Nova Scotia is known for its beautiful ocean views and its lovely forests, which makes you want to head outside and go on a spontaneous adventure. From hiking the rocky coastal trails to paddling down one of the many rivers, there is something for everyone to experience and enjoy in this beautiful province – 25 Outdoor Adventures in Nova Scotia.
At the end of the day, you can rough it in a campsite or relax at a local B&B.
1. Vollmer’s Island Paradise – Janvrin Harbour
This is the perfect location for nature enthusiasts to enjoy the natural beauty of the island by going on a 3-hour hike on one of the three scenic trails prepared by Parks Canada. You can also enjoy nature by relaxing on an hour and a half boat tour that takes you to see seals lying on rocks at sunset. Details
2. Surfing at Lawrencetown Beach with East Coast Surf School – Lawrencetown
People from across the world come to Nova Scotia to surf at Lawrencetown beach. For many people, surfing the Atlantic Ocean can be intimidating, but the East Coast Surf School eases you into surfing this beautiful coastline. The instructors are wonderful at aiming the lesson to whatever level their students are at.
There’s nothing like the thrill of riding your first wave. The expert surf instructors at East Coast Surf School get the majority of our students up and riding a wave after just one session. However, if you feel confident, you can face the waves on your own by renting a surfboard and wetsuit and hitting the surf. Details
3. Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail – Timberlea
If you are looking for a challenging hike, the rugged Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail is over 30 km long with 4 stacked loops that eventually end up going around Upper Five Bridge Lake. Each one of the loops takes about 3 to 4 hours to complete. The loops are colour-coded. Together, the first two loops are about 12 km and take a full seven hours to hike.
The trail generally moves over high ground with frequent stunningly views of the lakes and wilderness. There are maps of the trails on the Bluff Wilderness website, along with map panels on the trail where the loops intersect. Details
4. Shubenacadie Tidal Bore Rafting Resort – Urbania
At Rafters Ridge Cottages at the Tidal Bore Rafting Resort, 180-acre natural setting alongside the gorgeous Shubenacadie river bank you can raft the exciting tidal bore on either a two-hour or a four-hour rafting trip. After a long day of rafting, you can put your feet up and relax on one of the licensed outdoor decks and view the tidal bore with a beverage by your side.
If you get tired of rafting or it is just not your ‘thing’, you can indulge their adventurous spirit on several miles of hiking and skiing trails. You can also enjoy the outdoor above-ground swimming pool or you can relax and sit around the fire pits and view the soaring eagles. Details
5. Keltic Express Zodiac Adventures – Ingonish
Zip along the rugged shores in a Zodiac in search of whales, dolphins, leatherback turtles, eagles and more! Seals and Puffins are observed on nearly every tour. The success rate of their sightings is one of the best in Atlantic Canada, with it being more than ninety-five percent! Details
6. Bara Whitewater Rafting – Beaver Brook
Bára Whitewater Rafting is located in historic Maitland. The Shubenachie River is a unique place to go rafting and people come from near and far to go whitewater rafting. In just four hours, the water levels can rise 30 feet, so the rushing water and the natural funnel waterway will take you for a once in a lifetime ride.
So, wear your oldest clothes and shoes because you will most likely have the chance to go mud sliding and swimming in the river at the end of the ride. There are also hot showers available on site. As an extra treat, all guest receive a full digital album from the boat mounted camera. Details
7. East Coast Outfitters – Lower Prospect
Learn how to sea kayak, stand-up paddleboard, or canoe at Halifax’s premier paddling spot. East Coast Outfitters guides are highly trained and qualified paddlers in the area and will show you everything you need to know in order to be safe in the water.
Most excursions are suitable for all experience levels and range from the half-day to multi-day tour, plus special trips at sunset. The expert guides lead kayaks past the rocky coasts of wild islands and explore sheltered inlets. Sometimes, local wildlife such as eagles, seals, and whales will make special appearances. They also have other activities for visitors to enjoy, such as an after-work paddle, a BBQ & live music on Friday nights, and Yoga on Sundays. Details
8. Climb Nova Scotia – Halifax
Rock climbing in the great outdoors is not something that is commonly offered in Nova Scotia. Climb Nova Scotia offers climbing lessons across the province. Every Thursday, interested climbers meet up at the Armdale Rotary in the parking lot in front of St. James Church at 6 pm sharp! From there, the climbers carpool to the climbing area scheduled for that evening.
Climb Nova Scotia offer rope guides and a list of safe climbing areas in Nova Scotia. Climbers of all skill levels are welcome to join this group. For new climbers, this group is a great way to discover new bouldering spots, get to know other climbers and make new friends with a common interest.
9. Mariner Cruises Whale & Seabird Tours – Westport
For over 20 years, Mariner Cruises has been offering whale watching and bird watching tours just off of Brier Island in the Bay of Fundy. Each tour is narrated by local naturalists who are well-versed in the wildlife that calls each specific area home. You will find that it is truly incredible to see these amazing creatures “playing” in their natural habitat.
When you are on the cruise, always make sure you are sitting on the Captain side of the boat, if you’re looking forward it’s the right-hand side because once someone spots a whale the captain will always keep it on his right so he can see how close the boat is for safety. You should also either wear layers or bring extra clothing as it gets cold in the bay. Details
10. Nova Scotia Sea School – Halifax
Adults and youth alike can experience sailing on the open sea at the Nova Scotia Sea School, where they can take command of the boat, navigate the course and have amazing time on the ocean. Each tour is unique and each person sets their own course. You get to live on the water and explore the rugged coastline of the South Shore of Nova Scotia as you navigate by the stars and soak in the warm summer rays. No sailing experience is necessary because they will teach you what you need to know.
The Nova Scotia Sea School provides transformational learning opportunities that are guided by the spirit of the sea. Each adventure that ensures access for everyone to discover the values of leadership, community, generosity, courage, resiliency, environmental stewardship and humour. Details
11. Murphy’s Scenic Boat Tours – Murphy Cove
12. Shubie River Wranglers – South Maitland
People come every year from around the world to experience the Shubenacadie River. The staff of Shubie River Wranglers is full of experienced drivers who will make sure you’ll have a blast while tidal bore rafting down the beautiful, iconic Shubenacadie River. Every tidal bore tour will give you the opportunity to ride extreme waves and slide down some of the best mud banks that the Maritimes have to offer.
You can pick between the 2 and 4 hour guided river tours and after the tour is over, you can take a breather and experience the beautiful sights or try to spot the local wildlife. The Shubenacadie River is also home to a large population of bald eagles, so there are multiple sightings on every trip! Details
13. Open Top Tours of Nova Scotia – Hubley
Enjoy the sights of Nova Scotia in an open-top 4 x 4 jeeps. Open Top Tours offer a day-long tour, where they make stops along the way to take pictures, taste the local food and wine, visit the local fishing villages, and relax on the spectacular beaches. The guides are multilingual and are well versed in local stories and the area.
They offer direct pick-up and drop off to your location whether it is from your cruise ship, hotel, or another location. They even offer a drop off service to the airport at the end of your tour to maximize your stay! Their tours are customizable, so you can easily explore Nova Scotia the way that you want to. Details
14. Cape Chignecto Coastal Trail – West Advocate
Enjoy the silence and breathtaking views during a hike in the Cape Chignecto Coastal Trail. The trail is 53 kilometre long coastal loop, so you should plan to stay in or near the trail at all times. The trail can be challenging in some parts, so you should be prepared for the challenges that the trail can offer.
Hikers should keep in mind that Cape Chignecto is a backcountry trail and camping experience, so they should be physically fit and carry appropriate wilderness travel equipment, including survival and first aid kits. They must also leave a back-country travel plan with the park staff when they enter the park. Details
15. Sam’s Woodland Tour – Upper Branch
The rail trail tour explores the Centennial Trail in Bridgewater and connects to the LaHave River Trail in Cookville. This walking tour in Bridgewater focuses on the railway in the area, along with the role that the lumber industry played in the development of the Town of Bridgewater and Lunenburg County. Details
16. Anchors Above Zipline – French River
At Anchors Above Zipline, you will get to glide through the forest on the two ziplines, but before you zip around the park, you will need to hike through the forest. The Monster Line is the most popular. It’s 1,100 feet long and drops 240 feet. The second line will get you back to the parking lot and is 900 feet long.
The runs themselves are fun and have a nice view. I’d say it took about half an hour to go through them and get to the bottom. Since you are going to be so high up, wear the proper clothes, sunscreen and lots of bug repellent. Details
17. Amoeba Sailing Tours – Baddeck
Join Captain John Bryson and his crew aboard Schooner Amoeba, the original vessel that has been sailing on the Bras d’Or Lakes for 29 years. The history of this gorgeous area will amaze area you, and the captain will keep you entertained with local stories and educational narratives about the Alexander Graham Bell home and about the Baddeck area.
The power of moving completely under sail without an engine will put you at ease while the way the Captain feeds the bald eagles will astound you. You will enjoy sailing around the bay, while observing the beautiful shoreline and spot the wildlife. You will see bald eagles, seals, and marine birds, on this one and a half hour trip. Details
18. Atlantic School of Skydiving – South Maitland
If you have always wanted to go skydiving, you can get a bird’s eye view of Nova Scotia when you go do it with this skydiving school. The Atlantic School of Skydiving offers skydiving classes of all levels of experience skydivers. Dave and his team will teach you the ropes and make sure that your jump is safe.
They also offer tandem skydives from 3,000 m (10,000 ft) over the Annapolis Valley with an expert instructor, along with a video of your diving experience. So, if you have ever dreamed of flying, schedule your next adventure with Dave and his team. Details
19. Cape Breton Lobster Adventure Tours – Baddeck
Captain Brian will also haul up the lobster traps and examine the catch, explain how the lobster traps work, how to differentiate between male and female lobsters, how to band claws, and explained how to measure the lobsters for keeping. You may also get to feed some eagles or even steer the boat.
20. East Coast Glamping – Hammonds Plains
Why rough it when you are camping. East Coast Glamping makes your camping experience extremely comfortable. Their Wanderlust Gear Rental kits are customized to fit your camping style and your needs. East Coast Glamping can help you enjoy the sleeping under the stars without the discomfort of camping.
When you order an East Coast Glamping package, you’ll experience quality through their attention to every detail, with their high-quality, cosy flannel bedding, deluxe camping beds, and ambient lighting, all within the mesh of a luxury canvas bell tent. You will also love their locally sourced toiletries, camping necessities, and custom-made products. Details
21. Serenity Acres Family Ranch – Ardoise
A relaxing and fun horseback riding facility in Ardoise, which is on the lovely Evangeline Trail. The riding experiences are stress-free and are fun for the whole family. It is a safe space to escape the chaos of your daily life and connect with nature and horses. There are guided trail rides and riding lessons for people of all ages to enjoy.
Ride and swim packages are also available since the ranch’s features also include an indoor pool and hot tub. However, if horseback riding is not your thing, there are indoor and outdoor picnic sites, barbecues, a play area and a tennis court for you to enjoy. Details
22. Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site – Maitland Bridge
The best way of experiencing Kejimkujik National Park, which is the only Parks Canada site that is designated both a National Park and a National Historic site, is by camping at the park. Visitors can choose to camp at the campsites near amenities or travel further into the wilderness site, and sleep under the star filled sky in a park that is also a designated Dark Sky Preserve.
Visitors to Kejimkujik can explore the traditional waterways by canoe, following the same routes that were once taken by the natives. Hikers will love Keji’s 15 day-hiking trails that cut through a wide range of forest because the trails are open throughout the year, giving lots of opportunities to spot the park’s wild inhabitants, such as foxes and deer. The park has short looped hiking trails that are easy walk and dogs are welcome in the park as long as they are leashed. Details
23. Trout Point Lodge – Kemptville
Stay at Trout Point Lodge to experience the wilderness. The Tobeatic is a storied region of the province known best for its moose herd, trout streams, and rugged canoe routes through rocky lakes and wild rivers.
The luxury lodge also aims to help guests disconnect, learn about local ecology while detoxifying themselves with their Forest bathing experience. It is an exercise that benefits mind, body, and soul, so Trout Point Lodge introduced the forest bathing experience for guests who need to shake off the effects of city living. Led by knowledgeable guides, Trout Point’s geo-excursions reveal and connect geology, natural history & human history in Kemptville, the local village. Details
24. Upper Clements Amusement Park
25. The Halifax Ghost Walk – Halifax
How well do you know the history of Halifax? The Halifax Ghost Walk is the oldest ghost tour in North America. You can take the whole family to explore Citadel Hill and travel to the waterfront. You will end up stopping at many of the city’s oldest and spookiest building on your way. Your guide will share an eerie and unique history lesson of Halifax while sharing the dark secrets of the past.
The tours are designed for all age groups and are typically conducted on dark, quiet nights. It is a fun, interesting, and thought-provoking way to spend part of an evening in Halifax because poking around Halifax’s various nooks & crannies allows you to see the city in a different light. Details