Road Trip from Vancouver to Toronto - LazyTrips (2023)

A road trip from Vancouver to Toronto is an epic journey that really takes you back to nature as you adventure from the most populous city in British Columbia to the largest city in all of Canada - discovering stunning mountains, national park and world-famous lakes along the way.

The 4,540-kilometre road trip from Vancouver to Toronto takes 44 hours. Key stops include Bellevue, Ranchester, Chicago, Seattle as well as Yellowstone National Park, Lake Ontario, Lake Michigan, Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore and Deadwood.

There are so many places to to discover on this incredible international trip. So keep reading until the end to find out more.

How far is Toronto from Vancouver and how long will the road trip take?

A road trip from Vancouver to Toronto takes a minimum of 40 hours to complete, covering a distance of at least 4,330 km (2,700 miles).

With a journey of such magnitude there are so many incredible attractions along the way, so our recommendation would be to take a slightly longer route, which totals 4,540 km (2,820 miles) and 44 hours.

You could complete the road trip in as little as 5 days if you kept your stops to an absolute minimum, but we're going to suggest splitting it over a minimum of 10 days to give you plenty of opportunity to soak up some of the best places these two countries offer.

As the trip involves crossing the border, you will need to remember to bring documentation with you, such as proof of identification. Best to check ahead of the journey on the latest guidelines.

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Best road trip route from Vancouver to Toronto

The route for our road trip from Vancouver to Toronto may take you between two Canadian cities, but our route suggests spending most of the journey in the US - travelling through 10 American states.

While you could chose a simpler trip that stays within Canada, travelling east on the Trans-Canada Highway through Calgary, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay and towards Toronto, we're not going to recommend that here because our alternative route is by far the most interesting.

Road trip route from Vancouver to Toronto

Start by taking the British Columbia Highway 99 south and following it to Peace Arch Park, on the American border. Once you cross into the US, you'll be on Interstate 5 before taking exit 182, near Lynwood. Join I-405 and continue south until you reach Bellevue and your first US city.

Next take the I-90 east, where if you wanted, you could follow this road for the majority of the journey all the way to Indiana. However, we're going to make a slight detour, to take you to one of the most famous locations in America, Yellowstone National Park.

Continue through Cardwell and take S-359 to Harrison. Next join US-287 and continue heading south until you reach West Yellowstone in Southern Montana. Known as the gateway to Yellowstone National Park, spend some time exploring before joining the I-90 heading east.

Pass Crow Reservation before arriving at Ranchester, Wyoming. Continue heading east on the I-90 as you pass Rapid City, another a great option for a stop to explore the stunning nearby reservations.

Continue on this road through Sioux Falls before arriving at Chicago. After taking in this brilliant city you will pass Gary where you will finally change onto I-94 at exit 21, on the southern shore of Lake Michigan before arriving at Detroit. Here you switch onto I-96 and cross Ambassador Bridge into Canada.

After emerging on Ontario Highway 3 and following it a short distance, you'll change onto Ontario Highway 401, which takes you through Hamilton and Mississauga before arriving at Toronto.

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Best places to stop between Vancouver and Toronto

With a road trip from Vancouver to Toronto taking anywhere from 5 days to 2 weeks, there are plenty of incredible places to stay along the way.

While there are plenty of obvious cities for an overnight stop, the following are two possibly less known locations that you'll want to keep your eye out for:

Enjoy an iconic stay in Yellowstone National Park

As the oldest and one of the most famous national parks in America, it's a no brainer to spend some time at Yellowstone National Park. As an early stop on the road trip, this is also an ideal time to take in the first part of the journey and relax before embarking on the rest.

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Yellowstone National Park will provide some of the most breath-taking views you will ever see. From its landscapes and wildlife, to its history and iconic features, such as Grand Prismatic Spring, this a truly a location not to be missed.

After a long hike, a stay at Kelly Inn West Yellowstone is a great choice. Set just a three minute drive from the entrance of the park, this hotel combines great location with superb amenities. Relax in the indoor pool and hot tub before unwinding in the modern and stylish rooms.

For peace of mind, the Kelly Inn also includes free parking and a complimentary breakfast. While prices are fair, given its location to such a huge attraction, rooms are likely to be booked in advance so plan ahead before this magnificent stop.

A gateway to the past: Rapid City

Located in western South Dakota and almost halfway through the road trip, Rapid City is a location for an overnight stop.

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Surrounded by an astronomical number of must-see attractions, from multiple national parks and wildlife attractions to legendary monuments and historic towns, Rapid City has something for everyone. It's definitely a location you'll need more than a single day to fully appreciate.

There are plenty of options for places to stay in Rapid City, but for a real taste of the historical city, the Hotel Alex Johnson Rapid City, Curio Collection by Hilton has to be our favorite. This historic hotel is located in central Rapid City and is just 30 minutes drive from Mount Rushmore.

This exquisite hotel is oozing with charm, style and fun. The elegant rooms are decorated with period furnishings, while the onsite spa facilities and incredible dining options promise you a stay that leave you feeling like royalty. There's even an outdoor terrace to enjoy the sunset - a stay here is worth every penny.

Reach new heights in Chicago

Just over 500 miles from Toronto, Chicago is a great final stop before embarking on the final drive on this road trip. Known for its incredible architecture and fantastic museums, the Illinois city is the largest in the US.

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Chicago, on Lake Michigan, is a city worth spending at least a day in to fully appreciate. Discover its jazz music and 1920s gangsters, or explore Sears Tower (just one of its many incredible skyscrapers). But it's not just buildings: Chicago's motto is "city in a garden" thanks to its impressive and historic park system.

After taking a stroll through Millennium Park or visiting Cloud Gate, a stay at The Hoxton is an absolute must. At the heart of Chicago's West Loop district, this luxurious hotel has three bars and restaurants, beautifully designed rooms and the most incredible rooftop pool with stunning views of the city.

Designed with luxury in mind, you could be forgiven for not wanting to leave The Hoxton, but if you did you would find yourself just a short stroll to Willis Tower and the CIBC Theater. That said, after several days of driving, you might just want to put your feet up with a drink by the cosy lounge fire.

Things to see on a road trip from Vancouver to Toronto

Given the huge distance between Vancouver to Toronto, there are a huge number of scenic and historical things to see that you might want to visit along the way.

Here are some of the most important attractions that we think are simply too good to miss:

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  1. Lake Ontario - The smallest of North America's “Great Lakes” yet still has fantastic views.
  2. Lake Erie - The smallest by volume and second smallest by area of the aforementioned Great Lakes, it comes in as the 11th largest lake on Earth.
  3. Lake Michigan - Lake Michigan is the fifth largest lake in the world. It is also Earth's largest lake to be located entirely in one country.
  4. Seattle, Washington - The most populous city in Washington state, known for Starbucks, the Space Needle and grunge music.
  5. Yellowstone National Park - The oldest national park in North America, having been formed in 1872. Its iconic imagery and stunning wildlife have drawn artists and tourists from all over the globe for decades.
  6. Devils Tower - A stunning location, which has for years been used in movies and artwork due to its incredible imagery.
  7. Bighorn National Forest - One of the oldest designated forests in the US and home to Medicine Wheel National Historic Landmark.
  8. Rapid City - The second most populous city in South Dakota, on the edge of the black hills.
  9. Sturgis Festival - The world's largest motorcycle rally, featuring music, entertainment and organised rides through the Black Hills, held annually on the first weekend in August.
  10. Mount Rushmore - One of America's most iconic attractions, featuring the faces of former US Presidents carved into the side of the Black Hills.
  11. Crazy Horse Monument - While still under construction, this memorial to the legendary war chief of the same name will eventually be one of the largest in the world.
  12. Badlands National Park - A beautiful national park that was founded in 1939 and is world renowned for its incredible collection of fossils and archaeological attractions.
  13. Deadwood - The second largest old west town still in existence anywhere in America.
  14. Wall Drug - Wild west tourist attraction, originally founded as a drug store in 1931. Featuring shops, restaurants and works of art, it draws over 2 million visitors a year.
  15. Bear Country USA - A safari park that gives you the chance to drive through and see all kinds of wildlife in its natural habitat, most specifically the black bears that give the park its name.
  16. Wind Cave National Park – One of the oldest national parks in the country, founded in 1903, it is home to one of the longest, most unique cave systems in the world.
  17. Detroit, Michigan - The largest, most populous city in the state of Michigan, famous for its links to the motor industry and Motown music.
  18. Chicago, Illinois - The most populous city in Illinois is famous for its unique style of pizza and history with the mob.
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Best time to go on a road trip from Vancouver to Toronto

With a road trip from Vancouver to Toronto covering such a vast distance and taking as long as it does, it makes pinpointing the perfect time to do it a little more complex, as you need to figure out the best time to visit not just the destination but the attractions along the way as well.

However, when you realise most of our on-route attractions are outdoors and that Toronto is quite a cold city outside of summer, it makes the choice for this particular trip fairly clear.

Late May through to the end of August is ideal - temperatures in Toronto only peak in July with highs of 77 degrees and the rainy season doesn't really begin until September. However with the warm weather, you will of course see a rise in tourists.

If you prefer less crowds, especially in popular attractions like Yellowstone National Park, you could be better off aiming for late April where the "off season" month allows you a better chance to catch of glimpse of local wildlife too.

Avoiding summer months also means cities such as Chicago and are less cramped. If, however, you'd like to plan your trip around a festival or two, September and October offer a range from International's Film Festivals to Oktoberfest.


Where should I stop between Toronto and Vancouver? ›

The 4,300-kilometre road trip from Toronto to Vancouver takes at least 40 hours. Key stops include Gary, Seattle, Montana, Rapid City and Banff, as well as Lake Michigan, Great Falls, Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park.

How long does it take to drive to Toronto from Vancouver with stops? ›

The 4,540-kilometre road trip from Vancouver to Toronto takes 44 hours. Key stops include Bellevue, Ranchester, Chicago, Seattle as well as Yellowstone National Park, Lake Ontario, Lake Michigan, Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore and Deadwood.

How many days does it take to drive from Vancouver to Toronto? ›

How long is the drive from Vancouver, Canada to Toronto, Canada? The total driving time is 40 hours, 2 minutes.

How hard is it to drive from Toronto to Vancouver? ›

The driving distance from Toronto to Vancouver is a whopping 4,400 kilometers (2,735 miles). Without dipping into the United States, the shortest and fastest Toronto to Vancouver drive will take you 46 hours.

Is Vancouver or Toronto nicer? ›

Vancouver is undoubtedly a bustling place too, but it just doesn't quite have the global city vibe that Toronto has. What is this? The nightlife, shopping and eating options are generally better than Vancouver. If you're looking to live in a Canadian New York City, Toronto is the place for you.

Why is Vancouver better than Toronto? ›

Compared to Toronto, Vancouver is a lot more relaxed. This is mainly due to Toronto being the largest city in Canada with a population of 6 million. Vancouver's meagre 2.5 million makes some visitors consider it quite an underwhelming place. However, it also makes it less dangerous, since there's less chance of crime.

How long do you need for a cross Canada road trip? ›

This route covers 8,581 km (5,332 miles) and would take at least 106 hours of pure driving time, including stops for petrol. If you add overnight stops and assume you won't want to drive more than 400 km (250 miles) on average per day, the drive across Canada will take over 3 weeks without taking any days off.

Is it cheaper to fly to Vancouver or drive? ›

For a roundtrip voyage from Vancouver to Calgary in August, the calculator says it's actually cheaper to fly than drive. They estimate that the per-person cost to fly is $179, but to drive, it could cost you $477 just in gas. The calculator is a great tool to start, but you should also do your own travel deal research.

How much does it cost to drive from Vancouver to Toronto? ›

The total cost of driving from Vancouver, Canada to Toronto, Canada (one-way) is $497.34 at current gas prices. The round trip cost would be $994.67 to go from Vancouver, Canada to Toronto, Canada and back to Vancouver, Canada again. Regular fuel costs are around $4.57 per gallon for your trip.

How much does it cost to take a train from Vancouver to Toronto? ›

Toronto to Vancouver one-way (or vice versa) costs start at $444 (€288) for Economy, $1,109 (€721) for Sleeper Plus and $4655 (€3029) for Prestige. Prices vary depending on whether you decide to split up the journey, or depending on the type of berth in Sleeper Plus.

Is driving to Canada easy? ›

Driving into Canada from the U.S. is relatively simple compared to other destinations. Travelers driving into Canada from the U.S. must have a valid I.D., such as a U.S. passport. Unlike most of the world, a passport card is also accepted on the land border. Children under 16 need only show proof of U.S. citizenship.

What is the best route to drive across Canada? ›

Road trip Canada: 5 of the best routes
  • The Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia. The Cabot Trail loops 298km around the north of Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. ...
  • Vancouver to Tofino, British Colombia. ...
  • Regina to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. ...
  • Icefields Parkway, Alberta. ...
  • Montréal to the Gaspé Peninsula, Québec.
Jan 17, 2021

Is driving in Toronto difficult? ›

Driving in Toronto can be a challenge, but with careful planning you can make the journey much easier. The biggest challenges are the heavy traffic and busy highways. If you're patient and take the time to plan your route, you'll be able to get where you're going without any problems.

Is it worth driving across Canada? ›

If you're thinking about driving across Canada – which is an exceptional way to see the country, don't rush it. Savour the experience, the small towns, the quirky restaurants and the unusual places to sleep. Allow time to make detours – because those are the things you're going to remember.

Is it cheaper to drive or fly across Canada? ›

For the shortest trip, driving is more economical than flying. But for the longer cross-country trip, flying is far cheaper. And keep in mind that this only considers solo drivers. Families or friends traveling in one vehicle can save money by driving, even on longer routes.

Is Toronto colder than Vancouver? ›

Toronto or Vancouver? Toronto is much colder in winter. Vancouver is warmer but has a tremendous amount of wet rainy weather in though. However that being said travel two hour north to whistler mountain and it is cold and the snow filled mountains and all the awesome winter fun is available to you.

Is Toronto cheaper than Vancouver? ›

Cost of Living Comparison Between Toronto and Vancouver

You would need around 7,727.7C$ in Vancouver to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with 7,600.0C$ in Toronto (assuming you rent in both cities). This calculation uses our Cost of Living Plus Rent Index to compare cost of living.

Why is Vancouver so popular? ›

With its scenic views, mild climate, and friendly people, Vancouver is known around the world as both a popular tourist attraction and one of the best places to live.

Is Vancouver the most beautiful city in Canada? ›

Located in British Columbia, Vancouver is easily the most beautiful Canadian city. You'll discover mountain vistas in the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and Stanley Park downtown.

Is Toronto warmer than Vancouver? ›

Because the prevailing winds are westerly and the ocean tends to be about 10 degrees Celcius throughout the year Vancouver has a far more moderate climate than Toronto. Vancouver is warmer in the winter BUT cooler in the summer.

Is Vancouver the most beautiful city in the world? ›

Vancouver has been raking up the accolades lately. The city recently ranked one of the most promising economic and investment locations of the future for North America; it's been ranked one of the world's most sustainable cities and is consistently named one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

How do I prepare for a cross Canada road trip? ›

Driving Across Canada Tips: How to Plan a Cross-Country Road trip
  1. Decide How to Drive Across Canada.
  2. Decide How Long to Drive Across Canada.
  3. Research What You Want to See.
  4. Budget How Much it Costs to Drive Across Canada.
  5. Get a Road Assistance Membership.
  6. Download the GoWhee App.
  7. Plan the Driving Around the Kids' Schedule.
Feb 25, 2023

What is the best time of year to drive across Canada? ›

Best time to go: June to September for the warmest temperatures. April, May, and October are also great and a bit cooler.

What do I need to know before driving across Canada? ›

Best road trip planner tips
  • Plan for the weather. The winter roads in Canada are notoriously hard on cars that aren't properly prepared. ...
  • Find the right car. ...
  • Plan for distance. ...
  • Watch out for animals. ...
  • Stay fueled with GasBuddy. ...
  • Stay safe with the iOnRoad app. ...
  • Always have a place to park with ParkMe. ...
  • Avoid traffic with Waze.

Does southwest fly to Vancouver Canada? ›

Airlines that fly from the USA to Vancouver, Canada:

They include United Airlines, American, Delta, Continental, Northwest, Alaska, US Airways, and Frontier (As of yet, Southwest Airlines and Jet Blue do not fly into Vancouver).

Is it cheaper to fly or drive to Toronto to Vancouver? ›

It's significantly cheaper to fly on this trip, unless you made adjustments to the numbers above to alter the calculation. These results are based on the actual driving distance from Toronto to Vancouver, which is 2,722 miles or 4 381 kilometers. You can also check the cost of driving from Toronto to Vancouver.

At what distance is it better to drive than fly? ›

Brilliant claims that if you're traveling within 300 miles, driving can be quicker than flying if you factor in all the potential delays and hurdles that come with air travel.

Is it cheaper to drive or fly? ›

For the shortest trip, driving is slightly more economical than flying. But for the longer cross-country trip, flying is far cheaper. And keep in mind that this only considers solo drivers. Families or friends traveling in one vehicle can save money by driving, even on longer routes.

How much does a 3 day trip to Toronto cost? ›

The average price of a Weekend 3-day trip to Toronto, Canada is $900 for a solo traveller, $1530 for a couple, and $1980 for a family of 4. Toronto city centre hotel range from $273 to $684 with an average of $342 per night, while Airbnb rentals will cost you $85 per night for the entire apartment.

How many days does it take to drive from BC to Toronto? ›

Can I drive from Toronto to British Columbia? Yes, the driving distance between Toronto to British Columbia is 4431 km. It takes approximately 43h 31m to drive from Toronto to British Columbia.

What is the middle between Toronto and Vancouver? ›

Halfway between Toronto, Canada and Vancouver, Canada

The town that marks the exact halfway point is actually Mandan, North Dakota. The closest zip code to the midpoint is 58505. The exact latitude and longitude coordinates are 46° 49' 42" N and 100° 51' 25" W.

How many days train from Vancouver to Toronto? ›

HOW LONG IS THE HIGH-SPEED TRAIN TRIP FROM vancouver to toronto ? Trains between Vancouver and Toronto are available daily, and the journey takes an average of 3 days, 20 hours and 29 minutes.

Where should I stop between Toronto and Chicago? ›

The top stops along the way from Toronto to Chicago (with short detours) are Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Tom Patterson Theatre | Stratford Festival, and Detroit Institute of Arts. Other popular stops include Journeys, Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, and Great Lakes Crossing Outlets.

What is the difference between Ontario and Toronto? ›

Where is Toronto located? Toronto is in Canada. It is the capital city of the province of Ontario. It is situated on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario and forms part of the border between Canada and the United States.

Which Canadian city is closest to Vancouver? ›

Major cities near Vancouver, Canada
  • 10 km to Burnaby, Canada.
  • 31 km to Surrey, Canada.
  • 96 km to Victoria, Canada.
  • 195 km to Seattle, WA.
  • 420 km to Portland, OR.
  • 685 km to Calgary, Canada.
  • 806 km to Boise, ID.
  • 844 km to Edmonton, Canada.

Is Vancouver like New York? ›

Also like Vancouver, New York is a port city, with dozens of waterways and canals crisscrossing Manhattan and the Five Boroughs. However, you won't often see pleasure crafts idly sailing by as they do through False creek and English bay.

Can you sleep in economy on VIA Rail? ›

Ensure your nights on the train are just as great by selecting the overnight option that is right for you. When it comes to the sleeping accommodations on VIA Rail's Canadian, travelers can choose from three classes: Economy, Sleeper Plus, and Prestige.

How much is sleeper car to Toronto from Vancouver? ›

Fares: Toronto to Vancouver one-way (or vice versa) costs start at $444 (€288) for Economy, $1,109 (€721) for Sleeper Plus and $4655 (€3029) for Prestige.

Is there a scenic train from Vancouver to Toronto? ›

The Canadian connects Toronto and Vancouver, with stops in Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Jasper. This route can also be travelled in reverse. This train covers a total of 2,762, which takes about 86 hours. Enjoy sweeping views in the Panorama car, where giant windows extend up to the ceiling.

What is the most scenic place in Canada? ›

10 most beautiful places to visit in Canada
  • Vancouver's scenic bays. ...
  • The rugged coast of Tofino. ...
  • Island worlds in Nova Scotia. ...
  • Picturesque parks in Toronto. ...
  • The breathtaking landscape of the wild west coast. ...
  • Unbelievable beauty in Banff. ...
  • Dramatic bike trails in British Columbia. ...
  • Soothing sands on Prince Edward Island.

Is it hard to drive in Toronto? ›

Driving in Toronto can be a challenge, but with careful planning you can make the journey much easier. The biggest challenges are the heavy traffic and busy highways. If you're patient and take the time to plan your route, you'll be able to get where you're going without any problems.

What Canadian city is most like Chicago? ›

About Toronto

As Chicago's closest sister city in proximity, both Chicago and Toronto sit upon the Great Lakes—Chicago on Lake Michigan and Toronto on Lake Ontario. The cities also share a similar topography and population, with Toronto leading with approximately 100,000 more residents.

What US city does Toronto compare to? ›

Toronto = Chicago

While many say Toronto is the New York City of Canada, locals will agree that more similarities can be found between them and the Windy City. At 2.8 and 2.7 million, their population sizes are also roughly the same.

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