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Help with a Canadian Vacation? Banff, Nova Scotia or Quebec

Kansas City...
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Help with a Canadian Vacation? Banff, Nova Scotia or Quebec

Hello All,

I need help picking a Canadian Vacation/Adventure with my Wife and 2 kids Ages 3 and 1 year. August 1-8

It would be a hybrid Road Trip/Vacation with the longest stay in one spot 2-3 days. Our Choices to this trip are

1. Banff, Lake Louise and the Rockies/Calgary/Glacier NP (Arrive/Depart from Great Falls Montana)

2. Acadia NP/Quebec City/Montreal or Charlevoix (Arrive/Depart from Bangor Maine)

3. Acadia NP/Bay of Fundy/Nova Scotia/Halifax (Cape Breton Highlands unless it’s too far) – (Arrive/Depart from Bangor Maine)

Another factor that we have but don't really need to use this is that we have 4 free nights at any Fairmont Hotel, i know the 3 Fairmont’s in the Canadian Rockies look Grand but I was wondering if Rockies hotels should be more of a couples retreat instead of Family Trip. Again, we don't have to use these 4 free nights, its just out there to consider.

Factors to Consider

1. Scenery/Outdoor Activities

2. Kids Activities

3. Sights to See

4. Beautiful Drive

5. Good/Fair Prices for everything from Food to Hotel Accomdations

6. Good and Unique Food

7. Culture/People

8. Fairmont Hotels in Rockies or Quebec

9. Safety (Bears on Hiking Trails, Tide Safety, etc)

Any help would be greatly appreciated


Nova Scotia
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1. Re: Help with a Canadian Vacation? Banff, Nova Scotia or Quebec

All three would be good, though quite rushed. I will give some Nova Scotia suggestions.

Here is the Nova Scotia travel website: www.novascotia.com/en/home/default.aspx

With what you are saying I would visit the Fundy Shore in Nova Scotia and perhaps the Halifax to Lunenburg area. Scroll down this page and check out other threads which may be relevant to you.

Advocate Harbour is a wonderful away from it all spot with the world's highest tides, two fossil museums in the area, the province's best restaurant, and great scenery.













The short walks in Cape Chignecto Park from the Eatonville entrance are easy and can be done with tiny children in a stroller or backcarrier.

Edited: 12:08 pm, March 13, 2014
Fletchers Lake, NS
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2. Re: Help with a Canadian Vacation? Banff, Nova Scotia or Quebec

I have just been research Banff myself and you maybe a little late for reserving hotels for the peak time of 2014. I am finding hotels are running around $ 250/night . But the scenery would be spectacular - next to none of the other choices.

You will certainly find rooms still available in Nova Scotia, great scenery, and bear free hiking. Hotels are more expensive here compared to the US. =)

Halifax, Canada
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3. Re: Help with a Canadian Vacation? Banff, Nova Scotia or Quebec

I have been to all three areas (currently reside in NS, previously resided in BC – with numerous trips to Banff and LL). NS has exceptionally friendly people and Banff/LL will have exceptional mountains vistas. The issue I have with each is that you may end up driving a fair bit between attractions or sites of interest. Once you get there, Quebec will have the least driving between attractions/sites.

My recommendation based on your criteria would be Quebec, with Quebec City as your home base. There is a Fairmont in Quebec City for you to use your Fairmont promotion (Chateau Frontenac – how cool would it be for the kids to say that they slept in a real castle!!). The culture/history in the area is immense and as such you will feel like you have gone to Europe for your vacation (think old stone walls and 400 year old stone buildings). The hiking in Charlevoix is quite good and there are lots of things for the kids to enjoy as well, such as waterfalls (Montmorency) and other waterfalls with a bit more of a hike (Charlevoix). There are water theme parks if you like crowds, and lots of scenic hikes if you want solitude. If it rains for the three days, there is a shopping centre approx. 10 minutes from Chateau Frontenac that has indoor amusement park like activities (rides, etc.), and a indoor skating rink that would offer respite from the weather. French is the official language of Quebec, however most areas will have people that speak English. Montrealis the epicentre of English Quebec but pretty much any place that attracts tourists will people on staff that are bilingual. Also, having kids will be an ice breaker and be a reason for people to want to assist you. I’d be inclined to re-think Bangor, Maine as the arrive/depart location given the driving time to Quebec.

If you opt to visit NS, the ferry from Bar Harbour to Yarmouth will save you a lot of driving time. If you opt for Banff/LL, take a look at the driving time from Great Falls to Banff; It’s going to take a good part of a day just to get there, flying to Calgary might be worthwhile considering.

1. Scenery/Outdoor Activities: All three are excellent

2. Kids Activities: Not so much for Banff and LL for the ages of your kids. NS and Quebec are very child friendly.

3. Sights to See: All three have beautiful and unique sights, however the ones in Quebec are closer together.

4. Beautiful Drive: The ride thru the mountains from Banff to Lake Louise is absolutely incredible. (sorry NS and Quebec)

5. Good/Fair Prices for everything from Food to Hotel Accommodations: There are economical places in all three (perhaps harder to find in Banff/LL).

6. Good and Unique Food: Quebec is a gourmand destination. Lots of French bistros, French pastry shops, and wonderful eateries (for all price points).

7. Culture/People: Definitely yes in Quebec and NS. Both are unique and distinctly different from other areas of North America.

8. Fairmont Hotels in Rockies or Quebec: Yes to Banff/LL and Quebec (None in NS)

9. Safety (Bears on Hiking Trails, Tide Safety, etc): Bears - low risk in NS and Quebec, higher risk in Banff/LL. Tide: Only an issue on the bay of Fundy.

Edited: 9:16 am, March 25, 2014
Kansas City...
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4. Re: Help with a Canadian Vacation? Banff, Nova Scotia or Quebec

Thank You Pepper Grinder, this is a great response and think you tipped me over the edge to visit Quebec. We have friends in Bangor so we would want to see them if we went out that way. It looks like QC is only about a 4.5 hour drive from Bangor.

5. Re: Help with a Canadian Vacation? Banff, Nova Scotia or Quebec

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