There's a serious lack of competition for air routes in eastern Canada, which can mean you'll pay high fares for even a short hop to or around the region. Air Canada (tel. 888/247-2262; www.aircanada.com) and its puddle-jumping subsidiary Jazz (www.flyjazz.ca) are often your only choices for both domestic and international flights, though WestJet (tel. 888/937-8538; www.westjet.com) does connect Halifax with St. John's.
Newfoundland is the exception to this sorry situation, with an extensive system of small airports stitching together much of the far-flung province -- and a few small regional air carriers to match, useful if you're heading for the backcountry to seek out wilderness or native culture. Local carriers here include Air Labrador (tel. 800/563-3042; www.airlabrador.com) and Provincial Airlines (tel. 800/563-2800 from eastern Canada or 709/576-1666; www.provincialairlines.ca).
Note that smaller airports throughout the region -- such as Bathurst, Fredericton, Moncton, Yarmouth, and Sydney -- are starting to offer connections to the four main provincial hubs of Halifax, Saint John, Charlottetown, and St. John's. E-mail or call the local tourism authority in advance about such connections if you're interested.
Atlantic Canada's road network is extensive and generally well maintained. But travelers expecting to find six-lane highways with high-speed on- and off-ramps will be in for a surprise. With few exceptions, the highway system here is on a far smaller scale. Even main arteries, such as the inland route from Yarmouth to Halifax and Route 1 across Newfoundland, are nearly always just two lanes (one coming, one going), albeit with frequent opportunities for passing due to the light traffic. The Trans-Canada Highway is the main road running through this region. It enters north of Edmundston, New Brunswick, and continues some 1,800km (1,120 miles) to St. John's, Newfoundland -- taking a break at the Atlantic Ocean, of course. Numerous feeder roads connect to the Trans-Canada.
A few rules of the road: As in the United States and continental Europe, drive on the right. You may make a right turn at a red light, provided that you first stop fully and confirm that no one is coming from the left. (At some intersections, signs prohibit such a turn.) Radar detectors are prohibited in all the Atlantic Provinces. Drivers and all passengers are required to wear seat belts.
If you're arriving by plane, the usual suspects offer car rentals at major airports. Despite the number of rental outfits, however, it can be difficult to reserve a car during the short summer season, when demand soars. It's best to reserve ahead.
Remember that Canadian gas prices are higher than those in the U.S., though lower than they are in Europe.
If you're traveling by car, also be sure to investigate carefully about car-rental insurance before setting out on your trip.
There's an interprovincial ferry that can considerably shorten the slog around the Bay of Fundy. The year-round ferry, known as the Princess of Acadia, links Saint John, New Brunswick, with Digby, Nova Scotia. The ferry sails once daily year-round, with two crossings per day during peak travel months and days. A peak season one-way fare (charged June-October) costs about C$40 for adults, C$25 for children age 6 to 13, C$5 per child under age 6, and C$30 for students and seniors; the car itself costs C$80 (more for trucks, vans, and buses), plus a C$20 fuel surcharge. Fares are a bit cheaper outside the peak travel months, and if you walk on and return within 30 days, there are also discounts available on the round-trip. Note that AAA and CAA members receive C$10 discounts on the car fare. Tariffs on this route haven't budged in several years; nevertheless, up-to-the-minute schedules and fares can be found at www.nfl-bay.com or by calling tel. 877/762-7245.
A second interprovincial car ferry links Prince Edward Island with New Brunswick, though it doesn't save you time or money.
Finally, if you're going to Newfoundland by car, you must take a ferry ride -- and a long one, at that. Marine Atlantic Ferries (tel. 800/341-7981; www.marine-atlantic.ca) operates two routes from Sydney, Nova Scotia, to Port aux Basques (a 4-8-hr. trip) on the wild northern coast and also to Argentia (near St. John's; a 14-15-hr. trip). Reservations are always required for these two ferries.
Once again, I stress: There's just one train in eastern Canada, VIA Rail (tel. 888/842-7245; www.viarail.ca), which runs six times daily on an overnight route between Montréal and Halifax. You can theoretically connect between, say, Campbellton and Halifax in this way, though I've never met a casual tourist who did that. In New Brunswick, VIA trains stop at Campbellton, Charlo, Jacquet River, Petit Rocher, Bathurst, Miramichi, Rogersville, Moncton, and Sackville. In Nova Scotia, trains stop at Amherst, Springhill Junction, Truro, or Halifax.
Decent bus service is offered between major cities and many smaller towns by Acadian Lines. For service between Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, contact Acadian at tel. 800/567-5151 or check the website at www.acadianbus.com.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.