See The Blooms At Halifax Public Gardens
Location: Halifax, NS
Why You Need to Go: This stunning Victorian garden looks like its been enchanted, with a charming gazebo, ornate iron gates, and two storybook bridges surrounded by lush greenery.
When you walk around this area, it is full of colorful flowers, and you will feel that you have made the right move. Secret Garden.
Watch For Birds At The Hawk Beach
The Hawk beach is a beautiful white sand beach located at the most southernly point of Nova Scotia. Known as one of the best birding areas in all of Eastern Canada as it is a major stopping point for migratory birds. Bring your binoculars and be on the look out for Piping Plovers, the Hudsonian Godwit, Brant, Sandpipers and more. At low tide part of the beach also reveals a 1,500-year-old drowned forest still rooted in place where it once stood. From the beach you can also get a great view of the Cape Sable lighthouse, the tallest in all of Nova Scotia.
Go On A Lobster Safari
Fishing is an important part of the culture and history of Nova Scotia and it is a large part of Nova Scotias economy. East Coast lobsters are considered the best in the world, and a great way to learn of the fishing industry is to go on a lobster safari. Off the coast of Cape Breton, we joined Gillis Lobster Tours where local fishermen showed us how lobsters are caught and what goes into conservation efforts to keep the lobster stock healthy.
- Watch our video: Lobster Safari in Nova Scotia
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Pay Your Respects At Historic Nova Scotia Churches
Some of the best free experiences in Nova Scotia can be found inside its historic churches. In Cape Breton, the magnificent stone Église St Pierre has towered over the Acadian fishing village of Chéticamp since 1893, displaying a stained-glass rose window, ornate plasterwork, and rare neoclassical French-Canadian style. Much older is St. Johns Anglican Church in Lunenburg, an arresting black-and-white Gothic building that’s the second-oldest Anglican church in the country. On the Acadian Shore, Église Ste-Marie is the tallest wooden church in North America, built in the shape of a cross with a steeple 58 meters high.
Things To Do In Lunenburg
Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the prettiest small coastal towns in the whole country. No visit to Nova Scotia would be complete without spending a day here.
Located just 100 kilometres southwest of Halifax, youll find brightly coloured heritage buildings dotting the hilly landscapes, most of which are original structures from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Whether you come for a few hours or stay for a few days, Lunenburg will charm your socks off.
The famous Canadian icon, which is printed on the Canadian dime and inside the Canadian passport, is a big part of Lunenburgs legacy as a shipbuilding centre. The Bluenose schooner, built here in 1921, won many international races before sinking off the coast of Haiti.
The replica, Bluenose II, is often in port and is a must-see if youre in Lunenburg. Not only is it one of the most beautiful sailboats youll ever see, but its also a very important piece of Canadian history.
There are also certain times throughout the year when you can actually go sailing for a couple of hours.
Lunenburg Walking Tour
Theres almost nothing better than a Lunenburg walking tour. When you first arrive in a new place, it really helps to liven the landscape. Thats just what happened when we took a walking tour with Ashlee from Lunenburg Walking Tours.
Trot In Time Horse Buggy Rides
If walking is hard for you , this is the tour for you.
Paddle Blue Rocks
Whale Watching in Lunenburg
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Maritime Museum Of The Atlantic
After visiting all those beautiful fishing villages of Nova Scotia, learn of the culture and heritage of Nova Scotians at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Located on the historic Halifax waterfront, this interactive museum is very entertaining. It showcases the history of maritime living and boat building. The maritime museum also highlights the tragedies of the Halifax explosion in 1917 and the sinking of the Titanic that went down just off the coast of Newfoundland.
When To Visit Nova Scotia
While summer is going to bring the best, most consistent weather, fall is THE time to visit Nova Scotia. Summer weather is ideal for long days of exploring and having the longest and most consistent operating hours for activities, but the fall colors make visiting just off season well worth it.
If you plan on visiting Nova Scotia in the spring, know that snows may continue to roll in through April, and many visitor services and tourist spots do not open until May.
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Kayak On The Bay Of Fundy
The Bay of Fundy is a renowned body of water famous for its extreme tidal changes and abundant marine life.
Every single day the Bay of Fundy lets in and out 16 billion tons of water, with tides reaching over 48 feet during high tide.
While during low tide, you can walk along the ocean floor. Beyond its unusual tidal changes, The Bay of Fundy is also home to marine life such as whales and spotting them within the Bay is quite common.
The best, and most exciting, way to experience The Bay of Fundy, is by going sea kayaking on the waters. This is the best way to see the extreme rock formations, sea stacks, tidal changes, and maybe even some whales!
The kayak tour companies in the Bay of Fundy are all very well trained and know all the best places to bring you to ensure you experience a whirlwind of an adventure.
Sea kayaking the Bay will show you a whole new side to these waters.
This is an adventure like no other, and after kayaking on the Bay waters, you can say you have kayaked on the most astronomical tides on earth.
By Samantha at Sam Sees World
More Places To See In Nova Scotia
Some of the places on the list for my next Nova Scotia road trip this summer:
Clare, Digby, Yarmouth, Pictou, New Glasgow, Antigonish, Amherst, Tatamagouche, Inverness, Dingwall, Guysborough, Canso, Isle Madame, Margaree Harbour, and Sydney.
There are probably several other places I missed, let me know whats on your list of best places to see in Nova Scotia.
Save it for later and share on Pinterest!
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Visit The Fisheries Museum Of The Atlantic In Lunenburg
One of the iconic red buildings on the waterfront of the UNESCO town of Lunenburg is the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic. The museum is jammed packed with history about Lunenburg and the fishing industry in Nova Scotia. It is also hands on where you can pet a live lobster and go onboard a fishing trawler and a schooner. Their newest exhibit highlights Atlantic Canadas first fishermen, the Mikmaq. Take a self guided or guided tour of the museum which is great for the whole family.
The museum is open from May to October.
Eat A Lobster Roll At Captain Kats
Captain Kats Lobster Shack is a seafood restaurant located in Barrington, Nova Scotia which is the lobster capital of Canada. If you are driving around the southern tip of Nova Scotia they are definitely a must stop. The restaurant is fully decorated in all things lobster, fishing and nautical. They serve delicious fish and chips, fish cakes, burgers, clams and chips and more. However you must try their award winning lobster roll. They also have a live lobster tank with some of the most unique lobsters you will ever see, like a 1 in a million blue lobster.
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Eat Some Digby Scallops
Just like its lobster, Nova Scotia has amazing fresh scallops that you just have to taste to believe. The fishing town of Digby claims to have the best scallops in the province, and of course, you deserve only the best. Get them right in town or look for them on local menus around the province.
Relax At The Sensea Nordic Spa
Opened in January 2020 the SENSEA Nordic Spa is the first Nordic Spa in Nova Scotia. Located in Chester, Nova Scotia overlooking Standford Lake this the ultimate destination for relaxation. Visit with a day pass and enjoy the hot and cold pools, saunas, hammams, and even an ice fountain. Treat yourself with a spa treatment like a facial, hot stone massage, or Swedish massage and the day pass is included to enjoy before or after your appointment.
The SENSEA Spa is open daily year round rain or shine. They will soon be offering accommodation on property in yurts.
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Visit The Food Festivals
As an agricultural and fishing region we have so many little festivals all over the province.
Whether it is the Avondale Garlic Festival or the world renown Devour Film Festival in Wolfville.
What other things to do in Nova Scotia did I miss? Let me know in the comments below.
Back In Time At The Halifax Citadel
From the sky, you can see that theHalifax Citadel is in a star shape, typical for military forts of the time. Take in the view over Halifax and the waters below from the top of Citadel Hill and get a glimpse at what the British soldiers back in 1749 could see when the town was founded. Its easy to get into character as soldiers in full regalia march around the fortress and perform military exercises, including the firing of the noon gun. Kids six years old and up can even sign up to a three-hour experience as they become a soldier for the day. They will be fitted for a uniform, complete drills and, if they are over 16, they can even fire a rifle. Younger kids will be given an official field drum to play.
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Delight In Nova Scotias Crazy Ice Cream Flavours
We have a lot of fun with ice cream. In fact, Jonnys Dairy Bar in Berwick has a sign that says:
I scream. You scream. The cops come. Its awkward!
We have all the standard flavours, including everyones infatuation with caramel and sea salt. However, there are 3 flavours of ice cream you must try in Nova Scotia:
Getting To Nova Scotia
There are non-stop flights to Halifax from Boston MA, New York City, and Newark NJ as well as many European cities such as London, Dublin, Paris, and Frankfurt. You can fly non-stop to Halifax from all major cities in Canada.
If you dont mind making a stop or two your options for flying to Nova Scotia are plentiful consult your favorite airlines website. Or try Google Flights or Skyscanner to find the best options and prices for your flight to Nova Scotia.
When I visited Nova Scotia the first time, I drove all the way from Calgary. I spent 6 days driving across Canada but then I enjoyed a whole month in Nova Scotia and a month in Maine before heading down to St Augustine Florida to enjoy the beaches!
On my second visit I spent six weeks driving across Canada before arriving in Nova Scotia.
Okay, lets see Nova Scotia!
Waterfront along Halifax boardwalk Tall Ship Silva
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Cruise One Of Nova Scotias Seacoast Drives
Highways are only good if you need to get somewhere fast. As a tourist its hard to get off these roads when Google Maps is recommending it as the fastest route.
But let me break it down like a local:
Like most places in Canada and the United States, roads were created to connect all the towns and villages together.
Because they werent the fastest, later we created highways to make it faster to drive long distances.
But we still use the older roads because they are far more interesting to drive through. And most often you can go 80km/h so taking them only mean extending driving time by 10-20 minutes.
If you ask a Nova Scotian how they got somewhere theyll say the new highway and the old highway or the new way, the scenic way and the old way.
But that doesnt help tourists looking at maps. Yet, its quite easy:
- You can take Trunk 1 or Highway 101
- Or take Trunk 3 or Highway 103
Wikipedia has this great list of all the trunks but basically we love the trunk highways. Its where all the good things are.
Dont Forget Our Seacoast Drives!
Growing up different highways were also designated as specific routes. My favourite is the picturesque Lighthouse Route in Nova Scotia.
But basically you can drive the parameter of the province and its beautiful.
There are six seacoast drives in Nova Scotia. Allow yourself extra time to drive slowly and stop for photos as the view is stunning.
Halifax Citadel National Historic Site Of Canada
For about two centuries, the Halifax Citadel a large hill overlooking the city served to protect the waterfront city and its inhabitants. It was the hill which prompted the British to build a settlement in Halifax in 1749, knowing that it would be easy to defend. Today, the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site of Canada doesnt serve to protect the town, but rather to teach people about its history. Explore the star-shaped military fortification, just as it was built in 1856, and which no enemy ever dared to attack. Tour the Army Museum and imagine life as a soldier within the fort walls. Experience the changing of the sentry guarding the Citadel Gates and listen for the Royal Artillerys traditional Noon Gun. Or take a guided tour and learn about the ghosts that are said the haunt the Citadel to this day.
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Bike The Rum Runners Trail From Halifax To Lunenburg
Cyclists rejoice. If youre looking for an epic bucket list adventure in Nova Scotia, look no further! The Rum Runners Trail is a 74-mile multi-use trail and biking trail which connects Nova Scotias capital of Halifax all the way to colorful and historic Lunenburg.
Talk about fresh air and freedom! Forget driving down the coast, bike it!
Learn Canadas History At The Canadian Museum Of Immigration At Pier 21
The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 is described as Canadas version of Ellis Island in New York. Now a National Historic Site over 1 million immigrants entered into Halifax via Pier 21 from 1928 to 1971. Visit to experience what it was like for people traveling to and immigrating to Canada. See what they brought with them, the food that was available, learn their stories and where they went after arriving. You can also do research and look into if you have any family connections to Halifax. There are guided tours offered or you can take your time and explore on your own. It is definitely worth a visit for an afternoon and ideal on a rainy day.
Book your tickets in advance here.
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Book Your Accommodations And Car Early
If you minimize your time in major cities, youll also minimize your hotel rates and experience small-town Nova Scotia . If your heart is set on camping in Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotias only dark-sky preserve, book your cabin ahead. This is a great place to stargaze.
Most people who visit Nova Scotia fly in and rent a car. Many of the large rental companies offer large discounts by reserving early. We were able to find some coupons as the companies are competitive with rates.
Things To Do In Cape Breton
Home to the tallest mountains in Nova Scotia, as well as a stunning coastline, Cape Breton is a gem of this maritime province. Located at the eastern end of Nova Scotia, youll find all sorts of things to do.
Check out Cape Breton Highlands National Park, walk the Cabot Trail, go whale watching, visit the Acadian towns, and much more.
Cape Breton Highlands National Park
No trip to Nova Scotia is complete without a visit to the incredibly scenic Cape Breton Highlands National Park! This incredible piece of nature is managed by Parks Canada and is home to the Cabot Trail, which is known as one of the most scenic drives in the world.
Youll also find plenty of hiking trails, mind-blowing views, beaches, and waterfalls. Wildlife watching is also wonderful in the national park, with moose, beaver, eagles, and deer.
The park is also home to the jaw-dropping Skyline Trail, a scenic route made up of a wooden boardwalk path. Overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence, visitors can spot whales below while enjoying panoramic views of the rugged coastline.
Cape Breton Highlands is one of my top memories and favourite things to see in Nova Scotia.
Another popular hike in the area is White Point Trail. This beautiful coastal trail is about 2.5 kilometres long and leads out to a lookout point with an incredible panoramic view over the cliffs, mountains and the ocean.
Drive the Cabot Trail
Bonus: Come in the fall for some of the most impressive fall colours in the country!
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