Can one simply turn up at the border (like I did 35 years ago with my parents)
My first visit to the USA was from Niagara Falls Canada, to Niagara Falls USA. We just walked across the border waving our RAF "1250" identity cards at them ( both ways) I don't think I even had a passport then !
Now, even tho' now married to a Born-in-the-USA-citizen, I'm photographed and fingerprinted like a criminal everytime I re-enter. Only the marital connection persuades me to bother now, I don't need all that c**p, and it certainly is no bar to the Bad Guys doing what they want, anyway !
World's Gone Mad.
( In later life I had little trouble driving a rental car from Vancouver to Seattle v.v. - - but it was before 9/11.)
Driving north, you will be asked stern questions about whether you are carrying guns, ammo, mace, tasers etc etc. Driving back south they will confiscate your apples or bananas. That about sums it all up mate.
As a family with three children (ages 14, 12 and 7) can you recommend things to do and places to visit in Maine and New Brunswick. We fancy a round trip in the car going from Toronto towards Montreal, Halifax, Boston and back towards Niagara. Is that a reasonable trip in three weeks? I have always wanted to visit Nova Scotia.
What time of year is this excursion going to happen? Winter has it's own little problems from time to time. Otherwise three weeks sounds reasonable. There is something in the back of my mind about a problem someone had with Immigration. Customs are Customs. So here are two suggestions which depend to a certain extent on your passports. 1. Make sure that nothing like an ESTA or a US Visa Waiver is going to expire when you are in Canada. 2. Make sure that the US exit immigration know that you are going to be out of the States for a few days or weeks even and not just taking a day trip. Otherwise you try come back in and they don't know you've left. If you're in Maine, all of it is great, in Bangor just ask anyone where Stephen King's house is and then show your smaller children the iron work fence around it. If you're renting a car in the US to drive to Canada you might be advised to check your rental insurance cover very carefully. The US insurance excesses are normally very high unless you take out extra cover. The online car hire quotes one gets do not usually include this 'no liability at all' sort of loading on the charges. I would suggest that you look into that aspect quite carefully if you haven;t done so already.
Drove from Seattle to Vancouver and back a month ago, Aussie passport and not a problem either way, had to let hire company know about Canada which made no difference to cost or excess. car even had a speedo selection to convert from miles to Kms.
Respectfully, ignore RT, he lives 3,000 miles from the ocean. Maine, Boston and NS are well worth the trip and three weeks is about right.
1/ Thousand Islands on the NY/Canadian border is a good first stop from YYZ. Alexandria Bay is one stop. Not to put down Niagara Falls and the Niagara Peninsula on the Canadian side, but the drive from there to about Utica is flat and mostly ugly with only the Erie Canal to see. The Canadian side is prettier and easier driving on 401.
2/ Boston, the children and parents will love. New England Aquarium, the new Rose Kennedy Park, North End Italian area, Fanueil Hall, Public Gardens, Boston Common. Walk the Freedom Trail and at the Old North Church, we'll leave a light on, two if you come by sea!
3/ Maine does have great seaside restaurants but bunches more--Portland can be a mini-Boston, some of the best restaurants in the East, Portland Sea Dogs minor league baseball for an All-American experience, the "mail boat" cruise around Casco Bay, Gritty McDuffs for a pub lunch, Street & Co for seafood dinner. Acadia Park and Bar Harbor, a short drive from Bangor, are magnificent. Acadia National Park was mostly a gift of that robber baron Rockefeller.
4/ The border crossing at Calais, ME (Cal-liss, not Cal-lay) is usually not too busy. St. John's NB is a good stop off, old Loyalist town.
5/ Halifax is about 4 hours from St John's, see the Citadel, the museum of the WW I ship explosion, the Public Garden, Five Fisherman for dinner, Peggy's Cove, which is not real but a national park.
Say I rented a car in the US and wanted to drive into Canada for a few days (or vice versa) and was permitted by the rental company to do so, what visa, or customs hurdles would I face?
You may find that part a bit of a hurdle. see the following from Avis as one example:
Canadian vehicles may be driven into the U.S.
Certain U.S. vehicles may be rented in the U.S. and driven into Canada by U.S. residents with advance arrangement and consent from Avis. A Canadian non-resident insurance card may be required and is available at the Avis rental location at the time of vehicle pick up.
Due to Canadian law, a Canadian resident is restricted from driving a U.S. owned vehicle into Canada.
While it doesn't explicitly address the case of being neither US nor Canadian-resident, it doesn't sound straightforward.
The North Pacific Ocean is about ONE MILE from where I type.
GF, where the hell are you?
I do believe that he was inferring that the seafood produced from the North Atlantic is superior to the North Pacific. As where you live, I believe, is about 3,000 miles from where he lives on the North Atlantic.
He was having a bit of fun me thinks.
Oh, by the way and don't tell GF this, but I rather perfer North Pacific oysters to those from New England.