needing help with Canadian trip - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-14-2016, 07:15 AM   #1
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needing help with Canadian trip

I plan to visit Canada this summer and would appreciate any comments/suggestions you may have. My plan is to cross the border at Niagara Falls simply because i'd like to see the falls. It's occurred to me that this may be a very busy place to cross and am open to alternate suggestions. Then I'll turn right and head toward the atlantic coast area. I'm planning to attend the vintage rally in Nova Scotia mid July. I'll have at least several weeks to wander around and would appreciate suggestions for camping areas. A variety would be great as I can camp comfortably without hookups but may need to stop sometimes with hook ups, wifi, etc. one thing i'd like to do is avoid large metro areas.

What can I expect at the border? I have a current passport and vaccination records for the puppy and no firearms.

I've only visited Canada for short trips and those were long ago when all was needed was a drivers license to clear customs and I wasn't camping.

So, comments from Canadians and folks that have traveled there would be welcomed.

p@
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Old 03-14-2016, 08:31 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by patrick crawford View Post
I plan to visit Canada this summer and would appreciate any comments/suggestions you may have. My plan is to cross the border at Niagara Falls simply because i'd like to see the falls. It's occurred to me that this may be a very busy place to cross and am open to alternate suggestions. Then I'll turn right and head toward the atlantic coast area. I'm planning to attend the vintage rally in Nova Scotia mid July. I'll have at least several weeks to wander around and would appreciate suggestions for camping areas. A variety would be great as I can camp comfortably without hookups but may need to stop sometimes with hook ups, wifi, etc. one thing i'd like to do is avoid large metro areas.

What can I expect at the border? I have a current passport and vaccination records for the puppy and no firearms.

I've only visited Canada for short trips and those were long ago when all was needed was a drivers license to clear customs and I wasn't camping.

So, comments from Canadians and folks that have traveled there would be welcomed.

p@
Don't forget about bolerama in mid July which is held in wainfleet about 30 miles from Niagara Falls on the shores of Lake Erie
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Old 03-14-2016, 08:38 AM   #3
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There are multiple bridges in the Niagra Falls area. Sometimes the waits can get into the two plus hour range. I generally use the Lewiston-Queenstown bridge. It is served by freeway at both ends and is the easiest crossing when traffic is light. If traffic is heavy, however, I have waited up to 2.5 hours in bumper to bumper lines waiting to get into the US from Canada. I now have a Garmin that gives road conditions and have found the bridge advisories that they give to be very helpful.

Believe it or not, the Rainbow bridge, which connects the two tourist areas of Niagra Falls Canada with Niagra Falls US is MUCH faster in heavy traffic times, at least in my experiences. There is no commercial truck traffic allowed, plus they keep this bridge well staffed because neither side wants to impede the tourists going back and forth any more than necessary. Plus, if you do have to wait, you have a fantastic view of the falls to keep you entertained. The drawback is that both sides of the bridge put you onto city streets, in big tourist areas. They are fairly well marked, however, and not terrible to navigate. Both sides quickly get you back onto multi-lane, divided highways.

The Whirlpool bridge is also available if you are a Nexus subscriber - I've never used it.



A bit further south is the Peace bridge into Buffalo. I've used this a few times, but generally stick to the Lewiston unless traffic is bad.

If you have a smart phone, this link will give you current traffic conditions:

Traffic Conditions

Generally crossings are pleasant, without any undue hassle. Be courteous, even if you are irritated, and virtually every agent I've encountered has been courteous in return.
Sometimes they are downright friendly and talkative about life in general, you know, almost like regular people. :-)

Just wanted to add:

I've visited both the US and the Canadian sides. I found the US side much more relaxing, plus you can visit the State Park above the falls - well worth the time. You can get right to the edge of the river, even wade in the river within sight of the top of the falls, a very interesting perspective. Granted, the Canadian side has the more spectacular views o the falls.

Also the Maid of the Mist tours are well worth the price, gives yet another perspective. The walk down to the river below the falls on the US side is also fun - gotta wear rain gear because you get right up to the falls and can reach out and touch them.

Plan at least a couple of days if you really want to explore all that is offered - highly recommended.
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Old 03-14-2016, 08:47 AM   #4
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We have crossed the border here many times in both directions. We generally cross at Queenston which is 4 or 5 miles to the north. Delays vary quite a bit based on time of day. For non-commercial traffic, probably less busy Monday through Friday.

Now you can check the status of delays online. Just google the specific border crossing at EZBORDERCROSSING dot COM
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Old 03-14-2016, 09:30 AM   #5
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Canadian here - living in Ottawa now but used to live in the Niagara area. This is one of the most populated parts of Canada so camping in the woods is not going to happen but here are some recommendations: Campgrounds - and there are Walmarts in the area and some Canadian Tire stores will let you park in their parking lot if you ask. This area is also home to one of the largest wine making areas in Canada and you should take advantage of doing some wine tours and don't miss out on Niagara-on-the-Lake which is nearby. Fort George has some great history of the War of 1812. The town is much nicer than Niagara Falls.

You can also camp in Ontario using Ontario Parks - https://reservations.ontarioparks.com/ - most of the campgrounds are in the woods - it's our favourite way of camping.

There are lots of campgrounds in Quebec near the highway - just northwest of Montreal is the Eastern Townships (ski country) and there are lots of campgrounds there: 10 Summer Campgrounds Close To Montreal - Page 6 of 15 | MTL Blog


On your way to Nova Scotia - the Gananoque area between Kingston and Prescott has many campgrounds including Parks Canada - https://reservation.pc.gc.ca/ParksCanada and the Fundy campground at Alma New Brunswick is a good choice depending on how many days you are planning on taking to get to Nova Scotia - you can visit the Flower Pots along Fundy Bay.

Hopefully this was helpful!

Deb
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Old 03-14-2016, 09:50 AM   #6
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Just a slight correction - the Eastern Townships are northeast of Montreal. If you have the time, try Autoroutes 10 towards Sherbrooke and then the 55 to Drummondville. Both scenic with camping possibilities. Once east of Quebec City, the choice is either turning towards New Brunswick via Edmondston or Campbellton, both are excellent choices! If you have the time, stay on the single lane along the St Lawrence not the multilane which misses everything.
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Old 03-14-2016, 09:51 AM   #7
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....and you are going to need a passport unfortunately. The US government changed the rules for Canadians entering the US so we followed suit.
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:16 AM   #8
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Leave all fruit and veggies home. Also check what dog food can be brought in. Canned food (both human and pet food should be fine).

I would time my trip through Toronto to midday as the traffic on the 401 is crazy. Once your past Toronto the 401 is a nice highway with quite a few rest stops. I would also head up to Ottawa, lots to do and history to see. Once in Quebec, be ready for french traffic signs and if you don't want to see Montreal or Quebec City, then I would go to the south the river(there is a new bridge west of Montreal). My favorite area is the eastern townships like Lac Brome (Knowlton), my wife,s home town. Some very nice views and old Victorian houses.

I would contact the tourist boards for the provinces that you want to drive through and ask for information packages and the AAA or CAA in Canada.
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:59 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by patrick crawford View Post
I plan to visit Canada this summer and would appreciate any comments/suggestions you may have. My plan is to cross the border at Niagara Falls simply because i'd like to see the falls. It's occurred to me that this may be a very busy place to cross and am open to alternate suggestions. Then I'll turn right and head toward the atlantic coast area. I'm planning to attend the vintage rally in Nova Scotia mid July. I'll have at least several weeks to wander around and would appreciate suggestions for camping areas. A variety would be great as I can camp comfortably without hookups but may need to stop sometimes with hook ups, wifi, etc. one thing i'd like to do is avoid large metro areas.


So, comments from Canadians and folks that have traveled there would be welcomed.

p@
Another Canadian here. The route you've chosen to get in to Canada and then travel through eastward is THE largest metro area in Canada!

Of the 35 million people who live in Canada, the Niagara Peninsula through to the Greater Toronto area holds 6.6 million of them.

I understand that you want to see Niagara Falls but have to question the sensibility of coming from South Carolina all the way northwest to see the falls when your destination is Eastern Canada.

Your best bet for camping is provincial parks in each province. Privately owned parks tend to be almost full of seasonal campers and of course, more costly.

If you want to see Ontario and don't like large urban areas (I avoid them like the plague), then you want to get further north into our 'cottage country' and/or up north into northern Ontario. The rest of the province is like driving in Atlanta in rush hour....
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Old 03-14-2016, 11:00 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Dudley View Post
if you don't want to see Montreal or Quebec City, then I would go to the south the river
Skip Montreal and you won't be missing much IMO, but you absolutely have to plan a couple days in Quebec City!!
Québec City and Area : Official Web Site - Québec City Tourism
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Old 03-14-2016, 11:00 AM   #11
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A warning (this happened to a friend who was in a group of hunters)....beware that the Canadian authorities will probably deny anyone entry who has a DUI/DWI offense on their driving record. I know this is time sensitive as others I know who had one over 10 years ago had no problem with entry. This subject has been discussed on this board in the past.

When returning from Nova Scotia allow some time to tour coastal Maine in the area from Bar Harbor north....be sure to visit Campobello Island (FDR's summer home off the coast of Lubec, Maine) it is run by a joint effort of U.S. park services and New Brunswick Canada....entry is free. The island is connect to Lubec, Maine by a bridge. Nice to see how the super-rich lived back in the 1940s.

Avoid coastal southern Maine as the traffic on US route 1 is bumper to bumper in the summer season...Maine is empty in the winter except for moose hunters.

Enjoy your trip...fabulous scenery!!!

Hope you allowed enough time for the trip you have planned as there is much to see and many miles involved...two weeks would not be enough if you were to include Niagara Falls.
Having been there it takes all of 30 minutes to see the falls and in your case you would add 4-5 days to your trip just to include it in your itinerary not to mention the fuel expense!
That time might be better spent touring Nova Scotia and northern Maine/ New Hampshire. Much to see in that picturesque area. Visit the Internet and find the tourism site for Nova Scotia and order their book (free) to assist you in sights to see and general trip planning...a must have for visitors!

To cross into Canada with your puppy you must have document showing the puppy's medical shot record with current rabies/distemper vaccinations and proper license.
You should carry these records at all times as many campgrounds want to see them before registration.

If you skip Niagara Falls loop and want a direct route to Nova Scotia take "the highway from hell" Interstate 95 north into Maine and exit the USA at Calais, Maine into New Brunswick then on via the coastal route to Nova Scotia.
Avoid US 1 in Maine in the summer because of extremely heavy tourist traffic...stay on I95/495/295 (check maps and rely on GPS).
If you insist on Niagara Falls, take Interstate 81 north from the Carolinas (avoiding I95)...Interstate 81 will bring you up into New York avoiding New York City then Interstate 90 West toward Buffalo/Niagara Falls, NY....Happy Trails!!!
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Old 03-14-2016, 11:24 AM   #12
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Chiming in from Ontario. If it was me, I would avoid driving through the extended Niagara/Toronto metropolitan areas, unless that was my preferred destination. If you are heading east, why not cross at the Thousand Island border crossing, it is a quick run up to Ottawa, the capital city, and you are well out of the heart of urban Canada. There is also a huge area just west of that border crossing, with quite a few wineries, and beautiful provincial parks, it is called Prince Edward County.
Thousand Islands Bridge – ezbordercrossing.com

Enjoy your visit!
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Old 03-14-2016, 12:02 PM   #13
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Most campgrouds in the eastern provinces have very good websites , given the time of year booking ahead would be advisable. GPS is also very helpful. The maritime provinces are great to visit , allow lots of time - lots to see and visit - the roads are pretty good but always take longer to travel than you might expect.
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Old 03-14-2016, 01:03 PM   #14
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All very useful information for my trip next year. Thanks.
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