One summer, we decided to take a Nova Scotia road trip with some good friends. It was one of the more scenic road trips that we’ve ever taken! We drove north up through the great state of Maine; through New Brunswick, spending two nights at the Fundy National Park campground; and then we drove north to the Cabot Trail, spending another 2 nights. Our only regret is that we wish we had more time (isn’t it always?)!
Below is an itinerary of our Nova Scotia vacation; where we stayed; pictures of our highlights; and what we’d recommend:
Day 1: Drive to Fundy National Park:
While this was a full day of driving, we really enjoyed the scenic ride. We were above Boston by morning rush hour and into the Fundy NP campgrounds by dusk. Our friends had a pop-up camper and we rented an “oTENTik”, which was a very nice, cabin-esque, arrangement with beds, table, chairs, and even a gas stove for warmth! It comfortably housed our family of 6 for the 2 nights we spent here.
Day 2: Explore the Park & Visit Bay of Fundy
We had a rainy day, but still managed to have a lot of fun. The campground has a shared ‘kitchen cabin’ with picnic tables and electricity. We brought our grills and coolers up there, along with some games, and had a fun breakfast while playing board games and cards as the rain beat on the roof top. When the rain let up, we drove up to the Bay and toured the visitor center. We opted to get tickets for the following day, as the weather forecast looked favorable. The evening was beautiful and we took advantage by driving through the National Park roads; hiked a small trail; and saw some wildlife along the way.
Day 3: Bay of Fundy & Drive to Nova Scotia
With the rain gone, it was a great day to visit Bay of Fundy! Having checked out the timing of the tides on the day before, we timed our arrival just before low tide. It was an amazing shift between the high and low tide! Helpful hint: Heed the signs that tell the kids to “Stay OFF of the rocks!”. We had a nice detour to the Monkton ER to stitch up one of our non-rule-followers?!
The drive from Monkton to the Cabot Trail was a nice long one. We heard a story of a driver’s near miss with a moose which kept us quite alert during the nighttime driving hours.
Our Nova Scotia accommodations in Cape Breton were awesome! We rented cabins at the Sea Parrot Ocean View Manor. They have a fantastic property, right on the water with lots of space for adults and kids to unwind! The kids played soccer and enjoyed S’mores on the campfire. The adults relaxed across the lawn in the hot tub with a night cap. We could hear the waves crashing against the beach, but would have to wait for the morning to see the incredible view!
Day 4: Visit Sydney & Drive Cabot Trail
The next morning, we drove up to see our friend’s son pull into Sydney on the Barque Eagle, the U.S. Coast Guard’s tall sailing ship. Sydney was a nice little town with all of the amenities of a quaint seaside urban setting. We stayed in the port for a few hours; took a tour of the Eagle; but then were eager to see how much of the Cabot Trail we could see – so we headed back to our cabin.
The Cabot Trail was AMAZING. The scenery almost reminded me of the lush green area on the PCH around Big Sur with the steep rocky cliffs sloping down to the ocean. The towns along the trail were isolated enough to have retained their ethnic history (some of the road signs were even in Gaelic!). I wish we had time to complete the full loop, but I believe that someday we’ll be headed back.
We took advantage of one last night to soak in the hot tub and enjoy some drinks together. I loved the setting at the Sea Parrot Ocean View Manor…I wished that we were staying a full week!
Check out Nova Scotia’s website on hikes and excursions for things to see on Cape Breton Island. There are lots of ideas to make your trip a fun one.
Day 5 & 6: Drive home (to Pennsylvania)
The drive home need not always be sad. We played lots of car games; enjoyed the sunset; and after spending a night in southern Maine, we even snuck in a quick visit to the LL Bean Store before getting back on the highway!
Our Nova Scotia road trip was a great time with great friends. We enjoyed Fundy National Park and loved the Cabot Trail scenery! I’m so glad that we went and we’ll leave ourselves more time to breath in that clean pine and ocean air when we return.