The Maritimes Trip

Apr 17th, 2003, 06:07 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
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The Maritimes Trip

My family is planning a 14-15 day trip to the Canadian Atlantic area for mid-summer. We live in southcentral PA and plan to drive. I'd like some good feedback on which areas I should go to (2 kids ages 13 and 9). Should Newfoundland be out of the question this go-round? I really don't want to get into that "rush here-rush there" routine, but would like to get a good exposure to the different islands. We plan on hotels as well as spending a few days here and there camping. Opinions on very good campgrounds (or ones to avoid)? Any reasonably priced hotelscottages recommended?
waltd is offline  
Apr 17th, 2003, 07:06 PM
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We were in Atlantic Canada last summer. Personally I don't think you'll make it to all 4 provinces in 14 - 15 days - that would be too rushed. We saw Nova Scotia and New Brunswick only - I realize everyone says that you 'have' to see Cape Breton (part of Nova Scotia) and PEI - but we didn't want to feel rushed. Newfoundland is quite a distance from the rest of the provinces (the time zone is actually a 1/2 hour different) and I think you'd spend a fair amount of time just getting there.

Re advice on kids - can't help you there, but I'm sure others will have good ideas.
SusanInToronto is offline  
Apr 18th, 2003, 01:29 AM
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I would suggest Newfoundland be a separate trip and try to do two of the other provinces at least.

Where do you plan on entering the Maritimes? There are several options. If coming through New England, you could take a ferry from either Portland or Bar Harbour (Bar Harbour has the high speed CAT ferry). You would enter Nova Scotia via Yarmouth. From there you can drive across Nova Scotia. Specifically when are you coming? There are several campgrounds along the way and some wonderful beaches to explore. The city of Halifax will have lots for you to do. The Busker Festival is usually in July with lots happening on the waterfront. Cape Breton is awesome and I don't think your kids would be disappointed. The Fortress Louisbourg, Miners Museum, Cabot Trail (do they like hiking?) and whale watching are just a few of the things you can enjoy. Ingonish at the "top of the trail" has a wonderful beach and campground.

PEI boasts warm waters and great beaches. Also the Cavendish area has lots of campgrounds, theme parks, etc. Do your kids know of Anne of Green Gables? Every summer a production takes place in Charlottetown - I recommend it.

New Brunsick has lots to offer as well and if you are entering through that Province, you will be able to find lots for the kids to see.

If you can give us more info on what your likes and dislikes are, I'll be most happy to help you out.

Tanya is offline  
Apr 18th, 2003, 07:10 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Hi Walt:

I grew up in New Brunswick and traveled it extensively (including a bicycle tour during my university days) ... just head for I-95 North & keep going, as it actually stays I-95 after the border until it hits the Trans Canada highway just outside of of Woodstock NB (alternative you can take a side road at Bangor for the Calais/St Stephen border) - I'd take the Woodstock route & head for Fredericton (stopping at Mactaquac & Kings Landing along the way and with Fredericton you have the prettiest city in NB), then head for Saint John & Fundy National Park (highest tides in the world), then Moncton (well skip on through to Shediac or Cap Pele for the beach), then head for the Confederation Bridge & PEI (I'd skip the northern half of NB, while I grewup in Bathurst,the northern part of NB is just trees/potato farms/fishing villages and you'll have had your fill of that during your drive through Maine) ...

PEI has everything from Tanya's note ... and I think there is still a ferry from PEI to Pictou NS (Wood Islands PEI to Carabou NS), then head for Cape Breton & the Cabot Trail and along the south shore to Halifax, Yarmouth with the boat to Bar Harbor (again as per Tanya's note) & head home ...

While Newfoundland is beautiful & the people are amazing, you'll lose the better part of 2 days on the boat/waiting for the boat, the weather can be unpredictable (even in summer, last time I was there camping our water bucket frooze one night & that was in July) & the Cabot Trail loop will give you most of the same experience.

As for camping, with the age of your kids just head for the provincial & national parks as they are all very good (while most of the private parks are also good, they tend to be a little further away from the sites & can be a little 'louder' from the teens who are camping & who can't get into the bigger parks).

And as a reminder, while the roads you will be on in Atlantic Canada will mostly be the Trans Canada Highway, there are still long stretchs of 2 lane roads without dividers ... every year there are accidents entering New Brunswick involving people who have just come off long drives along the Ontario/Quebec or I-95 divided highways, they get to the highway in NB after a long drive & are just an hour or two from their destination and forget that its not a divided highway anymore & attempt to pass into oncoming traffic ...

Sorry to end on a bit of a down note, but it would be careless of me not to mention it ...

But enjoy the trip, it is a beautiful area (& your US $$ will go a long way) ...
TravelMaster is offline  
Apr 19th, 2003, 08:51 AM
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To SusaninToronto: Tanya: and TarvelMaster: Many thanks for your inputs and observations. I've pretty much decided to skip Newfoundland due to the distance and time limitations. The high speed ferry from Bar Harbor might be useful to save some driving time, if only one way. Bay of Fundy is a must (my wife has spent a lifetime wanting to see it; also, in geography class, there was always the question: "What bay has the highest tides in the world"?
I agree that Canada's provincial/national parks are mostly winners, so that will be a likely part of the trip. Again, many thanks for all the good tips.
waltd is offline  
Apr 21st, 2003, 03:56 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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If you are coming to NB, Deffinatly visit Fredericton, and Moncton. St. Andrews is another really popular tourist spot. If you are camping in NB, in Fredericton area, stay at Mactiquac Provincial Park. It is beautiful, has a beach (fresh water) a golf green, non moterized boat rentals, and lots of other stuff. Locals go there all the time. Do camp at Fundy National park for sure.
LissaJ is offline  
Apr 21st, 2003, 03:54 PM
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LisaJ: Many thanks. Very good tips which I have added to my planning.
waltd is offline  

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