Dog Friendly Atlantic Canada Hiking Trip

by | Feb 25, 2024 | Hiking and Travel Tips

Want to bring your dog to the stunning beaches, trails, and eats of Atlantic Canada? We share five dog friendly hiking areas and places to stay in Atlantic Canada that are approved for you and your pooch!

Cotopaxi loved his dog friendly Airbnb and private beach during low tide near Pictou Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia Beach Pooch.

After hiking the Appalachian Trail we headed from Maine to Atlantic Canada in our van for a month. We explored stunning areas of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia right after Labor Day. The weather was perfect, the food immaculate, and the dog friendly options TOP NOTCH. We’ll explore dog friendly hiking trails and lodging options in this article. Then you can plan your own Dog Friendly Atlantic Canada Hiking Trip!

Fundy National Park in New Brunswick offered a great variety of dog friendly hiking trails.
Hocking Hills State Park is filled with dog friendly hiking options.

First things first…

It’s a privilege to bring your dog hiking on public lands. Please leash them if the area requests it, clean up after them, and be attentive. And while we are at it…Leave No Trace and Pack Your 10 Essentials :)!
My dog Cotopaxi is a B.A.R.K. Ranger and if you choose to bring the best companions in the world on hiking trails please consider the same.

Now onto the fun stuff…

Five Dog Atlantic Canada Areas for Hiking!

  1. Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada.
  2. Fundy National Park, New Brunswick, Canada.
  3. Prince Edward Island National Park, Souris, and Murray Harbor, PEI, Canada.
  4. Caribou Island, Nova Scotia, Canada.
  5. Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Sussex New Brunswick

Located a few hours East of Maine and the end of the Appalachian Trail this was a perfect landing spot to start our Atlantic Canada Hiking Adventure. We found a great dog friendly Airbnb HERE and the hot tub was perfect after several months in the van and hiking the AT.

Sussex has great hiking in the summer and fall and skiing in the winter. The town is decorated in art murals so a walk of that area if a must if that interests you. Falafel Spot was a great local place to eat (the owners were so sweet!) The Bluffs Trail was our favorite hike here. We liked this town and our Airbnb so much we stayed here again for one night on the way back to Maine!

Sussex New Brunswick is a must visit for any alley art lover!
One of dozens of art murals in Sussex!

Fundy National Park

Home to the highest tides in the world, internationally known cuisine (scallops), and a VERY dog friendly National Park made Fundy an excellent stop.

The National Park campground was easy to book, clean, and cheap. There are hiking and mountain biking trails galore in the park to choose from. Matthews Head and Dickson Falls were my favorite trails in inside of the park. Both are dog friendly. There are also numerous campgrounds. We stayed at the Chignecto Campground.

The nearby town of Alma and the nearby Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park is where the tides action occurs! We wandered Alma’s beaches in amazement at low tide twice. There are several good dining options in the town, all dog friendly on their patios. Hopewell Rocks is worth the price of admission and to go twice. (Your admission gets you high tide one day and low tide the next or vice versa.) It’s incredible to see in person!

Hopewell Rocks is also dog friendly, like pretty much all of Atlantic Canada :)!

Prince Edward Island

We split up our time in PEI in three different places over nine days. That allowed us to extensively explore about half of the island. Another week on the Western side of the island would give you the time to see this beautiful place slowly.

We stayed at the Cavendish Campground in the National Park. Then at Campbell’s Cove on what felt like the edge of the Earth and one of my favorite campgrounds I have EVER stayed at. And finally at Ocean Acres in the quaint town of Murray Harbor. We enjoyed staying at all of these places. Ocean Acres has a restaurant on-site.

The food, hikes, communities, views, and the beaches on PEI were all excellent.

This is a place I could spend a while at. (Or a lifetime.) My heart yearns to return here. The first non dog friendly place on PEI was by my choice. I went kayaking solo on the Atlantic Ocean (I rented a kayak from the lovely team at East Coast Paddle Adventures.) Plus a few of the beaches in the National Park to protect native nesting birds, but there were plenty of other beaches dogs could go on. I also went kayaking in Murray Harbor and tipped over for the first time in my life in a kayak! (In non moving two feet of water I might add ;)!) We hiked everywhere with our dog and he ate bones on the patios of the restaurants.

Prince Edward Island National Park Canada.

Caribou Island

This small island on Nova Scotia was our stopping point for three nights in between PEI and Cape Breton. We stayed at this lovely Airbnb on the ocean. We could walk directly onto the beach during low tide. At the nearby Provincial Park I witnessed a bald eagle dragging a possum along the beach while out on a run. The nearby town of Pictou also had the sweetest family and story at the Alladin Syrian Canadian Restaurant. Plus the food was oh so tasty, and you guessed it, dog friendly on their patio by the pier! The dog friendly Atlantic Canada options started to seem endless.

Walking along the ocean on Caribou Island in Nova Scotia on our road trip.

Cape Breton Highlands National Park

This was the highlight of the trip in a way. It was the place that people come to visit from all over the world. Honestly it was great, but all of Atlantic Canada was so wonderful it would be hard to put one place over the others. We stayed on the Island of Cape Breton and in its National Park for a week. Including Jill G’s first experience at Canada’s First Come First Serve Campsites! (She was nervous but excelled after many loops around the campgrounds.)

We stayed at the Cheticamp campground the first few nights and made a horseshoe around the park/island. Stopping in the middle and again on the other side in Ingonish before heading back to New Brunswick. Cheticamp featured in-campground hikes, the nearby Last Chance Sandwich, and the Freya and Thor Gallery and Cafe that we loved! (Bellingham Washington transplants that were SUPER KIND and fun to meet.)

The Skyline Trail is world famous and the only hike on our entire Atlantic Canada Trip that wasn’t dog friendly. However Cotopaxi got tired out by all of its other trails that he could go on. This park felt like visiting one of the big US National Parks. It was vast and felt like you had stepped onto another planet. It was my first elevation hiking since finishing up the Appalachian Trail in Maine a few weeks back as well.

Hiking on a foggy day in Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Atlantic Canada.
Hiking on a foggy day in Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

Atlantic Canada might be the most dog friendly area I have ever visited with a pooch.

It seemed that EVERYTHING was okay for your dog to come along. Outside of the concern over coyotes in Cape Breton National Park the predators are also low risk. The trails were not only “allowed” for your dog to hike but great terrain for them to hike. The restaurants all had patios and there was more ocean/beach space without a constant flow of people than anywhere I had ever been in North America.

I’m sure the winters are tough in Atlantic Canada. (Everyone told me so.) But if you have your HPH Softest Sweatshirt Ever you will feel cozy at least! And the hurricanes recently have become a concern. We actually left Cape Breton right before one was on track to come to the island. But all places have its weather issues. I had never visited this part of Earth and I’m so grateful for the time we had. You could break this trip into chunks or even tack on more time in Nova Scotia, the western side of PEI, or head up to the massive wilderness in New Brunswick and Newfoundland. Summer and early Autumn are your best best to visit with good weather.

Cape Breton Highlands selfie attempt on our Atlantic Canada Road Trip!

No matter when, where, or how long you go the kind communities of Atlantic Canada will embrace you and your doggo!

Happy Trails to you and your Pups :).
Thanks for reading and supporting Happy People Hike, comment below with any questions about a dog friendly Atlantic Canada Hiking Road Trip!

Happy Hiking,
Mike R

Mike Rudd

Mike Rudd

Nomad, Dood Dad, Planet Lover. Hashtag59 & Happy People Hike Lead Intern. Freelance Writer and Content Creator. Health and Wellness Curator.

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