Canada’s eastern-most provinces are each bucket-list worthy destinations. There are so many amazing places and people that make up New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. But, we couldn’t decide on just one province, so we embarked on an epic nine-week Atlantic Canada RV road trip. And it was more beautiful, exciting, rejuvenating and life-changing than we ever could have expected.
We walked on the gooey ocean floor in New Brunswick, drove the famed Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia, were serenaded by locals in Newfoundland, and found a new perspective in Prince Edward Island. Plus, a whole lot of wonderful adventures in between. If this isn’t on your list of places to experience, it should be – regardless of if you visit in an RV or not. But, for RVers it is particularly nice because of all the wonderful camping options and scenic drives.
We’ve included an overview of each province, what we loved about it, tips for what to see and where to camp. Want an entire list of everywhere we stayed? Check out our RV Camping Reviews page.
Our first introduction to Atlantic Canada began in the province of New Brunswick. This area is known for its high tides, beautiful wooded areas and whale watching. Overall, we found it relaxing and enjoyed the varying landscapes – from farmlands to beaches. When we crossed over from Maine, there was no line so the border guards happily chatted with us about best places to see. Way less stressful than we anticipated! We also ended our Atlantic Canada trip in Northern New Brunswick, after looping around all the other provinces, and before heading on to Quebec!
Our Favorite Place: Hopewell Rocks
We loved this spot from the first moment we got there because it had RV parking! Can I get an amen? But the really impressive part is the tide viewing. You can see the famed tides of the Bay of Fundy at their highest as they cover most of the rocks below. Then go back about 6 hours later to walk on the ocean floor where the water once was. The sea levels rise between 32 and 46 feet here!
Other Top Destinations & Activities
Waterfall at St. George Gorge: This was our first stop in the province. We parked at the visitor center (which doubled as a farm stand) and had a lovely stroll over. There is a bridge below the falls with a tiny viewing area (fits 1-2 people).
Fundy National Park: More views of the tides and awesome hiking options. Don’t miss Dickson Falls!
Kouchibouguac National Park: Great spot for biking, hiking, nature viewing and beach chilling. They also host fun indigenous cultural events here and have a unique opportunity to ride in a canoe to visit a grey seal colony!
Best Camping Spots
Harvest Hosts Wineries: We were surprised to find out that our Harvest Host membership would still be useful in Canada! We happily enjoyed multiple winery overnights during our visit.
South Kouchibouguac Campground: This national park campground is very chill, spacious and close to all of the fun activities the park has to offer.
The Shire Campground: This quirky, unforgettable place was a highlight of our trip. We got to enjoy great views while having a few drinks with other travelers and listening to all of their amazing stories. We wouldn’t recommend taking larger than a Class C RV here though.
We listened to a group playing bagpipes at the visitor center when we arrived in Nova Scotia – an accurate first impression of this culturally infused province. And as we journeyed along the Cabot Trail, we heard more of the music that has been passed on by generations. We even took a mini fiddle playing lesson! In the southern portion, we learned more about the history of these people at the many National Historic Sites – where they make learning a unique experience! That cultural infusion mixed with the insanely amazing views, makes this province a must-visit.
Our Favorite Place: Cape Breton Highlands National Park
This is a must-see section of the Cabot Trail with so many beautiful hikes, you will really want to plan a few weeks to check out as many trails as possible. We got in about six, but definitely wish we had more time there! The Skyline Trail is a must, of course! But there are many other great hikes through forests, along coasts and even through a bog. Read more here.
Other Top Destinations & Activities
Celtic Music Interpretive Centre: This place hosts daily lunch ceilidhs most seasons (with live traditional music, singing and dancing). They have delicious, fresh seafood too! And there is also a small museum/interpretive centre on site where you can learn more about the music, take a fiddle playing lesson and learn to dance a jig!
Fortress of Louisbourg: Brooke shot a cannon. Enough said! But really, this place is a blast and they make learning about the history of the area a ton of fun.
Halifax: This was a great walking city! We were able to park at the Citadel in our RV, then wander down to the waterfront to take in the views. Watching the craftsmen at the nearby crystal factory work their magic was mesmerizing! And on the way back, we stopped by the public gardens for a lovely stroll. It was the perfect day – there were even people lounging in the grass on the hill around the Citadel.
Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse: Sunset here is a must. And we had no problem sleeping in the RV overnight at the nearby visitor center. Regardless if you stay all night, we’d suggest parking here to avoid the congestion closer to the lighthouse.
Kejimkujik National Park: An official dark sky observation area with lots of trails and a calm river to paddle around on, plus beaches? – Perfection!
Wine Tasting in the Annapolis Valley: Nova Scotia has a wine region, who knew? Don’t miss a stop at the breathtaking, newly built tasting room at Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards. We loved the wine and the views!
Top Camping Spots
Cheticamp, Cape Breton Highlands National Park: This was a great place to base our Cabot Trail explorations on the west side with fun activities and nearby trails. However we do suggest splitting your time between a few of the park’s great camping options to avoid too much backtracking.
Jeremy’s Bay, Kejimkujik National Park: This wooded, quiet park was beautiful and puts you close to tons of trails and nearby beaches. Don’t forget to go out at night to see the stars!
Boondocking at the Visitor Center at Peggy’s Cove: Quiet, convenient and easy to get to (much more so than the closer parking lot).
It may sound over-dramatic, but Newfoundland will probably be one of the great loves of our life. It was not just one thing, place or moment that stole our hearts. The unique energy and beauty there was unlike anything we had experienced and it made a lasting impression on us.
Our Favorite Place: Gros Morne National Park
It is no secret that we love to hike. So, Gros Morne was a haven for us. We hiked up mountains, along coasts and on the barren exposed mantle of the Tablelands area. Plus, this area had adorable fishing villages with delicious fresh seafood, fun kitchen parties with great local talent, sandy beaches to lounge on and lots of unique activities put on by Parks Canada. Read more about our favorite hikes and activities here.
Other Top Destinations & Activities
ATVing Adventure: Check out the island like a local! We highly suggest an ATV tour with Pirate’s Haven. They may even take you to their secret beach-side picnic spot if you are lucky!
L’Anse Meadows: This Viking settlement is not just a fun reenactment, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the remains of an actual Viking village were found. Go for the history, stay for the views.
Whitewater Rafting: The Exploits River in Central Newfoundland offers a relaxing, fun time. Paddle, swim and picnic your way down while admiring the beautiful views.
Twillingate: Perfect for iceberg and whale watching! Go to Long Point Lighthouse for a wide-open view of the ocean and its many treasures. Then, stop at Auk Island Winery to taste some Iceberg wine!
Elliston & Bonavista Lighthouse: If you want to see Puffins, you have to check out these places during nesting season. You can get extremely close to these adorable birds, and it is 100% free! Nesting season is mid-May through mid-September at the latest.
Terra Nova National Park: This is a can’t-miss spot. There is a ton of great hiking with stunning views, but you will want to make sure to get out on the water as well. Read more about our favorite places and adventures here.
Avalon Peninsula: Whale watching at St. Vincent’s along the beach is a must. But if you want a closer look, take a tour at nearby Witless Bay Ecological Reserve.
Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site: This is the easternmost point in North America and the wide-open ocean views are breathtaking.
Signal Hill National Historic Site: This is the perfect place to admire the beauty of St. John’s without getting stuck in the hustle and bustle of city life. There are also some great ocean views and trails.
Top Camping Spots
Pirate’s Haven ATV-friendly RV Park: Great stop in Robinsons on the way to Gros Morne from the ferry terminal. Don’t miss an ATV tour while you are there or a relaxing sunset walk.
Boondocking in Twillingate: Seriously amazing places to park along the coast! Just find an open side-of-the-road area with no rules against it and you should be good.
Celtic Rendezvous by the Sea RV Park: This campground in Tors Cove had perfect ocean views for whale watching and was conveniently located near awesome tour options.
Boondocking at Port au Choix: We looooved staying by this gorgeous lighthouse. Watching the waves at sunset was magical.
Getting to and from Newfoundland
The only way to bring your RV to the island is via Marine Atlantic’s ferry. It is about 7 hours from North Sydney, Nova Scotia to Port aux Basques, Newfoundland. The ferry is pretty costly compared to smaller voyages, but well worth it. Plan to spend at least C$500 round trip if you are bringing your RV. You can also rent a two-bed cabin for about C$60, which we were happy to have on such a long journey. There is also a restaurant on site with limited hours. If traveling with a pet, you have the option to board them or leave them in your vehicle with windows cracked. Our cat was just fine. For more details about the logistics of getting to Newfoundland read this blog post.
Prince Edward Island
We saved this beach locale for last to rest up from all of our epic adventures, but it turned out to have some of the best activities of our trip! I even got to check parasailing off my bucket list – something I’ve wanted to do since I was 5! And the bike riding was top-notch.
Our Favorite Place: Greenwich Dunes, PEI National Park
After walking along the boardwalk, over marshes and through the majestic dunes, you reach a serene beach. How can you not fall in love? If you aren’t up for a day of lounging in the sand, there are multiple other beautiful trails in this area – some perfect for biking as well!
Other Top Destinations & Activities
Prince Edward Island National Park: Miles of great biking trails, multiple beautiful beaches, perfect seaside hikes and amazing views around every corner. Yes, please!
Eating PEI potatoes: Like anyone needs an excuse to devour French fries. Just don’t leave the island without sampling its claim to fame.
Get out on the water: Whether you go kayaking, paddleboarding, swimming or parasailing – seeing the island from in or over the water is a must.
Sip some wine: Rossignol Estate Winery is the perfect place to enjoy a glass while strolling through the gorgeous vineyard. And the wine is quite tasty, award-winning even!
Lounging on the beach: I loooove to lounge on the beach on a sunny day. And after a few days of adventures, I couldn’t wait to get my toes in the soft sand. There are gorgeous beaches everywhere, but one of the best and most beautiful was Basin Head Provincial Park. It is known for its “singing sand” which squeaks when you walk on it.
Marine Rail Park: Stop here before or after driving across the famed Confederation Bridge for some awesome photo opps. The 8-mile long bridge is the longest in the world that crosses over ice-covered water. With its curved shape, it makes for a great photo subject!
Top Camping Spots
Red Point Campground: Very close to beach access, amazing sunset views and close to some great attractions – wineries, distilleries, lighthouses and parks.
Cabot Beach Campground: Close to a large beach that was far less busy than some of the rest and superb sunset viewing! Only a short drive to PEI National Park.
Getting to and from PEI
We highly suggest driving from New Brunswick, so you can experience the amazing 8-mile Confederation Bridge! There is also a relaxing ferry option from Wood Island, Nova Scotia. You only pay on your way back, but it is about $50 more to take the ferry as opposed to the bridge. We took the ferry to the island and drove off via the bridge. Since we didn’t have to pay to take the ferry on, it was a very easy and quick process. The crossing only takes about 90 minutes.
For our trip, we spent the majority of our time in Newfoundland because we craved the remote areas and epic boondocking spots. We loved the rest of Atlantic Canada, but Newfoundland is definitely the least touristy (at least outside of the St. Johns area). Definitely adjust accordingly depending on your time and interests.
Here is the nine-week itinerary we followed:
Week 1: St. George & Fundy National Park/Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick
Week 2: Northern Nova Scotia/Cape Breton Highlands National Park
Week 3: Robinsons & Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
Week 4: Central Newfoundland (Twillingate, Terra Nova National Park, etc.)
Week 5: Avalon Peninsula & St. John’s, Newfoundland
Week 6: Northern Peninsula & more Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
Week 7: Southern Nova Scotia (Louisbourg, Halifax, Kejimkujik)
Week 8: Prince Edward Island
Week 9: Northern New Brunswick (Kouchibouguac National Park)
If we could do it all again, we would plan a few more weeks in Newfoundland and a few more days in Northern Nova Scotia and PEI! Otherwise, we wouldn’t change a thing.
Tips for RVing in Canada
- Before crossing the Border, make sure you have all of the necessary paperwork and know all the rules – like no guns, fireworks, etc.
- Know how tall and wide your RV is in meters and how much it weighs in tons! You don’t want to guess last minute.
- Finding places to fill your on-board propane can be a bit of a challenge, so do some research before you get too low!
- Costco only takes Mastercard, Canadian debit cards (NOT U.S.) and cash. So, you’ll likely need some moolah if you want to get your bulk shopping on.
- Redbox isn’t a thing. Plan accordingly.
The support we received from Parks Canada, as well as local tourism companies was overwhelming. We would like to thank the following companies for helping make this trip so memorable and giving us so many great tips to share: Tourism Prince Edward Island, Marine Atlantic, Go Western Newfoundland, Adventure Central Newfoundland, Molly Bawn Whale & Puffin Tour, ONadventure Wilderness Tours, Happy Adventure Tours, Inn at the Pier, Outside Expeditions, and Gros Morne Theatre Company. As always, all opinions are our own.