Are you looking for an amazing campsite in Canada's Maritimes? Look on for 10 top picks:
Welcome to Canada's ocean playground: the Maritimes. Explore a plethora of beachside camping and secluded forest campsites on Canada's East Coast:
So, just where are the best places to set up camp in Newfoundland & Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island?
Terra Nova National Park, Newfoundland & Labrador
In Terra Nova, the North Atlantic meets the boreal forests of central Newfoundland. The park's largest campground, Newman Sound, is centrally located within the park, just two kilometres off the Trans-Canada Highway. It is a campground with a number of amenities: from a grocery store to a laundromat as well as running water and hot showers. While the campsite is located next to many of the park’s 100 km of hiking trails that take visitors through scenic inland strolls and cliffside rambles that overlook the ocean, it is not the hiking that draws most people to the park. Terra Nova National Park has over 200 km of Atlantic coastline that is perfect canoeing and sea kayaking. Whales migrate through the waters of Newfoundland, it has not been uncommon for sea kayakers to spot a few whales breaching playfully on the water.
Lockston Path Provincial Park, Newfoundland & Labrador
Lockston Path Provincial Park is located in eastern Newfoundland on the Bonavista Peninsula. The area is dominated with balsam fir, which lends well to sheltered campsites along the freshwater beach. The lone campground of this park sits just six kilometres from Port Rexton, off of Route 236. While visitors will find pit toilets and cold water taps all around the park, the campground comes equipped with comfort stations that host flush toilets, hot showers and laundry facilities. While many use the campground to enjoy the boating and swimming within the park, it also serves as an excellent home base to explore the historic communities on the Bonavista Peninsula. The park has only a few short hiking trails but the area is packed full of native animals such as moose, beaver, mink and black bear. While the park is not on the ocean, visitors can use it as a base to travel just a few kilometres south to the whale watching hot-spot, Trinity, from May through September.
Mactaquac Provincial Park, New Brunswick
Mactaquac Provincial Park is a broad woodland complex that is located along the scenic St. John River. Mactaquac is a giant riverside playground. Visitors will find everything to satisfy their adventurous side here, from hiking, swimming and fishing to the more daring adventures of zip lining and windsurfing. To accommodate the massive amount of visitors, the on-site campground has 300 campsites in both open and wooded areas located just off Highway 615, which runs through the park. This campground features laundry facilities, hot showers, kitchen shelters and a convenience store stocked with groceries, propane and firewood. One activity that makes this park so special is that it has its own golf course located within the park's boundaries. The Mactaquac Golf Course features a beautiful 18-hole championship course for those that want to hit the links after a hard day of adventure.
Kouchibouguac National Park, New Brunswick
Kouchibouguac National Park is filled with and exciting mix of bogs, salt marshes, tidal rivers, shifting sand dunes and sheltered lagoons all of which characterize the Maritime Plain Natural Region. From the sandy Atlantic beaches it is not uncommon to witness colonies of both harbour and grey seals frolicking in the sunshine. The South Kouchibouguac National Park Campground is located along the Kouchibouguac River along Highway 117. It is the biggest of the campground within the park as well as the most centrally located. Within South Kouchibouguac campground there are hot water showers and flush toilets as well as kitchen stations. The sites within the campground run the gamut from secluded in the woods and in open fields to give whatever camping experience that visitor's desire. This campsite is near the shoreline so visitors can trace the Kouchibouguac River all the way to the sea where they can try their hand at spotting seals or during the summer months, visitors may be able to spot whales breaching off the shore. However, the larger whales tend to stick to the colder waters out further in the sea.
Five Island Provincial Park, Nova Scotia
Five Island Provincial Park is one of Nova Scotia's premiere outdoor hot spots. Sea cliffs rise majestically above the shores of the Bay of Fundy, atop the highest tides in the world. This beautiful park is the perfect staging point for not only hiking atop the sea cliffs that can rise as high as 90 metres, but is also perfect for beachcombing, clam digging and ocean kayaking. The campground in Five Island Provincial Park is located just off Route 2 and a straight shot down Bently Branch Road. Here campers can find running water, hot showers and flush toilets all around the campgrounds, but there are no hook-ups for RVs. While the campground is located near the Minas Basin that connects into the Bay of Fundy, it is not located on the higher cliffs, but rather on the lower lands behind them. This grants fast access to both the ocean and the trails around the rest of the park.
Amherst Shore Provincial Park, Nova Scotia
Amherst Shore Provincial Park is located on the Northumberland Strait and provides a unique blend of woodland camping and beach time activities. The sole campground in Amherst Shores is located just a brief drive down park roads off of Highway 366. Within this woodland campground, visitors will be treated sites that use the woodlands to create privacy and seclusion as well as showers and running water at the comfort stations. From the campground, there is a straight trail down to the unsupervised beach area where campers can enjoy beachcombing and swimming in the warmest saltwater north of the Carolinas. However, campers shouldn't miss the chance to walk down the beach and view the unique red cliffs that rise up 12 metres over the sea. However, campers down by the waters of the strait should look out over the ocean to see if they can spot the legendary flaming ghost ship of the Northumberland Strait. Even if campers can't spot it, it makes for a wonderful ghost story.
Battery Provincial Park, Nova Scotia
Tourism Nova Scotia
Battery Provincial Park is located on the southeast coast of Cape Breton Island on a hillside overlooking St. Peter's Bay. The most recognizable landmark of the park is its historic lighthouse that marks the entrance on the St. Peter's Canal. The campground is accessible via park roads that are available off Route 4 / Grenville Street. Here campers will get campsites that are located on the hillside near the water, but still protected in the woods. Comfort stations have flush toilets and hot showers and the campsite is connected to a number of scenic walking trails. While Battery Park has ample scenery, many visitors came for the history in the area, including two forts that were involved in the French and English conflict as well as a lime kiln site that was used as plaster and mortar from many buildings, including Fortress Louisbourg.
Jacques Cartier Provincial Park, Prince Edward Island
This provincial park bears the name of Prince Edward Island's first European visitor, Jacques Cartier, who remarked that the island was "the fairest land 'tis possible to see." Today, that still holds true within this provincial park, which should not be confused with the provincial park of the same name located in Quebec. The campground in this beautiful Prince Edward Island Park is located just off of Highway 12 and down Jacques Cartier Road that runs through the area. Campsites are located right down by the water, many having ocean views while still sitting on soft, manicured grass with shrubbery in between each site for privacy. Though the campground is small, it does have comfort stations with flush toilets, hot showers and laundry facilities. Within the park there are a few short trails showcasing the areas, but the primary activity here is enjoying the sun, the sand and the sea at the beach.
Red Point Provincial Park, Prince Edward Island
Red Point Provincial Park is located on the east coast of Prince Edward Island, just east of Souris. The park encompasses nearly all the sandy beach between Red Point and East Point. Red Point is also quite close to the nearby Basin head Provincial Park, but because Basin Head is a day-use only park, many campers set up base in Red Point and explore both. The campground in Red Point is located along Red Point Park Road; just off of Highway 16 making travel here from Souris nearly a straight shot. There are hot showers and flush toilets all around the campground as well as laundry facilities near some of the serviced sites. The unserviced sites are located closer to the beach in the shade of the trees, but the service sites are located up on the hills overlooking the water. While Red Point is renowned for its beach front, the waters can be a bit chilly for swimming.
Lord Selkirk Provincial Park, Prince Edward Island
Located just two kilometers away from Eldon, Lord Selkirk Provincial Park is infused with the Scottish atmosphere that has permeated the community. The park even has its own Celtic flare with captivating views of the ocean from dramatic cliffsides. The campground is located just off the Trans-Canada Highway along Lord Selkirk Park Road. Most campsites are located away from the water in wooded areas, but are still close enough to walk to the ocean should the desire hit. This campground has all the usual amenities with comfort stations hosting hot showers and running water. The beach, while often too chilly to swim in, is perfect for romantic sunset strolls or a good game of beach volleyball. For those considering camping in the area in the springtime, they may be lucky enough to visit during the Annual Highland Games. It is in this park where the local community celebrates Scottish heritage with dance competitions, bagpipe and fiddle music, and sporting events like the caber toss and log toss. However, visitors should reserve campsites in advanced during the games as they are full to the brim.