With plenty of time left to sightsee this summer, many of us are looking forward to getting behind the wheel, hitting the open road and exploring Canada’s secret treasures.

Although vacations may look a little different this year as we prefer to stay closer to home, the day trip has emerged as the preferred getaway, according to a national survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Toyota Canada.

Only a quarter of Canadians feel comfortable taking a plane at the moment, but 70 per cent do feel comfortable travelling by car outside of their city or town, and almost half are planning at least one day trip over the next two months. Of those planning to hit the road, most are opting to stay within a 100-kilometre radius of home.

Atlantic Canadians have the highest number of trips planned this summer, with 50 per cent of respondents planning to take to the road. But with everyone aching to get out of the house, popular destinations are bound to be overrun by tourists. Fortunately, there are still plenty of places to visit if avoiding crowds is a priority for you.

So, what are you waiting for? Pack up your vehicle and check out these lesser known but exciting day-trip destinations!


  • McNabs Island. Dubbed Halifax’s best-kept secret, this island at the entrance of Halifax Harbour is only a short boat ride from Halifax or Eastern Passage, but it feels like a world away with its colourful past and unspoiled natural beauty. Families can enjoy the rich heritage of the island park with guided tours to learn more about its early history—from the Mi’kmaq to the French and British, who built several forts for the Port of Halifax. Learn about the rich coastal island environment and the impact that climate change is having on our coastline.
  • Hubbards. Peggy’s Cove? Lunenburg? Nah. Hubbards and Chester are so close to Halifax, but they feel like a million miles away from the city. Enjoy beach-hopping, dining and sampling local wares at the Hubbards Farmers’ Market, located in a converted barn. Continue on to the Chester Vic, one of many re-purposed old train stations that also rents kayaks during the summer months.
  • Lawrencetown Beach. Just 25 minutes from Halifax, Lawrencetown is the perfect summer day trip for those looking to hit a world-class beach. This south-facing cove feels like the perfect location, with several surf schools and gear rentals nearby. The beach park connects to a walking trail on a former railbed and is part of the larger Cole Harbour-Lawrencetown Coastal Heritage Park system.