The words “road trip” can mean so many different things to different people.
When you hear “let’s take a road trip” and you are living in Canada or want to visit, it can be daunting to figure out where to go. Canada stretches some 7,800kms from coast to coast. Each of the ten provinces and three territories that make up this vast country has beautiful vistas, and plenty of things to do that are worthy of a visit.
The jagged coastline, sandy beaches, freshest lobster in the world and some of the friendliest people you will find, are only a few of the reasons for a visit to the Maritimes. Maritimes is a term that means by the sea, and you’re guaranteed to spend lots of time on or near the water on this trip.
Canada’s Maritime provinces are New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Add in Newfoundland and Labrador, and they are called the Atlantic provinces. Unless you have many weeks to travel, keeping Newfoundland and Labrador for a trip unto itself is suggested.
Your first decision is how many provinces you are going to see. Even if you start by just visiting the capital of each of these eastern provinces,
you will get an excellent overview of what is unique to each one.
Do not rush through New Brunswick. 83% of the province may be covered in forest, but there is so much to do. This is also where you will find Canada’s warmest salt water.
World Famous Tides
The Bay of Fundy is home to the world’s highest tides. Twice a day, approximately 160 billion tonnes of seawater flow in and out of the Bay of Fundy. It’s home to 12 species of whales and the picture worthy Hopewell Rocks. Here you can see the famous rock formations, also known as ‘Flowerpot Rocks,’ that are created by tidal erosion.
During high tide, you can kayak around the rocks or stay safely on one of the viewing decks. At low tide, you can walk the ocean floor and explore the beach and rock formations up close. You will want to see both high and low tide. Your admission is valid for two consecutive days. Add a whale watching trip from St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, have a feast of lobster from Shediac, the lobster capital of the world or visit the historic Acadian village near Caraquet.
Whatever you choose, you will be glad you did.
“The journey not the arrival matters.” –T.S. Elliot
Like the other Maritime provinces, Nova Scotia’s known for its warm hospitality, history, seafood and breathtaking views. Being almost surrounded by the
Atlantic Ocean, it has been called Canada’s Ocean Playground.
Cape Breton Island is part of Nova Scotia. It is connected to the mainland by the Canso Causeway. The world famous Cabot Trail is an approximately 300 km loop around the northern part of the island. On this drive, you will be treated to stunning scenery, freshly caught seafood, and examples of Acadian,
Irish and Scottish history. A stop in Baddeck, along the Cabot Trail, to visit the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site is a must.
This museum is dedicated to the famous inventor. There are plenty of places to stay overnight along the way so that you can take your time discovering the area.
The World of Wine
Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley is making its mark in the world of wine. There are now more than 18 wineries and vineyards producing award-winning wines that pair well with Nova Scotia fare.
Prince Edward Island
This may be the smallest province in Canada, but it has a lot to offer visitors. It is famous for its red sand beaches, lighthouses, potatoes and a red-headed fictional character named Anne.
You can’t visit Prince Edward Island without seeing some reference to author Lucy Maude Montgomery’s, Anne of Green Gables. While in the capital city Charlottetown, you could take the opportunity to see one of the world’s longest-running musicals, Anne of Green Gables-The Musical. 2019 is its 55th season.
Visit Green Gables Heritage Place located in Prince Edward Island National Park, where you can not only be immersed in everything Anne, but you will have a chance to see some of Prince Edward Islands’ famous beaches, hiking and cycling trails.
Lighthouse Lover’s Dream
Prince Edward Island is the place to go if you love lighthouses. While you likely won’t have time to visit all 60+ lighthouses, you won’t travel very far on the island without seeing one or more.
This island is referred to as Canada’s Food Island. Rest assured, whether you try some of their famous potatoes cooked in a variety of ways or taste their fantastic lobster mac and cheese, or any of their other culinary treats; you will go home satisfied.
Plan to Visit
Late spring, summer and fall are the best times to visit. Many things are closed over the long winter months. The only thing consistent about the weather is that it will change frequently. This is a way of life in the Maritimes and adds to its charm. Be prepared with gear for possible rain, and you are all set.
Regardless of which of the Maritime provinces you visit, you will come away with an appreciation for good food, beautiful scenery, unique experiences and the warmth of good people.
Photos of Prince Edward Island provided by Tourism PEI and Paul Baglole.