Best Family Road Trips in Canada and the USA

by Emese Graham
a young toddler being held by her smiling father sticks out her tongue in a silly grin

Craving the open road? Don’t leave without our list of the 8 best family-friendly driving routes from Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary. We’ve noted which are short trips ideal for little kids, and which are a little more on the epic side for your tweens and teens.

Calgary to Glacier National Park, Montana

two young siblings embrace while enjoying the view of glacier national park

Best for: Little Kids

Driving Time: 3-4 hours

Points of Interest: If you opt for the more scenic route along Highway 2, you can enjoy the Rocky Mountain views almost all the way to your destination. You can stop in Pincher Creek to have a picnic and play in one of 9 public playgrounds before making your way to beautiful Glacier National Park.

Driving Directions

Travel Expert Tip

“A little bit of planning is worth it to arrange your pit stops at places with playgrounds.” Stefanie Tuccori

Toronto to Los Angeles via Route 66

a young girl in a pink helmet crouches down on her skateboard by the beach

Best for: Big Kids

Driving Time: 38 hours

Points of Interest: The best way to enjoy this trek is to rent an RV or an SUV and book a flight book home for when you’re finished meandering across the USA. You’ll want to plan plenty of time to enjoy stopovers in Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Mark Twain National Forest, Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Coconino National Forest, and of course, LA.

Driving Directions

Travel Expert Tip

“Start up a competitive game of “I spy”. For example, the first one to spot a red pick up truck or a car with a kayak gets a quarter. Add everything up and let them spend their prize money at your destination!” Karyn Mucks

Calgary to Lake Louise

a child holds their two parents' hands at lake louise alberta

Best for: Little Kids

Driving Time: 2 hours

Points of Interest: This mini-road trip has big pay-off! Wind your way through the Rockies to Canada’s most postcard-famous lake, where you can enjoy canoeing, horseback riding, or a stunning family photoshoot. You can either make a weekend of it by peppering trail hikes and hotel stays into your trip or keep it short and sweet for the little ones as a one-day round trip.

Driving Directions

Travel Expert Tip

“Bring little grab bags of secret goodies or a new book to open along the way.” Janet McLaughlin

Vancouver to Joshua Tree National Park via Pacific Coast Highway

a happy child jumps into the air at joshua tree national park

Best for: Big Kids

Driving Time: 23 hours

Points of Interest: Hug the West coast from Vancouver to Seattle, Portland, spooky Salem, and the vineyards of Medford, until you catch the famous Pacific Coast Highway. We highly recommend spending at least one day in San Francisco before continuing on to your outdoor adventures in Joshua Tree National Park.

Travel Expert Tip

“We had a road trip with a 6 year old and just over two year old. They key? Lots of entertainment! They had a basket in between their car seats with their own drink bottles, books and toys. I made a map and a Bingo grid for my 6 year old where he could tick of land marks and objects. I brought mini magnetic drawing pads, and when all else fails some TV on a tablet.” Tracey Shearer

Toronto to the Bay of Fundy

six family members pose for pictures at low tide at the bay of fundy

Best for: Big Kids

Driving Time: 14.5  hours

Points of Interest: How’s your French? Immerse yourself in city and country life, with stops in Thousand Islands and Montreal. Then keep the Saint Lawrence River to your left until it’s time to cut through New Brunswick. After some time in Fredericton and Saint Johns, hop on a ferry to experience the highs and lows of the Bay of Fundy.

Driving Directions

Vancouver to Vancouver Island

a few small boats dock on vancouver island with mountains and trees in the distance

Best for: Little Kids

Driving Time: 2-15 hours

Points of Interest: The best thing about doing the Vancouver Island drive is that you don’t need to bite off more than you can chew. Stick to just a day trip to Victoria if you like, or take a few days off and circle the entire island, exploring Nanaimo, Victoria, Tofino, Ucluelet, Campbell River, and Port Hardy along the way.

Driving Directions

Travel Expert Tip

“Download audiobooks that the whole family will enjoy (Harry Potter is my go-to!). Audio books or downloaded movies are perfect for road trips where you’re out of range a lot.” Briana Randell

Toronto to Bruce Peninsula National Park

a birds eye view of tobermory in bruce peninsula

Best for: Little Kids

Driving Time: 3.5 hours

Points of Interest: Tuck the kids into the car seats first thing in the morning to beat the Toronto traffic, then enjoy a full day of swimming, hiking, and wildlife spotting at Bruce Peninsula National Park. Of course, this route is easy to stretch out too, with fun stops at a park in Orangeville and an extra day at Blue Mountain or Wasaga Beach.

Driving Directions

Travel Expert Tip

“For younger kids, bring magnetic tiles and a cookie sheet so they can spend their time building things without messing up the car. You can also play a license plate game to kill a few hours.” Mark Cline

Calgary to the Grand Canyon

a woman smiles while carrying her happy baby on her back at the grand canyon

Best for: Big Kids

Driving Time: 21 hours

Points of Interest: On your way to this bucket list destination, there’s plenty to see and do! Stop in Helena to try some rock climbing and fishing, visit the Idaho Falls Zoo, spend a day in Salt Lake City, and snap some pictures at Dixie National Forest.

Driving Directions

Ready for your fun family road trip? Book your car rental, hotel stays, and flights with Flight Centre today.


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