Canada Region Rundown
Alberta is Canada's fourth-largest province, bordered on the west by British Columbia, on the south by the state of Montana, on the east by Saskatchewan and on the north by the Northwest Territories. Summer or winter, its splendour and rich history makes it a fantastic destination for an RV road trip.
Alberta's contemporary cities are Edmonton (the capital) and sophisticated Calgary, both of which are ideal bases from which to rent a motorhome to begin your explorations.
Think of the raw and rugged beauty of the Canadian Rockies, probably Alberta's most recognised geographical feature. But there’s also the prehistoric desert of the Alberta Badlands, where you can take your RV to unravel the mysteries of the dinosaurs.
You can also retrace the paths of the Plains Indians on their hunt for buffalo in your motorhome, stopping along the routes of the fur traders, whiskey smugglers and explorers who formed the Canadian version of the Wild West.
Alberta is home to no less than five National Parks for you to explore by RV: Banff, Elk Island, Jasper, Waterton Lakes, and Wood Buffalo. There are also several other options to check out as part of a motorhome road trip:
- Shop till you drop at West Edmonton Mall, the largest of its kind in the world.
- Calgary is home to the Calgary Stampede, a Wild West festival in July of rodeos, live music, turn-of-the-century exhibitions and an old-fashioned downtown parade.
- Banff, Jasper and the Lake Louise area offer champagne-powder slopes for arguably the world’s best skiing and most breathtaking scenery.
This is a province so spectacular and diverse, you can, literally, do it all on your RV road trip. RV in British Columbia and you can ski in the morning and golf that same afternoon. It’s a land of clean air, tall trees, craggy mountains, raging whitewater rivers and long, languid beaches.
British Columbia is known for its majestic landscapes, theatrical seascapes, its exquisite wilderness and remarkable wildlife. Exploring the area by RV is the best way to discover the picturesque scenery of British Columbia for yourself.
Or if it's cosmopolitan flair you're after, try Vancouver, sexy, glitzy and exotic; or Victoria, charming, gracious and old-world elegant. You’ll find top-rated ethnic cuisines, vibrant arts communities, designer retail boutiques and festive nightlife only add to the natural beauty surrounding these thriving coastal cities. They are both ideal bases from which to rent an RV in British Columbia. Some other exciting options for RVers include:
- Hit a seafood market - in BC you’ll find some of Canada’s freshest and finest coastal seafood.
- Charter a fishing boat, take a guided whale-watching tour or go zip-trekking in an old-growth tree canopy near Whistler.
- Aprés outdoor time? Go antique shopping or relax at luxurious spas and natural hot springs.
- British Columbia’s acclaimed Okanagan Valley is one of Canada’s premium wine-growing regions. Visit a winery, go wine tasting or celebrate at a wine festival. The Okanagan also produces rare icewines.
Manitoba skies are bright and sunny year-round, and the air is crisp and clear. There is so much to explore by RV in this province - including some of the world’s most unique and wonderful wildlife - over 500 species of bird, moose, elk and black bear.
Manitoba is the easternmost of the three Prairie Provinces. Winnipeg, the capital city, offers history, arts, culture, family fun and fine dining and is the ideal base from which to rent an RV in Manitoba.
Travel through Manitoba by RV and join the many nature enthusiasts who flock to the area each year to take in its flora and fauna, most hoping to snap a pic of a polar bear. Two-thirds of Canada's 500-plus species of birds come here, drawn by more than 100,000 lakes and countless rivers and marshes. The northern part of Manitoba is Precambrian Shield and northernmost Manitoba is made up of tundra and permafrost. During the fall in the northern town of Churchill–the “Polar Bear Capital of the World,” hundreds of migrating bears congregate while waiting for sea-ice to form.
Some other exciting options for RVers in Manitoba:
- Birders flock year-round to the Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre, just 15 minutes from Winnipeg, situated in the midst of one of the best bird-viewing areas on the continent.
- In the warmer months, you can swim with the “smiling” beluga whales in Hudson Bay.
- Aurora Borealis is pure magic. Witness colourful night skies lit up by this luminous phenomenon.
New Brunswick is home to the Acadian culture, Canada’s first French settlement with a rich history and culture all its own, providing countless experiences to discover in your motorhome.
Canada’s only officially bilingual province? Not Quebec as you may have thought, but New Brunswick. The English/French split is around 50/50. But as you travel through New Brunswick in your motorhome you will notice that New Brunswick French sounds different - that’s Acadian (“Cajun” as they say down south).
The settlers of New France were purged by the British in the mid-18th century and the places on New Brunswick’s north coast they were pushed to—or found their way back to—are now some of the prettiest and most interesting villages in Canada to travel through by RV.
The tides at the Bay of Fundy are the highest on the planet. This is one of New brunswick's most famed natural attractions and is a must-do if you're travelling around New Brunswick by motorhome. Hundreds of millions of tons of seawater slosh in and out of the bay twice a day at the height of a four-storey building, reportedly equivalent to the flow of all freshwater rivers on earth. Migratory birds by the thousands congregate on the Fundy mudflats to feed on mud shrimp, and there are more species of whales in the bay than anywhere else.
The main centres for RV rentals in New Brunswick are from Moncton or Fredericton. The province is an ideal RV destination in any season:
- Skate on frozen ponds and rinks in winter.
- Visit in spring for maple syrup season and fiddleheads (tender fern tendrils sautéed into a yummy dish).
- Summer means warm, oceanside walks and sailing with whales alongside.
- Fall in New Brunswick is brilliant with colour as leaves change in the harvest season – a fabulous time for a road trip in your RV.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Canada's easternmost province is made up of majestic scenery, towering icebergs, quaint seaside villages and amazing sealife, making exploring Newfoundland and Labrador by RV a truly unique experience.
This extreme landscape of fierce beauty is made up of glacially carved inland fjords, wild jagged coastlines and towering mountains of ice-crossing paths.
The province is divided into two geographical parts: Labrador which is on the eastern part of the Canadian mainland, and the island which is located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Geographically, “The Rock” is out there. Separated from the mainland by the Strait of Belle Isle, Newfoundland is actually closer to Ireland than it is to Winnipeg, MB, or Chicago (USA). (Which gives you an idea how big Canada is: St. John’s, The Rock’s capital, is 4-½ time zones from Vancouver, BC.) Access to Newfoundland with your RV is by vehicular ferry, and St Johns is the best location from which to hire an RV in Newfoundland.
In this rugged land, numerous generations of people have forged their living from the sea alone - no place is more than 100kms away from the ocean. RVers will find some of the most interesting, fun-loving folk in Canada who are famed for their warmth and hospitality. Newfoundlanders celebrate their heritage with festivals, music and events throughout the summer, making it equally enjoyable to visit Newfoundland by RV in the warmer months.
Some other options to keep an eye out for on your RV travels:
- Huge 36-ton humpback whales are a common sight.
- Newfoundland and Labrador are home to an excavated 1,000-year-old Viking settlement, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Some 200 salmon rivers and thousands of trout streams make Newfoundland the perfect destination for enthusiastic anglers.
The maritime province of Nova Scotia can not only boast of having some Canada's most beautiful scenery but can also claim an important of Canada's cultural history. Take your motorhome through Nova Scotia and you'll find sandy ocean shorelines, historic fortresses and the rugged Highlands of Cape Breton.
Charming Nova Scotia is synonymous with tall ships, succulent lobster, Celtic music and wild horses. Its capital, Halifax is a lively port city with an art college, symphony orchestra and indie music scene, plus 18th and 19th century architecture alongside a modern business district.
This sprawling province covers 4,600 miles of diverse coastline dotted with lighthouses. It is connected to mainland North America and New Brunswick by the isthmus of Chignecto and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, so nowhere is more than 56 km from the sea.
Many a famous Canadian fiddler hails from Cape Breton Island, known for its lively music influenced by Scottish jigs and reels. It’s no coincidence that the name of this southernmost Atlantic province, one of Canada’s original three, means “New Scotland.” There are times you’d swear you were in Scotland, for example when quaffing whisky at some great pub and hearing Scottish Gaelic. The ancient language is actually still spoken fluently by many Nova Scotians—some estimates put the number in the thousands. A lot of them are on Cape Breton Island, which sits atop Nova Scotia.
- The highway running through the coastal landscape of Cape Breton Highlands National Park is one of North America’s most spectacular scenic drives – an absolute must-do in your Canadian RV itinerary.
- Cape Breton is also a mecca for sailing, whale-watching and scuba diving.
- Sable Island is another picturesque part of the province.
- Kejimkujik National Park is Nova Scotia's inland of historic canoe routes and portages.
An incredibly vast region of wild landscapes, the NWT split into two separate territories in 1999. The eastern lands are now known as Nunavut. The western region, home to Dene, Inuvialuit and other northerners from around the world, is still called the Northwest Territories and is a truly spectacular place to visit by RV.
They call it the “land of the midnight sun,” where the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) illuminates the sky in eerie, other-worldly dancing lights.
During the warm months of summer, RVers can watch the sunset melt into a golden sunrise - there's up to 24 hours of daylight in June, July and the beginning of August! The long winter brings with it the Northern Lights, a galaxy of stars that make you want to stay up all night.
Most NWT parks and their services are open from May 15th to September 15th each year. The NWT has 34 parks, offering motorhome travellers plenty of places to stop for a picnic lunch or to stay overnight. The parks are divided into four categories: heritage, natural environment, recreational and wayside parks. The 17 recreational parks offer overnight camping, while other parks are for day use only.
You’ll find nature on a grand scale here—North America’s deepest lake, a park the size of the Netherlands, ice roads hundreds of kilometres long. And on winter nights, of course the aurora borealis. Make the pilgrimage in your RV to Yellowknife in hopes of catching a glimpse of the magical, mystical aurora in action. Other amazing options in this province include:
- Visit communities north of the Arctic Circle, in the MacKenzie Delta and Mountains
- Travel into the Nahanni National Park, over to the Boreal forest and on to the Canadian Shield and Barrenlands.
- Drive on all-weather roads alongside winding rivers and shining lakes.
As of April 1, 1999, the giant area previously known as the Northwest Territories became two separate territories. The eastern portion is now Nunavut. Nunavut is an Inuktitu word for “our land.”
Note that you cannot drive your RV (or any vehicle) to Nunavut as there are no roads into any or between any of the communities. While the Northwest Territories has some highways that keep it connected to the south, there are no roads connecting Nunavut to the rest of Canada. There are cars in Nunavut, but these can only travel on the roads within communities. In Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, there is only one paved road and there are no traffic lights. This paved road is the only one in the whole territory - a territory that makes up one-fifth of Canada's land mass.
This one territory has 40% of Canada’s coastline. It’s the emptiest, loneliness, grandest part of the nation. (The land belongs not to the federal government, but to the Inuit themselves.)
It is gorgeous, but not in the way you might usually think about nature. It’s mostly tundra, so no trees. But there are fantastical fjords and ice formations, mythic narwhals, and roaming caribou.
- The original people of this land call themselves Inuit, which simply means “the people.”
- Viewing the stunning Northern Lights, dog sledding and cross-country skiing are ideal winter activities.
- Community events and gatherings with homespun food, storytelling, dancing and good times with the locals are all part of the warm experience you can expect in Nunavut.
The Native people called Ontario “the land of shining waters,” perhaps inspired by the half-million lakes scattered throughout the land or by breathtaking Niagara Falls, known throughout the world as the “it” spot for honeymooners (and not a bad one for RVers either!).
People from 70 international cultures make up the province’s population. Their diversity adds culture, arts, cuisine and spark to Ontario’s major cities. Toronto, its capital, has all the metropolitan perks: symphony, ballet, opera, shopping, nightlife and exceptional restaurants, while Ottawa is Canada’s political capital and seat of power. Here you can explore the federal Parliament buildings, museums and the superb (oft controversial) art at the National Gallery of Canada.
Canada's most populous, richest and second-largest province has Canada’s largest city, biggest stock market, and greatest economic clout. It’s home to about a quarter of all the country’s farms (the most per province in the country), draws the most visitors, boasts the most corporate headquarters and houses the national capital, Ottawa. But it’s parts of Ontario that lie outside of cities - the lakes of Muskoka and the beautiful Algonquin Provincial Park, the stunning Thousand Islands and the autumnal blaze of the Hockley Valley down the rugged Niagara Escarpment to the Falls that provide a different kind of Canadian RV experience.
Some other attractions to explore by motorhome are:
- The Niagara region has a thriving theatre and is one of Canada’s foremost wine regions, focused mainly on icewine.
- UNESCO World Heritage Site Rideau Canal is filled with boats in the summer and becomes the "World's Longest Skating Rink" in the winter.
- Check out the view of thunder bay from Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.
Prince Edward Island
The smallest of Canada’s provinces and territories, Canada’s island jewel with its red soil and green rolling hills is picturesque and perfect for touring by RV.
Prince Edward Island is in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, off the Atlantic Coast of the Canadian mainland. Renowned for sweet lobster, stunning beaches, top-rated golf and Lucy Maud Montgomery’s world-famous novel, Anne of Green Gables, PEI is alive with colour, leisurely, walkable and quaint, and people are friendly and unassuming.
An engineering marvel connects Canada’s smallest province to the mainland with the eight-mile Confederation Bridge (Canada’s longest). So now you can drive your RV to this island retreat, also the birthplace of Canadian Confederation. Alternatively, you could rent and RV on PEI in either Summerside or the island's capital, Charlottetown.
- PEI boasts more lighthouses than anywhere else (there are 76) - for something different you could park the RV and tour from one to the next by bicycle.
- Follow the silvery beaches of the North Shore along Blue Heron Drive.
- Prince Edward island National Park is most often visited in summer, but offer cross-country ski trails in winter.
The province of Quebec is an intriguing mix of wilderness and modern urban life that exudes old world history and European charm, and the best way to absorb its beauty is by motorhome.
Extending nearly 2,000 km (1,242 mi.) from the U.S. border to the Arctic Ocean, between Ontario to the west and New Brunswick and Labrador to the east, Quebec is more extreme than the R.O.C. (Rest of Canada), and that includes its weather: hot summers and cold winters. That cold aside, winter may just be the best time to visit Quebec in your motorhome, what with Bonhomme (Winter Carnival king) lumbering around in Quebec and Mont Tremblant alive with skiers (but summer’s lovely, too!).
Chic French city centres Montréal and Québec City are places where history and architecture mingle with the modern urban world. Both cities bustle with restaurants and bars, nightclubs and theatres, exclusive shopping centres, museums and galleries. Take your RV down to the Eastern Townships south of Montréal that stretch along the borders of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine to experience the quaint aura of New England. There are countless fabulous experiences to be had in Quebec on a motorhome road trip:
- The Laurentians, an enchanting mountain and farmland region north of Montréal, is an escape to yesteryear. Think apple orchards, stone farmhouses, artisan cheesemakers and centuries-old timbered homes–although new millennium top-rated resorts and spas, golf and skiing, as well as chateaus and B&Bs abound.
- Québec also entertains with festivals throughout the year, including the renowned Festival International de Jazz de Montréal and the Just for Laughs Festival, when 2,000 comedians take to the streets.
- Drive your Rv through Quebec's amazing diversity of landscape: a fertile plain between the Canadian Shield and the Appalachian Mountains; and wide blankets of forest and tundra which share over a million lakes and thousands of rivers.
With its wide open spaces, views that go on forever and golden wheatfields waving in the breeze the prairie province Saskatchewan stirs the soul as you travel through by motorhome.
Saskatchewan’s cosmopolitan capital, Regina (named after Queen Victoria), boasts one of North America's largest urban parks at its core. More than an enchanting green space, Wascana Centre also holds the city’s Royal Saskatchewan Museum, the University of Regina campus, provincial legislative buildings and the finest in regional, national and international art at the MacKenzie Art Gallery. Wascena Centre’s grounds attract visitors who can happily while away the day (year-round) picnicking, boating, bird watching, cycling and taking nature walks.
It's known as Canada’s prairie breadbasket, and is geographically quite minimalist - beautiful in a stark, simple way. Plain speaking is the default mode here. If there’s such thing as having “no accent,” that’s “Saskatchewanese”.
To the east lies the Province of Manitoba, and to the west is Alberta. To the North are the Northwest Territories and Nunavut and to the south lies North Dakota and Montana. The province has a subtle yet distinct charm and offers many memorable experiences to be had in your RV.
- Saskatoon, the province’s largest city, is considered Canada’s most beautiful mid-sized city thanks to a progressive campaign protecting its riverbanks. The city is also deservedly proud of it vibrant arts theatre and cultural communities. Both saskatoon and Regina are good bases from which to explore Saskatchewan by RV.
- Winter’s cold. But Saskatchewanians have turned it in their favour: all sports yet invented for ice—hockey, speed skating, figure skating, broomball, curling—are played here. But summer’s beautiful and dry, and people are out cycling and golfing en masse.
- Saskatchewan's famous glowing sunsets over endless shimmering fields of wheat make for a striking sight.
Known as Canada’s True North, the Yukon Territory offers RVers a spectacular experience. Rugged, untamed and vast, the Yukon has a wild, unspoiled charm. Bountiful wildlife, nature and recreational opportunities make RVing in the Yukon the experience of a lifetime.
Whitehorse and Dawson City are the two main city centres and bases for wilderness exploration trips. Gone, of course, are the teeming rows of saloons and brothels and gambling halls—except as historic recreations - but the wild spirit remains.
The Yukon Government's 41 clean and scenic roadside campgrounds offer tent and pull-through sites with picnic tables, campfire pits, firewood and picnic shelters, outhouses and hand pumped cold water. Many roadside campgrounds have prime access to local fishing spots and walking trails. The government also operates several backcountry campgrounds in Tombstone Park and on the Thirty-Mile section of the Yukon River.
June through August is prime RV trip time, but the spring and fall shoulder seasons offer excellent conditions for snow sports and autumn foliage. And as chilly as the winter months can be, they offer the best opportunity for catching the brilliant Northern Lights.
- The Yukon Territory is one of the best places in the world for wilderness adventures. Fishing, hiking, biking, canoeing, rafting, wildlife viewing and enjoying pure nature are a way of life here.
- The Yukon’s Kluane National Park boasts spectacular scenery and many opportunities to try your hand at heli-hiking or glacier trekking.