I absolutely love Nova Scotia – Halifax is one of the prettiest coastal towns I’ve ever seen, and a destination that I have in mind for next summer (which I will be sure to tell you guys all about). Getting there takes a little bit of effort, though, if you’re coming from the United States. Well, it probably takes a bit of effort to get there no matter WHERE you start from. But the journey is half the adventure, right?
If traveling by car, you have to take a rather circuitous route. The most direct way to get there from, say, Boston, MA, is an eleven hour drive that takes you along I-95 to the border of Canada where it meets Houlton, ME (it’s a little over nine hours if you start from Portland, ME). From there one follows Rt. 2 to Rt. 102, and from there Rt. 118 into Halifax.
However, if you want to shorten the travel time, and have a little bit of adventure in the process, I highly recommend taking the CAT Ferry, which departs from either Portland, Maine or Bar Harbor, Maine. The ferry lands in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, another beautiful coastal town, which is a three and a half hour drive to Halifax.
If taking the ferry from Bar Harbor, the travel time is about three hours. If taking it from Portland, the travel time is about five and a half hours. Passengers drive/ride their car, motorcycle (Canadian law requires a helmet), bicycle, or RV onto the CAT, or they can walk aboard if they have alternate transportation plans waiting for them in Yarmouth. On board entertainment includes movie theaters, a casino, duty-free shopping, and dining.
Customs conditions apply for travel between the US and Canada, so be sure to bring your passport. The CAT sails from the end of May through mid-October – be sure to check the schedule, which can be subject to change due to weather conditions. There are a variety of fare packages to choose from – one way, fees range from $69 for walk-on passengers from Bar Harbor ($99 from Portland), and $115 for a standard sized car ($165 from Portland, larger trucks and vehicles with trailers are more, motorcycles and bicycles are less). AAA and CAA members get a $25 discount when travelling round-trip with a vehicle. There are also destination packages that include accommodations, tours, and ferry fees.
Photo Credits (in order of appearance):
- “Nova Scotia Rocks!” Photo by Jurek Durczak on Flickr Creative Commons.
- “Yarmouth – CAT Ferry 4″. Photo by How Long It Takes on Flickr Creative Commons.
- “Sailing in Nova Scotia.” Photo by Jurek Durczak on Flickr Creative Commons.