10 nights, 11 days is not enough time to spend in the three beautiful Canadian Maritimes provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick. But between school and internship, that was the time we had to spare – and so we embarked on a road trip with a rather crazy schedule!
Itinerary (detailed blog posts linked)
Our trip was heavily centered on four national parks in the region: Cape Breton Highlands, P.E.I., Fundy, and Kejimkujik. While all four were somewhat related to the coast and different water bodies, they had very different “themes”, which made for a good diversity of experiences. Cape Breton was a coastal drive with hikes leading to plateaus and canyons, P.E.I. had dunes and long shorelines to cycle on, Fundy had the flowerpot rocks in the nearby Hopewell Provincial Park and hikes to waterfalls, Keji was great for kayaking with all the waterways spreading out from Lake Keji.
Day 1-2 : Halifax & Eastern Shore
Day 3-4 : Cape Breton Highlands NP
Day 5-6 : Prince Edward Island
Day 7-8 : Hopewell Rocks, Fundy NP
Day 9 : Digby whale watching
Day 10 : Kejimkujik NP
Day 11 : Lighthouse Trail
We mostly camped out in the national parks (which can be reserved on the Parks Canada website), other than two nights in airbnb-s in the cities and two nights in other campgrounds (Nimrod’s near Sherbrooke, and in Risser’s Beach provincial park). The experience was really great, as the campgrounds were well equipped with showers, toilets, and different types of pits for campfires. Wood and ice were easily bought from the headquarters whenever we had need.
Night 1 : Halifax, airbnb (NS)
Night 2 : Nimrod’s Campground (NS)
Night 3 : Ingonish Campground (NS)
Night 4 : Cheticamp Campground (NS)
Night 5 : Stanhope Campground (PEI)
Night 6 : Cavendish Campground (PEI)
Night 7 : Point Wolfe Campground (NB)
Night 8 : Saint John, airbnb (NB)
Night 9 : Jeremy Bay Campground (NS)
Night 10 : Risser’s Beach Campground (NS)
Flying in to Halifax, we spent a day exploring the city before renting a car from the city center (easily accessible by public bus). To get to P.E.I., we took the ferry from Pictou, and to get to N.B., the confederate bridge. From N.B. back to N.S., we took the ferry again, this time from Saint John to Digby. This was my first time driving onto ferries and while I was a bit nervous about it, the people handling the loading and unloading of vehicles were very friendly and well organized, giving very clear directions about how and where to park in the very cramped spaces, as well as whose turn it was to move off when we reached. Definitely a good experience!
The great advantage of doing this road trip in 2017 was that entry to national parks were free because of the 150th anniversary celebrations all across Canada! Otherwise, a rough estimate of the cost of the trip is as follows:
Camping: <30CAD per day
Car: <700CAD for 10 days + <150 petrol
P.E.I. bridge toll: <50CAD
Bike in P.E.I.: (20CAD for 4 hours)
Whale watch at Tiverton: <100CAD per person
Kayak in Keji: (40CAD for a double, full day)
What I would change
Double the time spent in every single place! I’d have loved to explore the quieter trails and villages around each campsite and to make more stops along the way (notably in P.E.I. and the southern coast of Nova Scotia both east and west of Halifax). There is nothing that I would have wanted to remove from the itinerary, each place had its own charm and made for great memories. My favourite was perhaps Prince Edward Island, but that’s because Anne of Green Gables biased me from my childhood, the beauty of the island and the warmth of her people lived up to my expectations. An unexpected gem would definitely be Kejimkujik – we only had time for one day on the kayak up Mersey river, but moving through the waterways over multiple days while camping on islands would definitely be so much more fun given the right equipment.