This blog post was written before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when physical distancing and other COVID health and safety protocols were not in effect. The businesses and communities featured in this article may be once again welcoming visitors but please double check as some are only open with limited operations and others have not yet reopened.

Discover the Atlantic Canada provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. Embrace the three provinces’ rich First Nations culture and Acadian history, while experiencing the stunning natural beauty of their rugged shorelines, sweeping flatlands, quaint towns, and the magnificent Cape Breton Trail.

Since time immemorial, the Mi’kmaq Nation has called the Atlantic region of Canada home. Discover a living culture through local art, legends, music, spirituality, and history. Enjoy festivals, events and pow wows that celebrate thriving and vibrant native languages and Mi’kmaq heritage.

Provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI

Length: 13 Nights / 14 Days

Dates: May – September

Route: Halifax (NS) – Kejimkujik National Park (NS) – Digby (NS) – Fredericton (NB) – Metepenagiag (NB) – Moncton (NB) – Charlottetown (PEI) – Antigonish (NS) – Baddeck (NS) – Membertou (NS) – St. Peters (NS) – Millbrook (NS) – Halifax (NS)

 

Day 1: Arrive Halifax (NS)


Arrive in Halifax and spend the day exploring Halifax, located on one of the world’s largest natural harbours. Halifax bears all the hallmarks of both a modern and historic city. You can discover its proud maritime heritage in the many museums and along the waterfront area.

Overnight Halifax

 

Day 2: Halifax (NS) – Kejimkujik National Park (NS)


Head south along the Lighthouse Route to the fishing community of Peggy’s Cove. Picturesque and surrounded by bare granite and coastal barrens, Peggy’s Cove offers scenic trails leading to its famous lighthouse. A scenic, cross-country drive links the rocky south shore with the lush Annapolis Valley, where you’ll relish the amazing views as you travel extensive woodlands dotted with lakes. Explore the wilderness of Kejimkujik National Park (where you will spend the night), along the centuries-old Mi’kmaq canoe routes.

Overnight Kejimkujik National Park

 

Day 3: Kejimkujik National Park (NS) – Digby (NS)


Enjoy the morning hiking on the many trails of the park, or take a guided tour to explore the Mi’kmaq Petroglyphs, which contain images of traditional life including hunting, fishing, and wildlife. Later, make your way to the summer resort of Digby. En route, stop at the Bear River First Nation Heritage and Cultural Centre and explore one of the many interactive activities or exhibits. At the centre, learn about Mi’kmaq heritage and spirituality through colourful exhibits, songs, plays, and stories. Once in Digby (where you will overnight), take time to explore this picture-postcard fishing port with its bustling harbour. Long before the French arrived in this area in the 1600s, the Mi’kmaq people lived here on the land they call L’sitkuk, which covered Digby and Annapolis Counties.

Overnight Digby

 

Day 4: Digby (NS) – Fredericton (NB)


Cross the Bay of Fundy to Saint John, then follow the coastline and traverse many unique fishing villages en route to Fredericton. Just outside of Fredericton, experience King’s Landing Historical Settlement, a role-playing historical community depicting everyday life in the 19th century. While in Fredericton, visit Aduksis Jewellery Designs, a Nekootkook First Nation jeweler whose beautiful pieces are inspired by tradition.

Overnight Fredericton

View this post on Instagram

Twisted and braided sterling rings

A post shared by Shane Perley-dutcher (@shaneperleydutcher_designs) on Dec 19, 2017 at 10:44pm PST

 

Day 5: Fredericton (NB) – Metepenagiag (NB)


Depart Fredericton early in the morning and head north towards Miramichi, to the First Nations community of Metepenagiag. Upon arrival, visit Metepenagiag Heritage Park and spend the afternoon experiencing the ancient Mi’kmaq culture that has existed for thousands of years. View the archaeological finds, see the Mi’kmaq ceramic pottery and discover the significance of the Augustine Mound and the Oxbow National Historic Sites. Other features include artifacts, interactive displays, tours, and interpretive trails. Guests can stay at the First Nations-owned Metepenagiag Lodge. The beautiful cedar lodge is surrounded by nature with stunning views of the Miramichi River and is just 20 minutes outside of Miramichi.

Overnight in Metepenagiag

Metepenagiag Teepee

Metepenagiag Heritage Park

 

Day 6: Metepenagiag (NB) – Moncton (NB)


Today, follow the Acadian Coastal Drive south, bringing you to Kouchibouguac National Park. Kouchibouguac means “river of the long tides” in Mi’kmaq. The park protects 25km of fragile sand dunes, salt marshes, tidal rivers, lagoons, barrier islands, and other natural wonders. Its geological diversity makes it home to a wide range of trees, plants, and wildlife, including endangered species such as the piping plover. Stop in Bouctouche and visit Le Pays de la Sagouine, one of New Brunswick’s top attractions. In the late afternoon, arrive in the city of Moncton, home to a diverse cultural community. Make sure to visit Magnetic Hill, where gravity appears to work in reverse – start at the bottom of the incline in a car and you will seemingly drift up the hill!

Overnight Moncton

 

Day 7: Moncton (NB) – Charlottetown (PEI)


Today head to Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province, over the Confederation Bridge. From there, drive north up to the community of the Lennox Island Mi’kmaq First Nation. Spend the day exploring Lennox Island, taking in guided tours, hiking trails or listening to storytelling. Step back in history as you explore the Cultural Centre, and visit with gifted artisans at Micmac Productions who will amaze you with their woodworks, paintings, jewelry and more. Afterward, drive to Charlottetown.

Overnight Charlottetown

Micmac Art

Pottery from Micmac Productions

 

Day 8: Charlottetown (PEI) – Antigonish (NS)


Spend your morning leisurely exploring the Victorian homes and elegant squares of Charlottetown. There’s lots to explore before you return to Nova Scotia via the Northumberland Strait and drive along the North Shore Drive through tranquil scenery and small communities that still celebrate Nova Scotia’s First Nations, Scottish and Acadian identities.

Overnight in Antigonish.

 

Day 9: Antigonish (NS) – Baddeck (NS)


Today travel through gentle rolling fields of the bay area as it transitions into the beautiful Bras D’Or Lake lowlands. Enroute to Baddeck, visit the Wagmatcook Cultural and Heritage Centre. The centre is culturally rich with exhibits, authentic cultural dining and a selection of authentic Mi’kmaq art and craft. Storytelling is an intricate part of the Mi’kmaq culture, and in this context, you will learn about the early ways of life, hunting and fishing traditions, languages, spirituality, and ceremonies, along with compelling details and archived photographs about European contact and its effect on Aboriginal history. Later, continue to Baddeck, only a short drive from the cultural centre.

Overnight in Baddeck.

Wagmatcook Culture

Wagmatcook Culture & Heritage Centre

 

Day 10: Baddeck (NS) Exploring


We suggest a scenic drive along the Cabot Trail into the highlands of northern Cape Breton. The trail runs past lochs and glens settled by Scottish Highlanders and along scenic coastlines settled by Acadians. You will meander through the rugged Cape Breton Highlands National Park, enjoying stunning views of sea-swept headlands, steep cliffs, and tranquil beaches. Baddeck is also home to a fascinating museum dedicated to the life and works of Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone.

Overnight in Baddeck.

View this post on Instagram

The Skyline Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park provides dramatic cliffside views of the ocean and the Cabot Trail. From here you may see the many animals that call this area home, such as whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence or moose, bald eagles, bears and various boreal birds. This 6.5 km (4 mi) return; 8.2 km (5.1 mi) loop is suitable for all fitness levels, just be sure to bring proper clothing and stay on the boardwalks so as not to disturb the fragile vegetation. 📷: @jsn.ptrsn 📍: @visitnovascotia #ExploreCanada . Le sentier Skyline dans le parc national des Hautes-Terres-du-Cap-Breton offre des vues saisissantes de l’océan et de la piste Cabot, du haut des falaises. Vous pourriez voir de nombreux animaux qui vivent dans les environs, comme des baleines dans le golfe du Saint-Laurent ou encore des orignaux, des pygargues à tête blanche, des ours et divers oiseaux boréaux. Ce parcours de 6,5 km aller-retour ou de 8,2 km en boucle convient aux personnes de toutes les conditions physiques. Mais assurez-vous de porter les bons vêtements, et restez sur le trottoir de bois pour ne pas perturber la flore fragile. 📷 : @jsn.ptrsn 📍 : @visitnovascotia #VisitNovaScotia

A post shared by Explore Canada (@explorecanada) on Nov 27, 2017 at 4:39pm PST

 

Day 11: Baddeck (NS) – Membertou (NS)


Today, a short drive will bring you to the First Nations community of Membertou. Here, visit the Membertou Heritage Park, a five-acre site that offers a living history of the people of Membertou. A large indoor exhibit and program area offer the visitor full immersion into an ancient culture. Outdoors, visitors will experience traditional medicine gardens, demonstration areas, storytelling and performances in the amphitheater. While in Membertou, check out Kijus Restaurant and Dozay’s Native Art Gallery.

Overnight Membertou

Membertou Heritage Park

Membertou Heritage Park

 

Day 12: Membertou (NS) – St Peters (NS)


Today, travel south towards Eskasoni. One of five Mi’kmaq communities in Cape Breton, and 13 in Nova Scotia, Eskasoni is the largest Mi’kmaq community in the world. For families/groups of 4 and more, spend the afternoon with Eskasoni Cultural Journeys, exploring and experiencing the rich Mi’kmaq culture. This afternoon, continue onto Chapel Island. Located on Bras d’Or Lake, it is the capital of Mi’kmakik and a sacred Indigenous site. The island is also the home of St. Anne Mission, an important pilgrimage site for the Mí’kmaq and a place of national historic significance.

Overnight St Peters

 

Day 13: St Peters (NS) – Millbrook (NS)


Depart St Peters and the shores of Bras d’Or Lake and travel through Port Hawkesbury and over the Canso Causeway connecting eastern and western Nova Scotia. Once on the western shore, continue heading south to Millbrook. The Millbrook First Nation is a Mi’kmaq community located within the town of Truro. Explore the Millbrook Cultural & Heritage Centre (Glooscap Heritage Centre) and the Mi’kmaq Museum. The Centre offers a multimedia presentation on the rich history of the Mi’kmaw people, guiding you through their trials, tribulations, and triumphs. Exhibits include ancient artifacts, stunning quillwork and beadwork, and a giant statue of the legendary Glooscap. The Centre also offers a visitor information centre and gift shop with an Indigenous focus.

Overnight in Millbrook

 

Day 14: Millbrook – Halifax (125km)


Visit Mi’kmawey Debert Interpretive Trail, where you can spend the day exploring an area rich in both culture and nature. The interpretive panels located along the trail share the ever-growing story of the ancestral Debert sites. The 4.4 km trail is available to the public year-round and takes about 75 minutes to hike. Head to Halifax later in the afternoon, where you will spend the night.

Sarah James

Sarah James was a social media coordinator for Indigenous Canada who is passionate about enhancing the visibility of the Indigenous tourism industry in Canada.