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4 Days in Nova Scotia

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We (husband & wife both mid 50s) are flying into Halifax midday on a Thur in Sept. We have to be in Pictou by Mon. afternoon. That gives us roughly 4 days for sightseeing. Looking for a relaxing trip - local food, hikes not too strenuous, possible whale sightings. Just taking in the beauty of NS. Have read about Bay of Fundy area (coastal villages?), Cape Breton area (beautiful drives)....but really no idea what to do or what is feasible to do in that amount of time. Can we see both areas? Should we see both areas? Should we stick around Halifax at all? Should we try to do PEI? Thank you in advance!!!

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    You definitely have a limited window of time, BUT it would make sense to hit the ground running, and try to bed down in Baddeck, NS that first evening.

    Drive the Cabot Trail the next day... and it is good to have a backup plan, where you can delay the Cabot Trail by 24 hours in the event of fog or overcast skies.

    Maybe make a reservation in Baddeck for that first night, and leave the 2nd night open... so IN the event you can complete the circuit of the Cabot Trail the first full day, then you trek back down south for that second night (maybe Pictou, just for convenience and for gaining a sense of it ahead of time?).

    Next, I think I'd try to visit Hopewell Cape, NB... because it affords the most pronounced awareness/understanding of the power/size of the Fundy Tides.

    From Hopewell Cape it is about 4 hours back to Wolfville, NS (if you go via Kennetcook, NS {just for reference} ).

    If time permitted, you might pick a spot SOMEwhere in that vicinity, perhaps even for two nights... between which you might consider hiking out to Cape Split.

    IF Cape Split is of no interest, then a more leisurely path, maybe from Hopewell Cape, around via Amherst, and down to Parrsboro, and along the shore of the Bay toward Truro and then Halifax itself for the next night... and eventually back to Pictou.

    There are lots of various alternatives, but I would definitely prioritize the Cabot Trail, and then tryyyyyyyyyy to make it to Hopewell Cape at low tide!!!!

    Figure out well in advance if the tides happen to be convenient to any such plan.

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    Oh wow! This is SO helpful - thank you so much!!! Right in the middle of planning and I will definitely use your suggestions! We were leaning toward the Cabot Trail because we had heard how beautiful it was. And we had already taken PEI off the list. We will definitely head to Bay Of Fundy area. Any other places down south? Will let you know how it goes!!!

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    I'm... sorta... reluctant to even add too many additional places... since your window of time is so precious.

    Clearly we can all see the following:

    Thurs afternoon/evening: "Halifax to Baddeck"

    Friday - most/much of the day: Cabot Trail

    (and then hopefully putting more miles behind you to a spot that will help put you in a spot more ideal for the next day)

    Cheticamp, NS (Cabot Trail) is 3 hours/160 miles from Pictou, or 2 1/2 hours/115 miles from Antigonish - either of which would be decent for a 2nd (Friday) night.

    From Antigonish via Truro and the main highway it is still 200 miles/3 hours to Hopewell Cape.

    So it's Saturday... and you first plot the exact times of low tide at Hopewell Cape in your mind. (an hour on either side is fine - but better 'before' low tide than after...)

    Well IF, say, the low tide were at 1pm... you'd get a move on, come Saturday morning, and you'd drive that main highway, and maybe stop for lunch near Moncton, or somewhere, and then go on to Hopewell Cape.

    IF instead the low tide point weren't until 4pm, you might take a detour from Truro on the way toward Hopewell Cape... by taking Highway #2 from Truro to Parrsboro and then up and around... (filling-in the extra time with a more scenic path)

    At any rate, upon leaving Hopewell Cape, you are 183 miles / 3 hours from Halifax, if you want to go there.

    You are also an awkward-seeming 3 1/2 hours from Wolfville, on the main highways.

    So much of my would-be plot would depend upon the timing of that low tide at Hopewell Cape on your day there.

    If it's earlier, you could take the (er, um) 'direct' path there, and then the leisurely, more scenic path (via Parrsboro) when returning. If time permits, you could meander on the backroads (and get lost a few times) while staying near to the Fundy shore between Truro and Wolfville.

    I hiked Cape Split, and I'm not even a hiker... and there was even snow on the ground when I did it (March)... (it's 2 1/2 hours each way... and when you get there, you're on a bluff, overlooking the bay, and it is noteworthy that as much water flows between you and the other side (Parrsboro) as flows through all of the rivers ON EARTH *COMBINED* in a given day.

    SO, Saturday would be filled to the brim that way, so your positioning would dictate whether you would try Cape Split the next day (Sunday).

    And IF instead of cramming you to the gills with ideas, I allow room to breathe, and perhaps to add a day for the weather on Cape Breton, then you will probably be better off.

    IF any time remains, Halifax is certainly worth exploring on its own, but I'm thinking you already have quite a suitable match between ideas and available time.

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