Yogi Berra once said, “When you arrive at a fork in the road, take it.“. That pretty well sums it up when traveling the roads sightseeing in Canada.
The forks in the road in Canada – the exit roads off the the main highways and freeways – are the routes which take you on some of Canada’s greatest sightseeing adventures. Sometimes the major highways are your only route to travel, but when the opportunity arises always take the fork in the road.
These forks in the road – the retired old main highways, the unlimited supply of secondary roads and the backcountry roads - take you on a trip down memory lane. Often it is a trip following a loop route which eventually reconnects back with the main highways.
Although… there are other forks in the road too which run parallel to the main highways but are far enough away that you do not even know the main highway is near. Then there are the beauty forks in the road – the ones which head you off in a totally different direction connecting to a totally different part of the country.
To enjoy the road system when arriving in Canada a “must do” item is to collect a system of maps. Online or buy – just get a map you can carry with you.You will require a map for the communities you will be visiting and a map of the region you will be traveling with highways, secondary roads, parks, trails and sightseeing destinations marked out on the map. Grab yourself some good felt pens too, usually a couple colours, so you can mark the main routes, alternate routes and make notes on the map.
And… as a side note… if your road trip leads to an adventure exposed to the weather and elements while outdoors hiking, camping, backpacking, canoeing, boating, birdwatching, etc. – get the maps laminated or put them in a zip lock bag.
Before planning any trip to Canada the first thing you need to understand is that every part of your trip can be a sightseeing adventure. It is up to you to maximize the opportunities. Take the blinders off.
Think of it like this… your arrival in the country, your travel to and from accommodations, walking downtown, as well as, traveling from community to community are all sightseeing adventures. You just need to take advantage of every sightseeing opportunity within your grasp and budget.
Traveling in Canada is, in many ways, like time travel because the architecture, landscapes and waterscapes are always changing. Landscapes transform in front of your eyes from concrete buildings to forests, grasslands, tundra, rock and mountains. Waterscapes – oceans, lakes and rivers – pop up out of the blue almost around every corner.
What do you want to see? One day you could be seeking crowds walking paved paths surrounded by office buildings, shopping and historic sites in a big city. On another day you drive a hundred kilometres (which is a sightseeing tour in itself) to access a hiking trail in the backcountry leading up to a mountain peak so to enjoy some well sought out solitude and jaw dropping scenery.
Our Canada eh Travel & Adventure Website Network is good place to plan and book your Western and Northern Canada travels as we publish information about everything tourism including accommodations, tours, guides, parks, trails, highways, historic sites from over 250+ communities. Soon it will cover all of Canada as we are currently expanding in to Central, Eastern and Atlantic Canada.
The art of sightseeing in Canada starts and ends with transportation. Many drive – while some hail a taxi or take a bus or travel by train or airplane depending on their final destination. Some, even cycle. That post is for another day. But it is driving or being driven around that puts you in complete control of your sightseeing destinations.
Many visitors to Canada who drive from point “A” to point “B” follow the locals onto the major 4 and 8 lane highways and freeways without question. Why is that? Why do visitors on a vacation follow the locals blindly, like a “Pied Piper”, onto the busiest highways? The main freeways and highways are all about quick and direct… and more importantly, they sometimes lack complimentary scenery if you know what I mean.
What travelers need to know is that many major highway and freeway routes in Canada are close to alternative routes we like to call “shadow routes”. The “shadow routes” are 2 lane routes mostly consisting of retired old main highways which are still in use and a vast network of complimentary secondary roads. We, here at Canada eh Travel & Adventure, seek out the old 2-lane highways and secondary roads because they do take longer and they do provide spectacular wilderness scenery.
Retired main highways and connecting secondary roads visit small villages, farmer’s markets, rest stops, parks, lookouts, historic sites and provide opportunities for wildlife sightings and exploring grasslands, river valleys, lakes and mountains.
The turtle from the fable “The Tortoise and the Hare” had it right – take your time, enjoy the ride, stop & smell the roses because the finish line (point “B”) is not going anywhere fast.