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Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, or Prince Edward Island? 10-17 days

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Help! I'm planning my first trip to the Atlantic provinces and am overwhelmed by the choices. We are trying to chose between Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, with possibly two of the three islands. Will travel 10-17 days in August; 12 days is the most likely amount of time, although I'm aiming for more

We are a middle aged couple who are moderately active and like local character. We enjoy hiking, cycling and swimming and good restaurants .Acadian and Gaelic cultural also appeal. We like scenic drives, but don't want to be riding in car for more than 3 hours at a clip.

The Bay of Fundy is very interesting to us. N.B. advertises a lot about it but N.S, on the other side, says little. Can the changing of tides be experienced N.S? or should I go to NB?

Any input from anyone who has been to all three islands is most welcome. Thanks, fellow Foderites.

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    LOL - only one of them is an island.

    And the Bay of Fundy's uniqueness is more visible to the naked eye from the New Brunswick side... given the flower pot rocks at Hopewell Cape, NB.

    With twelve days you should be able to give the whole area quite a go... maybe two nights on PEI, 6 or 7 in NS, and maybe a couple in NB.

    For hiking, consider Cape Split, NS... where you drive to Scots Bay, NS... as far as you can get, and then park, and take a 5-hour round-trip hike out to the end of Cape Split.

    ... at which point you find yourself on a bluff, out in the middle of the Minas Channel, looking out at the fast-moving waters far below. The very end of the bluff is likely windy, but there are more protected areas nearby for resting, and picnicking, etc.

    As much water passes through the small-ish channel between Scots Bay and Parrsboro in an average day as passes through all of the rivers on earth combined during that same, average day. (which may help to explain why many of the rivers near Truro, NS turn around and flow up-stream when the tide is coming in).

    If you click on my name here, you'd find a good number of posts about Nova Scotia travel plans to which I've responded, for more ideas and thoughts.

    FYI - Nova Scotia has the single spot where, in 1869, the highest tide ever recorded took place. That's partly why NS grabbed so much of the tide glory. The problem with tides, is that they are generally so SLOW, that the human eye gets bored before it is able to significantly identify a difference in what it sees. For that reason, the Flower Pot Rocks do perhaps the best job of getting the human eye (and brain) to understand at a single viewing (combined with a photo of the opposite extreme).

    You don't say how you are getting to NS, so I can't tell whether you're flying into Halifax, or driving from somewhere...

    BUT/so I'm going to assume you're flying into Halifax as I (wildly guess) at this itinerary:


    Night:

    #1 - Halifax (just in case you're arriving late)

    #2 - Baddeck, NS (make Cape Breton & the Cabot Trail a top priority)

    #3 - Inverness/Mabou/Port Hood area, Cape Breton ??

    #4 - Pictou, NS (ferry to PEI the next day)

    #5 - Charlottetown area

    #6 - Somewhere on PEI ??

    #7 - Moncton, NB area Definitely see Hopewell Cape - ideally at both high and low tides

    #8 - Somewhere in NB ???

    #9 - near Joggins, NS (somebody on this forum told me about the Joggins Fossil Cliffs, which seems quite informative and very much related to the tides, so I'm throwing that out there)

    (then drive to Parrsboro and take the path (hwy #2) along the bay shore back to Truro, and then on to Halifax)

    #10 - Halifax

    #11 - Halifax (after a day trip to Peggy's Cove, and perhaps Lunenburg)


    (this was wildly thrown together without many parameters... but see if it helps you at all...)

    Let me admit that I never did put you near to Cape Split, so that would have to be worked-in, if you are interested.

    Also, I had hopes for something more in New Brunswick - Miramichi, perhaps, but thought I'd better adjust to try to make for a more sane itinerary.

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    Thanks for the ideas, Northwest Male. I had read several of your related commentaries before I composed my posting. You really know your Canada. We're definitely flying, but haven't worked out entry and departure cities. My husband can't handle a five hour hike, so we'll either skip Cape Split or do a shorter hike. Cape Breton and Bay of Fundy are our two "must do's ". Although I've seen many an ocean tide come in and go out, I had a ludicrous mental picture of the tides at Bay of Fundy surging in like a tidal wave.

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    Hi again!

    Well, two phenomena which might let you feel that you weren't too far off... are this sign:

    http://www.canada-photos.com/images/500/tide-clocks_2265-2188.jpg


    AND the thing called the Tidal Bore...


    Now, regarding Cape Split... while I am a person who can walk (seemingly endlessly, provided a place with few considerable hills)... I am not a hiker in the traditional sense. But I did Cape Split... in March, with snow on the ground... just because I wanted to, so bad. I read suggestions of bringing an extra pair of socks, and perhaps plenty to drink... and while I did have one bottle of juice or water, and the suggested pair of socks, I didn't change socks until returning to my vehicle (after 5 hours). There are a few woodsy areas (which are surely better in August than in March with snow and mud), but it is mainly just walking... without much strenuous stuff. (just wanting to be CLEAR, and give you all of the info, to make a better-informed decision - and perhaps it is already certain in your mind that there's no hope...)

    Clearly you and your husband would know his limits far better than I... but it is kind of a destination hike, for those like me who have such regard for the place.

    (yet I'm still totally not a hiker)


    Gosh, I hadn't figured that different arrival and departure cities were an alternative... So I wonder if I could finesse things a tad more suitably given the option of open jaws airline tickets.

    Hmmmmmmmmmmph... my initial vibe feels that to fly out of Halifax affords the chance to save the last 2 or 3 days for that city, while seeming to have some flexibility in terms of just when you got to the Halifax area.

    SO, at that, perhaps the optimum spot for flying IN, would be Fredericton, NB (or Saint John???)... but of course you may find that the airfares to these far-flung airports are too high to consider the open jaws itinerary after all.

    But IF afforded the luxury of flying into Fredericton, NB and out of Halifax... I might begin as follows:

    Night

    #1 - Fredericton (just in case)

    #2 - Miramichi

    #3 - Miramichi (again - why not?)

    #4 - Moncton (in a perfect world, sandwiched around visits to Hopewell Cape, FIRST at LOW tide, and then at high tide) (sometimes the tide tables just don't let you have it your way)

    #5 - Charlottetown, PEI
    #6 - Charlottetown, PEI

    #7 - Near Joggins, NS (still my whim, from before - I went from having never heard of it, to being keenly interested, merely for somebody at Fodors having mentioned it)

    #8 - Baddeck, NS (Parrsboro - Baddeck = 210 mi. 4 hours) go that way

    #9 - Baddeck (I'm out of my league with regard to the Acadian/Gaelic culture part... but my vibe is that spots in southwest Cape Breton are the areas to investigate) (and depending upon whether you can wrestle more time, that is where you might put a couple of more nights)

    #10 - Halifax (w/day trip to Peggy's Cove/Lunenburg)

    #11 - Halifax


    Now IF you got more time, Pictou, NS... is a candidate for a night, yet I'm not inclined to ferry there, when looking at this from the Open Jaws/Fredericton whim... it costs nothing to drive ONTO PEI over the bridge, and something near to $45.00 (NOT a typo) to drive off of the island via the bridge. (the other way, had a ferry fare TO the island and the bridge toll leaving...)

    Other areas I could add, given the chance, would be a night or two in Annapolis Royal, NS and/or maybe Wolfville, NS.


    Stuff I have left out:

    Saint John: Went there a couple of times... and while I recall watching volleyball on a sandy beach seemingly right in the shadows of downtown buildings, for me a major highlight was merely photographing somebody's Nova Scotia license plate, as I was on the path there for my first-ever time. I saw the reversing waterfalls... and... well... ho-hum.

    Sydney, NS

    Louisbourg, NS

    Fundy National Park, NB

    Much of Southwestern NS (who has the time???)

    Oh, when in Halifax, consider taking a round-trip on the passenger ferry across to Dartmouth... just for the views.

    Know that driving in the area is NOT the 70mph free-for-all which I know in much of the US... you can't hope to go 210 miles in 3 hours... it's more typically 4, in most directions. And don't get sucked onto the coastal path from, say, Antigonish, NS to Halifax... unLESS you have (a few extra days - LOL).

    Oh, and print the tide times for the entire window of your trip, for Hopewell Cape and for Truro at the very least: http://bayoffundytourism.com/tides/times/


    I'm sure all of this will be much easier as you pin-down exact spots you will be in, at which points, and then build around it.

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