From the rugged Atlantic coastline to the wave-ravaged rim of the Bay of Fundy and the gentle shores of Northumberland Strait, the area east and north of Halifax is characterized by contrasts. The road toward Cape Breton meanders past thinly populated fishing villages and thick forests, whereas attractive towns and sandy beaches border Northumberland Strait. The Fundy Shore, meanwhile, scores points for dramatic scenery—expect steep cliffs harboring prehistoric fossils and intense tides that draw back to reveal the muddy sea floor.
This region has three excellent driving routes. The 316-km (196-mile) Sunrise Trail wends its way along Northumberland Strait, from the wild Tantramar Marsh in Amherst (on the New Brunswick border) to the thriving college town of Antigonish. The 315-km (195-mile) Marine Drive travels through romantic seaside villages and the living-history museum in Sherbrooke. Highlights on the 365-km (226-mile) Glooscap Trail include a majestic lighthouse at Cape d’Or and the notable fossil finds in Joggins. Any one leg could be done comfortably in two days from Halifax with a single overnight along the way.