Jessica Ward

A road trip around Canada will be one of the greatest journeys you will embark on, it will take you out of your comfort zone and into a world of adventure. Based on my road trip through British Columbia and Alberta last year, I’m going to share with you my favourite spots along the way.

Vancouver is the perfect starting point for tourists arriving in Canada and an easy base for you to reach the rest of the country. Like any big city, it’s filled with small neighbourhoods which will have something for everyone. You could start the day in Gastown and Chinatown, before heading into Downtown and Stanley Park. Attached to the park is the Lions Gate Bridge which will take you over to the North side of Vancouver and into the mountains. Not far from the bridge exit is Lynn Creek, which has an awesome suspension bridge (much like the Capilano Suspension Bridge but free) and some walking trails. It can become quite crowded, especially in summer, so be sure to get there early!

When Downtown, if you cross the bridge from Yaletown it will take you over to Granville Island Public Market. Arrive mid morning so you have time to wander around the little shops and market stalls, before finding your way to the food market to pick up some lunch.

From Vancouver you can easily make the boat ride over to Vancouver Island, which I definitely recommend you visiting! You will fall in love with Victoria, the capital of BC, because of its beauty, old world charm and the friendly nature of its community. You could easily spend a couple of weeks exploring the island but it actually would be very easy to never want to leave!

Also accessible from Vancouver is a trip to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, located in Pemberton, just past Whistler. The hike comprises of a steady walk to 3 lakes – lower, middle and upper, with each more impressive than the next. At times the hike can become quite steep but the views that reward you when you reach each lake definitely makes up for it!

Once you have explored everything that BC has to offer, you will want to delve into some proper nature! The cheapest way to get from Vancouver to Banff is by taking the Greyhound bus. The journey lasts about 13 hours and although you definitely won’t be travelling in luxury, it gets you to where you need to be at the fraction of the cost of flying.

The Rocky Mountains in Alberta is nature on overload. Everywhere you look there are mountain ranges, wild animals and lakes. The beauty of this place is one of the best natural locations that you will see on your trip. Many of the lakes are positioned not too far away from each other, so it’s easy to see a lot of them in one day. A few lakes not to be missed are Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, Minnewanka Lake, Peyto Lake and Emerald Lake. When visiting Banff, a cute little ski town, you can take the gondola up to the top of Sulphur Mountain, where you have an amazing view of the town and the surrounding parks. Also not far from Banff is another small town called Canmore. This is worth a visit and there are some really nice walks that will lead you to some stunning lakes and viewpoints.

Banff and Jasper National Parks are connected by the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93), which is one of the most beautiful drives that you will take and has many activities and tours for you to take part in, depending on the season. Like Banff, everything in Jasper is in pretty close proximity, so you only need to allow for a few days in the area. Some must see locations are the Athabasca Falls, Maligne Canyon + Lake, Medicine Lake and Sunwapta Falls. Many of these attractions in Alberta are easily accessible, so you don’t need to worry about climbing a mountain for hours for you to be able to see these views.

I think in total I only spent about 5 days in Alberta. Although I would recommend staying for about a week, if you are time poor, it can definitely be done! Canada will be a country that I will always come back to and even it’s not the cheapest country to travel around, I think everything it has to offer makes it worth it!

Jessica Ward is a commercial travel photographer and writer based in Newcastle, Australia. She has spent many months exploring the world and is always eager to embark on overseas trips. Jessica documents all of her adventures on Instagram @jesswardphoto and on her website Jessica Ward Photography

The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and are meant as travel inspiration only. They do not reflect the opinions of Cover-More Insurance. You should always read the PDS available from your travel insurance provider to understand the limits, exclusions and conditions of your policy and to ensure any activities you undertake are covered by your policy.