Endless storybook coastlines and primeval landscapes set the backdrop for Canada’s alluring Atlantic provinces—but it’s the rich maritime heritage and notably friendly locals that give this region its distinct appeal. Experience the diverse highlights of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, from historic Halifax and the resort town of St. Andrews to the Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Island's Scottish heritage, and more.
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Curious About… Montreal
Produced by Christine van Blokland and David Zelski
This independent film features destinations you can visit on this pre-trip extension.
More than a third of our travelers have reserved this extension in 2016
Relish the unique charm and proud heritage of French Canada, exploring Quebec's namesake capital and Montreal, its largest city—both scenically situated on the St. Lawrence River. Uncover the enduring European influences and of-the-moment appeals that lie along the cobbled, shop-lined streets of these French-speaking metropolises.View Extension Itinerary
Travel to Halifax today, with your arrival time depending on your departure city. Transfer to your hotel where you will meet fellow travelers completing their Quebec City & Montreal, Quebec trip extension. Enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure.
This morning, join your Program Director for a welcome briefing before setting out into Nova Scotia’s dynamic coastal capital on an included tour. Start your explorations with a visit to Halifax Citadel (Fort George), the hilltop fortress that dominates and defines the city. Constructed in 1749, the same year Halifax was founded, the strategically designed structure features a distinctive star-shaped design and commanding views of the harbor—the second-largest natural harbor in the world.
Continue on with a panoramic drive through downtown to witness some of the city's main landmarks, including the famous Old Town Clock Tower, commissioned by Prince Edward in 1803, and the historic harbor area with its restored stone warehouses and old wharf buildings. You’ll also visit Point Pleasant Park, featuring the 18th-century Prince of Wales Tower (the oldest defensive tower of its kind in North America), and the Fairview Lawn Cemetery, where the Titanic gravesite is located. Halifax sent three of her ships to recover those lost in the tragedy.
End your tour in the waterfront area, where you’ll enjoy time on your own for lunch and independent discoveries. Learn more about Halifax's seafaring heritage and view more artifacts from the Titanic at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, which also features a special exhibit on the Halifax Harbor explosion of 1917. Or choose to explore St. Paul's Anglican Church, the oldest building in Halifax (constructed in 1749), or simply roam the sophisticated shops and art galleries. For a unique perspective of Halifax's skyline, hop aboard the ferry to Dartmouth for a ten-minute ride across the harbor.
This evening, gather with your fellow travelers at a local restaurant for a Welcome Dinner.
Visit two picturesque destinations on the outskirts of Halifax today—Peggy’s Cove and Lunenburg.
Set on the eastern shore of St. Margarets Bay, Peggy’s Cove is a quaint fishing village and home to historic Peggy’s Point Lighthouse, an iconic and frequently photographed coastal fixture.
The name Peggy’s Cove stirs up ample folklore about “Peggy of the Cove,” the sole survivor of a shipwreck, which you’re sure to hear more about during your time here.
Then head to the port town of Lunenburg on Nova Scotia’s scenic South Shore for lunch on your own in town, along with time to pursue your own interests. The best surviving example of a British planned colonial settlement, Lunenburg’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its beautifully preserved architecture. Established in 1753, the town still features charming, colorful wooden houses, some dating back to the 18th century.
Return to Halifax late this afternoon, with dinner on your own this evening.
Depart Halifax after breakfast to visit Grand-Pré National Historical Site, which commemorates the Acadians and their deportation during the French and Indian War in the mid-1700s. The Acadians settled in on the tidal marshland on the shores of Minas Basin in the late 1600s—and the memorial and park are situated in the heart of the Landscapes of Grand Pré, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the memorial church, tour the visitor center’s exhibits, and stroll the sweeping grounds and gardens during time on your own here. The descendants of the original Acadians are steadfastly proud of their heritage—and as you travel to Saint John, you’ll find many of the towns remain predominantly French-speaking.
Stop at Hall’s Harbour Lobster Pound for a quintessential Maritimes meal. Select your own fresh-caught lobster, and savor your included lunch on the patio overlooking the Bay of Fundy. Continue on to Digby, where you’ll board a late-afternoon ferry for a two-hour cruise to Saint John, the largest city in the province of New Brunswick. Dinner will be on your own; there are several dining options onboard the ferry to choose from.
Travel to the historic town of St. Andrews after breakfast, taking in panoramic views of some of Saint John’s highlights before you depart, including the waterfront and historic districts, King’s Square, and the Reversing Falls rapids. The 450-mile-long Saint John River meets the Bay of Fundy at Reversing Falls, where rapids form in one direction and then another, depending upon the ebb and flow of the tide.
Known as “St. Andrews by-the-Sea,” the town was settled by British Loyalists after the American Revolution and its English-American heritage remains evident in the historic buildings that line almost every street. The king's surveyor mapped out the town in 1783 and divided it into 60 perfect square blocks separated by wide, tree-lined streets. The town boasts 100 houses that are more than 200 years old and many more dating from the 19th century, including the gabled Algonquin Resort, once a summer playground for wealthy Bostonians and New Yorkers.
Arrive in St. Andrews later this morning, and set off an included tour of the town that includes the central business area, virtually unchanged since 1800 and designated a National Historic District, and St. Andrews Blockhouse. Enjoy lunch on your own downtown, and the rest of the afternoon to pursue your own interests. Continue your explorations downtown or spend your time ambling through Kingsbrae Garden, 27 acres dotted with unique trees, colorful blossoms, and flowering shrubs. Honoring local horticulture traditions, Kingsbrae reflects both old and new gardening styles, and its manicured grounds are a sight to behold.
This evening, gather with your fellow travelers for dinner at a local restaurant.
Board a morning ferry to discover Campobello Island, favored for its coastal tranquility by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Easily accessible from both the Maritimes and New England, the island is home to Roosevelt Cottage—FDR’s family summer retreat. The magnificent 34-room residence has been remarkably preserved (it was built in the late 1800s and renovated in the Arts and Crafts architectural style in 1915), and is set amidst the sprawling grounds of the Roosevelt Campobello International Park.
After your time on Campobello Island, embark on a nature cruise and whale watch through “One of the Marine Wonders of the World,” the Bay of Fundy (weather permitting). This cruise—if the famous fog obliges—is a fascinating exploration of the wildlife and marine character of Passamaquoddy Bay, an inlet of the Bay of Fundy.
Return to your hotel for a free afternoon to make your own discoveries. Enjoy an independent dinner in the city tonight.
Set out for Prince Edward Island after breakfast—stopping en route to marvel at Hopewell Rocks, a collection of whimsical formations standing from 40 to 70 feet tall. Enjoy an included lunch in this enchanting setting before continuing on your way.
Canada's smallest province, Prince Edward Island (called PEI by the locals) is known for its sandstone cliffs, blossoming gardens, and wide beaches. When the French explorer Jacques Cartier landed on PEI in 1534, the native Mi'kmaq people called the island home. French-Acadian, Scottish, and Irish settlers later landed on the island, creating the rich heritage that remains evident today. Though tourism and fishing are important to the PEI economy, much of the island is carpeted with farms—this tiny province produces most of Canada's potatoes, hence its moniker of "Spud Island."
Arrive in Charlottetown, the provincial capital of PEI, this evening. After settling into your hotel, enjoy dinner on your own tonight.
This morning, discover a PEI quintessence—the Anne of Green Gables Museum at Silver Bush. Author Lucy Maud Montgomery found inspiration in Silver Bush for her 1908 novel, Anne of Green Gables, as well as her other beloved tales of Anne Shirley, the gregarious, adventurous orphan. Her maternal grandparents raised her in their PEI home, a place she called “the wonder castle of my childhood.” Enjoy a carriage ride around the grounds, then take part in a potato planting experience.
After touring the museum, head to Raspberry Point Oysters for a unique inside look into oyster farming during an exclusive Discovery Series outing. Meet a local fisherman who specializes in oyster farming, and learn about his livelihood and the farming process—then shuck a few fresh oysters to sample this raw delicacy. Next you'll get a chance to revel in the island’s scenery in Prince Edward Island National Park, where you’ll enjoy time to amble along the red-sand shores of Cavendish Beach or stroll its boardwalk.
Spend the evening at your leisure, soaking in the small-town appeal and relaxed atmosphere of PEI’s largest city. One of the most significant events in Canadian history took place here: The Charlottetown Conference laid the groundwork for the establishment of the Canada we know today at the Province House in 1864, which is now a national historic site open to visitors. Dinner is on your own.
The day is yours to spend as you please in Charlottetown. Founded in 1764 and named after the wife of King George III, Charlottetown is the smallest of Canadian capitals and the oldest city in the province.
You can also choose to join an optional PEI Mussel Cookout and Georgetown Excursion, where you’ll visit a mussel farm and cannery and learn how the local mussel farmer cultivates his crop from seed to plate. Then explore the quaint fishing village of Georgetown, including a visit to Canada's largest public park. Finally, you'll get a chance to savor PEI's famous mollusk for yourself and chat with locals during a cookout.
Enjoy an afternoon at leisure, then regroup with your fellow travelers for dinner at a local restaurant this evening.
Drive through the beautiful PEI countryside this morning on your way to Wood Islands, where you’ll board a ferry to Caribou, Nova Scotia—the first leg of your journey to Baddeck. After the scenic 75-minute ride, enjoy time on your own for lunch and independent exploration in Pictou, where the first Scottish immigrants landed in the late 1700s, hence its nickname: the “Birthplace of New Scotland.” Stroll Water Street, the island’s main avenue, dotted with old stone buildings and shops; visit the Hector Heritage Quay to learn more about Scottish migration; or head to a nearby lobster farm for another taste of maritime culture.
Arrive in Baddeck this afternoon, with time to settle in before dinner at your hotel tonight. Baddeck is set on the shores of the lovely and expansive Bras d'Or Lake on Cape Breton Island—the northeastern part of Nova Scotia, separated from the mainland by the Strait of Canso.
This morning, take in mile after stunning mile of the Cabot Trail, where jagged peaks rise straight out of the sea along the coastline. The namesake of John Cabot, the Italian-born seafarer who sailed to Cape Breton Island in 1497 under commission to England’s King Henry VII, this panoramic drive features picturesque vistas of vast skies above and open seas below. Circle the northern part of the island, where the seaside settlements and craggy shoreline evoke images of the Scottish Highlands.
On the way, visit the Acadian town of Cheticamp, where you’ll stop at Les Trois Pignons—a cultural center devoted to the preservation of Acadian culture. During an exclusive Discovery Series event here, you’ll learn the Acadian art of rug-hooking with a hands-on demonstration and view the wall hangings of Canada’s world-renowned “Artist in Wool,” Elizabeth LeFort.
Later, enjoy a scenic picnic lunch in the pastoral grandeur of Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
Return to your hotel this afternoon for an evening at leisure. Dinner is on your own tonight.
Today’s exclusive Discovery Series event takes you to Gaelic College for a true Celtic experience. The word "Celtic" refers to a branch of the Indo-European family of languages, including Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and Breton—but it also describes the culture.
First, watch as skilled kilt-makers transform 26 feet of fabric it into a traditional Scottish garment right before your eyes. Then, learn a bit of the Celtic language from a natural Gaelic-speaker. You’ll also take part in a customary community song session, known as a “milling frolic” and featuring traditional Celtic song and dance. Don’t forget to pack your dancing shoes, as you’ll learn different marches, strathspeys, jigs, and reels during a dance demonstration with one of our seasoned performers.
Afterwards, you’ll have time to discover the Great Hall of the Clans Museum, also on campus, which features eight interactive displays, Gaelic films, and a history of the first Scottish settlers to this area. Enjoy an included lunch before returning to your hotel.
Dinner tonight will be on your own.
This morning, visit the Alexander Graham Bell Museum, which houses some of the great inventor's personal effects and documents, as well as some of his remarkable inventions. Set on 25 beautifully landscaped acres, this historic site also offers stunning views of Bras d'Or Lake. Bell lived and worked here for 35 years, and you’ll find ample information about his history and inventions on display.
You'll continue on your way to Halifax, stopping en route for lunch and a visit to the Millbrook Heritage Centre and Mi’kmaq Museum. The Mi'kmaq (Micmac) are the indigenous people of Newfoundland. The museum celebrates Mi'kmaq culture with exhibits include ancient artifacts, intricate beadwork, and a giant statue of Glooscap—who according to Mi'kmaq legend was the first human, created out of a bolt of lightning in the sand.
Arrive in Halifax this afternoon, then gather with your fellow travelers for a Farewell Dinner this evening.
Return home today, transferring to the airport after breakfast, or continue your Northeast explorations on our optional Boston, Massachusetts extension.
3 nights from only $995
A distinct melange of Revolution-era history, progressive thinking (thanks in part to a large collegiate presence), and legendary sports fandom, Boston is a uniquely New England capital. Trace the historical essence of colonial America on the Freedom Trail, then wander Boston’s many different districts—its jumble of streets and (rarely square) squares—for a true taste of this compact, walkable city.View Extension Itinerary