There are plenty of amazing road trips in Canada, but one of our favourites is an Eastern Canada road trip from Toronto to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The drive from Toronto to Halifax takes you through some of the most beautiful scenery in Canada, from lush forests to picturesque villages and charming small towns. It’s a beautiful drive and there are plenty of things to see and do along the way. 

Visit some of the oldest cities in Canada, marvel at the Bay of Fundy and of course, eat some fantastic seafood! This is just a taste of what you’ll experience on a road trip to the East Coast of Canada.

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We have done this road trip from Toronto to Halifax, Nova Scotia many times – in fact, 5 times in 5 months at one point. We’ve also done this route in the summer, fall and winter, so we know this route well. Each time we’ve tried to stop in different spots, so we have quite a few suggestions and options for you!

Whether you choose to do the drive in a day or two, or opt to take your time and see more along the way, there’s definitely a route for you. Below, we’ve put together an epic Eastern Canada road trip guide to help you plan your Toronto to Halifax drive.

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Road Trip from Toronto to Halifax Nova Scotia

You can drive this route as written, which would take 4 days, or if you’re short on time, you could combine any of the days to make a longer drive each day.

Day 1: Toronto to Montreal

Driving time: 5.5 hours

The first leg of the journey takes you from Toronto to Montreal, and there are plenty of things to see and do along the way.

Stop at the Big Apple in Colbourne for some fresh apples, cider and pies. There’s also plenty for kids to do here – ice cream, mini putt and a popular kid’s train ride. Be sure to take a selfie with the giant apple statue!

Next up is Kingston, which has a lot to offer, including a historic downtown area and Fort Henry. Make sure to stop for a bite to eat or a drink in one of the many pubs and restaurants.

The 1000 Islands region is also a fantastic destination for families. Take a cruise, go fishing or swimming, or take a short boat ride to Boldt Castle – you will need your passport though, as it’s officially in the U.S.  

Continue on to the province of Quebec and end this first section of your drive in Montreal. There is plenty to do in this vibrant city. Wander through Old Montreal, with its narrow cobblestone streets and historic architecture, then stop for a bagel at a café and browse the boutique shops. There are also plenty of museums, art galleries, and historic sites to explore.

Stay overnight:

Le Square Phillips Hotel & Suites or Embassy Suites by Hilton are right in the city centre, Homewood Suites, mid range and great for families,

Day 2: Montreal to Quebec City

Driving time: 2.5 hours

The next leg of this road trip takes you from Montreal to Quebec City. It’s one of the shorter sections at just over 2 hours driving time, which leaves you plenty of time to explore all the things to do in either of these charming cities.

**Note: There are two routes you can choose to take from Montreal to Quebec. Travel time is approximately the same for either route.

Autoroute 40 goes along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River and many feel it’s more scenic, with small towns and pretty churches dotting the landscape.

The Trans-Canada/Autoroute 20 goes along the south shore and is the route we tend to take, as I feel it’s a bit more scenic, but to each his own! If you’re doing this East Coast road trip as a round trip, take one route on the way to the East coast and take the other on the return journey. And let me know which one you prefer!

view of the St. Lawrence River in the winter from the transcanada highway
View of the St. Lawrence River from Autoroute 20 (photo credit to my 6 year old in the backseat)

Although this is a short drive today, if you’re looking for a rest stop along the way, there is a good one just before Lévis (which is across the St. Lawrence from Québec City).

Chaudière-Appalaches has washroom facilities, an indoor eating area with a microwave, and a climbing net outside for kids to stretch their legs.

Even when we stop in Quebec City, we tend to stop here first, stretch and have a snack before we head into Quebec City and explore.

streets in Old Quebec - a good spot to stop on an Eastern Canada road trip

Start by visiting Old Quebec, where you can explore the narrow streets and cobblestone walkways. Be sure to wander through the Petit Champlain quarter and soak up the European feel of the city, then take the Old Quebec Funicular to the Upper Town.

Don’t forget to stop at the Château Frontenac, a historic hotel that overlooks the city. For something a little more active, you can go hiking or skiing in the nearby mountains.

Just outside of the city, Montmorency Falls and Chutes de la Chaudière are both fantastic places to get outdoors with the family (and they both have suspension bridges which are fun for the whole family).


Quebec City is also a great place to eat. There are plenty of restaurants serving up traditional Quebecois cuisine. Be sure to try some poutine, a dish made with french fries, cheese curds and gravy. Yum!

Read more | 21 Fun Things to Do in Quebec City with Kids

Stay overnight:

Hôtel Québec Best Western Plus Centre-Ville is just outside Old Quebec and is only a 10-15 minute walk into the Old Town.

✅ For a luxury stay, Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac is THE place to stay in Quebec City.  

Day 3: Québec City to New Brunswick

Driving time: 6hrs to Fredericton or 4.5 hours to Florenceville-Bristol

The next section of this Eastern Canada road trip takes you from Quebec City to New Brunswick. This is a longer drive, around four to six hours depending where you choose to stop, but there are plenty of things to see and do along the way.

Head north along the St. Lawrence River until you reach Rivière-du-Loup, where the Trans-Canada Highway turns south. This next section of the drive to the New Brunswick border is one of my favourite parts of the drive, as the views along Lac Témiscouata are stunning.

view of Lac Temiscouata from the TransCanada Highway on an Eastern Canada road trip
Lac Témiscouata

**Note: Crossing into New Brunswick, be aware that the time zone changes to Atlantic Time and the clocks are set ahead an hour.

Stop in Edmundston for a bite to eat. This small town is known for its delicious Acadian food. Try the poutine, of course, but also be sure to try the tarte au sucre (sugar pie) or spiced meat pie, called tourtière.

Continuing south through New Brunswick, stop and stretch your legs at Grand Falls. It’s the largest waterfall in New Brunswick and claims to be the largest waterfall east of Niagara Falls.

Grand Falls in New Brunswick - it's a great place to stop on a road trip from Toronto to halifax
Grand Falls (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia)

Further south you’ll enter the Saint-John River Valley, which is a beautiful area known for its agriculture, especially potatoes.

The small town of Florenceville-Bristol is a great place to stop overnight. We stumbled upon this charming town and it’s now our go-to spot to stop when we drive from Toronto to Halifax.

Amsterdam Inn & Suites is a brand-new hotel right off the highway and we highly recommend it. There’s also a great restaurant attached to the hotel called Exit 153.

Whether you’re stopping overnight or just passing through, Florenceville-Bristol is a great place to explore. As “the French Fry” capital of the world, they know a thing or two about potatoes and you can visit the Potato World museum, which is right off the highway.

Read more | 7 Things to do in Florenceville, NB

If you prefer to keep going a little further, take a detour off the Trans-Canada Highway to cross the bridge in Hartland, the World’s Longest Covered Bridge, before continuing on towards Fredericton.

For those that love large roadside attractions, a detour off the highway into Nackawic is a must!

Home to the World’s Largest Axe, it’s another great selfie spot. There are also paths, a small playground and a beach for everyone to enjoy.

Fredericton is up next. As the capital of New Brunswick, Fredericton has a lot to offer. Check out the Historic Garrison District, take a walk in the park or visit one of the many museums and art galleries. Kids will love Science East, a hands-on science museum.

Read more | 21 Fun Things to Do in Fredericton New Brunswick

Stay overnight:

✅ In Florenceville-Bristol, Amsterdam Inn & Suites is a brand new hotel as of Sept 2021, and it’s just off the highway. 

✅ In Fredericton, Hilton Garden Inn or Hampton Inn & Suites are both good choices.

Day 4: Fredericton to Halifax

Driving time: 4.5 hours

The final leg of your Eastern Canada road trip takes you from Florenceville-Bristol or Fredericton to Halifax, Nova Scotia. This is a shorter drive, around four and a half hours, but there’s plenty to see and do along the way.

Start by following the Trans-Canada Highway east until you reach Moncton. This is a vibrant city, and there are plenty of things to do in Moncton, including the Magic Mountain Waterpark and watching the tidal bore on the Petitcodiac River.

Read more | Best Family-Friendly Things to Do in Moncton

If you have time, take a detour to see the Hopewell Rocks. These giant rock formations were created by the tides and are a sight to behold. Fundy National Park and Saint John on the Fundy Coastal Drive are great options to add in to your East Coast road trip if you have time.

Hopewell rocks in the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick - definitely need to see these on an Eastern Canada road trip
Hopewell Rocks

After Moncton, follow the highway along the coast until you reach Sackville. This small town is home to Mount Allison University and the Tantramar Wetlands Centre. There’s also a fantastic kids’ playground in town.

Cross the provincial border and now you’re into the final few hours of your road trip from Toronto to Halifax Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia sign - last stop on your Eastern Canada road trip

You can head straight to Halifax from here, or take a detour and drive along the Nova Scotia side of the Bay of Fundy.

Visit the Joggins Fossil Cliffs, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and walk along the ocean floor to find fossils, then stop at Parrsboro where Canada’s oldest dinosaurs roamed and visit the Fundy Geological Museum.

Joggins Fossil Cliffs - a bit of a detour off the TransCanada highway but it's worth a stop on a road trip from Toronto to halifax
Joggins Fossil Cliffs

Note: If you choose to head straight to Halifax, there is a toll on this section of the highway of $4 for a car, and $5.25 for RV’s.

Next up is a stop in Truro. Take a hike in Victoria Park to see the waterfalls, climb Jacob’s Ladder and if the timing is right, see the tidal bore at the Fundy Discovery Site, which happens twice daily.

For the adventurous, try a tidal bore rafting adventure on the Shubenacadie River!

And then it’s on to Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia.

Halifax is a fantastic city with plenty of things to do with kids, including the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.

And be sure to take a walk along the Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk – the longest continuous boardwalk in North America.

Halifax Waterfront - the final stop on this Eastern Canada road trip

Stay Overnight:

In the downtown area, The Westin or Four Points by Sheraton are both excellent choices right on the waterfront. The Lord Nelson Hotel & Suites is also a great choice, right across from the Public Gardens and a short walk to the waterfront.

Across the Harbour in Dartmouth, which is definitely worth visiting, our personal favourite choice is the Hampton Inn & Suites in Dartmouth Crossing.

Located in the outlets, the Hampton Inn & Suites has a pool with a waterslide and hot tub, an excellent breakfast, huge family suites and friendly staff. I don’t want to admit how many times we have stayed here, but we have always had an excellent experience!

👉 Check for rates and availability on Booking.com | Hotels.com | Expedia

Welcome to Halifax! We hope you enjoy your time here.

If you have a few days to spend on the East Coast, while there are plenty of things to do in Halifax, there are also some great day trips from Halifax that will let you explore more of the province.

And if you have a few days to explore more of Nova Scotia, I highly recommend taking the time to visit Cape Breton and drive the Cabot Trail!

Eastern Canada Road Trip: What to Know Before You Go

Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your Eastern Canada road trip:

  • The drive from Toronto to Halifax is approximately 1800 km.
  • It will take approximately 17-18 hours to complete the drive without accounting for any stops.
  • This route passes through Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Each province will be slightly different – highway speed limits vary between provinces and road signs in Quebec are written in French.
  • When stopping in Quebec, be aware that French is the first language but many people in tourist areas will speak English as well. Outside of the main tourist spots, including the suburbs of Quebec City, you may find only French is spoken. Many parts of New Brunswick are French-speaking as well.
  • If you are doing this road trip with kids, we recommend stopping every few hours for a break, to stretch the legs and burn off some energy. We’ve listed some good stops or rest stops with play areas throughout this guide.
  • As you would on any road trip with kids, be sure to pack plenty of snacks and drinks for the drive, as well as a first-aid kit.

Read more | 6 Great Tips for a Road Trip with Kids


Summary: Toronto to Halifax Road Trip Itinerary

Toronto to Montreal: 5 hours
Stay: Le Square Phillips Hotel & Suites or Embassy Suites by Hilton right in city centre.

Montreal to Quebec City: 2.5 hours
Stay: Hôtel Québec Best Western Plus Centre-Ville just outside Old Quebec or Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac in Old Quebec

Quebec to Fredericton: 6 hours
Stay: Hilton Garden Inn or Hampton Inn & Suites in Fredericton, Amsterdam Inn & Suites in Florenceville-Bristol

Fredericton to Halifax: 4.5 hours
Stay: The Westin or Four Points by Sheraton in Downtown Halifax, Hampton Inn & Suites in Dartmouth


If you have more time and want to extend your Eastern Canada road trip, here are some suggestions:

  • Explore more of the province with these day trips from Halifax
  • Visit Cape Breton Island, drive the Cabot Trail and explore Cape Breton Highlands National Park
  • Take the ferry over Newfoundland, explore the small villages along the coast and visit Gros Morne National Park
  • Camp at Kejimkujik National Park in Nova Scotia or Kouchibouguac National Park in New Brunswick
  • Visit Lunenburg and Peggy’s Cove on the South Shore
  • Take the ferry or drive across the Confederation Bridge to visit Canada’s island province, Prince Edward Island
  • On the return Halifax to Toronto drive, spend a day or two experiencing everything that Toronto has to offer or take a drive to Niagara Falls and visit the Niagara area.
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I hope you love this area of the province as much as we do!

After taking a road trip to Nova Scotia quite a few times, we gave up our idea of travelling full-time and now call Nova Scotia home!

Feel free to ask us any questions – either about the Toronto to Halifax road trip, things to do in Halifax, or even places to see in Nova Scotia. We’d love to share some local tips and hidden gems.

For more ideas and inspiration on taking road trips in Eastern Canada with kids, be sure to check out these posts:

And for ideas and inspiration on visiting Canada with kids, here are some tips:

2 Comments

  1. Hi,I came across your blog and was fascinated! Our family is doing a road trip from Toronto to Nova Scotia this summer.
    Can you tell me; do we a passport? Or is a drivers liscense a valid I’d?

    1. If you’re driving from Toronto to Halifax through Canada, you don’t cross any borders and won’t need a passport.

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