Eastern Canada Road Trip Experience

Eastern Canada Road Trip Experience

An Amazing Eastern Canada Road Trip Experience 

We were so glad we saw so much on our amazing Eastern Canada road trip experience.  On our drives to and from Atlantic Canada we enjoyed several fun stops in QuebecNew Brunswick road trip stops took us along the shore line.  Ferry rides to and from the island were just part of the charm we discovered in Newfoundland.  Our first visit to Prince Edward Island (PEI) delighted us.  And we enjoyed a wonderful mix of city treats and outdoor delights in Nova Scotia.  

When we planned our road trip to Eastern Canada, we knew we needed to book much of the key things in advance.  Our schedule was adjusted several times to meet ferry availability.  And during our travels we made some changes in our plans when weather made some stops less desirable.  But we still experienced far more on our visit to Eastern Canada than we imagined. 

Back Road Route In Ontario To Montreal

We left Toronto early in the day on the highway and beat the morning rush hour traffic.  But as soon as we cleared the city we headed off on the smaller roads to travel through Ottawa and into Quebec.  Getting off the highway was one of the road trip tips we followed that ensured we moved at a slower pace and stopped regularly.  

Our first stop was in the small town of Perth Ontario for coffee and a wander in the town.  We found lots to see as we strolled around the town for our break.  It was a charming little town that deserves a return visit one day.

Perth Ontario
Perth Ontario - Eastern Canada Road Trip Experience

As we approached Ottawa, we detoured and travelled along the Rideau Canal.  Our first stop was at the Beveridges Lock.  We loved to visit the locks along the Rideau canal on our day trips in Ontario.  We followed the dirt road and enjoyed the quiet and reflections at the Tay Marsh. And stopped to watch the boats go through the locks in Smiths Falls.

Rideau Canal Beveridges Lock Ontario - Perth Ontario - Eastern Canada Road Trip Experience
Rideau Canal Beveridges Lock Ontario

Our meandering path through rural Ontario took so much time we decided to bypass Ottawa entirely.  We spent many long weekends exploring Ottawa so were not upset to miss it on this trip.  

The slow trip through Ontario was a great way to start our Eastern Canada road trip experience.   But we needed to make up some time so we got back on the highway and headed for Montreal in Quebec.

A Pampering Stay In Montreal

We loved to visit Montreal for getaways.  On a recent visit had such a lovely stay at the Ritz-Carlton Montreal that we planned a return stay to start our Eastern Canada road trip experience with a little pampering.  Our short stay in Montreal was a treat for our anniversary.  

Ritz Carlton Montreal Quebec
Ritz Carlton Montreal Quebec

When we wandered in the city we found great food and art in the streets. We had a lot of fun when we visited Old Montreal.  A boat tour along the St Lawrence River gave us a view of this great city from the water.

Montreal was a perfect first stop on our road trip.  We loved exploring more of this sophisticated city from a luxury base.

Exploring The Outdoors In The Saguenay Area Of Quebec

After a few days in Montreal we headed towards Quebec City.  On this road trip we bypassed Quebec City on the outward path but stopped on our way home.  We travelled along the St Lawrence River in Quebec until we hit the Saguenay River and headed north.  The views on the Fjord Route along the Saguenay River were a stunning introduction to this great region in Quebec.  

Saguenay Fjord Route Quebec - Eastern Canada Road Trip Experience
Saguenay Fjord Route Quebec

We spent 2 nights in the city of Saguenay at the Delta Saguenay HotelA day trip around Lac Saint-Jean provided us with many charming road trip stops.  We found several spots where we watched the raging rapids in the fast flowing rivers. 

Saguenay Lac Saint Jean Quebec - Eastern Canada Road Trip Experience
Saguenay Lac Saint Jean Quebec

Heading back south along the Saguenay River we returned to the St Lawrence River.  In the tiny town of Tadoussac we enjoyed a fun day whale watching on the St Lawrence River and saw our first beluga whales.  After whale watching we followed the Whale Route east for waterfalls and the ferry across the St Lawrence River.

Tadoussac Whale Watching Quebec - Eastern Canada Road Trip Experience
Whale Route St Lawrence Quebec
Les Escoumins Ferry Quebec

Our short visit to the Saguenay region in Quebec gave us some early outdoor fun for our Eastern Canada road trip experience.

Travelling Along The Coast In New Brunswick

We travelled through New Brunswick on our way to Sydney in Cape Breton for the ferry to Newfoundland.  We enjoyed travelling along the lighthouse route and found great seafood and lovely sights.  Stops in Bathurst and Miramichi let us wander in the small towns and explore the local areas.  

When we returned from our stay on Prince Edward Island, our one night stop in Moncton at the Delta Beausejour Moncton offered us an amazing luxury stay.  

Moncton Delta New Brunswick

This was a return visit for us to New Brunswick.  We added a few new sights in this Atlantic province on our Eastern Canada road trip experience.

Newfoundland Was A Highlight Of Our Eastern Canada Road Trip Experience

This was the first time we visited Newfoundland and were so glad we added this to our Eastern Canada road trip experience – even if it did require a little more planning as a road trip.  When we planned our visit to Eastern Canada we started with ferry schedules when we found limited availability.  But we enjoyed our ferry trips to and from Newfoundland.  

Ferry To Newfoundland
Ferry To Newfoundland

The ferry took us into Newfoundland at Port Aux Basque for a short stay.  We then drove for two days with a lunch stop in Cornerbrook and an overnight stay in Grand Falls Windsor.  It was interesting to get this view of the small towns in Newfoundland.  

Port Aux Basque in Newfoundland - Eastern Canada Road Trip Experience
Cape Ray Lighthouse in Newfoundland
Grand Falls Salmonid Interpretation Centre Newfoundland - Eastern Canada Road Trip Experience

We settled into the Delta St. John’s and enjoyed 4 days in St John’s.  There was so much to see as we wandered in town.  We visited the Signal Hill National Historic Site and got a beautiful panoramic view over the city at sunset.  There was colourful street art everywhere.  And we did not miss the Jelly Bean houses that St. John’s was known for.

We enjoyed day trips out of the city for interesting experiences.  We went to the furthest east point in Canada at Cape Spear.  One day we took a boat tour and got a great show from the puffins and whales in Newfoundland.  And on another day we were delighted with a day trip to Trinity and Bonavista.

Our week in Newfoundland was definitely a highlight of our Eastern Canada road trip experience. 

A Return Visit To Nova Scotia

We were happy we planned some stops in Nova Scotia.  On our first trip to this Maritime province we explored a lot of the small towns and coastal area.  On this trip we started our visit to Nova Scotia with a few days in Sydney.  We enjoyed this quaint coast town before we got on the ferry from Sydney to Newfoundland.

Sydney Cape Breton Island Nova Scotia - Eastern Canada Road Trip Experience
Sydney Cape Breton Island Nova Scotia

When we returned to Sydney after our stay in Newfoundland, we were disappointed when the weather caused our drive along the Cabot Trail to be cancelled.  We drove in the rain direct to Halifax and settled into the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront on the waterfront path.  We found this a great base to explore the waterfront attractions and see the city historic sites.

Our stay in Halifax also provided a great base for day trips.  We travelled along the south shore and visited Mahone Bay, wandered around Peggy’s Cove and re-visited the port town of Lunenburg.  

Peggys Cove Nova Scotia - Eastern Canada Road Trip Experience
Lunenburg Nova Scotia

A day trip to the Ovens Natural Park provided a fun outdoor treat.  And we highly recommend taking in the tide swings on the Bay of Fundy.

Ovens Natural Park in Nova Scotia - Eastern Canada Road Trip Experience
Bay of Funny Tides Nova Scotia

We found lots to see and do on a short stay in Nova Scotia.  It was wonderful to return to this province as part of our Eastern Canada road trip experience.  

First Time Visit To Prince Edward Island

We were excited when we planned our Eastern Canada road trip to include a stay on Prince Edward Island (PEI).  From Nova Scotia we took a small ferry into PEI.  We settled into the Delta Hotels PEI in Charlottetown for a pampering stay in the heart of Charlottetown for our stay.  From the hotel it was easy to enjoy the local sights and indulge our love of seafood. 

Charlottetown PEI
Delta Charlottetown PEI  - Eastern Canada Road Trip Experience
Delta Charlottetown PEI

On two day trips we explored the National Parks in PEI.  We began at the Dalvay National Park with some time on Stanhope Beach.  While the beach at Cavendish Beach was a good draw, the stunning red cliffs were the big attraction for us.  Our second day trip took us to Greenwich National Park with its sand dunes and marsh.

Cavendish PEI Parks - Eastern Canada Road Trip Experience
Greenwich PEI Parks

We saw many of the iconic spots in PEI as we travelled around the island.  When we visited Point Prim we saw a lighthouse, ate tasty seafood and enjoyed a colourful treat at Hannah’s Bottle Village.

Charlottetown PEI Anne of Green Gables
Point Prim Lighthouse PEI  - Eastern Canada Road Trip Experience

We had a busy stay on Prince Edward Island and were truly charmed.  We made some awesome memories in PEI as part of our Eastern Canada road trip experience.  When we left PEI we took the route along the Confederation Bridge and returned to New Brunswick.

Confederation Bridge New Brunswick - Eastern Canada Road Trip Experience

A Short Stop In Quebec City

When we planned our visit to Atlantic Canada, we had several days on the itinerary to visit the Gaspe area in Quebec.  But grey skies and rain made us change our plans and re-routed us home to Toronto.  But we still needed a stop to break up the driving. So we planned one last road trip stop in Quebec in Quebec City.  

We arrived late on a Saturday.  We knew that a mid-weekend hotel check-in was a recipe for disaster.  And we were sadly not proven wrong.  Even with our Marriott Ambassador Elite status, we did not get an upgrade and we did not even get the room we booked.  It was good we were only in for a quick stop.   But the benefit of being in downtown Quebec City was the easy availability of good food.

Quebec City Nina Pizza

We checked out very early and headed to the Montmorency Falls just outside of Quebec City.   Our early arrival let us enjoy all that this park had to offer.  

Montmorency Falls in Quebec City
Montmorency Falls in Quebec City - Eastern Canada Road Trip Experience

We enjoyed a relaxing break wandering the park and watching the waterfall.  And then we got on the road for a long last drive on our Eastern Canada road trip experience.

So Many Great Stops On Our Eastern Canada Road Trip Experience

We planned an aggressive and comprehensive itinerary for our Eastern Canada road trip experience.  But the up-front planning ensured we had an amazing trip as we travelled through Quebec and the Atlantic provinces in Canada.  We saw so many iconic sights, had the best seafood, stopped for pampering stays and thoroughly enjoyed the sights.  We visited new Canadian provinces and returned to some favourites.  

Along the way we added a few points to our road trip tips list.  Which came in handy when we got back in the car when we got home and headed for another road trip to Western Canada.  

Have you had a great Eastern Canada road trip experience?  Is there something we missed that we need to plan for a return visit?

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62 Comments

  1. What a wonderful road trip to do in Canada. I really would like to see Montreal, I’ve read so many great things about the city. Prince Edward Island also fascinates me, maybe because I like islands and the lobster also looks so fresh and big too! You always introduce me to new places to visit and this post is no exception. I’m saving this for if we ever get to visit.

  2. You have packed so much in this road trip along Eastern Canada. How long did it take to complete it? I am excited that I am going to visit Toronto, Montreal and Nova Scotia in September, and I will visit some of the places you wrote about. It’s great to know that the boat tour along the St Lawrence River in Montreal is a great way to see the city from the water. Also, I would love to have some extra time and explore Prince Edward Island as well. My initial plan was to go to Newfoundland, but the planets didn’t align this time, which will call for another visit. I will make sure to visit the Bay of Fundy, as well as the famous Peggy’s Cove when I am in Halifax.

    • I am delighted to be able to give you some ideas for your coming trip. We were gone for over 3 weeks and we did not see all we wanted to see. But we were glad we planned in advance and got to see some of Newfoundland. You are going to love your trip.

  3. Your Eastern Canada road trip experience was quite an interesting and expansive one. Starting from the charming town of Perth in Ontario with beautiful architecture and sculptures.The view of the Montreal city from the St. Lawrence river is amazing with the street art, skyscrapers and ferris wheel in view.The locks of Rideau canal is something I saw for the first time and it’s an unbelievable example of water navigation system. The hotel service at Ritz Carlton Montreal looks great too!The views from the Saguenay river are panoramic and eye soothing! The jellybean of houses St. John’s and the red beaches at Peggy’s Cove in PEI are a treat for the eyes. The stop at Quebec city is not to be missed with great food and refreshing views of Montmorency falls. We went to Canada and visited Toronto city, museum, Seine tower and loved it! Would love to visit Montreal and Quebec too.

    • We had so many great stops along the way from Quebec through to the Atlantic provinces in Canada. Each stop was just a little different and added some amazing sights.

  4. Looks like you had such an amazing time. I especially love the whale watching! Definitely on my bucket list.

    • We were glad we got to do so many adventurous things on our Eastern Canada road trip. And we were pretty successful on our two whale watching trips.

  5. yay! I am headed to Quebec this coming fall/winter.. would love to spend time in PEI… esp, at the National parks you mention…saving this post for reference in the fall…

  6. I’ve never been to Eastern Canada but would love to visit! The pictures from Newfoundland really make me want to go! I’m a sucker for a good lighthouse! I’d also love to visit Quebec!

    • A road trip in Eastern Canada has so much to offer. We were glad we managed to visit Newfoundland on this trip. And with so much coast, there were lighthouses everywhere we stopped.

  7. What a beautiful, fun-packed trip! I love the coastal belt and the lighthouses. And that gorgeous red, blue and white lighthouse enroute Newfoundland looks amazing. I would also love to visit the locks along the Rideau canal. There are so many appealing things, it’s difficult to narrow down, but the whales and the puffins would be high on my list. I would also like to see Ovens National Park and the National Parks in PEI. I love ferry rides too. I am sure these trips take a lot of planning and connecting, and you turn them into such stunningly photographed posts.

  8. My brother lives in Canada so I went there once for a wedding but didn’t do much site seeing. This looks like it would be a great road trip experience. Definitely saving this for when I am able to get back up there and do some exploring. Thanks!

  9. Wow, there was so much information here that I think I need to plan for more than just one roadtrip! Pinned for later, thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • I have to agree that Eastern Canada is worth more than one road trip. Each province has so much to offer. We had a great taste test but know we will be back.

  10. Canada is still on my bucketlis!
    A friend of mine always said that he wanted to visit Canada, and a few other places before he died, but sadly he didnt get to… so me and my husband are trying to visit all of his bucketlist for him 🙂

  11. Wonderful, this brought back so many memories of our East Coast Road trip many moons ago, though you managed to see so much more! My other half originates from New Brunswick so it will always be a special place. Thanks for sharing your adventures.

  12. The Saguenay River looks amazing! And I’d love to stay in the Ritz Carlton in Montreal. What a beautiful hotel! And what a beautiful trip.

    • Such an amazing variety in the things we saw and did on our road trip in Eastern Canada. But our stay at the Ritz-Carlton Montreal was the perfect start to our adventure.

  13. I totally enjoyed reading through your Eastern Canada blog. I would love to explore this part of Canada. The PEI, Nova Scotia and New Foundland are very much in my bucket list. Distances are large in Canada. Would four weeks be good to do this stretch? Impressive photos as usual and great writing style too. I am bookmarking this post for my future reference. 🙂

    • Four weeks would be a good amount of time to do a good trip in Eastern Canada. If you want to go to Newfoundland by ferry, I would probably book that first and then build your plan around that. So many great spots to visit.

  14. What an epic road trip! So many things to do and see. I was especially impressed about Newfoundland part of the trip! If I visit Canada some day I would be happy to visit Newfoundland and see wildlife there. Thanks for sharing and great photos!

    • We were very glad we finally got to Newfoundland on this trip. It took some scheduling with the ferry but it was well worth it. A spot we will definitely re-visit one day.

  15. We loved our Eastern Canada road trip, too, although we didn’t get to ferry to Newfoundland. We have regretted it ever since. And in Montréal, our car broke down. Prince Edward Island was à favorite. And Québec City stole our hearts. So with Halifax and the Bay of Fundy.

  16. You really do have the best road trips Linda! I have been to a few of these places, you you always make me want to explore more of the East. The Saguenay Area Of Quebec looks soooo lovely! <3

  17. Good Lord – what an endless list of beauty and joy! This trip must be just epic, and there are so many wonderful things to see, obviously. I love how you include the amazing nature, inspiring art (love the Leonard Cohen mural 😉 ), and fantastic foods. I always enjoy reading your posts as they are full of positivity and joy – that’s so inspiring!

    • We were amazed that we found such a great variety of things to see and do on our road trip to Eastern Canada. We love exploring along the way and on each stop as much as we can.

  18. I have been to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, but have not spent much time in Canada at all. It is nice to see some of the places that are good to visit. We have wanted to go back to Canada for a while now. I’ve been to Peggy’s cove – so photogenic there!

  19. What an absolutely delightful road trip! I love Canada and have not seen any of these parts of it. I’d especially love to visit Newfoundland! All the food on this trip looked delicious! I’ve saved it for my future planing.

  20. I would LOVE to road trip in Canada! This is a great itinerary – so many exciting and fun things to see. Owens Natural Park looks incredible – that would be the first stop on my list. What an inspiring journey!

  21. I have a friend that lived in Cornwall, Ontario and I visited her there plus Ottawa. Would love to see the further east parts of Canada like Newfoundland.

  22. I was in that part of Canada many years ago with small children. I loved Quebec. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to the coast as it looks lovely.

  23. It sounds like you had an amazing road trip! I’m definitely looking forward to planning my own trip to Eastern Canada soon, and I would love to visit the places you’ve highlighted here, especially Newfoundland and Peggy’s Cove sound and look amazing. Thanks for sharing this post – it’s been bookmarked for future reference! 🙂

  24. This would be a dream itinerary for my husband and I! I’m impressed that you took the time to make the trip slowly, enjoy all the sights, and have time to relax and be pampered, too. Oh and congrats on your anniversary! Halifax looks amazing – rugged and colorful with lots to see and explore. The ferry ride to Newfoundland would also be a pleasure — looks so beautiful! I can see why Peggy’s Cove and the Bay of Fundy would also be great stops to include. I’ve heard about the Bay of Fundy’s huge tidal swings!
    You asked for recommendations for a return trip. A few years ago, we made a round trip from Toronto to Quebec City and back. We included the Parc National de la Jacques-Cartier and saw some gorgeous fall foliage while hiking. We also drove around the Île d’Orléans, and visited a local park with a tower we could view the whole island from. That was a highlight, for sure. And in Montreal, we went to the Notre-Dame Basilica downtown to view the AURA light show — just fantastic!
    I do wish we’d had time to go further east, however. Hopefully, someday!

    • Thanks for the great suggestions for Quebec. We will definitely add these to a list for a return visit. Hopefully you will come back and get to explore more of Eastern Canada. So many great stops on a road trip.

  25. Eastern Canada is so pretty! I know I will be back to this post when planning our road trip to Canada through Toronto. I read a lot about Nova Scotia, but I didn’t realize eastern Canada has so many cities and small towns that can’t be missed. Not just to enjoy nature inland, but to be able to watch whales and puffins will be amazing. Not to mention eating fresh seafood along the coast. Thank you for opening my eyes about Eastern Canada road trip!

  26. Say the word roadtrip and we’re in! Been wanting to do Canada on a campervan and this itinerary has been truly helpful. The stunning landscapes of this part of canada, the charming towns and cities you can visit (we’ll probably spend a chunk of our time exploring a bunch of places in the French-speaking area like Quebec and Montreal since we speak french!), and the mouthwatering food (yes please to the fresh seafood)—it all looks so great.

    • A road trip to Eastern Canada would be great by camper van. You will certainly find great spots and amazing seafood. And you will be surprised to find a lot of French in the Maritime provinces and not just in Quebec.

  27. This looks like an amazing trip! I still haven’t visited Eastern Canada but hopefully next year I’ll be able to do a similar road trip and see all of these amazing destinations.

  28. This truly seems like an amazing road trip! You have seen and experienced a lot on it. I haven’t yet crossed Canada from my list but hopefully I am able to do it soon. But I wouldn’ t even know where to start there. Seeing whales is always so exciting! I don’t think I have seen Beluga whales in their natural habitat. Happy belated Anniversary!

    • I am glad this post gave you some ideas of places to visit on a road trip in Eastern Canada. Some lovely stops along the way. And lots of options for whale watching!

  29. This drive over eastern Canada seems enjoyable. Exciting and spectacular attractions can be found at every stop. Impressive street art may be found throughout St. John’s. It seems interesting to watch whales in the St. Lawrence River as well. Future exploration of these amazing places is something I’m looking forward to.

  30. This is a road trip we still need to do and it is right up there on the wish list! A few years ago , we set off from Kelowna to drive all the way across Canada in our RV. Our plan was to go all the way, taking in PEI, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia as you have done here. Unfortunately we had an issue with the RV which meant that we had to drop down into the US and visit Elkhart. We crossed at Naigara so that was that. Now when we complete this trip it will be by car and staying in hotels etc so this post is really useful.

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