7-Day Maritime Provinces Driving Tour

It may be possible to touch down in all four of Atlantic Canada’s provinces in one week, but such a rushed schedule is neither practical nor enjoyable. Therefore, in this itinerary, we’ll stick to the three Maritime provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island). This itinerary assumes you have your own vehicle or a rental.

Day 1

Arrive in Halifax and spend the afternoon exploring the downtown precinct; include a visit to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and a tour of Alexander Keith’s Brewery. Enjoy your first evening in the city by tucking into seafood at an outdoor waterfront restaurant such as Salty’s. For lodging, choose The Halliburton for historic charm or the Prince George Hotel for modern conveniences.

Sailboats on display inside the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.
If you visit just one museum in Nova Scotia,
make it the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Photo © Andrew Hempstead.

Day 2

Rise early to beat the crowd to Peggy’s Cove, then follow the scenic coastal route through Chester to Mahone Bay. After lunch, spend time admiring the local arts and crafts scene and walk along the waterfront to view the trio of waterfront churches. At nearby Lunenburg, you’ll find enough time for a sunset harbor cruise before turning in for the night at the Spinnaker Inn.

Day 3

Drive across southwestern Nova Scotia to Annapolis Royal and spend the afternoon exploring North America’s oldest downtown street as well as attractions like Port-Royal National Historic Site. Guest rooms at the Garrison Inn reflect the town’s gracious past.

A rental at the Seaside Beach Resort in St. Andrews.
For a stay within walking distance of downtown, book a room at the Seaside Beach Resort. Photo © Andrew Hempstead.

Day 4

Catch the ferry from Digby to Saint John and drive down the coast to St. Andrews, where you can do what visitors have done for over a century—browse through the boutiques, enjoy Kingsbrae Garden, and dine on seafood. Have a room reserved at Seaside Beach Resort, unless it’s a special occasion, in which case you’ll want to spend the night at the Kingsbrae Arms.

Day 5

Drive along the Fundy Coast to Fundy National Park. Plan on at least one hike (Dickson Falls is an easy walk) and time your early afternoon departure for low tide at Hopewell Rocks, where you can “walk on the ocean floor.” Continue north across the Confederation Bridge to the Shipwright Inn in Charlottetown.

The Green Gables house on Prince Edward Island.
Green Gables House is the most popular of many “Anne attractions” in and around Cavendish. Photo © Andrew Hempstead.

Day 6

Spend some time in the island capital, where Province House is a highlight, but also head north to Cavendish to soak up the story of Anne of Green Gables at Green Gables Heritage Place and explore the beachfront national park. Either way, the last ferry of the day departs Wood Islands at 7:30 pm, and you’ll need to be on it to reach Pictou and your room at the waterfront Consulate Inn.

Day 7

Drive to Halifax. If time allows, fit in a few more city sights. The Halifax Citadel National Historic Site and the Public Gardens should be at the top of your list.

Nova Scotia
New Brunswick
Prince Edward Island
Saint John and The Fundy Coast
Downtown Charlottetown

Andrew Hempstead

About the Author

While writing Moon Nova Scotia & Atlantic Canada, Andrew Hempstead traveled extensively through all four provinces. He feasted on traditional rappie pie along the Acadian Coast, viewed the wonders of Prince Edward Island through the eyes of his children, and drove the entire length of the Trans-Labrador Highway. These diverse experiences, along with input from untold numbers of locals and a love of the outdoors, created this guidebook.
As a professional travel writer, Andrew spends as much time as possible out on the road. During his travels, he experiences the many and varied delights of Nova Scotia the same way his readers do.
Since the early 1990s, Andrew has authored and updated more than 60 guidebooks, and supplied content for regional and national clients like Expedia and KLM. His photography has appeared in a wide variety of media, ranging from international golf magazines to a Ripley's Believe it or Not! Museum.
Andrew and his wife Dianne also own Summerthought Publishing, a Canadian regional publisher of nonfiction books. He is a member of The Diners Club® World's 50 Best Restaurants Academy. Andrew has also spoken on travel writing to a national audience and has contributed to a university-level travel writing textbook.

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