“ We had a wonderful trip in a lovely part of Canada. The itinerary was relaxing and allowed us to experience many areas, yet still left flexibility to personal exploration. ”
Charming Inns of Nova Scotia and PEI
starting fromUS $3,499per person
5 of 5 stars (9 reviews)
- Choose your own activities and experiences to enjoy between scenic train tours
- Tailor your stay to perfectly suit your timeline and budget
What we love about this trip
Staying at beautiful historic inns, hotels, and B and Bs
Visiting historic Halifax and Charlottetown
Exploring the South Shore and Annapolis Valley
Stunning Bay of Fundy and breathtaking Cape Breton
Visiting pastoral Prince Edward Island
The best selection of local experiences
The pleasures of this two-week self-drive lie in meandering at your own pace through stunning landscapes, historic towns, and quaint fishing villages – enjoying the unique charm and a culture that is distinctly Celtic and Canadian at the same time. Choose from a selection of guided cultural, wildlife, and sightseeing experiences.
Arrive Halifax → 2 nights Halifax → 1 night Lunenburg → 2 nights Annapolis Royal → 3 nights Bay of Fundy → 3 nights Prince Edward Island → 3 nights Cape Breton → 1 night Halifax → Depart Halifax
Sample ItineraryThe number of days, experiences, and accommodations can all be personalized to your interests and time frame. Make sure to let your vacation advisor know!
Day 1 – Your Adventure Begins in Halifax
Upon arrival in Halifax, enjoy a private transfer from the airport to your downtown hotel. Check into your overnight accommodations and relax for the evening.
Feature Dinner in Halifax
Let Fresh Tracks Canada make your arrival as seamless as possible with a pre-arranged dinner included at one of our favourite restaurants in Halifax. Start your trip with fond memories over an authentic east coast Canadian meal.
Day 2 – Explore Halifax and the South Shore
Travelers have been falling in love with Halifax's enduring maritime legacy for 265 years. With its rich maritime history, it comes as no surprise that several museums and attractions celebrate its seafaring past and present. Halifax is steeped in rich history and filled with tales of pirates and privateers. Take a walk through this vibrant city, viewing historic buildings and modern high rises lining the streets. Overnight in Halifax.
You have 3 options to choose from in the Halifax area today:
• Option 1: Peggy’s Cove Sunrise Photography Tour
Join a guided photography tour and visit Peggy’s Cove at sunrise – for the best light and the least number of people in your pictures! This tour is catered to all abilities, from the absolute beginner to seasoned professionals. Even simply using your smart phone works great.
Activity rating: Easy – Moderate
• Option 2: Halifax Foodie Tour
Walk Halifax’s best foodie haunts, with an expert foodie guide. Sample delicacies of the Maritimes, and explore neighbourhoods most visitors do not get a chance to see! Location of tour depends on day of week.
Activity rating: Easy – Moderate
• Option 3: Halifax History Tour
With an expert local guide, you’ll cover the history of Halifax from 1749 until today. You’ll explore historic houses, Halifax Harbour Lookout, Citadel Hill, and the titanic gravesite. Make sure to have your questions ready!
Activity rating: Easy
Insider tip: If you are not a morning person and would like to explore Peggy’s Cove at sunset instead, make sure to talk to your vacation advisor about alternative tour times when you call!
Day 3 – Halifax to Lunenburg
Pick up your rental car this morning and drive the South Shore along the Lighthouse Route. Continue past Peggy’s Cove to Mahone Bay, a relaxing seaside town known for its quiet beauty and churches. Further along the route you will arrive in Lunenburg, a unique town in terms of architecture and now an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Overnight in Lunenburg.
Choose from 2 options in Lunenburg today:
• Option 1: Lunenburg Walking Tour
Spend the day in beautiful Lunenburg, home of the famous Bluenose built in 1921. Your walking tour guides will bring the town alive as they describe the stories and folklore of this world heritage site.
Activity rating: Easy – Moderate
• Option 2: Lunenburg Sailing Adventure
Departing from Lunenburg Bay on a stunning schooner, the wind is your engine as you dart nimbly through the ocean. Lunenburg is beautiful with the painted buildings and the old town providing the perfect backdrop. With lighthouses to photograph and porpoises and seals on hand to entertain the passengers and crew.
Activity rating: Easy
Day 4 – Lunenburg to Annapolis Royal
Depart Lunenburg and drive east into spectacular Kejimkujik National Park. Wander through groves of 300-year-old hemlock trees, follow a trail to an abandoned gold mine, or visit an overgrown farm. The main park has 15 day trails to choose from, ranging from short riverside strolls to half-day hikes. Continue to Annapolis Royal which boasts a spectacular view of the Bay of Fundy. Overnight in Annapolis Royal.
Suggested add-on activity: Paddle in Kejimkujik
While visiting Kejimkujik park you may wish to rent a canoe or kayak and take a self- guided tour. Enjoy the serene calm of the lake waters as you paddle through the park.
Activity rating: Easy - Moderate
Insider tip: Join an unforgettable candlelight graveyard tour at Fort Anne in Annapolis Royal. Explore the oldest English graveyard in Canada with internationally acclaimed heritage interpreter who is 8th generation Acadian! Not to be missed! No reservations required.
Day 5 – Annapolis Royal
Enjoy the many sights of the historic Annapolis Royal area at your leisure – visit the Fort Anne National Historic Site, Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens, Garrison Cemetery and the Military Museum, to name but a few. Overnight in Annapolis Royal.
Additionally, you have 3 options to choose from today to explore the area:
• Option 1: Digby Discovery Walking Tour
Spend the day exploring the historic streets of Digby on a guided walking tour through this active fishing community. Top off your tour with a succulent seafood sampling.
Activity rating: Moderate
• Option 2: Digby Shoreline Marine Walk
The shores of the Annapolis Basin and Bay of Fundy are your destination today. Your guide leads you along the rocky shoreline for a close-up view of the flora and fauna living in conjunction with the giant tides of the Bay of Fundy.
Activity rating: Moderate (involves climbing over rocky, slippery surfaces)
• Option 3: Annapolis Valley Whale Watching
Feel the thrill as you see the first spray from a whale breaking the surface on a Bay of Fundy whale watching tour. Humpbacks are the most likely to be seen, as they flipper slap, tail lob, and defy gravity breaching out of the water.
Activity rating: Easy
Insider tip: Visit the Grand Pré Winery
Nova Scotia produces some of the best wines in Canada. Surprised? Convince yourself with a visit to the Grand Pré Winery - enjoy top quality local wines within a beautiful setting. Winery tours are offered daily in the summer season (11am, 3pm, and 5pm) and can be paid locally with no reservations required.
Activity rating: Easy
Day 6 – Annapolis Royal to St. Martins by Ferry
From Annapolis Royal, drive to nearby Digby and enjoy a 2-hour ferry ride across the Bay of Fundy. Keep your eyes open for whales! Upon arrival, drive to the charming village of St. Martins – gateway to the spectacular Fundy Trail. Check into your inn accommodation, then take a stroll to see St. Martins’ mysterious sea caves or incredibly photogenic harbour.
Day 7 – Bay of Fundy Exploration - St. Martins to Hopewell Cape via the Fundy Trail
Your morning begins with your choice of tour on the Bay of Fundy. After, a spectacular day awaits as you drive along the Fundy Trail to the Bay of Fundy’s Hopewell Cape area. Admire untouched coastal wilderness, characterized by red craggy cliffs and the highest rising tides in the world. Overnight in Hopewell Cape.
Suggested add-on activities: Bay of Fundy Ocean Adventures
• Add-on 1: Explore the St. Martins Sea Caves by Kayak
Marvel at the dramatic tides of the Bay of Fundy as you venture along the red rock cliff shoreline on a guided kayak tour. The St. Martins sea caves are the biggest attraction in the area, best to be explored by boat.*
Activity rating: Moderate
• Add-on 2: Fundy Coastline Exploration by Zodiac
The coastline extending from St. Martins has been designated as the Fundy Biosphere Preserve by UNESCO for its remarkable geological formations. Discover mossy caves, dramatic cliffs, charming coves, and curious sea life as you explore the area on an exhilarating zodiac boat.
Activity rating: Easy (Not suitable for those with neck or back issues)*
* Note – tour times vary by tide schedule. Please ask your vacation advisor how best to incorporate this experience into your trip.
Day 8 – Explore Hopewell Rocks and the Bay of Fundy
Visit the Hopewell Rocks – also known as “Flowerpots” – which slowly disappear and reappear with the dramatic rise and fall of the Bay of Fundy tides. See the world’s highest tide and later, enjoy the juxtaposition of walking on the seafloor.
Day 9 – Hopewell Cape to Charlottetown, via the Red Sands Shore
Drive the Confederation Bridge this morning and arrive on Prince Edward Island. Explore the red sand beaches and red jutting cliffs of the South Shore, and make sure to detour along the many pastoral rural roads. We recommend stopping for lunch in postcard-worthy Victoria-by-the-Sea, before arriving in Charlottetown.
Insider tip: For those wanting a quiet, countryside experience, ask us to book your nights at charming St. Peter’s Bay, a 45-minute drive from Charlottetown.
Day 10 – Discover Charlottetown and Prince Edward Island
Today, you have 3 options to choose from, to enjoy Charlottetown and PEI to its fullest.
• Option 1: Lobster Dinner and Cruise
Breathe in the salt air and feel the tingle of a gentle breeze against your skin. If you dare, haul a lobster out of its trap and then savour a meal of traditional Prince Edward Island lobster supper - all whilst you’re aboard a boat sailing the high seas.
Activity rating: Easy
• Option 2: Acadian Cultural Experience
Head out bright and early this morning, driving 1.5 hours west along the scenic Green Gables Shore to Abrams Village. Here you’ll partake in Acadian traditions, mainly food and music which is always shared with friends in a home-style frolic atmosphere. Learn how to make a fruit pastry known as ‘’poutine à trou’ and ‘fricot’- a style of hearty chicken soup. Then, squeeze in a sit-down meal of rapure, meat pie, and hominy corn. After your meal, explore an Acadian village, listen to fiddlers and watch Acadian step dancers.
Activity rating: Easy
• Option 3: Active Outdoor Adventure - Sea Kayak or Bike Tour
PEI lends itself perfectly to outdoor pursuits – cycle along the red sandy shores and perhaps even take a dip in the pristine, warm waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. You can choose to explore the coastline from the vantage of the clifftops or in the ocean with the cliffs soaring 30 ft. above you as you navigate alongside the beautiful beaches of PEI National Park. Both tours include healthy snacks.
Activity rating: Easy
Day 11 – Day at Leisure in Charlottetown and PEI
Today is yours at leisure to explore Prince Edward Island’s small towns and picturesque landscapes. You might also enjoy exploring the dunes of Greenwich in Prince Edward National Park, savouring “Rick’s Famous Fish ‘n Chips”, or simply exploring historic Charlottetown. Overnight in Charlottetown.
Suggested add-on: Day with a Private Guide (additional cost)
Let us arrange a wonderful day with a personal guide to tour you around the Island. He’ll ask about your interests and infuse your trip with a blend of hidden gems, highlights, stories, and humour.
Day 12 – Charlottetown to Baddeck, Cape Breton Island
Drive the scenic road to the Wood Islands ferry, then cross to Pictou - the birthplace of New Scotland. Continue over to Cape Breton via the Canso Causeway. Your journey ends in the little town of Baddeck, set on the shores of the gorgeous Bras d’Or Lakes. Located in the heart of Cape Breton, Baddeck is considered the beginning and end of the Cabot Trail.
Day 13 – Explore Cape Breton
Welcome to the southern shore of Cape Breton, places to explore today include the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site, the largest historical reconstruction in North America, or explore the Alexander Graham Bell Museum. For boat enthusiasts, the beautiful Bras D’Or Lakes are famous for sailing excursions.
You have 2 options to choose from today, to explore Cape Breton:
• Option 1: Puffin and Seabird Viewing in Baddeck
Travel to the Bird Islands which are an official bird sanctuary located one mile off Cape Dauphin. The islands are home to a variety of sea birds, and of course, when you’re not busy viewing birds you’ll be captivated with the spectacular rugged coastline and maybe even a whale!
• Option 2: Half-Day Guided Kayak Tour
Join your guide as you paddle past eagles’ nests and waterfalls. Stop for a delicious snack on a small beach then continue past the old mill and hear the stories of past inhabitants and the lobster fishermen who may be hauling their traps!
Activity rating: Moderate (suitable for beginners)
Insider Tip: Join an Evening Ceilidh, (pronounced Kay-lee)!
Join a local Baddeck Ceilidh, for a fun night of song, dance, and discovery. The Ceilidh is a traditional Celtic gathering of musicians, in which anyone can join in. You’ll hear upcoming and experienced Celtic musicians play their art, you can join in songs, enjoy stories, and even learn dance steps if you wish. Tickets available at the door (cash only).
Day 14 – Cape Breton Highlands Discovery
Today explore the famous Cabot Trail – one of the most spectacular drives in all of Canada. The trail winds around the rocky splendours of Cape Breton’s northern shore, ascending to the incredible plateaus of Cape Breton Highlands National Park. For the more adventurous – Cape Breton Highlands National Park has 26 hiking trails ranging from 20-minute short walks to challenging hikes through stunning mountain and coastal landscapes. Overnight in Baddeck.
Day 15 – Baddeck to Halifax
A three to four-hour drive brings you back to Halifax today. Take your time to explore the charming towns along your drive before spending your final night in Halifax.
Day 16 – Depart Halifax
Your Atlantic Canada vacation comes to an end today as you make your way to the airport to return your rental car. With fond memories made, leave the fresh air of Canada behind as you fly home.
Below you'll find examples of this trip's accommodation choices. Please call us for the full list or advice on how to customize your experience.
The Prince George Hotel Halifax
An example of our Deluxe accommodations
The Prince George Hotel, attached to the World Trade & Convention centre, is located in downtown Halifax and right next door to the Halifax Metro Centre. The main focus of the hotel is their personalized service. Other features of the hotel are award winning fine dining, a pool & fitness centre, and relaxing garden patios.
Lunenburg Arms Hotel & Spa
An example of our accommodations
This 4 1/2 star boutique style hotel is located in Lunenburg, a Unesco World Heritage site. Overlooking the harbour, golf course, and Bluenose II, enjoy the view or relax on the Garden Deck.
The Great George Hotel
An example of our Boutique accommodations
The Great George is an upscale, award-winning hotel in Prince Edward's Island capital, Charlottetown. With 54 richly decorated suites among 17 carefully restored heritage building, this is one Canada's premiere experiential hotels.
Prices & Dates2018 Start Dates
Daily from May 30 to September 18
* Additional dates in May and late September are available with customizations of this itinerary.
Prices listed may vary by departure date, hotel class and degree of personalization. Please speak with one of our travel advisors to get a personalized quote.Nova Scotia and PEI Self Drive Vacationfrom US $3,499to US $4,211per person
On our Self Drive Adventures, you'll enjoy hand picked accommodations, unique Canadian experiences with our favorite guides, car rental, a custom documentation package and our ongoing customer service as you travel. These prices and itineraries are just a guide - our team of friendly Canadian experts are standing by to personalize your ideal vacation.
Will it be cold when I visit Canada in summer?
The temperature varies from mild to hot, depending on location. Northern Canada will range between 50°F to 64°F (10°C – 18°C) in summer. The interior of BC, prairies, Ontario and Quebec can reach temperatures around 95°F (35°C). Canada's west coast, mountain regions, and Maritimes enjoy milder summer temperatures. They range on average from 59°F to 77°F (15°C – 25°C).
What are the best ways to travel around Canada on my vacation
Canada has a network of spectacular roadways, train routes, ferry crossings, and float planes. We can arrange for you to travel by car or to sit back and relax.
Is it safe to drive in the mountains?
New visitors will drive with ease because of the wide and well maintained roadways. We'll ensure your trip includes the most spectacular and safest routes throughout your trip.
When is the best time to see wildlife?
That depends on the destination and type. As a rule, the main feeding and migration seasons are best for wildlife experiences. Tell us which animals interest you and we'll make your trip coincide with the best viewing season.
Are your tours escorted?
No, but you'll feel like it is with all your connections and experiences prearranged. Our clients love the freedom and flexibility it gives them. Some of our wildlife experiences are small group tours led by specialist guides.
Customer Reviews (9)
We had a wonderful trip in a lovely part of CanadaSeptember 28, 2017
Barbara & David, AZ, USA
The pace of the trip was excellentAugust 17, 2017
Margaret & Geoff, NSW, Australia
“ The pace of the trip was excellent. We enjoyed the different attractions and planned trips, as well as the "surprises" such as the included meals. The highlight was our trip extension to Quirpon Island in Newfoundland, even though the weather was a bit tricky. The staff at Fresh Tracks were very helpful and quick to respond to inquiries - even though we booked everything from Australia. ”
All arrangements worked out seamlessly and hassle freeJuly 24, 2017
Nilofer & family, ON, Canada
“ Great trip! Enjoyed our trip to the various locations. Lunenberg was simply amazing. The Geal, sailing and whale watching tours were very interesting. All arrangements worked out seamlessly and hassle free. The limo ride from the train station to our hotel was a very nice touch and big surprise. Breakfast at the Queen Ann Inn was fantastic. Accommodation selection in Halifax and Baddeck was fabulous. ”
The trip was fabulous!September 14, 2016
Christopher & Marcia, OH, USA
“ The trip was fabulous! We wish we would have had more time! Our experience with Fresh Tracks Canada was excellent - they did a great job. ”
The scenery was unbelievableAugust 26, 2016
Desiree & Jodine, AB, CANADA
“ Our East Coast Vacation was amazing! The scenery was unbelievable, and the people were all so friendly and helpful. I wish we would have extended our stay so we could have seen both the Hopewell rocks and more of PEI. (We customized to see the Hopewell Rocks which was great, but missed on seeing any of PEI other than Charlottetown). Fresh Tracks was very friendly and prompt when I had any questions. We are very satisfied. ”
We will definitely use your service again in the futureMay 16, 2016
Quentin & Alicia, CO, USA
“ Thank you for all of your hard work and enthusiasm in the preparation of our wonderful adventure. I just wanted to thank you personally for the great job that you did for us. I was especially impressed, surprised and pleased with the quick response to my phone calls and last minute requests and concerns. No mater whether I contacted you by email or phone, I always got a quick, friendly and satisfactory response to my concerns. Thank you so very much, we will definitely use your service again in the future and will definitely be recommending you to others. We had lots of fun and smiled and laughed often. Thank you. ”
This was a fabulous adventureSeptember 3, 2015
Ginny & Michael, FL, USA
“ I planned this trip as a birthday surprise for my gentleman friend. It was fantastic! Fresh Tracks Canada arrangements were thorough with attention to detail, from picking up our rental car to our last ride back to the airport. The printed materials which were sent to us were very helpful, and also very detailed and complete. Each inn had something special about it, from the unique to the awesome and stately. They were all wonderful and we enjoyed each and every one, including a tasty breakfast! The innkeepers were welcoming and gracious, and acknowledged that we were Fresh Tracks clients. No matter how early we arrived, our room was ready and we were encouraged to check-in. We enjoyed a wonderful sail in Lunenburg and whale watching in Brier Island! PEI is beautiful and the Cow's Ice Cream - delicious! The Cabot Trail and Cape Breton have great scenery and seascapes. We enjoyed so many things, including Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site and the Highland Village while we were in Baddeck. There are so many things to do in Halifax that we enjoyed our time there at the beginning and end of the trip. We had great food everywhere we went and some great recommendations from the local folks! Take your time, stop along the way and enjoy! This is a fabulous adventure! ”
Thanks again for a job well done and we would certainly recommend Fresh TracksJune 11, 2014
Bruce & Valerie, IL, USA
“ Thank you for the special treat at the Halliburton. It was perfect timing... the bubbly and cheese tray were great and were a fitting start to our evening of dinner at the Press Gang in Halifax. Neat restaurant and great food. We thoroughly enjoyed all of your inn pics and especially the Seawind Landing in Charlos Cove. Surprised by their gourmet breakfast and dinner at such a remote outpost. What a BEAUTIFUL location. By the way, David said that the "pre-reservations for dinner" are no longer necessary. Plus the Cabot Trail is SPECTACULAR... what else can I say. Really appreciated your responsiveness on our initial leg disaster. Thanks for being there and the impressive service. Our bags finally caught up to us at the Pownal in Charlottetown, PEI on the third day. Not many wanted to sit close to us, even though the hotel provided toiletries... LOL. The airline experience is another story. WOW, what a debacle. Thanks again for a job well done and we would certainly recommend Fresh Tracks. ”
Everything about the trip was perfect and well plannedFebruary 7, 2013
Rose, Walter & Elizabeth, NC, USA
“ Everything about the trip was perfect and well planned. We were met with wonderful drivers and they were always on time. The train trip was beautiful and then we ran into the perfect storm. I do not know whether or not you heard about it but we were stuck in Halifax for two more days. Your connection in Halifax could not pick us up because no cars were allowed on the roads. We were pitiful but still we had a good time. I would not recommend trying to get out of Halifax when your flight is canceled as it is very remote to planes. I would, however, recommend the trip to anyone if they want a great adventure. By the way, you should try to share a sleeping compartment on the train with someone who packs too many bags. We loved the people we met they were all friendly and fun! Thank you. ”
Get your personalized itinerary before availability is gone. Because we're now booking into 2019
- Choose your activities and experiences to enjoy between scenic train tours.
- Tailor your stay to perfectly suit your timeline and budget.