Peggy’s Cove is a must-visit attraction in Nova Scotia
Atlantic Canada is made up of four provinces, each one unique in their own right and boasting their own special charm. The maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland & Labrador also boast their own unique flavours when it comes to food, but they do all share the same palette of picturesque fishing villages, pristine beaches and the freshest seafood.
If you are looking at holidays to Canada, Atlantic Canada should be high on your bucket list of places to visit. Read on as we take you through what each province offers and the main reasons to visit Atlantic Canada.
Nova Scotia is almost entirely surrounded by water and is home to some of North America’s best and most extraordinary coastal experiences. Along its incredible 13,300km coastline, you can enjoy activities like tidal bore rafting and kayaking and spot some of the 150+ lighthouses dotted around the province.
To give you a glimpse into the picturesque Nova Scotia, we shine a spotlight on the best attractions you can visit, some delicacies you should try, and some of the incredible wildlife you can see.
Nova Scotia is full of Canadian history, and this is evident in the lighthouses that have been guarding the province’s rugged coastline for hundreds of years. Built in 1915, Peggy’s Cove claims the most well-known lighthouse in Nova Scotia and possibly the most photographed in Canada.
Peggy’s Point Lighthouse still keeps watch over the surging ocean waves and working lobster boats, and you can enjoy the stunning views if you walk around the lighthouse and over the giant granite rocks that have been worn smooth by the sea. There are also scenic coves and quaint little harbours that you can explore, which are close to Peggy’s Cove.
The world-famous Cabot Trail is one of the best road trips in the world. The 185-mile road loops around the northern tip of Cape Breton Island, and along the route, drivers can enjoy stunning landscapes which range from beautiful coastlines to old-growth forests and mountains.
There are unique fishing villages, picturesque hiking trails and a variety of attractions that line the route, so there will be plenty of photo opportunities.
Audrey, the travel blogger behind That Backpacker, says why she would recommend driving the Cabot Trail: “It’s especially scenic once you reach the coastal portions where you have the Atlantic Ocean to one side and forested highlands to the other. The winding roads mean you have to drive a bit slower, which is just perfect for enjoying the scenery.
“Also, the beauty of driving the Cabot Trail is that despite it being such a well-known route, it’s not too crowded at all! We were expecting to find a lot more traffic, especially as we were driving in the middle of summer, but we never encountered heavy traffic. In fact, there were stretches where we had the whole Cabot Trail to ourselves, which made it a very pleasant drive.”
Other attractions we would recommend visiting in Nova Scotia:
•Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site
•Cape Breton Highlands National Park
Foods to try
Eating a Lobster Roll is a must when you visit Atlantic Canada, and with Nova Scotia being one of the first places in Canada to become famous for this delicacy, we’d recommend you try it during your visit to the province.
You can’t drive 10 feet into Nova Scotia without coming across a restaurant selling the delicacy, so you will have plenty of choice and opportunity to try the tastiest Atlantic Canadian lobster rolls in the country.
There is no place on earth where you will get fresher lobster, and the province even has its own trail dedicated to this delicious dish. On the Nova Scotia Lobster Trail, you will experience traditional lobster dinners, lobster rolls and everything in between.
There are several different varieties of oysters grown in the coastal waters of Nova Scotia, and each type has its own distinct characteristics and flavours. If you want to try oysters that have been freshly caught from the sea, there are many restaurants across Nova Scotia that serve fresh oysters.
Being home to a diverse natural environment, Nova Scotia is a paradise for wildlife. Below are some of the wildlife you could see during your travels:
•Humpback Whales and 11 other species in the Bay of Fundy
• Red Squirrel
New Brunswick is one of the most interesting and diverse provinces in Canada. It is a place where, one day, you will be exploring its coastal landscape and stunning beaches; the next, you will discover the old-world charm the province is world-renowned for.
Find out about the best attractions you can visit and experience, savour a taste of coastal living as fresh as it gets, and be amazed by the array of wildlife you can see in New Brunswick.
The top-rated attraction in New Brunswick on TripAdvisor is the stunning Hopewell Rocks. This eye-catching landmark is visited by thousands of people every year who come to see the flower-pot rocks, a unique formation that has been carved over thousands of years of erosion. Witness and experience the highest tides in the world and take in the exceptional views at the park’s viewing platform.
You can walk along sea cliffs to secluded beaches and picnic spots or paddle amongst the flower-pot rocks at high tide.
Shaun, who runs the This Life in Trips blog, has visited Hopewell Rocks and talks about the incredible activities you can do: “In Hopewell Rocks Park, there is no shortage of things to see and do. Beyond walking down to the ocean floor to the odd (and awesome) flower pots, Hopewell Rocks Park has several walking trails, beaches, and a massive interpretive centre complete with a cafeteria and gift shop. From there, you can sit in on educational explanations of the geology behind the rocks or book a guided kayaking tour during high tides.”
Fundy National Park
New Brunswick is home to two national parks – Kouchibouguac National Park and Fundy National Park – both of which offer their own unique activities. However, a must-visit is the Fundy National Park, which is home to a 170-mile-long bay, waters full of marine wildlife, and spectacular sandstone formations.
The Bay of Fundy is home to the world’s highest tides (reaching up to 54 feet or around the size of a multi-story building). When the tide is out, you can explore the seafloor, which is bursting with intertidal wildlife.
A large slice of the maritime Acadian Highlands is a part of the national park, and this rich natural system of forests boasts a varied network of coastal, forest, and waterfall-destination trails.
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Other attractions we would recommend visiting in New Brunswick:
•Roosevelt Campobello International Park
•Reversing Falls Rapids
•Fundy Trail Provincial Park
•Fundy National Park
•Sea Caves of St. Martins
Foods to try
Fiddleheads are one of the symbols of New Brunswick, and this unfurled fern is a local delicacy. It is traditionally foraged in the spring, and the fact they have a short growing season and are only found in the wild makes them all the more special.
You will find Fiddleheads on seasonal restaurant menus in the spring, and they are a popular ingredient in many dishes. Alternatively, you could join a foraging tour to find them.
In recent years, seaweed has become a trendy superfood, eaten for its various health benefits, but this is not a new trend in New Brunswick. Dulse is an edible seaweed that has been a hugely popular delicacy in the province for many years.
If you don’t feel that you can stomach a whole mouthful of this salty snack, then it is also popular to crush it and sprinkle it over soups and sauces.
Here we list some of the wildlife you could see in New Brunswick:
•12 species of whale
Prince Edward Island
It may be Canada’s smallest province, but it is packed full of activities and attractions. Prince Edward Island is a breathtaking destination, filled with endless beaches, wandering trails, spectacular lighthouses, rolling coastlines and unique experiences everywhere you look.
Find out about the best attractions you can visit, the foods you should try, and the wildlife you can see in Prince Edward Island.
Green Gables Heritage Place
This is Canada’s most famous literary landmark, and here, you can walk in the footsteps of one of Canada’s most celebrated authors and immerse yourself in the landscape that inspired the setting of Anne of Green Gables.
The farmhouse has been restored to its former glory, and it tells you the story of both the author, L.M. Montgomery, and her most famous heroine, Anne Shirley. You can also explore the 19th-century gardens, farmyard, and walking trails – including the Haunted Wood and Lovers Lane.
Anne of Green Gables was first published in 1908, and it has since sold more than 50 million copies across the world. It has also been adapted into films and TV series.
Lucy, the author of On The Luce Travel Blog, has visited the Green Gables Heritage Place, and she speaks about her experience: “Inside the house has been restored to just how you’d picture it from the book (a bit more lavish than the real residents would have kept it). There’s the cosy kitchen, the formal Victorian dining room, Marilla’s sewing room and Anne’s bedroom in the east gable, with its flowery wallpaper, muslin curtains and a brown dress with puffed-sleeves hung on the back of the wardrobe. It’s like the book’s come to life.”
Prince Edward Island National Park
Rolling sand dunes and eye-catching red sandstone cliffs are just some of the incredible sights you can see while visiting the Prince Edward Island National Park.
The park is also home to multiple walking trails, boardwalks and paved multi-use trails for cycling, so you can easily access and enjoy some fantastic views of the stunning coastal terrain, saltwater marshes and Acadian forest.
The park is renowned for its beautiful beaches, and you can enjoy swimming, surfing and a whole host of other water-based activities. Some of the park’s most popular beaches are Cavendish Main Beach, Cavendish Campground Beach, Brackley Beach, Stanhope Main Beach, Ross Lane Beach, and Greenwich Beach.
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Other attractions we would recommend visiting in Prince Edward Island:
•Confederation Centre of the Arts
•Visit Lighthouses on Points East Coastal Drive
Foods to try
Prince Edward Island Potatoes
Prince Edward Island is Canada’s leading producer of potatoes, and they are proudly served in restaurants across the island. From mash to French fries, you can expect every eatery on the island to have its own special twist.
There are russet, white, yellow, red or purple skin potatoes that are grown on the island, and we’d highly recommend trying a dish with Prince Edward Island potatoes in it.
The Prince Edward Island Lobster Supper is believed to have originated at church halls and community centres where platters of fresh lobster and ample sides were given to people. Due to its popularity, an entire industry has developed around this meal, and you can find lobster supper halls in New Glasgow and other towns across the island.
Going to a full-service lobster supper is all but mandatory on a visit to Prince Edward Island, but if you prefer something a bit lighter, you could opt for lobster rolls, which are also available across the island.
Discover below some of the wildlife you could see in Prince Edward Island:
•300-plus species of birds – including the endangered Piping Plover and the iconic Bald Eagle
•Harp, Harbour, Hooded, and Grey seals
•Atlantic white-sided dolphin
Newfoundland & Labrador
Newfoundland & Labrador is on the beautiful east coast of Canada, and from hiking along the breathtaking coastline and hunting for icebergs to visiting historical towns and going whale watching, there is so much to see and do in this special province.
Find out about the best attractions you can visit, the foods you should try, and the wildlife you can see in Newfoundland & Labrador.
Signal Hill National Historic Site
Signal Hill is a national historic site and is located in an area where a fierce battle between British and French soldiers took place, marking the final battle of the Seven Year’s War in 1762. If you climb the Cabot Tower, which was built to commemorate the 400th anniversary of John Cabot’s voyage to North America under the commission of Henry VII, you can enjoy some stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, St. John’s and its charming harbour.
Signal Hill is also the site of a technological triumph as, in December 1901, Guglielmo Marconi received the first transatlantic wireless signal here. During your visit, there are many hiking trails to the fortifications at the Queen’s Battery Barracks and along the enormous cliffs.
Gros Morne National Park
It took around 485 million years for Mother Nature to create Gros Morne National Park, and it should come as little surprise that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Being 1,805 square kilometres big, you will discover a never-ending series of wonders, and one of the best ways to explore the spectacularly raw and enigmatic beauty of the park is to hike along one of the many walking trails.
You can go sea kayaking through fjords that were carved by glaciers and beside roaring waterfalls and towering cliffs. No matter what time of the year you visit, there is something to do. In the winter months, you can go snowshoeing, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and plenty of other fun winter activities.
Photographer and travel writer Mindy runs her own blog called Mindy On The Move, and she says the national park should be at the top of your bucket list:
“Gros Morne National Park, in Newfoundland, Canada, is an unsung treasure that should skyrocket to the top of your bucket list travels! I fell head over heels in love with Gros Morne National Park’s vastly varying landscapes, from her exposed mantle to her lush forests, from her staggering fjords to her sparking sea.”
Other attractions we would recommend visiting in Newfoundland & Labrador:
•L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site and UNESCO World Heritage Site
•The Rooms Archives, Art Gallery, and Museum
•Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site
Foods to try
Fish ‘N’ Brewis
This traditional Newfoundland & Labrador dish has been around for many years, and in the past, fishermen salted cod to help it last the long winters and keep it edible for long voyages at sea.
This recipe can vary from one community to another, but the primary ingredients are always the same – salt cod and hard bread or tack. The salt fish and hard bread are often served with potatoes, scrunchions (pork rind) and sautéed greens.
This Newfoundland delicacy is generally eaten at breakfast, but it can be a delicious treat that is eaten at any time of the day. Usually, the yeasted dough is pan-fried until golden and served with molasses or corn syrup.
Toutons are not just a breakfast that is made at home. If you visit any local restaurant in Newfoundland, chances are there will be toutons on the menu.
Here we list some of the wildlife you could see in Newfoundland & Labrador:
•Humpback, Minke, Pilot, Fin, Sperm, Blue, and Orca whales
•White-beaked and White-sided Dolphin
•Caribou and moose
Atlantic Canada is one of Canada’s most diverse and historic regions, with Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland & Labrador combining to create a vibrant region full of colour.
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