Travel Tips

Top tips for a self-drive holiday in Canada’s Maritime provinces

Rebecca Harley

15th March 2024

Coastal road running along Scotch Head in Nova Scotia

On Canada’s eastern coast, the Maritime provinces captivate visitors with their breathtaking natural beauty. From the rugged cliffs of Nova Scotia’s coastline to the pristine beaches of Prince Edward Island, this region boasts endless, picturesque landscapes that will leave you in awe.

The best way to explore all that this area has to offer, including the quaint fishing villages, rolling green hills, dense forests and iconic lighthouses, is by car. The roads are usually quiet and well-maintained, plus a self-drive holiday allows you to travel at your own pace, spending as much or as little time as you want in each destination. Before you set off, it is worth considering our top tips below, so that you have a safe and enjoyable journey.

how to plan a road trip in canada’s maritime provinces

  • Carry a map
    The remoteness of the Maritime provinces is a big draw for visitors, but it also means that you can sometimes find yourself cut off from the rest of the world. While this can be seen as a great opportunity to embrace a digital detox and get back to nature, it can sometimes cause havoc with your GPS system. It is always best to download your routes ahead of setting off, especially if you are not going to be close to a one of the bigger towns or cities. Also, we recommend carrying a paper map of the area, so if all else fails, you can rely on that to get you to your next destination.
  • Drive in the daytime only
    You should avoid driving at night as there are no streetlights in the remote areas and the winding roads can be challenging to navigate for those that are not used them. Canada’s Maritime provinces are also home to moose, which could pose a hazard to drivers who can’t spot them in the dark.

Road trip Canada

  • Plan your rest stops
    Depending on the time of year that you visit, you might find that not all stores, restaurants, and service stations are open on your route. It is best to check opening times for the season you are travelling in ahead of setting off. If you are travelling out of season, it’s best to pull over whenever you see an open rest stop, as the next one might not be for quite some time. We also recommend carrying water and snacks in your car to keep you going throughout your trip.
  • Dress for all seasons
    It is not uncommon for visitors to Canada’s Maritime provinces to need a thick coat and gloves during the summer months. You will want to pack for all eventualities, and we recommend wearing layers, so that you can add or remove them as the temperature changes throughout the day. You are also likely to be doing a lot of walking, so sturdy footwear with a strong grip is essential, especially when stepping over slippery rocks along the coastlines.
  • Always ask the locals
    Residents of Canada’s Maritime provinces are extremely friendly and hospitable. The locals will greet you like you are an old friend and will always be keen to have a chat. If you ever need any help, just stop a local and ask, chances are they will be more than happy to lend a hand.


To discover this alluring region for yourself, browse our range of Holidays in the Maritimes.



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