From whales to wine, and everything in between, Canada's Maritime Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are a holiday trio you'll adore.
Nova Scotia means New Scotland in Latin. Not only will place names seem familiar but the culture and traditions the Scottish settlers brought are still evident today. Nova Scotia was one of the original four provinces that became part of Canada in 1867. Stunning Cape Breton has won the Travel + Leisure Award for the best island in Canada and is home to the world-famous Cabot Trail, a 300-mile scenic highway offering spectacular coastal views and highland scenery.
New Brunswick is a nature lovers' playground full of rivers, pine forests and mountains. The Bay of Fundy, is known for extreme tides and whale-watching, whilst Reversing Falls' rapids flow backwards during high tide. Prince Edward Island is marked by red-sand beaches, lighthouses, and farmland and is renowned for seafood like lobster and mussels. And, moderate weather across the Provinces makes them ideal for year-round adventure.
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First settled in 1749, Halifax is Nova Scotia’s capital city. Be sure to visit the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and the local cemetery where many of the Titanic victims are laid to rest. The bustling waterfront and Victorian inspired gardens are a must, along with the view over the city from the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site. In the evening, dine along the waterfront or head to Alexander Keith’s, one of the oldest breweries in Canada.
Distance: 61 miles
Take the long way around and stop at Peggy’s Cove and the rugged beaches of St Margaret’s Bay. Lunenburg is a lovingly restored Victorian-era town and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s one of the best surviving examples of a North American planned British Colonial settlement with wooden houses dating back to the 18th century. No maritime town would be complete without a nod to its fishing heritage – the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic features interactive exhibits, an aquarium and historic schooners.
Distance: 84 miles
On your journey today to the rugged north coast of Nova Scotia, stop at Kejimkujik National Park and Historic Site. This beautiful area is renowned for his hiking trails, wilderness lakes and rivers. Park Rangers are available to conduct guided hikes of the area which include the Mi’kmaq petroglyphs.
Continue along scenic Route 8 for your overnight stop in Annapolis Royal, a sea-side community nestled in the Annapolis Valley. Founded in 1605 this picturesque town, named after Queen Anne, boasts Some of the oldest wooden buildings in Canada and is home to over 135 registered heritage properties. Be sure to head for Canada’s oldest National Historic Site, Fort Anne, where you can see the Royal Charter from which Nova Scotia gets its name and flag
Distance: 163 miles
Transit by ferry from Digby across the Bay of Funday to New Brunswick and continue to St Andrews. Yes, it is named after its Scottish cousin! Like all the Maritimes, life here revolves around the water and St Andrews is an ideal port for whale watching cruises. On land, St Andrews' star attraction is Kingsbrae Gardens covering a total of 27 acres. From St Andrews, tour tiny Minister Island - less than a mile drive across the ocean floor at low tide. The island is named after the Loyalist Anglican minister, Reverend Samuel Andrews, who first settled on the island in 1786 along with the home of visionary railway builder Sir William Van Horne.
By water taxi from St Andrew, Campobello Island is full of lighthouses and hidden gems. It’s also the gateway to Roosevelt Campobello International Park and Franklin D. Roosevelt's summer residence.
Distance: 63 miles
You caught a glimpse of St John when you arrived in New Brunswick. It is the only city on the shore of the Bay of Fundy. Stroll its charming streets and explore the lively waterfront. The Bay of Fundy has the world’s highest tides and sometimes the difference between low and high tide can be as tall as a 3 story building. Don’t miss the incredible
Distance: 195 miles
Leave New Brunswick for Prince Edward Island via the coastal road along the Bay of Fundy. Hopewell Rocks is a great stop to witness the effect of the world’s highest tides (remember to double-check tide times locally.) Cross the incredible 8-mile Confederation Bridge linking the two provinces and arrive in Charlottetown with its pretty tree-lined streets and colourful houses. A joy to explore on foot with extensive walking trails and waterside boardwalks. Historic tours with costumed guides provide a glimpse of the past, as does Province House National Historic Site. And, of course, there’s always the water with myriad fishing opportunities. Venturing further afield, discover stunning coastal views, secluded beaches and giant sand dunes. Don’t miss out on a visit to Cavendish, the site for the inspiration for L. M Montgomery’s classic novel Anne of Green Gables. Prince Edwards Island is also known as the culinary isle, with many of Canada’s top chefs originating here. Foodies, delight!
Distance: 135 miles
Ferry from Prince Edward Island to Caribou and travel to Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island and Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The pretty town of Baddeck is your base - located on the Cabot trail surrounded by sparkling lakes and stunning vistas. Known for spectacular scenery and one of the world’s most scenic drives, the Cabot Trail is an extraordinary experience. Start at the visitor center to get your bearings and insider knowledge of the area.
Once you've explored the Cabot Trail, head north to the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site. This ‘living museum’ is the largest historical reconstruction in North America of a 1700s French garrison town. Also worth a visit, Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site, a museum dedicated to his life and inventions. You can also take a day trip to Bird Islands with Donelda’s Puffin Boat Tours or a gentle Schooner cruise or kayak. Golfer? The facilities at Bell Bay Golf Club are exceptional.