August 16, 2017
Rugged coastal drives, lush green hills and fields, stunning sunsets over the sea—the natural beauty of the Maritimes makes it a dream destination for motorcyclists. Canada’s East Coast is packed with picturesque views and scenic roads to discover. The hardest part of your Maritime motorcycle tour is choosing which routes to explore!
To make it easier, we’ve selected four must-do motorcycle trips in the Maritimes to help you discover some of the best of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick. Choose one or do all four for the ultimate East Coast road trip!
Start your tour in Digby at the Wharf Rat Rally, Canada’s largest multi-day motorcycle rally that attracts thousands of bikes from all over Canada and the US each year. Getting to Digby is easy! The mv Fundy Rose sails from Saint John, NB to Digby, NS every day year-round. You can also take The CAT from Portland, Maine to Yarmouth, NS in just six and a half hours, then drive 70-minutes northeast to Digby on the Trans-Canada 101.
At the Wharf Rat Rally, you can see brand-new bike models and custom modifications, view incredible stunt shows, take in live music, or participate in the Poker Run. This year, the rally runs from August 30-September 3. Plan to spend at least a day at the rally taking in the activities and chatting to other bikers from all over the continent.
The next morning, continue northeast on the 101 as it runs parallel to the Bay of Fundy. At Greenwich, hop off the highway and take Route 358 north to Blomidon Provincial Park for fantastic Bay of Fundy views and low-tide ocean floor exploring. Stop in Wolfville for a bite to eat at Paddy’s Brew Pub downtown, or take another detour through the lush, green Gaspereau Valley.
If you like wine, the Annapolis Valley is a fantastic place to tour wineries, learn about how the product is made, and sample wines made from locally-grown grapes. Make sure to sip on some Tidal Bay, Nova Scotia’s very own crisp, extra-refreshing white wine! During the fall, check out some of the region’s plentiful farmers’ markets to sample local produce and freshly-squeezed apple cider.
One of Canada’s most spectacular drives, the 300km of coastal highway that makes up Cape Breton Island’s Cabot Trail is breathtaking in all seasons and draws visitors from throughout North America and around the world. It’s spectacular in fall when the bright foliage is at its peak, but it’s a fantastic drive in spring and summer as well. While it’s possible to drive the trail in just one day, many riders recommend doing the loop twice—both clockwise and counter-clockwise—as well as taking in the sights and visiting the communities along the trail.
A stop in Cape Breton Highlands National Park is a must. With 950 square kilometres of gorgeous highlands and coastline, the park is home to 26 hiking trails ranging from easy, relaxed strolls to challenging climbs. The reward for tackling the tougher trails is worth it—breathtaking views of the sea and the highlands await! The park also has camping facilities, including oTENTiks.
Take a break from riding and test out your sea legs on a whale-watching cruise. The Cabot Trail is peppered with whale-watching tour operators, many of whom guarantee a whale sighting! Keep your eyes open for pilot whales, minke whales, humpbacks, and finbacks, as well as dolphins, seals, and many more marine animals.
With its bright red cliffs, brilliant blue sky and sea, and rolling green fields, Prince Edward Island is a colourful delight to behold! And since PEI is geographically quite small, it’s easy to discover the entire province if you have a long weekend to spend touring. The Points East Coastal Drive is a great place to start.
Take the mv Confederation or the mv Holiday Island across the Northumberland Strait from Caribou, NS to Wood Islands, PEI. Once you’ve disembarked the ferry, keep right to stay on the Points East Coastal Drive, which hugs the Island’s eastern coastline. Follow the road through the picturesque fishing villages of Murray Harbour and Murray River. On a clear day, you may be able to see Nova Scotia in the distance.
Take a break in Montague, the largest town in eastern PEI, to grab a coffee and fuel up your tank before continuing on to your next stop. For golfers, there are plenty of excellent courses in this part of the province, including Dundarave and Brudenell River. Or ride a little further and discover the coastline roads on PEI’s easternmost tip, which are packed with places to stop and stretch your legs.
Climb to the top of the East Point Lighthouse to check out the view, or stop at Elmira, where you’ll find the head of the Confederation Trail—the perfect place for a relaxing stroll. Beach lovers won’t want to miss Basin Head, known as the “Singing Sands beach” because of the squeaking sound the sand makes when people walk on it.
Greenwich is another excellent place to stop for a break. Part of the Prince Edward Island National Park, Greenwich is home to an interpretive centre, walking trails, and more than 900 acres of sandy dunes.
The Acadian Coastal Drive is one of New Brunswick’s most colourful and fun regions to visit, rich with Francophone heritage and natural beauty. Especially during the summer months, New Brunswick’s easternmost coast comes alive with festivals, events, and fun in the sun.
Cross the border from Nova Scotia into New Brunswick and follow Route 16 toward Cape Tormentine, then follow Route 15 through Murray Corner, Shemogue, and Cap-Pele. This area is home to fantastic beaches with some of the warmest salt water north of the Carolinas. It’s also an excellent place to grab a bite to eat if you love fresh seafood.
In Bouctouche, take a break at the Irving Eco-Centre to explore the sand dunes and stroll along the boardwalk or simply cool off with a quick dip in the Atlantic. Continuing on, you’ll see Kouchibouguac National Park, a great place to explore 60km of trails or learn about Mi’kmaq culture.
From there, Miramichi makes another great place to stop and fuel up before continuing around the Acadian peninsula into northern New Brunswick. For some of the best views in the province and an “off the beaten path” experience, don’t miss the Acadian isles, Lamèque Island and Miscou Island. Located on the tip of the Acadian peninsula and accessible via causeway, they’re easy to get to and provide excellent beaches and scenery.
Ready to set out on your own East Coast road trip? Let Bay Ferries and Northumberland Ferries make getting around a breeze! Save driving time, stretch your legs, and let someone else handle the navigation as you hop between provinces. It’s the easiest way to get around and make the very most of your Maritime adventure.