The Canadian Maritimes is home to the highest tides in the world, breathtaking landscapes, delicious seafood, scenic routes, sandy beaches, numerous historic sites and a multitude of charming villages.
The region consists of three magnificent Canadian provinces, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
With ruggedly beautiful landscapes, fresh lobster rolls and friendly faces, Canada’s East Coast is an unforgettable place. If you’ve ever dreamed about strolling through Green Gables, watching whales leap out of the ocean or stepping foot in some of Canada’s oldest cities, then it’s time to start your engines and embark on an epic Atlantic Roadtrip.
Ready to get started? The first destination on your itinerary is New Brunswick!
New Brunswick-The Loyalist Province
Sometimes referred to as the “drive-through province” as tourists tend to pass through on their way to Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island. But don’t be fooled, this province has a lot of activities for visitors to sink their teeth into. The province has embraced it Acadian heritage and it is situated on two incredible waterways, Gulf of the Saint Lawrence and Bay of Fundy. The roads are incredibly scenic and all the towns along the Bay of Fundy are picture perfect.
There are plenty of treasures to discover so let’s get started.
First stop, Fredericton, New Brunswick’s capital. Tourism New Brunswick gives roadtrippers the following advice: “Stand in awe at the newly expanded Beaverbrook Art Gallery, explore the past at the Historic Garrison District, tap your toes at the award-winning Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival, walk or bike over 115 km of riverside trails or explore the Saint John River by kayak or canoe. If you are a fan of craft beer, well you’re in luck. Fredericton has the highest concentration of craft breweries and tasting experiences in the Maritimes.”
Need a place to stay after your day of exploration? Check out our favourite spots.
Next Leg: 110 km (1h 15m)
After your day in the capital, it’s time to drive off to Canada’s Most Irish City, Saint John. Your time in this thriving port town will be filled with a revitalizing walk in a bayside reserve, engaging with local merchants, learning about provincial history and feasting on regional delicacies while enjoying a pint of a Maritime brew. Explore Irving Nature Park, showcasing six diverse protected ecosystems with interactive educational programs, protected walking trails and an observation deck. Head to the Saint John City Market and engage with local farmers, artists and other craftspeople. A few blocks toward the harbour you’ll find the New Brunswick Museum, home to provincial, national and international works of art as well as natural artifacts and industrial history exhibits. End off your day at the Saint John Ale House for an amazing farm-to-table experience before hopping into bed at one of these hotels.
Next Leg: 152 km (1h 30m)
After you’ve spent some time in New Brunswick’s capital make your way to Atlantic Canada’s entertainment capital. Tourism New Brunswick says of Moncton “Its storied past is brought to life in its many cultural institutions and museums, from the Acadian Museum to Le Centre Culturel Aberdeen. The city’s largest green space, Centennial Park includes many attractions and activities from hiking and skiing trails to an artificial beach to an aerial treetop obstacle course and zip line. Foodies are not left out in this city as there are a variety of culinary and fine dining experience and exciting night life.”
After a full day of sightseeing or shopping, relax and take a load off at Hampton Inn Moncton or the brand-new Canvas Moncton Tapestry by Hilton.
Next Leg: 163 km (1h 58m)
Prince Edward Island- Little island that packs a punch
Bring you childhood dreams to life in Prince Edward Island, home to Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables. Known as PEI for short, this is an iconic Canadian location. From coast to coast, this island province is known for its red sandy beaches, lush fields, lovely seaside villages, delicious seafood and relaxed way of life. When in PEI, remember to live on island time and take it easy because there is so much to explore.
The entire island is easy to navigate. So, whether you come in by ferry or bridge, it will be a quick drive to the capital city, Charlottetown. Though the city is not large, it’s full of history. Explore the Province House National Historic Site, where the idea of Canada was formed, take a stroll on beautiful Victoria Row, enjoy the sunshine at one of the many waterfront parks and dive into some delicious fresh seafood. During the summer months, the Chip Shack is the place to go for delicious lobster roll and local Cavendish potatoes. Enjoy some sweet treats at the Anne of Green Gables Chocolate Shop or the famous Cow’s ice cream. If you have time, consider making the drive to the nearby Port-la-Joye-Fort or the Eastern side of the island.
Complete your day by spending the night in our first hotel in Prince Edward Island, Hampton Inn & Suites Charlottetown.
Next Leg: 317 km (3h 45m)
Nova Scotia- Canada’s Ocean Playground
Last but certainly not least is, Nova Scotia. From this unique and wild natural scenery comes some of the richest culinary traditions in Canada, reflected in its focus on seafood and local produce. Nova Scotia not only has some of Canada’s oldest and most-historic cities, but also one of the most exhilarating natural phenomena; the Bay of Fundy. Don’f forget to visit the famous Peggy’s Cove and lighthouse, which is en route to your first stop, Halifax!
In Halifax, you’ll notice many places pay homage to the past including Pier 21, where thousands of immigrants landed for the first time or learn about the city’s Titanic connection at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. From its delicious eats to spectacular waterfront views, there is so much to see and do in the city. Stretch your legs and check out the masterpiece that is the Halifax Public Gardens, the historical citadel that protects the city, the historic properties along the harbour and of course the Alexander Keith brewery which opened over 200 years ago.
Make sure to book your stay at one of these amazing hotels so you’ll be right in the middle of the action.
Next Leg: 405 km (4h 15m)
End your road trip off in spectacular Cape Breton. Sydney, the island’s historical capital is the perfect mix of metropolitan charm and home town hospitality. As with many of these Maritime communities on the ocean, the heart of this city is the waterfront. It is the perfect place to go for a walk, stop to watch a busker and ships passing in the harbour. Along the way, don’t forget to take a selfie beside the world’s largest fiddle, built in recognition of Cape Breton’s musical talent. You’ll be close to major attractions on the island like the world-famous Cabot Trail, Fortress of Louisbourg and the Alexander Graham Bell Museum in the village of Baddeck.
Rest up at Hampton Inn Sydney and get ready for the journey home.
What are you waiting for? Quit dreaming and start packing!