From the United States
By Ferry into Yarmouth
The CAT leaves from the Ocean Gateway in Portland Maine, across from the Visitor Information Centre. From Hwy 295, watch for the signs.
Discover what’s beyond the horizon the way explorers always have. By sea.
The high-speed CAT ferry will take you between Portland, Maine and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in just 5.5 hours. At half the driving time, you’ll have even more of an opportunity to explore the beauty beyond the horizon. And with plenty of onboard amenities and a knowledgeable staff and crew, your journey will be more than just fast, it will be an experience you’ll never forget.
Immerse yourself in Maritime culture with the finest music, entertainment, food, wine, and beer samplings that the region has to offer with our seaside experiences. Gather everything you need for your Nova Scotia vacation by stopping by the visitors’ center and browse for the perfect souvenir at the Scotia Market gift shop. And don’t forget to bring your furry friends along for the ride—The CAT has a kennel area with a limited capacity for cats and dogs.
There’s no more beautiful backdrop for a coastal getaway, and no better way to get there than The CAT.
For schedules, rates, and more information about The CAT, go here.
By Road from Maine
Get yourself to Bangor, Maine. From there, follow U.S. 1 S (the ‘airline’) to Calais, Maine. It’s about a two hour ride, not counting construction, on a nice hilly, twisty forested road.
From Calais, you will cross the river into St. Stephen, New Brunswick Canada. For information about entering Canada, visit this Canada Border Services Agency webpage.
Turn your watch ahead an hour here as the Atlantic Provinces are in a different time zone. Your cell phones should change themselves. You may now be charged roaming charges though – check before you leave home with your cell phone carrier about international rates and plans.
Now you’ll have two choices:
- Take the ferry from Saint John, New Brunswick across the Bay of Fundy to Digby, Nova Scotia
- From Calais, Maine / St. Stephen NB, follow NB 1 E until you see the signs for Saint John. It’s just over an hour ride. The signs to the ferry are pretty good and they’ll take you through a subdivision to the terminal. You can book your passage now, on the Bay Ferries’ website. Currently the schedule for the ferry has it leaving Saint John at 8am (*** Atlantic Time!) and arriving in Digby at 10-ish or leaving Saint John at 2:30pm and arriving in Digby at around 4:30 in the afternoon.
- Or drive around the Bay of Fundy (below)
By Ferry from New Brunswick
Take an unforgettable journey across the Bay of Fundy in comfort & style!
Welcome aboard Fundy Rose, with daily crossings between Digby, Nova Scotia and Saint John, New Brunswick. Fundy Rose transports all types of vehicles as well as walk-on passengers and four-legged friends. With a crossing time of just 2 hours, 15 minutes, you’ll arrive at your destination rested and ready for adventure.
The Fundy Rose also offers daytime sailings and a host of new and improved amenities. Relax in the outdoor seating and viewing area, pop by the Mid Ship Café for a Starbucks coffee, grab a drink at the Crow’s Nest, or visit the Acadia Eatery-featuring a full menu.
Catch up in the Business Centre with complimentary Wi-Fi, watch live entertainment (on scheduled occasions), or catch the latest flick in one of Fundy Rose’s two movie lounges. There’s even a children’s play area, visitor information centre, gift shop, and animal shelter—everyone is taken care of on Fundy Rose!
The ferry is a great ride with tie-downs for your bike, good food and some form of entertainment. And you never know, you might see a pod of whales on your travels across!
For more information, rates and schedules, visit this page.
If you decide to ride around the Bay of Fundy, continue on NB 1 East. It will eventually merge with the Trans Canada Highway (#2). Aim toward Moncton. The ride from Calais to Moncton is just under three hours. The Trans Canada will take you around Moncton and aim you toward Nova Scotia. It’s four lanes the whole way and 110 km/hr (65 mph). Once you get into Nova Scotia, the highway number changes to Hwy 104, but it still has the little maple leaf signifying it’s the Trans Canada Highway. Right inside the Nova Scotia border there’s a great visitor information centre. The Cobequid Pass is along this stretch of the highway and there is a toll fee - $4 for a motorcycle with or without a trailer.
The ride from Moncton to Truro is just under two hours. Watch for Exit 14; there’s a sign that says “Exit to Halifax Only”. It means it. If you miss that exit, you’re on your way to Cape Breton, totally opposite direction to the Wharf Rat Rally in Digby. Once you take that exit, you’ll be on Highway 102 going south.
From Truro, continue heading south on Highway 102 toward Halifax. A little ways past the Halifax International Airport, Highway 102 will curve to the right (and Highway 118 will continue straight). If you’re planning to go into Halifax, you can take either road – Hwy 118 will take you into Dartmouth first and you’ll have to cross one of the bridges to get to Halifax. The bridge toll is $1 on either bridge but they’ll let motorbikes ‘caravan’ through together.
If you’re planning to go into Halifax and have stayed on Highway 102, it will take you right into the city with pretty good signs for downtown.
If you’re planning to avoid Halifax, be sure you stay on Highway 102 at the split, and then watch for exit 4B with signs that say “Annapolis Valley”. When you take that exit, you will be on Highway 101 and the ride to Digby is about 2 hours long. Digby is at exit 26 on Highway 101. OR, from Highway 102, you can take Exit 9 and follow the signs for Highway 14 toward Windsor. You can then pick up Highway 101 at Windsor.
** The ride from the exit for Highway 101 into Halifax is about 25 minutes. If you do go into Halifax, you’ll probably come back out the 102 to exit 4B and get onto Highway 101 for the ride to Digby.
From Ontario, Quebec and northern New Brunswick
Follow the Trans Canada through Fredericton, NB. (NOTE: Leaving Quebec, the signs are in French so watch for Nouveau-Brunswick or you're going to add a long ride to your trip!) If you are planning to take the ferry, follow the signs for Saint John. If you’re planning to drive around, follow the signs for Moncton and then for Amherst, Nova Scotia. From there, follow the directions above.
As soon as you get a chance, pick up your copy of the Motorcycle Tour Guide, or, better yet, order it ahead of time or download the app to help with your planning. Click here for more information.
Need to rent a car?
Please support our supporters and choose Enterprise Rent-a-Car, a proud sponsor of the Wharf Rat Rally volunteers and shuttle service.
The ULTIMATE trip
We're often asked the best way to make a full trip to Nova Scotia. Hands down, our favourite route is this!
Come into New Brunswick and head to the east side of the province. Travel over the Confederation Bridge into Prince Edward Island and follow the signs toward Charlottetown. Just outside Charlottetown, stop by Red Rock Harley-Davidson in Cornwall and pick up your $10 registration kit for the Rally.
Drive through the province and head to Wood Islands to catch the ferry to Caribou Nova Scotia. You pay a toll to leave PEI but it's the same whether you cross in New Brunswick by bridge or into Nova Scotia by ferry. Be sure to book the ferry!
Turn east, across the Canso Causeway and toward Baddeck. Since you're this close, you have to ride the Cabot Trail, exalted many times over as being one of the greatest riding/driving roads of all time! For some details, check out this website.
Once you've ridden the circular Cabot Trail, you have cross over the Canso Causeway again to get back on the mainland. From here, enjoy the ride through Nova Scotia and think about visiting the Annapolis Valley or the South Shore on your way to Digby and the Wharf Rat Rally. Again, be sure you have reservations for the Rally - empty rooms are few and far between at that time of year. Not booked yet? Check out novascotia.com and Yarmouth (a nice 55-minute ride) is probably your best bet closer to the end of August.
While you're in Nova Scotia ...
There are so many great road trips, places to explore and things to do. Plan to stay awhile longer and truly discover all that Nova Scotia has to offer.
Visit novascotia.com to plan your travels.