Halifax, Cape Breton, and PEI in 7 days?

Old Apr 8th, 2012, 09:06 AM
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Halifax, Cape Breton, and PEI in 7 days?

Hi all,

My husband ans I are planning a family trip (with mine and his parents) to the east coast in mid June. We will arrive in Halifax on a Sunday and then fly out of Halifax on the following Saturday. I would love to hike the Cabot Trial, as well as going to PEI for a day or two. I have googled the distance between Halifax, Cape Breton, and PEI and the distance is ridiculous!

I am trying to be cognizant of the fact that we will be traveling with our parents and that we may have to give up either PEI or Cape Breton. Help!! Our parents are 60-years-old and healthy. We will be renting a van to drive to our destinations. Is it possible to fit everything in and still have a "leisurely" trip? I want to see Anne of green gables as it was my favourtie book growing up and I also want to see the amazing coastline and scenery in Cape Breton. At the same time I am trying to satisfy our parents' craving for fresh lobster and oysters. I am planning to stay in Halifax for only a day or two, and the focus of this trip will be seafood (LOL) and scenary. How should I plan this trip?
chaznangie is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2012, 02:13 PM
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(deep breath - hoping for harmony on all counts)


Guess you'll just have to hit the ground running.

Given what you've written, I would be sure to see ALL of the spots mentioned.

First thing I'd do, assuming you land in Halifax late on one day... is spend the night there, and then book the next two nights in/near Baddeck, NS (Cape Breton). At the first sign of clear weather, you GO toward the Cabot Trail. the 2nd night there gives you a CHANCE if it is foggy on the first day.

Assuming you awaken on that 2nd morning in Baddeck AFTER having circled the Cabot Trail the day before, then it is a 2 1/2 hour drive of 133 miles to Pictou, NS. Catch the ferry there to PEI... book two nights in Charlottetown. The island isn't exactly huge, so you can see what you wish to see with little trouble.

Adding time to see Pictou a bit before getting on the ferry isn't a bad idea. Do your own research regarding where to go, specifically, for Anne of Green Gables lore. I don't know anything about it, but I have a respected friend who gushed with envy upon my telling of having gone to PEI, all for reasons relating to Anne of Green Gables.


On Friday (ugh, will it be Friday already???) you'll awaken at PEI... then take the bridge back to the mainland...

I say you should do yourself the favor of driving to Moncton, NB... and then down to Hopewell Cape, NB. Time your visit there to coincide with LOW TIDE:

http://www.lau.chs-shc.gc.ca/cgi-bin...n=5&stnnum=170


Go down on the beach and take silly pictures of one another against the "Flower Pot Rocks", and walk waaaaaaaaay out in the sand...

The get back in the van, drive back through Moncton, and around toward Sackville and Amherst... then I say that, despite your not having much time left...

you STILL detour at/near Amherst, NS... and drive to Parrsboro or thereabouts... and then toward Truro along Highway #2. I love the calm and pleasant scenery there, and you have to go some of that way anyway...

Then, back to Truro, and on toward Halifax, where you salvage whatever you can of your remaining time.

Of COURSE you wish there was more time... and IF I were to tweak what I've written a bit... I'd first reduce the PEI stay to one night... and just... hit the target that most interests you on the following day before you leave the island.

IMHO it would be rather RISKY to chance only one night in Baddeck, banking everything on a clear day for the Cabot Trail...

HOWEVER, it would be nice to be able to improvise IF indeed you got the mission accomplished on that first day (without being further committed to a 2nd night in Baddeck).

I think I'd improvise with a drive to Pictou that evening, and a night there, and an early ferry trip to PEI to follow.

Don't forget that you'll have everything with you that really matters... AND that you'll be in an area not on the WAY to anywhere else, and such that some of you won't likely have cause to get back there again.

I vote that you SEE what you *know* of the area, even if it entails a bit of a whirlwind trip. And do note that my original effort entailed a pair of TWO-night stays, so it wasn't exactly a break-neck pace.

I just see no reason not to stick to your original instincts, as they in the end would please you most.

With precious time in Halifax, maybe you can improvise well with the time available there. (sneak in a meal at Peggy's Cove???)

Hope this helps.
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Old Apr 9th, 2012, 05:23 AM
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The key here is timing . What time of day do you arrive and what time do you have to be back to the airport is key
The trip is a doable . The Cabot Trail leg is the farthest so that becomes the first target . Halifax to the entrance of Cape Breton is about 2 hours 45 minutes. Now to go around the cabot trail depends on whether you travel along route 19 along the coast from the Canso Causeway up to Margaree, OR do you start South of Baddeck at exit 7 from route 105 . Regardless, just driving from say Margaree Harbour around to English town cane be done in 3 to 3 1/2 hours; it is your stops that make the trip stretch out .
In mid june, there will be NO traffic , so you can sort of plan your accommodations day by day but need to make sure the restaurants are open too. I wouldn't book in Baddeck ahead of time as that takes away all your flexibility . There will be cottages open in mid June that will beat most other places unless you want a B&B . Whether you stay in Halifax the day you arrive or the day you leave is up to you but my advice is always on the day you leave, just in case . There is a nice B&B just 10 minutes from the airport .
This site doesn't work the same Trip Advisor so I do not get to see when you reply and need more info .
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Old Apr 9th, 2012, 06:10 AM
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Thanks for the reply, northwestmale and cabottrail! This gives me a lot to think about.

We will arrive in Halifax before noon so we would definitely have time to drive straight to cape breton.

Now I am thinking that we could do
Saturday - arrive in Halifax, drive to cape Breton
Sunday - cape Breton
Monday - cape Breton
Tuesday - cape Breton, leaving for PEI
Wednesday - PEI
Thursday - PEI
Friday - PEI, leaving for Halifax
Saturday - Halifax
Sunday (we are adding one more say!) Halifax

Does this itinerary seem doable? This will give us three nights in cape Breton and more opportunities to hit the trail on a good weather day. It will also give us enough time to stop at various towns like Picton and Amherst! I am still waiting for my nova scotia doers and dreamers guide to arrive to plan for our stay in cape Breton. That part of the planning seems confusing to me and I hope the guide will help. If we stay in Baddeck the first night and the weather is not the following day, what could I do to keep our family entertained?

Thanks again for your help and I look forward to more information from experienced travelers like you guys!
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Old Apr 9th, 2012, 02:17 PM
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Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, I had no idea of (nor was I dumb enough to anticipate) your arrival "before noon" !!

That opens the door to opportunity.

Indeed you adjusted correctly.

But wait...

lets go by NIGHTS here:

Saturday NIGHT: (I vote "Baddeck, Cape Breton")

Sun: Baddeck

Mon: Pictou, NS??? (ferry to PEI from there Tues. morning

Tues: Charlottetown? (or anywhere on the easily-navigable island)

Weds: Charlottetown, etc.


I just don't think you need a THIRD night on PEI, so how about:

Thurs night: Moncton, NB or thereabouts (positioned suitably for a trek to Hopewell Cape, NB, either Thursday evening or Friday morning/noon) (low tide a must for initial such passage)

Then drive back to Halifax on the path I mentioned above

Fri night: Halifax

Sat night: Halifax (after a day/evening trip to Peggy's Cove)

Sun: fly home


The extra day AND the before-noon arrival help immensely (as might SIX potential drivers??? )
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Old Apr 11th, 2012, 02:15 PM
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Thanks for ur input, northwestmale! We've decided to stay in cape Breton for three nights, PEI for two nights and then Halifax for one night! Our trip got cut short because my in laws won't compromise on the dates.. It's now a Sunday to Saturday trip. I am counting on the fact that we fly in early and can drive straight to cape Breton and that we don't leave Halifax until 8 pm on the Saturday. We won't have much time in Halifax but I'd rather dedicate more time in cape Breton, PEI and other cities along the way!
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Old Apr 12th, 2012, 05:20 PM
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OK, I understand...

let me be emphatic about DRIVING off of PEI, on the big bridge (you'll love the FORTY DOLLAR TOLL) ($44.25, but who is counting???)...

and detouring via Moncton, NB to HOPEWELL CAPE.


The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world, and nowhere are they more prominent to the eye than at Hopewell Cape. The tide scenes really are amazing on the Fundy shore in various places.
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Old Apr 13th, 2012, 01:26 PM
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In Baddeck, be sure to do the Alexander Graham Bell museum, whether or not you have a bad weather day. Also, lots of little boutique type shops, ice cream parlours and such in town.
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Old Apr 13th, 2012, 05:16 PM
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we did this same trip last summer with 3 kids. We particularly liked Baddeck, although we only spent 1 night in there. We grabbed some sandwhiches from a cafe on the main street and took the little water taxi over to the island (5 minute taxi, which is donation only) and had our picnic on the beach over there. It is beautiful!
On our trip, we went to PEI first (landed in Charlottetown, and flew home from Halifax so we made our way over) and took the ferry from PEI to Nova Scotia instead of the bridge.
We loved staying in Ingonish,Cape Breton, there are lots of little hikes around there and some nice beaches.
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Old Apr 14th, 2012, 04:13 PM
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Hi, chaznangie:
Your 3CB/2PEI/1Hfx sounds good.

I am always curious when people decide to visit CB/PEI in mid- June as opposed to July/Aug/Sept/early Oct. So, I am wondering if you know that it will probably still be pretty chilly in CB/PEI in mid-June. Perhaps it does not matter to you but I thought I should mention it anyway.

OB1
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Old Apr 15th, 2012, 04:37 AM
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Northwestmale - I am sure I will have more questions about our route from PEI once Halifax once I get into planning more. I will probably end up asking you more questions!

Eliztravel - I've heard lots of good things about the museum. It is a must on our itinerary!

Waterloo12 - the water taxi idea sounds like fun! I will look into it

Oceanbreeze1 - ideally I would I like to go in July as well but my parents are visiting from overseas (Asia) in June and it is the only time we could do it
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Old Apr 15th, 2012, 10:10 AM
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chaznangie:
Well then June it is and it will be great!

Enjoy!

OB1
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