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Maritime Provinces

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We are planning to take an extended (6-8) week trip to the Maritime Provinces and are wondering on best time of year to go. Is this an area that draws a lot of families with kids, or is it not. Are there enough sites to enjoy to warrant a long trip, or should we think more in terms of a week or so. We do enjoy the water and sea food so that is a strong consideration for us.

Were we to go Late August or early September what type of weather has been experienced. We travel in a C class and tow. We also have our trusty Portuguese Water Dog with us. Any hassles to expect crossing border(s)?

Thanks in advance for any info.

Doc Mike

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First of all, there is plenty to see, do and eat in the maritime provinces of Canada. We have friends that run a whale watching boat out of Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick (NB). Whales and Sails provides one of the best whale watching experiences I've ever had. You have to take the ferry, we took the motor home over and stayed a week. The ferry to the island is free, they charge you for the return trip. From there, continue along the coast. You are along the Bay of Fundy which is famous for its extreme tides. Near new moon and full moon you will experience tides with as much as a 50' range from high tide to low tide in some places. This provides an opportunity to walk on the sea floor in several locations. It also creates some interesting formations. Along the NB coast, there are formations called "flower pots" at Hopewell. You can walk around them at low tide and kayak around them at high tide. We enjoyed spending several days at St. John, NB. There are rapids that connect an interior lake to the coast and they reverse, flowing inland at high tide and out to sea at low tide. If you really want to see these tidal differences, you have to observe them over a 12 hour period so it isn't something you just drive to and take a look and move on. The really amazing changes happen very rapidly when you consider the amount of water movement that has to occur but they take some patience to really see. Also in St. John is the Provincial Museum, well worth a day to explore and understand the resources and history of NB. In a separate trip we drove north along the Maine border in NB. The St. John river scenery is spectacular. We took the highway all the way north to the St. Lawrence Seaway and the border with Quebec.

In Nova Scotia (NS) we stayed for a week in the area near Truro. Again, there are many places to observe tidal extremes. One of the best is the lighthouse at Burncoat, NS. The light house houses a museum of local interest. At low tide you can walk out onto a rocky sea floor. I pursued the retreating tide for better than a quarter mile across the rocky sea floor observing sea life on the rocks and in the pools. Unlike the Hopewell site, this site is free, no admission charge. Don't take the motor home (even a Class C) here, there is only parking for cars.

We spent time in Halifax, touring the Citadel, eating dockside in the harbor, touring the cemetery where the victims of the Titanic were buried. There is much more to see here, we'll return some day to explore more. Heading east from Truro, we encountered a distillery for single malt liquor (called Scotch only if it comes from Scotland). We enjoyed a nice tour and sampled their excellent product. Cape Breton is a must see for spectacular scenery. We drove the whole route with the motor home and stayed at parks in the National Park. We enjoyed hiking several of the back country hikes which gave us good encounters with moose.

Coming out the east side of the National Park, we visited the Alexander Graham Bell Museum, and a site where Marconi received the first trans-Atlantic wireless signal in Morse Code. There is also a coastal coal mine complete with original residential buildings and a restaurant. The mine shafts extended under the sea for some distance. They have a tour of a "model" coal mine that is very realistic and there is also a very nice museum that documents the history of coal mining on that site.

The ferry from Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island (PEI) is free, they charge for the return trip but we left PEI via the Confederation Bridge which was about half the cost of the ferry. We spent several days on PEI, could have stayed longer. We bicycled some of the extensive "rails to trails" bicycle trail that runs the length of the island. We had a fine dinner at a restaurant on the dock in Charlottetown as we watched a large tanker maneuver through the port.

We haven't made the trip to Newfoundland but it is high on our to-do list. There is much to be seen there for the history buff. The Viking community that predates Christopher Columbus is on our list of places to visit.

Your choice of time to visit is a little later than we would schedule a trip. Most parks in New England close or go to limited services after Labor Day. We've been in New England in September and many attractions are on limited hours are are closed. We found beach parks closed along Lake Ontario in New York. Temperatures are cool enough to make a summer visit quite pleasant if you can get the time off to go that time of year.

There is a previous discussion on border crossing web sites in the forum discussion under Outside the USA. There are definitely things you can not take into Canada and things you can not return to the US with. Do a little reading and know what you are allowed, stay legal and you'll have no worries. I've heard of coaches being searched but those are rare experiences. We've been across the border with Canada all along the border and never experienced any delay or challenge. We don't do it casually, we plan our trip across and prepare to be sure we are legal. For your dog you will need to have specific records with you for crossing. That information is available at the sites listed in the discussion above.

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The maritimes are fantastic. We started our trip the first week of June and had a number of campgrounds pretty much to ourselves. The Cabot Trail around Nova Scotia is a great trip with plenty to see. It seemed like every small town had some woman baking goodies in her home, and we of course felt it was our duty to support the local economy. OH YUM!!!

By all means, take the ferry to Newfoundland and tour that fine province. The scenery is wonderful and the people are truly super friendly. By the way the ferry trip (think ship) was an outstanding whale watching trip. They make a dish with mashed potatoes, bacon and salt cod that is a heart surgeons delight but is superb.

We also continued on via ferry to Labrador which was interesting but I'm not sure if it was worth the money.

PEI was a bit to touristy for my liking, but some of our friends loved it. I found it crowded and overpriced.

We took six weeks and had a ball.

Have fun!!

Ward

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Tom,

Great treatise on the Maritime Provinces. We hope to go in the summer of 2012. Regarding the RV parks there, is 50 amp utility common? Also, can most of the parks handle 40' MH and 20' tow vehicle.

Thanks, Chuck

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We ran into everything from full service to dry camping. The private parks were more likely to have fifty amp than the government parks, but the weather was so comfortable that we didn't really need a heavy electrical load. Dump stations were plentiful as was central water fills. The best place we stayed in was strictly dry camping, but we had the advantage of watching whale play just offshore. For that I'll give up creature comforts any day!

We only had two regrets about the entire trip. (1) We only had six weeks. (2) I didn't have a sea kayak which would have been a real plus. There were some folks at a provincial park in Shelburne NS that were having a ball with their kayaks. BTW at this park we were next to the water and looked across the harbor at Shelburne.

Okay! You've given me the itch to go back.

Ward

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We were able to find parks, National, Provincial and private with pull through spaces for our complete rig (65' hitched up). In Canada-speak they have three way hook-ups, not full hook-ups. As Ward indicated above, the electric is generally 30A but the weather usually doesn't require more than one air conditioner and then only for a short time during midday.

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Just a word about the Maritime Provinces, you may want to check your timing for your trip as we went to PEI the last week in August/1st week in September and believe it or not some summer business were closed for the season. We enjoyed PEI, clean, pretty province and friendly folks. Compared to the USA, the prices for whatever are higher. Note: We entered Canada at Calis Maine and we and our motorhome was put through the "border inspection" for over an hour....of course they found nothing...we will not go back to Canada for another 15 years......

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We spent 6 weeks in the Maritimes last summer. We found 30 amp service most frequently and didn't miss having 50 amp, even tho the past summer was unusually hot. Summer weather ended abruptly after Labor Day.

No one has mentioned the Gaspe, which is the eastern end of Quebec, but we found it even more wonderful than NB, NS and PEI. Don't miss Parc Forillon, Parc du Bic, and Parc Ile de Bonaventure! Since we enjoy boondocking, we had the pleasure of spending a number of nights along beaches and wharves. I sure miss the sound of the Atlantic and the great Acadian music. Ahh. We do want to return. About border crossing; no firearms and that includes bear spray/pepper spray.

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