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Driving from Portland Maine to St John New Brunswick

Seabrook, Texas
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Driving from Portland Maine to St John New Brunswick

We are planning a trip up from Houston, Flying into Portland and driving over the border into St John New brunswick..Can anyone give us some advice as to the best and most economical way to do this...neither of us has been to that part and would like to stay at a nice spot before crossing the border...looking forward to hearing from you...Cheers

Central Maine
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1. Re: Driving from Portland Maine to St John New Brunswick

Deborah -- welcome to the Maine Forum.

Quickest, easiest route from Portland Jetport will be I-95 north to I-395 in Bangor, ME; I-395 to ME Rt 9 east in Brewer, ME; Me Rt 9 east to US Rt 1, Calais, ME; cross the bridge into New Brunswick and NB Rt 1 to Saint John,. Portland to Bangor will be mostly-rural two-lane, divided highway driving. Rt 9 Brewer--to-Calais is almost exclusively woods-and-blueberry-fields roadsides with a good, two lane (one lane each way) highway with wide roadside shoulders and frequent passing lanes on the uphills. (Most folks check their fuel gauges before leaving Bangor-Brewer because, while there are places along Rt 9 to get gas, it can be a ways between them). Haven't driven NB Rt 1 in over ten years, so can't help with that. I-95 Portland-to Augusta is also the Maine Turnpike, a toll road -- some folks will suggest you use I-295 from Portland to Gardiner (just south of Augusta) to avoid the tolls, but in our experience, you'll have less traffic and easier driving on I-95 -- and the quicker, easier direct access from the Jetport to I-95 (and the time it saves) is usually worth the $5.00 you'll pay in tolls along the way.

As far as accommodations go, Calais has a few locally-owned-and-operated lodging places.... haven't stayed in any of them recently enough to make meaningful or useful comments. Almost no lodging between Brewer and Calais, so if you want to stay overnight "before crossing the border", you're probably looking at something in Calais or in Bangor-Brewer. Bangor-Brewer region will probably give you more places to choose from and a greater range of prices. Where you want to stay may depend on what time your plane gets into Portland and how quickly you can get on the road. Portland to Saint John is about five hours of driving time (not counting stops) and you'll lose an hour crossing the border because New Brunswick is in a different time zone. By comparison, Bangor is a little over two hours driving time from Portland and Calais is about four hours....

Saco, Maine
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2. Re: Driving from Portland Maine to St John New Brunswick

The first reply gave you a lot of good information. Depending on how close you'd like to get to your destination, there are some fairly nice places in East Machias including a bed and breakfast or two. Like the first reviewer said, it is about 5 hours to NB, and East Machias is going to be about 4 hours of that trip. I do recommend you check on making a reservation before going that far north. There aren't a lot of places to stay and depending on when you are planning your trip, lodging could be a problem without reservations.

Nova Scotia
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3. Re: Driving from Portland Maine to St John New Brunswick

In our opinion,there is only one place to stay in Calais, and that is the Greystone B&B http://greystonecalaisme.com/ Candace and Alan Dwelley are wonderful hosts, the rooms are inviting and Candace's breakfasts can't be beat! There are two motels in the city of Calais, and speaking from experience, neither one of them holds a candle to this wonderful B&B. We already have our reservations made for summer here. We have stayed at the Calais Motor Inn and the last time we vowed to sleep in the car rather than stay at the Calais version of the Bates Motel again! Fortunately, we found Greystone and that solves our problem. You are only a few minutes from the border crossing. Remember as you cross the border into New Brunswick the time will advance one hour to Atlantic time zone, and you will need your passport to re-enter the U.S. Be sure to check with your car rental agency to see if you are allowed to take your car from the U.S. and into Canada. Once across into New Brunswick, Saint John is an easy hour's drive.

Mainer on the Go has given you great advice on roads in Maine. We travel this road all the time, and we follow the route he has given you. If you do get a little hungry as you cross route 9, from Bangor to Calais, which is know locally as the Airline Route, halfway across is the Airline Snack Bar http://airlinesnackbar.com/ which also has gas pumps if you want to top up. This place is not the fanciest, but let me tell you, the food is homemade and you can't beat the prices.

Seabrook, Texas
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4. Re: Driving from Portland Maine to St John New Brunswick

Thank you for all your help.

Seabrook, Texas
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5. Re: Driving from Portland Maine to St John New Brunswick

Thank you so much

Seabrook, Texas
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6. Re: Driving from Portland Maine to St John New Brunswick

Really appreciate you advise Thank you so much

Seabrook, Texas
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7. Re: Driving from Portland Maine to St John New Brunswick

Does anybody know of a car rental company that allows travel into New Brunswick...Want to rent a car and drive up there from Portland so we can see the coast and return to airport..about 8days

Bar Harbor, Maine
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8. Re: Driving from Portland Maine to St John New Brunswick

As far as I know, every car company will allow you to take a rental car over the Canadian border. As long as you bring it back.

Seabrook, Texas
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9. Re: Driving from Portland Maine to St John New Brunswick

Thank you..we plan on bringing back..lol

Sydney
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10. Re: Driving from Portland Maine to St John New Brunswick

We did that drive in September this year and the advice above is all sound.

The Airline Snackbar is a little 'slice of life' place that was worth the stop.

Pretty sure all car rental places allow you to take the car across the border.

If you have a GPS system, be aware that it may not have the brand spanking new section of the Trans-Canada Highway on it, and it may keep telling you it is recalibrating. Turn the volume off if that is the case and you want to continue on this road.

The alternative is the old highway, which is much more picturesque and takes you through settlments such as Polologan and New River. The Baybreeze Motel at Pocologan serves delicious lunches. (see separate reviews on Tripadvisor)