How to Plan a Road Trip from Ontario to Newfoundland

How to Plan a Road Trip from Ontario to Newfoundland

I bet many of you in the Greater Toronto Area have made the drive to Florida a few times. It’s a right of passage, isn’t it? A 24-hour jaunt and you’re transported to a new world of sunshine and fun. Well, did you know that Newfoundland is the same distance from Toronto? Talk about being transported to an entirely different world!

This summer, with the still-low Canadian dollar, but also decent gas prices, domestic road tripping is the perfect way to get away without breaking the bank.

Our family will once again hit the roads and drive from our home in the GTA to Port de Grave, Newfoundland where my parents live. This 3,000kms trip is one of our most favourite, and I would encourage all of you to do it at least once, and take in the beauty, history and culture along our eastern Canadian coast.

We’ve been road tripping with our kids since they were infants, and it’s smooth when you prepare ahead of time. Here’s how to plan a road trip to Newfoundland and make lifelong memories with your family this summer.

The trip takes approximately three days from the Toronto area to Newfoundland. There’s lots to see and do along the way, so take that into account when planning your driving time. Start by mapping the trip via Google Maps and try an app like Waze to help you navigate potential traffic along the way. Read THIS POST for tips on surviving long road trips with small kids. When we plan our drives, we allow for no more than 8 hours of driving a day, typically. You can map out those hours and see where there are stops along the way you want to visit.

Cape Breton is breathtakingly beautiful
Cape Breton is breathtakingly beautiful, and is a must-see along Canada’s east coast.

Here’s what our trip will look like:

Plan a family road trip to Newfoundland this summer!
Now, the trip to North Sydney from Toronto is about 19 hours, so you can absolutely do this trip faster, but as you can see, we’ve allotted time to make a few touristy pit stops along the way.

Moncton Zoo is a great stop for families!
The Moncton Zoo is a great stop for families, and is near Magnetic Hill, which is a must!

(Stay tuned to see what we’ve got planned, because you may want to just replicate our stops!)

Once you know which cities you’d like to stop in, you can book hotels in advance. Thanks to, our hotels are booked for the trip, and we’re guaranteed stays in popular hotels that often sell out. Booking early with Expedia means you’ve reserved your room, but generally cancellations are free, so if anything changes, you’ve got flexibility. Too often, we winged it and were left driving longer than we wanted because hotels are sold out along the Trans Canada during the summer.

You need to get this done soon, people! Marine Atlantic crossings will soon be full, and it’s your only way to get onto the island with a vehicle. There are two options for crossing the Atlantic ocean to Newfoundland from North Sydney. You can travel the “short” route to Port Aux Basques, or the looooong route to Argentia, which takes you to the eastern side of the island. Newfoundland is big, and it’s a ten hour drive across it, so if your target is St. John’s, head to Argentia, like we will be doing.

Marine Atlantic crossings are fun for the whole family

We really love the ferry experience, it’s a big part of why we love road tripping to Newfoundland. The North Sydney –> Argentia crossing is about 16 hours, so you’ll want to book a cabin for privacy and sleeping, and take advantage of all the fun on board. There’s entertainment in their pub, great food, movies, and games areas for kids.

We will be sharing more of our planning here on the blog and on social media with the hashtag #IDontRoadTrip, so tune in and start planning with us!

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