Boston to Halifax

May 13th, 2011, 10:58 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 95
Boston to Halifax

We're starting to think about a road trip from Boston to Halifax along the east coast in late summer/fall of next year. We know almost nothing about this area. Can we do it in two weeks and what are the must-see sights?
mbloggs is offline  
May 14th, 2011, 02:12 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
Well, I'll start the discussion with a few bullet points:

1. the cities of Portsmouth, NH, and Portland, ME, are both worth a night, two at the latter so you can ride the mail boat through the islands. They have thriving downtowns and many good places to eat and drink, in addition to good waterfronts. You might hit one on the way up, the other on the way back to Boston.
2. many of the highways through Maine do not go right along the coast itself, which is a series of indented peninsulas. Therefore, much of the main highway, certainly south of Rockland, is not at all scenic. You have to drive down the peninsulas to see what people go to Maine to see. This makes the trip a lot longer than the direct mileage would suggest.
3. there is a narrow window of time when it is ideal to travel this route. Public schools generally start toward the end of August, so families begin leaving mid-August, making it less crowded and allowing you to get along without reservations. Perhaps. On the other hand, a lot of stuff starts closing right after Labor Day or is open weekends only. You will be far too early for fall color, but the weather ought to be really pleasant. Take a sweater for evenings if you are not used to New England in late summer.
4. you don't say where you are from or whether you will be driving your own car, but you will need to arrange in advance to take it into Canada. If it is your own car, you will need a "Canada Card" from your insurance company to show evidence of coverage over the border, and if you have a rental, the company will have to give you written permission to drive it in Canada. And you will have to drive it back because the cost of leaving it in Canada and flying home is likely to be prohibitive.

So, over to others! Have a great trip.
Ackislander is offline  
May 14th, 2011, 02:22 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 95
Thanks Ackislander. We're coming from Australia so your advice about car hire is really valuable. We were planning to spend another week around Halifax and then leave the car and get the train across to Toronto and fly home from there, but will need to rethink given the cost of leaving the car in Canada.
mbloggs is offline  
May 21st, 2011, 04:35 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 999
Hi mbloggs, we leave from Oz to Boston in 3 weeks and I have to second the whole rental care advice. We could not make it work leaving in Canada so we will now also drive back to Boston - think of it as an opportunity to see more I guess!
Something for you to think about also with rental cars... I have always used but after reading a post on Fodors (from another Aussie) I looked at the thrifty uk site and got a MUCH better deal. The US sites of course don't offer the full insurance that we are used to because many of their private car insurance policies cover them for a rental car.
ozgirl is offline  
May 21st, 2011, 08:27 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,469
I have driven between the two listed cities more than once and I think I would consider taking the speedy, inland route on the way TO Halifax so as to assure plenty of time for seeing the best of the Atlantic Provinces of Canada. Then, upon return, perhaps you would go through Moncton, NB, then down to Hopewell Cape, and through Fundy National Park, to St. John, and then cross the border at Calais, Maine... before seeing what you can of the Maine coastal region.

I wish the car aggravation would resolve itself somehow, but I don't think it is going to be easy to overcome.

I do know that you'll have fun filling a couple of weeks in the area between and surrounding Halifax and Boston.
NorthwestMale is offline  
May 22nd, 2011, 11:50 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,829
Very good advice from Ackislander. You can indeed spend one or two worthy sightseeing days in Portland and Portsmouth.

Will only add that Acadia National Park is a lovely place to visit for a couple days, though you'll be in there at high season when it'll probably be crowded. Still, a gorgeous place to experience.
bachslunch is offline  
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