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Need help planning NS, PEI and maybe NB itinerary

Need help planning NS, PEI and maybe NB itinerary

Old Jun 2nd, 2011, 01:05 PM
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Need help planning NS, PEI and maybe NB itinerary

We've only got 9 days to do a Maritime loop; Halifax to Halifax. We are thinking, Halifax, south coast to Digby, ferry to Saint John, thru Moncton, bridge to PEI, ferry back to NS, Cape Breton and back to Halifax. Is this too much to see? If so, which part should we cut off?

What are the "don't miss" attractions on this route?

What are the "don't bother" attractions on this route?
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Old Jun 2nd, 2011, 04:17 PM
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GREAT trip!! Suggest you not bother with the Digby ferry - it would sorta make you conform to their limited schedule. (BTW it is often so foggy that you can't enjoy it.) Instead drive up Annapolis Valley and enjoy the sights. Drive around to Moncton and the "Rocks" and double back to the PEI Confederation Bridge. You might get some ideas of places to see along the way at www.drivecrosscountry.net/RouteM1
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Old Jun 2nd, 2011, 04:40 PM
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My top spots would be Cape Breton, Annapolis, Hopewell Rocks, Shediac beach, North shore of PEI, Hallifax. Im not a huge Moncton fan (although a few people seem to like it here)

That is a lot to do for nine days.

If it was me, and Ive done it a ton (and lived there too) this is how I would choose to spend my nine days in the Martimes ( I am leaving out Lunenburg, Mahone Bay, Chester only because you havent mentioned them. I think they are great spots.)

Day 1 arrive Halifax. Overnight there, see the harbour, market, public gardens, point pleasant park.

Day 2 leave Halifax in time to catch the Tidal Bore, near Truro.

Day 3 Baddeck

Day 4 Cheticamp

Day 5 Back to ferry to PEI

Day 6 Charlottetown, then head to Brackley Beach area

Day 7 Head back down north coast of PEI to bridge through Cavendish , then to Kensington

Day 8 Hopewell Rocks

Day 9 Back to Halifax

This is a lot of driving. Some days more than others. Not sure of your interests, if you like to do a hike here and there or spend a little beach time then this could be adjusted.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2011, 11:03 PM
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Thanks for your input!
On the south coast, we did want to see Peggy's Cove, Lunenburg and Mahone Bay. The reason for the Digby ferry was to see the Bay of Fundy. My husband also would like to see St. Andrew NB so this is why we planned this route. I think it is too much driving---35 hours in 8 days by my calculations. I would love suggestions on what to skip to cut this down. Is the tidal bore in Truro just as good as the Fundy National Park area?
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Old Jun 3rd, 2011, 05:47 AM
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Yes, I dont think you can do it all without a lot more driving. My route above would be about 4 hours a day on average of driving. If you added more you would have to perhaps drive more each day.
You could Day 2 drive to Peggys Cove, Lunenburg and Mahone Bay. Then head towards Cape Breton. See the tides when you go to Hopewell Rocks/Fundy Park.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2011, 09:49 AM
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Well, you'll get differing opinions of course. Just myself, I don't like to always be rushing in the car to get to the next destination or packing and unpacking too often. So, in 9 days, I would probably limit things to 3 or 4 destinations from which I could daytrip some days, hang out nearby on others.

My favourites are Cape Breton, The Lighthouse Route, NB Fundy Shore (e.g. Alma/Fundy National Park, Hopewell Rocks and St. Andrews although the latter is a bit out of the way) and Halifax.

The NB Fundy coastline and tides are VERY dramatic, especially if you get a chance to see low and high tide at the same location (if not possible, aim for low tide - check tide tables as part of your planning).

I personally think Cape Breton needs a minimum of 3 nights, and I've happily spent 5 nights there on a number of occasions and could have stayed longer. But - what specifically interests you as far as sights and activities? Hiking, photography, nature/wildlife observation, scenic drives, historic sites, interesting shopping, night life, some time lazing around enjoying a beautiful coastal view? etc.?
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Old Jun 3rd, 2011, 09:02 PM
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Again all good advice, thanks. To answer mat54, we are family of 4; kids are 17 and 15. Our interests are all of the above except not really interested in the shopping or nightlife. The boys may want to do 1 round of golf at some point. I think once we've seen 1 or 2 lighthouses and 1 or 2 churches that will be enough and we will probably limit museum visits to about 1 or 2 unless they are highly recommended. Priority I guess is on nature/wildlife/photograph and scenic drives. I suspect the kids will tire of the historic sites a bit quicker than the adults. I would like to do a hike or 2 maybe 1 or 2 hours at a time but the kids will balk a bit unless maybe there is something amazing to see at the end. Some short beach time would be nice.
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Old Jun 5th, 2011, 05:43 AM
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With nature/wildlife/photography/scenic drives being your priority, I would certainly focus a bit more on Cape Breton. In particular, the Cabot Trail through the National Park is one of North America's most spectacular drives. There are a number of short to medium hikes. Very popular for scenery is Skyline Trail, but it's been years since I've done this, may take longer than 1-2 hours (someone else might weigh in?). Middle Head Peninsula is shorter and nice. Moose are frequent in Cape Breton (be wary on roads at dusk and early morning). Whale watching for smaller species like Minke and Pilot is popular from the northern towns. Lots of Bald Eagles.

The Fundy Shore of NB is also dramatically scenic, although you can cram in the highlights in a day or 2 if need be. With your timing I would skip the ferry and drive to the Alma/Fundy NP/Hopewell Rocks area.

I don't have first hand experience with PEI beaches but many people love them. PEI is popular with golfers, although there are nice courses in NS too (a famous one in Cape Breton - Highland Links).

There are some very picturesque beaches scattered along the Lighthouse Route, great for strolling/picnicking as some are very lightly used, but the water along this shore is particularly cold. Also picturesque fishing villages and as you point out - lighthouses. A walk worth considering if time permits is the hike into Kejimkujik NP Seaside Adjunct. But, with limited time you could daytrip Peggy's Cove, Mahone Bay and Lunenburg from Halifax.

From Digby it's interesting to drive Digby Neck to Brier Island for scenery and potentially spectacular whalewatching (for the larger species), but check seasonality and book ahead. However, I don't think you'll have time. I would save this for another trip (e.g. maybe do Digby area, ferry to St. John and St. Andrews next time?).

So - possibly:
2 nights in Halifax - daytrip Lighthouse Route
3 nights in Cape Breton - scenic drives, hike, whalewatch, maybe golf
2 nights PEI - beaches, golf
2 nights Moncton or Alma - visit highlights of Fundy shore
Back to Halifax
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Old Jun 5th, 2011, 02:10 PM
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Well, we've come up with a revised itinerary that we are still happy to fine tune:
Day 1---Halifax
Day 2---Peggy's Cove,Chester,Lunenburg, Mahone Bay to Liverpool cut through inland thru Kejimkujik NP and overnight in Annapolis Royal.
Day 3---see Ann. Roy, Granville Ferry, Port Royal then drive to Truro with possible stops at Blomiden Look Off(near Kentville-view of Minas Basin),trails at Cape Split,Acadia U in Wolfville(because our daughter might want to go there),maybe Shubenacadie Wildlife Park
Day 4--Truro to PEI---sightsee on PEI
Day 5--another day on PEI, maybe golf, leave later in the day to drive to overnight in Baddeck
Day 6---see Bell Museum then short drive to overnight in Cheticamp--maybe golf or whale watching tour
Day 7--hiking in Highland Nat. Park, overnight in Ingonish
Day 8--time to enjoy CT then drive to arrive late and overnight in Louisbourg
Day 9--full day in Louisbourg until 5pmish then 5 hour drive to Halifax
Day 10--our train leaves Halifax at 12:15

So, any advise would be appreciated. Is Port Royal worth seeing? I know Kej.NP is probably beautiful but with time restrictions we think it is probably the most like our own NP's in BC so probably won't explore there much. Is Shubenacadie Wildlife Park worth stopping at? If we want to see 1 or 2 churches and lighthouses without taking the time to see them all, which ones do you recommend? In PEI, we hope to do a church lobster dinner, see Ann of Green Gables house, see the red sand beach and the scenic beauty. Should we drive the whole island or which scenic drive could we bypass? Might rent bikes in PEI, any advise on best trail for that?
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Old Jun 6th, 2011, 09:39 AM
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Seems like a lot to see in nine days, but doable. A couple of random thoughts...

For scheduling, keep in mind that the tides change about every 12.5 hours and it is the breaking incoming tide (from dead low) that is the thing to see. Sometimes the incoming tide is only a few inches -- sometimes several feet. You have to get the local tide table for the times. We saw a 2 plus foot incoming wave from Truro several years ago ... quite a sight. If you miss the tide change and have to wait 10 hours I'd suggest you just keep going.

Is Port Royal worth seeing? That depends upon your interest ... however, to give you more time to view the Acadia University campus I'd see it on your next trip to Nova Scotia.

As you go around the Cabot Trail drop into the churches -- they're on the way.

Suggest you not drive the entire length of PEI -- better to spend the time walking along the beaches and fishing piers. Suggest you first go to Cavendish for Anne's home. Then head east -- the lighthouses at East Point and Panmure Island Provincial Park are both open for tours. Take the Points East Coastal Drive and get out of the car to walk the beaches. The water will be warm enuf to take a dip - about 20c. The best beaches along this route are Basin Head and Panmure--warm and no surf.

Bikes can be rented at Plover Bike Rentals in St Peters. This is near the Confederation Trail (a former railroad track bed) and is quite level. St. Peters is probably the most scenic part of the trail as part of it borders St. Peters Bay.
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Old Jun 6th, 2011, 02:23 PM
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Meant to add that there are free changing rooms at both of the named beaches as well as Red Point (which is noted for the "singing sands" as well as the red beach).
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Old Jun 7th, 2011, 01:50 AM
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on PEI kids always loved jumping off the bridge in Basin Head...nice beach as well
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Old Jun 23rd, 2011, 04:56 PM
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IMHO, Louisbourg does not warrant an entire day & overnight. I would cut Louisbourg & spend more time on The Cabot Trail.

Baddeck has a beautiful golf course: Bell Bay

And, Ingonish has the world renowned Stanley Thompson designed Cape Breton Highlands Golf Course. It's a "links" course. "The Boys" cld golf while you go to the beach!

Ocean
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