Atlantic Canada is made up of the scenic provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. As the first part of North America to be discovered by Europeans, you will find a culture influenced by British, Scottish, Gaelic, and French customs. With direct flights from the UK daily with a short flight time of 5 – 6 hours, it’s never been a better time to explore Atlantic Canada. Here are a few reasons why it should be on your bucket list for 2020.
1. Coastal Destination
With over 43,000 kilometers of coastline, there’s something for everyone. Outdoors enthusiasts flock to the Prince Edward Island National Park to hike along trails or enjoy a day in the sun on its white sandy beaches. The South Shore of the Island features the jagged red sandstone cliffs for which the Island is famous, and warm salt water for swimming.
Nova Scotia and New Brunswick share the Bay of Fundy, home to the highest tides in the world, with over 100 billion tonnes of seawater flowing in and out of the Bay two daily. At Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick, you can walk on the ocean floor at low tide, and kayak up to 50 feet higher at the same spot just six hours later. In Nova Scotia, experience the power of the tides by meeting and riding the bore in a zodiac boat. The Bay is also a lush feeding ground for a variety of whales, including humpbacks, minke, pilot, fin, and the endangered North Atlantic Right whale.
Newfoundland & Labrador has a rugged coastline and a long seafaring history. The province is famous for icebergs, with May, June and early July being the best months for viewing by boat tour, kayak, and from land.
2. Whales and Wildlife
Quality whale watching tours are available in Newfoundland and Labrador, in the Bay of Fundy between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. Atlantic Canada is also home to dolphins, sharks, seals, and millions of seabirds. From land, visitors can spot moose, black and brown bears, polar bears, deer, and caribou, all in their natural habitat. The region is ideal nature lovers and photographers.
3. Fresh Seafood
The freshest lobster, oysters, mussels, scallops, clams, crab, halibut and salmon make Atlantic Canada a haven for seafood lovers. For many people, lobster is king. In July, the annual five-day Lobster Festival takes place in the picturesque seaside town of Shediac, New Brunswick, known as the lobster capital of the world.
Newfoundland and Labrador offers an exciting world of dining options ranging from international flavours to local delights. Feast on some of the most unique recipes on earth, such as cod tongues, doughboys, and toutons to name a few.
Nova Scotia is famous for seafood, blueberries, apples, and is also home to over 18 wineries. Sample wines from traditional to icewine to the signature Tidal Bay, a crisp, aromatic white with unique characteristics of the province’s cool climate.
Known as Canada’s Food Island, visit Prince Edward Island in September to participate in the month-long Fall Flavours Festival, including the three-day PEI International Shellfish Festival, a lively three days filled with music, sampling and chef competitions.
4. Outdoor Adventure
For outdoor lovers, Atlantic Canada has the perfect adventure for every comfort level. There are several places to tackle a challenging hike or leisurely stroll, including the Fundy National Park in New Brunswick, the Skyline Trail in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia, Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland & Labrador, and the Confederation Trail on Prince Edward Island.
There are a total of nine national parks in Atlantic Canada, where holidaymakers can enjoy the natural beauty of the region and participate in sea-kayaking, canoeing, cycling, warm-water swimming, and more. Those interested in RVing will discover many options in the provincial and national parks.
Get ready for a toe-tapping good time, as Atlantic Canadians really know how to throw a party! In St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador’s vibrant capital city, visitors can mingle with the locals whose love of a good time is legendary. Famous George Street is home to a number of popular events, including the George Street Festival and Canada’s BIG Birthday Bash celebrations, both in July, and annual Mardi Gras celebrations in October.
Also taking place in October is the Celtic Colours International Music Festival on Cape Breton Island. Artists travel from around the world to join the finest of Cape Breton's musicians, singers, dancers, and storytellers for the annual celebration.
Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, home to the fictitious Anne of Green Gables, is also home to one of Canada’s largest country concerts, the Cavendish Beach Music Festival. Past performers include Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, and Taylor Swift.
The award-winning Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival in Fredericton, New Brunswick will celebrate its 30th year in 2020 with over 150 shows by top performers from the region, Canada and around the world. Whether it’s jazz, blues, folk, blues-rock, Cajun or world music, you’ll find it on a Harvest stage.
Inspired to visit this spectacular destination? Find out more about our Atlantic Canada itineraries here.