The Ultimate Eastern Canada Road Trip Itinerary

November 12, 2017

With ruggedly beautiful landscapes, fresh lobster rolls and friendly faces – Canada’s East Coast is an unforgettable place.

After growing up and living in Canada for most of my life, I finally stepped foot in the Maritimes earlier this year. I planned an epic 16-day East Coast Canada road trip through New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. And let me tell you, it was life-changing.

Personally, I think everyone – especially my fellow Canadians – should experience the East Coast at least once. Because as it turns out, you’re seriously missing out.

I put together this Eastern Canada road trip itinerary to hopefully help you plan your very own adventure! I’ve organized the itinerary by province, so that you have the option to drive just a portion or the entire thing!

If you’ve ever dreamed about frolicking through Green Gables, watching whales leap out of the ocean, and stepping foot in some of Canada’s oldest cities – this trip is for you.

So, what are you waiting for? Quit dreaming and start packing. Because you my friend, are about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime!

EAST COAST CANADA ROAD TRIP ITINERARY 

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NEW BRUNSWICK ITINERARY

New Brunswick is often overshadowed by the other Maritime provinces. Before visiting, I even heard that some people call it the “drive-through province” as tourists tend to pass through while en route to Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island.

Don’t be like those people! New Brunswick ended up being my favourite province of the entire trip. The roads are incredibly scenic and all of the small towns along the Bay of Fundy are picture-perfect.

I have a feeling that this 5-day itinerary will leave you feeling pleasantly surprised by this amazing province. In my opinion, New Brunswick is the underdog of the Maritimes!

canada road trip itinerary

Day 1 & 2: Saint Andrews

If you’re starting from Toronto or Montreal and driving your own car to the East Coast, St. Andrews is the perfect place to start.

With beautiful old buildings, stunning scenery and relaxing resorts, this historic seaside village is like a dream come true! I mean, there are deer walking through the town in the middle of the day – how much more magical can it get?

There are a lot of things to do in St. Andrews and I recommend taking it all in at a leisurely pace. If you’re feeling luxurious, spend two nights at the Algonquin Resort – arguably the most famous building in the entire province! It’s worth a visit even if you’re not spending the night!

Oh, and for some cheap souvenirs – check out the dollar store downtown! I scored some awesome lobster magnets for a $1 each!

Day 3 & 4: Saint John

The journey from Saint Andrews to Saint John only takes about an hour, which is why you should opt for a more scenic route and it up some hidden gems along the way!

Grab a bite to eat at Ossie’s Lunch. The portions are huge and the prices are quite reasonable – it’s no wonder why it’s a local favourite! My boyfriend and I split a “small” seafood platter for $19.95 and we were stuffed for the day! If scenic views are your thing, definitely make a stop at Lepreau Falls. It looks and feels like you’re somewhere totally remote – not 20 minutes outside of the city!

Stay at one of the awesome Airbnb apartments in Saint John for a couple of nights. This will give you the chance to experience the city like a true local and be a part of the action.

Don’t miss out on some of the great sights in Saint John like the Reversing Falls, Imperial Theatre and famous City Market.

Day 5: Hopewell Rocks & Moncton

Driving from Saint John to Moncton, you’ll pass through one of the most beautiful places in the province: Fundy National Park. If you have the time, consider pitching a tent (or booking a yurt) and spending an extra night there. There are some really great hiking trails and beaches. But at the very least, pull over for the scenic lookouts.

Set aside a few hours to walk the ocean floor at the Hopewell Rocks! If the tide isn’t low enough, rent a kayak and explore the beautiful rock formations from the open water. The Bay of Fundy has the world’s most dramatic tides – you don’t want to miss them!

Make your way to Moncton where you can check out the world-famous Magnetic Hill and spend a night before heading to Nova Scotia.

Before leaving New Brunswick, make sure you try out some of their local specialities like Covered Bridge Potato Chips and Sussex Ginger Ale!

NOVA SCOTIA ITINERARY 

You can do anything in Nova Scotia. Walk through some of Canada’s oldest and most-historic cities. Take part in aquatic adventures on the Bay of Fundy and Atlantic Ocean. Or tuck away into unspoiled wilderness that makes up much of the province. Whatever is on your East Coast Canada road trip to-do list – Nova Scotia will have it.

This 7-day itinerary only scratches the surface of what the province has to offer. So, if you have more time, I highly suggest adding a few days to explore the regions of Annapolis Valley and Yarmouth. Going camping in Kejimkujik National Park is now high up on my bucket list!

nova scotia road trip itinerary

Day 1 : Amherst & The Glooscap Trail

Amherst is a small city located just 45 minutes away from Moncton. And although there isn’t much to do in the city itself, the region surrounding Ameherst has a lot to offer! So, after crossing into Nova Scotia, head out on the scenic Glooscap Trail.

This drive will take you past sites like the world-famous Joggins Fossil Cliffs and the small seaside village of Advocate’s Harbour. Make sure to have your camera ready, because we even had a big black bear run in front of our car!

Spend the night at the luxurious Apothic Inn bed and breakfast. I spent a night here on my trip and was just stunned at how beautiful the property is! Fun fact: The original owner was the son of one of the founding members of the Confederation. How’s that for historic?

Day 2 & 3: Lunenburg

Driving from Amherst to Lunenburg takes only a few hours. I recommend getting off the main highway in Upper Tantallon and stopping at the Acadian Maple Products store to pick up some local specialities! From there, take Highway 3 all the way to Lunenburg, driving through some lovely seaside towns like Chester and Mahone Bay.

Book a place in Lunenburg for two nights, because you’ll want ample time to explore this beautiful town and the surrounding attractions! I recommend staying at the classic Lunenburg Inn, which is located just a few steps from the old town and has a seriously delicious breakfast.

Walk around town and visit all of the cute little shops! Don’t forget to take a picture in a whale’s mouth outside of the Fisheries Museum. For a scenic view of the city, head over to the nearby golf course. And at some point during your stay, make sure you visit Blue Rocks! This little community at the end of the coast is a photographer’s dream!

Day 4 & 5: Halifax

No trip to Nova Scotia is complete without visiting the famous Peggy’s Cove! And that’s exactly where you should stop en route from Lunenburg to Halifax. I recommend arriving early, as it can become extremely crowded with tour buses from the city.

I’m going to be totally honest with you… Peggy’s Cove was a big letdown for me. The lighthouse is much smaller than expected and there isn’t much else to do in the town. Regardless, go check it out for yourself and get a photo for your Instagram!

Book an Airbnb in downtown Halifax so you can be close to the action and don’t have to worry about driving into the city. There are plenty of awesome places to check out like the beautiful waterfront, the Citadel and the  recommend walking up to the Citadel and wandering around the waterfront. On your second day, consider taking a day trip to Annapolis Valley.

Day 6 & 7: Cape Breton and the Cabot Trail

The Cabot Trail was hands-down the highlight of my East Coast road trip and I highly recommend you take the time to see it for yourself. It’s a 300km drive across the rugged cliffside of Cape Breton and offers breathtaking coastal views! Needless to say, it’s kind of a big deal.

If you’re feeling adventurous, plan a hike on the famous Skyline Trail. Not only are you pretty much guaranteed to spot a moose, but you’ll also be rewarded with some of the best views of the trip!

Getting to Cape Breton will take several hours from Halifax and driving the Cabot Trail will take an entire day on it’s own. So, book two nights here. I stayed at this really cute place called the Iona Heights Inn which had an amazing view and an even better chocolate shop on site!

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND ITINERARY

Bring your childhood dreams to life in Prince Edward Island – home of Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables. From coast to coast, the island is covered in rich red soil, lush fields and lovely seaside villages.

Being the smallest province, I think 4 days will give you plenty of time to explore Prince Edward Island. But if you have more time, consider adding a few days to complete all of the scenic drives.

things to do in prince edward island

Day 1 & 2: Charlottetown

The entire island is fairly easy to navigate, so whether you come in by ferry or bridge, it should be a quick and painless drive to the capital city, Charlottetown.

Book yourself two nights near downtown – I personally recommend the Sonata Inn, which is a beautiful house right in the historic centre. Spend a day walking through the city, admiring the beautiful architecture and enjoying some of the delicious treats like Anne of Green Gables Chocolate Shop or the famous Cow’s ice cream! Seriously, I’ll be dreaming about that place for years to come.

Alternatively, you could just sit back and relax on an exciting city bus tour of Charlottetown!

And if you have the time, consider making the drive to the nearby Port-la-Joye-Fort or driving to the Eastern side of the island.

Day 3: Cavendish

Fancy visiting Green Gables, sampling some local potatoes or swimming at one of the red sand beaches? Cavendish is the place for you. The region is totally built on tourism, so you’ll be able to find anything from Avonlea Village to an entire amusement park!

But you should know that after September 1st, nearly everything is completely shut down. Seriously, it was kind of creepy.

Consider staying at this awesome Airbnb in Oyster Creek. I spent a night here and loved the location right on the river – you can even use the canoes for free! Use my Airbnb referral link to score a $40 discount on your first stay!

Tip: Don’t buy an overpriced Raspberry Cordial at the souvenir shop, just get it from a local grocery store instead! You will easy save $3 off a bottle!

Day 4: Summerside

Spend your last day driving one of the scenic routes or hitting up a local beach. Finish it off in the Acadian port town of Summerside, which has a beautiful boardwalk on the water. It’s the second largest city in Prince Edward Island but still feels so small.

I opted to spend the night 15 minutes outside of the city in a lovely place called Rogers Island Getaway B&B. The owner was extremely welcoming and cooked up the best eggs Benedict I’ve ever had in my life! Highly recommended.

What does your Eastern Canada Road Trip look like?

There are so many wonderful places to see in Eastern Canada, that it would impossible to fit them all on one list. Or, on one trip for that matter!

So, leave yourself enough time to slowly explore these beautiful places and don’t try to rush! IF you only have a week, consider just visiting one or two provinces. It just gives you an excuse to come back again next year!

For instance, I really wanted to visit Newfoundland and Labrador but unfortunately didn’t have enough time (or extra cash for the ferry) to make it work this time.

If you’re currently planning an east coast road trip or if you’ve been on one before, I want to hear your recommendations! Where did you visit? Do you have any insider tips? 



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20 Comments

  • Steffi

    Looks like some great itineraries and stunning landscapes! I went to Canada for the first time this year, loved it although it was super cold!

    November 12, 2017 at 14:42 Reply
    • Maya

      Thanks Steffi!

      The landscapes are SO stunning. It’s like a different world out there. And yes, it can get really cold!! That’s probably why we love our coffee so much! 😉

      November 12, 2017 at 17:27 Reply
  • Alexandra

    That sounds so lovely! I wanted to do this but in the other direction 😉 towards Vancouver. But honestly it comes down to time and money where I can’t just pick up and go! I’ve planned every single year to do a road trip but it would always get cancelled due to funds and time! Glad you got to experience this ! 😊

    November 12, 2017 at 15:40 Reply
  • Rachel

    These are places I want to visit in the near future! Thanks for the travel and lodging recommendations.

    November 12, 2017 at 16:50 Reply
    • Maya

      That’s awesome Rachel! Eastern Canada should definitely be on your list! 🙂

      November 12, 2017 at 17:28 Reply
  • Gabriella

    It looks like you had an amazing trip!! All of the views were stunning. Despite being neighbors, I can honestly say I don’t know that much about Canada or things to do there. I’ve never even heard of lobster rolls (but I love lobster, so I’m most definitely looking forward to trying it one day! This may seem like a dumb question, but when you said the original owner of the Apothic Inn was the son of one of the founders of the confederation, was that the American confederation or the Canadian Confederation? If Canadian, I definitely need to brush up on Canadian history, I didn’t even know Canada had a confederation lol.

    November 12, 2017 at 17:51 Reply
    • Maya

      Gabriella, your comment made me laugh! 🙂

      If you love lobster, then you will definitely LOVE lobster rolls! They are a speciality in New England as well, but the Canadian version comes on a nice toasted bun!

      And, I was referring to the Canadian Confederation! Don’t feel too bad though, I’m not that great at American history either.. so I think we’re even! 😉

      November 14, 2017 at 14:44 Reply
  • Yukti

    Canada is always on my wishlist for it nature, hills, and peaceful places. You have listed helpful itinerary and I am saving it for my future east coast tour in Canada. Prince Edward island is so photogenic

    November 12, 2017 at 19:03 Reply
    • Maya

      Canada is definitely a peaceful place Yukti! If you ever get a chance, I highly recommend doing a road trip to Prince Edward Island! 🙂

      November 14, 2017 at 14:48 Reply
  • Stefan

    Wow, some amazing pictures you have there Maya!

    This is a super helpful itinerary and I’m definitely going to favorites it so I can refer back to it when I’m planning my next Canadian road trip.

    Lots of hidden gems and some great advice in here that’s bound to be really helpful for travelers!

    Plus I definitely can’t wait to try a lobster roll!

    November 12, 2017 at 21:35 Reply
    • Maya

      Thanks so much Stefan! Lobster rolls are the best part of the East Coast! 😉

      November 14, 2017 at 14:48 Reply
  • Sarmistha Goswami

    Love this post! Very informative with beautiful images. I am not from Canada and no plans of visiting any time soon, but if I do, I am sure to follow as many of your tips as I can 🙂
    Thanks for sharing.

    November 13, 2017 at 09:19 Reply
    • Maya

      Thank you Sarmistha! You should definitely plan a visit to Canada in the future! 🙂

      November 14, 2017 at 14:53 Reply
  • Helene

    I have never been to Canada! This country is so beautiful, i loved Nova Scotia! Awesome photos Maya!
    Helene

    November 13, 2017 at 09:34 Reply
    • Maya

      Helene, you are seriously missing out! If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend a visit! 🙂

      November 14, 2017 at 14:45 Reply
  • krista

    omg I LOVE this! my mom’s side of the family is from Cape Breton and I showed her this and she was ALL over it and loving it! I would love love to copy this one day! Canada is such a beautiful place!

    November 14, 2017 at 03:29 Reply
    • Maya

      Thanks Krista!

      That is SO cool. Have you been to Cape Breton before? It was honestly one of my favourite places from the entire trip. Such a beautiful and unique spot in Canada! 🙂

      November 14, 2017 at 14:55 Reply
  • roamy

    Hi there
    Thanks for sharing,I`m from Europe so I have never been to Canada but it has always been a dream, reading your post make me realize this is a dream I have to make come true soon.

    November 14, 2017 at 13:39 Reply
    • Maya

      Thanks for reading Roamy! You should definitely visit one day! 🙂

      November 14, 2017 at 14:55 Reply

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