Best Places to Visit in the Maritimes: A Guide to Exploring Atlantic Canada

The Maritime provinces of Canada, comprising Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, offer visitors a wealth of natural beauty, fascinating history, and warm hospitality.

With rugged coastlines dotted with fishing villages and quaint seaside towns overflowing with maritime charm, the Maritimes provide the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable vacation.

This article will highlight some of the best places to visit in the Maritimes that should be on every traveler’s itinerary when exploring this region of Eastern Canada. 

Differentiating the Maritimes and Atlantic Canada

The terms “Maritimes” and “Atlantic Canada” are sometimes used interchangeably, but they refer to slightly different regions.

The Maritimes specifically refers to the three eastern provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. These three provinces have close historical, cultural, and economic ties dating back to the colonial era.

Atlantic Canada is a broader term that encompasses the Maritimes plus the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. While not originally part of the Maritimes, Newfoundland and Labrador is now grouped with the other eastern provinces under the Atlantic Canada designation.

So in summary:

  • Maritimes = Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island
  • Atlantic Canada = Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador

The distinction is small but important to understand when discussing the eastern region of Canada. The Maritimes form the core, while Atlantic Canada incorporates everything east of Quebec.


Nova Scotia: The Coastal Gem

Nova Scotia is renowned for its scenic beauty and maritime history. Halifax, the province’s capital, is home to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, offering insights into Nova Scotia’s seafaring past. The iconic Peggy’s Cove, with its historic lighthouse, is a must-see.

For an awe-inspiring drive, the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island showcases breathtaking coastal vistas and highlands, while the Bay of Fundy promises adventures with some of the highest tides in the world.

Prince Edward Island: A Quaint Retreat

Prince Edward Island (PEI) charms visitors with its serene beaches and rolling countryside. The island’s capital, Charlottetown, provides a glimpse into the past, as the birthplace of Confederation.

The red shores and dunes of PEI National Park are perfect for beachcombing. For an engineering marvel, drive over the Confederation Bridge, connecting PEI to mainland Canada.

New Brunswick: A Blend of Nature and Culture

New Brunswick captivates with its diverse landscapes. The Hopewell Rocks reveal nature’s artistry, shaped by the world’s highest tides.

For a taste of Acadian culture, explore the coastal trails with links to New Brunswick’s French heritage. The Bay of Fundy offers a front-row view of whales in their natural habitat.

Unique Maritime Experiences

The Maritimes offer several unique maritime experiences beyond the well-known culinary offerings and historic sites that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the region’s natural beauty at a relaxed pace.

Guided sightseeing tours by coach, boat or on foot enable visitors to take in iconic attractions without the hassle of driving themselves. Light outdoor activities like short nature walks and seaside strolls on flat, paved trails are ideal for leisurely appreciation of the scenic surroundings. 

Boat tours provide effortless coastal and wildlife viewing while river cruises offer laidback sightseeing. Visiting local farmers markets is a pleasant way to mingle with locals and sample regional produce and crafts. 

Maritime history also comes alive at living museums and UNESCO sites like Lunenburg. Kayaking the tidal rapids or hiking coastal trails allows you to embrace the grandeur of nature.

The Maritimes are also one of the best whale-watching destinations, with 12 species like humpback whales feeding in the waters. Iceberg viewing is another highlight, as these towering frozen structures drift down from Greenland into Iceberg Alley off Newfoundland.  These activities and many more showcase the grandeur of the Maritimes’ natural environment and bring its rich history to life.

Traveling the Maritimes with Pro Tours

The “Newfoundland Icebergs & Taste of the Maritimes” tour is a comprehensive 15-day journey through four provinces of Atlantic Canada, starting on June 2, 2024, and ending on June 16, 2024.

The tour begins with a focus on Newfoundland, with the opportunity to see some icebergs during our stay on the island. While in Newfoundland, participants will also enjoy a whale watching and puffin boat tour.

After exploring Newfoundland, the tour moves to the mainland, where participants will experience the rich details of the Maritime provinces. The itinerary includes a variety of activities and sightseeing opportunities, such as visiting the Beothuk Interpretive Centre, Twillingate Museum, Long Point Lighthouse, and more.

Tour Highlights

  • Visit to the Beothuk Interpretive Centre and Twillingate.
  • Sightseeing in Gros Morne National Park and Captain Cook Historic Site.
  • Journey through the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton Island.
  • Exploring Peggy’s Cove, Mahone Bay, and Lunenburg in Nova Scotia.

The tour promises to be an incredible adventure, offering a blend of natural beauty, historical insights, and cultural experiences. Learn more here.


Discover the Top Attractions of the Maritimes

With its rugged beauty, living history, and maritime charm, Atlantic Canada promises unforgettable experiences.

From exploring the Cabot Trail, to feasting on culinary delights, the Maritime provinces offer an abundance of sights, flavors, and adventures to discover.

Plan your visit with Pro Tours and immerse yourself in the magic of the Maritimes!