10-day trip Eastern Canada

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  • Mar 21st, 2017 2:07 pm
Mar 8, 2017
1 posts

10-day trip Eastern Canada

Planning a 10-day trip with my wife, flying from Vancouver to Halifax. Would like to travel around NS, PEI, NB, and Quebec. Flying from Montreal back to Vancouver.
Renting a car for 10 days, picking up at Halifax and dropping off at Montreal will cost at least $770 which seems too expensive (?)
I wonder if you guys could suggest cheaper / more interesting ways to get around the cities. I am open to taking public transit, ride share, ferries, etc ... although I don't think we are fit enough to bike across the cities.
Other than that, general suggestions about what to see and where to go is very much welcomed. At this point we haven't planned anything yet other than having our plane tickets booked.
11 replies
Nov 24, 2008
300 posts
Dartmouth NS
That car rental fee sounds about right. It's not cheap to rent a car here, but you have time to find some deals to bring the price down. What you won't be able to avoid is the fee charged for a drop-off in another province. Try to depart from somewhere in the Maritimes and see if that will bring your rental fee down.

Not a lot of options for travelling sans vehicle here, but you can try:
Also, Google for shuttle services in the provinces as there are a few private companies doing shuttles between Halifax and other destinations like Yarmouth, Charlottetown, Cape Breton Island, etc. I don't remember the names but with Halifax having the largest international airport and specialized healthcare services in the area you'll find a few people trying to do the same thing you are.

As for suggestions, try searching this forum for information. There are some very detailed posts on vacations to the area and you might be able to put together an itinerary of must-see, must-do and we can help with any questions.
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May 29, 2006
8824 posts
770 seems cheap for returning it to another city.
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Dec 22, 2011
321 posts
Been to the maritime many times driving from Toronto.After the first time,found myself lured back to P.E.I for week long vacations at a cottage/resort.So much to see and do there from the beaches to the lighthouses,Anne of Green Gables etc.North Rustico lobster suppers is a must.Nova Scotia is also wonderful, I've spent a couple of days just in Halifax.Make sure to take a day and drive the Cabot Trail,views are outstanding and make sure to stop at the small towns along the way.Whale watching in the bay of fundy is a must,we went out from Truro in NS.There is alot to see in New Brunswick as well from the Hopewell Rocks to Saint Andrews to name a couple.And of course you have to stop in Quebec City on the way to Montreal.One word of advise,book all accommodations as early as possible as everything gets booked out there.10 days not enough time to see everything and relax a bit plus all the driving.See New Brunswick for next time and see more in NS and relax a bit more in P.E.I.Get all the tourism books for each province,was a big help.
Jr. Member
Nov 30, 2015
186 posts
Good info. I've been thinking about doing this trip too but driving east from Toronto and coming back west through the USA side. Not sure yet if I can do it this year but it's on my bucket list of things to enjoy.
Deal Addict
Aug 12, 2004
3893 posts
Car is your only option. Canada is a big country and Halifax to Montreal is a 12 hour drive. That is longer than driving from Paris to Prague to put it in perspective.

Since it sounds like you already booked plane tickets ahead of time, make sure to plan your hotels on the way ahead of time. You can spend a day in Quebec City, day or two in Montreal, 2-3 in Nova Scotia, 1 in PEI, and one for parts of New Brunswick and whale watching, the rest reserved for travelling and some extra leeway
Deal Guru
Mar 20, 2003
10058 posts
Moncton, NB
nicry1 has a lot of the highlights listed, but if you plan on seeing 4 provinces in 10 days you won't get to do most of that. You'll be feeling really rushed in fact, the trip might end up being pretty stressful.

But anyways, you definitely NEED a car as things you'll want to do aren't necessarily close to the big centers. If I was going to do this trip, which again I believe you'll be incredibly rushed, I'd spend 2 days near Halifax, 2 days PEI, 2 days NB, 2 days Quebec City and 2 days Montreal. And you have to understand that with the distance you'll be losing 1-2 days behind the wheel.

Halifax is a good start, the city itself is worth seeing then you can take a day to get to Peggy's Cove and Lunenberg... then from NS you can take the ferry to PEI that takes you to the East end which is lovely, although with little to do... but ~45 minutes away is Charlottetown and from there another 30 minutes to Cavendish which is what most people do on PEI anyways. Then you'd take the Confederation bridge over to NB and head towards Moncton (maybe see Shediac on the way). Moncton is a pretty boring city but from there you can get to The Rocks, Fundy National Park, etc... then you could follow the coast (its nice, but you'll be driving for hours!) if you want to get towards QC or drive up by Fredericton. The 'quick' Moncton to QC drive is about 5 hours if I recall, and that's just to hit the province, then it's another 2-3 hours to Quebec City. You'd want to spend a couple of days there, it's beautiful and then from there drive to MTL and spend another couple of days.
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Oct 25, 2009
3795 posts
There is some nice competition now on the Halifax-Montréal airline route: Porter, Westjet and AirCanada. Renting in Halifax and returning to Halifax will save you $350. You don't need a car in Montreal. Halifax, Cape Breton, PEI and a beach in New Brunswick will keep you busy for most of your vacation. If you really hate back tracking, take the ferry from Digby NS to Saint John NB. If you go to Saint John, you can take the Fundy Trail parkway from Saint Martins. Note, unlike the Northumberland Straight, the Fundy Bay is too cold to swim.

You could also explore Halifax on foot, skip Cape Breton, take Maritime Bus to Charlottetown, rent a car there and do the island. Then Maritime bus all the way to Quebec City (or to Moncton and take the train) on a mostly overnight bus ride (or train). Explore Quebec City on foot. Train (Via) or bus (Orléans Express) to Montreal (Both very frequent). Explore Montreal on foot.

I love Parlee Beach in Shediac. There is a restaurant, 2 cantines (the one on the east side is inexplicably cheaper), The water is warm if not hot, and people usually outnumber the bugs and jelly fish, no mean feet in the Maritimes. The nearby wharf is a bit kitschy, but a nice place to spend an evening or to take a break from sunbathing/swimming.

Many Quebeckers will come to Parlee Beach and spend their entire 2 week vacation there. Maybe with an excursion to PEI, Hopewell Rocks, the Magic Mountain water park and the Pays de la Saguine. Some local Monctonians swear by l'Aboiteau further east. Others, gasp, have their favourite spot on a lake (a lake!).
Toronto is a very small part of Canada
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Jul 5, 2004
22788 posts
If it's possible for you to cancel your tickets, I would skip Quebec completely. You'll be busy enough for those 10 days without Quebec included.
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Jun 11, 2010
72 posts
10 days is definitely a short time to see all of that. Living in halifax, I would suggest finding a place to stay downtown so you can walk most places that you want to explore. haifax has a lot of history that many people don't even realize (i'm originally from N. Delta so I'm not talking it up for hometown pride either lol) Pier 21 is really interesting and the seaport market on the weekend is good to get some breakfast and coffee and stroll around. Although touristy, the harbour hopper is a really good time and gives you a lot of halifax info/history for the amount of time you're on it., and it's a good way to see the city. If you have a car, I would suggest taking a drive to peggy's cove. Lunenburg and mahone bay are nice but i'd say it's a full day trip and good if you wanna just walk around and get lunch or something. You could check out "the ovens" down that way. Halifax has two ferries that run between the halifax and dartmouth dowtowns. It's part of the regular transit system. transit isn't the greatest and a car will get you around much faster. If you're the type of person that just wants to party, there's a casino and a lot of clubs. The downtown area is small enough that you could walk most places.

I used to go to pei once a year to the country and it's nice to see but not a lot going on. charlottetown is pretty but unless there's a festival or something going, it's pretty low key. i'd plan a night, maybe two. like it was said before it's a great place to get a cottage an relax for a week.

I took the family on a road trip from halifax to montreal. we stayed the night in fredericton. I've also been out to moncton and st. john a few times for different things. They have some big car shows and concerts in the summer but I've never found anything particularly appealing about NB.

I loved quebec. We spent one night in quebec city and went to the aquarium. montreal was fine for getting around without english, but it was harder in quebec city. going to both the grocery store and the pharmacy beside our hotel, the cashiers didn't speak english. Everyone was extremely nice though and I got through with my few french phrases. We spent 4 days in montreal and it wasn't enough time. Went to the zoo an hour outside the city and spent the rest exploring the city. I would budget most of my time for halifax and quebec unless there is something you really wanna see in pei and NB.
User avatar
Dec 22, 2011
321 posts
Yeah, u could definitely cut a few things with only 10 days,but if you have a car,I would definitely take a day and drive the Cabot trail,the views are incredible.Ive camped in Cape Breton Highlands national park for a couple of days because I made that part of our east coast camping trip that year,man what a great place.But again,whatever you decide,book early,even camping was full when we went.
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Dec 20, 2012
148 posts
You're going to waste a lot of time driving if you want to include Quebec city and Montreal.
I would stick with 3 nights each in NS, NB and PEI as these provinces are beautiful on their own.