Lunenburg is a charming seaside town that is not short on sights to see for visitors on any trip to Nova Scotia. Lunenburg is also a picturesque UNESCO World Heritage Site that received this honour because it is one of the best examples of a classic British colonial settlement.
Be sure to stroll through the streets lined with colourful wooden homes, buildings, and the magnificent 19th-century churches. Make time to visit the tall ships docked along the waterfront and dine at the popular restaurants that serve fresh seafood. Listed below are 25 wonderful activities you can do during your summer visit to Lunenburg.
1. Sail on the Bluenose II
Climb aboard the famous Bluenose II schooner. The Bluenose II is a faithful replica of the Bluenose, which is pictured on the Canadian dime. The tours are two hours long and available when the schooner is in port. You can just enjoy the tour or be adventurous and become a deckhand for a day.
2. Visit Mahone Bay
Just 15 minutes outside of Lunenburg is Mahone Bay, another historic town. Explore the town by picking up a free historic walking tour pamphlet at the Settlers Museum. Mahone Bay was named one of Canada’s Top Ten Most Beautiful Towns by culturetrip.com, making it a ‘must-see’ area for visitors.
3. Lunenburg Fisheries’ Museum of the Atlantic
Learn about Nova Scotia’s diverse fishing heritage at the Lunenburg Fisheries’ Museum. You can get up close to various sea creatures at the tidal touch tank and see what is hiding under the waves. There are experienced Heritage Interpreters and retired fishermen who enhance the experience of visiting the Museum by providing historical commentary with stories of the Mi’kmaq fishery and the inshore fishery.
4. Trot in Time
Take a horse and buggy ride through historic Lunenburg with the Trot in Time Buggy Rides. The tours are 35 minutes long and start at the Lunenburg Fisheries’ Museum of the Atlantic parking lot. Along the way, the driver will share local legends and the history of the area.
5. Take a Lunenburg Walking Tour
The Lunenburg Walking Tour is one of the best ways of seeing the historic streets and the working waterfront. The guides and owners of the tour all come from original Lunenburg settlers and they were born and raised in this picturesque seaside town.
6. Little Lake Family Campground
The Little Lake Family Campground is an open campground situated on a lake just a few minutes’ drive from Lunenburg. When you book your site, you can choose to stay at either a camp hut, one of the 38 overnight sites, or one of the 62 seasonal sites. There are scheduled activities fort the kids, along with theme weekends the whole family will enjoy. You can also go canoeing, kayaking, and fishing if you want some private time on the lake.
7. Lunenburg Farmers Market
The Lunenburg Farmers Market has been a community tradition for over 30 years. The market is open on Thursday mornings, year round. You can browse the fabulous selection of local products and foods offered by the local vendors while you enjoy the local live music.
8. Bachmans’ Beach
This quiet, all sand beach is great for swimming, sun tanning, looking for sand dollars and sea glass, and sand-castle building. Bachman’s Beach is only a short 15-minute drive from Lunenburg. The beach is around 300 meters long and is a popular location for snorkeling.
9. Visit Oak Island
Oak Island has been a mystery for over 200 years and is one of the over 350 islands in the Mahone Bay. Today, the island is privately owned, but you can still visit the island with a tour. The day tour will take you around the island, so you can learn more about the island and the ‘cursed’ treasure that is rumored to be buried there.
10. Hirtles Beach
This beach can be a little hard to find but the trip is worth it. Hirtles Beach is both a salt water and a fresh water beach. There is 3 kilometres of sand that you can relax on or you can take a walk and do some beachcombing. There is a 6km walking loop take will take you around Gaff Point.
11. Explore Lunenburg Waterfront
Spend some time on one of the world’s most spectacular coastline and explore the Lunenburg Waterfront. The waterfront is lined with shops, cafes, floating docks and docked boats. It is a perfect place to spend a summer day.
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12. Haunted Lunenburg Tour
Be prepared for some scares when you take a Haunted Lunenburg Tour. The tour will take you down darkened streets and through the local cemetery while the guides will tell colourful tales of the historic town. The tour is an hour and half long, so be sure to wear comfortable footwear.
13. Rum Runner Trail
The Rum Runner Trail is a 110km trail corridor that connects Lunenburg to Halifax, which has stops in Mahone Bay, Hubbards, and Chester. It is a partnership of six organizations that manage seven sections of shared use trail for the greater good of the community including the economic, health and social benefits. There are multiple trailheads and look offs along the trail where bikers can rest and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
14. Lunenburg Heritage Fishing Tours
Climb about the Harbour Star and spend 45 minutes on the water learning about Lunenburg’s historic working waterfront or go fishing with Lunenburg Heritage Fishing Tours. Up to 12 people can take the tour at one time. On the fishing tour, you can catch Pollock and mackerel with a hand line or rod.
15. Lunenburg County Winery – Newburne
The Lunenburg Country Winery, located in the small village of Newburne, is surrounded by Acadian forests and picturesque rivers. You can tour the vineyard and do a tasting of the winery’s famous fruit wines. You can also pick high-bush blueberries at the winery, or just have a relaxing picnic with an amazing view.
16. Lunenburg Whale Watching Tour
Bring your camera and binoculars with you when taking a Lunenburg Whale Watching Tour. There are four tours daily that will take you to spots where whales are commonly seen. Along with whales, you can also spot dolphins, giant Bluefin tuna, puffins, and seals.
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17. Visit Blue Rocks
Just six minutes from Lunenburg is a photographers and artists delight. Blue Rocks is a working fishing community that sits on blue slate rocks. The fish shack at the edge of the ocean is the most photographed building in Canada. You can stroll through the streets of this beautiful community and take photos of the colourful buildings.
18. The South Shore Fish Shack
The South Shore Fish Shack may have a simple menu of seaside favourites, but the dishes are made to allow the fresh seafood to shine. Enjoy your meal with a spectacular view of the harbour on one of the fish shack’s patios.
19. Bay to Bay Trail
The Bay to Bay Trail is a 10km trail that follows the former railway line between Mahone Bay and Lunenburg on the picturesque South Shore of Nova Scotia. The trail can be used by hikers, cyclists, skiers, snowmobilers, ATV’s and horses.
20. Knaut-Rhuland House Museum
Explore Lunenburg’s history at the Knaut Rhuland House Museum. The costumed guides will take you around the 2 1/1 story museum that is a wonderful example of Georgian architecture, which is why it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The museum has both temporary and permanent exhibitions. The house has remained unaltered and is the only domestic dwelling in the town that is open to the public.
21. Lunenburg Berlin Wall Segment
One of the most unexpected items that visitors see in Lunenburg is a piece of the Berlin Wall. The Lunenburg Berlin Wall Segment is located on Falkland Street near the waterfront. The 3.6 metre tall piece is in the town because the town has many German settlers and seasonal residents.
22. Blue Hog Gallery
Lunenburg and the South Shore is home to many talented artists, and the Blue Hog Gallery is a great place to see their work. The gallery is one of the first buildings that you see when you enter Lunenburg. Along with the beautiful gallery, there is also a studio for artists to create in.
23. Halifax & Southwestern Railway Museum
Trains and the railway have played an important part in the history of Nova Scotia, so a visit to the Halifax & Southwestern Railway Museum is a fun way to learn about the railways. You can explore the replica of the 1950s ticket office and passenger car. There is also a 1/64 scale of the many towns on the South Shore, along with many interactive displays. This museum is a ‘must visit’ for anyone interested in trains and their history in the region.
24. Gaff Point
Gaff Point is the 124 acres that separates Hartling Bay and LaHave estuary, which has a 7-kilometre looped hiking trail which begins at Hirtles Beach located just outside of Lunenburg. There are three ecosystems that you can explore at Gaff Point; a wetland, a marine, and a terrestrial ecosystem. The Black Spruce forest often has deer and rabbits wandering near the trail.
25. Terra Beata Farms
Just a few minutes outside of Lunenburg is the bog where Terra Beata Farms cranberries are grown. The Bog Store is open year around, and you can pick your own cranberries in the fall. You can also the gift shop where they sell many types of jams, dried fruits, and juices.