Pick up the keys for your hire car at Halifax airport and drive to your boutique hotel. Choose whether to relax in your elegant room or get under the skin of this historic Maritime city. The capital of Nova Scotia and one of the world's great natural harbours, Halifax buzzes with energy and live music. We recommend dinner at one of the cosmopolitan eateries that throng its famous waterfront.
You'll have the whole day at leisure to explore Halifax, a must on any Maritimes itinerary. Soak up the city's Maritime heritage at Halifax Citadel, with sweeping ocean vistas. Enjoy views over Halifax Harbour from the 200-year-old York Redoubt fortification. We recommend a stroll among the boutique shops, bars and cafés that fill Privateers Warehouse and the Historic Properties district.
Rested and refreshed, take the wheel again and begin your Maritime road trip. You'll head south to Lunenburg, an immaculately preserved 18th-century British Colonial settlement that's now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along the way, don't miss Peggy's Cove, a charming fishing village that's home to the famous Peggy's Point lighthouse.
As you cruise across the Fairhaven Peninsula, we recommend some time in Kejimkujik National Park. Join one of the Parks Interpretative team for a guided stroll that will introduce you to the area's outstanding natural beauty and the ancient Mi'kmaq rock carvings. Sweeping along Route 8, you'll spend the night at the pretty seaside town of Annapolis Royal.
After marvelling at the Atlantic, it's time to spend some time aboard ship as you ride the ferry across the Bay of Fundy from Digby to Saint John. From here, travel west along the epic Fundy Coastal Drive, one of the world's great coast roads, to St. Andrews. Relax in this classic seaside resort and capture more wide ocean views from the peninsula.
Whether you're in the mood for outdoor adventure or indoor relaxation, St. Andrews has you covered! Choose between classic Maritime adventures, such as whale watching, sea kayaking or sailing, and the town's myriad attractions. Besides charming studios and art galleries, St. Andrews is home to excellent restaurants, rustic cafes and the Blockhouse, a memento of 18th century Fort Howe.
After a short drive north, you'll reach Fredericton, the 18th-century capital of New Brunswick Province. The city's heritage stands out in the historic Garrison District. Besides the colonial architecture, you can enjoy a welter of live entertainment here, as well as some excellent restaurants and cafes.
As you drive the Lower River Passage route south along 102 highway you'll feel cocooned in the heritage of bygone centuries. Enjoy the unspoiled views of the Saint John River which open up at every turn of the country roads. The world-famous Reversing Falls, a series of rapids where the river runs through a narrow gorge before emptying into the Bay of Fundy, are not to be missed.
The highlight of today is a spectacular scenic drive along the Bay of Fundy, where you'll be able to appreciate the raw power of the world's highest tides at the Hopewell Rocks. The illuminating Hopewell Rocks Interpretive Centre will give you a deep understanding of the power of the ocean. From here, you'll roll through Fundy National Park en route to Moncton.
Before leaving Moncton we recommend a stop at the Magnetic Hill where, if you put your car in neutral, you'll experience the illusion of being pulled uphill. You'll continue to Shediac, known as the lobster capital of the world. Fishing for lobster then feasting on the fruits of your labours is highly recommended. Finally, sweep across the Confederation Bridge, the longest bridge in Canada, to Prince Edward Island.
Established in the 1700s, Charlottetown is known as the birthplace of Canada. Spend the day exploring the historic sites where notables met to agree the confederation that created modern Canada. We recommend dinner at one of the excellent downtown restaurants followed by a night at the theatre. There is outstanding shopping, too.
Enjoy sweeping beaches and epic vistas as you drive the open roads of Prince Edward Island National Park. This is the region that the novelist Lucy Maud Montgomery made famous in her popular Anne of Green Gables books. With seven supervised beaches and 50 kilometres of hiking trails, it's perfect for an outdoor adventure.
Today you'll return to Nova Scotia, riding the Wood Islands ferry to Caribou. We recommend a stop at Pictou, and the Hector Heritage Quay, which commemorates the arrival of the first Scots with a replica of the ship they sailed in on. From here, drive to Cape Breton via the Canso Causeway and on to Baddeck, a scenic village overlooking the beautiful Bras d'Or Lakes.
From Baddeck, it's about 110km north to the Fortress of Louisbourg. This amazing living museum, the largest historical reconstruction in North America, recreates an 18th-century French garrison town. In Baddeck proper, we recommend the Alexander Graham Bell museum. The great inventor spent his summers on the shores of the Bras d'Or.
No Maritimes itinerary would be complete without the famous Cabot Trail, one of the most spectacular drives in Canada. You’ll love the atmosphere in the French Acadian community of Cheticamp, with its distinctive architecture, language and music. Wind around the rocky splendour of Cape Breton's northern shore. The sweeping plateaux of Cape Breton Highlands National Park make excellent walking territory.
Head south towards Sydney and on to Canso Causeway past rugged coasts, tranquil bays, sandy beaches, forest landscapes and sparkling lakes and streams. We recommend a stop at Guysborough, a picturesque village with classic 1860s Nova Scotian architecture. Continue on to Liscomb Mills to spend the rest of the day enjoying the glorious pine forests around Liscombe Lodge.
Your last full day and the pace is winding down. It's a leisurely but attractive two-hour drive to Halifax. Along the way, we recommend a stop at the tiny village of Musquodoboit Harbour. It sits by Martinique Beach, the longest beach in Nova Scotia, with a wildlife sanctuary that offers excellent bird-watching.
Depending when your flight leaves, you might wish to explore Halifax a little more, shop for souvenirs or send some last-minute postcards. Your Maritimes itinerary concludes at the airport when you return the keys of your hire car, ready for the flight home.