Yarmouth County is a great place to start a tour of Nova Scotia because it’s right where the CAT ferry stops, making it the landing place for several guests. It’s a county full of history and natural beauty, and there are options for any age or experience. From wild adventures to pretty walks, you could spend weeks enjoying the full outdoor experience of Yarmouth County.
** Make sure you are aware of all health regulations and other travel-related information before travelling. Some places might be closed due to various reasons including the current pandemic**
See the Stars by a Lollipop-Shaped Lighthouse
The Cape Forchu Lighthouse lets you see the CAT as it travels from Yarmouth to Maine and back. You can enjoy the view of the ocean as you walk along the Leif Erikson trail, and check out the Keeper’s Kitchen for a delicious meal. This is a great place to come at the end of the day, because the sunset views and stargazing are simply incredible.
Address: It’s along route 304
See Houses From the 1800s
This district has several houses that have survived all the way from the Age of Sail in the 1800s. These houses were in the more prosperous parts of town, and they’re still impressive today. As you walk by the former houses of captains and businessmen, you’ll get a real sense of Yarmouth’s history. You’re free to wander on your own, or you can participate in the Heritage Walking Tour and get a full dose of history as you go further into Yarmouth.
Address: Collins Street, Yarmouth
See Hidden Islands at a Hidden Gem Beach
Comeau Hill Beach is a hidden gem in Arcadia, right at the end of Melbourne Road. Comeau’s Hill Beach is small and sandy with a little path above the beach if you want a better view. You can actually see the Tusket Islands from this beach; it’s one of the few places you can see the islands from on land. There’s also a short trail out to ‘la Roche’ rock, that has a cool crevice in it (you’ll have to see for yourself what its shape is).
Address: Melbourne Road, Arcadia, Yarmouth
See Stars Inside and Outside
Humans have been looking at the night sky for thousands of years, and you can see the sum of that progress at the Deep Sky Eye Observatory. They have tours that include some time inside the observatory to learn about astronomy, some time outside observing with the naked eyes, and then you can look through their telescope! If you want to stay and spend more time with the stars, they now have places to stay on site, including ‘bubble tents’ with clear domes, so you can watch the stars until you fall asleep.
Cost: 55$ + tax for adults, 30$ + children 6-12
Address: 338 Frotten Road, Tusket NS
Stand Up and Paddle
SUP stands for stand-uppaddleboard, and it gives you a new way to experience the water. The East Coast Paddle Company is here to help make that experience great, with rentals if you’re ready to venture on your own, or you can take one of their tours. It’s early in the season, so right now you can book the ‘Mild to Wild Wilderness Adventure’, which sets you up with all the gear you need for ½ day to multi-day trips. In the past they’ve also done Dark Sky tours, Full Moon Paddle Tours, and even a SUP and Suds tour, which involves paddling and then enjoying a craft brewery.
Cost: Depends on tour, see website
Address: 1160 Raynardton Road, Raynardton Nova Scotia
Visit a Frosty Park
Frost Park is a beautiful small park in downtown Yarmouth. Once a cemetery, it’s now a beautiful green space by the water. This is where some of the walking tours meet, so you may be headed there anyway! Enjoy the awesome 150 year old fountain that gets all dolled up for the holidays, find the compass rose, or just sit and enjoy the mixture of green grass and blue water to look at.
Address: Main Street
Bike In and Out of Yarmouth
Going for bike rides is a great family activity because it becomes an equalizer—people of different ages and fitness can keep close together. The Hebron Lakes path is a mashup of a trail and biking in Yarmouth itself. You’ll pass by the lakes and enjoy a look at these country roads. If you follow the full path described in the link below it’s 12.7 km of paved and mainly flat terrain, so it’s a great activity for everyone and you get to go as fast as you please along the way!
Fresh Water Escape
Yarmouth is right on the south-west coast of Nova Scotia, so there’s plenty of sea-beaches to explore. But if you’re not super fond of swimming in the ocean, check out Lake Milo. Right along main street, this lake has several docks that you can swim between and around (though not always under). They’ve also got a boathouse, so if you want to bring a water-vehicle you can enjoy the lake that way. The water is quite warm, and there’s usually a cool breeze even on the hottest day, so you’ll be beating the heat whether you’re in the water or out.
Address: 700 Main Street, Yarmouth
Visit the Birthplace of a Dog Type
Little River is the birthplace of the Little River Duck Dog, now more commonly known as the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, which is a very good doggo. This is close by to Comeau Hill Beach, and you can also roam the salt marshes. Watch the tide come in, maybe with your own doggo, and hey, if you’ve been looking for a dog, they’ve got plenty of places to find one of the Duck Dogs to take home with you!
Address: Little River
Play Lobster Fisherman
The ocean is integral to Nova Scotian life, and the Yarmouth Living wharves give a close-up look at the fishing industry in Yarmouth. You spend the afternoon on a lobster boat and learn how to set traps, band lobsters, and set up ropes. After this you go to the Savour the Sea experience to have super-fresh lobster on the beach.
Cost: Call Visitor’s Information Centre
Address: Depends on the day of the week, see the link for details
Phone: 1-800-565-0000 or 902-742-5033 (Visitor’s Information Centre)
Play Lobster Chef
Lobster fishing is a big business in Nova Scotia, maybe only second to cooking and eating it. When you go to the Argyler Lodge, you get to do the latter! You’ll explore an herb garden, build a fire, and boil your very own lobster dinner. You eat all together at the beach, looking out onto an ocean sunset while you dine on fresh lobster that you learned how to make yourself, an invaluable skill if you spend any time at all in Nova Scotia. They also teach you how to eat it properly, which is important when you don’t want to look like a doofus in a restaurant and have your dad break it apart for you when you’re sixteen. Maybe I should do this…
Address: 52 Ye Olde Argyler Road, Lower Argyle
Find an Acadian Graveyard
Yarmouth includes part of what once were Acadian settlements. If you’re not familiar with the history of the Acadian deportation, this isn’t a bad place to start. This cemetery is the resting place of several Acadians who returned after the deportation.It sits in the Historic Village of Acadia, which is a fascinating place on its own as you can see the Acadian way of life from centuries ago. The cemetery in particular is spacious and solemn, a powerful reminder of the people who survived the deportation and insisted on coming back to their homeland.
Cost: 10$ for adults, 8$ for kids and seniors (gives you access to the whole village)
Address: 91 Old Church Road, Lower West Pubnico
Phone: 902-762-2530 or 1-888-381-8999
Visit an Almost-Island
I really like the name of Pinkney’s Point, a peninsula only by strictest definition. You have to travel by car for 2 km through the salt marshes to reach the point, where you’ll find a small village of about 300 people. The beach is rocky and great for looking for seaglass and other sea treasures, and you’ll see tremendous populations of sea birds. It’s absolutely beautiful as you can see in the pictures, and standing on the beach at sunset takes on a whole new meaning when you’re surrounded by ocean and people whose lives revolve around the tides.
Address: Pinkney Point
Take Beautiful Pictures While Swimming
This park, like many in Nova Scotia, has a wonderful beach (that is in the title, after all). You can go swimming and then have a picnic on a grassy area over the dunes. But what this park has that’s special is a spectacular view of a nearby wharf. The natural beauty of the park is one thing, but the wharf and the boats can be captured in pictures at the same time. It’s a cool juxtaposition of the ways humans interact with the sea—we stand on the edge, we swim in it, and we boat over it.
Address: 3297 Main Shore Road, Port Maitland
Enjoy the Power of a Windy Day
There are several ‘points’ in Yarmouth, aren’t there? Pubnico Point goes right along the coast up to the point, and there’s plenty to see along the way. There’s the local wildlife, of course, but you can also see Don Quixote’s updated nemesis: wind turbines, 17 of them in fact. It’s a 5 km walk one way, so you’ll have lots of time to enjoy the sea air as it moves through the turbines.
Address: End of Highway 335, outside of Lower West Pubnico
Boats and Lobsters
If you loved the lobster dinner at the Argyler, you’re sure to enjoy this one as well. Savour the Sea takes you further out onto the sea as you tour the Harbour, accompanied by local legends and local songs. Once your boat ride is over, you’ll enjoy a wharfside lobster dinner at the Yarmouth Bar, so you don’t have to try cooking it if that’s not your thing!
Cost: 99$ per person
Address: Yarmouth Bar, 99 Water Street, Yarmouth
Paddles and Picnics
Whether you’ve never been in a kayak or you regularly kayak in the ocean, when you’re in a new place you can always use a guide to get used to things. The Song of the Paddle will take you on a guided kayak tour of the Yarmouth Harbour. The trip is made even better by their partnership with “The Red Shed” (which is actually a truck), so you can have a picnic on your kayak! If you enjoy it, you should check out their other tour through Ellenwood Lake Provincial Park.
Cost: 65$ for people with their own boats/equipment, 100$ for people who need to rent
Address: 161 Brazil Lake Road, Brenton
Find Some Fish
Sportfishing is one of those activities that is perfect for Nova Scotia, because we’re almost completely surrounded by water. Yarmouth is no exception, and has several places to fish in both lakes and the ocean. You can charter a cruise for deep sea fishing if you wish (more on that later), or you can stay on shore and try your luck there. You’ll need a license and a rod, and then you’re good to go!
Cost: Depends on length of license, see link above for options (note: licenses are only required for anglers 16 and over)
Take a Tiny Trail with Tons of Traits
Tikpok Trail is a short trail with a lot of character. It’s a 1 km loop that takes you through forest and marsh, and it has two lookout points where you can sit down. If you look carefully though, there’s more to the trail. There are interpretive panels along the way, some outdoor exercise equipment (which is apparently not a tire swing, so there’s room for improvement), and there’s varied terrain from boardwalk to simple forest path. It’s a great way to get some fresh air if you’ve got little ones or not much time, and it’s called Tikpok! What’s not to like?
Address: Arcadia School (trailhead), 10177 Highway 3, Arcadia
Go into the Wilderness
The Tobeatic Wilderness and Trout Point Lodge really go hand in hand. The Tobeatic Wilderness is a protected UNESCO Biosphere, stretching over 5 counties to protect local biodiversity. It’s a stunning place to explore, but due to the nature of the place (I will not apologize for puns) it can be tricky to get around without a solid base. That’s where Trout Point Lodge comes in. It’s a beautiful lodge in the middle of nowhere with all the resources you could ever want to experience the wilderness. From forest bathing to hiking to fishing, you’ll be able to do it here while learning about the importance of the Tobeatic, and become inspired to protect nature in your own backyard.
Tour the Tusket
As I mentioned before, the Tusket Islands are difficult to see from the shore. But when you’re out on the sea, you can see everything! These tours are run by the LeBlanc brothers, and they’ll take you out to the islands, feed you fresh seafood chowder, and then bring you back to shore with live music accompanying you. Recently, they’ve completed work on cottages on the island, so you can spend the night if you wish! This is also one of the options for chartering if you want to do deep sea fishing, so there’s something for everyone!
Cost: 87$ per adult, 55$ for youth under 18, and kids under 5 come for free. It’s 115$ per person for a fishing charter, minimum 4 people.
Address: Wedgeport Nova Scotia
Experience Nature by Night and Day
All trails can claim to be a ‘nature trail’, but Wedgeport Nature Trail trail really gives you a full look at natural Nova Scotia. The trail consists of stacked loops that work out to about 5.4 km and take you past various areas like marshes, the Tusket River estuary, and barrier-beach ponds. It gets even more magical at night, because it’s the only UNESCO Starlight tourist area in North America. There’s an accessible viewing platform with lots of benches and tables, so you can come and hang out under the starlight with the whole family. If you see a shooting star, remember to make a wish!
Address: Tuna Wharf Road, Wedgeport
Golf by the Ocean
This is for people who like to golf of course (I’m hilarious), and it’s a great option. There are eighteen holes to play across a beautiful green space, and they also have a putting green and a driving range. The prices are reasonable, and they allow for a lot of flexible options (including ones for younger kids, and special rates for later in the day). The ocean view is beautiful, although apparently the breezes can be tricky, and they have a licensed snack bar for the end of the day.
Cost: Varies depending on what you want to play
Address: 28 Forbes Street, Yarmouth
Visit an Inclusive Cemetery
The Yarmouth Mountain Cemetery isn’t quite on a “mountain”, but it is in a vertical direction from the rest of Yarmouth, so I suppose it counts. Built to replace Frost Park as a cemetery location, it’s a beautiful 40-acre property. There’s a chapel for all denominations, as people of all denominations were buried there. You can take a walking tour (or just take a virtual tour beforehand and then wander at will), and you’ll see that it feels almost like an ordinary park. This cemetery has become a place of repose and memory for the 10,000 buried here.
Cost: Free, can give donations after the tour for upkeep
Address: 27 James Street, Yarmouth
Visit the Y- of Nova Scotian Waterfronts
I’ve mentioned a few activities along the Yarmouth Waterfront, but the Waterfront itself is worth an entry. It’s actually 5 km long, which is about a 55 minute walk down the wharves and seashore. Having worked on the Halifax waterfront, I can tell you that waterfronts are a magic of their own, and it’s different every day. There are places to stop and eat, or simply stop and rest and enjoy the view, and it’s a great way to check out some of the other ideas on this list if you need to see some for yourself.
Address: 211 Water Street
Author: Adrienne Colborne