Updated: September 5th, 2021
From the Atlantic Ocean to the wine region of Annapolis, Nova Scotia is an incredible province to explore. For anyone looking for that maritime charm, this province has a lot to offer, and we’ve broken it down into a comprehensive list of the best things to do in Nova Scotia.
Located on the Eastern edge of Canada, Nova Scotia is easily visited from Quebec, New Brunswick, and even the USA.
Explore Canada’s top national historic site in Halifax or walk around the charming streets of Lunenburg. Drive one of the country’s top road trips in Cape Breton, or go rafting on some of the highest tides in the world in the Bay of Fundy.
With so many attractions in Nova Scotia, this province is bound to become one of your favourite places in the country. Whether you’re planning to explore the cities, the coastline, or everything in-between, we’ve got you covered in this comprehensive travel guide.
Nova Scotia Points of Interest
There are all kinds of beautiful destinations within Nova Scotia. Some of the most popular spots include:
- Halifax: The capital of Nova Scotia can’t be missed. It’s home to stunning views, national historic sites, wonderful museums, and an array of bars and restaurants.
- Lunenburg: Quite possibly the most beautiful little town in all of Canada, this scenic centre can be visited as a day trip from Halifax or you could spend a few nights as well. This is also where you’ll find the iconic Bluenose.
- Peggy’s Cove: Not far from Halifax is Peggy’s Cove, which is home to one of the most iconic lighthouses in Canada.
- Cape Breton: This is the mountainous region of Nova Scotia is located right on the eastern tip of the province. This is where you’ll find the stunning Cape Breton Highlands National Park, the Cabot Trail road trip, and the ferry to Newfoundland.
- Annapolis Valley: This is one of the most popular wine regions in Nova Scotia. If you’re looking for beautiful valleys combined with an array of wineries, this is the place to go.
If you’ve never been to Nova Scotia before, you may also be curious about some of the history of this Canadian province. You can learn much more in our Nova Scotia facts article, but here are some historical tidbits:
- No point in Nova Scotia is more than 60 kms from the sea
- Nova Scotia was one of the founding four provinces to join the Confederation with Canada in 1867
- The name Nova Scotia is Latin for New Scotland
- The Halifax Citadel is the most visited national historic site in Canada
Getting to Nova Scotia
If you’re a visitor looking for different ways of getting to Nova Scotia, here is some practical advice on how to get there.
Getting to Nova Scotia by Car
If you’re planning to drive to Nova Scotia, it’s located to the southeast of both New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. It is also connected via ferry to the province of Newfoundland.
Although not connected directly to the United States, it is very close to Maine, the state that shares a border with New Brunswick. Nova Scotia is one of the smallest provinces in Canada and is a great place for a road trip.
Getting to Nova Scotia by Plane
Nova Scotia is home to only one international airport, which is the Halifax Stanfield International Airport. This is the Atlantic Canadian hub for all domestic, regional, and international services.
This airport is also often a connecting point for those travelling to St. John’s, Newfoundland. From Halifax, you can easily explore the province by car, travelling west to Lunenburg or east to Cape Breton.
Getting Around Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of the smallest provinces in Canada but is home to some of the most scenic drives in the country. Like most of Canada, it’s best travelled by private vehicle. However, there are tours, especially to popular areas such as Lunenburg, Peggy’s Cove, and beyond.
If your goal is to explore various parts of the province, the best way is to rent a car.
Best Time to Visit Nova Scotia
Although Nova Scotia can be visited year-round, the best times to visit would be in the summer (June to August) and in the fall (September to November). The third prize is visiting in the spring months (March to May).
Due to its location on the Atlantic Ocean, the winter can bring extreme weather conditions, not to mention a lot of ice as well. Most of the popular activities, such as boating, hiking, and fishing would not be available.
Like most of Canada, the peak travel time is from mid-June to mid-September when the weather is at its warmest temperatures. All the trees and flowers are looking their best, and all the famous attractions and activities in Nova Scotia are open for business.
Keep in mind that this is also the time when hotels can be at full capacity, roads are busiest, and Nova Scotian attractions are at their most expensive.
April to mid-June can also be a nice time to visit but be prepared for rain. The weather is very hit-or-miss and we’ve seen spring days reach up to +25 degrees. Tourism is lower during this time, and some of the activities would not yet be open for business.
Last but not least is the fall. This is a great time to visit as well, especially in late September and early October. Generally, the weather is still quite warm and the changing fall colours are beautiful to see.
Tourists are lesser in numbers than in the peak summer months but most things are still open. We prefer the fall over the spring. The only exception here would be if you want to go white water rafting. In that case, spring or early summer is generally the better time to do so.
Road to 150 – Nova Scotia Road Trip
From May 27th to June 6th, 2017, we toured Nova Scotia as part of the Road to 150 travel series. It was our second province during our 150-day road trip and what an incredible time we had.
We arrived in North Sydney via the ferry from Newfoundland. From there, we toured one of Canada’s most impressive road trips on Cabot Trail in Cape Breton Highlands. We then drove over to the capital city of Halifax.
In Halifax, we visited the impressive Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, the Halifax Citadel, Alexander Keith’s brewery, and the charming waterfront.
We then made our way to Peggy’s Cove, which is home to Canada’s most iconic lighthouse, and then over to Lunenburg, which is ranked as one of the most beautiful small towns in all of Canada.
Here, we stepped aboard the iconic Blue Nose 2, took a historic walking tour, and feasted on some delicious seafood.
Last but not least, we went Tidal Bore Rafting, rafting some of the highest tides in the world, an activity unique to Nova Scotia. We did all of this and yet, only scratched the surface of this lively eclectic province. To see it all in action, check out our best of Nova Scotia video on YouTube.
Best Places To Visit in Nova Scotia
There are so many fun things to do in Nova Scotia, as well as historical attractions, landmarks, and scenery to check out. Below, we’ve covered the best Nova Scotia activities in the province’s most iconic locations.
From Cape Breton and Halifax to Lunenburg and Annapolis, here are some activity-packed places to go in Nova Scotia.
Things To Do in Cape Breton
Home to the tallest mountains in Nova Scotia, as well as a stunning coastline, Cape Breton is a gem of this maritime province. Located at the eastern end of Nova Scotia, you’ll find all sorts of things to do.
Check out Cape Breton Highlands National Park, walk the Cabot Trail, go whale watching, visit the Acadian towns, and much more.
Cape Breton Highlands National Park
No trip to Nova Scotia is complete without a visit to the incredibly scenic Cape Breton Highlands National Park! This incredible piece of nature is managed by Parks Canada and is home to the Cabot Trail, which is known as one of the most scenic drives in the world.
You’ll also find plenty of hiking trails, mind-blowing views, beaches, and waterfalls. Wildlife watching is also wonderful in the national park, with moose, beaver, eagles, and deer.
The park is also home to the jaw-dropping Skyline Trail, a scenic route made up of a wooden boardwalk path. Overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence, visitors can spot whales below while enjoying panoramic views of the rugged coastline.
Cape Breton Highlands is one of my top memories and favourite things to see in Nova Scotia.
Another popular hike in the area is White Point Trail. This beautiful coastal trail is about 2.5 kilometres long and leads out to a lookout point with an incredible panoramic view over the cliffs, mountains and the ocean.
Drive the Cabot Trail
As mentioned above, Cabot Trail is one of the top reasons to visit the Cape Breton Highlands, not to discount all the other incredible features of the park. This is one of the best Canada road trips, consisting of a 300-km drive along the coastline.
On this road trip, you’ll see how the highest mountains in Nova Scotia hug the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Expect cliffs, viewpoints, beaches, and an incredibly twisting road that will please anyone.
Along the way, you can stop to enjoy the many hikes of Cape Breton Highlands National Park and visit the small communities and artisanal shops. You can also visit the town of Baddeck, which was home to Alexander Graham Bell, the father of the telephone!
Bonus: Come in the fall for some of the most impressive fall colours in the country!
Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site
Nova Scotia is full of history and one of the best places to learn about it is at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site. This living history museum recreates fort life from the mid-18th century through historic buildings, costumed guides, and working establishments.
Once home to a 1713 French fort, you’ll find humongous defensive walls around the town, some as thick as 10 metres!
Visitors can watch servants cook while pleasing their taste buds with authentic hot chocolate and fresh-baked bread. You can also witness the soldiers fire the cannon and their muskets.
For an even more immersive experience, you can spend the night in a reproduction tent or period home on the Louisbourg grounds.
While driving around the coastal route of Cape Breton Highlands National Park or hiking out to scenic viewpoints, you might start to feel thirsty. If your tastebuds are craving a delicious sip of whisky, you’ll want to visit the Glenora Distillery.
Glenora Distillery just so happens to be the first single malt whisky distillery in North America. There are tours and tastings on site for a very reasonable $7 per person but there’s also the opportunity to splurge on the VIP Single Malt Tasting Experience for $125.
Had too much whisky? That’s okay. You can also stay on-site at the Glenora Inn.
Perhaps the most charming town you can visit near Cape Breton Highlands National Park is the traditional Acadian fishing village of Chéticamp. Nestled between the majestic highlands of Cape Breton Island and the waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Cheticamp is a beautiful town.
Expect charming accommodation, delicious seafood, and centuries-old dialects, dances, songs, and traditions.
One of the crafts that the town is known for is rug hooking. The soft pastel colours, which are still hand-dyed in the Chéticamp tradition, account for their popularity today. There are a variety of places to see them being made or of course, buy some to take home.
Whale Watching Cape Breton
This mountainous coastal region surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean is a wonderful place to go whale watching. From Zodiacs and catamarans or even from the shore, you can catch sight of whales during the peak season of July and August.
The best places to go whale watching in this region is Pleasant Bay/Ingonish. Possible sightings include minke, pilot, and humpback.
Where to Stay in Cape Breton
Wondering where to stay in Cape Breton? Maison Fiset House is a prime accommodation, nearby attractions and offers a lovely home-style feel.
Maison Fiset House
Chéticamp lies just outside park boundaries and here you’ll find the charming Maison Fiset House bed & breakfast. The home is beautiful, historic, incredibly spacious, and comes with a big tasty breakfast.
Maison is mere steps from the harbour and nearby the popular Harbour Restaurant. What more could you ask for?
Where to Eat in Cape Breton
For seafood lovers, you’re in luck. There are plenty of incredible spots to dine out in Cape Breton.
On the main road in Chéticamp, Harbour Restaurant is home to the best seafood in the area. In fact, my lobster and snow crab were caught right in Chéticamp. How cool is that? Talk about fresh!
It was a cool experience to eat lobster and crab (note: it does get messy) and the cheesecake for dessert was absolutely delicious. Soak up the views of the harbour while enjoying fresh seafood! This is the place to eat if you’re in Chéticamp!
Things to Do in Halifax
The biggest city in Nova Scotia is a vibrant treasure trove of history and fun. We loved walking along the waterfront and the historic streets in Halifax.
We also explored the many historical sites such as Alexander Keiths, the Canadian Museum of Immigration, the Halifax Citadel, and so much more.
There’s also a lot of live music and festivals throughout the year, making this one of Canada’s top cities. For more, see our Things To Do in Halifax article.
Walk the Halifax Harbour
One of the best things to do in Halifax is to spend a good portion of a warm summer day at the scenic Halifax Harbour. Not only is it simply beautiful, but it’s also home to many of the top attractions in Nova Scotia and in Halifax.
If you stroll along the harbour, you’ll find Pier 21 Museum, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market, and many restaurants and pubs.
If you want to get out on the water and see the harbour from a boat, you could also hop on the cheap ferry to Dartmouth, doing a round-trip just for the views.
You could also take one of the many sightseeing cruises or even go do some whale-watching. The Halifax Harbour is a very lively part of town and definitely the #1 thing to do in the area.
Tour the Halifax Public Gardens
Another beautiful slice of Halifax is the Halifax Public Gardens, which happen to be the oldest Victorian gardens in all of North America. Created back in 1867, the gardens are now designated a National Historic Site.
It’s free to visit and you can also enjoy an hour-long guided tour of the gardens, which reveal their historic and horticultural significance.
Spring is a popular time to visit, as the gardens become bright with tulips, daffodils, and irises, as well as the fully bloomed magnolia and cherry trees.
Late spring brings azaleas and rhododendrons, and later in the summer, dahlias, peonies, and roses line the artfully laid-out paths.
Alexander Keith’s Brewery
This is the best brewery tour we’ve ever had. While the aspect of making beer is virtually the same at all breweries, Alexander Keith’s takes the tour experience to an all-new level. Instead of just explaining the process, the tour is more of a historical act.
Some of the tour guides dress in period clothing and explain the unique history of the brewery. After all, Alexander Keith himself was a very important and interesting man. You’ll even get to experience a small Ceili (kitchen party) and sample some very tasty beer.
Iconic Peggy’s Cove
Located just 43 kilometres southwest of Halifax, the little fishing village of Peggy’s Cove is an absolute must-see in Nova Scotia. One of the most photographed and iconic Canadian lighthouses, Peggy’s Point Lighthouse, is here, and you’ll want to check this spot out.
The lighthouse sits on the rocky Atlantic Coast as the waves come crashing into the granite bluffs. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a blue sky, but you may also find it covered in fog and mist, which simply adds to the ambience of the place.
Fishing wharves, boathouse, and colourful heritage homes line the shore of this active fishing community, making it a great place for some east coast photos. All this and more makes Peggy’s Cove one of the best places in Nova Scotia for a relaxing afternoon by the water.
Keep in mind that Peggy’s Cove is one of the most popular trips for those visiting Halifax and Nova Scotia, so it does get busy. For the best photos, get there very, very, very early.
You can also book a guided tour of Peggy’s Cove and Halifax to skip the queues. This tour stops at the Halifax Citadel National Historic site, too, but more on that later.
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
Canada is known for its healthy immigration and what better way to learn about it than to visit the Canadian Museum of Immigration? Not only is it incredibly informative and interactive but it’s actually housed in Pier 21, which used to be one of the main gateways into the country.
At one time, Pier 21 was the Canadian equivalent to Ellis Island, welcoming 20% of the nation’s immigrants from 1928 through 1971.
It was so heartwarming to learn about the first day of an immigrant’s journey into Canada and how they felt about arriving here. There is so much history here and it should definitely be on your list of things to do in Halifax.
Many of the exhibits are interactive, including the chance to dress up in period costumes, go inside a replica ship, and explore the contents of trunks and crates to learn more about the lives of the immigrants who could only pack their most treasured items.
Halifax Citadel National Historic Site
This is another historical site that can’t be missed when visiting Halifax. The Citadel is one of the top Nova Scotia tourist attractions. Not only is it a Parks Canada National Historic Site but it’s also really interactive and overlooks downtown Halifax.
Staff are dressed in period clothing and the tours are very well done. There are a lot of little tunnels and passageways and a daily firing of the cannon at noon.
It was my first time sitting next to a live cannon and it was very loud. We then signed up for the “Ready, Aim, Fire” program, which allows you to fire a rifle from 1871!
The road leading up to Citadel Hill is popular for its city and harbour views, and it passes the Old Town Clock, which Prince Edward commissioned in 1803.
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
There’s a reason Nova Scotia is part of the Maritimes. If you want to see incredibly detailed boat models and see actual artefacts from the Titanic, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is the place for you!
You can even learn how to type your name in Morse code and learn about the Halifax explosion from the museum guides.
The exhibits and displays at this museum bring the maritime history of the province and the North Atlantic to life.
You’ll get insight into maritime culture from the many old photographs, personal tales and artifacts. giving visitors a glimpse into the role the sea has played in all facets of local life.
You’ll also find some actual ships in Halifax Harbour, including Queen Victoria’s Royal Barge, a gift to the museum by Queen Elizabeth II.
The harbour is also home to HMCS Sackville, a historically significant ship that saw duty during the Battle of the Atlantic in the convoys that kept Britain alive.
You can also tour the CSS Acadia, which is now retired but did service the Arctic and North Atlantic for many years.
Where to Stay in Halifax
Below are two of the best accommodation spots in Halifax where you can enjoy beautiful views and hospitality.
Want to spend the night in a heritage home? Waverley Inn is not only beautiful but also has one of the best locations in Halifax. It’s also historic. In fact, Oscar Wilde actually stayed in our room back in the 1800s.
This felt like the house from the board game Clue. Not only is it like sleeping in a museum but it’s walking distance to the harbour, all the best restaurants and nightlife, and even a 24/7 Superstore.
Best Western Chocolate Lake
Located right next to Chocolate Lake, Best Western is a huge hotel where you can eat breakfast overlooking the lake, rest in the hot tub, swim in the pool, or even play games in the arcade room.
In fact, if you’re there during the warmer months, you can even do what locals do and swim across the lake! We saw plenty of locals doing this despite the cooler weather in early June. The breakfast is great and the rooms are spacious.
Things To Do In Lunenburg
Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the prettiest small coastal towns in the whole country. No visit to Nova Scotia would be complete without spending a day here.
Located just 100 kilometres southwest of Halifax, you’ll find brightly coloured heritage buildings dotting the hilly landscapes, most of which are original structures from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Whether you come for a few hours or stay for a few days, Lunenburg will charm your socks off.
The famous Canadian icon, which is printed on the Canadian dime and inside the Canadian passport, is a big part of Lunenburg’s legacy as a shipbuilding centre. The Bluenose schooner, built here in 1921, won many international races before sinking off the coast of Haiti.
The replica, Bluenose II, is often in port and is a must-see if you’re in Lunenburg. Not only is it one of the most beautiful sailboats you’ll ever see, but it’s also a very important piece of Canadian history.
There are also certain times throughout the year when you can actually go sailing for a couple of hours.
Lunenburg Walking Tour
There’s almost nothing better than a Lunenburg walking tour. When you first arrive in a new place, it really helps to liven the landscape. That’s just what happened when we took a walking tour with Ashlee from Lunenburg Walking Tours.
Not only is she very lively herself but she explains the history of Lunenburg so well. We really felt that we knew the place after listening to her, which made us love Lunenburg even more. Thanks, Ashlee.
Trot In Time Horse Buggy Rides
We hadn’t planned on taking a horse buggy tour around Lunenburg but when we walked by the horses, the tour guides talked us into it. They are super friendly and this is also a great way to learn about the history of Lunenburg with the added touch of riding in a horse buggy!
If walking is hard for you (or if you just want to be in a horse buggy, because why not?), this is the tour for you.
If you’re looking to wet your pallet while wandering around the charming streets of Lunenburg, you may want to make your way to Ironworks Distillery. Ironworks is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning micro-distillery.
Located in an old marine blacksmith shop at the corner of Kempt and Montague Streets, Ironworks Distillery creates small batches of artisan spirits. Ingredients are sourced from local Maritime ingredients.
They use apples from the nearby Annapolis Valley, and samples are free! The Ironworks owners throw the doors open for anyone to walk into the shop.
Tours of the distillery are available during spring, summer and fall for a small fee and must be booked in advance.
Paddle Blue Rocks
If you’re looking for a great place to do some paddling, you might want to head over to the little community of Blue Rocks. Whether you’re looking to bring your own kayak or join a tour with Pleasant Paddling, this is one of the most popular places to go in the province.
Thanks to all the little islands, kayakers are protected from the wind and waves, creating calm waters that are perfect to paddle. You may even spot seal colonies, birds, sea creatures and mammals swimming between the rocks.
Whale Watching in Lunenburg
While strolling the streets of Lunenburg, you might get the urge to see some whales. Well, lucky for you, this is a great place to go whale watching, especially from May to October.
Possible sightings including minke, fin, and humpback whale. You may also see dolphins, puffins, and leatherback turtles!
Things to Do in the Annapolis Region
Located on the western edge of Nova Scotia, along the Bay of Fundy, the Annapolis region is perhaps best known for its wine and Acadian culture. However, it’s also known for its incredible beauty, highest recorded tides in the world, Mi’kmaq legends and settler historical sites.
If it’s local cuisine you’re after, Annapolis has an abundance of farm produce and freshly-caught seafood.
The Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens
The Annapolis region might be known for its wine, but it’s also home to one of the finest show gardens in North America, with 10 acres of beautifully planned historical and horticultural beds.
The Rose Garden has two thousand bushes set among manicured paths with green lawns, and the Governor’s Garden is planted in the style and with the plants of the 1740s.
At the back-side of the garden, you’ll also find paths that look out over the banks of the Annapolis River.
Fort Anne National Historic Site
Another top historic attraction, which is right across the street from the Royal Gardens, is the Fort Anne National Historic Site.
Originally built by the French in 1643 and taken over by the British in the 1750s, visitors will find 18th-century buildings, gunpowder magazines, and officers’ barracks. The fort also has impressive walls and ramparts.
Port-Royal National Historic Site
Another great place to visit in the Annapolis Valley is the Port-Royal National Historic Site, which is where Sieur de Monts founded one of the first permanent settlements in North America.
Dating back to 1605, this settlement and fur-trading center, which was destroyed by the British, was rebuilt using authentic 17th-century building techniques. Visitors will find the Governor’s Residence, a fur trading post, and priest’s quarters, just to name a few.
During your visit, you’ll learn through interpretive guides about the settlers’ struggle to survive, and how the native Mi’kmaq helped the Europeans through their first hard winters.
Another amazing sight to see in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are the tides along Bay Fundy. There are many spots along this bay that are famous for witnessing the changing tides, and one of them is Hall’s Harbour.
A pretty little town with a wide sandy beach, Hall’s Harbour is filled with wharves where docked fishing boats act as tidal markers.
These boats make it easier to see the effects of the tides, as the boats actually sit on the ocean floor during low tide and rise all the way to the top of the wharf during high tide. It’s quite incredible.
There are also popular seafood restaurants in the area, and many other nearby attractions, including the Lookoff Viewpoint and Blomidon Provincial Park.
Take the Stairs to Balancing Rock
Located just outside the small town of Digby, you’ll find the impressive Balancing Rock (also known as Nature’s Time Post). It’s a scenic area to witness and consists of a 2.5 km nature trail and 235 sets of stairs.
The column weighs more than 20 tonnes, created out of basalt volcanic rock that balances on a tiny ledge facing St. Mary’s Bay.
Cycle the Harvest Moon Trail
Thanks to the removal of old CN Rail tracks, this area has become popular for recreational use, offering some of the most scenic paths in Nova Scotia.
One of the most popular sections is the Harvest Moon Trail, which runs 110-kilometres (68 miles) from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Grand Pré to the historic seaside town of Annapolis Royal.
You’ll pass through Nova Scotia’s wine region and the historic dykes, which were created between 1680 and 1755, thanks in part to the Acadians and their healthy relationship with the local Mi’kmaq community. This hiking trail is popular for walking as well.
Whale Watching in the Bay of Fundy
The Bay of Fundy is a great place to go whale watching with as many as 300 whales in the Bay at one time. There are some great spots near Brier Island and Digby from June to October.
Common sightings include humpback whales, minke whales, and finback whales, but it’s possible to also see a pilot whale, blue whale, or killer whale as well.
Canada is home to some of the best whale watching in Canada.
More Nova Scotia Places To Visit
As you can see, there’s no shortage of things to do in Nova Scotia. However, we’re far from done. Below are some other incredible places to visit outside of the areas mentioned above.
The list ranges from gorgeous provincial and national parks to some of the most unique rafting opportunities in the world.
Tidal Bore Rafting
Talk about unique! Rafting is definitely one of the coolest things to do in Nova Scotia. This is the only place in the WORLD where you can go tidal bore rafting. What an exhilarating experience!
We got doused with wave after wave in the muddy Shubenacadie river before having the opportunity to jump into the water for a swim into the rapids. This is easily one of the most exciting Nova Scotia attractions for those looking for a thrill!
This activity is made possible by the rise and fall of the Bay of Fundy, which happens twice a day. The reversing of water in and out of the Bay causes rapids in the river.
Instead of paddling down a river like most whitewater rafting experiences, this one is done by the motor as it takes you up the current and back against the tide’s flow.
Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park
For those looking to get into nature, a great place to do so is Shubenacadie Provincial Park. Only 40 kilometres from Halifax, this wildlife park is one of the best things to see in Nova Scotia.
The park is more than 40 hectares in size and is home to a wide variety of native animal species, including moose, foxes, beavers, wolves, black bears, and cougars. Even for those into horses, this park is the only wildlife park in the world with Sable Island horses.
Kejimkujik National Park
Another beautiful place to get into nature is at Kejimkujik National Park, which is mostly inland but does have a seaside section along with a stunning white-sand beach.
This national park is very popular for its lakes and rivers, with excellent paddling opportunities, historic canoe routes, portages, and hiking trails.
Grand Pre National Historic Site
Nova Scotia is known for the Acadian people who settled in Grand Pre in the early 18th century, utilizing the Bay of Fundy salt marshes for agricultural land through a series of dykes. But as Nova Scotia changed hands between the French and British, it brought unrest to the region.
When the French-speaking Acadians refused to swear allegiance to England in 1755, the British deported about 10,000 people and destroyed their farms.
Well, Grand Pre National Historic Site is a memorial to this injustice. You’ll find beautiful gardens, a small chapel, and a statue of Henry Longfellow’s fictional heroine Evangéline.
Ross Farm Museum
If you’re looking to get some insight into life on a farm built 150 years ago, a visit to the Ross Farm Museum should be high on your agenda. Various displays and buildings take visitors through a time warp to a bygone era.
The 60-acre farm is a real working operation, with a dairy barn, oxen pulls, and wagon rides. Visitors can see a variety of animals including Canadian horses, various types of poultry, oxen, sheep, and Berkshire Pigs.
You’ll also find a blacksmith’s shop, cooper’s shop, barn, schoolhouse, and the original Ross Cottage.
Final Thoughts On Nova Scotia Things To Do
Nova Scotia is one of our favourite places to visit in Canada. We’ve been there many times and have still only scratched the surface. From its unique culture to its rugged coastline and scenic little towns, Nova Scotia is a treasure trove for Canadian tourism.
We hope this article helps you plan your trip around the best of Nova Scotia. If you’d like even more inspiration, make sure to subscribe to Must Do Canada and follow us on YouTube, where we post a new video every two weeks!
For more things to do in Canada, check out these articles below:
- Things to Do in New Brunswick
- Things to Do in Newfoundland
- Things to Do in Prince Edward Island
- Things to Do in Quebec
What did we miss that you’d recommend we do or see next time?
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Another must do or two is the Fortress of Louisbourg it is an all day thing to do. Enjoy a time period meal. Take a step back in time. Also there is a little town called Baddeck. It is home of the Alexander Graham Bell museum. Don’t just do the regular tour. If this is something very interesting to you, Do the White Glove Tour. Also while in Baddeck take in the Amoeba sailing tour you will gain some more background on the Bell’s and see their estate. Aside from sail the beautiful Bras d’Or Lakes. It is relaxing, interesting and just plain fun!
Matthew G. Bailey says
Very cool! Thank you so much for sharing. We’ll check this out next time we’re back!
Been to Fort Louisbourg with my 3 boys, loved it so much!
Kathleen alexander says
I would so love to visit Nova Scotia now!
Canada is such a gorgeous place
Tanya Mckemzie says
Lunenburg for the Tall Ships!
I’m from Niva Scotia, I’m always looking for fun new things to do. I definitely will be doing some of these this summer!!
John Noonan says
I have relatives in Nova Scotia. I hope to see them next year.
JOE TWORKOWSKI says
The people are what make Canada a beautiful experience. Meet them. Get to know them. You will Love them…
Matthew G. Bailey says
I agree! 🙂
Great list! I don’t have a lot of vacation this summer so making the most of traveling our own province this year!
Hope to go there one day!
I’ve always wanted to visit the Atlantic provinces..ty for your great travel suggestions!
Amanda Barkey says
This article is honestly so informative and cool. I want to go to Nova Scotia so badly! Especially since my other half is originally from there and has told me how beautiful it is. Thanks for the article!
LILLIAN BROWN says
We never get tired of travelling around our beautiful province. We have several staycations planned for this year.
Love Nova Scotia! Lots to see and do. Proud to live here.
Maggie Keachie says
Nova scotia is by far my favorite province. Beautiful scenery and pristine beaches.
Peggy D says
Love being a Nova Scotian! So much to see and do in our province!
Debbie Browne says
I love NS. This was a great informative article.
Love it I really want to travel Canada and go to Nova Scotia from BC
Alysha Arnold says
I love Nova Scotia! So much to do!
I love visiting Nova Scotia. It is so close to home and we get to go often and never get bored of the scenery.
Valeda Chapelhow says
Great article about Nova Scotia…Come visit our beautiful province!
Maritime provinces are beautiful. Cape Breton is my favourite place in Canada ❤
Jenelle Fraser says
I’ve always wanted to go to that National Park!
Definitely need to get out and try some of these!! Thank you for sharing!
Mike Osmond says
Can’t wait to check out the Cabot Trail this year!!
I love Nova Scotia! The people there are so nice!
Absolutely LOVE Nova Scotia!!
The people are amazing, the sights are breathtaking and the food is mouth watering!!
Alanna Canaran says
Nova Scotia is the best. Low-key rugged beauty!
Mary T Landry says
I have had a great time rediscovering our beautiful province over the last year.
April Maclean says
Cabot Trail is one if the most beautiful drives we have ever done!
Tanisha Beattie says
Can’t wait to travel more
Mike Osmond says
Hope I can get to the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton this summer! Looks amazing!!
Can’t wait to travel more ☺️
Hope to visit soon!
Michelle Hayman says
Growing up Nova Scotian I am honestly still astonished with the beauty and hidden gems this province has. I love exploring all around me and my home.
I can’t wait to visit next summer for a sweet friend’s wedding, I’ll be saving this article and dreaming about the trip until then!
Debbie Browne says
I love NS, there is so much to do and see, and the people are so friendly!
Nancy Walker says
Thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Nova Scotia!
The Parrsboro Shore is not be missed, a visually stunning landscape for anyone who wants to explore waterfalls, look for gems and fossils, and feast on seafood!
Huge Thank You. I am thinking about moving to Nova Scotia actually:-)
Would love to visit once things are back to normal!
Love Nova Scotia. ❤️ Try to go there every summer. Canada’s gem.
Karen Galer says
Such an amazing province to see and visit, the people are some of the friendliest you will ever meet.
Too bad Apple blossom had been cancelled two years in a row 🙁
Alejandra Arozarena says
Amazing article, I can wait to travel to Nova Scotia and explore!
Debbie Lo says
Thanks for all the great tips. I love the east coast and can’t wait to visit again.
Can’t wait to do it!!
Bernice Pitman says
Visit Yarmouth and Acadian Shores. Lots of beaches, museums, Deep Sky Observatory, lighthouses. So much to see and do.
LILLIAN BROWN says
Love living in NS and so much to see and do all year long
Thanks Matt & Must Do Canada! Lots of fabulous ideas 🙂
Gisele Boudreau says
A special place to check out in South West, NS is an Acadian community called Clare. Its culture and roots are strong thanks to the people who have such welcoming and good hearted nature while keeping traditions alive.
Tara H. says
My mother recently moved to NovaScotia. I’ll have to share this article with her.
Nancy Walker says
I loved visiting Nova Scotia!!!
Kayla Fitzgerald says
Great suggestions! Lots of good places to explore!
Jason Melanson says
Nice visiting ideas!
LILLIAN BROWN says
Love travelling in my province and have toured Nova Scotia from one end to the other
Penny Branson LeBaron says
Cape Breton remains my favorite place
Thank you for this article! I love visiting NS – just wish there were more opportunities to do so.
Melanie D says
One of our favourite provinces to visit, such unique ideas and suggestions for a great trip.
Deborah P. says
Great article that really gives a good picture of the Province of NS. many glorious offerings. Seeing is believing! I have 3 siblings who each have called Nova Scotia home for over 35 years. I was able to make 2 visits in the last 5 years and plan to return very soon. My kids plan to retire there so may be following too. Visit its worth every moment.
Cape Breton is the best.
Nova Scotia is so beautiful, I wish I had travelled there many years ago but I’m making up for it now.
I would love to visit sometime! Thanks for the tips!
Shelly Ketcherside says
Some of my family was from Nova Scotia. I would love to visit one day.
Hiking in Nova Scotia Provincial parks is a wonderful way to enjoy our province. Cape Chignecto park located in Advocate and Cape Split located in the Annapolis Valley are two awesome parks.
Debbie Browne says
I love the east coast, hopeflly I will get back there soon.
Some areas I haven’t heard of. I will check them out.
Beautiful beaches everywhere
Rent a car for sure! And book a wine tour to avoid lines. We went in October and the trees were unreal!! I kept gasping
I love Nova Scotia and its people! I had so
Much fun there!!
Ann Birdgenaw says
Loved the Cabot Trail. Saw the elusive moose!
This is great! Will have to check it out 😊
Greg DeWolfe says
hey Matt, I noticed that your NS section doesn’t mention one of the best annual summer fests which is the PICTOU LOBSTER CARNIVAL.
Matthew G. Bailey says
Oh what! We’ll have to add that. Gonna update the article soon. Anything else?
Dale Steele Nicolov says
Left NS in 1973.Moved back last year and it has some of the most beautiful coastal scenery and sunsets I have seen. I think I will explore many sites I have not seen and revisit some I have. Thanks for sharing your wonderful info.
Calvin Y says
I loved my trip to Nova Scotia!! The people there are so friendly and awesome! The province is beautiful also!
Marilyn C. says
My husband and I loved our trip to Nova Scotia in 2018 -visited Fortress of Louisbourg, Peggy’s Cove and so much more.
Greta article ! There are so many things to do here even when you think you’ve done it all
This looks so awesome!
Can’t wait to go back some day!
This is great, love nova Scotia and can’t wait to do this stuff when I go back
I loved visiting Nova Scotia. What made me comes was the show Haven. Was filmed mostly in Lunnenburg and around the area. It was so pretty I wanted to visit. Was fun finding all the places the filmed.
To be put on my bucket list
Nancy Nickerson says
Not to be outdone but NS also has some of the best beaches! Ironically, the north shore has the warmest waters, whereas the south shore has the coldest.
Joan Santos says
Even thou I was Born and Raised on Cape Breton Island, I love it so much I still go to visit every other year just for the scenery. The Cabot trail is so beautiful, You will want to go back for sure!!
would love to try scuba diving
Heading to Seaside Cottages in Lockport soon and looking forward to it!
What an amazing list!
Maggie Gray says
Peggys cove is now wheel chair accessible so more people can enjoy the beauty!!!!
Gayle B says
I can’t wait to get down there this coming summer and do many of these things. Thank you!
I love the harbour Town of Halifax and the shops and restaurants at the pier.
I love walking along Halifax Harbour.
Sharianne Steptoe says
Awesome thanks for all the great info
My brother spent two years there and I hope to go one day! 🤞🏻
Dale Steele Nicolov says
I love the small scenic coastal towns and the friendliness of the people. My favourite time is the Fall.
LILLIAN BROWN says
Lovely. Love being neat the water
Victoria Doxey says
I have always wanted to see the bay of Fundy. It’s my dream one day to visit Nova Scotia
Matthew G. Bailey says
It’s pretty cool! Hopewell Rocks is a great place to witness the tides
Can’t wait to visit NS again this summer!
Priscilla Goodfellow says
Some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Canada. Best Fresh lobster too. Most friendly people you’ll ever meet. I cannot wait to go back again. So amazing. Will never forgot my experiences here. ❤️
Thanks for the tips!
Ann birdgenaw says
I love walking the Halifax harbor front after taking the ferry from Dartmouth!
Annette Veinot says
So many beautiful places in NS. One of my favorites is Blomidon Provincial Park.
This article was SO helpful! I can’t wait to visit this summer!!
A lot of great info, hope to do a number of these things on our visit there.
LOVE Nova Scotia. Cape Breton is one of my favourite places to visit.
Amazing article on Nova Scotia. If you are a hockey buff I recommend that you come to Windsor and check out the Birthplace of Hockey and the home of the Giant Pumpkin on the Dill Farm.
Thanks for mentioning Keji! We are very proud of our beautiful park 🙂
Definitely have to head down to the pier in Halifax and visit the breweries there!
Definitely have to check these out next time I go !
Went to Nova Scotia 30 yrs ago. Was the most lush green beautiful scenery! Had a blast clam digging! Would love to travel east again some day, prairies are great but the ocean calls!
Cape Breton is one of the most beautiful places in Canada. The people are amazing. I have travelled there countless times and the adventures never grow old. Love all the information must do canada provides. Good job
Heck yeah thank you for this!! Gonna be great
Sarah Steele says
Cape Breton is filled with beautiful hiking trails.
Ah Nova Scotia. You’ll never take a deeper breath than you will in the magical place. With hints of salt, timothy, and apples in the air, and the lilting notes of Ireland and Scotland in voices, Nova Scotia is like nowhere else in the country.
Other places – off the beaten and on – to visit:
Lightfoot and Wolfville at the east edge of Wolfville down Evangeline Trail, you’ll find this gorgeous winery. Backing onto fields of grapes with the ocean just beyond, this is where you’ll find a selection of uniquely Nova Scotian wines.
In Lunenburg, on the grounds of the tourist bureau, stands the memorial dedicated to the memory of the 431 French protestants from the principality of Montbeliard who landed in Nova Scotia between 1749 and 1752. These are the area’s founding families, and their descendants still live and work across Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. While in town have a meal at the Grand Banker. Ask for Carly and say her Calgary cousin sent you.
Harbourville, The Hight Tide Festival, and the North Mountain Tapestry
This tiny, quaint village sits nestled below the highway. With its rows of lovely cottages and shops along the shore, this is the perfect place to come to enjoy a true north mountain experience. High Tide Festival takes place mid August annually – a great place to meet the locals and enjoy a day filled with music, food, and laughter.
The North Mountain Tapestry is just up the hill west of the harbour. Weekly markets and gatherings here. Lovely, quiet copse out back of the tapestry itself.
beautiful looking place
Don’t forget about driving along the Minas Basin from Masstown to Advocate. So many great spots including our far , That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm and Farm, Animal and Nature park.
Make sure to visit the fossil cliffs in Joggins, that’s where my dad lived and is buried
Don’t forget the many awesome BEACHES throughout our province…
100 Wild Islands
And so many more! Drive 20 minutes along the coast and you’re “shore” to stumble upon one of our many fabulous beaches
Nova Scotia has so much to offer! Such a beautiful province.
I recommend doing the magic wine bus tour in Wolfville!
Robie Davison says
Pretty much in the center of Halifax are the Titanic grave sites. Packard’s list why so many are buried here in Halifax. Why so many are men’s names. What the numbers mean that are on the grave stones. Why some stones are bigger than most. The stone of the unknown child. Row after row after row of grave stones. A top cruise ship ‘must see in Halifax’ when docked. If your lucky you will get there when a tour is on and you can join in and here the incredible stories of the Titanic from a professional tour guide. MUST SEE!
Matthew G. Bailey says
We’ll be back again from June 30th to July 2nd!
Robie Davison says
The Shore Club in Hubbards. About 30/40 minutes from Halifax. Best dance floor in Atlantic Canada. Huge camping site and a beautiful white sandy beach on site. Motels also within walking distance. Lobster dinners are normal on Saturday nights. Another must do especially if you like music and dancing.
Can’t wait to go again!
Awesome tips of places in our home province. Hopefully we will get to explore some of them this summer.
Thanks for all the great info ! Can’t wait to explore Nova Scotia.
Always wanted to visit the maritime provinces. This list would be a good start for some adventures!
Desperate to visit soon! My little brother moved here over 30 yrs ago and I have never been. Fighting cancer to get strong enough to finally make it!! ❤
Matthew G. Bailey says
Oh no. Sorry to hear. Truly wishing you the best and that you make it to Nova Scotia too 🙂
Helpful for our trip to Nova Scotia in fall!
A title of four the main Cabot Trail, but Meat Cove is a must see! Amazing camping and hiking!
Maddison Lawson says
I just moved to NS and can’t wait to explore around!
Stacey Wadden says
A great comprehensive guide…love it!
Starting my bucket list now !!!
Born and raised in NS
Love it here tons of things to do always
I miss Nova Scotia, hoping to visit again soon
Nancy Nickerson says
Definitely a few things here I’d like to try & visit! Thanks so much!
Jonathan MacAulay says
Cabot trail in the fall is beautiful. So many colors in the forest combined with a bright orange sunset reflecting on the ocean with the red/brown dirt on the cliffs is just a beautiful sight.
One of the most beautiful places on the planet!
Definitely on our bucket list! Hope to visit soon!
Thank you for this article! I love visiting NS.
Always wanted to visit Nova Scotia to see the beauty of the island and to trace the place my ancesters landed on the voyage in the 1950s.
Morris Elfenbaum says
got some great info thank you
Dale Steele Nicolov says
Nova Scotia is so beautiful with all its little coastal towns,some of the most amazing sunsets in the world.
Wayne Couzens says
On My Bucket list
M. S. Thompson says
Drove the Cabot Trail some years ago and would love to return again. It was beautiful!
Lynn M says
Lots of great ideas here. I would also suggest acquiring a copy of Lighthouses and Lights of Nova Scotia by E.H. Rip Irwin and do a self-guided lighthouse tour.
Matthew G. Bailey says
That does sound great!
Dennis Dubs says
I’m heading there tomorrow, I’ll let you know what I saw…
Every trip to NS is a dream!
D Nickerson says
There are so many things to do and see in the Municipality of Barrington, located on the south shore. Visit our many wharves and see the fishing boats, and perhaps speak to a local fisherman; swim, or walk, at one of our many beautiful beaches; enjoy some of the best seafood at one of our many restaurants; soak up the history of the area at our many museums; farmer’s market with locally grown produce and homemade jams, soaps, baked goods, knitted items and more; golf course, badminton courts, nature trails, kayaking, public swimming pool and so much more.
Old Meeting House Museum
This New England-Style meeting house is the oldest nonconformist house of worship in Canada and among the oldest in North America.
Barrington Woolen Mill
In the 1800s, the Barrington Woolen Mill was an important local business that used machinery and water power to turn raw fleece into the yarn and cloth needed to make warm, durable clothing. Today, visitors can step inside the preserved mill and discover how small manufacturing operations like this helped shape Nova Scotia by offering growing communities valuable services and jobs. When touring the mill, there are several experiences to enjoy:
See the mill’s original machinery.
Hear stories about the mill workers’ day to day lives as part of a thriving new industry.
See demonstrations of handspinning, dyeing, processing, and weaving of wool.
See an appliqué mural that includes the first piece of Nova Scotia tartan, which was designed and woven by Bessie Murray in 1953.
Be inspired by the mill’s picturesque setting.
Seal Island Light Museum
Visitors can tour the five story, 35 foot tall replica of the original 60 foot lighthouse whose beacon still guides mariners from Seal Island, which is located approximately 18 miles offshore. Inside the museum are numerous artifacts from the local area chronicling the lives of local lighthouse keepers and the area’s rich seafaring history. The museum houses the second order Fresnel lens, which was in use from 1902 to 1978 in the Seal Island Lighthouse. A panoramic view of Barrington Bay is visible from the top of the lighthouse museum.
Wild Axe Lumberjack AXEperience
Be a lumberjack for a day with seven time World Champion lumberjack, Darren Hudson!
Located at his Riverside Park in a beautiful setting along the timeless Barrington River. This location is sure to offer an experience like no other in North America!
Come join them beneath the pines as they guide you through the seven essential and exciting lumberjack skills, including logrolling, tree climbing, axe throwing, bow sawing, and cross cut sawing.
Barrington recently hosted the World Axe Throwing Competitions, in which competitors from twelve countries competed.
Barrington is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Nova Scotia. The Hawk Beach, located on Cape Sable Island, is located on the most southerly tip of Nova Scotia. Walk this white sandy beach and explore the 1,500 year old drowned forest – a broad area of petrified tree stumps still rooted in the original soil that are exposed at low tide. The beach is part of the Cape Sable Important Bird Area, making it one of the best birding areas in Nova Scotia.
From the beach you can view the Cape Sable Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse in Nova Scotia, standing at 101 feet tall. Come in August, during Cape Days, and you can take a boat ride to the island, tour the lighthouse, and enjoy a barbecue feast.
Shag Harbour Incident Society UFO Interpretative Centre
Located in the fishing village of Shag Harbour along the South Shore, it chronicles the sighting of a UFO which crashed into the waters of Shag Harbour leaving no trace other than yellow foam. This is the only government documented sighting of a UFO in the world. Visitors to the Centre can hear the stories of witnesses, view television documentaries, newspaper articles, and other memorabilia . The UFO Gazebo and picnic site can be found about 3 minutes up the road from the Centre, where visitors can look out on the ocean to the location the object crashed in 1967. An Expo is held yearly, featuring local witnesses, as well as UFO experts from around the world. For information go to https://shagharbourufoexpo.com/
Sherose Island Nature Trail
This 1km trail has multiple benches , so you can sit down and relax while you are on the trail. The trail houses The Sherose Island Rocks, a kindness rock project. The purpose is to spread joy through painting rocks and placing them along the Sherose Island Nature Trail. This project is open to all citizens in the community. We encourage people to walk the trail and take pictures, and “take one rock leave one rock”.
Matthew G. Bailey says
Thanks for this, we’ll update the post soon!
If you are coming to Nova Scotia you want to allow time for travel. If you do not go to Cape Breton you are missing out.
Emily Martin says
I’m a local but there’s some stuff on here I haven’t tried! Great info