Upon departing Bar Harbor we headed north to the US-Canada border, reaching it in under an hour. Though we had not done a lot of research on our planned Canadian venture, we did look deep into the rules of entry, particularly what and how much we could bring across. We knew the alcohol limits, poultry restrictions, fruit and vegetable requirements, and the list of things verboten. Nonetheless, we were a bit apprehensive as we queued up at the crossing, having heard or read a good number of horror stories about agents spending hours going through an RV’s every nook and cranny.
Departing Bar Harbor, passing by Jack’s distinctive house and lawn art.
We cruised through with no drama, though the two motorhomes in front of us were pulled over for additional scrutiny, and from our vantage point it appeared that border agents pulled a wagon load of alcohol from each. I can’t say with any certainty what led our man at the booth to waive us through after a couple of minutes of questioning, but two things stand out that might be the reasons.
When he asked various questions about what we were carrying, I replied with exact information that implied a knowledge of what was permitted and what was not. For example: “We have 1.14 liters of alcohol each.” Second, under questioning we asserted that not only do we not have a fire arm with us, but that we do not carry one even when RVing in the US. Anyway, he could have just thought I was really honest looking. 😉
When in Canada, drink Canadian. Local craft beer, Canadian Whiskey, out of circulation old Canadian dollars gifted to us by Gloria (they have entirely replaced one dollar bills with coins) and in the little jar, our first Canadian beach glass.
From there it was another two hours to our first Canadian campground: New River Beach Provincial Park. I had used our usual resources (AllStays, Passport-America, RV Park Reviews) to select an affordable, beautiful, and appropriately positioned place for our first stop. We nailed it. We have a strong preference for state parks, and were happy to see that Canada’s Provincial Parks are, at least in this case, as strong analogue. New River Beach is positioned directly on the coast along the Bay of Fundy. The campground is across the road from the actual beach, attractively situated in the woods.
We have had extraordinary weather luck this trip, repeatedly arriving in a local just as weeks of miserable rain or cold clear up, but you have to accept a bit of drizzle every now and then. New River Beach, near low tide, under fog.
Our site was electric only (30 amp) though a number of others had both power and water. I had futzed the length of our RV in order to make the reservation: technically our site was for RV’s 30′ and under, but I have yet to encounter a park that has not heavily padded their length restrictions. This place was no exception; though the back in maneuver was mildly challenging, we had no real trouble fitting Serenity in the site with Loki parked in front.
Our site: plenty of trees like we prefer. Not quite as private as some US state parks, you can see more than one neighbor from our spot, but still very nice.
And the beach! Perhaps half a mile (sorry, about one kilometer) of beautiful sandy beach surrounded by rocky breakers and coves. We were quite surprised at how deep, i.e., the distance from the low tide to high tide mark it was. A huge, beautiful beach that was heavily attended during the weekend and nearly ours alone a day later. We visited daily, experiencing it both in gorgeous, blue sky weather and semi foggy wetness. We also found our first Canadian beach glass, perhaps half a dozen meager pieces, but beggars can’t be choosy.
New River Beach at high tide.
There is, er, not a lot to do in the very small nearby town of Lepreau. No worries for us; we weren’t there for city entertainment. There are, apparently, nearby lighthouses, which we did not explore, but we did find a beautiful set of waterfalls within a 15 minute drive east of the campground. Lepreau Falls are quite nice, with what I estimate is a 15 meter drop from a moderate sized river. Had we more time, we definitely would have made the scramble from one of the viewing areas down to the natural pond at the base of the falls for a dip. Next time!
I want to keep a running list of the “RVing in Canada” lessons we have learned along the way. To start with:
- For the border crossing: do your research and comply. Why risk hours of delay and possible unfortunate scrutiny just so you can save a few bucks on liquor, meat, or veggies? Honestly, it was a piece of cake for us, but as written above, we did see two motorhomes getting a much more thorough checking.
- As an addendum: It’s harder to comply with the rules when you are full time simply because you have so much more stuff in your rig than a vacationer. You are likely to have a lot more food, some of it restricted. Maybe you have live plants, which could be a real problem. If you are full time, you need to be that much more careful in checking the rules.
- The strength of the US vs Canadian Dollar is really helping things for US tourists this decade. The USD started a major rise in 2013, and since 2015 it has been fluctuating around a 1.3:1 USD to CD ratio. If you are in Canada, and it costs “a dollar” that really means around 76 cents in US currency. Awesome.
- And therefor: Provincial Park Campgrounds look to be cheaper than equivalent US State Parks. We are staying in this beautiful park across from the beach and ocean for $26 US dollars a night. Granted, it is electric only, but for a three day stay that’s a great rate given the location.
- Check your credit cards for a Foreign Transaction Fee, and only use those that don’t have one. Why pay an extra 3% to the bank just to spend money in our neighbor’s country? We physically removed all those cards with an FTF from our wallets and purses for the duration of our Canada stay.