This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking and making a purchase through the links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This allows me to keep the site up to date and expand on resources. Thanks for reading!

I was born on the most easterly point of North America and couldn’t be happier to be from such a beautiful part of Canada. While not as popular a place to visit as the Canadian Rockies, an east coast Canada road trip should definitely be on your Canadian bucket list.

Humpback whales dancing below towering cliffs, fresh seafood, epic hiking trails, and the friendliest people you’ll ever meet are just some of the reasons to plan an eastern Canada road trip.

I grew up in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and lived in New Brunswick for 18 months. I’ve road-tripped across the east coast more times than I can even count. It’s one of my favorite parts of the world, so I created this guide to share all my favorite hidden gems with you.

This post will guide you through planning your dream road trip through the east coast of Canada. The truth is, there’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ eastern Canada road trip. It entirely depends on the time you have available and the activities that interest you most.

This guide will share all the best places to visit on a road trip through the east coast of Canada so that you can plan out your dream trip. It’s an itinerary focused on natural attractions and adventure activities. Think national parks, hiking trails, kayaking, beaches, and wildlife galore.

gros morne newfoundland
Gros Morne, Newfoundland

To road trip around all the places I’ve suggested below, you would need at least two months. But don’t fret if you don’t have that much time – simply choose the places that interest you most. I’ve also included some sample routes at the end to help you come up with a perfect Canada east coast road trip itinerary.

Want to read this later? Pin it!

pinterst pin eastern canada road trip

Covid-19 Entry Requirements For Atlantic Canada

At the time of updating this post (July 2021), most provinces have reopened to Canadian tourists. Here’s the latest information:

New Brunswick, which borders Quebec, reopened to Canadians last month. No isolation or testing is required for travelers with at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Nova Scotia shares a border with New Brunswick and has reopened to Canadian travelers under Phase 3 of its reopening plan. Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to isolate but must complete the safe check-in form.

Prince Edward Island is open to Atlantic Canadians and will reopen to the rest of Canada on July 18th. Travelers who have at least one dose of the vaccine 21 days prior to visiting will not have to isolate but must apply for a PEI Pass.

Newfoundland is open for tourism from the rest of Canada under the Together Again Reopening Plan. Fully vaccinated travelers do not have to isolate or test.

East Coast Road Trip From Toronto

The focus of this post is on the Maritime provinces and Newfoundland. Still, since I know many of you will be coming from Toronto, I’ve made a few suggestions for places to stop on the way below through Ontario/Québec before reaching New Brunswick. There are MANY more places to visit than outlined here, but they need a post of their own (and it’s coming).

If you’re starting from Toronto, make your first stop in Ottawa (a four-hour drive) or Montreal (a six-hour drive). Opt to stop at Thousand Islands National Park along the way. Spanning across the border between Canada and the U.S., you can either spend the night in the park or just stop for a scenic river cruise through the islands.

visit thousand islands outside of toronto
Thousand Islands National Park

Ottawa and Montreal are just two hours apart, so either make a great place to spend the night if you’re coming from Toronto. I love Montreal because of its exciting nightlife and overall atmosphere. If you prefer a quieter city with beautiful parks where you can learn about Canada’s history, Ottawa is a great option.

Fredericton, New Brunswick, is about 8 hours East of Montreal, so you could get there in a day. But if you prefer to break up the drive, a great option is to spend a night in Québec City. With its picturesque cobblestone streets lined with bistros and boutiques, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Europe.

Quebec city streets
Quebec City

New Brunswick Road Trip

Hooray, you’ve made it your first Maritime province! Many people call New Brunswick a ‘drive-through’ province, but I couldn’t disagree more after living here for 18 months. There’s plenty to see in New Brunswick, and it should definitely be part of your itinerary through Canada’s east coast.

Québec City to Fredericton (593 KM)

Your first destination will be the capital of New Brunswick, and my fave city in the province, Fredericton. It’s a full day of driving from Québec City to Fredericton, so plan to spend a night or two here so you can enjoy what the city has to offer.

Visit the Garrison District, which hosts summer outdoor concerts, movie nights, and guided history tours. From there, take a walk across the Fredericton Railway Bridge. No longer a train route, the bridge has become a sanctuary for pedestrians and cyclists where you can get spectacular views of the city and Saint John river below. In the evening, enjoy a cold brew at one of the cities craft breweries.

Fredericton to Saint John (112 KM)

saint john new brunswick

After a night in Fredericton, head to Saint John. It’s just an hour’s drive to reach this charming coastal town. You can either stop for lunch or spend the night in town. Whichever you choose, be sure to visit the Saint John Central Market, the oldest continuing farmers market in Canada.

Another fun thing to do in Saint John is to take a boat cruise to see the reversing falls, an amazing natural phenomenon where the Bay of Fundy collides with the Saint John River. 

Saint John to Fundy National Park of Canada (111 km)

From Saint John, it’s an easy hour drive to my favorite place in New Brunswick, Fundy National Park of Canada. You’ll want to spend at least two days here, either camping or staying in a hotel near the park. It’s a paradise for hikers and waterfall chasers!

new brunswick waterfalls
Chasing waterfalls in New Brunswick

Hopewell Rocks

Another attraction worth visiting in New Brunswick is Hopewell Rocks, which is home to the highest tides in the world. The tide rises and falls 40 feet or so, twice daily. To fully appreciate this phenomenon, visit Hopewell Rocks at low tide to walk around on the ocean floor and see the unique rock formations up close. At high tide, take an ocean kayak tour. It’s incredible to see the difference!

Kayaking at Bay of Fundy
Kayaking at Bay of Fundy

Hopewell Rocks to Moncton

After leaving Hopewell Rocks, head out for a two-hour drive to New Brunswick’s most populous city, Moncton. Spend the night here or stop for a couple of hours. An excellent spot for lunch is the Tide and Boar Gastropub, one of my favorite restaurants in New Brunswick.

While in Moncton, be sure to take a drive up Magnetic hill. Park at the bottom of the hill, put your car in neutral, and your car will start reversing up the hill on its own. It’s magic! Okay, really it’s just an illusion caused by the landscape, but it’s a cool thing to experience, and kids will love it. There is also a water park near Magnetic hill.

If you’re spending the night in Moncton, a fun thing to do in the evening is a beer tour through the downtown area.

A great day trip or alternative destination to Moncton is Shediac; it’s just 20 minutes away. Shediac is home to Parlee beach, which has the warmest salt water in Canada. It’s a great place to go for your first swim in the Atlantic ocean and eat fresh lobster. You can even take a lobster roll workshop!

parlee beach shediac new brunswick road trip east coast canada
Parlee Beach, Shediac

Optional Route: Acadian Coastal Drive

If you’ve got the time and want to see an alternative side of New Brunswick, then keeping heading North. New Brunswick is the only officially bilingual province in Canada, and this part of the province is where you can fully experience the wonderful French Acadian culture. It makes a great addition to a road trip across the east coast of Canada.

Moncton to Kouchibouguac National Park (101 km)

From Moncton or Shediac, head North towards Kouchibouguac National Park. Spend a night or two here camping to soak in the pristine wilderness. The park has great beaches, canoeing, hiking trails, and wildlife, including an adorable seal colony.


Kouchibouguac National Park to Miramichi

Just half an hour away from Kouchibouguac National Park is the town of Miramichi, which was my home for a year and a half. Miramichi is most famous for its fly fishing opportunities on the Miramichi River. Another fun thing to do in the summertime is to go on a tubing adventure down the river. In the evening, be sure to soak in the incredible sunsets.

Sunset in miramichi
Sunset in Miramichi

A great place to stay in Miramichi is The Rodd. It’s set right on the river and just a 5-minute walk from O’Donaghue’s Irish Pub, which is a yummy place to grab a bite.

Miramichi to Miscou (138 km)

Keep heading North from Miramichi to Miscou, a beautiful island at the very northern tip of New Brunswick. There’s a picturesque white lighthouse you can visit at the tip of the island.

Miscou Lighthouse, New Brunswick on a east coast canada road trip
Miscou Lighthouse, New Brunswick

Miscou to Caraquet (60 km)

Make your way to Caraquet, the heart of Acadian country. If your visit coincides with August 15th, you’ll be able to take part in some of the National Acadian Day festivities, which is sure to be a fun time. There are several quaint B&B’s in Caraquet to spend the night. Be sure to visit the Acadian Historic Village just outside of Caraquet, where you can learn what life used to look like here.

caraquet new brunswick
Caraquet, New Brunswick

If you opt for the Acadian Coastal Drive, you’ll have to return south to Moncton/Shediac, which takes about three hours from Caraquet. From there, you’ll continue the Eastern Canada road trip into Prince Edward Island.

Prince Edward Island (PEI) Road Trip

At just 224 km long and 64 KM wide, Prince Edward Island (PEI) is Canada’s smallest province. But don’t be fooled by the small size, PEI has some of Canada’s most beautiful scenery. Red cliffs along the blue Atlantic ocean, golden sand dunes, and picture-perfect white lighthouses are just some of the gorgeous landscapes you will find while road-tripping across PEI.

PEI connects to New Brunswick via the Confederation bridge. It’s a 45-minute drive from Shediac to the start of the bridge, and it takes about 20 minutes to cross over. While driving over the ocean, be sure to appreciate the undertaking that it took to build this bridge. It’s an impressive example of architecture and engineering.

confederation bridge pei
Confederation Bridge, PEI

PEI isn’t a big place; you could see the main highlights in one day if you really wanted to. But I suggest staying at least a couple of nights as there are some wonderful things to do here.

The province is roughly divided into three sections, with three coastal routes you can make: North Cape Coastal Drive, Central Coastal Drive, and Points East Coastal Drive. You’ll enter the province from New Brunswick at Boredon-Carleton, which is smack dab in the middle of the province, so you could do these routes in any order.

Prince Edward Island Landscapes
Prince Edward Island Landscapes

Borden-Carleton to North Cape

The North Cape coastal drive is a total of 350KM and even has a Canadian potato museum you can visit in O’leary. PEI is very serious about potatoes! Cedar dunes provincial park is another place worth checking out, and a good option for camping overnight.

If you prefer to stay indoors, A unique place to spend the night is the North Cape is the West Point Lighthouse Inn and Museum. PEI has 63 different Lighthouses, each one with its own unique history. You could fill your whole time in PEI just searching for lighthouses, and at least a few should be on your itinerary.

pei lighthouses on an eastern canada road trip

North Cape to Cavendish (129 KM)

After exploring the North Cape head over to Cavendish, which is home of Anne of Green Gables. To be completely honest that has never been an interest of mine, but I know it’s a big attraction of PEI so I can’t write this guide without mentioning it.

PEI has plenty of Anne of Green Gables attractions throughout the province, but Cavendish is home to Green Gables Heritage Place, which inspired the beloved tales’ setting.

Cavendish is also famous for its beautiful sandy beaches and red stone cliffs. Cavendish cliffs are the best place to go to take in these stunning landscapes.

Afterward, head over to Cavendish beach to soak in the sun along a 37-mile stretch of red sand. The red color comes from the high amount of iron in the island’s sandstone, which oxidizes and rusts when it comes in contact with air.

Cavendish to Charlottetown (38 KM)

After taking in the stunning natural landscapes of PEI, head to the capital of the province, Charlottetown. Don’t expect big city lights; the population of Charlottetown is under 40,000. But that’s all part of its charm! There are several accommodation options in Charlottetown to spend the night.

Start your day in Charlottetown with an ice cream cone from Cows Creamery. It was voted Canada’s best ice cream spot and is one of my most treasured childhood memories. In the afternoon, explore the local farmers market (runs on Saturdays all year plus Wednesdays in the summer), or take a bike ride by the sea. Later that evening, head out to Victoria row. This pedestrian-only street is lined with a mix of bars, shops, and restaurants.

prince edward island views

Charlottetown to Greenwich (58 KM)

Spend your last day in PEI exploring the Points East Coastal Drive. Be sure to stop in Greenwich, which is part of the PEI National Park. This section is home to some incredible sand dunes as well as an extensive floating boardwalk, which goes out to a white-sand beach.

greenwich pei
Greenwich, PEI

The next stop on your east coast Canada road trip is Nova Scotia. There are two ways to get to Nova Scotia from PEI. You can either go back via the confederation bridge through New Brunswick or take a 75-minute ferry from Wood Islands to Caribou, Nova Scotia.

The ferry cost $79 CAD for a standard passenger vehicle. However, there is also an exit fee on the confederation bridge of $48.50, so the choice is up to you. I usually take the confederation bridge as I find it more convenient.

Nova Scotia Road Trip

Nova Scotia, known as ‘Canada’s ocean playground’, is a paradise for outdoor lovers. Kayaking, hiking, rafting, are just some of the ways you can enjoy the beauty of this stunning province. It’s my favorite maritime province to road trip on the east coast.

Charlottetown To Halifax (325 KM, via Confederation bridge)

Start your journey in Halifax, the capital city of Nova Scotia. Spend at least a night or two here exploring this vibrant city. The Westin is a great hotel choice, as it’s right downtown. Across the street from the Westin is the Halifax farmers market, a great place to start your day and grab a morning coffee.

harbourfront halifax nova scotia
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Soak in the views of the harbor from the second floor of the market and then head down to walk along the pier. The pier comes to life with street performers, public art displays, and restaurants with outdoor seating during the summertime.

Enjoy lunch here and then head up the hill nearby to Citadel National Historic Site. From the top, you’ll get gorgeous views of the harbor below. In the evening, head out to Argyle street for some live music and rest your head at one these wonderful places to stay in Halifax.

Halifax to Peggy Cove’s (75 km)

The first stop after Halifax is just 45 minutes away. Peggy’s Cove is a quaint fishing village with a stunning white lighthouse. It’s a paradise for photography, with the lighthouse that often reflects in the pools of water. The best time to visit Peggy’s Cove is during sunrise to avoid the crowds. Plus, the light will be incredible.

peggys cove eastern canada road trip
Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia

Peggy’s Cove to Lunenberg (100 km)

A UNESCO world heritage site, Lunenberg is one of the most colorful towns in Nova Scotia. Dating back to the 18th century, this historic town is full of charming architecture and gigantic tall ships docked in the harbor. Head over to the golf course across the harbor for the best views and photo ops of this adorable town.

lunenberg nova scotia
Lunenberg, Nova Scotia

Find places to stay in Lunenberg.

A more off the beaten path place to explore nearby is Blue Rocks, a small fishing village just outside of the Lunenberg. Head there for sunrise – you won’t be disappointed.

Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia

Lunenberg to Kejimkujik National Park (90 KM)

Make your way to Kejimkujik National Park for some of the most pristine kayaking opportunities in Atlantic Canada. Kejimkujik is a great place to go camping and spend the night star gazing.

Kejimkujik National Park to The Shubenacadie River (308 km)

Tidal Bore Rafting in New Brunswick
Tidal Bore Rafting in New Brunswick

If you love adventure, then you must try Tidal Bore rafting on the Shubenacadie River. It’s one of the most unique rafting experiences in the world! Twice a day when the tide changes, the tidal bore temporarily reverses the flow of the river, creating incredible high-speed rapids. It’s the only place in the world where you can experience this! There’s even a Tidal Bore Rafting Resort where you can spend the night.

Cape Breton Island

Although Cape Breton Island is part of Nova Scotia, it’s so unique that it almost feels like a province of its own. After leaving the Shubenacadie river, head 338 km east (approx four hours of driving) to Cape Breton Highlands National Park of Canada.

cabot trail drive
Cabot Trail Drive

Cape Breton Highlands National Park is home to the Cabot Trail, which is continuously named one of the most beautiful drives in the world. It’s only 298km in length, but you’ll want at least a couple of days to take it all in. There are plenty of unique places to stay along the Cabot Trail.

With such incredible views, you’ll be stopping every five minutes for photos. Plus, there are a ton of hiking opportunities along the way. Be sure to hike the Skyline Trail for sunset.

Skyline Trail Sunset, Cape Breton National Park of Canada
Skyline Trail Sunset, Cape Breton National Park of Canada

Cape Breton Highlands National Park to North Sydney (114 km)

After a few beautiful days in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, drive to the North Sydney ferry terminal. This is where you’ll say goodbye to the mainland of Canada and catch an overnight ferry to the island of Newfoundland.

Newfoundland Road Trp

Many people don’t include Newfoundland on their East coast Canada road trip itinerary, but it absolutely should be. Newfoundland is an amazing province that has its own identity, unlike anywhere else in the country.

While out of the way, it will be worth making the trip there. Here’s everything you need to know about planning a road trip through Newfoundland.

st. johns newfoundland
St. John’s, Newfoundland

There are two ferry options for getting to Newfoundland from the mainland. Both depart from North Sydney, Nova Scotia. One goes to Argentia on the East Coast of Newfoundland, and the other goes to Port aux Basques on the West Coast.

I recommend taking the Port Aux Basque ferry because it’s shorter/cheaper, and allows you to see more of Newfoundland.

RouteCost Per Person (Adults)Cost Per Vehicle (Autos, pickups up to 20′)DurationRuns
North Sydney, NS – Port Aux Basque, NL$35.65 $101.05
7 hoursAll Year
North Sydney, NS – Argentia, NL$99.80 $207.2516 hoursJune – September
Comparison Table of Ferry Options to Newfoundland

Port Aux Basque – Corner brook (219 km)

You’ll arrive in Port Aux Basque early in the morning, around 7 am (assuming the ferry is on time). Drive two hours East to Corner Brook, the largest city on the West Coast.

The next few days will be camping in Gros Morne National Park, so stock up on supplies at a grocery store in Corner Brook. Sobeys or Dominion are the best options. There are some small stores in Gros Morne national park, but they are limited in supplies and more expensive.

Corner Brook to Gros Morne national park (85KM)

From Corner Brook, it’s just an hour’s drive to Gros Morne National Park, one of the main highlights of Newfoundland. Spend at least two nights here either camping in the park or at lodging nearby.

With over 100 kilometers of pristine trails, Grose Morne is the perfect place to take a hike. Challenge yourself to go 800 meters up to the summit of Gros Morne mountain.

This hike is no easy feat, as the last two hours involve climbing up steep rocks. The views at the top are worth it – this is one of my favorite hikes that I’ve done in Newfoundland. It’s an all-day hike (16 km) that will take you between 6-8 hours.

If you want a real adventure, try backpacking the long-range traverse. This epic hike takes four nights but will take you to one of the most sought after photos in Newfoundland. This trek is not for beginners – you must attend a backcountry briefing to receive a backcountry hiking permit for this trek.

For a less strenuous activity, take a boat tour through the fjords and marvel at the beauty carved out by the work of glaciers over thousands of years.

Optional route: Viking Trail

l'anse aux meadows national historic site

You could continue your journey down the Northern Peninsula, also known as the Viking trail, to the UNESCO world heritage site of L’anse Aux Meadows. Here you’ll find remains of an 11th century Viking settlement.

I’ve done this route before and it’s absolutely stunning, but you’ll need an extra couple of days. It’s about a three-hour drive from Gros Morne each way.

Gros Morne National Park to Bonavista Peninsula (406 km)

After a few glorious days on the West Coast, you’ll continue your journey towards Newfoundland’s east coast through the Trans Canada Highway (Route 1). It’s an easy drive as there is only one main highway that goes across Newfoundland – just look out for moose along the way.

moose on a east coast road trip canada
Moose are common in Newfoundland

If you’re craving more adventure along the way, stop along the way for a white-water rafting adventure on the Exploits River. It’s just a 20-minute drive from Grand Falls, which is a great place to stop for lunch or spend the night if you want to break up the journey.

Optional route: Central Newfoundland and Fogo Island

fogo island newfoundland

While driving across the province, you could take an optional detour to Fogo Island. This gorgeous island has become a popular spot in recent years with the addition of the 5-star Fogo Island Inn.

There’s so much adventure in Central Newfoundland, you could easily spend another week exploring this region!

Bonavista Peninsula

The Bonavista Peninsula is one of my favorite parts of Newfoundland. With endless picturesque fishing villages, a lively arts scene, fantastic puffing spotting opportunities, and gorgeous hiking trails, you’ll be sure to love it here. Check out this video of some friendly puffins I met there last summer!

Trinity is a perfect place to spend your first night here, with several homey guesthouses to stay. The next day, take a harbour kayak tour where you can come up close with whales and icebergs, depending on the season. Trinity is also home to some great hiking trails. Try the Skerwink trail, a 4.7-kilometer loop with beautiful coastal views.

skerwink trail newfoundland

Trinity to Bonavista (50 km)

Take a day to drive around the Bonavista peninsula or spend the night in Bonavista. Along the way, opt to visit the Port Rexon Brewing for a delicious craft beer.

Dungeon Provincial Park, Bonavista

In Bonavista, take a hike in the stunning Dungeon provincial park, grab a cone at Sweet Rock Ice Cream, or head to nearby Elliston to spot puffins and whales. In the evening, enjoy a locally-sourced dinner at the Bonavista Social Club.

puffins newfoundlands

Trinity to St. John’s (258 km)

Continue driving east to St. John’s, the capital city of Newfoundland and my hometown. Celebrate the end of your east coast Canada road trip by driving to Cape Spear and soaking in the ocean views. Congratulations, You’ve made it to the most easterly point in North America!

Stay in the heart of downtown at the Luxus Boutique Hotel or at the Cabot Guest House in Georgetown, a charming neighborhood I used to live in. If you stay here, be sure to grab your morning coffee and bagel at the Georgetown Bakery.

visiting st johns on an east coast canada road trip

St. John’s is a great city with tons of fun things to do. Hike up to historic Signal Hill where you can get sweeping views of the St. John’s narrows. Take a walk around downtown St. John’s, or visit the picturesque fishing village of Quidi Vidi, which has a brewery that you can tour.

visiting quidi vidi on an east coast canada road trip

In the evening, head to The Duke for the best fish and chips in the city, then head to George Street for a night on the town. With the most bars per capita in Canada, St. john’s has a lively nightlife and a great local music scene. As a visitor, you must get screeched in to become an honourary Newfoundland. Christians Bar on George Street is a perfect place to do that.

The next day (assuming you’re not too tired), take a stroll along a section of the East Coast trail – there are over 336 kilometers of trail to explore that will take you through breathtaking towering cliffs with coastal views.

During the summer, the world’s largest population of Humpback whales make their way to the coast of Newfoundland to feed. It’s one of the best places to go whale watching in the world! Whales can often be spotted while hiking on the East Coast Trail. For a more up-close experience, take a whale and puffin-watching cruise.

whale watching in newfoundland
Humpback Whales in Newfoundland

If you’re a diver, you can also join a diving tour to see  WWII shipwrecks, reefs, wall dives, and more! Diving is a unique way to explore Newfoundland from the ocean floor.

Sample Itineraries for a Road Trip to Canda’s East Coast

With two months, you would be able to see road trip all of Eastern Canada including the optional routes I mentioned. You could visit the main highlights of the East Coast in a month, but the road trip would be very fast-paced with a lot of driving.

An example Canada East coast two-week road trip itinerary through the Maritimes would be New Brunswick (3 nights), Prince Edward Islands (3 nights), Halifax and Nova Scotia’s South Shore (3 nights), and Cape Breton (4 nights). Alternatively, you could do Cape Breton (4 nights), and Newfoundland (8 nights).

If you just wanted to just focus on Newfoundland, you could fly into the province to save time. St. John’s has an international airport where you can rent a car.

With just one week, you aren’t going to be able to road trip all of the East Coast of Canada. I recommend sticking to one province such as Nova Scotia or Newfoundland and making the most of your time there. PEI and New Brunswick could be done together in one week.

Best Time to Road Trip the East Coast of Canada

While it’s possible to visit the East Coast year-round, I would not advise an Eastern Canada road trip around the Winter months (November-April – yes, it can really go that long!), simply because the road conditions could be bad and dangerous. The Maritimes are famous for their horrible winter storms. Plus, the ferry to Newfoundland often gets delayed in the winter.

Summertime is the ideal time for a road trip, but it is is also the most popular. The shoulder seasons are also great options. During the springtime, you will have fewer tourists and the possibility to see icebergs in Newfoundland.

During the fall, you can see beautiful fall colors, which will make the drive absolutely breathtaking, especially on the Cabot Trail. That said, you can expect some cold nights, and even days, if you are visiting the East coast during October.

fall colors on the east coast of canada

Essential Items For a Eastern Canada Road Trip

When road tripping around Eastern Canada, don’t bring to bring these items with you!

  • Parks Canada Discovery Pass – This will get you unlimited admission for 12 months at over 80 parks across Canada. This may be worth it if you plan to visit a lot of the national parks, which I highly recommend!
  • Insect Repellant– they are fierce in the summertime!
  • Road trip snacks!
  • Canadian cash – Most places accept major credit cards and debit but in smaller communities, you may find places that only accept cash. Bring Canadian dollars as these places will probably not exchange American money.
  • Roadside emergency kit
  • Canada Road Map
  • First Aid Kit
  • Blankets and Pillows – it gets cold in Canada, even in the summertime! You never know when those will come in handy.
  • Audiobooks for the road. I love Audible for this!
  • A car charger for charging your devices
  • A GPS or download Google offline maps for your phone. Many rural places you will be driving through in Canada do not have cell phone reception.

Final Thoughts

I know this post has a lot of information, but there’s just so much to see. I hope it could help you plan and dream about an eastern Canada road trip, it really is one of the most beautiful places to visit. If you’ve got any questions about planning a road trip to the east coast of Canada just let me know in the comments below!

Planning a trip to Canada?

From the Rocky Mountains on the West Coast to the charming fishing villages on the East Coast of Canada, there’s so much beauty to discover in Canada.

Get inspired for your trip to Canada with these 25 Bucket List Experiences.

See all Canada posts in this Ultimate Guide to Visiting Canada.

Found this post helpful? Pin it for later!

eastern canada road trip pin
canada east coast road trip pin
east coast canada road trip pin

You might also enjoy:


  1. Your photos alone make me want to pack a bag and hit the road! I’d love to do a coastal drive of Eastern Canada and PEI has always been on my radar!

  2. Yay for road tripping! I haven’t had a chance to explore too much of Canada but would love to someday! I wanna visit the national parks!

  3. I love all those rugged coastal views with the reflections in the waters and the lighthouses. I already love the West side of Canada, but I do really like the idea of exploring the Eastern coast as well. It looks like SUCH a fantastic area to hike, and then eat icecream.

    p.s. My mum loves Anne of Green Gables…I wonder if telling her that would be a good way to lure her to Canada!? 😉

    1. I love the West coast of Canada too, but the East coast is a completely different experience! Haha I think that would definitely get her there if PEI is on the itinerary!

  4. Hi Lora,
    Thank you for such an informative post! You’ve helped me narrow down most of the places I wanted to go as I’m currently planning an Eastern road trip! I wanted to know what your estimated budget was for the entire trip, if you don’t mind my asking. Thank you again 🙂

    1. That’s awesome, glad to hear! That’s so variable depending on how long your trip is, if you’re renting a car, camping or staying in hotels, solo etc. If you give me more details I can try and help!

  5. Hy Lora,

    This is very informative.

    Was just wondering if you could suggest a perfect Canada East Coast road trip itinerary with RV Camper that last up to 16 days (3 adults)? I have seen and read many but l just don’t know how to manage that. The idea is to do a road trip from Montréal – Nova Scotia (16 days) or just Nova Scotia (16 days) suggesting probably “must see” places and camping possibilities.
    The road trip is planned for next year 2021 summer (hopefully by then the pandemic is under control). Wouldn’t mind if you can email me your ideas also per email.

    Thanks for your time.


    1. Hi Mitch. You can definitely plan a great road trip from Montreal to Nova Scotia with 16 days. You’ll have to drive through New Brunswick anyway so I suggest spending a night or two there on the way and back. Fundy national park is a great place to visit! That should still leave you with 10 or more full days in Nova Scotia, so for the rest of your itinerary, it depends on what you are interested in seeing. I love Cape Breton island for the Cabot Trail, I’d recommend 3-5 days to do that. The Halifax area is great too, and there are a lot of fun day trips to small towns you can take from there.

  6. Hello Lora!
    Your blog is so informative and what beautiful pictures! I want to plan an East Coast trip this summer but I’m waiting (and hoping) for some travel restrictions to loosen up so we can visit from Ontario. If not, then I will save this information for 2022!
    I have a question for you. I know you said that Newfoundland shouldn’t be missed but we only have 3 weeks and when I followed most of your itinerary that didn’t leave me much time for Newfoundland. Is there a place for whale watching in the other 3 provinces?

    1. Thanks so much! Yes for sure, there are lots of places to go whale watching on the East Coast. You can go in St. Andrews by-the-sea in New Brunswick, as well as Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. I do think Newfoundland is the best place for it though! Really hope you can make it out to the east coast this summer!

  7. Hi, thank you for all of the info. Ten of us rented an RV and have booked our trip for Sept 3-10. We want to eat fish, do a lot of water activities and sightseeing. Since we have only a week and have no wish to see Montreal. Can you help me choose best places. We are from Toronto and are so tired of being on lockdown.

    1. Hi! Without stopping somewhere in Quebec it will be a long drive to New Brunswick (14 hours) but doable if you guys don’t mind a long day of driving. I would recommend spending most of your time in Nova Scotia by the coast, they have tons of water activities and delicious seafood.

  8. This is great – I may have missed this and will re-read your post, but how long did it take you to road trip across the east coast and as woman would you safe it is safe if I do it alone? Thanks.

    1. I’ve done it in as little as 3 days and as long as a month! It really depends on how much you want to see but I’d recommend at least one to two weeks. It is safe to travel there as a woman alone – I did last summer! Atlantic Canadians are extremely friendly and helpful 🙂

  9. Hi Lora, Thank you so much for this great article. I would love to start planning a short east coast trip to Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and PEI at the end of august (August 19-29). I live in Ontario. Do you maybe have any more specific information about the border restrictions for people from other provinces? Thank you!

    1. Hi Cloe, I just updated the article with the latest information. Border restrictions depend on your vaccination status – fully vaccinated travelers can visit all four provinces, but you will have to apply for a PEI Pass for PEI.

  10. Hi Lora, thank you for all the information you have provided. We are from Alberta and have planned to visit the East Coast Aug 26 – Sept 7th and hoping to see highlights in all provinces. Will check out your article on vaccination status for all provinces. Quick question – is it worth the long drive from Montreal to New Brunswick or should we fly? Thanks for any info you can provide.

    1. If you are flying anyway I would just go to New Brunswick. Montreal is a great city and Quebec City is a nice stop along the way but if you are limited on time and want to see all four provinces it’s better to just fly.

  11. Thanks for so much great info! We are planning an -unfortunately- fairly rushed road trip in our camper van next month. Leaving from Muskoka on the 19th and we have to be home on the 29th. Staying near Quebec City the first night, somewhere close-ish to Fredericton the second night, then the weekend visiting friends in PEI. Monday morning we will board the ferry to NS and do a couple days on Cape Breton Island. We pretty much have to start heading towards Ontario on Thursday, or at the very latest, Friday.
    Two questions: 1) Is it fairly easy to “free camp” in PEI and Nova Scotia, or do we really need to book campsites? We are self-sufficient with a solar fridge, stove and composting toilet in a 19′ van.
    2) If we do Cape Breton (Cabot Trail) over Monday-Tuesday, what’s the #1 thing you’d suggest for Wednesday/Thursday? Do we go west to Halifax/Lunenberg area? My concern is we might be burnt out from driving so much, but we also want to make the most of our time out there. Leaving from Halifax instead of closer to NB means a few extra hours of driving overall. I have been to Halifax/Peggy’s Cove/Lunenberg but my partner has not.
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Ashley, I have only camped at campsites but if you are a resident of Canada and self-sufficient you could camp on crown land for up to 21 days. I’m sure there is lots of it there, but I’m not an expert in this area.

      If you have been to Halifax/Lunenberg and don’t want to add on the extra driving I would just stay on Cape Breton Island. Two days isn’t a lot of time there, the cabot trail is so beautiful I spent a week on it! Inverness or Baddeck are two nice spots on either side of where it starts. I am not super familiar with the part of Nova Scotia between Halifax and Cape Breton Island so can’t make specific recommendations for there, but I think you could easily spend more than two days in Cape Breton and enjoy yourself!

  12. Hi Lora,
    Excellent presentation and very nicely explained all relevant issues for travelling. I have sent you an email also seperately for guidance but I know you are very busy. In fact I want to visit Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI with a friend from Brampton. We will fly from Toronto to Sydney and back from Halifax. We will get a car rental for visiting other provinces. My preference is Cabot trail and other areas to be covered in 8 days. Kindly guide.

    1. Hi, I would spend at least 2-3 days to drive the Cabot Trail – it’s so scenic you’ll want time to stop and soak it in. PEI is a very small province, you could see a lot in just two days. If you take the bridge from New Brunswick you’ll be close to Moncton, although I personally prefer Fredericton. It’s worth spending a day or two in Halifax as well, but that’s about all you could fit in!

      1. Hi Lora, we are planning to visit Atlantic from Aug 14-Aug22(must be back to Toronto Aug 22), we are planning to stay 1 night in Quebec for example leaving Toronto to Quebec city on Saturday Aug 14 morning, stay a night in Quebec, then leave Quebec around afternoon Sunday, please advise the next beautiful stop we should stay for 1 or 2 nights? group of 20 people 8 kids ranging from 3-11 years old. Thanks so much

  13. Hi Lora, great article. We are thinking of taking a 2 week family road trip this summer from Toronto, do you think that’s enough time to explore the east coast?

  14. Thanks so much for this perfect article, I’m planning for a small group 17 people 1st time ever driving from Toronto to Atlantic. This article perfectly giving me all ideas we can explore. Thanks

  15. Hi Lora,
    thanks a lot for this information – it already helps me a lot 🙂 I will go to Canada in October and will spend there 4 weeks. I would have more time, but I think, it would get cold in November. What would you think? Yes it really depends on mother nature … 🙂

    As the temperature is getting low during my trip from beginning October till end of October, could you recommend me a good starting point? Is it better to start in Toronto or in Newfoundland? Or doesn´t it make a difference?

    I will come from a one-month-trip in Iceland, so I would get used somehow to colder weather, but maybe you have some advice for me ? 🙂

    1. Hi! So glad you found the post helpful. It can definitely be cold in Atlantic Canada by November – even in October! It stays warmer in Ontario longer (I’ve experienced 20+ degree at end of October in Toronto), so I would actually start in Newfoundland and end in Toronto to make the most of the weather 🙂

  16. Hello and thank you for sharing your experiences.
    I’m planning a last minute roadtrip the first three weeks of Sept 2021.

    I’m looking at starting from TORONTO and making my way out EAST and then driving back of course.
    Will be using personal vehicle and travelling with my spouse
    ( no kids )

    Any recommendations itinerary wise ?
    I believe 3 weeks should be enough time to see and do a fair amount.

    Thank you in advance for your time

    1. 3 weeks is enough time to see all four provinces! I would spend a week in Newfoundland, one in Nova Scotia and the other split between PEI and New Brunswick.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.