The plan was easy: watching the leaves turn red during an Indian summer in New England and Nova Scotia, and spending three weeks hiking in what must be two of the most beautiful countries in the world. Coming to some kind of inner peace after a crazy exciting summer back home in Berlin. Waking up in a tent and taking a morning walk to the lake. Driving for hours on end and listening to folk music. So in summer, my boy and I booked flights to Boston in about 30 minutes without thinking twice and that’s pretty much how the whole trip went.

Now, this is the kind of journey I’ve been wanting to do like, forever, so looking back now, it’s a dream come true. This is a little guide to help you organize a similar adventure and to save you from making the same mistakes we did. We wanted to be able to make spontaneous decisions about the route on the go and see where the road takes us. Turns out, when you travel long distances and also want to see more than just the motorway (not that they aren’t beautiful in autumn!), it does help to calculate miles and decide on hiking routes beforehand.


As with any big trips, key is booking early enough so you don’t have to spend a fortune on flights (if you’re coming from overseas). We organized our gear and guides in little baby steps, ordering books, clothes or hiking boots here and there and hired a rental car about two weeks before hitting off.

The rough idea was to spend a few days in Bangor, Maine and drive around Maine’s countryside for lots of day trips, lobster dinners and sunsets at the beach. After that, we would pack all our camping gear and hit up Nova Scotia, Montreal and then New Hampshire. Thing is, I got a really bad cold the day after we arrived, so “a few days” quickly turned into a whole week until I was well again. Sleeping outside in temperatures that could well go below 0°C isn’t for the faint-hearted after all.


But let’s go back to the packing procedure for a second. Here is a rough packing list with things you ultimately need if you’re going on (any) camping trip: We were lucky enough to be able to try out jackets, backpacks and lots of useful small items like rain covers and a small camping stove by the German outdoor brand Tatonka who loved the idea of our trip as much as we did and chipped in a little. Tatonka means “bison” which is a holy animal to North Americans. The bison stands for nature, freedom, strength and wilderness, features that pretty much sum of the reason why I travel. Their current campaign is “Life is an adventure” and these products have well equipped us for it.

A tent*
Large women’s backpack*
Small backpack for day trips*
Windbreaker jackets (women and men) and trousers*
Rain capes*
Thermo underwear
Thermo tights
Hiking boots and socks
Grüezi sleeping bags*
First aid kit*
Camping mats and pillows
Alcohol burner set*
Lots of energy bars and snacks
Road maps
A camera


Although I now mostly find my places to go/hike/eat/drink on travel blogs, it’s great to have a small selection of books in the car in case Google Maps doesn’t work (try download offline maps still!) or you’re doing a digital detox. We also got hiking and camping maps including opening times and the months when national parks or camping grounds were open. A lot of them turned out to already be closed in October, so watch out for that!

Lonely Planet: New England
Fodor’s Travel: Nova Scotia & Atlantic Canada
Menasha Ridge Press: Best Hikes on the Appalachian Trail, New England
Michelin Map: New England & Hudson Valley

We also brought Bernie Sanders’s book “Our Revolution” which was such an interesting, shocking, eye-opening read while driving through US states that are largely Trump land. We overhead not just one rather worrying conversation about gun laws.


New England & Nova Scotia on Roadtrippers

Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia was the first place that blew our mind. The National Park is the best of both worlds: mountains and the sea. You could spend entire days exploring the park without ever having seen it all. Our Top 3 were the Ocean Path Trail where you best start at Sand Beach, pass Thunder Hole and inhale coastal cliffs. Cadillac Mountain is another must-see, or must-hike rather, it will get you the best views over the park and the changing leaves. Jordan Pond is a beautiful lake surrounded by an easy trail. We preferred climbing over the stones and rocks by the water though to add a “danger,” haha.

Five Guys, Maine

It would be wrong not to mention Five Guys here, we came back to the burger joint at least three times because they do the world’s best burgers, hands down. We grinned like children when driving into the industrial park in Bangor, Maine, and couldn’t wait for the chocolate chip milk shake, the life-changing cheeseburger and the ridiculously beautiful hot dog to be in our hands. So yes, Five Guys isn’t just a burger joint, it’s a sight and I don’t regret a thing.

Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick

Fundy Bay is one of the seven wonders of North America. It’s known for having the highest tides on earth, the rarest whales and dinosaur fossils. The bay is located halfway between the equator and the north-pole on Canada’s east coast. Its shape causes for tides to amplify to 16 metres which is the equivalent of a 5-storey building. The Hopewell Rocks are just one example of stunning rock formations, if you walk along the coast, you’ll find many hidden sea caves and cliffs. What’s not to love.

Cape Enrage, New Brunswick

We hit Cape Enrage and its beautiful lighthouse about 20 minutes before sunset, so the sky and the ocean and the fields that lead up to it were glowing in pink. When we reached the top of the little hill, we jumped out of the car to not even miss a second and stood in front of it, grinning like idiots until the sun had set. It was such a beautiful, peaceful moment. I have to mention that it was an absolute gift the Canadian government provided free entry to all national parks in 2017.


Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Oh, Cape Breton. The island in Nova Scotia was probably our favorite place ever. There was something utterly peaceful about being constantly surrounded by the sea, I remember one night we put up our tent in a little spot that looked over an old English-looking village and high waves that we could hear crashing against the shores. Cape Breton has more hiking routes than we could possibly fit in, our favorites being the Skyline and Franey Trails. Yet we made sure we could stay as long as possible, which was mainly due to Cabot Trail…

Cabot Trail

Cabot Trail is the world’s second most beautiful road and no, I have no idea who decides that. I also don’t know how flippin’ spectacular #1 must be, because Cabot Trail presented us an absolute stunner of a road trip on a silver plate. Or on a golden Indian summer plate, rather. There were Oh’s and Ah’s waiting behind each turn and there are simply no word’s for nature’s beauty. The trail spreads across the whole island, giving you fantastic ocean views and will lead you through quiet fishing villages with quirky little restaurants. I particularly recommend the Eastern part of the trail. There’s plenty of dreamy, lonely beaches like Black Brook Cove Beach that were waiting for us to dip our feet into the water… For exactly one second, only to then scream and swear to never to such a stupid thing again (me) or jump right in and take an actual swim in bloody October (him).

Prince Edward Island

As we decided to spend more time hiking on Cape Breton Island, we actually had to ditch Prince Edward Island but it would be so wrong not to mention PEI in this itinerary because we would have loved to go and everyone we met recommended us to. The island is best known for its red sandy beaches, lighthouses, delicious seafood and of course Anne of Green Gables. When the novel was first published in 1908 and became popular around the globe, most people had no idea what or where Prince Edward Island was. Now, there are special tours for fans showcasing Anne-related attractions all over the island.

Québec & Montréal, Québec

Québec was more like a drive-through for us, we spent one afternoon walking through the majestic old town and soaking up Canadian city vibes. They were very pleasant and we wanted more of them. In Montréal, all the loose ends of our trip came together. The nights we camped on properties that definitely weren’t meant to be camped on, the long miles that left their mark on our faces (wrinkles) and all the times our only food came from cheap highway chains because we didn’t know any better. In Montréal, we stayed in an absolute dream of an Airbnb, were fed with the most delicious (and healthy, that was a first!) breakfast in weeks and discovered that maybe, despite all the nature and wilderness love, we still might be city people after all. We still might be getting most of our energy from bustling neighborhoods, street lights, new foods and flavors and cultures.

We lived off bagels there and the two most famous stores are St. Viateur and Fairmount Bagel. We stayed in a room above the Le Dépanneur Café which also happens to serve the best breakfast and is a great place to hang out and study. There’s live music throughout the day and really feels like home. The book store Librairie Drawn & Quarterly is a stone’s throw away and will satisfy all your literary needs. Schwartz’s Deli is an amazing dinner spot; for fresh baked goods, head to Hof Kelsten. 

White Mountains National Park, New Hampshire

While I’m sure that White Mountains is a stunning, stunning national park when it’s sunny, we’ve passed through the park on the two days where it rained cats and dogs for 24 hours. There was one small time window where the rain stopped and I became super determined to try and hike up at least one mountain. If you spend most of the day in the car (in that case we came down from Montréal), you’re itching to get some fresh air and stretch your muscles. Of course, that was a terrible idea. We were at the end of our trip, it was late October and got dark really early. And I don’t have to tell you that trying to hike through wet forests and over wet stones is less pleasant. So yeah, White Mountains, you were beautifully innocent when we left but gave us such a hard time. Also, we decided to sleep in the car because putting up a tent would have been too much of a hassle. Overall, the nights in the car are definitely among the rough ones where we woke up knackered. Oh well, the joys of traveling…

Boston, Massachusetts

We flew back from Boston but decided to stay in the city for two days to have a stroll through Harvard, discover the Extravaganza that is Macy’s and have some last lobster rolls before heading back to Berlin. Boston is so outdoorsy, it’s well feasible to explore the city by foot, run next to the river or walk the Freedom Trail and then… get stuck at the Converse flagship store and truly lash out for the first time. Whoops. True Americana! In terms of places to mark on your list, we loved the Boston Public Library, Luke’s Lobster Back Bay which is around the corner and Lolita Corinna & Tequila Bar which was the perfect “last fancy dinner date” in the US. We also came across the Panera Cares Community Café which has a strong focus on giving back to the community and regularly donates to local programs.


Some general notes on spending a month in the outdoors: There’s a reason that the 300$ “rain jacket” is way better than your average high street sale find. That rain jacket actually works and will keep the rain from you. Having the right gear will make your good days even better and take the edges off the worst days that will ultimately come on a month-long trip, trust me. With Tatonka, we were lucky enough to have jackets, backpacks of the best quality, items we could always rely on if there was nothing else to rely on. We had one backpack with all our hiking gear, meaning we were always ready to hit the road.

We spent half the nights in our pretty green tent and the other half in our car, that was initially meant to be an SUV but because somebody messed up the rental procedure (me), we ended up with a perfectly neat vehicle that was so neat and fancy that you couldn’t actually sleep in the back. Great. There were a lot of things that we couldn’t rely on but we could rely on the gear we had to keep us warm, cosy and dry. It took five minutes (okay, maybe ten) to put up the tent that is minimalist, straight-forward and has an excellent circulation.

Another item that quite literally saved our butt has been a sleeping bag made of sheep wool. The wool causes for your body to have an ideal temperature, so you’re never too cold or too hot (so no annoying sweating at night!). We had one trial run in Maine to see how and whether the whole camping process would actually work. So, it’s well possible for temperatures to sink below 0°C in Northern America in October. The next morning when I got up, I hadn’t quite figured out how the sleeping bag actually works and that you can literally put everything except the front of your face in it. Sounds a little strange now, but with Grüezi bags there’s no way you will freeze if temperatures are between 20°C and -3°C.

The reason for that is that wool has a natural air-conditioning effect. The Grüezi team went through a rather complex process of finding out which parts of the body need more insulations than others. The bag avoids thermal bridges in order to keep all the warmth inside. There’s also a pillow pocket which will quickly transform your rain jacket into a perfectly comfy pillow.

Grüezi bag is a small company in Bavaria, Germany, which specialises in sleeping bags. Markus, the founder, told me on the phone that he actually prefers staying in the sleeping bag at home because it’s so much comfier than your average duvet and I can definitely see his point!


  • Have a credit card limit
  • Have fresh food in your car when passing through customs
  • Think you’ll surely find a camping spot somewhere at 10pm
  • Pack too many clothes
  • Have too many miles ahead of you
  • Sleep in a car that’s not made for sleeping in it
  • Skip vitamins and fruits for three weeks because, you know, America

Overall, these three weeks were one hell of a ride and we learned so much about nature, making realistic plans and being spontaneous when it all comes different. And it always does… Have you done a similar road trip or are planning to? Tell me about your experiences!

DISCLAIMER: Caroline got the Tatonka products and Grüezi bags as press samples (thank you so much!), however all opinions stated are her own. The trip has been independently organized.