• Portland, Ore., one of the great U.S. cities close to the Canadian border. (Photo: Courtesy of www.travelportland.com)

Jump in your car and let your hair blow in the wind. If you feel like a road trip, Canadian Geographic has five great over-the-border destinations that are worth the drive.

Portland, Ore.
If you’re a food lover and a culture vulture, Portland is the place for you. Spend the day hopping from one food cart to another, sipping on the city’s local craft beer. With over 30 breweries and never-ending culinary choices, you’ll be sure to unleash your inner-foodie. The city is also bicycle-friendly and riding around on two wheels is a great way to admire the cityscape. Or if you’re looking for nature, Portland is close to the ocean and mountains. It takes about five hours by car or a little longer by train to reach Portland from Vancouver.

Great Falls, Mont.
Great Falls has so many opportunities for those who love to stretch their legs and get outdoors. With a breathtaking view of the Missouri River, the 38-kilometre River's Edge Trail is great for walking, cycling, or roller-skating. Bird watchers can also enjoy the Benton Lake Wildlife Refuge. Great Falls also has important landmarks with tons of museums to explore. Check out the Lewis & Clark National Trail Interpretive Center that has interactive exhibits and videos that help you retrace the steps of the famous explorers. The city is only a five-hour drive away from Calgary and eight hours from Regina. 

Grand Rapids, Mich.
Another great place for craft beer, Michigan’s second largest city offers so much for art connoisseurs and those who love to bum on the beach. Only about a five-and-a-half hour drive away from Toronto, Grand Rapids is home to the biggest art competition in the world, ArtPrize. Grand Rapids was also voted best beer city in the U.S. by the National Beer Examiner in the last two years.

Stowe, Vt.
Vermont is the perfect place for a weekend trip to the mountains. Only a two-hour drive from Montreal, Stowe is famous for its 1,340-metre-high Mount Mansfield. This remarkable mountain makes the region well known for its outdoor activities. During the winter months, you can spend the day skiing or snowboarding and end off with an evening at the spa.

Presque Isle State Park, Pa.
It’s really all about the beaches. You can explore nine, including the unique kite beach, where you will find people from all over the region flying colourful kites. All year round, you can walk the 20-kilometre multi-purpose trail. When the temperature drops, you can cross-country ski or snowshoe your way around the ice dunes.

Photo gallery: Country fun

Nick Walker shares his photos from rafting, horseback riding and being outdoors at Montana's Flathead River Valley and Kalispell region.

For more photos and to read Nick Walker’s story on Montana, check out the fall issue of Canadian Geographic Travel.

Portland, Ore., one of the great U.S. cities close to the Canadian border. (Photo: Courtesy of www.travelportland.com)

(Photo: Nick Walker )

(Photo: Nick Walker )

(Photo: Nick Walker )

(Photo: Nick Walker )

(Photo: Nick Walker )

(Photo: Nick Walker )

(Photo: Nick Walker )

(Photo: Nick Walker )

(Photo: Nick Walker )

(Photo: Nick Walker )