Start exploring before you even land. As you come abreast of the island aboard the ferry, head for the starboard (right) side: You'll soon see the so-called Seven Days' Work in the rocky cliffs of Whale's Cove, a spot where seven layers of hardened lava and sill (intrusive igneous rock) have come together to create a sort of geological Dagwood sandwich.
Once on the island, you can begin to open the puzzle box that is local geology at the Grand Manan Museum (tel. 506/662-3524) at 1141 Rte 776 in Grand Harbour. Birders will enjoy the Allan Moses collection upstairs, which features more than 300 stuffed and mounted birds in glass cases. The museum also has a fair amount of Willa Cather paraphernalia and a collection of stuff that’s washed ashore from the frequent shipwrecks. The museum is open from June to mid-September, Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm; it’s also open Saturdays in July and August. The admission is C$10 (US$8) adults, C$8 (US$6.50) seniors, C$5 (US$4) students, and free for children 11 and under.
The relatively flat and compact island is perfect for cycling; the only stretches to avoid are some fast, less scenic segments of Route 776. Any of the side roads offer superb biking, and the paved cross-island road to Dark Harbour is especially nice; when you get there, you'll find a scenic little harbor with a few cabins, dories, and salmon pens. Eat your Wheaties before coming: This route is wild and hilly for a stretch, but then offers a memorably scenic coast down to the ocean on the island's western side as your reward.
Bike rentals are available at Adventure High (tel. 800/732-5492 or 506/662-3563) on Route 776 in North Head, not far from the ferry. Bikes rent for C$40 (US$32) per day, C$25 (US$20) for a half-day. Adventure High also offers sea kayak tours of the island’s shores for those who prefer a cormorant’s-eye view of the impressive cliffs. Kayak tours run from C$55 (US$44) for a 2-hour sunset tour to C$140 (US$112) for a full-day’s excursion. Adventure High also rents out cabins and offers multiday tours.
While Grand Manan is about as quiet as it gets, you can find even more silence and solitude (and cross one more island off your "life list") by driving to White Head Island, population 190 on a good day. To get there, drive to Ingalls Head (follow Ingalls Head Rd. from Grand Harbour) and catch a free ferry to the island. You walk along the shore to a lighthouse guarding the passage between Battle Beach and Sandy Cove. The ferry holds 10 cars and sails year-round, up to 10 times per day during the summer.
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.