Western Canada Fly Drives
From the Rocky Mountains to the prairies and the Pacific
Western Canada is my favourite! It's where you'll find the Rockies, the Pacific Coast, temperate rainforest, even vineyards! Cities like Calgary and Vancouver are so lively and make great gateways to smaller centres like Banff and Whistler. Your flights, car and hotels are all included so it's really easy.
How to Book
Speak with our experts
Call our experts
Have you decided on an epic road trip through Canada? With such incredible scenery on offer, it's a great choice. Give our friendly Canada Travel Experts a call and we will be able to help you plan the perfect journey. You can choose a ready-made package tour that takes in all the highlights or tailor-make your dream journey from scratch. We'll advise the right flights, car hire and hotels to make your experience seamless, as well as help you find those hidden gems to stop at along the way.
Stunning cities & regions
The Rocky Mountains of Alberta and BC have to offer some of the most famous driving routes in the world. The iconic Icefields Parkway travels from Banff to Jasper through the best of the Rocky Mountains. Along this scenic driving route you can see sights like Moraine Lake, Peyto Lake and the Athabasca Glacier. There are so many stops along the way! You're also likely to see wildlife from the road too.
Banff, Jasper & Lake Louise
These three mountain towns are the most popular - and arguably most spectacular - in the Canadian Rockies. Banff is under 90 minutes' drive from Calgary, which is the perfect gateway city with direct flights from the UK. Once in Banff, you'll be in outdoor heaven with plenty of hiking, kayaking and wildlife spotting. The famous Lake Louise is another 40 minutes away, but it's the Icefields Parkway drive from Lake Louise to Jasper which is the real treat here.
Vancouver is a beautiful city on the Pacific Coast of British Columbia. You can fly there direct from London Gatwick, Manchester and Glasgow so it's a perfect gateway city. It boasts mountains on one side and oceans on the other which are ideal for outdoor activities. Plus it's bursting with restaurants, bars, shopping and museums. When you're ready to move on, you'll be in the perfect place to visit Vancouver Island, Interior BC and the coastal rainforest.
Whistler is only an hour and 40 minutes' drive from Vancouver, which means it's easily accessible if you're flying into Vancouver Airport. The drive between the two is one of the most picturesque in Canada, dubbed the Sea to Sky Highway. It climbs ever higher into the Coast Mountains, with fantastic ocean and fjord views on the way. Once you reach bustling Whistler, you'll find world-class skiing from November to May and excellent hiking and mountain biking over the summer.
Victoria is the capital of British Columbia and perches on the southern-most tip of Vancouver Island. A car ferry run by BC Ferries sails you across the picturesque Strait of Georgia from Vancouver to Victoria. It takes just 90 minutes and is well worth it for the views alone. Victoria is charming, with plenty of interesting architecture, a wharfside market and a healthy focus on food! From here you can explore further into the rugged wilderness of Vancouver Island.
Tofino & Ucluelet
These twin surf towns on Vancouver Island's West Coast enjoy enviable positions alongside the Pacific Rim National Park. It's around a 4 1/2 hour drive to Tofino from Victoria, or just 3 hours if you take the ferry from Vancouver to Nanaimo instead. Tofino and "Uckee" are both known for their friendly, laidback attitude. Here, surf shops, cafes and independent stores thrive. The beaches are vast and windswept, and the black bear spotting is second to none.
The best places to stay
Tailor-making your tour
Wherever you plan to visit in Western Canada, hotels are an important element of your driving holiday. We've got dozens to choose from in Canada's gateway cities, so it's easy to fly into Vancouver or Calgary, explore for a day or two and then head off on your road trip. We'll help you pick the perfect hotels to suit your itinerary, whether it's a cosy log cabin in the woods where you can spot bears or a sleek downtown hotel.
Upgrading your package hotels
If you've booked one of our carefully curated fly drive holiday packages, all your hotels will be included in locations handpicked by experts. They'll be the perfect stop-offs to tie in seamlessly with your itinerary. If you do wish to change your hotels, you can upgrade from the standard 3* hotels to 4* or even 5* for a luxury experience. Deluxe Accommodation is the highest level which boasts superlative service and comfort. Tempted?
Choose your ride with Avis
Choose your ride with Avis
One of the most important elements of your fly drive holiday is your hire car. It's important to us that you enjoy the ride as much as the destinations! That's why we partner with Avis, so we know you'll have new cars that are meticulously serviced and come with great customer support. Whether you're tailor-making your driving holiday or booking one of our pre-packaged fly drives, we'll help you find the car, mileage package and insurance that suits you best.
Small and medium-sized cars
If you want affordable car hire, then Avis' Economy, Compact and Intermediate cars might suit you well. Models like Nissan Versa and Mazda Grand Touring offer a comfortable ride for couples, a few friends or smaller family groups and are our most cost-effective options. Bear in mind, however, that Western Canada can involve some large driving distances. If you can, we'd recommend a 4x4 SUV for those mountain roads. They're comfy and provide elevated views!
SUVs and minivans
SUVs provide the most comfortable ride when you're driving long distances on mountain roads. They also offer an elevated view compared to smaller cars. It might sound like a small thing, but when you're driving past spectacular lakes and mountain peaks, the high seats can make all the difference! SUVs can seat from 5-7 adults comfortably, depending on the model, and have tons of boot space. Minivans seat 7 and are a more affordable way to transport large groups.
Add tours & extras
Add tours & extras
The drives in Western Canada are stunning and you can see so much from the road by simply pulling up at a viewpoint. However, to really make the most of your Rockies road trip, we recommend booking some excursions. If you book one of our pre-packaged tours, excursions may come included. If you tailor-make with us, we'll help you find those memory-making experiences. Whether its a cowboy cook-off, a wine tasting or a National Park tour, we'll find it.
On a Western Canada fly drive, your chances of seeing Dall's sheep and elk by the side of the road are high. You can even spot bears as you drive through areas like Whistler and Jasper. But for the best chance to spot wildlife, book a wildlife tour. Vancouver, Victoria and Tofino all offer incredible whale watching, with migrating humpbacks and resident orcas guaranteed. Tofino is also the best place to spot coastal black bears foraging on the shoreline.
One way to make your Western Canada fly drive truly memorable is to book a helicopter tour. So-called "flightseeing" is extremely popular, and it's not hard to see why. Those towering mountain peaks and sweeping lakes are best seen from above. Kananaskis on the edge of Banff National Park is a great spot, as is Whistler. You can even hop on a floatplane from Vancouver for views of the Pacific Ocean, islands and dense forest.
How to drive in Canada
Driving in Canada is a dream, with wide and quiet roads. However, weather can create some difficult driving conditions in winter, so check for ice and snow and pack your car with provisions. One of the highlights of driving in Western Canada is having a bear or elk cross the road right in front of you! But remember to drive carefully in national park areas and if you stop to look at the animals, be mindful of drivers behind you.
Rules of the road
If you speed while you're in Canada, not only will you miss the sights but you'll also be liable for any fines you pick up. Speed limits vary by province so check before you go, but often motorways have a 100km/h limit while towns have a 50km/h limit. Make sure you also keep an eye on fuel stops too. Some areas of Western Canada can have long distances between petrol stations, so keep the tank topped up and plan stops in advance.
Ferries in British Columbia
A fly drive through British Columbia isn't complete without hopping on a ferry. The most common routes take you from Vancouver to Victoria or Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, but there are also routes to the Sunshine Coast, Southern Gulf Islands and an overnight ferry to Prince Rupert. We can book these for you, so all you have to do is turn up in good time and relax as you sail past mountains, islands, beaches and even whales!
Our favourite driving routes
Get inspired by some iconic driving routes which visit the highlights of Western Canada
See Canada's West Coast drives for yourself
Your West Coast Canada fly drive holiday
The beauty of driving the West Coast is the freedom to stop, treasure the moment, and savour the breath-taking views on some of the world’s most famous mountain routes. After all, nothing beats driving through the Rockies. The Badlands Trail through Alberta’s outback is a favourite West Coast Canada fly drive holiday. The Icefields Parkway, which links Banff with Jasper, is simply iconic. You can also experience the stunning Pacific Rim Highway on Vancouver Island and the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler. With endless ocean on one side and towering mountain peaks on the other, these are roads with a view.
Your West Coast Canada fly-drive holiday includes your return flights, hire car and a hotel for each step of your road trip. Choose the car that suits you best, from something compact and economical to a luxury saloon or SUV. At the start of your journey, you'll be equipped with a full roadmap and guidebook that sets out each day's itinerary and the distance you need to cover. There’ll be no getting lost on this holiday; only a stress-free ride. Plus, each tour can be tailor-made if you want to add on a stop or change a hotel. With our complete packages, you can choose to upgrade the class of the hotels included (which are always at least 3*) to 5* for a truly luxurious fly drive holiday.
Our favourite Western Canada road trips
The best driving routes in British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon and into Alaska
The Icefields Parkway
This section of Highway 93 between Lake Louise and Jasper is the most beautiful drive in the Canadian Rockies. Its 143 miles could be completed in a few hours, but you should allow a full day for all the scenic stop-offs. Peyto Lake is one of the best examples of a turquoise glacier lake, while the Athabasca Glacier ice truck tour is a must-do.
This highway connects the Klondike Highway in Yukon to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories. It is the only highway in Canada to cross the Arctic Circle.
Revelstoke to Lake Louise
This section of the Trans-Canada highway is spectacular. Pass through Yoho, Glacier and Mt. Revelstoke National Parks.
Sea to Sky Highway
The journey between Vancouver and Whistler offers breath-taking views of the Pacific Coast on one side and the Coast Mountains on the other.
This 1000-mile epic links Dawson Creek in BC to Delta Junction, Alaska. Our favourite section starts at Whitehorse, Yukon. Expect bears, eagles and wilderness.
Pacific Rim Highway
The Pacific Rim Highway cuts across Vancouver Island from East to West, linking Port Alberni with Tofino. It’s a beautiful road and takes in the Pacific Rim National Park. The drive is characterised by old growth cedar forests which blanket the island. The route takes you to the surf towns of Tofino and Ucluelet (Ukee) where you can visit Long Beach.