When Jon’s mom won a getaway trip through an airline company, she had the opportunity to pick anywhere in the world for a family vacation. Instead, she took the Montgomery clan on a trip to Canada’s east coast. Growing up, Jon’s parents instilled in him that as Canadians, we are a lucky bunch, and we should prioritize exploring our own backyard to truly appreciate what the rest of the world has to offer. Jon has his parents to thank for experiencing the beauty of Canada’s east coast at the ripe age of 13 before he went back with The Amazing Race Canada in his adult years, and he describes it as a truly magical place, where you’ll find distinct Canadiana culture, vibrant cities, historic towns, beaches galore and some of the best seafood you’ll ever have! If you’re planning a trip to the east coast, try adding Jon’s family friendly stops to your list. For more trips and RV tips from Jon Montgomery, click here!
*Photos courtesy of Newfoundland and Labrador
St. Johns, Newfoundland
You can’t visit Newfoundland without a stop in St. John’s, Newfoundlands charming capital filled with windswept hikes, delicious eats, charming landmarks, whale watching, and iceberg hunting, yes, iceberg hunting! Jon fondly remembers the beauty of the iconic ocean view from Signal Hill, a national historic site filled with stories behind it. The visitor centre at Signal Hill also has a pretty special cafe the kids will love, the Newfoundland Chocolate Company Cafe, where you can have sandwiches with chocolate, chocolate fondue, hot chocolate, and more! If you’re up for a challenge, go on one of Signal Hill’s “most intense and picturesque” hikes, the North Head Trail, one of Newfoundlands oldest footpaths and a beloved local gem. Due to its intensity, we do not recommend hiking the North Head Trail with kids. For a family-friendly alternative, take a colorful stroll down the famous “Jellybean Row” a photogenic stretch of vibrant houses and home to some of the best ice cream in St. Johns. Another historic site worth a visit is the Cape Spear Lighthouse, where you might get lucky and catch a glimpse of an iceberg or humpback whale floating across the coastline. Jon also recommends checking out the Quidi Vidi Brewery, Explore more stops in St. John’s here.
Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia
Long drives in Nova Scotia are definitely desired more than they are dreaded. One of the most scenic routes in Canada is Nova Scotia’s Cabot Trail, this 298 km highway runs along the Cape Breton coast line. Stop at the famous Ingonish Beach where you can jump from ocean saltwater to fresh lake water with just a few steps. Do this drive in the fall and you will be stunned by the natural beauty of the fall trees and the coastal views along the way. Jon still remembers the dramatic coastline and is yearning to go back to this very day. If you’re looking for stop along the drive, there is no shortage of things to do and see in Cape Breton. Hike or camp at Cape Breton Highlands National Park, play a round of golf at Highlands Links, peruse artisan shops along the trail, or book your spot on a sea kayaking, cycling, or whale watching tour. In the winter months, downhill and cross-country skiing, winter hiking, snowmobiling and more will continue to bring you back to experience adventures around the Cabot Trail. Take in a tour and whiskey tasting at The Glenora Inn and Distillery, or experience a taste of the local music and dance at the Red Shoe Pub, a hot spot for nightly entertainment and delicious food. When Jon goes back to Cape Breton, the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site is at the top of his list. For more help with planning your RV vacation in Nova Scotia, click here.
Skyline Trail, Nova Scotia
Take in the scenery during a hike on Skyline Trail, a 6.5 km (4 mi) round where you can enjoy coastal views from atop a headland cliff, allowing you to see way off into the distance. You might spot moose and northern gannets, as well as minke whales, harbor seals, and dolphins just offshore. The main trail is appropriate for hikers of most skill levels, and includes a boardwalk with steps at the headland.
Antigonish, Nova Scotia
If Jon could get back to Nova Scotia, he would love to make a stop in Antigonish to visit old friends and explore the “Highland Heart” of the province. You may think of Antigonish as a small University Town, but there’s lots to explore as a visitor, Antigonish is packed with great eateries, fine crafts, outdoor activities, amazing beaches, and quirky shops and cafes. Hike the Keppoch Mountain, located just 20 minutes from downtown Antigonish, we actually recommend this hike in the fall, where you’ll be surrounded by the magic of Nova Scotia’s fall colours. After your hike, have a delicious meal and try award winning gin at the Steinhart Distillery. Jon also can’t wait for the day he gets to have a taste of the world famous Pizza Wheel at “The Wheel”, a local favourite. Visit one of Antigonish’s farmers markets where you will find local arts and crafts and everything from baked goods, savoury cheeses, and seasonal fruits and vegetables, then, head for a picnic in one of Atigonish’s beautiful parks or beaches. Nearby RV-friendly campsites: Whidden’s Campground, Linwood Harbour Campground plus more listings here.
Cavendish Beach - Prince Edward Island
With its breathtaking northern coastline, beautiful red sand, and incredible seafood cuisine, it’s no surprise that Prince Edward Island has become a popular maritime destination and one of Jon’s most memorable trips with his family. Cavendish beach is where Jon dipped his feet in the ocean for the first time at 13 years old, and it’s one of P.E.I’s major summertime destinations. Here you can also visit the famous green-roofed farmhouse and find the Anne of Green Gables Historic site. Golf lovers can enjoy the coastal view while playing a round of Golf at the Green Gables Golf Course. For a scenic drive, Points East Coastal Drive explores the eastern end of the island where beautiful beaches, rare dune systems, and lighthouses mark the coastline. For a seaside culinary experience, Jon recommends The Inn at Bay Fortune, owned and operated by celebrity chef Michael Smith. You can find plenty of Campgrounds along P.E.I and Cavendish catered to families and outdoor enthusiasts, including Cavendish Sunset Campground, Twin Shores Camping, plus more listings here.