While the last few months have pushed us to travel more locally, it has also make us realize that Canada have so much to offer. On our side, we went to the Maritimes to explore the treasures of the Atlantic and we fell in love with the region! From Gaspésie to Nova Scotia, via New Brunswick, we invite you to discover our 12 favorite places and must-see stops for a road trip on Canada’s East Coast! Let the adventure begin!
What to do in Gaspésie
1. Carpinteri Vineyard, Saint-Ulric
If you dream of visiting Italy, the Carpinteri Vineyard is a stop to add to your itinerary on the way to Gaspésie! Whether it’s by the romantic allure of the place or by the taste of its wines, you’ll feel transported to Tuscany. The wine tasting session are also free to allow you to discover all their products and find the perfect wine to add to your cellar.
Take the opportunity to walk through the vineyards and their unique facilities. Moreover, if you want to extend your stay, book a room in their large villa to enjoy a unique gastronomic evening in a dreamy setting. A nice stop if you go through St-Ulric to get to Gaspé or Percé!
2. Forillon National Park, Gaspé
Forillon National Park has been on our hiking bucket list for a long time and it was so worth the hype! It’s a magical place where the trails of Mont Saint-Alban are dotted with waterfalls, streams and, above all, an epic view once at the top! You’ll feel like you’re at the end of the world and the landscape is simply spectacular! Definitely one of our favorite hikes to do in Quebec!
Interesting fact: Forillon National Park is also the historic site of the Battle of the St. Lawrence when the German submarines crisscrossed the area between 1942 and 1945. Increased surveillance by the Royal Navy made it possible to repel the threat and ensure security of the country during World War II. The more you know!
Rocher Percé and Bonaventure Island are not classics for nothing and we fell even more in love with the place thanks to the moody weather. It was our first visit, but certainly not the last since we didn’t have time to do everything we wanted in the park.
This Quebec emblem is also famous for its colony of northern gannets and it’s worth exploring the Gaspé Peninsula by boat.
A true jewel of Gaspésie found on the banks of the Portage River, the Emerald River is also the starting point of the forest trails stretching over 27 kilometres. It’s a magnificent place to enjoy nature and even swim during the summer season!
What to do in New Brunswick
On the way to New Brunswick, many waterfront views await you! We advise you to take a coffee break in Carleton-sur-Mer at the Brûlerie du Quai to stretch your legs and taste their delicious coffees! We loved their espresso and their London fog and they have the cutest cups in their market space, if you want to bring back a little souvenir.
For our first stop in New Brunswick, we were seduced by the sublime Bouctouche dune! Located 45 minutes from Moncton, this ecocentre designed to preserve the region’s flora and fauna is also the habitat of several migratory birds and a few families of red foxes. The fine sand dune extends over more than 12 kilometers and evolves over time by the constant action of wind, tides and sea currents.
It’s the perfect place for a stroll to the sound of the waves and a picnic on the beach with the sea breeze! Super pretty and soothing to start your New Brunswick getaway!
Fundy National Park is full of waterfalls, but the most magnificent are certainly the ones on the Dickson Trail! Easy to access, the path that leads to this oasis seems straight out of the enchanted forest in a fairy tale! An intermediate, but soothing hike awaits you, where everything is green and lush!
Among the other trails you can explore, Cape Matthews and Laverty Falls will also amaze you with their natural treasures dotted with waterfalls and amazing rock formations.
Hopewell Rocks is an impressive place where you can observe the highest tides in the world which have also shaped these natural structures giving the impression of giant flowerpots. Depending on the time you go there, you can also walk on the bottom of the ocean floor when the tide is low or go kayaking when the tide rises. Your admission ticket will give you access to the site for two days so that you can admire the two phenomena during your stay in New Brunswick.
What to do in Nova Scotia
The highlight of our road trip in Eastern Canada was definitely our stay in Nova Scotia! We fell in love with this magical corner of the country with its breathtaking landscapes on the Atlantic coast and its countless lighthouses, each cuter than the next.
We suggest that you start your getaway in Halifax by passing through the city’s pretty Victorian gardens, which are among the last in North America. If you are a fan of the Gilmore Girls series, you’ll easily find a little of Stars Hollow in Nova Scotia.
Then, head into historic Halifax to admire the street art murals and stop for a bite to eat at Johnny K’s. Donair has been one of the city’s classic meals for decades and you can’t leave without eating one.
Then continue your walk to the Waterfront Boardwalk where you can enjoy the sea breeze and admire the pretty gourmet huts or take a nap by the water in a hammock. If the sea is calling you, several companies along the boardwalk offer boat tours of the port to learn more about the city while admiring it from a different angle.
It’s hard not to fall for the historic village of Lunenburg during a stay in Nova Scotia! A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s also the home port of the Blue Nose II, aka the emblematic boat of the Canadian 10 cents. With its Norwegian airs, charming streets and gourmet stops, it’s a destination to add to your Canadian bucket list!
We recommend that you make a stop to the Lightship Brewery microbrewery where you can taste the best local brewing creations while having a spectacular view of the coastal village. If you go to Lunenburg during the summer season, take the opportunity to enjoy a good crispy fish and chips on the terrace of The South Shore Fish Shack or The Old Fish Factory.
10. The Ovens
It is often the places where we have no expectations that amaze us the most! Does this happen to you too? Our visit to The Ovens Nature Park in Nova Scotia is a perfect example of that! It wasn’t a stop that we were supposed to make at the start and we were completely overwhelmed by the beauty of the place. A gentle hike directly by the ocean to explore sea caves in front of a breathtaking panorama.
Special mention to The Blow Hole, in the following photo, whose splashes can reach over 80 feet in height!
A road trip on the east coast of Canada wouldn’t be complete without a passage on the famous Cabot Trail towards Cape Breton Island. This region is filled with breathtaking places that it could be a another trip in itself and it will take you several days to see everything. If you’re short on time, the Skyline Trail hike in Cape Breton Highlands National Park is the hike you must do to enjoy one of the prettiest view of Cape Breton Island!
This magnificent viewpoint is particularly impressive at sunset and is definitely worth the detour! However, it’s extremely windy, so you’ll need to dress accordingly. This vast park is also the landmark of many animals including moose, coyotes and bears that can be encountered along the way. Make sure you have a flashlight on you and learn about the procedure to follow if you come into contact with wild animals. The park rangers on site also offer guided hikes that continue until nightfall if you want a unique experience!
Among the other stops to add to your itinerary in Cape Breton, Pleasant Bay, Neil’s Harbour, the Glenora distillery and Ingonish Beach should not disappoint you.
12. Peggy’s Cove
Located just an hour from Halifax, Peggy’s Cove is a must for your road trip in Nova Scotia! Its impressive lighthouse sits in the heart of a conservation area and a fishing community where you can watch the sunset to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. A golden hour by the Atlantic sea, it’s hard to ask for better than that!
Just 40 minutes from Peggy’s Cove, you’ll also find the pretty beach of Queensland where you can end the day by easily combining the two activities.
The Atlantic at home
Are you inspired to go on an adventure in Gaspésie, New Brunswick or Nova Scotia? While you’re planning your next getaway, why not add a touch of travel to your decor? Atlantique, our new collection of prints, is now available on our online shop where you can purchase your favorite prints. Inspired by our trip to Canada’s East Coast, we hope they’ll transport you to this magical corner of the country while staying in the comfort of your home!
Have an amazing road trip and great discoveries!
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