or try our ‘Luxury Wildlife Adventure’ holiday, where glamping meets rock climbing, mountain biking and, of course, wildlife watching.
And much more…
Of course, with all that driving you’re going to get hungry! So why not combine your fly drive holiday to Canada with some of the best of the country’s cuisine. Choose our ‘Flavours of the East’ tour and enjoy gourmet experiences like a foodie walking tour in Montreal, and even a tour around one of Toronto’s most popular breweries. Don’t forget to sample poutine, which is a delicious Canadian dish of chips with gravy and cheese curds, in the poutine capital of the world, Quebec! In the west, try our ‘Western Delight’ tour, which includes a traditional BBQ steak cookout under the stars in Banff – it’s the cowboy way!
Natural history wonders
If you’re looking for a unique experience on your fly drive holiday to Canada, choose our ‘Prairies to the Pacific’ tour, a magical journey through the heart of dinosaur country, where you can discover the Jurassic world that once existed in Alberta’s Badlands. The trip even includes admission to the Royal Tyrrell Museum where you can see some of the world’s oldest dinosaur fossils, and Alberta’s Dinosaur Provincial Park where you can join an authentic archaeological dig.
Canada is without a doubt one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and there’s so much to see on a fly drive holiday, you might need to come back more than once. Just don’t forget to take your camera!
How to book…
Feeling inspired? Whatever you choose to do on your fly drive holiday to Canada, Canadian Affair can offer help and advice on where to go and what to do. Just call one of our experts for more information and Canada know-how.