• Cover choices
    The clear blue skies in the winning cover (option four, with 39 per cent of the votes) reminded readers of the perfect summer days they’ve spent exploring Canada by car. (Photos, L to R: Darwin Wiggett/MaXx Images; Terrance Klassen/MaXx Images; John E Marriott (last two))

We’ve been thinking about taking long spectacular drives a lot, lately — and not just because we decided to show off the “Great Canadian road trips” in this latest issue of Canadian Geographic Travel.

They’re also top-of-mind because the season for packing into a car and rolling out in search of a new favourite chunk of Canada is nearly upon us. Every year around this time I start to crave the open road (too bad the arrival of warm weather isn't as reliably prompt).

Chances are you have vivid childhood memories of the ups and downs of family road trips, or that you barrelled across a few provinces and states with friends after high school or during university. For many Canadians, road trips are rites of passage and personal discovery — the first great adventures we dream about as soon as we’ve earned a driver’s licence.

So no wonder at least a few of the 3,000 readers who voted for the cover of our Summer 2016 Canadian Geographic Travel issue got nostalgic on us. Some let us know that the clear blue skies in the winning cover (option four, with 39 per cent of the votes) reminded them of the perfect summer days they’ve spent exploring Canada by car. Others said there was simply something about the image that spoke to “a special place in [their] memories.” Some reactions just can’t be put into words.

Not surprisingly, the size and position of the road was significant. Voters much preferred images that made them feel like they were in the Rocky Mountains already (or Prairie hills, in the case of option three, which took only 13 per cent of votes), rather than going to them (options one and two won 30 and 18 per cent of the tally, perhaps for this reason).

Readers explained that they want to be “up close and personal” with the land, and several added that the road shouldn’t be the most dominant element in the picture. Even then, the distant turns at the end of the highways on each cover got a lot of attention: as one voter put it and many echoed, “What amazing new things will be seen around that looming corner?”

We hope this issue inspires you to find out. We’ve featured nine spectacular drives — from Newfoundland to Yukon — and if you’re anything like us, it won’t be long before you’re planning new routes on Google Maps or marking up your classic yellow road atlas.

If you don’t already receive our cover vote email but want to, simply click here and sign up to be notified. And if you’re not a subscriber to Canadian Geographic and Canadian Geographic Travel already, be sure to get your copy of the Summer Travel 2016 issue by subscribing today.