CANADA & NEW ENGLAND
The ports of New England and eastern Canada bear witness to fascinating histories and vibrant cultures that continue to thrive to this day. Approaching these cities from the sea offers a memorable perspective: For many immigrants to North America, their first glimpse of their new lives would be from the decks of ships sailing into these harbors. While the fishing villages of New England and Canada's Atlantic Provinces embody a long seafaring tradition, neither region is frozen in time. World-class museums and celebrated restaurants sit side by side with historic sites. Whether you want to explore the early days of Canada and the United States or see what the future holds for their metropolises, a journey along North America’s Atlantic coast promises to be unforgettable.
Bar Harbor, Maine, US
Located on Mount Desert Island in Maine, Bar Harbor is the quintessential New England coastal town. Picturesque and charming, it is a scenic and walkable town with streets lined with restaurants and boutiques. Dining on lobster is a must, as is a scoop or two at one of the town’s homemade ice cream shops. Boat tours explore the waters and islands that surround Bar Harbor, with seasonal opportunities to see wildlife—including whales—and lighthouses along the way. Bar Harbor is surrounded by the magnificent Acadia National Park, which celebrated its centennial in 2016, making the area an adventurer’s playground.
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Charlottetown is the capital of Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island, as well as its largest city, though it has fewer than 35,000 residents. Despite its modest size, the city has an impressive number of Victorian houses and great parks waiting to be explored. For Canadians, it is perhaps most famous as the Birthplace of Confederation. It was here, mostly at Province House, that an 1864 conference led to the creation of the Dominion of Canada. Nearby Prince Edward Island National Park is home to white-sand beaches and hiking and biking trails—plus fans can see the house and farm that inspired the beloved book Anne of Green Gables.
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Located on a rocky inlet on the Atlantic, Halifax—Nova Scotia’s provincial capital—is defined by its maritime geography. It's a spirited mix of world-class history and nautical-themed museums alongside bunkers and fortresses, plus striking public art, funky shops and excellent pubs serving up folk music (and good pints).
Explore the waterfront where steamships once anchored to drop off arriving immigrants. Savor the culinary scene for fresh seafood and Nova Scotia specialties—the city has street vendors and casual joints and upscale eateries. The lush greenery, rocky coastline and charming villages just outside Halifax are worth the trip from downtown.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Montréal is a city of contrasts, one that defies a simple description. It sits on the New World’s St. Lawrence River, yet it has an undeniable Old-World French flair. It is a historic city, founded in 1642, and the streets are lined with sights that range from a 17th-century seminary to contemporary architectural masterpieces. Montréal is a vibrant urban center, with buzzing streets and attractions, yet crowned by peaceful, leafy Mount Royal Park. Whichever of the city's many aspects appeals to you most, you are sure to be charmed by this unique city and find many things to do in Montréal.
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Few places in North America are as steeped in history as Québec City. Older than Jamestown, its original fortifications remain intact. The historic district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to religious orders that date back to the 17th century while the Place-Royale would look familiar to Samuel de Champlain, even with its gift shops and cafés. The British took control of New France by 1760, but more than 95 percent of Québec City's population still speaks French as its first language. As you visit historic sites and dine at restaurants that serve Québec’s distinctive cuisine, you'll discover a remarkable thriving culture.
Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
Sydney is the largest city on Cape Breton Island, which is linked by causeway to the rest of Nova Scotia. Sydney’s attractions start at the harbor, where visitors can shop for locally made crafts and see the world’s largest fiddle, which towers beside the port’s cruise pavilion. Some of the city’s historic houses and churches date back to the 1700s and 1800s and are open for tours. Restaurants often provide live music (expect fiddles and sea chanteys) along with meals of seafood fresh-caught in nearby waters. Sydney’s galleries give visitors a chance to meet local artists and purchase their work.