Summer is when Nova Scotia comes alive with music, festivals, and beautiful views. Learn something new at the historic sites, stargaze, zip line, enjoy beach time and eat ice cream this summer! Here are just 50 summer adventures for families in Nova Scotia.
Traveling around Nova Scotia is easy by vehicle and most locations are only a short distance from the next ‘must visit’ location.
See the Stars at Kejimkujik National Park & National Historic Site
One of the only places where you can see the stars and the moon without light pollution, Kejimkujik National Park is the place to go if you and your family want to connect with nature. It is often called Keji, the park is a national historic site because there are petroglyphs left by the Mi’kmaq people over thousands of years ago. You can choose to spend the day, or bring your camping gear and stay the night.
Murphy’s Scenic Boats Tours
Hop aboard Murphy’s Legacy and get ready for an hour and half narrated tour around the over 100 Wild Islands. Considered to be the ‘most valuable islands you have never heard of. See one of the last remaining intact and ecologically rich islands in North America.
Visit Peggy’s Cove
Peggy’s Cove to Nova Scotia’s most iconic and most photographed lighthouse. The Peggy’s Point Lighthouse is still in use today and has a Post Office on the lower level where you can mail postcards. Along with the lighthouse, Peggy’s Cove is also known for being a friendly fishing village that is only an hour’s drive from Halifax.
Joggins Fossil Cliffs UNESCO World Heritage Site
Nova Scotia was once home to dinosaurs, which are now fossils that you can see and find at Canada’s 15th UNESCO World Heritage Site. When the tides are low, you can walk on the beach and see the fossils in the rocks. You can learn interesting facts about dinosaurs, plants, and insects in the museum.
Become a Cowboy or Cowgirl at Hatfield Farm Cowboy Adventures
Become a cowboy or cowgirl at the Hatfield Farm Cowboy Adventure.The best time to visit is on weekends since the Weekend Family Round-up happens at 11 am on Saturdays and Sundays. It is recommended that you arrive early to sign up. Kids of all ages love the petting pen, mini golf, zip lines, and the rubber rodeo.
Hike the Trails in Cape Breton Highlands National Park
The Cabot Trail surrounds the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. There are 26 hiking trails that you can pick from, ranging from easy strolls to challenging climbs. Along the trails are breathtaking views of Cape Breton and the Atlantic Ocean.
Shakespeare By The Sea
On sunny Summer Days, Shakespeare By The Sea turns Point Pleasant Park into a wonderful stage. The company’s 2019 lineup features The Wizard of Oz, Henry V, Love’s Labour’s Lost, and The Unrehearsed Dream. Bring some snacks and sunscreen for these fun summer afternoon or evening performances.
Upper Clements Amusement Park
Get ready for a thrilling day at Upper Clements Amusement Park. Spend the day outside, riding thrilling family rides, watching live entertainment, and enjoying delicious food. You can cool off in the splash area and zip down the waterslide. Plan to spend the whole day at the park because there is so much to do for both the young and young at heart.
Le Village Historique Acadien De La Nouvelle-Ecosse
Learn about the Acadians and their way of life at Le Village Historique Acadien De La Nouvelle-Ecosse. Explore original wooden buildings and lighthouse, and experience farming and fishing traditions. Be sure to try traditional Acadian cuisine in the on-site café.
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
Nearly one million immigrants walked the halls of Pier 21 to enter Canada for the first time. Today, Pier 21 is an interactive museum that explores what it was like leaving home and traveling to Canada in the 1920’s to 1970’s.
Travel Back in Travel at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site
Adventures are waiting for you this summer at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site. The Fortress of Louisbourg was one of North America’s busiest 18th-century seaports. Experience what life was like in the 1700s. During the summer, you can feel the ground shake from cannon blasts and even get to fire an exact replica musket.
See the Bluenose II
The iconic Schooner on the Canadian dime, the Bluenose has been a proud Nova Scotia ambassador since 1921. This beautiful Schooner sails out of Lunenburg in the summer months to visit ports around Nova Scotia and other ports along the eastern seaboard. The Bluenose II will be in Nova Scotia in June and September, 2019.
Halifax Citadel National Historic Site
On the top of the hill looking for the harbour is the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site. The Citadel was built to defend Halifax Harbour in early days of the city, and still watches over the waterfront today. During the summer, the Citadel is a living history site. Watch the sentry changes, marching, and band drills and Noon Gun firing, a Halifax tradition that is one of the oldest in the world.
Watch a Movie Under the Stars at the Valley Drive In
See two movies under the stars at one of the last drive in theatres in Atlantic Canada. The Valley Drive In is the place to be on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. The drive-in show 2 new release movies each night for just one admission price. So, take the family to the drive-in and relax in the car, or bring a blanket and radio to sit under the stars and see new movies.
Port-Royal National Historic Site
The Annapolis Basin is rich in farmland and fishing, which is why the French colonists settled in the area and built Port Royal. Step into the daily life of an early French settler, explore the buildings and learn skills from the early 1600s.
Hop on the Harbour Hopper
Hop aboard Atlantic Canada’s most popular tour. The Harbour Hopper is an amphibious that shows off the best of Halifax by land and sea. See Citadel Hill, Halifax Public Gardens, and travel down the bustling Spring Garden Road. Then make a huge splash into the harbour and see the Waterfront, George’s Island and much more. An exciting way to see the historic city.
Visit Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site
From inventing the telephone, to achieving Canada’s first powered fight with his associates, Alexander Graham Bell played a huge role in how we live today. The site is home to many original artifacts, and photographs. There are 10 hectares of land with breathtaking views of the Bras d’Or Lake right outside.
See animals at the Oaklawn Farm Zoo
In the heart of the Annapolis Valley is the largest display of cats and primates in the Atlantic Provinces. Oaklawn Farm Zoo is home to a variety of mammals, birds, and reptiles in areas specifically created for their comfort. Along with seeing the animals, there are also pony rides for children.
See the Flowers at Halifax Public Gardens
A green oasis in the centre of Halifax, the Halifax Public Gardens is one of North America’s finest surviving examples. The gardens are home to a huge variety of local and international flowers, trees, and shrubs, along with beautiful fountains and statues. This is the perfect place for a picnic or just when you need a break from city life.
Hope For Wildlife
Connect with wildlife and meet local animals at Hope For Wildlife. Hope For Wildlife aids local animals who need some human help. When visiting, you can meet the education animals in the Learning Centre and the Wildlife Gardens.
OnTree Fun & Adventure Park
Experience Nova Scotia’s first high-rope course climbing and zip lining at Canada’s largest high rope course climbing and zip-line park. OnTree Fun & Adventure Park has 14 adult courses, 2 children’s courses and 2 training courses that challenge all skill levels and are terrific fun for all ages.
Get Ice-cream at The Real Scoop Ice Cream & Espresso Shop
If you are traveling near Wolfville, be sure to make a stop at The Real Scoop Ice Cream & Espresso Shop. The ice-cream and waffle cones are made on-site and are delicious. They have swings inside that you can sit on while you enjoy your ice-cream or have a drink. It is a ‘must stop’ place for sweet treats along your travels.
Not every day of summer is going to be sunny, so a Discovery Centre visit is the perfect rainy day activity for families. Making learning fun with hands-on activities, the Discovery Centre is fun for the whole family and has activities to cover all interests.
Highland Village Museum/ Baile Nan Gaidheal
Visit North America’s only living history Gaelic museum this summer. There are 43-acres to explore and take in the views of the Bras d’Or Lake, along with eleven historic buildings. You can take part in a traditional ceilidh, learn to speak Gaelic phrases, and hear Gaelic singing.
Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park
Native mammals and birds and some exotic species call the 40 hectares of natural woodlands home. The Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park has static and interactive displays about wildlife and habitats. The two kilometers are wheelchair-accessible and will take to areas to view the animals and have interpretive panels along the way.
Atlantic Splash Adventure
Cool off by taking a dip at Atlantic Splash Adventure. Zip down the waterslide, or take a dip in the pool. If staying dry is your thing, take a ride on the 42-foot coaster, Ferris wheel, or Tilt-a-Whirl. There is something for everyone and fun to be had for all ages at this popular amusement park.
Eat Lobster at Hall’s Harbour Lobster Pound and Restaurant
Lobster is an Atlantic Canadian treat, and Hall’s Harbour is one of the best places to go for lobster in Nova Scotia. The Hall’s Harbour Lobster Pound is a working lobster pound where the lobsters that are caught daily are served in the waterfront restaurant. The restaurant also serves other Nova Scotian favorite dishes if lobster is not your thing.
Museum of Natural History
Explore the wonders of Nova Scotia’s land and sea at the Museum of Natural History located in Halifax. You can see preserved Mi’kmaq artifacts, ancient fossils, sea creatures from the Atlantic Ocean, and other live displays. The special exhibition area features local, national, and international sources.
Go Whale Watching with Brier Island Whale & Seabird Cruise
Humpback, Finback and Right Whales along with dolphins, porpoises and many seabirds call the waters around Brier Island home or travel through them. Going on a boat tour like those offered by Brier Island Whale & Seabird Cruise allows you to take a closer look at these amazing creatures.
Eat Digby Scallops at Churchill’s Restaurant & Lounge
Digby is world famous for their scallops, and the best place to try them is in the picturesque community of Digby. Chef Dale Nichols at Churchill’s Restaurant & Lounge creates new twists on old favourite recipes featuring fresh, local ingredients that are sure to tempt even the most discerning foodie.
Enjoy Live Music at the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre
Experience a traditional Ceilidh at the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre in Judique, Cape Breton. The whole family will enjoy the live music demonstrations, an interactive exhibit room, and gift shop. You can also get a delicious lunch at the Ceilidh Pub during the daily lunch ceilidhs with live music.
Visit the Cole Harbour Heritage Farm Museum
Spend a day visiting an original Cole Harbour Farm that is over 200 years old. While you are there you can see a community archive, heritage buildings with agricultural and household implements, farm animals, gardens, along with a tearoom and gift shop.
Experience Acadian Culture at the Acadian House Museum
Take a day to visit the Acadian House Museum in Chezzetcook to learn about the coastal French village that once thrived in that area. You can walk along the beautiful beaches or the nearby walking and hiking trails. At the museum, you can see demonstrations of rug hooking, bread baking, butter churning and much more.
Balmoral Grist Mill Museum
Treat yourself and your family to the experience of a waterside grist mill from Nova Scotia’s past. You can see demonstrations of the mill in action and smell the aroma of over 135 years of maple wood smoke used to dry oats in the kiln. Bring a picnic lunch and relax in this shady, peaceful place. You can also take a long stroll along the 1-km walking trail that winds along the scenic gorge and mill stream.
Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site
Feel the ground shake and see French soldiers march down the street at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site. Play 300-year-old games, chat with fishermen, sailors, and guards, and watch meals be prepared over an open-hearth fire. It is so accurate, it feels like you traveled back in time.
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Go Underground at Cape Breton Miners’ Museum
Coal mining was a huge industry in Nova Scotia, but it was also very dangerous. The Cape Breton Miners’ Museum pays tribute to the coal miners and the coal industry. Go underground and tour the coal mine under the museum. In the museum, there is a fascinating exhibit on the geological development of Cape Breton’s coalfield.
Miners Village Restaurant
Enjoy a scrumptious meal next to a large brick fireplace in a traditional 1850’s to 1900’s building. Choose from a wide selection of fresh fish dishes, local chowders, and fruit dishes at Miners Village Restaurant. It is a great spot to visit after going to the Cape Breton Miner’s Museum.
Fox Harb’r Resort
This is the place to stay if you are looking to get away from it all. Fox Harb’r Resort is one of the only 5-star resorts in Canada. There are always family fun events taking place, including Sea Kayaking, Horseback Riding, and much more. There are great views of ocean and it is only a quick walk to the waves.
Mastodon Ridge in Shubenacadie
Take photos with the life-size replica of a prehistoric mastodon, which can be seen from the highway. Along the trail leading to the mastodon are interactive panels about the area history, and local animals and plants, and a children’s play area. Coldstream Clear Distillery is onsite if you need to cool off with icecream. On Sundays, the Mastodon Ridge farmers’ market is open.
Just a short 25-minute drive from Shelburne is the beautiful and often deserted Roseway Beach. The white sandy beach is over 1km in length, and the water is warm as the salt ocean water meets the river water.
Sugar Moon Farm
See where maple syrup and maple products are made this summer. While not producing maple syrup in the summer, the Sugar Moon Farm is open year round. Hike the over 30km of trails around the farm, or enjoy a meal in the lodge made from local seasonal ingredients.
The 1860s was a booming time for Sherbrooke as timber tall ships and gold ruled life along the St. Mary’s River. Experience what life was like in Sherbrooke Village was like over 100 years. Make sure to visit Canada’s only Ambrotype glass photo studio. There are workshops all summer long that are fun for all ages.
Learn to Surf with East Coast Surf School
Surfing is most likely not something you think to do in Nova Scotia, but the Atlantic Ocean does create great surfing waves. Learn how to surf with East Coast Surf School this summer. Lessons include an hour lesson with an experienced instructor, and surfboard and wetsuit rental.
Black Duck Cove Provincial Park
Walk the rocky beach and beach comb at the Black Duck Cove Provincial Park. The water is warmer than many other Nova Scotian beaches, so no worry about freezing in cold ocean water You can also hike the Black Duck Cove Trail which runs along the beach and is a 3.5km loop.
Victoria Park – Truro
A green oasis in Truro, Victoria Park is over 130 years with some of the trees being older then the park. Challenge your family to climb Jacob’s ladder, a 175 step staircase that offers great views of the park and Truro. Hike the trails to find the waterfalls, or just relax by the swimming pool or watching a sports game. There is something for everyone in Victoria Park.
Ross Farm Museum – New Ross
Explore over 60 acres of rolling farmland and experience what family farm life was like over 100 years ago at Ross Farm Museum. Try your hand at traditional household and farm skills like wool spinning, making bread, and sewing. Go on a wagon ride, meet the animals who live and work on the farm, and connect with Nova Scotia’s farming heritage.
Whale watching at Brier Island
Brier Island is famous as it where most whales, seabirds and other sea creatures are spotted around Nova Scotia. Get to see endangered and rare species of whales including Right, Finback and Humpback whales on a Brier Island Whale and Seabird Cruise. Pick from the 2 to 5 cruises offered daily.
Visit Hennigar’s Farm Park and Trail – Greenwich
Hennigar’s Farm Park and Trail is a perfect place to stop when traveling the Annapolis Valley. Kids will love the sandbox and riding the tricycles. The goats, fish, and ducks love when people feed them the animal feed that is available at the park or in the Hennigar’s Farm Market. Stroll the 2.5km Tannery Hollow Nature Trail if you feel like going for a relaxing walk.
Get Ice-cream or Burritos at Deedee’s Icecream
Cool off in Halifax or Peggy’s Cove with handmade ice-cream or take a lunch break at Deedee’s Icecream. Using local fresh ingredients and making everything for scratch, Deedee’s serves up amazing food and treats. There can be a line as both locations are popular with both locals and travelers.
Springhill Miners’ Museum
Tour a coal mine in Springhill, which is famous in Nova Scotian songs and stories with a knowledgeable guide. Hear the stories from the 1891 disaster, 1916 subterranean fire, the 1956 explosion, the major bump in 1958 that killed 75 men, and reason why the mine was closed.
Attend a Family Festival
Nova Scotia’s family festivals are an excellent place to learn about the history and culture of Nova Scotia and the Atlantic provinces. From family music festivals to food and fun, you will find plenty of ways to have fun this summer.