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Driving from Providence to Prince Edward?

Wyoming
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Driving from Providence to Prince Edward?

Hi, my hubby and I are contemplating flying into Providence or Boston and driving up to Prince Edward in late October. Or we could fly into Portland and drive up. Any suggestions? Is it really congested, is one place better to fly into than the other? Would love to see Bar Harbor and any other towns that you suggest we not miss. Thanks!

Central Maine
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1. Re: Driving from Providence to Prince Edward?

Depends quite a bit on whether or not you want to do any sightseeing in southern New England (Rhode Island, Massachusetts) on your way, or are just trying to get to PEI as quickl as possible. While not an exhaustive list, some things to think about:

Providence, RI -- longest drive of any of the possible airports; will require you to go through or around Boston megalopolis to get to New Hampshire and Maine; would include most congested driving segments of your trip; would also offer a chance to stop in Boston for sightseeing there if that was of interest. General estimates: 675-700 miles of driving -- about 12 hours of just driving time, not counting stops for meals, gas, etc.

Logan Airport, Boston -- shorter drive than Providence, but longer than any of the others; could offer opportunity for a night or two to sightsee in Boston before picking up your rental car (reducing cost of rental); could also offer option of taking train or bus from Boston to Portland, ME to rent your car there (again maybe lower rental charges) and returning your car in Portland and taking the train/bus to Boston on your return trip. Does require some "Boston driving" which can be congested and slow-going during evening commuter times but typical big-city experience other times of day. Figure 625-650 miles -- about eleven and a half hours of just driving.

Manchester, NH -- shorter, less congested, easier drive than Boston or Providence; not a sensible start if you want to see Boston; does offer opportunity to visit southern Maine coast and Portland ME on your way coming or going; smaller airport than Logan or Providence so easier to find your way around, shorter check-in and security lines, etc. Figure around 625 miles of driving (not a lot different from Logan but definitely less congested and easier driving). About eleven hours driving time.

Portland, ME -- second-closest major airport to Prince Edward Island; smaller than other listed airports so baggage claim, car rental, etc processes and quicker and easier; no opportunity to see southern Maine coast on your way; very easy access to I-95 north toward PEI; easy town to visit if you decide to stay there the night before you fly home. About 500 miles from PEI -- figure on about 9 1/2 hours of driving time.

And finally, Bangor, ME -- smallest of all of the above airports but still has service by some major carriers; easiest in-and-out of any of those listed; closest to PEI if the emphasis is getting there ASAP; Estimate 350-375 miles from PEI -- about seven and one half hours driving time.

One thing to consider when evaluating your driving choices: when you cross from Maine into New Brunswick, Canada, you enter a different time zone, so you'll be setting your watches "back" one hour -- i.e. if it's 3:00PM in Maine, it's 2:00PM in New Brunswick.

Also please note: above driving time estimates do not include whatever time it may take to clear Canadian customs on your way north or US customs on your return trip south. Those times can vary from a few minutes to up to an hour, according to recent reports I've heard.

Any of the above airports would allow you to visit Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park on your way north -- although doing so would add between an hour and a half and two hours to the driving times listed above (they're based on using a more northerly route from Bangor to New Brunswick but that route doesn't include easy access to Bar Harbor. In my mind, a day or two in Bar Harbor/Acadia would definitely be worth the extra time -- but trying to do it in less than a day-and-a-half to two days is likely to leave you frustrated and wishing you'd allowed more time.

By late October, many of the seasonal businesses in Maine's coastal communities will be closed for the season (most wrap things up around the Columbus Day weekend) -- others will still be open but may be on reduced hours. Can still be a fantastic time to visit the Maine coast -- clean, crisp air; great sunshine; no crowds. Just didn't want you to expect the full "Maine coast experience" you'd get in mid-summer. That said, Portland ME is a great one-day stop anytime of the year; Boothbay Harbor might be interesting; as could the Camden/Rockland area. Whether or not those would be good stopping places depend a bit on what you expect/hope/want/like to do....and since you didn't give us much of that kind of info, it's hard to guess...

North Shore, MA
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2. Re: Driving from Providence to Prince Edward?

MainerOnTheGo, I know you know this, but the Maritime provinces are an hour ahead. 3:00pm in Maine, 4:00pm in New Brunswick. (I'm always eager to turn back the clock, too ;-)

Wyoming
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3. Re: Driving from Providence to Prince Edward?

Thank you sooooo much!! You told me exactly everything that I needed to know. I truly appreciate it!

Central Maine
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4. Re: Driving from Providence to Prince Edward?

Rt128 --

Good catch !! I should know better than to tr to do that stuff and watch the Tonight Show at the same time...

JimandJen -- As Rt128 points out.... you will "lose" an hour when you set your watch ahead as you go from Maine to New Brunswick.... and "get it back" when you set your watch back an hour coming back into the US.... just remember to factor that when planning your arrival times if your day starts in one country and ends in the other...

Sorry for the confusion....

5. Re: Driving from Providence to Prince Edward?

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