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9 Best Places to Visit in Atlantic Canada

Atlantic Canada covers the northeastern corner of North America and includes four provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Each has its own special charms, rich history and incredible scenery to explore which makes it hard to know where to begin, but these top picks are a good place to start.

Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Credit: Cape Breton, Nova Scotia by Bigstockphoto.com

Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Cape Breton Island boasts an especially breathtaking landscape that includes lush emerald mountains, postcard-perfect beaches, picturesque harbors and lighthouses. You’ll also discover many small charming towns with fantastic live music venues and intimate eateries that serve up mouthwatering fresh-from-the-Atlantic lobster as you travel along the roadway known as the Cabot Trail, known as one of the world’s most scenic drives. The 185-mile-long route winds along seaside cliffs, completing a loop around the island’s northern tip before passing through the Cape Breton Highlands. Along the way you can watch for whales, dolphins, seals, puffins, bald eagles and other wildlife.

Halifax Halifax
Credit: Halifax by bigstock.com


Nova Scotia’s capital city offers big city amenities with small town charms in an alluring seaside location. Enjoy strolling the beaches, checking out the historic architecture and wandering through quaint fishing villages nearby. The best way to experience the city’s rich history is on foot. Start with a visit to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, surveying the city from this 18th-century Citadel National Historic site before walking the streets, browsing the shops and popping into one of the many outstanding bars or eateries to catch some great live tunes.

St. John's Newfoundland Colorful houses on Holloway Street, St. John's, Newfoundland
Credit: Colorful houses on Holloway Street, St. John's, Newfoundland by K.C. Dermody

St. John's Newfoundland

The oldest city in North America and the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador has an especially rich and colorful history. Its historic downtown is filled with museums, galleries, historical sites, parks, restaurants, pubs and specialty shops that can be discovered along the narrow, winding streets and lanes. The brightly colored row houses, known as Jelly Bean Row, make it even more attractive, spilling down the hills that overlook the harbor. Nearby, plenty of outdoor adventures await with miles and miles of both urban and coastal trails, and the chance to spot humpback, minke, fin, sperm, blue, sei and right whales in the coastal waters. While the marine life and icebergs can often be seen right from a number of vantage points throughout the city, boat tours can bring you out for a closer look.

Trinity, Newfoundland The colorful town of Trinity, Newfoundland
Credit: The colorful town of Trinity, Newfoundland by K.C. Dermody

Trinity, Newfoundland

As you turn the corner and Trinity comes into view, you’ll swear it must be a film set, and this picture-perfect town has been the setting for a number of movies, but it’s very real and steeped in history. The quiet streets are lined with saltbox houses, museums, art galleries and a number of other historic buildings preserved from the 18th century. It also hosts the outstanding Rising Tide Theatre, especially popular for its dinner theatre with a talented casts of singers, musicians and actors putting on a feast of “mischief, music, and merriment with a meal besides.” This is also one of the best places in the province to embark on a whale watching trip, with a multitude of humpback whales arriving in the summer to feast just offshore.

Fogo Island Hike to the edge of the
Credit: Hike to the edge of the "flat Earth," Fogo Island, Newfoundland by K.C. Dermody

Fogo Island

Visiting Fogo Island is like entering a whole new world. It’s home to 11 unique communities, each with its own distinct personality and allure. Easily accessible by ferry from Farewell, it offers endless sources of inspiration for visiting artists, writers and photographers, or anyone who wants to get far off the beaten path. While it’s become somewhat famous for the luxurious Fogo Island Inn, there are plenty of low-key, affordable B&Bs and inns. Look forward to wandering through the museums and galleries, as well as taking hiking trails like Brimstone Head, said to be one of the four corners of the “Flat Earth.” While it’s unlikely you’ll fall off the edge, the hike up the dramatic landscape of rock, with steep terrain on both sides that plunges to the turquoise waters below, brings some of the island’s most spectacular vistas.

Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland Gros Morne National Park
Credit: Gros Morne National Park by facebook.com

Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland

Gros Morne National Park is situated on Newfoundland’s west coast, part of the Long Range Mountains. It’s especially renowned for its wildlife, like whales, moose and caribou, and for its complex geology – in fact, it was here that geologists proved the theory of plate tectonics. The Tablelands, which is a mountain of flat-topped rock, typically found only deep within the earth’s mantle, is truly jaw-dropping. But not only are there mountains to hike and climb, and waterfalls to view, the park is home to a stunning rugged coastline, freshwater fjords and lovely seaside villages.

St. Andrews, New Brunswick St Andrews, New Brunswick
Credit: St Andrews, New Brunswick by Piddleville via Flickr

St. Andrews, New Brunswick

This seaside New Brunswick resort town lies on the Bay of Fundy and offers lots of old-fashioned charms. Watch for whales, including finback, minke, right whales and humpbacks, depending on the time of year, indulge your sweet tooth at the Chocolate Museum or take a stroll through picturesque gardens – Kingsbrae Garden is an incredible enchanting horticultural masterpiece. Simply strolling the streets makes for a fun afternoon with the many shops, boutiques and art galleries downtown. Visitors can also enjoy seaside golfing, kayaking and even scuba diving.

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island Charlottetown, Prince Edward
Credit: Charlottetown, Prince Edward by Bob Linsdell

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Charlottetown is the provincial capital of Prince Edward Island, offering an ideal blend of warm hospitality, fantastic cuisine, history and culture. This romantic city also hosts frequent festivals, like the PEI International Shellfish Festival held in autumn, a celebration of the Islands’ Malpeque oysters, Atlantic lobster and Island Blue mussels, featuring maritime music, oyster shucking competitions, seafood chowder championships and culinary demonstrations. It also boasts highly-rated golf courses, a network of walking trails and waterside boardwalks, craft and specialty shops, and lots of restaurants that serve the island’s fresh seafood and local agricultural products.

Cavendish, Prince Edward Island Green Gables house, Cavendish, Prince Edward Island
Credit: Green Gables house, Cavendish, Prince Edward Island by Bigstock.com

Cavendish, Prince Edward Island

Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, is home to the setting of L.M. Montgomery’s famous novel about the adventures of a freckled, red haired young girl, Anne of Green Gables. Today, the Victorian home is a protected heritage place of Canada, and serves as museum that highlights the history of the area. Anyone who has read the book, or has an interest in PEI history, shouldn’t miss it.

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