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VT, NH, Maine, and possibly Canada or Buffalo and Toronto?

Titusville, FL
6 posts
1 review
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VT, NH, Maine, and possibly Canada or Buffalo and Toronto?

This summer, our kids will be 12 and 15. They've always wanted to go to Toronto, so we're torn over the idea of flying into Buffalo and venturing up to Toronto or taking a trip through the New England states, focusing mainly on Maine (I've always wanted to go there!), and possibly seeing parts of Canada at the same time.

We're from Florida and have never been to the north east, so the scenery (and temps) will be so different than what we're used to! We would greatly appreciate any suggestions on which trip might be better, and what we must see and do while we're there. Some museum visits are okay, but we prefer outside activities. We're looking at taking 7-10 days for the trip and would like to fit in as many sights as we can without spending every waking moment in the car, so some ideas of relaxing activities would be appreciated also. We've never been to Canada either, so we're thinking of heading north if we have time.

The cat ride over to Nova Scotia for a couple of days sounds like a blast, but I don't know that we want to add that type of expense to the trip (taking the rental car over adds a bit). We're going to be trying to do this trip as economical as possible, so we would rather spend a fraction of the money on a whale watching trip.

Which airport would be best to fly into? Are VT and NH worth seeing in the summer or would we be better off waiting to visit those states in the fall in the future? Are there more things to see and do in that area of Canada instead of VT and NH?

Thoughts and suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Bar Harbor, Maine
Destination Expert
for Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park
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3,885 posts
13 reviews
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1. Re: VT, NH, Maine, and possibly Canada or Buffalo and Toronto?

Clearly, I am partial to downeast Maine and specifically Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park. That being said, I think that a first step in paring your options to something manageable would be to drop the Nova Scotia part. The Cat is expensive, not much of an "experience" unless you like being sealed up in a seagoing version of a 747. Moreover, to really see and enjoy Nova Scotia and any other part of the Canadian Maritimes is a trip in itself.

As for the time of year, yes, VT and NH are perhaps most famous for autumn foliage (this area is becoming popular for that as well).

Ten days incorporating Toronto (depending on how much time you spend there) and ending up somewhere on the New England coast is doable, although you will find that in much of this area, west-east travel can be relatively slow (all of the interstates run pretty much north-south). There are a number of routes from Toronto eastward along the north shore of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence that lead into upstate NY and then across VT and NH.

Brunswick, Maine
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2,492 posts
38 reviews
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2. Re: VT, NH, Maine, and possibly Canada or Buffalo and Toronto?

Toronto to Bar Harbor is an incredible haul. Mapquest has it at over 800 miles. That's a lot of time to spend in the car with two kids.

I suggest you take a Toronto trip that perhaps circles a couple of the Great Lakes and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Chicago, Detroit or perhaps that takes you up farther north into Canada. Then, a couple of years from now, take a New England trip that starts and ends in Boston or Manchester (the two most affordable airports in the region) and even Portsmouth, NH (flying Skybus.com)

When folks combine Maine with Canada, it's usually Montreal and Quebec or Nova Scotia, not Maine and Toronto.

Titusville, FL
6 posts
1 review
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3. Re: VT, NH, Maine, and possibly Canada or Buffalo and Toronto?

MichelleS, thanks for your reply. Maybe I didn't make myself clear in my post. I know that we can't do Toronto and Maine at the same time. My question was whether the Toronto trip would be better than the Maine/Canada (Quebec, Montreal) trip, and whether we would be better off waiting to travel the other New England states some time in the future during the fall.

Brunswick, Maine
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4. Re: VT, NH, Maine, and possibly Canada or Buffalo and Toronto?

Gotcha. You confused me (and apparently cwvoigt, too) by throwing so many issues into one post.

Is Toronto, etc., preferable to Maine/New England? Don't know. Haven't been to Toronto.

Should you visit NE in summer or fall? The rocky coast, gorgeous farmlands, mountains, etc. are beautiful in both. We don't tend to see as many families with school age kids doing the fall foliage trips as taking kids out of school for 7-10 ten days is usually not an option. Plus, in the fall the water related activities (kayaking, whale watching, fishing, windjammer, whitewater rafting, etc.) are usually over for the season because it's too cold out on the water. Families tend to visit in the summer.

You'd do well to pare down your trip considerably. When I was in college my family took a "see New England + Canada" vacation. We had Boston/Cape Cod, NH, VT, ME + Montreal, Quebec and St. John NB on the itinerary and it was an 18-day blur with a whole lot of time in the car. Seven-10 days is still going to be a bit of a blur even if you plan to visit just Maine, NH and VT.

Look at flights thru Boston, Manchester, Portsmouth and Portland and maybe you can make a loop thru just Northern New England (ME, VT and NH). You could have a nice, relaxing vacation spending an entire week in one rental cabin just in Acadia, but if you could also incorporate a swing thru VT and NH. They are smaller, so will take less time. The secret would be to pick only the very high points and not kill yourself trying to do it all.

Montreal Canada
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405 posts
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5. Re: VT, NH, Maine, and possibly Canada or Buffalo and Toronto?

Asking if Toronto or Maine/New England would be better is kinda like asking if an apple is better than an orange. Toronto is a bustling busy city on one of the Great Lakes. Maine is more peaceful and has the ocean. If you're looking to take in a Blue Jays (baseball) game, visit some museums or see a few good plays, Toronto is the place. If you're looking for some family fun and a slower pace, I'd stick with Maine. Also, be aware that the Canadian Dollar is now at par with the American and our taxes are higher up here than in Maine, so your dollar won't go as far in Canada as it will in Maine/New Hampshire.

Boston
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6. Re: VT, NH, Maine, and possibly Canada or Buffalo and Toronto?

I'm not sure if you've done this already, but I'd suggest posting your question in the Toronto forum as well. Toronto's the Canadian equivalent of NYC, and there are lots of things to do in the outlying area - "cottage country", niagara falls, and the 1000 islands area.

If you've got 10 days, I think you could probably spend a couple days on the Maine coast, then head northwest to Montreal and come back down via VT. That way, you'd see the seaside, a beatiful city in Canada, and the mountains of VT. You may find better deals if you fly to Manchester (NH) instead of Boston.

7. Re: VT, NH, Maine, and possibly Canada or Buffalo and Toronto?

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