Travel

Which maritime province for 4 days in may?

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  • Feb 15th, 2018 6:46 pm
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Dec 3, 2008
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Which maritime province for 4 days in may?

Fiancé and I will be doing a short 4 day trip in May. We've never been to the east coast of Canada so figured that'd be a nice place to visit.

We are outdoorsy people we enjoy hiking backpacking and camping. I also like to visit historical and cultural sites, she likes to get photos for the gram.

Looking for a nice easy and relaxing trip.
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Nova Scotia or PEI for sure. Halifax and Charlottetown are both great city centres to root yourself and many great day trips can be had from either. Halifax has a bunch of historical and cultural sites to feed that need.

My other suggestion would be spending the days hiking and camping on the Cabot Trail. It's simply amazing.
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Oct 18, 2014
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My vote is for Halifax since it is your first time in the Maritimes.
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I took an 8 day Eastern Canada trip last year with my fiancé via Tai Pan tours. My trip was characterized by ~8 hours of sitting in a coach bus every day with ~2-4 attractions per day. The sites are pretty far apart in the Maritimes. So better work out your logistics. You're probably looking at basing your trip in Halifax since that's the most accessible place. Can take an airplane to Halifax.

Food is one of the main reasons I travel and lets just say it's not going to be very different since you're still within Canada. Seafood is better? Definitely but it's not like you can't find fresh seafood in other provinces. GTA for example has a lot of places with fresh seafood. My tour took us to a lot of "Chinese Buffets" and we stopped by Sobey's several times. In these provinces the population density is pretty low so you're going to see a lot of franchises.
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4 days is pretty short. I hope you're flying there, so you're basically limited to places near the airport.
My vote is also on Halifax and surrounding areas such as Peggy's Cove.
Will you be renting a car?
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13inches wrote: Nova Scotia or PEI for sure. Halifax and Charlottetown are both great city centres to root yourself and many great day trips can be had from either. Halifax has a bunch of historical and cultural sites to feed that need.

My other suggestion would be spending the days hiking and camping on the Cabot Trail. It's simply amazing.
Cabots Trail seems like a great way to spend a couple days I will take a look at this and see what she says. Thank you.
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McKinsey wrote: My vote is for Halifax since it is your first time in the Maritimes.
Thank you, I think I will look into Halifax and surrounding areas.
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DragonRider wrote: 4 days is pretty short. I hope you're flying there, so you're basically limited to places near the airport.
My vote is also on Halifax and surrounding areas such as Peggy's Cove.
Will you be renting a car?
Yeah, I don't want to burn too many vacation days. Will be going to Vegas in March and saving the remaining days for later in the year.
We will definitely be flying in and I'm 99% sure I'll be renting a car.

Halifax seems to be the consensus I'll start doing some research on what to do in that area.

Thank you
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BananaHunter wrote: I took an 8 day Eastern Canada trip last year with my fiancé via Tai Pan tours. My trip was characterized by ~8 hours of sitting in a coach bus every day with ~2-4 attractions per day. The sites are pretty far apart in the Maritimes. So better work out your logistics. You're probably looking at basing your trip in Halifax since that's the most accessible place. Can take an airplane to Halifax.

Food is one of the main reasons I travel and lets just say it's not going to be very different since you're still within Canada. Seafood is better? Definitely but it's not like you can't find fresh seafood in other provinces. GTA for example has a lot of places with fresh seafood. My tour took us to a lot of "Chinese Buffets" and we stopped by Sobey's several times. In these provinces the population density is pretty low so you're going to see a lot of franchises.
Thanks for the information! We will be doing our own thing so I will have a car- we are also the type to rent a car and drive everywhere when we travel. Our last 2 trips were Hawaii and Iceland where we rented a car and just drove the whole island(s).
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Georgie336 wrote: Cabots Trail seems like a great way to spend a couple days I will take a look at this and see what she says. Thank you.
If you enjoy hiking etc., Cabot Trail is definitely a better option. However, please don't try to cover Halifax and Cabot Trail in one 4 day trip. If you want to visit Cabot Trail, fly to Sydney, NS instead. Take your time going through the trail, enjoy the atmosphere and don't rush through it. Look for dance halls in the evening. Remember to stay in bed and breakfast and not motels. Chat up with the owners and guests. That's how you'll enjoy the culture and heritage.
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Mar 13, 2014
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Saint John for history and outdoor activities. Saint John area is the only UNESCO geopark in NA. https://stonehammergeopark.com. It’s also the oldest incorporated city on the country with lots of history, architecture, friendly people and a little slower pace than Halifax. As a second choice I would say Halifax, larger city and doesn’t have as much of the maritime charm as the smaller cities in the region but still a fun spot.
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BananaHunter wrote: I took an 8 day Eastern Canada trip last year with my fiancé via Tai Pan tours. My trip was characterized by ~8 hours of sitting in a coach bus every day with ~2-4 attractions per day. The sites are pretty far apart in the Maritimes. So better work out your logistics. You're probably looking at basing your trip in Halifax since that's the most accessible place. Can take an airplane to Halifax.

Food is one of the main reasons I travel and lets just say it's not going to be very different since you're still within Canada. Seafood is better? Definitely but it's not like you can't find fresh seafood in other provinces. GTA for example has a lot of places with fresh seafood. My tour took us to a lot of "Chinese Buffets" and we stopped by Sobey's several times. In these provinces the population density is pretty low so you're going to see a lot of franchises.
No offence...

But these Bus Tours out of the GTA are one of the absolute worst ways to travel in Canada... they are nothing more than cattle cars that herd travellers from place to place, and there is no decent content... for them it’s a theory of the more “chickens we have in the cage... the more money for us”

It’s literally an embarrassing scam that is highly marketed to unsuspecting tourists to Canada...

You were ripped off in no uncertain terms... especially so when it came to food. They go to all these crappy buffets cause the Tour Co gets a SUBSTANTIAL KICK BACK (they get kick backs on a lot of their touristy stops... some they even callously present as “We have a bit of time so we are going to add in / stop at ___ “). It’s an intended set up.

The greatest example of what’s wrong with your post is you came away somehow believing that the fresh Seafood in the GTA is just as good as in The Maritimes... good lord, NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH

You have not lived until you’ve had truly fresh caught fish or seafood DOCKSIDE in a fishing village. Wonderful spots you’ll find around the Bay of Fundy, in PEI etc.

What is marketed as “Fresh” Seafood delivered to the GTA is either flown in or driven over ... with an ETA of anywhere from 12 to 48 Hours old.

Dockside it’s straight off the boat into the pan, and onto your plate. NOTHING CAN COMPARE

But then as always the truly best way to see explore Canada is by self driving... only way to get into all the best gems of small town Canada.
Last edited by PointsHubby on Feb 12th, 2018 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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4 Days just is not enough time to do any part of The Maritimes any sort of justice... cause the best bits are found out in the countryside / rurally.

If you have only 4 Days, I would suggest flying into a city, and using it as your base... St John’s NFLD or Halifax would be my first choices for a newbie in May (downeast May is still early for what one would call prime Tourist Season... although PEI is a favourite destination for us it is best enjoyed late June thru the Summer month’s into early Fall)

Both Halifax & St John’s will give you a good mix of history, sightseeing, outdoorsy stuff and culture. You will come home wanting to go back and see more of The Maritimes

Cabot Trail is AWESOME... but 4 Days and it’s going to have to go to pretty much just that if your aim is to truly experience it for the hiking, sightseeing and culture. In that case I would fly into Sydney as someone else suggested. May though is early days there too... I think the Cabot Trail is best seen in September when the main tourist season is over, and the leaves are at their finest

Fundy National Park and the whole Northshore of The Bay of Fundy (Fundy Islands at the Maine Border thru to Hopewell Rocks a span of about 450 Kms) is another great destination for outdoorsy people...

Highlights would include:
Fundy Islands - St Andrews By The Sea - Saint John - St Martins Sea Caves - Fundy Trail - Fundy National Park - Cape Enrage - Hopewell Rocks

And of course just the incredible natural wonder that is The Bay of Fundy itself... tides are astounding. If you can wing it get out on the water too... be that Zodiacing out of St Martins, or Kayaking around the Flower Pot Rocks at Hopewell, both done at High Tide... or digging for Clams in the Fundy Mud, or driving across the ocean floor to Minister’s Island from St Andrews... both done at Low Tide, there’s lot to enjoy about the Bay of Fundy

Definitely one of my favourite areas in the Maritimes

WEATHER NOTE - don’t know where you are from, but The Maritimes are not the same as Quebec or Ontario... things are a bit slower to warm up down east (Summer even is never really & truly hot like it is in Central Canada, and IMO doesn’t get started until well into June). So May could be quite chilly. Check weather info, and pack / dress appropriately if you are going to be outdoors hiking etc
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Jan 15, 2017
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PointsHubby wrote: ....
WEATHER NOTE - don’t know where you are from, but The Maritimes are not the same as Quebec or Ontario... things are a bit slower to warm up down east (Summer even is never really & truly hot like it is in Central Canada, and IMO doesn’t get started until well into June). So May could be quite chilly. Check weather info, and pack / dress appropriately if you are going to be outdoors hiking etc
I am from NL and agree with this. Weather being what it is you can sometimes strike warmer days in May - although I don't remember any May 24th weekends being very warm. Go prepared for cooler temps. And don't forget about the wind.
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PointsHubby wrote: No offence...

But these Bus Tours out of the GTA are one of the absolute worst ways to travel in Canada... they are nothing more than cattle cars that herd travellers from place to place, and there is no decent content... for them it’s a theory of the more “chickens we have in the cage... the more money for us”

It’s literally an embarrassing scam that is highly marketed to unsuspecting tourists to Canada...

You were ripped off in no uncertain terms... especially so when it came to food. They go to all these crappy buffets cause the Tour Co gets a SUBSTANTIAL KICK BACK (they get kick backs on a lot of their touristy stops... some they even callously present as “We have a bit of time so we are going to add in / stop at ___ “). It’s an intended set up.

The greatest example of what’s wrong with your post is you came away somehow believing that the fresh Seafood in the GTA is just as good as in The Maritimes... good lord, NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH

You have not lived until you’ve had truly fresh caught fish or seafood DOCKSIDE in a fishing village. Wonderful spots you’ll find around the Bay of Fundy, in PEI etc.

What is marketed as “Fresh” Seafood delivered to the GTA is either flown in or driven over ... with an ETA of anywhere from 12 to 48 Hours old.

Dockside it’s straight off the boat into the pan, and onto your plate. NOTHING CAN COMPARE

But then as always the truly best way to see explore Canada is by self driving... only way to get into all the best gems of small town Canada.
I guess we have different perspectives when it comes to travel. I hate driving and the thought of me driving to all these far apart sites is very unappealing. I'd happily pay someone to work out the logistics and hotel bookings for me for a trip to the Maritimes. If it's a trip to Japan or Korean where population density is large and transit system is developed, I can plan the trip myself. I'd add that these tour companies save me significant amount of money on hotel bookings. They can secure group discount rates, which would save me far more than how they can rip me off on foods. And they only charge like $15-20 for a meal, which is about what I would have paid anyways. The food kick backs you talk about are real indeed, but the kickback is carved out from savings of a group discount. You always have the option to opt out. They usually drop you off in a plaza or something and you're free to eat subway or whatever franchise food is available in the plaza.

BTW I'd love to travel on my own (as in no tour). I did Peru/Japan/Korea on my own. Some places are better explored with a tour. For example, if I go to a country where I have no friends and don't speak the language, I'd probably go with a tour. Ever been to China? Being a foreigner you're going to get ripped off hard. No prices anywhere on the menu. Thieves everywhere. Now with a guide you are probably still being taken for a ride but at least it's "controlled". Take a taxi and you can easily be ripped off, or worse.

I travelled to Banff with a tour and don't regret it one bit. Otherwise I would have had to do all the logistics myself and suffer through hours of driving. Quebec and Vancouver are places I've done by myself. They have good enough transit system and the sites worth visiting are not hours apart. Totally doable without a tour. For small town visits in Canada, I guess this is also matter of taste. I'm more of an urbanite. I like busy places or historic places. Seoul for example is an exceptional destination for me. It's a modern city with lots of historic buildings and culture. Great food and easy to go anywhere with public transit.

As for fresh seafood, I guess it's a question of taste. I live in GTA and there are quite a lot of decent seafood places, especially Asian ones that keep the sea creatures in tanks to keep them fresh. In the Maritimes it's predominately "western" style seafood. So if you talk about "Western" style seafood only, then yes the Maritimes is better. But...they don't display the fish outside and for all I know they can be serving frozen stuff. I had a lobster roll near the harbor from a street vendor (nothing to do with tour). It was so disappointing. $20 for a mayo sauce filled bun with pieces of lobster. The mayo overpowers any natural lobster taste.
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gross morne, fly into deer lake, do gross morn and take 1 day and travel up to the Vikings area.
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We are doing 11 days this summer (end of Aug into Sept). Won't be able to truly spend days wandering but will be able to hit where we plan to go. Driving all around from Moncton to PEI to Cape Breton to Halifax one way.

2 Day in Moncton/Hopewell Rocks - Kayaking
2 Days in PEI/Charlottetown - Anne of Green Gables + Beaches
4 Days in Cape Breton = Cabot Trail (Hiking etc)
2 Days in Halifax - Sightseeing
Last edited by speedyforme on Feb 13th, 2018 10:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Nov 5, 2014
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Ottawa
If you guys are outdoorsy people that love to hike and camp, I would suggest the Bay of Fundy area. Fundy National Park is great and has some great hiking (Coastal trail, Upper Salmon River), including beautiful waterfalls. Point Wolfe is also beautiful. Lots of car camping or backcountry camping opportunities as well. Make sure to stop by Kelly's Bakery in Alma to have some of their sticky buns.

If you are driving to Fundy National Park from Moncton, don't forget to stop by the Hopewell Rocks (check the tides in advanced to be there at low tide). You may also wish to take the scenic detour in the Park and visit Cape Enrage (the fork is at Riverside Albert).

Even more remote and very nice is the Nova Scotia side of the Bay of Fundy. Cape Chignecto Provincial Park is far less traveled than Fundy National Park and has some great hiking and backpacking opportunities. If you are driving to Cape Chignecto check out the Parrsboro area and the fossils in Joggins.

I agree that 4 days will be short regardless of where you end up going.
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Nov 5, 2014
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Ottawa
Oh and keep in mind that spring lasts a long time in the Maritimes. There could still be some snow or lots of mud in the trails in May. Most seasonal tourist places will be closed until Victoria day weekend.
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Nov 24, 2008
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Dartmouth NS
politicalcanuck wrote: Oh and keep in mind that spring lasts a long time in the Maritimes. There could still be some snow or lots of mud in the trails in May. Most seasonal tourist places will be closed until Victoria day weekend.
This. People forget that this is the Maritimes and early May, weatherwise is, well.....iffy. And, as much as I love St. John's, the weather there is even more...iffy. As you don't have a lot of time and since attractions may or may not be open, I suggest keeping the tour within a smaller area. Fly into Halifax, check out the regular sights, eat well and take short drives out to Peggys Cove, tidal bore watching in Truro, a short hike perhaps in Blomidon. If the weather is crappy, then you have plenty of museums and other attractions in Halifax with the option for short drives to other museums like the Fisheries Museum in Lunenburg and sight-see on the way (Chester, Mahone Bay, etc.) The shore highway is lovely.

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