The Atlantic Coast of Canada in and around Nova Scotia offers a traveling experience rich in maritime history, coastal landscapes, great solitude, rolling farmland, and small towns with an artsy bend. In a hot summer, temperatures up north are breezy with nights getting downright cool in the low 50s. Close to the United States' eastern shore board, Canada's Atlantic Coast is a place filled with folklore and natural treasures.
Maxxim Vacations (tel. 800/567-6666; www.maxximvacations.com), a specialist in Canadian travel, has put together some excellent fly-and-drive trips that allow you to explore the secluded coastline or hit the small fishing villages of your dreams. The Newfoundland Hospitality Tour is a ten or 14 day self-drive tour visiting Newfoundland and Labrador. The trip includes round-trip airfare into St. John's and departing out of Deer Lake (or vice versa), all accommodations in inns and bed and breakfasts, a car rental, a tour of historic St. John's, a boat ride, and a ferry ride with the 14-day trip. Departures dates are through October 31, 2006. Prices vary from different United States departure points including (for the ten-day tour) $1,709 out of Atlanta, $1,699 out of Boston, and $1,809 out of Miami and New York. The itinerary takes through the Gros Morne, St. Anthony, Gander, the Trinity area and St. John's.
Gros Morne National Park, on the Viking Trail, has some of North America's best hiking, whale watching, fishing, coastal views, and boating. Long Range Adventures (tel. 709/458-3104; www.longrangeadventures.com), a Gros Morne affiliated adventure tour provider, has several guided trips into the park. For budget travelers, Long Range has a scaled-down trip offering travelers "a roof over their head, transportation within the park, and a few adventures to boot." The land only "Excursion Around the Bay" trip is a six night/five day trip costing just $599 per person for a private room and $549 per person for a shared room. The trip includes all accommodations, ground transportation around the park, a kayaking trip, a bike tour, trail maps for self-exploration, and a Western Brook Pond Tour. Gushing waterfalls, dilapidated barns, stone-trails, wide-mouthed rivers, and the occasional bald eagle highlight this trip through one of Canada's most scenic national parks. There are also day trips and lengthier, pricier trips, available through Long Range Adventures exploring Gros Morne's hinterlands.
Focusing on Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Caravan Tours (tel. 800/227-2826; www.caravantours.com) has an eight day fully escorted and guided tour of the region costing approximately $895. Highlights of the tip include whale watching at Cape Breton, the lighthouse at Peggy's Cove, and a walk on the ocean floor during low tide at the Bay of Fundy. Starting in Halifax, a funky, artsy town with a lively culture and storytelling past, the trip circles around Cape Breton to New Brunswick before heading back to Halifax for your trip home. Accommodations are at big and small hotels, with stays at sweeping lakefront resorts and country lodges in Cape Breton. Departing almost every four days through July, August and September, this guided tour with travel by motor coach offers an in-depth and educational look at the Canadian coast.
For drivers making the trek cross-country by themselves this summer or people traveling up the coast of New England, new ferry service from Portland, Maine to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia was just initiated by Bay Ferries Limited (tel. 877/359-3760; www.catferry.com). Running from May to mid-October with two crossings per day each way, the trip has been shortened to five hours by use of a faster, more modern, larger ferry. The cost of a ticket is $139 for a weekend round-trip adult fare during the peak season, or $89 one-way if you're not coming back. The ferry site even has travel packages for Maine and eastern Canada. A self-drive history circle tour of Nova Scotia costing $368 per adult with double occupancy includes all accommodations, detailed maps and itineraries and ferry crossings with a vehicle.
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