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Best of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI.

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Hi all,
I am trying to get some feedback for the trip am planning end Aug/Beginning of September in east Canada. I am flying to Halifax and will have 5 full days for travelling(arriving the night before and leaving early in the morning.) Looking into renting a car and driving around everywhere.

I know that 5 days is the time needed to explore decently NS and i have an itinerary prepared for that but as this might be the only time visiting East Canada, i was thinking whether to rush and even sacrifice some NS spots in order to get some short flavour of NB and PEI.
I am travelling with my gf, We are both 27. We are mostly interested in great scenic routes and also getting in some culture from small villages and towns by spending little time or just an evening in main cities. For night time, small traditional pubs, live music and chilllout places would be ideal. Museums and indoor stuffs are not really for us as its a big time consumer and we prefer of soaking up the culture by experiencing the real world.

-Day 1 start early and drive to hopewell rocks, sea bay of fundy from that side and end up in Moncton for the night.
-Day 2, drive to and around PEI staying to Charlottetown.
-Day 3, head towards Cape Breton, going through coast line, perpahs a quick dip in the warmer waters of the area, lunch in Antigonish and arrive and stay at Louisburg.
-Day 4, do the cabot trail and back towards halifax staying perpahs at Antigonish, or at an earlier or later point depending on how much driving we could take.
-Day 5. Drive all the way to Luneburg, passing through margarets bay, malhone bay the light house and whatever else interesting in the way. Spend some time in Luneburg and head back to Halifax to spend the few remanings hours of the evening there.

Here's pretty much the itinerary, http://goo.gl/maps/Vbg5q . I can foresee 5-6 hours chilling driving per day with lots of stop in between. A bit tiring but it might be worthing.
If am troubled whether to stick to this demanding itinerary or rather only tour Nova Scotia, by following a sort of east to west itenerary like this : http://goo.gl/maps/qD7Ym

I will appreciate your commends on what might be the best experience, taking into account the best spots and not be miss areas of the general east area and the fact that i might never be back. Further more any suggestions as what to add or remove, and how can i alter/optimize my trip would also be good. As places to stay,eat and see..

Apologies for the long post.

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    Oh forgot to mention that we are generally budget travelers and had backpacked in various areas. Now however we are not really backpacking with the lowest budget and even though we would like to keep it cheap we still want to enjoy everything the area has to offer,like good seafood,drinks etc.

    Any estimations on the cost of the gas for this whole stay, as cheaper car rentals, accomodation and decently priced places to eat are more than welcomed!

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    I love your thought process and preparation, particularly where it concerns rushing things a little bit based on the improbability that you'll get back to that area anytime soon, if ever.

    However, I just clicked on your first map, and even I became rather aghast upon first seeing your route there.

    While I might be inclined to do all of that myself, I cannot imagine my doing so with a girlfriend who I had any interest in retaining as a girlfriend.

    Then, I clicked on your 2nd map, and I'm confidence that you should take some parts from both maps and create your 5-day trip.

    First thing to do, is to go to http://www.bayoffundytourism.com/tides/times/ and print out the tide tables for the entire window of your trip for at least 3 or 4 spots (including Hopewell Cape, Truro, Wolfville). Be sure to pack that and have it handy in the glove box.

    Nowthen, my first instinct is to let PEI go, in favor of making your NS experience more complete. A short flavour of NB can be had upon targeting Hopewell Cape... although perhaps Moncton isn't being fair to NB as a whole.

    SO ya start out early from Halifax...

    The regular path from Halifax-Truro-Moncton-Hopewell Cape is 185 miles and 3 hrs 15 minutes. My personal preference is to add about an hour, and stay on the Fundy shore, (Truro-) through Parrsboro, NS, and then up and around to NB.

    You can likely do that comfortably since you are inclined to see Hopewell Cape and then stay overnight at Moncton (the day won't be dreadfully long).

    Then you would do well to check out the Tidal Bore (in Moncton), depending on the timing of it (I did so late at night, with a full moon illuminating the Moncton area, and again the next day).

    Moncton to Baddeck, NS, the next day, is 260 miles and 4hrs, 15min. I really would stay there two nights, in part because it affords a greater chance you'll get to circle the Cabot Trail in clear weather, and also, it takes away from the break-neck pace at which you hint.

    IF the weather is as clear as a bell on that next day, then clearly you head for the Cabot Trail. I think it entails 184 miles (4hrs. 15 min.) of pure driving, but of course you stop, hike, sightsee in addition to that.

    Then, ideally, back to your Baddeck base after a pleasant day. From there you'd have the choice to find something of interest in the Cape Breton area early on the next day before driving off (220 miles, 3 hours 46 min) back toward Halifax.


    So lets see, where are we... ("5 full days" entails 4 nights, bookended on either side by pre-scheduled nights in Halifax area).

    1- Halifax
    2- Moncton
    3- Baddeck
    4- Baddeck
    5- (I vote Halifax)
    6- Halifax

    IF you go back to Halifax after not having taken-in even more at break-neck speed then there is time to give Halifax its due. You can stay out late on that 5th night, in Halifax, perhaps on/near the waterfront (nearby casinos??)... and then wake up at your leisure. Lunenburg is only 80 minutes away, and you can plan a nice dinner at Peggy's Cove for the return trip.

    Then you fly out from Halifax on the morning after that...


    I think this affords you a better chance of maintaining harmony there in the relationship, while also covering plenty of the area, and hitting lots of the highlights.

    It would even help to reduce gas costs, as well as eliminate the $44-plus fee to get off of PEI no matter what path you take.

    While Hopewell Cape is perhaps the most obvious place to appreciate the Fundy tides, I think that if I were plotting your trip, I might find an additional chance to walk way out into the surf at low tide, maybe in an area not far from Truro.

    But the window of time that you have really can let you see enough, while not requiring that you knock yourselves out in so doing.

    Hope this helps.

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    Nova Scotia is worth 5 days exploration on its own and IMHO is the best of the 3 provinces you mention. It has 2 completely different 'feels'; rugged wild and beautiful scenery in Cape Breton; interesting historical architecture on the mainland. and lots and lots of coastline. Halifax is a great place for nightlife and pubs and waterfront. Worth staying a night for sure. Lunenburg could be a day trip or even better stay the night and really soak in its unique (UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE) atmosphere. It's fishing museum is worthwhile and you should check the calendar and see if the Bluenose ll is in port (or even better if it is back taking people out for sails - a must do). If it's not there, the Bluenose might be in port at Halifax and you could do that there! Shelburne, south of Lunenburg, along the coast, is worth a visit, or you could cross interior over to Annapolis Royal (very historical town)and head back up through Wolfville. For sure Cape Breton should be on your itinerary - and based on what you are looking for (chill, traditional music) it is worth 3 days. Once you cross the causeway hug the west coast and stay at least one night at one of the towns/villages along the way, where all of the traditional music is concentrated(Mabou, Glenora, or Inverness) heading out to one of the traditional 'square dances' with fiddlers - there is one every night of the week in the various little villages in the back country; a tour of the Glenora Distillery; stay at a local b & b to get the flavor of the wonderful people of Cape Breton (or at the Inverness Beach Village for a rustic cottage above Inverness Beach (try and get one on edge of cliff). From there head up to Cheticamp (French Acadian village with amazing church) and you can do a whale watch tour from there or further along the Cabot Trail. Stay the night here or somewhere along the trail (do some research here - maybe Ingonish?). When you are at the other end of the trail, head down to Louisburg - and see the fort (morning is best for most 're-enactment activities'). You can head out and off the island or do a night in Baddeck which is a lovely small community on the Bras D'or Lakes - very pretty architecture and situation. Alexander Graham Bell Museum is here. Anyway, once you visit you'll want to come back - and you can cover off PEI and NB on another trip

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    Have done it many times. I think trippingalong or itt have it right knowing your age. I appreciate NorthwestMales love of Hopewell Rocks/Moncton/Tidal Bore but with limited time save that for another trip. Nova Scotia and the Cabot Trail are the highlight of the Atlantic Provinces and PEI is great for relaxing.

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