There are certainly so many interesting things to do in Nova Scotia: scenic hiking trails, soothing beaches, cool craft breweries, and lots of lobster. But it is dotted with fishing harbors, sandy beaches, and plump islands along its long coastline. With so many things to do and places to visit in Nova Scotia, choosing the must-sees can be a bit of a challenge if you’re on time limits. With our list of the top Nova Scotia attractions, find the best places to visit in this fascinating province.
Best Time to Visit Nova Scotia
The best visiting season is from May to October. Some hotels and restaurants may close after October, but there are several fall festivals offering music and food festivities. The operators of Nova Scotia have a limited tourism season that may convert to higher prices. It is also, though, very fair.
How to Reach Nova Scotia?
By Air: There are a wide number of facilities at Halifax airport, including a Tourist Information Center, for both international airports and private airports that accept charters. Halifax Stanfield International Airport is situated about 30-45 minutes from Halifax city centre. They have brochures, maps, lists of activities, and they will even help you find a place to stay.
By Water: If it’s by ferry, cruise ship, or sailing, Nova Scotia is a breeze to get to by sea. There are 5 ferries, 1 from New Brunswick, 1 from Prince Edward Island and 2 from Newfoundland, arriving in Nova Scotia via Portland, Maine. It can be fast and easy, and getting here with the excitement of an ocean voyage is really half the fun.
By Road: The bulk of tourists find their way by car to Nova Scotia. When you reach the province through New Brunswick, the principal entrance point is Amherst. In Amherst, there is an impressive Tourist Information Centre. This is a stopover must. When you cross the border, you can see the Welcoming Lighthouse as well.
Now Coming to top attractions, here are the must visit places in Nova Scotia…
1. Cabot Trail
The northwest coast of Cape Breton Island and Cape Breton Highlands National Park are a scenic 300-kilometer drive of the Cabot Trail Tourism. It is a coastal road where the Gulf of St. Lawrence suddenly crosses the highest mountains in Nova Scotia. There are endless photo opportunities provided by cliffs, beaches, views, and a winding path, and this is a very popular motorcycle tour route. One of the common activities to do is hiking.
One of the finest places to visit in Nova Scotia is the capital city of Halifax. Halifax is tiny enough not to annoy you, but it has enough on offer to keep you occupied for a couple of days. There are still plenty of areas here, so get out of the downtown area and explore a little more if you have time. The area is home to green parks, historical landmarks, pedestrian-only walkways, festivals and concerts, museums and galleries, and, of course, delicious restaurants.
3. Peggy’s Cove
There is a back-in-time feel to the fishing village of Peggy’s Cove. Peggy’s Point Lighthouse, one of Canada’s most photographed lighthouses, stands at a dangerous point on the foggy Atlantic Coast. Stark, wave-battered granite bluffs surround the lighthouse and, if visiting the rugged shoreline, visitors should exercise strict caution. Fishing wharves and boathouses line this successful fishing community’s coast, and the twisting path is lined by vibrant heritage homes and art galleries.
4. Mahone Bay
Mahone Bay is a great place to spend some time and is certainly one of the attractions you don’t want to overlook in Nova Scotia. Continuing along the beautiful Lighthouse Path, you can arrive at Mahone Bay, renowned for its 3 famous churches, relaxed environment, and hospitality in the small community. There’s also a trail that links Mahone Bay with the town of Lunenburg, whether you feel more involved, or have extra time.
5. Cape Breton Highlands National Park
Cape Breton Highlands National Park, which is at the northern tip of Cape Breton Island, has the highest peaks in Nova Scotia. Both the beaches and cliffs along the coastline and the inland forests and rivers tempt hikers, campers, and families to visit the park. In the national park, wildlife viewing is excellent, with moose, beaver, eagles, and deer frequently seen from the scenic drive of the Cabot Trail that partly slices through the park. Skyline Trail, a scenic path set out on an easy-to-walk wooden boardwalk route, is also home to the park.
6. Blue Rocks
Blue Rocks Tourism is the fantasy spot of a photographer. Next to the blue shale cliffs, with the thundering Atlantic Ocean on one side, and the tranquil inlets covered by tiny islands on the other, are small fishing shacks and boats. Most visitors come to walk about here, take selfies and just admire the silence of it all. This, though, is also one of Nova Scotia’s best places to explore if you want to go kayaking.
Brightly coloured heritage houses dot the hilly townscape of Lunenburg, about three-quarters of which are the original 18th and 19th century architectures. Many of these have been converted into inns and bed-and-breakfasts and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the city. When it became an early shipbuilding base, Lunenburg’s legacy was established. Wandering about on foot in Lunenburg is a fun experience with its British colonial grid-style avenues. Victorian and Colonial architecture, and harbour-side restaurants are also part.
8. Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park
Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park Tourism is a perfect day ride. Spread over 40 hectares, the park is home to a wide number of indigenous and native species of wildlife, including moose, foxes, beavers, wolves, black bears, and cougars. Horse fanciers take note: the park is the world’s first nature park with horses from Sable Island. This facility puts particular focus on providing Nova Scotians and tourists alike with a wide variety of outdoor leisure and educational opportunities.
On the Lighthouse Route, this oceanside town is where, after the American Revolution, thousands of Loyalists fled the United States. Still faithful to the British, with a pledge of land and provisions, they were enticed to move to Shelburne. There are British flags still flying in Shelburne, and there is also a UK flag painted on the driveway. You can also find a shipbuilding plant here, a farmer’s market, cafes and restaurants. Also, the Wilderness Area of Bowers Meadows, which is a great spot for fishing, canoeing, climbing, and camping.
10. The Annapolis Valley
This beautiful valley is situated on the coast of the Bay of Fundy between two mountain ranges. This is one of the most beautiful areas to visit in Nova Scotia, home to agriculture, farming, villages, and vineyards. This valley has a lot to explore, from farmers’ markets and U-pick Fruit & Veg, to wineries and orchards. Plus, several families reside in the Annapolis Valley. You can find a great walking track, boutique stores, and plenty of fun bars and restaurants in the town itself.