Home to Canada's craggiest coastline, loneliest lighthouses and fiercest tides, this is a land where you can feel the full force of nature at work.
The Maritime provinces bear the brunt of the Atlantic's might. Pounded and battered by relentless swells, this part of Canada has been profoundly shaped by the sea: geologically, historically and temperamentally. Whether it's hiking along a lonely beach to a remote candy-striped lighthouse, braving the whitewater of the Shubenacadie River, watching sapphire-blue icebergs floating past the Newfoundland coast or watching the astonishing ascent and fall of the Fundy tides, it's a place where the salt-tang of the sea will never be far from your nostrils.
Thar She Blows!
There are few places on the planet better for whale-watching than Atlantic Canada. From June to October, these leviathans of the deep cruise into the plankton-rich waters off Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland, allowing an unparalleled opportunity to get up close and watch them in their natural environment. Few experiences are as exhilarating as buzzing along in a little Zodiac, pursuing a distant spout of spray – then watching in awe as the whale breaches, crashing back into the sea in an explosion of foaming water.
Whether it's a perfectly pan-fried scallop, a sumptuous lobster dinner or a simple bowl of chowder, sampling the region's incredible seafood bounty is an undisputed highlight of any visit to the Maritimes. Crustaceans (lobster, crab, shrimp) and bivalves (scallops, mussels, oysters) are a staple feature on practically every menu, but it's up to you how you eat them: down-and-dirty in a seaside fishermen's shack, upscale in a high-class seafooderie or elbow-to-elbow with the locals at a traditional lobster supper (paper bibs, claw-crackers and meat-picks provided).
Several contradictory cultures have shaped this part of Canada. Squabbled over for centuries by the English and French, visited for generations by fishermen from Iceland and Scandinavia, and settled by all manner of folk from the Scottish Highlands to French Acadia, it's a place that's soaked up all these influences, sculpting them into the uniquely warm, welcoming, down-to-earth and open-hearted character for which the Maritimes are known. But there's another, much older culture that mustn't be overlooked: First Nations people were kayaking the rivers, fishing the coastline and walking the trails long before Europeans arrived.