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Nova Scotia or New Brunswick?

We'll be coming from Maine and probably don't have time to see both. I've always wanted to see the Bay of Fundy tides. What else would you recommend for a family with kids?

Posted by
3901 posts

Well, I'm a little biased towards Nova Scotia...lol. Also - you don't say what time of year...this fall? Next spring? Winter (heaven forbid)?

If you decide to do New Brunswick, there are some fun things in Moncton like Magnetic Hill and the Zoo. Nature stuff including Hopewell Rocks is lovely (which I've never been to but plan to remedy that next year) and Bouctouche has a really neat looking Eco-Center with boardwalks over the dunes (another place I plan to visit). Other than that, NB is boring...lol.

You could spend a good 5-6 nights in Nova Scotia - Halifax, the capital, has a lovely waterfront, Citadel Hill, Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, a gorgeous new library. The Natural History Museum and Discovery Center are fun for kids. Peggy's Cove (home of our most famous icon - the lighthouse) is fun for crawling over the rocks and seeing a fishing village (just don't go on the black rocks - we already had a fatality and a near fatality this year from people being swept into the ocean by rogue waves). Annapolis Valley has Oaklawn Farm Zoo with lots of big cats and other animals. Shubenacadie Wildlife Park has lots of native to Canada animals. Cape Breton (and Fortress Louisbourg) are fun - but depending on the age of the kids, they may not be that into scenic drives (early-mid Oct is amazing for leaf peeping). Lots of hiking in CB as well. My hometown of Truro has a lovely park (Victoria Park) where you can spend a few hours wandering the trails. Don't get your expectations up for the tides - they can be a little 'bore-ing' (My tidal bore pun). There is a place that does tidal bore rafting, which I haven't done but people love. Again - depending on the time of year and tolerance of children to historical stuff, Sherbrook Village could be fun. Ross Farm museum could also appeal to kids if they like farm animals.

Whew...I really don't know what else New Brunswick has to offer - we usually just drive thru to get to Maine ;)

Posted by
3901 posts

But wait...there's more! Not sure if the kids are Theodore Tugboat age, but Halifax has a real honest to goodness Theodore that you can do harbour cruises on (as well as harbour hopper cruises - the amphibious vehicle). Lots of whale watching abounds. Parrsboro has a geological museum and you can try your hand at the fossil cliffs and maybe find a fossil. (Again, this is all pretty weather specific). I'm sure I'll think of more ;)

Posted by
1985 posts

Nicole has it pretty exhaustively covered as a local, but I'll give you my Caravan bus tour assessment, as I went on the tour about two years ago. The Bay of Fundy was interesting for an hour or two but was a lot of bus riding to get there. If there is one place from my tour I would return to it would be Halifax. Great little city and a nice way to pass a few days.

Posted by
908 posts

Other than the Bay of Fundy & Natl. Park, I'd say NS over NB.

Posted by
33 posts

Neither...Continue on and see Prince Edward Island! The island is beautiful and more rewarding in my opinion that either NS or NB.

But if it's one or the other, head to Halifax, although in my opinion after having lived in Halifax for 5 years, most of the "attractions" are underwhelming but YMMV.

Posted by
9 posts

Born and raised in NB and it is incredibly beautiful. Unfortunately the highways bypass all the scenic areas and even people who live in provinces nearby don't know the most beautiful spots.

Fundy trail parkway has 50 km of wilderness hiking as well as many day hiking trails with huge cliffs overlooking the bay.
Saint John River is a mighty waterway largely untouched and a hidden gem.
We have many dozens of gorgeous waterfalls.
Kayaking is very popular and accessible.
North east part of the province has gorgeous white sandbeaches.
Famous for our covered bridges and free river system of ferries.
Best way to travel is to get off the 4 lane highways and follow the marked provincial system of scenic routes.
St Andrews, historic vacation town of the 20 the century wealthy set is famous for whale watching and being able to drive the ocean floor to visit Ministers Island. Also has a marine museum with touch pool for the kids.
Kings Landing historical settlement outside Fredericton, amazing for kids and adults too.
Rockwood Park in Saint John, largest park completely within a city in Canada has great walking for kids but also off road hiking, is an international Stonehammer Geopark.
Cape Enrage is a gorgeous spot with on site kayaking, zip line and rock climbing located just outside Fundy National Park And on the scenic route drive to Hopewell Rocks park.
Moncton has a great waterpark and zoo located within a mile or so of each other.

Posted by
34 posts

I'd give another vote for NB, and it would cut down on your travel time from Maine instead of driving all the way to NS. If you are coming from Maine you could cross in Calais, ME/St.Stephen,NB and drive to St.Andrews which is a really nice little town, there is whale watching from here and is a great place to see the famous high tides. From here you could drive towards Fundy National Park and the Hopewell Rocks. These places would be the best place to view the tides. There is a lot of hiking trails (smaller ones for kids too) in Fundy. Along the way would be New River Beach which is a provincial park and has a beautiful sandy beach and when the tide goes out (and it really goes out-it still impresses me even though I am used to the tides!) there is hard packed sand that is popular for kids to play on. It is swimmable but a bit chilly.

Moncton is a city close to Fundy and the Rocks and has Magic Mountain water park which kids would like and I believe a zoo.

Kouchibouguac National Park is 1.5hrs north from the Hopewell Rocks which has a large sandy beach as well and has warmer water to swim (but you won't get to witness the tides here). PEI would be close too from Moncton, about 2 hrs from Moncton. Cavendish is a really great place for kids. There's Anne of Green Gables, an amusement park (with some go-carts, little roller coaster etc), a beach, "Cows" ice cream and some other fun stuff for kids.

If you are coming from Maine consider that Halifax is another 3 hours driving past Fundy and Moncton. I think you could definitely find lots of things to do in NB, it is a beautiful province and I think a great place for kids to have fun.

Posted by
139 posts

I grew up in Maine and lived there most of my life. I've vacationed in both provinces several times and enjoyed both for different reasons. Both have areas that are more English and other areas that are more French. Both provinces have extremely cold water beaches and others that have lovely warm water, around 75 or 80 Fahrenheit.

I tend to think of New Brunswick as more woods than Nova Scotia. Route 2 from Maine to the Nova Scotia border is a lot of woods. St Andrews is a cute coastal town, good for a day visit. I'm a big fan of Kings Landing, an outdoor living history museum also good for a day. Fredericton is an interesting smaller city. St John has seen something of a revival lately. I find the reversing falls anticlimactic. I agree with others about Hopwell. It's an interesting geological formation good if you like non sandy beach walks. Probably good for kids who like to explore, climb and get a little muddy. Less exciting for adults.

I have a soft spot for Nova Scotia. The landscape reminds me of parts of Ireland. Halifax is one of my favorite cities. Try to go in August during the buskers' festival. There are some great wineries and the Digby scallops can't be beat. I love Cape Breton. The fortress at Louisbourg is fascinating and the scenery on the Cabot trail is outstanding. It is one of the best places to go for Celtic music. Every little town has some sort of music venue and you see multiple generations on stage.

Don't underestimate the driving distances from Maine. Bangor to Halifax is over 400 miles and it's almost 500 miles to Cape Breton.

The provincial tourism offices for each province has some great free planning materials. I recommend that you go on line and order printed brochures from each. Have fun.

Posted by
45 posts

Thanks for all of the suggestions. PEI is certainly on my list, but I think I will wait until I have a better audience (waiting for my kids to read, and I assume, love the Anne of Green Gables books). We will most likely travel this August and I am currently leaning towards more time in NS, but I'm going to get some guidebooks and read up. Love hearing all of the ideas.