5 Unexpected Canadian Destinations for Your Next Road Trip

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From coast to coast, with the Prairies and the Great Lakes in between, here are just a few of the places where you can see a less travelled side of Canada.

Ever since the advent of automobiles, the open road has been synonymous with freedom. And with Canada’s dramatically diverse landscapes, there are endless ways to choose your own adventure, whether you’re dreaming of fabled rain forests, golden prairies or glacier‑carved fjords. All you need is a vehicle that combines high performance and refined comfort like the redefined 2022 Lexus LX, an all‑new spin on the quintessential luxury SUV, so you’re ready to roam anywhere. Here are five destinations worth going the extra distance.

February 16, 2022

BRITISH COLUMBIA  

Pacific Marine Circle Route  

towering Douglas fir and western red cedars in Eden Grove
Look way up: The towering Douglas fir and western red cedars in Eden Grove, located northwest of Port Renfrew within Pacheedaht First Nation territory, are some of the tallest old‑growth trees in the region.   Photo: TJ Watt

If you can’t choose between exploring B.C.’s beaches, rolling vineyards or majestic temperate rainforests, you can wind your way around them all on the Pacific Marine Circle Route. The 289‑kilometre drive, which makes a spectacularly scenic loop of southern Vancouver Island, starts and ends in the always‑abloom garden city of Victoria. Stop and wander Port Renfrew, nicknamed Canada’s Tall Trees Capital for its thousand‑year‑old Douglas firs and other giants. It’s also worth making a small detour to the ancient Avatar Grove, where you can search out the country’s gnarliest red cedar. Or drive to the western end of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail to reach Botanical Beach, a haven for marine life; come at low tide to spot starfish, sea urchins and coralline algae. Some sections of this route are remote and rugged, so expect a few steep hills and sharp turns – where the Lexus LX Multi‑Terrain Select transmission will really come in handy.

SASKATCHEWAN

Grasslands National Park

grazing plains bison in Grasslands National Park
Keep watch for grazing plains bison in Grasslands National Park: The animals were re‑introduced to the park in 2005, following a 120‑year absence.   Photo: Michelle Valberg

On the southwestern edge of Saskatchewan, Grasslands National Park is a 907‑square‑kilometre stretch of peaceful solitude, with sweeping plains of golden prairie grasses. Access Frenchman River Valley near the village of Val Marie (stop to pick up a map at the West Block Visitor Centre) and embark on Parks Canada’s “Ecotour Scenic Drive,” an 80‑kilometre round trip through this rare ecosystem where you might spot black‑tailed prairie dogs and a herd of once‑nearly‑extinct plains bison. The park is also rich in archeological sites, including Indigenous teepee rings, and dinosaur fossils (most famously, Scotty the T. Rex) have been discovered here. Stash a tent in the Lexus LX’s spacious cargo hold and reserve your camping site well in advance: Grasslands is the darkest of Canada’s Dark Sky Preserves and this is your chance to take in the stars as you have never seen them before.  

ONTARIO 

Manitoulin Island

South Baymouth range front lighthouse
You’ll be welcomed onto Manitoulin Island from the MS Chi‑Cheemaun with a view of the South Baymouth range front lighthouse.   Photo: Chris Greer Photography

Bruce Peninsula National Park is famous for the tropical‑looking turquoise waters of the Grotto, but Manitoulin Island – across the way from Tobermory – offers wild beauty without the throngs. The best way to tool around the world’s largest lake island is by car, so drive aboard the MS Chi‑Cheemaun for a two‑hour ferry ride. (The Lexus Safety System+ 2.5, standard on all LX models, comes with innovative features, such as Pre‑Collision System with Pedestrian Detection and Road Sign Assist, that will give you added peace of mind on the tight roads of Manitoulin.) The island is beloved for its freshwater cruising grounds, so rent a yacht and sail around the North Channel. You can also experience nature while gaining a deeper understanding of Indigenous culture: Wiikwemkoong, the island’s largest First Nation, is Canada’s only officially recognized unceded Indigenous territory. Tours by Wikwemikong Tourism include paddling the ancient canoe routes of the Anishnaabe. 

QUEBEC 

Navigators’ Route

a pod of humpbacks just off of the island
The ultimate sight from Île Verte: a pod of humpbacks just off of the island.   Photo: Mathieu Dupuis

Every road trip has its soundtrack, and the Lexus LX is fitted with hi‑def touchscreens and available 25‑speaker Mark LevinsonTM surround sound system. You can listen to your favourite song without lifting a finger using the all‑new Lexus Interface voice control commands. Watch for whales (they love a good song, too) along the 470‑kilometre Navigators’ Route, which traces the St. Lawrence River eastward from Baie‑du‑Febvre (near Trois‑Rivières) to Pointe‑au‑Père (just past Rimouski’s downtown). Scouting opportunities abound: Though this ecosystem is relatively compact compared to the open ocean, 13 of the world’s 80 whale species migrate to the St. Lawrence annually, while belugas are year‑round locals. And if you’re lucky when you visit Île Verte, you might spot blue whales and humpbacks feeding just offshore. The wee island is also home to the St. Lawrence River’s first lighthouse, completed in 1809 (you can sleep over in the lightkeeper’s house), just one of the many historic maritime landmarks you will pass on the route. Don’t miss the Belvédère Beaulieu near Saint‑Simon‑de‑Rimouski, where you can observe the St. Lawrence from 183 metres above. 

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR 

The Viking Trail

The Viking Trail, Newfoundland
Spectacular Gros Morne National Park, with its ancient landscape of fjords, cliffs and waterfalls (as seen here from the top of Western Brook Pond Gorge), is one of 10 natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada.   Photo: Tom Cochrane

Pack up the whole gang (the all‑new cabin of the Lexus LX comfortably seats seven) and explore two UNESCO World Heritage Sites on a single road trip with the 526‑kilometre Viking Trail, which runs along Newfoundland’s northwest coast. At L’Anse aux Meadows, an 11‑century Norse settlement that inspired the route’s name, tour sod‑roofed dwellings reminiscent of hobbit homes while costumed interpreters spin Viking sagas. Meanwhile, Gros Morne National Park offers a singular mountain landscape that’s also a showcase of plate tectonics, giving scientists clues to how the world’s landforms came to be. In the park, getting the best view of Western Brook Pond, a massive glacier‑carved land‑locked fjord (despite the understated name), calls for a 12‑kilometre hike to the top of a gorge. The sublime scene is worth every step. 

Canada is endlessly fascinating, with thrills for every taste from placid coastlines to rugged peaks. The 2022 Lexus LX – completely redesigned inside and out – is the perfect foil to your sense of adventure, ready to take you where you want to go, and beyond.  

Learn more about the all‑new 2022 Lexus LX.