This article has some 2013 updates based on our fall of 2012 trip to New Brunswick. All the links are current as of May 2016.
The picture to the left was taken on our farm in St. Croix Cove, Nova Scotia in 1973. That is the Bay of Fundy in the distance.
We lived in the Maritimes for sixteen years and met some wonderful people who are still great friends.
Going to Canada is going to another country, and border crossings are pretty serious places these days.
However, Canadians love Americans to come to Canada so assuming you have good identification and are just vacationing you'll be welcomed in Maritime Canada.
You can find more information on going to Canada visit this Canadian government site. Plan on taking your passport at a minimum and be prepared to provide so details of your trip.
On our last visit we straight up Interstate 95 (The Maine Turnpike) once we got into Maine. It is easy to cross the border into Canada at Houlton, Me. Passed on that experience, this is roughly the route that I would recommend from our spot on the Carolina coast to Fredericton.
Once you get into New Brunswick, you can relax and slow down a little. You will be in a different country and you should take your time enjoying it.
The first place I would recommend visiting is King's Landing, a historical settlement similar to Williamsburg.
You will find over 70 historic buildings, complete with artifacts, furniture, tools and equipment. The history is real, the stories you hear are true. Staff are thoroughly trained and immersed in the 19th century to provide you, the visitor, with an authentic visit to New Brunswick in the 1800s
If the weather is nice, spending a few hours walking around King's Landing is a great way to unwind after all the driving. You'll switch over to Atlantic time once you get into New Brunswick. So nine am Eastern Daylight Time becomes ten am Atlantic Daylight Time.
King's Landing's hours are from ten to five daily so you can spend a couple hours enjoying the site, then enjoy lunch at the "The King's Head Inn" and spend another couple of hours walking off lunch and head off to Fredericton. Fredericton is the capital of New Brunswick and only twenty minutes south of King's Landing.
There is enough to do in Fredericton for a quiet evening. This website will give you some thoughts on how to enjoy Fredericton. You can continue to unwind and practice being a Canadian. The next leg of journey which will take you to Charlottetown, PEI, is a relatively short one. With the new TransCanada Highway and the causeway, the trip according to my Google map should take just over three and one half hours.
Once you get to Charlottetown, get ready to shift down another gear and really start relaxing. Prince Edward Island is a magical place. You can stay in Charlottetown because nothing is very far away. Plan on spending at least a couple of days. Take a day and go to some of the beautiful beaches and enjoy a Lobster church supper.
If you arrive July 3rd or later, you will be just in time for Canada summer for a performance of the Anne of Green Gables musical or some other great theater at the Confederation Center. After you are finished enjoying Prince Edward Island, the next stop on your journey should be Halifax, Nova Scotia. The trip should take around four hours.
While Nova Scotia is full of historic sites, I still recommend staying in downtown Halifax and use it as your base of operations. Halifax is a wonderful town to walk around and enjoy the great dining, wonderful people and the beautiful harbour.
Make sure you visit the Halifax Public Gardens and the Halifax Citadel which is my favorite fort. Depending on how much energy you have left after visiting Halifax, you can take another few days and visit the "Cape Breton Highlands National Park" perhaps catching the "Fortress of Louisbourg" along the way. Be warned that it adds a lot of driving and has been know to be fogged in for a few days, but the mountains coming right down to the sea can be spectacular.
You can take a couple of short cuts on the way out of Nova Scotia. They all involve car ferries which take you either to Saint John, New Brunswick, Bar Harbor, Maine, or Portland, Maine. I recommend driving down the Annapolis Valley. The Annapolis Valley is one of the most beautiful spots on earth in the summer.
If you want a little sea faring adventure, catch the Princess of Acadia ferry from Digby to Saint John. While the Bar Harbor to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, ferry which first brought me to Canada for my sojourn there is no longer running, once again there is a new ferry running between Portland, Maine and Yarmouth.
You can view some pictures of the Annapolis Valley at this website. If you have time stop by Bridgetown and have some fried clams for me at what I have been told is a very good clam spot, The End of the Line Pub. I have heard they have a menu which is a good way to say goodbye to Nova Scotia. Trust me it won't be very hard to find. Nothing in the Annapolis Valley is hard to find.
Good luck on your trip, you won't regret the driving. You'll see some spots with enough beauty to take your breath away. It is a little like going back to an earlier time so relaxing isn't very hard. Don't be surprised if you find some self service fruit and vegetable stands along the way and lots of friendly people, great seafood, and wonderful sites.
The best time to visit the Martimes is the summer. Do not believe the locals that summer is defined as July 1. However, do plan on taking a fleece jacket even in the summer. It can be cool by the water when the fog rolls into town.
This link leads to pictures of our adventures in Nova Scotia during the seventies. For more check out our book, A Taste of the Wild, Canada's Maritimes.
If you live in the Maritimes you might want to check out my post, Calling All Canadians, Especially from the Maritimes or my free online guide to visiting Emerald Isle.