A salt-swept, gale-blown string of red-dirt islands crusted with fuzzy tufts of grass peppers the Gulf of St Lawrence, and they are a sight to behold. The Magdalen Islands, or Îles de la Madeleine, a stringy archipelago that resembles a Mandelbrot set on maps, are 105km north of Prince Edward Island. Between the islands' 350km of beach are iron-rich, red cliffs, molded by wind and sea into coves and caves just crying out to be explored by kayak.
As you circle above the crescent beaches on one of the tiny airplanes that fly here, you may wonder how anyone can traverse this windswept island chain; in fact, the six largest islands are connected by the 200km-long, classically named Rte 199. It takes a little over an hour to drive from one end of the archipelago to the other, assuming you don't stop to gawp at the views. Which you will.