Atlantic Canada Roadtrip
Road trippin’ is one of our favourite ways to travel. There is something so inviting and exhilarating about the open road. The freedom that comes from loading everything you need to survive into a transportable vessel is unlike any other. Canada has vast expanses, infinite natural wonders, and a geographically dispersed population. All this makes it an ideal destination to explore by car. We recommend heading out during the summer months to make the most of the long days and warm weather.
There are a variety of alluring trips that you could take across the width of this country. We are going to focus on the east coast of Canada along the Atlantic Ocean. This destination remains relatively free of crowds, meaning you’ll get more time to be one with the awe-inspiring nature. Cruise along the near-endless coastline of Atlantic Canada. Explore historic towns, winding roads with stunning views of the sea, and a culture that is uniquely Canadian! Although fresh Atlantic seafood will define your trip, it wouldn’t be a true Canadian road trip if you didn’t schedule a stop or two at Tim Horton’s. Buckle up– there’s a lot to explore!
Any tour of Canada’s Maritime East should include New Brunswick. This is the nation’s only officially bilingual province, where both French and English are commonly heard on the streets. Although, you may detect a difference between the French spoken in New Brunswick and the more common dialect heard in Quebec. This is because New Brunswick is the home of the former Acadia, a separate colony of New-France. Acadia’s geographic and administrative separation caused them to develop unique cultural and linguistic traditions from the Québécois.
Saint John is a key Canadian tourist attraction and for good reason! This historic town couples quaint, urban charm with easily accessible and natural wonder. Saint John was established by a royal charter in 1785, making it the first incorporated city in Canada. It is also home to Canada’s oldest farmer’s market. On a stroll around the venerable downtown Saint John, it is easy to imagine the history of the city.
The most important Saint John activity is not man-made but natural. The Bay of Fundy is the massive body of water that lies between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. This gorgeous natural feature is one of the seven natural wonders of North America. You will get to drive along it for most of your Atlantic Canadian road trip! The Bay of Fundy is also home to the highest tides in the world! Outside of Saint John, these high tides clash with the Saint John River, creating the Reversing Falls Rapids. This unique natural phenomenon originates when the Saint John River enters a narrow gorge and collides with the rising tides of the Bay. This collision causes the river to flow in reverse! At this same point, a series of underwater ridges create swirling whirlpools and rapids that are unlike anywhere else on earth.
Take this special opportunity to get out onto the Saint John River and view the Reversing Falls Rapids up close. See Sight JetBoats offers a slow cruise sightseeing tour of the river that is perfect for the whole family. They also offer a Thrill Ride option for the more daring who want to experience the rapids from within at full speed. Both tours cruise past downtown Saint John and historic Fort LaTour on their way to the Rapids.
Prince Edwards Island
Travelling on from New Brunswick, drive north along the dazzling Bay of Fundy towards Prince Edwards Island. Along the way make sure to schedule stops for birdwatching, an activity New Brunswick is famous for. You might also be lucky enough to glimpse some of the marine life in the Bay, including seals, dolphins, and rarer to spot whales!
Arriving on Prince Edwards Island you will find yourself in a remote corner of our globe. Canada’s smallest province, both in population and territory, Prince Edwards Island runs on its own rhythm. Enjoy the green rolling hills, white-gable farmhouses, and idyllic coastline as you jaunt across the island. One of the best ways to get out into these pastoral landscapes is on a bike. If you fancy, park the car for the afternoon and traverse some of the extensive bike trails that criss-cross the Island. Farming and fishing comprise the main components of this island’s economy so you can plan on eating well during your stay.
If you are familiar with the Anne of Green Gables novels, you will delight in having arrived at their real-life setting. Prince Edwards Island as well as the classic green-gabled house that this red-headed orphan calls home are iconic fixtures of the book. On the island, this setting comes to life. If you visit in the summer months, take an interpretive tour of Anne’s house and explore the woods and trails that surround it, just as described in the novels.
Head south from Prince Edwards Island on the eastern rim of the resplendent Bay of Fundy. You will quickly enter another of Canada’s scenic maritime provinces, Nova Scotia. In this territory of ‘New Scotland,’ you will still find remnants of Acadian heritage mixed with Celtic traditions. While exploring Nova Scotia by car, the name of the game is lighthouses. These centers of light harken you back to the island’s seafaring past. Many lighthouses are open to the public and there are heritage tours available for a number of them as well. Lighthouses make ideal picnic destinations and are often at the conclusion of walks and hikes, in the Provence.
Nova Scotia is known for dramatic coastlines, handsome scenery, and pristine beaches. All of which make it the perfect destination for camping, hiking, and (in the summer months) taking a dip in the sea. We would recommend Kejimkujik (Keji for short) and Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Both are pristine examples of Nova Scotia’s abundant forests, crystal clear waters, and diverse wildlife. For a taste of Nova Scotia’s history that this, Best of Cape Breton Island Tour.
End your journey on a more urban note in bustling Halifax! Nova Scotia’s capital city is also the largest city in Atlantic Canada.Take in cultural attractions, such as theatre, museums, and the graves of the Titanic. 333 victims of this famous shipwreck were brought ashore and buried here in Halifax. Select from a variety of different Halifax Tours hosted by See Sight. Its seaside location also means that the seafood is top-notch and the hip, youthful vibe is well worth reserving a couple of days to explore. End your journey with a stroll along the waterfront boardwalk.
Want to extend your road trip experience even further? From North Sydney, a port in the north of Nova Scotia, you can take a ferry to Newfoundland Island. As its name suggests, this was the first bit of land found in the New World. There is even a Norse ecological site on the island. View the colourful row houses that this eastern-most capital city in Canada is known for on this St. John’s City Tour!