Many Canadians I know have made the long trek to visit the Maritimes. From southern Ontario it's a long 16 hour drive if you take the route we did which was through the US to Bangor Maine. This 16 hour trip was including getting lost twice and four stops for food. Yes 1200 km is a long drive but what Canadian doesn't love a great road trip.

New Brunswick

New Brunswick was our first stop. We took the ferry in Blacks Harbour which was a little less than kind for us as the weather was windy and cool  nonetheless, the sun was shinning and it was only a 1 1/2 hour boat trip.

We set up camp in Anchorage, Grand Manan. We had a nice campsite #61 and saw lots of little bunny rabbits-so cute. We stayed a few nights and from there we headed to Bay of Fundy.  The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world and is a must see!


In the area we did the Swallowtail hike near the lighthouse, a short 1.7km hike to Fish Tail. The pathway was very narrow so we were getting scratched from the shrubbery. Should have worn pants that day. We did a second short hike called The Whistler to Ashburton Head. A short  2.8 hike with some steep sections. There we saw a seal. Even though we were there in the heart of summer the air at night was cool as we could see our breath.



New Brunswick


maritimes_nb2We left Bay of Fundy on route to Fundy National Park and stopped at the Reversing Falls. The phenomenon of the Reversing Falls is caused by the rise and fall of the tides of the Bay of Fundy. Perhaps we were there at the wrong time of day but we really didn't see this phenomenon take place but I did enjoy watching the ducks surfing the waves and then collect at the bottom of the bowl where the current stirred them around in circles. At least the ducks were enjoying it.

The scenery in Fundy National Park is amazing. Unfortunately when we arrived there weren't any available camp sites.  It was very windy and cool so we opted out of staying in the overflow section and got a room at Caledonia Highlands Inn and Chalets. It was very nice with a beautiful view of the bay.

The following day we went back to the park early to get a camp site. This time success. After setting up camp we went off to buy groceries in the town of Alma. Later that day we were eager to go for a hike. It had been raining off and on all day and we ended up hiking in the rain. We hiked the Whitetail trail and it was very lovely.

The Three Vault Falls Trails was a beautiful 7.4km hike. There was some climbing involved with a metal rope which was the way to get closer to the falls. Fun.

The next day we packed up and headed to Hopewell Rocks which was spectacular. When the tide is out, walking through the amazing rock formation is pretty cool. I could also image how much fun scubba diving would be when the tide is in.


There was an area on the beach that was just mud. We noticed people walking in the mud and thought it probably felt great on the feet so we joined it and I was right-it felt great.






Hopewell Rocks

Nova Scotia

Our first stop in Nova Scotia was Peggy's Cove. A quaint community with some artist's shops and of course the famous lighthouse set on the rocks with the water crashing so hard against the rocks it could swallow you whole. The landscape was a little different with fewer mountains and more rocks but we could see the ocean for miles. We stayed at a modest hotel called Clifty Cove Motel. It was right on the ocean. Dinner was a little challenging for us being vegetarians but we did find something at the Lighthouse restaurant and watched the sun set over the horizon. It was very beautiful.

maritimes_peggyscoveThe next day was a beautiful sunny morning. We visited a few more shops and bought some bric-a-brac to take home. We took the scenic route to Cape Breton Island. The landscape was becoming more hilly with winding roads which I loved. The Cabot Trail was a lot of fun to drive. I imagined how much fun it would be to drive to do this trip on a motorcycle.

We arrived at Cape Breton Highlands National Park early in the morning. Again all the sites were full. This time we took the overflow. At this point we clocked in 3,000km from Toronto.

My cousin got up at 6:45 in search of a camp site. The camp warden instructed her to wait until 9:00 but she managed to get us a site. The site was close so we didn't want to pack everything up just to move it a short distance so we we literally dragged our tent to it's next home. That was a little embarrassing but much easier.

maritimes_peggsycove5It was 3:00 when we started the 7 km Skyline Trail. It gave us an incredible view of the Cabot Trail. The second half of the loop was a little boring. It went on and on forever without any lookout points however, we did see a moose.

The following day we headed out for our whale watching expedition. We were out for over an hour and were not successful in seeing any whales. The Captain had decided to turn around and offer everyone either a refund or the option to reschedule. We choose to reschedule and try again the following day. My cousin was suffering from sea sickness and took the refund instead which was unfortunate because the following day we saw tons of whales.

That same day we went on the MacIntosh Brook trail. It was only 2.8 km hike but the falls were spectacular. We also hiked the L’Acadien trail. It was a steady climb with some beautiful views. This area is known for bears and although we didn't see a bear we were certain we heard one which had us a feeling a little on edge during the rest of the hike-only because we're wimps :) Cape Breton offers many beautiful hikes however we were only able to do a few hikes with our schedule. We certainly could have extended our trip.


The Cabot Trail



Prince Edward Island

From Nova Scotia we headed towards Prince Edward Island. The drive along the coast was so beautiful. We stopped to hike part of the Coastal Trial. It was a fun hike with lots of rocks. We had to move on were unable to complete the hike. The drive to PEI took us a little longer than expected and when we finally arrived in Pictou around 12:30am we were lucky to get the last room at the Rustic Anchor Motel.

We took the ferry to PEI but had to wait a while before we could board the ship. The trip was very pleasant with calm water and sunny skies. As we approached the island we could see the red soil PEI is known for. PEI is very flat, nothing like the other Maritime provinces but it's unique and offers something the other don't-wide, sandy beautiful beaches! I loved it. We were there during a drought which was not good for the locals but great for swimming in the ocean. The water was so warm. We were not expecting that at all.

pei_farmhouseOur original plan was to camp in Cavendish. We were not impressed with Cavendish as it is a tourist destination with amusement parks and too many people. For families it's a great spot but that's not what we were looking for. We drove to the north east coast of the island to Stanhope. There we fortunate enough to get a nice campsite close to the beach. We could hear the ocean from our site. Really liked this spot.




PEI Farmhouse. Photo curious of Tourism PEI

As we were touring around the island we discovered a wonderful gift shop/restaurant called the Dunes Cafe and Gallery. The gift shop is upstairs and the restaurant is on the main level. The food was very urban and delicious. The chef grows his own herbs and edible flowers in their beautiful garden. The gift shop was beautifully set up with pottery and paintings from local artists. I spotted a fish dish I had to have and my sister bought a painting that had to be shipped home to her. We really enjoyed the Dunes and when ever I think of PEI I think of the beaches and the Dunes Cafe.

I really enjoyed driving through PEI. The rolling hills and greenery was peaceful. It's a very unique province and I could certainly see the appeal. It's attracks all kinds of tourists from the very wealthy to families to campers. There's something for everyone.

New Brunswick

The following day we were back on the road back to New Brunswick. It was really hot and my poor Honda Civic was having a hard time getting up the hills. The combination of having the A/C on, the cargo we were carrying and the heat was too much for the little 4 cylinder engine.

We had heard of Magnetic Hill in Moncton and decided to check it out. Once there you put your car in neutral and the magnetic pull drags your car up the hill. Let's just say it was just as exciting as the Reversing Falls but sans the ducks. From there we drove to Grand Falls. The rocks were pretty cool.


From NB it was home bound to Toronto. As we drove through Quebec we stopped in Riviere du Loup. A lovely small city with the usual Quebec charm. We stayed overnight and had a really nice dinner downtown. We wished we had more time in Riviere du Loop but had to keep moving.

I was starting to get tired at this point. I was doing all the driving and it was starting to take it toll on me. Our next stop was  Trois-Rivieres. Another really charming small town which I had been to before and really like. It's a great spot to take a break from the driving.

Driving through Quebec City and Montreal was a little challenging. For some reason we always get a little messed up in Quebec and aside from the stress of driving through Quebec City and Montreal we had terribly construction to deal with which delayed us even further. At this point we just wanted to get home however,  I managed to stay focused and not completely loose it on the road :)

Yeah, finally home at 1:30 am. What a long day that was but we celebrated yet another Canadian Adventure that did not disappoint.



The link below is an article written by Jim Becker for senior travellers.