East Coast Vacation with family of 6

Aug 24th, 2006, 09:54 AM
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East Coast Vacation with family of 6

I know that I am way ahead of myself - but I just love to plan vacations!

Next August my family and I will be travelling to Halifax for a family wedding. The wedding will be on a Saturday and we will likely arrive on the Friday and want to spend the weekend with family.

But come Monday we are going to want to explore the east coast of Canada - we for sure want to see the tide at the Bay of Fundy (I think that is where they are) and we will want to travel to PEI.

I am not sure of the choice of accomodations while travelling in the eastern provinces. Am I going to be able to find hotels that have suites available or am I going to have to book ahead.

I was also considering (but not really looking forward) to booking an RV for the week. I was wondering if that would be the easiest for us?

So anyway! Can anyone give me a little insite to travelling with a large family and the kinds of hotels we would expect to find and maybe a realistic itinerary for MOnday - Saturday.

ontariotraveller is offline  
Aug 24th, 2006, 10:10 AM
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One thing. there's a huge difference in water temperature. the best swimming beaches are on the New Brunswick shore, facing Prince Edward island (Northumberland Strait) and on the north shore of Prince Edward Island.

Lots of beaches in other places, but cold.

BAK is offline  
Aug 24th, 2006, 10:33 AM
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We looked into renting an RV in Nova Scotia. The cost ranged from $90 to $200/day plus 28 cents per km. Then you have to add your gas on top of that. However, with a family of six, you would be hard pressed to get away with less than 2 rooms at any hotel - unless as you suggested you could find suites.

How old are your kids and what type of activity do you enjoy? If camping and the beach are what you want to do, no better place than Nova Scotia!
Tanya is offline  
Aug 24th, 2006, 10:46 AM
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Thanks for the quick replies!

My kids will be 15, 14, 12 & 9 when we travel. We are not into the whole camping thing! We used to when the kids were little - but I am a SAHM and when I travel, I am not cooking or cleaning!

My kids have seen a few commercials on PEI and I think we would like it there - warm water is a must!

We are into adventurous things when we travel. We just returned from the west coast and went to the suspension bridges and white water rafted. Not sure what sort of adventure activities there are out east?

We will be renting a car to get us around and then spending every night in a hotel - so the RV will not be that out of our price expectation.

What company did you look into for renting the RV?

Thanks again
ontariotraveller is offline  
Aug 24th, 2006, 12:53 PM
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How about whale watching? Thats an 'adventure' and the lower bay of fundy [from both the nova scotia and new brunswick sides] is excellent.

gannetmusic is offline  
Aug 24th, 2006, 02:34 PM
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Whale watching is an idea! How rough does it get out on the bay?

We have cruised before and no one was sea sick. But this year we had to tender from Cozumel over to the mainland (45 minutes) and DH and I were sick as dogs! The ride back we were fine, so I do not know what the problem was on the ride there.

Are these all day tours? And do you know of a reputable company?

Thanks again - I love swapping travel info with others!
ontariotraveller is offline  
Aug 24th, 2006, 02:47 PM
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I've been on Fundy when it was quite rough, and had one trip cancelled due to weather a few years back. Fog can also be a concern.....but it can be flat calm as well. Actually I'm just looking at a photo above my desk of a Northern Right Whale in full breech and the water is very calm. The photo was taken in Fundy off the New Brunswick coast. My whale watching in the area has always been from New Brunswick but a friend of mine knows the Brier Island, Nova Scotia area well and I'll check with her. Warning -whale watching can be addictive -which is a problem for those of us here in Ontario.....


gannetmusic is offline  
Aug 25th, 2006, 01:09 PM
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Although you can certainly find rroms in August, the very season, you are a party of 6, so that makes it more difficult. I would definately recommend you book ahead a time so you don't have to waste time driving around trying to find a place that can hold all of you.
sailorgirl2001 is offline  
Aug 27th, 2006, 09:53 AM
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Does anyone know is NS, PEI and NB put out a book of accomodations?

Here in Ontario, I know you can order a magazine sort of publication that hotels and motels pay to advertise in.
ontariotraveller is offline  
Aug 27th, 2006, 12:01 PM
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Nova Scotia has the Doers & Dreamers Guide. http://www.destination-ns.com/ It was helpful in planning our trip.
keymom is offline  
Aug 27th, 2006, 02:15 PM
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PEI's book can be ordered from their website. www.peiplay.com
sailorgirl2001 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2006, 08:09 AM
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Admittedly this is going back a LOT of years, but I took my 4 kids to the Maritimes when they were young. We drove out there in our own car (although I had considered a rental since the car was a bit ancient at that point) and stayed at farms and ranches along the way. They were cheaper and more interesting than hotels, and gave my city-kids a good look at rural life. We did indeed see the tides at the Bay of Fundy. We didn't get to PEI or Newfoundland but did a lot of exploring in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, then took the ferry from Halifax to Maine and came home via New Hampshire and Vermont (we were living in Toronto at the time). It was a 2-week trip. I checked a few websites before I posted this and it's still possible to stay at farms and ranches in that part of the world, if that appeals.
Meesthare is offline  
Aug 30th, 2006, 03:18 AM
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The RV company was 1-800-RV4-RENT. I have seen them quite often this summer in Nova Scotia - so they must be a popular company.

With the age group of your kids, they would probably enjoy the beaches of PEI and the amusements that surround Cavendish (ie waterparks, etc.) Hopewell Rocks didn't do much for me nor the tides, but perhaps being from the east coast, it isn't as much as a phenomenon as people travelling from other places. I thought the cost of admission wasn't worth the walk down to the ocean floor.

You can do whale watching out of Halifax Harbour - the tour operators work out of the Historic Properties area. Other options would be Brier Island and Cape Breton (Cheticamp/Pleasant Bay area). I think the largest concentration and different type of whales would be in Brier Island. We have simply watched whales off of a lookout in Pleasant Bay.
Tanya is offline  
Aug 30th, 2006, 08:59 AM
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Hi, my nephew from ontario travels to P.E.I. each summer to see relatives. Don't underestimate how much kids just love the ocean/beaches. He's 13 and loves to go out deep sea fishing as well as ocean kayaking. When younger just finding a few crabs and shells was enough. The National Parks which include most North Shore beaches have some great programs aimed at kids too. For a family of 6 I'd suggest renting a cottage but advise that if you do book very early. An RV just seems so huge to drive everywhere, perhaps why most I see are towing a car along as well. I'm also underwhelmed by the Fundy tides/Hopewell Rocks but adore the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton.
lucyp is offline  
Aug 30th, 2006, 12:58 PM
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well, since you have so long to plan (isn't it fun!), i'll just throw some vague stuff out there for now.
i think the best place to experience the tides are at hopewell rocks in new brunswick but with your short time frame, i wouldn't go that far.
from halifax, i would consider going up towards the wolfville area for two nights (you'll want to be somewhere where you can catch both high and low tides).
then take the confederation bridge over to pei. kids LOVE pei. i would recommend staying in the cavandish area or, if you prefer nice little towns, check into some home rentals in north rustico. it is very close to cavandish. the problem you might run into is that many summer rentals only go on a weekly basis. it's a great area and you could do day trips around the island. if you family likes to fish, or just for the boat ride, ask at the little store or go down to the harbor and you might find a fisherman that would take you out for a day for a reasonable fee.
then, i would take the ferry off of pei which lands around pictou. this is a great little town. there is a provincial park called carribou/munroes which has a great beach and the water was warm when i was there last august. ideally, i'd recommend staying two nights in pictou before heading back to halifax but again, you don't have too many nights so you'll need to pick your priorities.
if you don't want to use the rv for camping, i would not get one. they are expensive and only worth it (in my opinion) if you are saving money on hotels each night. just rent a large van to get around.
if you could extend the amount of time you have to explore by another week, i don't think you'd regret it - it's a fabulous area.
have fun planning.
ltt is offline  
Sep 1st, 2006, 02:58 PM
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Thanks everyone for the info - I am writing it all down for the future!

As for the RV - this is not my preferred means of travel nor is camping! BUT! We do realize that the amount of accomodations with suites is not great in the maritimes! We just returned from a Western Canada trip and I had every nights accomodations planned and booked ahead of time. In one way this is nice because I am guarenteed to have beds for 6 and a seperate sleeping area for Mom & Dad (I do really love my children but 24 hours a day for a whole week wears on the best of people!)

But it also had its downfalls - we liked to just wing our days and if we saw an interesting place to visit, we would just stop! But that sometimes left us a long ways from our hotel! Then we had to drive late into the night.

So my thoughts were the RV would alleviate the need for reservations and we could just wing the whole week (which will be very hard for me to do - I am a bit of a control freak and like to know where I am going!)

I am glad I have a whole year to plan because we do not want to miss anything! Our family has a been there, done that theory - it is a big world out there and I plan on seeing most of it, so you have to see as much as you can while you are there!

Keep the ideas coming!
ontariotraveller is offline  
Sep 7th, 2006, 07:59 AM
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There are several RV rental companies listed in the Yellow Pages, from www.canada411.ca

If you arrive at Halifax airport, some RV rental places will shuttle you back to their offices so you can pick up your RV there.

Andiegirl is offline  
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