A Summer Road Trip to Eastern Canada


Blue skies, gentle ocean breezes and long, sandy beaches–small wonder that studies show spending time in “blue space” (i.e., water–adjacent) is as good for you as (maybe even better than) spending time in green space. Whether you’re travelling solo, in the company of a significant other or have loaded the entire family into a camper van, a trip to Canada’s East Coast is everything a summer holiday should be, with breathtaking views of the Atlantic around every bend. But there’s also history (Vikings!), fresh lobster rolls, scenic hiking trails and, best of all, a taste of famed East Coast hospitality in each of the colourful seaside communities you encounter along the way, from Newfoundland and Labrador to New Brunswick.

July 1, 2020

In the late 1700s, Scottish immigrants sailed along the Northumberland Strait to a quiet cove where they built a small fishing community called Arisaig, in Nova Scotia. In 1898, a lighthouse replaced the lamp on a pole previously used to guide boats to the wharf. Today, the Arisaig Lighthouse (rebuilt after a fire in the 1930s) is a popular spot to stop for ice cream and spectacular sunsets. On a clear day, you can see Prince Edward Island on the horizon.

A row of colourful fishing boats at the dock

For centuries, Cow Head, Newfoundland, has yielded an abundance of fresh herring, cod, salmon and lobster. Although it was first named Cap Pointu by explorer Jacques Cartier, French fishermen later changed its name to “Tête de Vache” (cow’s head), inspired by a large rock that resembled a cow when seen from the sea.

A red and white painted boathouse with a maple leaf in Fogo Island

Brightly painted clapboard is a hallmark of Newfoundland’s remote coastal community, Fogo Island.

A man entering a turf building in L’Anse aux Meadows

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, Newfoundland's L’Anse aux Meadows contains eight wood–framed turf buildings – all that remains of an 11th–century Viking settlement and the earliest evidence of Europeans in North America.

A man holding a blue lobster

Blue lobsters, like this one caught in Arisaig, are a rare (one–in–2–million) find. Typically, they are greenish–blue or brown in colour to help them hide from predators in the murky depths of the ocean. It takes a lobster six to eight years to reach a market weight of one pound.

A lone fishing boat on the waters of Caraquet, New Brunswick

A fishing boat close to Caraquet, New Brunswick, a town founded by Acadian families fleeing the Deportation in the 1750s. During the first two weeks of August, Caraquet is home to one of the most popular Acadian festivals in North America.

A life saver decorates the side of a home in Cow Head

One of many weathered seaside homes in Cow Head, which boasts one of the longest sand beaches in Newfoundland and is the northernmost enclave community in Gros Morne National Park.

A Newfoundland cookout with sausages and carrots

Newfoundland's Dildo Run Provincial Park on New World Island is the perfect place for a cookout. It’s also an ideal vantage point for whale–watching, and from May to September you might catch a glimpse of giant, 10,000–year–old chunks of glacier as they pass through Iceberg Alley.

An Acadian lighthouse in the coastal village of Grande-Anse, New Brunswick

An Acadian lighthouse in the coastal village of Grande–Anse, New Brunswick, which is a sought out destination for paddlers, birdwatchers and history buffs.

A man building a fire beside his van at dusk

Travelling north from New Brunswick, a stop in Gaspésie is a must, especially if you packed camping gear. This Quebec peninsula on the Gulf of Saint Lawrence is home to four provincial parks, more than 14 historic lighthouses, a regional craft beer route and the chance to see up to 13 different species of whales.