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jmplmptn Mar 5th, 2015 12:22 PM

Maritime Itinerary - 10 days
 
My husband and I have started to plan our trip to the Maritimes somewhere around early July. We will be mainly focusing on Nova Scotia with 1-2 days in PEI and are considering New Brunswick if we have time.

Here's our very very rough itinerary/plan. We are slightly flexible (we may be able to add a day or 2 if absolutely necessary). I'm getting overwhelmed at all of this planning. We are the type of people who like to cram as much as we can see into one day (but forcefully try to stop and smell the flowers). If there's anything ridiculous about this itinerary or if there is a MUST see place I am missing, please let me know? We would like to see Hopewell Rocks and the Advocate Harbour areas, but I fear it's too much driving and would take too much time. I would appreciate any help advice I can get. We love great food, spotting wild/sea life, and beautiful scenery. Could care less about history/museums/galleries, etc.

Day 1 Arrive in Halifax (evening)
Day 2 Halifax (explore) -Spring Garden Rd. for shopping
Day 3 Halifax to Liverpool (drive down exploring Chester, Mahone Bay, Lunenburg) to Digby (3:45 driving)
Day 4 Digby (whale watching, beaches) - Annapolis Valley for Scallops - if time, drive to Caribou (3:36).
Day 5 Digby to Caribou (3:36), Ferry to PEI (explore Charlottetown)
Day 6 PEI - Explore PEI National Park, take ferry back to Caribou (evening)
Day 7 Caribou to Baddeck (2:19). Explore Baddeck (Bras d'Or Lakes, Alexander Graham Bell, Gift Shops) - decide about fortress.
Day 8 ½ Cabot Trail (2:00) - find a puffin/whale/seal tour and a hotel for stop half way through Cabot Trail)
Day 9 Finish Cabot Trail (2:00) - drive back to Halifax (3:37)
Day 10 Depart from Halifax (morning)

laverendrye Mar 5th, 2015 02:26 PM

This is far too rushed in my opinion. One day for Halifax is not much and you need to spend a night in Lunenburg.

I'd skip PEI if all you are going to do is to take the ferry over one day and back the next.

If you want to see the Hopewell Rocks, take the ferry from Digby to Saint John and stay nearby, perhaps in Alma.

For Cape Breton you really only have time to drive the Cabot Trail but in my opinion the Fortress of Louisbourg should not be missed. However as you apparently have no interest in history you might not agree.

Long ago I gave up the idea of trying to cram too much into a trip, but I know that many others take a different view.

ltt Mar 6th, 2015 06:49 AM

well i think it is way too much but if you want to spend almost all of the vacation inside a vehicle then it is doable. i found driving in nova scotia much slower then expected. i think in order to appreciate hopewell rocks, you need to see it at high tide and then return for low tide. that would mean an overnight stay in the area. i think halifax deserves 2 full day. with your limited time, i would recommend doing halifax, lunenberg / mahone bay, digby, hopewell rocks, and work your way back to halifax. or, do halifax, 2-3 days on pei, 4-5 days on cape breton and back to halifax.

jmplmptn Mar 6th, 2015 11:12 AM

Thanks for your suggestions, I've revised the itinerary, spoken with a few coworkers from PEI and have added a couple days to our trip!

1:Arrive in Halifax
2:Explore Halifax
3:Explore Chester, Mahone Bay, Stay in Lunenburg overnight
4:Drive to Burncoat Park, drive to Caribou in evening
5:Ferry to PEI, drive to Basin Head Park, Charlottetown in evening
6:Explore Charlottetown, maybe get up to PEI N'tnl Park
7:Drive to and Stay in Truro
8:Truro to Baddeck
9:Louisburg Fortress
10:1/2 Cabot Trail and stay in Pleasant Bay/Cheticamp area
11:Whale Watching, drive 2nd half of cabot trail, Drive to Halifax
12:Depart Halifax

jmplmptn Mar 6th, 2015 11:12 AM

Thanks for your suggestions, I've revised the itinerary, spoken with a few coworkers from PEI and have added a couple days to our trip!

1:Arrive in Halifax
2:Explore Halifax
3:Explore Chester, Mahone Bay, Stay in Lunenburg overnight
4: Drive to Burncoat Park, drive to Caribou in evening
5:Ferry to PEI, drive to Basin Head Park, Charlottetown in evening
6:Explore Charlottetown, maybe get up to PEI N'tnl Park
7: Drive to and Stay in Truro
8:Truro to Baddeck
9: Louisburg Fortress
10:1/2 Cabot Trail and stay in Pleasant Bay/Cheticamp area
11:Whale Watching, drive 2nd half of cabot trail, Drive to Halifax
12: Depart Halifax

ltt Mar 7th, 2015 01:08 AM

that sounds better. i found that 4 hours was enough for me at fortress louisburg so that would give you a 1/2 day to maybe enjoy baddeck. i enjoyed my boat tour there. nice and relaxing.

NorthwestMale Mar 10th, 2015 10:29 PM

You have the Cabot Trail perilously near to the end of your trip, and leave a 5-hour drive to be combined with 'whale watching' on that last full day.

IF the area is foggy, then you're potentially (ruined).

Could you at least leave the "explore Halifax" day for the END of the trip, so as to afford yourself some wiggle room, particularly as you have a flight to catch (with an absolute deadline, as opposed to, say, those who drive home via Maine, etc.)?

I love the tides as much as anybody, but I much prefer <b>Hopewell Cape</b> to <I>Burncoat Head Park</i>.

IF driving from Charlottetown to Truro, <b>you might as well include Hopewell Cape, even though it adds an awkward leg to the journey</b>.

And Truro itself is <I>no great shakes</i> for spending significant time (it's just that every path runs through it).

IF you are focused on staying in Truro, then, Hopewell Cape or not, contemplate driving via Parrsboro and along the bay shore, vs. on the main highway, just for the peaceful serenity and scenery of it all.

Personally I'd opt to stay in Pictou or Antigonish, vs. Truro.

In fact, if you jumbled the whole plan upside down, and made your first path a direct shot to the north, did the Cabot Trail thing early... and only then returned for a night in Pictou, followed by a ferry trip to PEI, you could hit <b>Hopewell Cape</b> after exiting the island via the Confederation Bridge (be aware of the $44-ish toll!!)... and then drive along the bay, via Parrsboro, <I>skipping Truro</i> (perhaps except for dinner?)... and then getting into Halifax, from which you could then have a more favorable combining of the Lunenburg leg, with but a <b>short trip back to Halifax</b>, where you could hole-up for a couple of nights near the end of the journey.

The lack of pressure on the end of the trip would be most comforting, and heck, even a last night in Lunenburg, before a 75-mile drive back to Halifax, might be favorable to the long haul from Pleasant Bay.

<b>At any rate, print out the TIDE TABLES for a handful of spots on the trip, <U>for the entire window of time you'd be in the area</u></b>.

http://www.bayoffundytourism.com/tides/times/


Print them for Hopewell Cape, Burncoat Head, and perhaps Truro, just so you will have the easy reference handy in your glove box.

Tides are predictable, and you can do this NOW, well in advance of your trip.

Also, get a list of the times for the <b>Tidal Bore</b> at Moncton, just in case you're nearby...

Hope this helps.

laverendrye Mar 11th, 2015 02:18 PM

NorthwestMale is right. You have packed far too much into Day 11. If you do insist on whale-watching, driving half the Cabot Trail and returning to Halifax all in one day, I suggest you stop for the night in Truro rather than driving to Halifax. It will cut down your driving that day, and you will only be about 45 minutes from the airport for your departure the next day. You will also avoid the traffic getting in and out of Halifax.

jmplmptn Mar 12th, 2015 02:23 PM

Thanks for the detailed suggestions!

We have made a few changes since our last post and unfortunately had to cut our trip down by a day so we had to make some sacrifices. We're going to drive from Charlottetown straight to Baddeck, so we won't have time to visit Hopewell. We chose Burncoat as an alternative since it's on the way and we can be there for both low and high tides.

You're right about the whale-watching, we are aiming to do it on day 10 depending on what time we get to pleasant bay and depending on the weather. if that doesn't pan out, day 11 it is! I'm a huge whale fan and it would be worth the drive if it was the only way to do it. We love road trips and really won't mind the long drives that we have planned.

We did our trip in this direction mostly because it was recommended to save the best for last (Cabot Trail)! We've booked flights and hotels are all tentatively booked in so we don't want to change around our entire itinerary, but definitely appreciate you taking the time to provide some input.

We are staying in Dartmouth on our last night because our flight is super early - so the less driving we have to do that morning, the better!

1:Arrive Halifax
2:Halifax
3:Chester, Mahone Bay, Stay in Lunenburg overnight
4: Burncoat Park - Stay in Pictou
5:Ferry to PEI, Basin Head Park, Charlottetown
6:Explore Charlottetown, maybe get up to PEI N'tnl Park
7: Drive to and Stay in Baddeck
8: Louisburg Fortress
9: 1/2 Cabot Trail and stay in Pleasant Bay - Whale Watching
10: Drive 2nd half of Cabot trail, Drive to Halifax
11: Depart Halifax


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