If you’re looking for adventure, beauty, relaxation, history, incredible food, and interesting stores, you don’t have to leave the province. From Yarmouth to Meat Cove, Nova Scotia contains a vast multitude of incredible experiences. The following 50 ideas show that your staycation on this relatively small peninsular province can be everything you could ever want.
**Please obey all health regulations, travel advisories by Nova Scotia Parks, Parks Canada and the local government. Stay in your trail and respect the environment. Do your own research and be aware of the current regulations before you go. **
1. VISIT LIGHTHOUSES
With rugged coastlines, surrounding islands, and a long history of working with the ocean, it’s no surprise that Nova Scotia has a plethora of lighthouses. Some of them are still in operation, though unmanned, while others have been moved away from the coast to save them from erosion. Experience awesome coastal views learn about seafaring history, and (at a few), enjoy great snacks and dinner by the sea.
1.1 PEGGY’S COVE LIGHTHOUSE
You’ll find this lighthouse on many a postcard, and for good reason. The picturesque little town below the lighthouse sits just on the edge of the ocean. Keep off the dark rocks and take pictures to your heart’s content.
Address: Just off Highway 33, St. Margaret’s Bay
1.2 CAPE FORCHU LIGHTHOUSE
This lighthouse is oddly shaped, which makes it must-see. There’s also a restaurant attached to the lighthouse, and having dinner at sunset so you can walk under the stars is highly recommended.
Address: It’s along route 304. There are detailed directions on the Home page of the website.
1.3 LOUISBOURG LIGHTHOUSE
Right beside the historic Fort Louisbourg, the Louisbourg Lighthouse is not quite as old, but is only a few generations down from the first, which was the first lighthouse in Canada. It’s also the trailhead for the coastal Louisbourg Lighthouse Trail.
Address: Havenside Road, Louisbourg, Cape Breton
1.4 BATTERY PARK
Battery Park is home to a small beach, hiking trails, camp sites, and a beautiful little light house. Just outside of St. Peter’s, it’s a great quiet site to enjoy the view from a lighthouse site.
Cost: 27-36$ for camping
Address: 10110 Grenville Street, St. Peter’s, Cape Breton
2. EXPLORE THE BAY OF FUNDY
The Bay of Fundy is a natural wonder with the world’s highest tides. Come and experience the effects of those tides on marine wildlife, beaches, parks, and trails. Plan to stay a couple of days so that you can experience the full power of the tides.
2.1 BURNCOAT HEAD PARK
You’ll have a different experience at this park depending on the time of day, so make sure you come early so you get the full day spectrum. You can walk on the ocean floor while the tide is out, explore the walking trails and the park when it’s in, and enjoy spectacular views of Cobequid Bay.
Address: 45 Faulkner Avenue
2.2 NOVA SHORES ADVENTURES
If you want to get up close and personal with the shifting tides, you should check out Nova Shores’ tours. They’ve got everything from family tours to multiple-day trips around the bay and the various natural landmarks. They provide the kayaks and refreshments; you provide the wonder and arm strength!
Cost: Depends on tour, see site for details
Address: 37 School Lane, Advocate Harbour
Phone: 1-902-392-2222 or 1-866-638-4118 (toll-free)
2.3 BALANCING ROCK TRAIL
Everyone says bees in flight defy gravity, but they must have learned from the enormous Balancing Rock. This trail takes you cliffside all the way to the rock (but you can’t touch it, don’t worry). With a lot of stair climbing involved, this trail is an invigorating way to enjoy the wonders of nature.
Address: Highway 217 near #2652
2.4 SANDY COVE BEACH
If you just want to go for a swim in the bay, Sandy Cove Beach will serve your purpose admirably. It’s a big sandy beach with plenty of room for all visitors. And if you don’t feel like swimming, you should check it out at low tide, when you’ll be able to find cool rocks and sea glass with ease.
3. ENJOY VINEYARDS
The terroir of Nova Scotia offers a fantastic assortment of wines. From the South Shore to Cape Breton, explore the vineyards of Nova Scotia and enjoy the beautiful scenery on tours. Try some wines, enjoy the dining room’s food pairings, and come away with some bottles of your favourites to take home.
3.1 JOST VINEYARDS
If you’re looking for a wide variety of wine for your tastings, visit Jost Vineyards (they even have maple wine!) Settle in with friends for a few glasses, maybe with a picnic among the vines, provided by the Seagrape Café & Deli.
Cost: tour is 5$ per person
Address: 48 Vintage Lane, Malagash
Phone: 902-257-2636 or 1-800-565-4567 (toll free)
3.2 BEAR RIVER VINEYARDS
Bear River is well known as an artist and artisan community, and that’s reflected in their winery. Come for a wine tasting, and you’ll see that they cultivate several kinds of fruits, including a 20-year-old fig tree that provides the fig jam in the store.
Cost: Contact for costs
Address: 133 Chute Road, Bear River
3.3 LUCKETT VINEYARDS
Built by the Pete behind Pete’s Fine Foods (formerly Pete’s Frootique), Luckett Vineyards has come tremendously far in the decade it’s been open. You’ll find wines here that beautifully reflect the Gaspereau terroir while still being reasonably priced. You can come for a wine tasting, come for food, or come for both!
Cost: 12$ per person
Address: 1293 Grand Pré
3.4 EILEANAN BRÈAGHA VINEYARDS
This vineyard (apparently pronounced AY-len-an BREE-ah) is currently the only one in all of Cape Breton, so if you’re in the Baddeck area you should check it out. Their wine selection is small and mighty, and with a spectacular view of the Bras d’Or Lakes you will surely appreciate this unique experience.
Address: 5349 Marble Mountain Road, Baddeck, Cape Breton
4. BE A ROCKHOUND (ROCK HUNTING)
Looking for cool rocks seems to be a deep-seated human instinct. While most beaches in Nova Scotia will provide you with some cool rocks, there are a few sites where you’ve got a chance to find rarer rocks, gemstones, and maybe even a fossil or two!
4.1 JOGGINS FOSSIL CLIFFS
The Joggins Fossil Cliffs are a historic site for working in rocks, stretching back to mining days. These days you can take tours to look for awesome rocks, and you might just find a fossil to add to their collection.
Cost: 10$/person for a tour
Address: 100 Main Street, Joggins
4.2 BRIER ISLAND
Brier Island is special for many reasons—the views, the beautiful lodge, the awesome trails—but the most relevant for this entry is its stores of cool minerals. You can find all sorts, including agate, amethyst, and zeolite, along with rocks thrown up on shore by the tides of the Bay of Fundy.
Cost: Depends on if you’re visiting or staying overnight
Address: Brier Island
4.3 FUNDY GEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
The Fundy Geological Museum is mainly for learning about rocks and fossils, but they also offer beach tours. On these tours you can collect minerals, hunt for fossils, and even learn about the dinosaur research going on in the area right now.
Address: 162 Two Islands Road, Parrsboro
4.4 INVERNESS BEACH
Inverness Beach is well known for having warm water and lots of soft sand, but there’s also plenty of interesting rocks to find along the cliffs. If you’re interested in sea glass, you’re likely to find it here too.
Address: 158 Beach No. 1 Road, Inverness, Cape Breton
5. GO HIKING
Hiking in Nova Scotia offers something for every level of experience. From short flat loops for everyone to enjoy to wilderness adventures, you can enjoy the natural beauty on a trail of your choosing. The following are a few examples, but there are dozens more in every part of the province.
5.1 ACACIA VALLEY TRAILS
Acacia Valley Trails gives everyone a chance to enjoy the outdoors at any time of the year. There are tracks that are wheelchair accessible, places to drive ATVs or cross-country ski, and there are rest areas scattered around the trails so no matter how far you roam you can take a break before heading back.
Address: Mill Road (see site for full driving instructions)
5.2 FISHING COVE TRAIL
Fishing Cove Trail starts at the top of MacKenzie Mountain in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, but don’t worry, it’s all downhill from there. It’s a long hike that takes you down into a wilderness camp site with a beach to enjoy before you make the 6km hike back up the mountain. Maybe take a nap first…
Address: 21425 & 22065 Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Highlands
5.3 SKYLINE TRAIL
If you want to climb high and stay high, Skyline Trail is the one for you. This trail is reasonably flat for being so high up, and you can look down at the whole sprawl of the Cape Breton Highlands.
Address: 19685 Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Highlands
5.4 SHUBIE PARK
Shubie Park has many available activities, and one of them is enjoying its many trails. They’re mainly shorter and flat, which makes this a great choice for an accessible family outing. Right in the middle of Dartmouth, a break to enjoy nature will invigorate you for the rest of your day.
Address: 54 Locks Road, Dartmouth
6. GO CAMPING
Going camping is a great way to fully enjoy the outdoors. There are campsites dotted all over Nova Scotia, some with full features, and some where you bring your tent and you sleep under the stars with no modern distractions. Pack up your marshmallows and sleeping bags and get ready to live outside.
- 25 of the Best Parks to Go Camping in Nova Scotia
- Places to Go Comfort Camping & Glamping in Nova Scotia
6.1 HYCLASS OCEAN CAMPGROUND
Pack up the family and enjoy a few nights at Hyclass Ocean Campground. With a wide variety of campsites, you’re sure to find one that suits your group, and the campground’s many nearby activities makes this a great hub for a Bluenose vacation.
Address: 11373 Highway 4, Havre Boucher
Phone: 902-232-3117 or 1-866-892-3117
6.2 NORSE COVE (MAINLAND)
If some of your party aren’t fully sold on camping (or if you’re the one not fully convinced), Norse Cove Camping is a good way to ease into it. They’ve got plenty of places to pitch a tent, but they’ve also got Nordic Huts that provide four walls and a roof, so you can get used to being out in the wild a little at a time (no judgement here. I’m not camping’s biggest fan, but I’d love to try out one of these huts!)
Address: 51 Dewolfes Road, Tangier
6.3 BROAD COVE CAMPGROUND (CAPE BRETON)
Combining forest and sea, Broad Cove Campground is in the heart of the Cape Breton Highlands. It’s close to Ingonish, has its own hiking trails, and provides activities in the evening after a long day of enjoying the park.
Address: 35479 Cabot Trail, Ingonish
6.4 HIDEAWAY CAMPGROUND & OYSTER MARKET
There are several foods associated with camping: s’mores, marshmallows, hot dogs, baked beans…but oysters? That’s an experience you’ll find at Hideaway Campground, where you can pitch your tent and then get fresh shellfish only a few steps away.
Address: 401 Shore Road, South Harbour
7. SEE UNESCO SITES
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (or UNESCO), has designated several sites in Nova Scotia as UNESCO sites. Honoured for their contributions to the organisation’s mission, these sites will educate and inspire you.
7.1 LANDSCAPE OF GRAND PRÉ
Come to Grand Pré to learn about the Acadians of Nova Scotia, their deportation, and the return of their descendants. The site allows you to see a comprehensive picture of Acadian life.
Cost: $7.90 for adults, seniors $6.60, free for youth
Address: 2205 Grand Pré Road, Grand Pré NS
Phone: 902-542-1691 or 1-866-542-3631
7.2 SOUTHWEST BIOSPHERE
This biosphere is an incredibly large protected area—it spans 5 counties, 9 rivers, over 100 lakes and dozens of ecosystems. Also known as the Tobeatic Wilderness Area, it’s possible to explore the Biosphere by visiting Trout Point Lodge, but the vast majority of it is untamed and home to countless species of flora and fauna.
Cost: Varies by length of stay and package options
Address: Driving directions at this link
7.3 BRAS D’OR LAKES
The Bras D’Or Lakes are really an inlet sea, where the water becomes brackish (contains fresh and salt water). There are dozens of things to do on the lakes and plenty of places to stay here you get a spectacular view of this UNESCO site.
Cost: Depends on what you do
7.4 CLIFFS OF FUNDY GEOPARK
The Cliffs of Fundy Geopark actually stretches for quite a distance, encompassing many rocky sites. Visit the website to choose the site closest to you and learn about all the activities you can do.
Cost: Various, depends on site
8. GO ON BOAT TOURS
Whether you like the Lonely Island song or not, being on a boat is an awesome time. With literally dozens of ports around Nova Scotia, you’re sure to find a boat tour nearby. Whatever kind of boat you prefer—motorized, sails, tall ships—you can get out on the water, and maybe even learn a thing or two about sailing.
8.1 NEW GLASGOW FAMILY FUN BOAT TOURS (MAINLAND)
Grab everyone some ginger Gravol (it helps with motion sickness without making you drowsy), and get ready for a tour of the New Glasgow waters. Depending on the tour you want to take, you can go seal watching, check out some beaches, go fishing, and even have dinner on the water at sunset.
Cost: Varies on tour
Address: New Glasgow (message for details)
8.2 SILVA (MAINLAND)
The Silva is a beautiful Tall Ship that lives in the Halifax Harbour, and she offers many different kinds of adventures. From Wines on the Water to history tours to even weddings, the Silva is ready to help you set sail.
Cost: Depends on tour
Address: Halifax Waterfront, Sackville Wharf, 1655 Lower Water Street Halifax
8.3 AMOEBA SAILING TOURS (CAPE BRETON)
If you want to explore the Bras d’Or Lakes (see above), Amoeba Sailing Tours will take you all around. The Captain feeds bald eagles, you’ll see Alexander Graham Bell’s summer mansion (yes, the phone guy loved Baddeck!), and so much more.
Cost: 30$ for adults, 15$ for children 5-14, first child under 5 is free
Address: Jones Street, Baddeck (end of the Baddeck Community Wharf)
Note: not open in 2020
8.4 RICHMOND ADVENTURE PLANNING (CAPE BRETON)
If you’re curious about learning to sail in the Bras d’Or Lakes, then you should set sail with Richmond Adventure Planning. When you come aboard their ships you can learn about the basic of sailing, and even try out a few—if you’re not interested though, feel free to relax and let other people learn.
Address: 10199 Grenville Street
9. TAKE A WALKING HISTORY TOUR
Walking history tours allow you to get exercise in while you learn—it’s really the best of both worlds. These tours help you explore a bunch of different historical stories, help you step back in time, and connect the past to the present in ways that lets you dream about the future.
9.1 HERITAGE WALKING TOUR
The town of Yarmouth’s history stretches back to the American Revolutionary War, and the Heritage Walking Tour will help you explore it all. Accessed through a mobile device, you walk alone or with your group and listen to the directions and stories along the way.
Address: Collins Street, Yarmouth
9.2 GUIDED TOUR OF HISTORIC SYDNEY
A port city with an equally revolutionary start, this tour takes you through Sydney’s old buildings and new stories. You’ll find plenty of both along the way, and you end with refreshments at the Cape Breton Centre for Heritage and Science.
Address: Sydney, Cape Breton
9.3 ANNAPOLIS ROYAL NATIONAL HISTORIC DISTRICT TOURS
Annapolis Royal is famous for many things, not least its heritage interpreter Alan Melanson. Alan Melanson is the tour leader who takes you through the National Historical District of the first capital of Nova Scotia.
Cost: 10$ for adults, 5$ youths, 3$ for children (12 and under)
Address: Meet at the Annapolis Royal Lighthouse
Note: May not be open in 2020 due to COVID
9.4 HISTORIC CANAL WALK
Halifax has plenty of history, but just across the bridge you’ll find Dartmouth, with a unique and interesting history of its own. Follow the Historic Canal Walk to learn about the canal in Shubie and learn about the canal’s history, as well as the importance of this trail to the rest of Canada (hint: it’s great).
Address: Starts at Dartmouth Ferry Terminal, detailed directions are on the site
10. GO ON GHOST WALKS
If you’re more interested in the history of things that go bump in the night, you should take a ghost walk. Not for the faint of heart, you can walk (and try not to run) while you learn about the paranormal history of various sites across the province. Keep a sharp eye, you might just see a Nova Scotian Casper!
10.1 HALIFAX GHOST WALK
The capital city of Nova Scotia and one of the oldest in Canada, it makes sense that Halifax has many ghosts, and therefore many ghost tours. This first one covers more of downtown, taking you around to old buildings and teaching you all about the paranormal activity in Halifax.
Address: The Old Town Clock, Halifax
10.2 HALIFAX CITADEL GHOST WALK
The second ghost walk in Halifax, this one focuses on the ghosts of Citadel Hill. You might think that just one site wouldn’t have enough stories for a whole walk…but you would be wrong. For what it’s worth, I have a friend who works at Citadel Hill who swears up and down that she’s seen a few ghosts there.
Address: Citadel Hill
10.3 VALLEY GHOST WALKS
The Valley looks so bright and cheerful during the day, but once the sun goes down you can experience its darker side. This ghost walk features Wolfville, but you can also find this tour floating around other locations in the Valley.
Cost: 20$ for adults, seniors and students 16$
Address: Meet at the Main Street Station (note: subject to change), Wolfville
10.4 CANDLELIGHT GRAVEYARD TOUR
If you’ve taken the daytime tour of Annapolis Royal but are hungry for more, you can walk through the graveyard at night. The tour provides you with lanterns and stories about the many at rest in the graveyard…or maybe not so at rest…
Cost: 10$ for adults, 5$ youths, 3$ for children (12 and under)
Address: 323 St. George Street, Annapolis Royal
11. VISIT NATIONAL PARKS
Nova Scotia contributes its fair share of Canadian national parks. Each of these three has their own adventures to offer, and a variety of experiences of Nova Scotian wilderness. With one on the mainland, one in Cape Breton, and one off the coast, you can pick your favourite national park experience—or two or three, no one’s stopping you!
11.1 CAPE BRETON HIGHLANDS NATIONAL PARK
Covering a huge section of the island, the Cape Breton Highlands National Park is the ultimate outdoor getaway. With towns dotted throughout, you’ll be able to sleep under a roof if you wish as you explore the park’s many lakes, trails, hills, beaches, and even mountains—or you can camp at one of their campsites to go fully outdoors.
Address: 37639 Cabot Trail, Ingonish Beach
11.2 KEJIMKUJIK NATIONAL PARK
Kejimkujik, or Keji to locals, is a park that sprawls across the southern part of the province. With thick forests and a Dark Sky preserve for bright stars at night, great trails for every level of experience, lakes, and rivers to explore, and a chance to explore the history of the Mi’kmaq, Keji is a vacation in and of itself.
Cost: 5.90 for adults’ daily pass, 5.00 for seniors daily, free for youths, 12$ for a family. Seasonal passes are 30.05 (adults), 25.04 (seniors), 60.20 (family), and free for youth.
Address: 3005 Kejimkujik National Park
Phone: 1-877-737-3783 (for camping)
11.3 SABLE ISLAND NATIONAL PARK RESERVE
This island is difficult to get to, but the trip is worth it if you love birds, seals, and horses. The Sable Island horses are breathtaking in the wild, there’s a whole colony of gray seals, and there are several birds here that aren’t found anywhere else.
Address: Sable Island
12. GO RIVER TUBING AND RAFTING
Sometimes you don’t feel like swimming, but you want to be on the water, but you don’t want to be on a boat. Nova Scotia offers the solution of river tubing and rafting. You float down the river on either a tube or a raft (depending on how wet you want to get) and enjoy the views.
12.1 SHUBENACADIE RIVER RUNNERS
The Shubenacadie River Runners are happy to provide tidal-rafting on the highest tides on Earth. You’ll learn about history and natural science as well, but let’s be real, you’ll be focused on the splashing at least as much.
Address: 8681 Highway 215, Maitland
12.2 TIDAL BORE RAFTING RESORT
If you want to include a getaway with your rafting, you should head to Tidal Bore Rafting resort. They have 2- and 4-hour tour options that include rapids, beautiful scenery, and several kilometres of rafting.
Address: 12215 Highway 215 Urbania
12.3 MARGAREE RIVER TUBING
The Margaree River is one of the prettiest in Cape Breton, and floating down it in a tube is a great way to enjoy it. Float down peacefully with your family…or try playing bumper tubes, up to you.
Cost: 30$ per person
Address: 8139 Cabot Trail, Margaree Forks, Cape Breton
12.4 GASPEREAU RIVER TUBING
The Gaspereau River is wide and slow, so you can make the most of your tubing time. For just three dollars you can float down and enjoy the river while also catching rays (be sure to wear waterproof sunscreen).
Cost: 3$ per tube
Address: Gaspereau River
13. VISIT MUSEUMS
Nova Scotia has some incredible history, and it’s got great museums to host that history. From human to natural history, from inventions to whole working villages, you’ll find museums that cover everything you could ever want to learn about.
13.1 ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL MUSEUM
While Alexander Graham Bell was American, he spent a lot of time in Baddeck and created many inventions here, including the Silver Dart. This museum showcases some of these inventions and provides lots of detail about the inventor’s life.
Address: 559 Chebucto Street, Baddeck
13.2 PIER 21
Generations of immigrants came through the doors of Pier 21, and several soldiers walked out during World War II. Learn about Canada’s history of immigration—the good, the bad, the happy, the sad—and maybe discover your own roots in their genealogical research area.
Address: 1055 Marginal Road
13.3 MARITIME MUSEUM OF THE ATLANTIC
The Maritimes are inextricably tied to the sea, and this museum will teach you all about it. There are some permanent exhibits (including one about the Titanic), and there’s also temporary exhibits, each exploring a different aspect of the Maritimes’ maritime history.
Address: 1675 Lower Water Street
13.4 FORTRESS OF LOUISBOURG
This fortress has stood the test of 300 years, and with everyone in historical costume it feels like it’s been no time at all. Explore the fort and learn what life was like in the 1700s…it’s surprising how close parts of it are to our modern society.
Address: 259 Park Service Road, Louisbourg, Cape Breton
14. FIND LOOK-OFFS
With kilometres upon kilometres of coastline, it’s no surprise that you’ll find plenty of beautiful spots to look off into the distance. What might be surprising is that there are lots of pretty inland look-offs too. Wherever your base of operations may be, you’re sure to find a beautiful view.
14.1 PENNANT POINT TRAIL
Crystal Crescent Beach is already stunning, but if you follow Pennant Point Trail, you’ll get the best views in the area. It’s a bit of a tricky hike, so make sure you’ve got good shoes, a cell phone or two, and you follow the trail instructions detailed in the link below.
Address: 223 Sambro Creek Road, Sambro Creek
14.2 THE LOOK-OFF
You’ll find this look-off to have earned its named beautifully. You can see the Minas Basin, just off the Bay of Fundy, but you’ll also get a great view of the Annapolis Valley. Farmers fields, Wolfville, and more will greet your eyes in every season.
Address: 3374 NS Highway 358 (Gospel Woods Road), Canning
14.3 THE OVENS
It’s hard to beat the Ovens for raw ocean beauty. You can look down at the tremendous caves or out to sea; either way, it’s an eerily gorgeous view.
Address: 326 Ovens Road, Riverport
14.4 CAPE CLEAR
This look-off is quite easy to get to (see detailed directions at the link below), and it is very high up indeed. You’ll be able to get a clear view of the North East Margaree River, the Margaree Fault, and so much more.
15. WATCH WILDLIFE
Whether you’re into looking at flying, walking, or swimming creatures, there are places all over Nova Scotia to see all three. Some have a focus on a specific kind, but they’re all great places to enjoy the wildlife of Nova Scotia. Bring the kids and learn about the natural world!
15.1 OAKLAWN ZOO
This zoo has dozens of animal species from all over the world, and it’s still laid out so that even toddlers won’t get too tired walking about. Come later in the day and you’ll be able to watch the big cats get fed.
Cost: 9.50 for adults, 6.50 for seniors, 5.00 for students, 3.50 for children 3-12
Address: After Exit 16 of Highway 101, see blue signs
15.2 SHUBENACADIE PROVINCIAL WILDLIFE PARK
This park is home to animals mainly native to Nova Scotia, except the Sable Island ponies, who are technically offshore but still Bluenose, and peacocks, which are from very far away. I’d suggest going on a cooler day so you’ll see more activity, but even on hot days you’ll find critters putting on a show.
Cost: Summer Season passes are 5.50 for youth, 16.00 for adults, 37.50 for families (those prices apply for a single visit too)
Address: Highway 102, Exit 11 at Stewiacke from Truro, or Exit 9 from Halifax
15.3 TWO RIVERS WILDLIFE PARK
Cape Breton’s Wildlife Park has lots of animals, but it’s got something over Shubenacadie. When you’re ready to take a break from the park, you can head right over to the campsite and bed down within walking distance of awesome animals.
Address: 4581 Grad Mira North Road, Huntington
15.4 SALT MARSH TRAIL
Recognized internationally as a fantastic place to birdwatch, this trail extends through a salt marsh. Check with local birdwatching sites to find out what feathered friends you might make along the way.
Address: 806 Bissett Road, Cole Harbour
16. VISIT ISLANDS
Nova Scotia itself is a peninsula, but it has a tremendous number of islands around its coasts. The biggest and most well known is Cape Breton, but there’s lots of smaller ones that each have their own special charm. Some are easier to get to than others, but no matter which one you choose, they’re all worth the journey.
16.1 ISLE MADAME
Isle Madame is an island steeped in history from many cultures. Explore this small and vibrant island, learn about the history, and enjoy the natural beauty.
Address: Off Cape Breton
16.2 PARTRIDGE ISLAND LOOKOFF AND HIKING TRAIL
Partridge Island is a tiny island connected to land by a thin strip of beach. Hike the trail out to the lookout and see all that the island has to offer.
Address: Off Whitehall Road, Parrsboro
16.3 MCNAB’S ISLAND
This island is a patch of wilderness right at the edge of the Halifax Harbour. Home to unique species of flora and fauna, this island is a unique experience for campers, hikers, and naturalists.
Cost: several options depending on how you want to get there. Rates are between 20-30$.
Address: McNabs Island, Halifax Harbour
16.4 MELVILLE ISLAND AND DEADMAN’S ISLAND
This pair of islands are “around the corner” from McNab’s, but they have a much darker history. They’ve played host to a prison, a medical facility, a quarantine centre, and a graveyard, so if you’re into dark tourism, this is the perfect place to check out.
17. TAKE A NOVA SCOTIAN COOKING CLASS
Taking a cooking class is a great way to spend an evening out, because you get to make the food and then eat the food. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of the kitchen or you’re known to burn water, you’ll find fun and deliciousness at every class.
17.1 FLYING APRON
Combine a getaway with cooking lessons at the Flying Apron, which doubles as an inn. The classes are appropriate for all levels of experience, and they are usually a full meal, with wine or beer available to enjoy as well.
Address: 3 Summerville Wharf Road
Phone: 902-633-2300 or 1-844-633-2300
17.2 LOBSTER CULINARY ADVENTURES
The Lobster Culinary Adventure starts in a private garden to pick the herbs, and ends with dinner at the beach. Every step in the middle involves careful instruction, fun, and all the tools you need to enjoy a fresh lobster dinner.
Address: 52 Ye Olde Argyle Road, Lower Argyle
17.3 THE KILTED CHEF
If you’re looking to explore farm to table in a very literal sense, look no further than the Kilted Chef. The experience of going to a farm and learning about selecting your own produce to then create a gourmet meal is not one to be missed.
Address: 3007 Three Brooks Road, Pictou
17.4 TROUT POINT LODGE
Trout Point Lodge is in the heart of the Tobeatic Wilderness (see above), and offers dozens of outdoor experiences—the lodge is also home to a beautiful cooking school. With themes that change weekly, you learn the whole process from where the ingredients come from to advanced cooking methods.
Cost: Varies by length of stay and package options
Address: Driving directions at this link
18. GO TO THE BEACH
Ah the beaches of Nova Scotia—there are songs and stories aplenty about all of them. Whether you’re looking at Nova Scotia by regions or counties, you’ll find plenty of beaches. Rocky, sandy, cold, warm, wavy, calm…we’ve got it all here!
18.1 CRYSTAL CRESCENT
The beach that’s home to Pennant Point trail is also a gorgeous place to visit if you’re not a hiker. There are three smaller white sand beaches connected by a boardwalk, tremendous views, and the beach is surrounded by greenery, making it hard to believe that you’re a scant 20 minutes from downtown Halifax.
Address: 223 Sambro Creek Road, Sambro Creek
18.2 INGONISH BEACH
One of the many beaches in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Ingonish Beach is technically two beaches in one. You can swim in the ocean, of course, but attached to the beach is a freshwater lake, so you can choose between salt and freshwater.
Address: 90 Beach Road, Ingonish Beach
18.3 RISSER’S BEACH
A white sand beach with a campsite attached, Risser’s Beach is a great choice for a long weekend in nature. There are hiking trails to explore, a marsh boardwalk, and plenty of seashells and pretty rocks to find.
Cost: 27-36 nightly depending on season and camp site.
Address: 5366 Highway 331, Crescent Beach
18.4 MELMERBY BEACH
If you’re looking for a beach where the water is more likely to be warm and not wetsuit-needing, head for Melmerby Beach on the Northumberland Shore. If you’re not used to swimming in the ocean, this is a great place to start as they have salt-rinse showers to keep your hair nice.
Address: 6280-6380 Little Harbour Road Melmerby
19. WATCH THE STARS
If you’ve been in the wilds of Nova Scotia, you’ve definitely been able to appreciate the beauty of the night sky without the light pollution from busier parts of Canada. There are actually places closer to cities and towns where you can still enjoy all the constellations. Wherever you are, you can enjoy the stars.
Kejimkujik has many beautiful features during the day (see above), but its night beauty is worth seeing too. As a Dark Sky Preserve, the sky is protected from man made lights, making it easy to see the stars—so bright you can occasionally kayak at night.
Cost: 5.90 for adults’ daily pass, 5.00 for seniors daily, free for youths, 12$ for a family. Seasonal passes are 30.05 (adults), 25.04 (seniors), 60.20 (family), and free for youth.
Address: 3005 Kejimkujik National Park
Phone: 1-877-737-3783 (for camping)
19.2 SEEING IN THE DARK
There are several tours within the Cape Breton Highlands, but only one happens at night. Learn how to ‘see’ in the dark, observe nocturnal animals, and meditate with the group to take in the power of the starlit night.
Address: Cape Breton Highlands Park
19.3 WEDGEPORT NATURE TRAIL
This nature trail is beautiful in the daytime, passing a lookoff, beaches, and even muskrat houses. If you go at sunset though, you’ll be able to see the stars come out across the night sky unimpeded by light or buildings.
Address: End of Highway 334 (detailed directions at the link
19.4 DEEP SKY EYE OBSERVATORY
The Deep Sky Eye Observatory experience allows visitors to learn about the sky inside and out. You can look through the observatory’s telescope, see a presentation about astronomy, and then go outside and apply that new knowledge to see what you can see.
Cost: 55$ + tax for adults, 30$ + children 6-12
Address: 338 Frotten Road, Tusket NS
20. PICK FRUIT
Picking fruit is a great group activity for the summer, especially because you get to eat the fruits of your labour (I’m hilarious). There are several u-picks across the province with a variety of fruits on offer. Bring a big hat and sunscreen, and make sure you eat before you go so, you’re not tempted to fill your mouth instead of your containers!
20.1 RENDELL’S FARM
Rendell’s Farm allows you to come and pick your very own strawberries. If you come later in the day, don’t fret—they also sell pre-picked berries so you can still enjoy the sweet taste of this summer fruit.
Cost: Depends on day
Address: 95 Point Aconi Road, Millcreek
Phone: 902-736-1547 or 902-736-3118
20.2 COUNTRY MAGIC
This u-pick has acres and acres of fruits and vegetables to pick. If you’re pressed for time, I suggest getting at least a box of the highbush blueberries, they’re delicious!
Cost: 2.55 per pound of blueberries, 3.50 per pint of raspberries
Address: 1225 Middle Dyke Road, Centerville
20.3 HAVEACRES STRAWBERRY FARM
Another place to pick strawberries, this one on the mainland. It’s open nearly from dawn to dusk on weekdays and they have long days on the weekend too, so you’re sure to find time to pick only the best of the berries (note: “best” for strawberries means different things to different people, and there’s no right answer, so no arguing!)
Cost: Contact for details
Address: 325 St. Joseph’s Road, Antigonish
20.4 DANIELS U-PICK
If you can’t pick what kind of fruit to pick, Daniels U-Pick is here to help. Depending on the season, you’ll find apples, pears, plums, and even grapes. There are also vegetables to pick, and homemade jams and honey to buy.
Cost: Various prices for different fruits
Address: 4473 Highway 14, Windsor Forks
21. EXPLORE FARMS
There are country mice and city mice, but we all enjoy visiting a farm. These farms allow visitors to see the day-to-day operations of the farm, interact with the animals, and buy some farm-fresh products. There’s a wide variety of farms in Nova Scotia, so you can pick and choose what kind you want to see!
21.1 HATFIELD FARM
Hatfield Farm is a fascinating location because you really can customize your experience with a wide variety of activities. Whether it’s petting animals, pelting people with paint ball, taking a wagon or sleigh ride (season-determined), or just chowing down on great food, you’ll have lots to do down on the farm.
Cost: For events
Address: 1840 Hammonds Plains Road, Hammonds Plains
Phone: 902-835-5676 or 1-877-835-5676
21.2 DRAGONFLY HAVEN THERAPEUTIC FARM
Animal therapy has seen some great results in recent years, and Dragonfly Haven is ready to offer you a chance to experience this. Come see the tiny animals and take a chance to relax.
Cost: Visits are 7$ per person
Address: 5 Aberdeen Beach Road, Mount Denson
Phone: 902-788-1272 or message through Facebook post
21.3 ROCK LOAF FARM
When you visit this farm, you’ll get a great look at a modern farming operation. You’ll see animals, learn about farm life, and be able to purchase farm-fresh products of all kinds.
Cost: Contact for details
Address: 2903 Highway 206, Arichat
21.4 OLD MILLER TROUT FARM
One of the more unique farms in Nova Scotia, this is a u-pick…or well, a u-fish. Come and practice fishing and maybe catch your dinner. Note: This is a catch and keep fishing spot, not catch and release.
Cost: Fish are 7.50$ per lb
Address: 408 Doyle’s Road, Margaree Forks, Cape Breton
22. VISIT A GARDEN
The gardens of Nova Scotia provide spots of cultivated beauty and creativity all over our fair province. Some of these gardens are centuries old, while others are just getting started. They’ve all got one thing in common—they show off exactly what Nova Scotian soil can do to grow both native and exotic plants.
22.1 PUBLIC GARDENS
This classic Victorian garden is a much see if you’re visiting Halifax. Grab an ice cream and explore the walking paths around the flower beds and trees, observe the ducks, and see if anything’s going on at the gazebo.
Address: Corner of Spring Garden and South Park
22.2 ANNAPOLIS ROYAL HISTORIC GARDENS
These gardens deserve to be called historic—they hold four hundred years of horticultural history, after all. Learn about gardens of the past, present, and future as you tour this incredible space…make sure you stop to smell the Rose Collection!
Cost: 10$ for adults, free in the summer for under 18 if accompanied by an adult
Address: 441 St. George Street, Annapolis Royal
22.3 TANGLED GARDEN
The Tangled Garden has been recognized internationally as an astounding result of one woman’s 30 years of labour. There are classic garden rooms, a labyrinth of flowers, and spot the sculptures along the way.
Cost: 8$ for self-directed tour, 50$ for a personalized tour and tea
Address: 11827 Highway 1, Grand Pre, Nova Scotia
22.4 PEBBLE AND FERN MARKET GARDEN
This is a market garden that shows off a beautiful garden of vegetables and homemade crafts. Come and visit the market to support this eclectic Nova Scotian garden.
Cost: Depends on what you buy
Address: 11 Cypers Lane, Sampson Cove
23. SEE LOCAL ART (INDOORS)
The arts community of Nova Scotia is thriving, and your biggest challenge will be choosing where to go first. You’ll find galleries with a wide focus, displaying multiple types of art, and you’ll find galleries that only display a specific kind of art or craft. Come ready to see the world through the eyes of artists, and who knows? You might find a piece of Nova Scotia to take home with you.
23.1 SARA BONNYMAN POTTERY
If you’re interested in pottery, this is a must-see, especially since you can observe Sara Bonnyman creating her pottery. You can take a tour and then look at the stoneware pottery and rugs on offer in the store.
Cost: Depends on if you purchase pottery or rugs
Address: 326 Maple Avenue, Tatamagouche
23.2 POWER HOUSE ART GALLERY AND STUDIO
This Lunenburg Art gallery has a tremendous depth of work on offer. There are gorgeous paintings, photography, Inuit art, and more from established and emerging artists in this 150-year-old building.
Cost: Visits are free, art prices vary
Address: 129 Lincoln Street, Lunenburg
Phone: 902-640-3363 or 902-212-1237
23.3 ANN SCHROEDER STUDIO-FINE ART QUILTS
Stop in Mabou to explore this studio to see fine art quilts (both in-progress and ready to buy) and even more. You can find handmade scarves, hand dyed fabric, and fabric packs to make your very own quilts. Take a piece of Cape Breton home with you!
Cost: Visits are free, currently by appointment
Address: 1422 Mabou Harbour Road, Mabou, Cape Breton
23.4 COLOURATURA ART GALLERY AND CHOCOLATE SHOP
You can feast your eyes on everything from paintings to jewelry at Colouratura, and then feast on chocolates in the chocolate shop. This brilliant collaboration shows off creativity in multiple forms, and is a great stop along the Cabot Trail.
Cost: Visits are free
Address: 45943 Cabot Trail, Englishtown, Cape Breton
24. VISIT GAZEBOS (AND THE PARKS ATTACHED TO THEM)
Okay look, if you’ve read any of my articles, you probably guessed this was coming. Gazebos are awesome, but the cool thing about Nova Scotian gazebos is that they’re attached to a wide variety of parks. If you went on a tour just looking for gazebos, you’d have a diverse set of experiences of Nova Scotian parks and nature areas.
24.1 NELSON MEMORIAL PARK
This is a stunningly beautiful park in a wide variety of ways—you can look at the ocean, walk the trails, explore the gravel beach, and see beautiful flowers in the garden. It’s a restful place to explore and have a picnic, maybe near the gazebo!
Address: 153 Loop of Highway 6, Bayhead
24.2 POINT PLEASANT PARK
Point Pleasant Park has everything from the remnants of military buildings to several places to observe the Halifax Harbour, where you might see a seal or a porpoise (maybe both if you’re lucky!) The gazebo is along one of the many wooded hiking trails, some of which are flat, some are steep, and nearly all let you experience the majesty of the park in its recovery from Hurricane Juan.
Address: 5718 Point Pleasant Drive, Halifax
24.3 STORYBOOK TRAIL
The perfect trail for bookworms like me, the Storybook Trail takes you through the stories of the cultures that made Digby what it is today. It has a playground and benches along the way, so you can learn and play at the same time, finishing at the gazebo that overlooks the river.
Address: 4623 Highway 1, Weymouth
24.4 FROST PARK
This park was once a cemetery and once had another name, but Frost Park is currently a simple and beautiful park. With a beautiful fountain that’s 150 years, an adorable gazebo, and a lovely view of the water.
Address: Main Street, Yarmouth
25. GO MOUNTAIN BIKING
There are lots of places to bike in Nova Scotia, but for those who crave a bit more speed, there are a few places dedicated to mountain biking. Each place is designed for different levels of experience to enjoy, and there are even lessons available at a few of them! Bring your bike, or look for local bike rentals, and get ready to go up and down the mountain!
25.1 KEPPOCH MOUNTAIN
This mountain is crammed with things to do from top to bottom, but it’s worth a visit just for the mountain biking trails. There are trails of every difficulty all over the mountain, and if you’ve got a fat tire bike, you can even check them out in the wintertime.
Address: 193 Keppoch Road, Beaver Meadow
25.2 THE GORGE
The Gorge may sound intimidating, but in reality, it’s a simple and well-aged park in Kentville that has plenty of trails on offer. There are also lots of trails for walking, hiking, and normal cycling, so if you’ve got a group to entertain, people who aren’t into mountain biking can find other things to do in the Gorge.
Address: 53 Gladys Porter Drive, Kentville
25.3 THE RAILYARD MOUNTAIN BIKE PARK
If you’re looking to get in some serious mountain bike experience, the Railyard should be on your list. It’s designed for mountain bikers of any experience level, and with optional obstacles all over the place, it’s easy to build your skills.
Cost: Free, BYOB (ike)
Address: 627 Young Street, Truro
25.4 PAT MAHANEY MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAIL
The Pat Mahaney Mountain Bike Trail consists of three loops: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. It’s just off the Cobequid Trail, so you can cycle out and then see what kind of mountain biking you’re up to.
Address: See site for detailed directions
26. GO KAYAKING OR CANOEING
There are bodies of water all over and around Nova Scotia, and you can canoe or kayak in the vast majority. But don’t fret if you’re a beginner or you don’t own a water vehicle—there are dozens of companies all over the province that will provide everything from lessons to canoes to lunch!
26.1 NORTH RIVER KAYAK TOURS
Now in their 26th year of operation, North River Kayak Tours will take you all up and down the river and the coastline of Cape Breton. You can take lessons, a half day tour, or a full day tour, with refreshments provided that will give you a taste of Cape Breton!
Cost:Half Day Tour / Full Day Tour
Address: RR#4 Baddeck, Nova Scotia
Phone: 902-929-2628 or1-888-865-2925
26.2 COASTAL SPIRIT EXPEDITIONS
If you’re looking to learn how to sea kayak, you should take lessons with Coastal Spirit Expeditions. They provide all the equipment; you show up ready to learn. They also have tours to go on if you’ve had some experience with sea kayaking, which includes lunch and some incredible sights to see.
Cost: Various prices depending on tour, rentals, instructions, see site for detailed breakdown
Address: Cape John Harbour, River John
26.3 HINTERLAND ADVENTURES’ CANOE TOURS
Taking you into the Tobeatic Wilderness (see above), Hinterland Adventures provides outdoor adventures for all. They have tours available, as well as rentals for up to a week if you want to tour around by yourself.
Cost: Tour rates depend on the tour, rentals are 10$ an hour or 35$ a day.
Address: 54 Gate’s Lane, Weymouth
Phone: 902-837-4092 or 1-800-378-8177
26.4 SONG OF THE PADDLE
If you want a closer look at the Yarmouth harbour, listen to the Song of the Paddle. This organization takes you on guided kayak tours that includes an awesome lunch. They also have tours at nearby 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
27. VISIT RAILS-TO-TRAILS
Where trains once connected all the little towns and communities of Nova Scotia, there are now kilometres upon kilometres of flat trails. Created when the rails were ripped up, these now provide long flat stretches of walkable trails. They deserve their own entry for being more accessible since they’re mainly flat, and for connecting communities in interesting ways. If you want to explore a particular area, heading for a rails-to-trails trail is a great place to start.
27.1 THE BLT TRAIL
The Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea trail starts just behind a Coke factory, and winds its way through the communities once linked by the railroad. The trail is beautiful, running past both water and forests, with the Bike and Bean coffee shop to stop and eat some delicious pastries with coffee.
27.2 SAMSON TRAIL
The Samson Trail is built on the oldest iron railroad bed in Canada. This 2.9 km trail runs along the East River of Pictou and is lit by antique iron lampposts, an interesting combination of modern rails-to-trails paths and old aesthetic.
Address: Terrace Street, New Glasgow
27.3 HARVEST MOON TRAILWAY
This 110-kilometre trail connects Annapolis Royal to Grand Pré, passing beautiful communities along the way. If you’re not up to do all that in one day (which is fair), don’t fret—there are more than 15 trailheads, so you can find your own path.
27.4 CELTIC SHORES COASTAL TRAIL
Another long and beautiful trail, the Celtic Shores trail follows the west coast of Cape Breton Island for 92 km. There are plenty of trailheads and you can do everything from ride a horse to cross-country ski, so you can truly blaze your own trail along the way.
Cost: Free, BYOB(ike)
Trail Info & Map
28. DRIVE ONE OF THE NOVA SCOTIA “SCENIC ROUTES”
Driving certainly gets you from A to B, but in Nova Scotia the opportunity to go on a scenic drive is too good to pass up. You can make all the stops along the way, pick a few favourites, or just stop for snacks every once in a while, and enjoy the ride.
28.1 CABOT TRAIL
The Cabot Trail takes drivers through the Cape Breton Highlands Park. It’s 298km long, making it a fascinating day trip through a spectacular variety of natural beauty. Stop along the way if you want to get out and explore parts of the park, or even camp for the night and keep driving in the morning.
Cost: Cost of gas
Address: See website
28.2 SUNRISE TRAIL
The Sunrise Trail hugs the northeastern coastline of Nova Scotia, providing lots of stops to have fun in the sun. You’ll find beaches, salt marshes, and amazing communities to explore along the way. Check out the site to plan your ideal trip, so every sunrise along the way is special.
Address: See map on website
28.3 NOVA SCOTIA’S GOLF TRAIL
This trail is not quite as official as the other ones on this list, but it’s no less fun! Nova Scotia is home to world-class golf courses, and if you’re an enthusiast it might be hard to pick just one! Luckily, they’re all linked by the Golf Trail, which takes you from the Bay of Fundy all the way up to Cape Breton.
Cost: Cost of gas
28.4 LIGHTHOUSE ROUTE
The Lighthouse Route is a quintessentially Nova Scotian trail that goes from Halifax to Yarmouth. It’s 547 km of driving that has numerous lighthouses along the way, so if you want to stop and see them all this is going to be a multi-day trip. Not a problem though—there’s lots of beautiful places to stop, dine, and sleep along the way.
Cost: Cost of gas
Address: See website for detailed directions
29. JUMP IN THE LAKES
Lake swimming is just as important to highlight in Nova Scotia as ocean swimming, and there are lots to choose from. There are warm lakes, cold lakes, swimming lakes, and paddling lakes, so just like the beach, you can pick which one suits you best. It’s a great choice for a hot day, just bring a picnic and you’re good to go!
29.1 GYPSUM MINE QUARRY & TRAIL
This lake was once a quarry for gypsum, but now you can take an easy 2.6 kilometre walk out and swim in the deep lake. It’s an intensely beautiful spot surrounded by cliffs and thick trees.
Address: Chéticamp Back Road
29.2 CHOCOLATE LAKE
One of the most popular lakes in the HRM, Chocolate Lake is not made out of chocolate (there was once a chocolate factory nearby), but it makes up for that with a beautiful beach and great swimming. Even the rare days when it’s a bit chilly to swim, you can still sunbathe and enjoy hanging out with your friends.
Address: 14 Purcells Cove Road, Halifax
29.3 LONG LAKE
Long Lake Provincial Park has so many things to do, you could spend a whole summer exploring. Only fifteen minutes from downtown Halifax, you’ll find a beautiful park with a lake perfect for swimming and paddling.
Address: Intersection of Cowie Hill Road and Dunbrack Street, Spryfield
29.4 WARREN LAKE
Warren Lake is the largest lake in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. With an awesome hiking trail, resident loons, and a beach where you can swim in warmish water, it’s a great stop in the park.
Address: 325 Warren Lake Road, Ingonish
30. TRY LOCAL RESTAURANTS
Nova Scotia is home to a bunch of chain restaurants, of course, especially in Halifax and Sydney. But there’s also hundreds of fantastic local restaurants across the province that are worth checking out. From traditional Canadian foods to modern trendy choices to multicultural feasts, you’ll find a place pleasing to your palate no matter where you go.
30.1 THE OLIVE TREE
The Olive Tree is a popular Mediterranean restaurant in Sydney. The food is reasonably priced and the atmosphere is lovely.
Address: 137 Victoria Road, Sydney, Cape Breton
30.2 THE SHORE CLUB
If you want to experience a world-famous lobster dinner, come to the Shore Club in Hubbards. With all-you-can-eat mussels and salad to compliment the main meal, and dancing some nights, this is a truly special dining experience.
Address: 250 Shore Club Road, Hubbards
The Flavor restaurant chain has three different locations in Sydney. Each one has a different focus: H20 is focused on seafood and evening meals, DT has lots of quick breakfast and lunch options, and 19 is attached to a golf course. They all have reasonably priced food and unique aesthetics that still tie the restaurants together.
30.4 DARRELL’S RESTAURANT
Darrell’s is known Canada wide for having fantastic burgers, but there’s more to this menu. Serving astounding milkshakes, classic diner entrees (including vegetarian options) and creative salads, check out Darrell’s for a modern diner done right.
Address: 5576 Fenwick Street
31. VISIT AN ACTIVITY PARK
Whether you’ve got kids with you or just kids-at-heart, these activity parks are a great choice for an outing. Each one has a different focus, so you could do more than one in a trip, and each one promises hours of fun with a variety of activities. Make sure you bring a bathing suit, lots of change, and a camera to make some vacation memories!
31.1 TRENTON PARK
Trenton Park does seem to be a regular park on the surface, with hiking trails, a mountain bike trail, and ponds to fish in. If it’s a hot day though, you can head for the 3,000 square foot pool, or the splash pool! It’s a great place that’s a bit more low-energy, great if you’ve got little kids or anyone who doesn’t do super well with big crowds.
Address: 119 Park Road, Trenton
31.2 SNOW QUEEN
This classic amusement park makes its home in Cape Breton and has lots of activities to offer. They’ve got a batting cage, mini golf, go-Karting, and more, with a huge menu at the canteen, so everyone will find something to munch on while they enjoy the park.
Cost: Check their Facebook page, as prices can vary
Address: 4220 Trans Canada Highway 104, Cape Breton
31.3 RIVERSIDE INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
This is an unusual park that is home to car racing events all through the summer and fall months. If there’s a multi-day event, you can always camp out at their campsite to enjoy more time outdoors.
Cost: See site for details, things changing this season
Address: 101 Beaver Mountain Road, Antigonish
31.4 MASTADON RIDGE
If you’ve driven much in Nova Scotia, you’ve seen Mastadon Ridge from the road—it’s hard to miss the elephant-looking statue trumpeting out at the road. Mastadon Ridge has shops to explore, mini golf to play, and a Fun Fort for the little ones.
Address: 87 Main Street West, Stewiacke
32. SEE LOCAL ART (OUTDOORS)
Keep your eyes out for these ones—you’ll find them in the strangest places! Outdoor art installations in Nova Scotia are rarer than indoor ones, but they’ve been growing in popularity over the last ten years. I’m curious to see how this list holds up over the next few years—you might see more statues in your neighbourhood!
32.1 THE WAVE
Set on the Halifax Waterfront, the Wave is a beautiful sculpture with the most useless sign in the city of Halifax (that I’ve found so far). Despite the ‘please don’t climb on the Wave’ sign, you’ll find people of all ages attempting the climb, and the city switched out the concrete around the statue to a softer foam (like the stuff at modern playgrounds)…so wave it up I guess!
Address: The Halifax Waterfront, close to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
32.2 CONCRETE CREATIONS
To find the Concrete Creations, you go straight to the Cosby Garden Centre. There you’ll find Ivan Higgins’ awesome concrete sculptures of various sizes, all nestled amongst blooming shrubs, trees, and flowers.
Cost: Depends on if you buy anything!
Address: 4122 Sandy Cove Road, Brooklyn
32.3 THE BLUEBERRY MAN
Alright, listen this is a very cool sculpture, but it also has two faces and human arms and legs, so it looks very bizarre. The Blueberry Man makes his home in Oxford, the blueberry capital of Nova Scotia, so it makes sense, and it’s worth a stop to take a picture.
Address: Upper Main Street, Oxford
32.4 ECHOES OF OUR PAST WOODEN SCULPTURES
Scattered across several small communities, these sculptures have no map, and no directions. You’ll have to wander around to make sure you find them all, or ask for directions from locals—maybe that’s part of their magic, helping people make new friends.
Cost: Cost of gas
Address: Across Antigonish, Lochaber, St. Andrews, and Meadow Green
33. LEARN ABOUT THE MI’KMAQ
The Mi’kmaq are the First Nations people in Nova Scotia. Their history goes back millennia before the first colonists came ashore, but since colonization happened it’s been suppressed and derided. Happily, there has been a successful push in the last few decades to highlight and include the Mi’kmaq history in our province’s narrative, and you can now learn about the Mi’kmaq at the following places and several others.
33.1 ESKASONI CULTURAL JOURNEYS
Explore Eskasoni with one of their tours, that take you through the Reserve and teaches you about Mi’kmaq culture. You’ll find traditional living integrated into modern life, and get to see how this culture has survived for thousands of years.
Cost: 40$ for adults, 20$ for children under 10.
Address: 25 Goat Island Trail, Eskasoni (First Nation Reserve), Cape Breton
33.2 CHAPEL ISLAND
This island is of spiritual and historical significance for Mi’kmaq and for Catholics. Visiting this island you’ll see the way these faiths have eventually come together, and experience the modern ways this island celebrates their traditions.
Address: 233 Chapel Island Road, Chapel Island, Cape Breton
33.3 MEMBERTOU HERITAGE PARK
The Membertou Heritage Park allows you to learn about the heritage of the Membertou Reservation, designated in 1865. The museum offers workshops in traditional Mi’kmaq arts and immerses you in the culture, with a gift shop that allows you to take a piece of Membertou home with you.
Cost: 8$ for adults, 5$ for children under 12 and seniors, 25$ for families (2 adults and up to 4 children)
Address: 35 Su’n Awti, Membertou, Cape Breton
Phone: 902-567-5333 or 902-562-0444 or 1-800-617-6466
33.4 WAGMATCOOK CULTURE AND HERITAGE CENTRE
This culture and heritage centre offers a look into history and heritage with performances and guided tours. Explore the centre, attend lectures, and listen to the stories of years gone by, as a way to learn how the future can be made better.
Address: 10765 Highway 105, Wagmatcook, Cape Breton, Cape Breton
Phone: 902-295-2999 or 866-295-2999
34. GO FISHING
You might be brand new to fishing; you might have been fishing since before there was cable. Wherever you fall on that spectrum, you’ll be delighted by the variety of fishing opportunities in Nova Scotia. From rivers to the deep sea, from bass to lobster, you’ve got plenty of choices for your catch of the day.
34.1 A GREAT DAY FISHING
If you want some guidance in fly fishing, Jimmie Pedersen and Jim Logan are happy to make sure you have A Great Day Fishing. You can come with no experience or with years of fly fishing and still learn something as you fly fish for Atlantic Salmon, trout, and bass.
Address: 299 Bourgeois Road, Petit Etang
34.2 OXFORD TOWN FISHING
Oxford Town is known for blueberries (see above), but it’s also recognized as a great fishing place, because three rivers converge at one point, making it a great place to find some fishies. Grab a box of blueberries for a snack and head for the river to catch some dinner.
Cost: Fishing License
Address: Where Black River, Little River, and River Philip converge
34.3 TUSKET ISLAND TOURS
Nova Scotia has some tremendous opportunities for deep sea fishing charters, and Tusket Island tours takes you into the southern waters. You can fish for cod and haddock, or take their special shark fishing charter, where you help scientific efforts to tag and release sharks.
Cost: Varies by amount of people and type of tour
Address: Wedgeport, Nova Scotia
34.4 LOBSTER ADVENTURE TOURS
If you want a taste of what it’s like to fish for lobster, Lobster Adventure Tours is here! They offer a scenic tour where you can learn a bit about trapping, a fishing charter, or a lobster charter, so you can choose your fishing day.
Cost: See website for prices
Address: Baddeck Community Wharf
Phone: 902-295-7201 or 902-295-2564
35 TRY LOCAL BREWERIES
Nova Scotia’s craft beer scene has leapt into the 21st century, with over a dozen breweries all over the place. You’ll find some well-established, some brand new, some small and some growing large (well, large for craft breweries). Of course, you’ll also find the home of bigger breweries, but hey—you can get Keith’s any time, so why not try something new!
35.1 BIG SPRUCE
Big Spruce was started in a 100-year-old farmhouse in Cape Breton, and has grown into a great example of Cape Breton Brewing. They have creative beers and hard seltzer on offer, with something for everyone to enjoy.
Cost: Visit is free
Address: 64 Yankee Line Road, Baddeck, Cape Breton
35.2 GOOD ROBOT
Good Robot is a great feature of North End Halifax, with beer and kombucha on offer. Their pub menu offers great local food with gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options for all to enjoy.
Address: 2736 Robie Street, Halifax
35.3 STILLWELL BREWING COMPANY
Stillwell is a small brewery that’s still growing, and they’ve got a beautiful shop to get their beers. The art and names of their beers and quirky and fun, and there’s every sign that Stillwell will be sticking around for a good time and a long time.
Address: 1672 Barrington Street, Halifax
35.4 BRETON BREWERY
This Cape Breton Brewery has 7 all-the-time beers and seasonal varieties on offer, so every trip is an adventure. You’ll find their beers at liquor stores across the Maritimes and at several pubs and restaurants, so if you live too far away to visit the brewery, you can still try some of Breton Brewery’s finest.
Address: 364 Keltic Drive, Sydney, Cape Breton
36. ENJOY LOCAL BAKERIES
Ah, bakeries, home to my favourite food group—grains! With a local bakery in just about every community, you’ll find everything from bagels to baklava. The greatest dilemma will be choosing just a few options on your visit.
36.1 EAST COAST BAKERY
What started as a place to get Montreal-style bagels has expanded into a full kosher bakery, with cookies, challah bread, and even flour and yeast for sale. Everything is delicious, and with new types of baked goods popping up semi-regularly, you’ll find yourself coming back again and again.
Address: 6257 Quinpool Road, Halifax
36.2 AUCOIN BAKERY
If you’re feeling peckish on your drive along the Cabot Trail, stop off at this over 60-year-old bakery. They’ve got Acadian products on offer, sandwiches, and of course, pastries, so you can get a full meal (or two) stopping here.
Address: 14 Lapointe Road
36.3 WEAGLES’ BAKERY
This place had to be on the list if only for the name, but Weagles’ offers much more to make you smile. Their main focus is on cupcakes and donuts, but you’ll find all sorts of great bakery fare here.
Address: 15 Victoria Road, Bridgewater
36.4 LAHAVE BAKERY
The LaHave Bakery provides a great variety of breads, bagels, squares, and cookies. If you’re looking for more savory fair, they also have frozen take home dinners, sauces, soups, and even fresh produce.
Address: Highway 331 LaHave, Nova Scotia
37. WHALE WATCHING
There are many awesome marine animals that make their homes around Nova Scotia, but the biggest (and perhaps most famous) are the various whale species. There are a bunch of different places to find the whales, and so there are a bunch of whale watching cruises where you go out on the water and see a wide variety of marine wildlife, including whales of course!
37.1 DIGBY WHALE WATCHING
Digby Whale Watching will take you into the Bay of Fundy to observe the whales that visit there every year. Each tour has a different area of focus and tour length, so it’s best to look at all four and decide what one works best for your group.
Address: See website link below for links to the four member organizations and their information
37.2 CAPTAIN ZODIAC WHALE CRUISE
Whale watching can be a bit of a gamble (they are wild animals, after all), but with Captain Zodiac, they make tremendous efforts to make sure that you will see whales, getting up quite early in the morning to find where the whales are hanging out that day. And if you still don’t see whales, don’t fret—you will get a full refund.
Cost: 39$ for adults, seniors, and students, 29$ for children
Address: 15407 Cabot Trail, Chéticamp
37.3 DIXON’S ZODIAC SEAFARI
The only kind of safari I want to go on is a seafari from now on. You’re likely to see whales on this tour, but you’re also going to see animals like dolphins, sunfish, seals, and maybe even a Leatherback turtle (depending on the season).
Cost: Contact for details
Address: 36 Lighthouse Road, Neil’s Harbour
37.4 KELTIC EXPRESS ZODIAC ADVENTURES
The Keltic Express takes you into the waters surrounding Ingonish in northern Cape Breton in search of many animals. Between whales, dolphins, seals, puffins, and eagles, you’ll also learn about the history of the area and see awesome land-based landmarks like the cliffs of Keltic Lodge and Ingonish Island.
Cost: 56$ per seat, 28$ for children under 10
Address: 101 Wharf Road, Ingonish
38. PLAY GOLF
Towering cliffs, rolling greens, and natural water features—all these together create some fascinating golf courses. World renowned golf course architects have carved out inventive courses around the province, some decades old and some new in the 21st century. With gear rentals available at most of them, you don’t have to worry about bringing anything but your skills and some golf balls!
38.1 CABOT LINKS & CABOT CLIFFS
These two connected golf courses offer a beautiful landscape for playing golf. Each has their own distinctive aesthetic, but they both offer premium courses, interesting challenges, and a chance to eat and stay at the golf’s inn.
Address: 18 Cabot Lane, Inverness
Phone: 1-902-258-4653 or 1-855-746-3632
Websites: Cabot Cliffs and Cabot Links
38.2 YARMOUTH LINKS GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
At the southwest corner of Nova Scotia, Yarmouth Links offers a golf course on the ocean, with a lighthouse in the background. The course is more difficult than it looks, and between the vistas and the carefully designed holes, you’re sure to spend a long day playing golf.
Cost: Varies depending on what you want to play
Address: 28 Forbes Street, Yarmouth
38.3 GLEN ARBOUR
This golf course offers an 18-hole champion hole course, a 9-hole course, and practice facilities, so you can decide how your golf day. Beautifully maintained and in the HRM, it’s an excellent escape from city buzz to enjoy a day on the links.
Address: 40 Clubhouse Lane, Hammonds Plains
38.4 BELL BAY GOLF COURSE
Seated just above the Bras D’Or Lakes, Bell Bay Golf Course is considered one of the best golf courses in Cape Breton. As beautiful as it is, make sure to keep your eye on the ball, as some of these holes are tricky.
Address: 761 Highway 205, Baddeck
39. GO SCUBA DIVING
With all the water around Nova Scotia, it makes sense that there’s lots of wonderful places to scuba dive. You can take scuba diving lessons, dive with a group, or explore one of the many fascinating dive sites around the province. There are shipwrecks, sea creatures, and so much more!
39.1 EAST COAST SCUBA & WATERSPORTS
If you want to dive in the HRM, but you’ve never done it before, you can find instruction at East Coast Scuba & Watersports. They have courses for beginners to instructors, and they also have gear and water vehicles like kayaks and paddle boards for sale.
Address: 1440 Bedford Highway
39.2 TORPEDO RAYS SCUBA
Another HRM scuba diving school, Torpedo Rays provides instructions at multiple levels. They also offer guided local dives, so you’ll be comfortable in local waters even if you’ve never dove in Nova Scotian water.
Cost: See website for specific courses
Address: 625 Windmill Road, Dartmouth
39.3 ST. PAUL ISLAND CAPE BRETON
St. Paul Island offers some interesting diving, not least because of the shipwrecks around the island. If your group is ready for a diving adventure, get ready to plan a trip to whichever wreck catches your fancy.
Cost: Bring Your Own Gear
Address: St Paul Island
Louisbourg is famous for its historical Fort (see above), but it’s also a fantastic place for diving. Louisbourg Scuba offers courses for both recreational and technical diving, which will allow you to explore these waters with confidence and company.
Address: 20 Holland Avenue, Louisbourg
40. VISIT PROVINCIAL PARKS
In addition to the beautiful national park, Nova Scotia is home to several lovely provincial parks. Some have their own beaches, some are historical sites, and some are just as wild as Kejimkujik. Each has a piece of Nova Scotia’s beauty.
40.1 SMUGGLER’S COVE PROVINCIAL PARK
The rumrunners of Nova Scotia have left quite the legacy, including Smuggler’s Cove, a common place for smuggling liquor. It’s a beautiful park these days, with the cove accessible during low tide (as far as I know, no liquor is allowed in the park these days.
Address: 7651 Highway 1, Meteghan
40.2 ARISAIG PROVINCIAL PARK
A picnic provincial park, Arisaig is a spot of tremendous beauty. You can look for fossils and rocks, walk a 1.6km loop trail through forest and by the sea, and have a picnic at the top of the hill.
Address: 5704 Highway 245 Arisaig
40.3 BEN EOIN
Ben Eoin is a small park horizontally, but it’s quite impressive vertically. A steep trail up the hill will take you to a lookoff with a stunning view of the Bras D’Or Lake. Birdwatch as you enjoy a picnic, you never know what feathered friends you may see.
Address: 5549 NS-4, Cape Breton Regional Municipality
40.4 IRISH COVE
Irish Cove is a small picnic park overlooking the Bras d’Or Lakes, so it’s a great place to stop on a daytrip to stretch your legs and enjoy a meal. This is another great spot for birdwatching, and if you’re lucky you might see some wildlife of the four-legged variety.
Address: 16165 Highway 4, Irish Cove
41. VISIT UNIQUE STORES
Nova Scotia’s particular charms are present in all the unique stores you can find around the province. Some are unique because of their names, some because of what they sell, and some because of their quirky atmosphere. If there’s one thing they all have in common, it’s a Bluenose whimsy that makes them memorable.
41.1 BLACK MARKET BOUTIQUE
If you’re looking for something pretty and special, the Black Market Boutique in Halifax will likely have what you’re looking for. The gorgeously painted exterior hints at the beauty inside, and all the items come from trips around the world to buy from families and small businesses, so you’re getting a taste of exotic and local at the same time.
Address: 1545 Grafton Street
41.2 PROUD TO BE HOOKERS
They sell hooked rugs and hooking kits, I promise! The shop is full of beautiful things, and everything you could ever want to bring some hooking into your life.
Address: 10 LaPrairie Road, Petit Etang, Cape Breton
41.3 LEATHER WORKS BY JOLENE
If you’re looking for good-quality and hand-made local leather, you need to visit Jolene. You’ll find beautiful products here, everything from passport holders to bracelets to flower vases.
Address: 45808 Cabot Trail, Cape Breton
41.4 BISCUIT GENERAL STORE
Biscuit is a fascinating store because it really is a ‘general store’ in the traditional sense. You’ll find clothing, accessories, quirky gifts, and specially made candles, which makes for pleasant wandering through the pretty store.
Address: 1661 Argyle Street
42. CHECK OUT LOCAL BOOKSTORES
Nova Scotia’s quite an interesting place for bookworms. You’ll find Chapters locations, of course, but you’ll also find some lovely local places. There are both first-hand and second-hand options to explore all around. Bring some book bags and enjoy a day looking through the shelves.
42.1 ED’S BOOKS AND MORE
A local staple, Ed’s Books and More does exactly what it says on the tin. They’ve got lots of books, but you can also find everything from vintage magazines to collectibles, including handmade local soap!
Address: 331 Charlotte Street, Sydney, Cape Breton
42.2 BOOKMARK II
An independent bookstore that also sells a wide variety of fountain pens and lovely notebooks, Bookmark has one location in Halifax and one location in PEI (so if you’re going there as well you should check them out too! They’ve got lots of books that cover diverse genres and subjects, so if you’re a browse you could be in here a while—not much of a hardship.
Address: 5686 Spring Garden Road
42.3 OTIS & CLEMENTINE’S BOOKS
This is a second-hand bookstore not far from Halifax that provides books at great prices, coffee and pastries, and kittens. The kittens are not for sale, they’re foster kittens that the store owners help get ready for adoption. They’ll move on every now and then, but you’re sure to find a furry companion as you browse the shelves.
Address: 5209 St. Margaret’s Bay Road
42.4 NOVELTEA BOOKSTORE
I’m a sucker for pun names, and for bookstores that sell more than books, it makes easier to trick—I mean, convince—the whole group to come along. NovelTea has a passionate focus on local artists and authors, and their café lets you sit down and look over your purchases while enjoying a hot beverage.
Address: 622 Prince Street, Truro
43. VISIT ANTIQUE STORES
Nova Scotian history goes back a long way, and lots of that history lives on in objects. Antique stores across the province holds pieces of the past. If you’re thinking about buying antique furniture, decorations, dishes, or even toys and tools, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.
43.1 FINER THINGS ANTIQUES & CURIOS
If you like antique shopping but you don’t know exactly what you want, Finer Things is a great choice. They have a variety of antiques to examine, all in good condition and for reasonable prices.
Address: 6438 Quinpool Road, Halifax
43.2 THE ANTIQUES BOUTIQUE
This Baddeck store focuses on antique jewelry and silverware, but they’ve got lots of pretty things in store. Vintage doilies, boxes, sewing equipment and more await you here.
Address: 508 Chebucto Street, Baddeck, Cape Breton
Phone: 902-295-9013 or 902-295-1329
43.3 CLEMENTSPORT ANTIQUES
Annapolis Royal is one of the oldest settlements in Nova Scotia, so it makes sense that Clementsport Antiques has a thriving business. They have art and paintings, furniture, and other antiques both local and from around the world.
Address: 123 Old Post Road, Annapolis Royal
43.4 DEN OF ANTIQUITY
Another excellently named store, this antique store combines past and present. There are antiques, of course, but there are also collectibles available from more recent years, and they also feature local crafts.
Address: 12254 Kempt Head Road, Boulanderie East, Cape Breton
44. TAKE A FOOD & DRINK TOUR
When you’re passionate about a particular kind of food, you want to find the best—the same goes for drinks. Nova Scotia has four official self-guided food tours that will take you to different locations around the province to try a certain kind of food. Grab a food tour passport and head out, because no matter where you are, great food and drink awaits!
44.1 NOVA SCOTIA CHOWDER TRAIL
Do you love seafood chowder? Do you want to find your favourite? Then set out on the chowder trail. With over forty stops, you’ll find a stop close by no matter where you are, so grab a passport and get ready to chow down!
44.2 NOVA SCOTIA LOBSTER TRAIL
Like the Chowder Trail, the Lobster Trail has many stops all over the province. You’ll find lobster in many different forms, from rolls to chowder to…poutine? Yup, even poutine.
44.3 NOVA SCOTIA GOOD CHEER TRAIL
This trail is a bit more complicated, because the stops are to help you enjoy Nova Scotian beer, cider, spirits, mead, and wine. You’ll visit some awesome places, just make sure you have a designated driver and plenty to eat, then you’ll have an awesome time.
44.4 TASTE HALIFAX FOOD TOURS
There are a few different tours here, most with transportation included (which is super useful). Whatever tour floats your boat, you’ll get a great chance to explore the food scene in Halifax.
45. VISIT MEMORIALS
Keeping the past in the present, memorials are often a somber remembrance of tragedies gone by. But those memories are worth visiting, because the lessons we learn from tragedies don’t have to be unpleasant. Come and remember the victims, celebrate the heroes, and learn how we can do better in the future.
45.1 GRAND PRÉ CHAPEL
The Deportation of the Acadians was a terrible and poorly managed exile, and it could have been much less painful if anyone in charge had bothered to think about the humans they were displacing. Grand Pré Chapel gives a space to reflect on the deportation and serves as a reminder that ordinary people can do terrible things when they don’t treat others as people too.
Cost: $7.90 for adults, seniors $6.60
Address: 2205 Grand Pré Road, Grand Pré NS
Phone: 902-542-1691 or 1-866-542-3631
45.2 HALIFAX EXPLOSION MEMORIAL BELL TOWER
The Halifax Explosion was a disaster that still reverberates in Halifax today—happily, it’s not all bad. To thank Boston for coming to our aid, we send a Christmas tree to them every year. If you’re looking for a more solemn remembrance, check out the Memorial Bell Tower, built in a neighbourhood that was devastated by the explosion but is now thriving.
Address: 3340 Union Street
45.3 SYDNEY MERCHANT MARINERS’ MEMORIAL
Sending supplies across the Atlantic during the world wars was a dangerous affair, and the crews of those ships were in just as much danger as civilians as the soldiers they were supporting. The memorial honours both the lost and the survivors of those dangerous trips.
Address: 246 Esplanade, Sydney, Cape Breton
45.4 GLOOSCAP STATUE
The treatment of the Mi’kmaq in Nova Scotia is a long and painful story, and one that has been hidden or glossed over for centuries. Glooscap, a significant figure in Mi’kmaq spirituality, stands as a 40ft tall sculpture above the Glooscap Heritage Centre. It’s a good place to reflect on the efforts to bring the past to light, as well as the efforts to change the narrative in the future.
Cost: 6$ for adults, 3.50 for children 6-17 and free for children 5 and under, 5$ for seniors
Address: 65 Treaty Trail, Millbrook
46. SEE HISTORIC BUILDINGS
Some of the buildings in Nova Scotia have existed longer than the province was called Nova Scotia. Even those built after Confederation still stand in great numbers, and it’s easy to find buildings from the 1800s in the heart of downtown Halifax. These buildings have stories attached, and you have to come and see the setting of these stories in person to get the full picture!
46.1 LONE SHIELING TRAIL
The forest surrounding this trail is made up of trees that are centuries old, including 350-year-old maple trees. It’s a short hike, but you’ll see the Lone Shieling right at the trailhead. It’s a replica of a crofter’s hut, so it’s not fully an old building, but it has a history of its own.
Address: 24734 Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park
46.2 HIGHLAND ARTS THEATRE
This theatre was actually a church for 111 years, but it was turned into a theatre in 2013. There are performances year-round, and its home to both music and theatrical acts, mostly local.
Address: 40 Bentinck Street, Sydney, Cape Breton
46.3 DINGLE TOWER
An iconic sight in the Northwest Arm, the Dingle Tower rises above Sir Sanford Fleming Park. I don’t recommend climbing the staircase if you’ve got issues with heights, but if you don’t mind them it’s a cool climb with a spectacular view at the top.
Address: 260 Dingle Road, Halifax
46.4 ZOÉ VALLÉ MEMORIAL LIBRARY
Zoé Vallé is a fascinating woman in Nova Scotian history—the descendant of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, she actually bought the property where the library stands in her own name (unheard of for a woman in 1903). Come and take a tour, look at the books, and celebrate a widely unread chapter in Nova Scotian women’s history.
Address: Regent Street, Chester
47. VISIT UNIQUE LANDMARKS
There are landmarks all over Nova Scotia, some natural, some buildings, some art…and then there are the unique ones that tend to defy classification. Get a folder ready to take some pictures near these cool places, because you won’t find them anywhere else.
47.1 OLD TOWN CLOCK
If you’re looking at postcards of Halifax, chances are that you’ll find the Old Town Clock on them. It’s a beautiful clock that is technically a reconstruction of the clock that was bult in 1803—this one is “only” a hundred years old. It keeps time for the noon cannon that’s fired off Citadel Hill.
Address: Brunswick Street, Halifax
47.2 THE FATHERS OF CONFEDERATION TREE
I suppose this is Canada’s version of Mount Rushmore, but on a much smaller scale. You’ll find this dead tree in Amherst, with the faces of the Four Fathers of Confederation carved into it at different points. Don’t look up any pictures—this landmark deserves to be experienced in person (and yes, that means it’s both weird and interesting).
Address: East side of Victoria Street West, Amherst
47.3 THE LIARS BENCH
Don’t you love it when everyone can take a joke? This bench was painted as a prank in 1942, but everyone loved it so much that it’s stayed just the way it is. Come and tell whatever truth you want to get off your chest here—it’s not like anyone will believe you!
Address: 75 McGee Street, Springhill
47.4 THE WORLD’S BIGGEST FIDDLE
If you explore the Sydney Waterfront (which you should because it’s very pretty), you’ll eventually stumble on the world’s biggest fiddle. And for the wise guys that are going to say a double bass, no—this thing is 60 feet tall. This year it turns fifteen, so come say hi!
Address: Waterfront, Sydney
48. EXPLORE THE WATERFRONTS
With the ocean being such a huge part of Nova Scotia’s culture, it’s unsurprising that there are awesome waterfronts all along the coasts. There are museums to see, shopping to do, waterfront dining to experience, and spectacular ocean views at sunset.
48.1 HALIFAX WATERFRONT
The Halifax Waterfront stretches for a few kilometres, and is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. You’ll find great restaurants, food huts, a splash pad, a museum, and so many boats, like the Silva (see above).
Address: Lower Water Street, Halifax
48.2 SHELBURNE’S HISTORIC WATERFRONT
Shelburne packs a lot of history into 10 blocks, dating back to the 18th century. It’s got several old-style buildings, some for a modern reason—when movies are filmed here, they will sometimes refurbish or build new “old” buildings, and then leave them up to enhance the ambiance.
Address: 20 Dock Street, Shelburne
48.3 YARMOUTH WATERFRONT
The 5 kilometres of Yarmouth’s Waterfront are full of the same things as most waterfronts, but it has something special at the end—a road. More specifically, a causeway to Bunker Island, so you can cross over and see the Island.
Address: The Waterfront, this website suggests beginning at the parking lot of West Nova Fuels (211 Water Street)
48.4 ANNAPOLIS ROYAL BOARDWALK
Another old settlement, Annapolis Royal Boardwalk is home to some stores, a lighthouse, and it rarely looks the same way twice. That’s because it’s on the Bay of Fundy, so depending on the tide of day (pun intended) you’ll have a very different experience on the boardwalk.
Address: Boardwalk, Annapolis Royal
49. WILDERNESS CAMPING
If you’re looking to go off the grid, Nova Scotia has your back. With several wilderness campgrounds dotted around, you’ll also find some places where there’s no official ‘site’ but you’re welcome to bring yourself and your tent in and enjoy the wilderness all alone. Respect the environment, bring everything you need, and settle into the backcountry.
49.1 FISHING COVE BACKCOUNTRY CAMPGROUND
If you want to go deep into the backcountry, Fishing Cove is a great choice. It’s a 6km hike out to the base of McKenzie Mountain (see above for the trail), where you’ll find 8 sites in the cove. Remember to bring toilet paper!
Cost: 11.00 a night
Address: Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Pleasant Bay
Phone: 902-224-2306 or 902-285-2691
49.2 BOWERS MEADOWS WILDERNESS AREA
If you don’t even want a specific camping site, head into Bowers Meadow. This protected area allows people to go in and enjoy nature, but it stops development, meaning it’s you, a sleeping bag and tent, and the great outdoors.
49.3 BEAR FALLS WILDERNESS
Bears Falls Wilderness is a great place to get an introduction to wilderness camping. While there’s lots of wilderness around you, it’s still fairly close to civilization, with other campers around. If you have questions, you can just ask!
49.4 IRON MOUNTAIN WILDERNESS CABINS
This is a fascinating wilderness camping experience because it’s camping with four walls and a roof (it counts, I promise). Iron Mountain Cabins is completely off the grid, so it’s a great place to go to disconnect and get used to being in nature.
Address: 901 Whycocomagh Mountain Road, Whycocomagh, Cape Breton
50. VISIT PONDS
With all the ocean and lakes in Nova Scotia, it’s easy to forget about ponds. I am on a mission to change that because there are beautiful ponds in Nova Scotia. They’re not always good for swimming, but it’s hard to beat a pond for relaxation and quiet to enjoy the nature around you.
50.1 KIWANIS PARK POND
Kiwanis Pond is surrounded by a short loop path, so you can walk all the way around. This is great for birdwatchers, as there’s plenty of resident waterfowl you can observe at any angle.
Address: Juniper Drive/Robie Street, Truro
Phone: 902-893-6078 (Town of Truro Parks and Recreation)
50.2 FROG POND
Frog Pond sits right next to Sir Sandford Fleming Park (home of the Dingle, see above). It’s a peaceful pond with a trail that goes around it, with plenty of frogs to listen to (and see, of course, but they’re fast!) If you want more of a walk, you can continue onto the Sir Sandford Fleming trail.
Address: Purcell’s Cove Road, Halifax
50.3 MACELMON’S POND PROVINCIAL PARK
This is a picnic park with a wildlife sanctuary and a pond. The trail takes you past the pond and through swamps and fields, perfect for birdwatching and for spotting other wildlife.
Address: Highway 104, Exit 13, South on MacElmon’s Road
Phone: 902-662-3030 (NS Department of Natural Resources)
50.4 MEADOW POND PARK
Meadow Pond Park is a small park that is as peaceful as its name sounds. It has picnic tables so you can snack, and it’s also got a viewing platform above the pond so you can see fish use their ladder (yes, you can actually swim up and down a ladder if you’re a fish—if you don’t believe me, go see for yourself!)
Address: 33 White Point Road, Liverpool
By: Adrienne Colborne