Canada and United States-Borders, Roads, and Camping
Sharing the longest unprotected border in the world, Canada and the United States of America have got tons to offer, if you've got the time and the patience to drive around these huge land masses. Tens of thousands of miles of coastline, towering Rocky mountains, some of the most entertaining cities in the world, huge lakes, wild river rapids, and some of the world's last unspoiled natural landscapes. Whether it's climbing Denali, the highest mountain in North America, hanging with polar bears in Banff National Park, channeling your inner cowboy at Calgary's rodeo, partying all night along the glittering strip in Miami, or surfing the world class waves in San Diego, Canada and the US have got it covered. Read more about borders crossing requirements, camping and hotels.
- Population: 33,526,000
- Capital: Ottawa
- Fun fact: Canada is the worlds second largest country by total area
United States of America
- Population: 306,173,000
- Capital: Washington, DC
- Fun fact: In 1507, Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere "America" after the first name of Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci. (Cartographer Put 'America' on the Map 500 years Ago. USA Today (2007-04-24). Retrieved on 2008-11-30)
Crossing the longest unprotected border in the world will likely be the easiest border crossing of your drive across the Americas.
- A government-issued photo ID such as a driver’s licence, PLUS a birth certificate or citizenship card or
For those 18 years and under, only a birth certificate is required. If you are traveling with children, you should bring a birth certificate for each child. Divorced parents, who share custody, should carry copies of the legal custody documents. Travelers under the age of 18 and unaccompanied by a parent need a letter of permission from a parent or guardian.
Citizens of other countries must have a valid Passport, and may also require a Visitor’s Visa.
People from most countries need a tourist visa to enter the United States. Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda citizens may be eligible for visa free arrangements. For detailed information, see the US State Department's Temporary Visitor information site.
Border Wait Times
The following pages will give you border wait times:
Roads and Driving
Up-to-date maps for traveling in the US and Canada are available free at Google Maps. In general, roads in the US and Canada are in excellent shape, and are safe to travel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Milepost is a good guide of the Alaska Highway to and within Alaska, including Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories and the Yukon.
There are about 6 car rental companies that operate nationwide in the U.S. Most of them do not like renting for more than a month. If you are going longer, you can switch out vehicles each month. Insurance rates can be expensive, check to see if your own insurance covers your rental so you can opt out of the extra insurance. You may incur extra fees if you do not drop your car off at the same place you got it from. However, you can get the fee waived if you travel from two locations that are easy to get cars returned to. For example, LA to Las Vegas is a popular route.
National and state parks in the US usually offer safe, clean campsites, often with showers and bathrooms, for about $20/night. Here are some useful links for finding a campground:
- About.com Camping - Listing of campgrounds by State.
- About.com Camping - Listing of private campgrounds.
- L.L.Bean's Park Search - Listings of campgrounds around the world, including United States and Canada.
- Reserve America Campground Directory - Directory of government and private campgrounds.
- The Camping Source - List of campgrounds in Canada by province.
- Go Camping America - List of private campgrounds by state.
- Free Campgrounds.com - List of free or very cheap RV sites.
- All Campgrounds.com - List of campgrounds by state.
- US Government National Parks Service - List of National Parks by state.
If you want to keep expenses very low and you have a RV, campervan, or room to sleep in your car, many states allow you to park at rest stops. Even if the rest stops have 'no camping' signs posted, there are usually trucks and/or other RVs parked for the night, so just avoid rest stops that say 'no overnight parking.' Another good option is truck stops. Truck stops are usually open 24 hours and have restrooms and showers. If you ask nicely at a gas station they will also often let you park in back.
- Interstate Rest Areas - List of rest areas in the US by state.
- Truck Stop Info Plus - List of truck stops by state.
- Google Map of US Rest Areas - Searchable map of US rest areas with facilities.
- Rest Area Near Me - A convenient way to find rest areas in the vicinity while on the road in the US.
- allstays.com - Maps of things on the road including places you can stay in each US state. Site also has a mobile applciation.
National Forests (in the US) are another great place to camp or park overnight for free. They are often adjacent to very popular US National Parks. See this USDA Forest Service map of National Forests for location information.