Image: Peggy’s Cove by Stephen Lester
Destination Guide: Nova Scotia
Looking for a little getaway that’s big on adventure? A quintessential Maritime province with a plethora of adventures on offer, it’s time to let beautiful Nova Scotia surprise, thrill, and invigorate you. Known for picturesque lighthouses, compelling history, incredible scenery, and the best seafood around, get off the beaten path and discover even more. From sailing, to surfing, to paddling scenic coastlines, Nova Scotia is the adventure hub you’ve been waiting for. Read on for our destination guide to Nova Scotia!
Where To Go
A trip to Nova Scotia wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Halifax. It’s a world-class city with a friendly, Maritime feel. With bustling restaurants, shopping, nightlife, and plenty of outdoor activities within reach, you’ll want to plan at least a few days in the province’s capital. Though you can find fun activities around every corner, we’ve rounded up a few highlights:
If you want to stretch your legs, go for a stroll down one of the world’s longest urban boardwalks at the Halifax Waterfront. Over the four kilometre walk, you can stop for food, drinks, shopping, or just to take in the views. While you’re near the Halifax Harbour, try something new and explore the city’s finest pubs via a pedal-bus!
Locals will recommend a trip on the Halifax-Dartmouth ferry to see the city skyline and get out on the water. It’s the oldest saltwater ferry service in North America, and second oldest in the world! Once you’re in Dartmouth, go for a stroll through the downtown. Discover local restaurants, shops, galleries and a farmer’s market on Saturdays!
Brush up on your history
Take a trip to the past and visit the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. It shares the ongoing story of immigration to Canada, from coast to coast. It’s located on the Pier 21 national historic site at the Halifax seaport where nearly one million immigrants landed in Canada from 1928 to 1971. If you’re interested in Canadian history, it’s well worth a visit. You might even find some family history of your own there!
Get a birds eye view of the city and the sea with a climb up Citadel Hill. Completed in 1856, the present Citadel comes alive with re-enactment interpreters on a daily basis. Learn about the military history of Halifax, and take in the views!
Image: Peggy’s Cove by David Maginley
The small fishing village of Peggy’s Cove is just a 45 minute drive from Halifax. It’s well worth the journey! Its iconic lighthouse – perhaps the most photographed destination in the Maritimes – is a tourist hub. It was built in 1915, and has become world-famous as it symbolizes the quintessential East Coast landscape.
Explore Peggy’s Cove, take a walk around the rocks, watch the waves crash, and enjoy the magic of the East Coast!
Located an hour’s drive from from Halifax, Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s a fishing village of brightly painted British Colonial buildings built in the 1750s. Quaint and charming, you can explore the sights on foot. Enjoy the vibrant culinary scene, visit quaint artisan shops, and meet the friendly locals.
Learn about Lunenburg’s famous rum running past. During Prohibition, fisherman smuggled illegal spirits into the US in their fishing boats. The Rum Runners Trail is part of that history. It runs along the coast from Halifax to Lunenburg, and it’s 119km long. Pick a section to trek, or bike the whole thing!
Cape Breton Island
One of the most iconic islands in North America, Unama’ki (or Cape Breton Island) is a must-see on any destination guide to Nova Scotia. It’s the home of a plethora of outdoor experiences and beautiful views. As it’s the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaw People, Cape Breton island is home to tradition, culture, and a connection to the beautiful land.
There are plenty of things to do on Cape Breton. Among them are kayaking, fishing, whale watching, swimming, and surfing. However, a great way to take in the island is by hiking the trails and exploring the mountains and hills. A local tip: explore Cape Breton Island in the Autumn when the leaves are changing. It makes for a beautiful and vibrant view of the fall colours!
Kejimkujik National Park
If you’re an outdoor lover, you can’t miss one of Nova Scotia’s most beautiful parks, the Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site. It’s home to Nova Scotia’s only Dark Sky Preserve, so you can take in the beautiful stars in the night sky. Take a short drive to Kejimkujik Seaside, to find white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and sea life.
Go fo a hike on one of many trails (we recommend the Ukme’k Trail), enjoy camping, canoeing, kayaking, stargazing, or simply relaxing and taking it all in.
What to Do:
For deep dive into Nova Scotia’s long history, step back in time to the 1700s at the Fortress of Louisbourg, a National Historic Site. Walk through the reconstructed site, where costumed guides will teach you about the history of this 18th century French colonial town.
While you’re there, don’t miss the Mi’Kmaw Interpretive Centre at the Fortress of Louisbourg, to learn about Mi’kmaw history through images, artifacts, songs, traditional drumming and storytelling.
There is also a series of walking trails so you can take in the views, and soak up a little more history while you’re at it.
Explore the Cabot Trail
Experience one of the most famous drives in Canada. This 300km journey takes you along the coast of Cape Breton, with jaw-dropping views and popular attractions at each turn. Driving, by car or motorcycle, is a popular way to experience the whole Cabot Trail with relative ease. However, if you’ve got a little more time on your hands, hop on your bike for a challenging six day ride. Cycling with a seaside view through rolling highlands? Count us in.
Exploring by foot is always a great option. Cape Breton Highlands National Park has 26 hiking trails for all skill levels. The Skyline Trail in particular is a standout. On the eight kilometre hike, you will travel through the boreal forest, through meadows, and up onto a cliff where you can view the Gulf of St Lawrence.
Eat Nova Scotia’s Famous Lobster
No destination guide to Nova Scotia is complete without a taste of the local seafood – and what could be more quintessentially Nova Scotian than lobster? There are many ways to experience this delicacy. Eat lobster at a beachside lobster boil, after riding on a working lobster boat, at a restaurant where you can experience an authentic lobster dinner (and sample Nova Scotian wine), in a lobster roll – the list goes on! If you’re a lobster lover, you’ve come to the right place.
Image: Francis Macdonald
Get on the Water
When visiting a coastal province, it’s only right to spend some time out on the water. Hopping in a canoe or kayak and paddling the scenic coastline is an amazing way to get to know the local wildlife and get up close and personal with the gorgeous scenery.
However, if you’re looking for a pinch more adrenaline, you can explore Cheticamp Harbour via Jet Ski, with a little help from Yervana Local Dean.
If you’re looking for a true once-in-a-lifetime experience, hop on the East Coast Flyer and join them for a 750 nautical mile journey from Bermuda (yes, in the Caribbean) to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia! You’ll get a chance to explore Bermuda, learn all about sailing, and enjoy the journey of a lifetime!
Explore by UTV
With so much beautiful scenery to see, sometimes you need to add in a little speed. We’d recommend exploring Nova Scotia’s wilderness by UTV. Enjoy a ride on the western Cape Breton Coast, or up Hunter’s Mountain. Yervana Locals will make sure you stay safe, and see all the region’s highlights.
Hit the Coast
A day spent at the seaside is always a great day – especially on the East Coast. Take a day to explore the crescents and coves in Crystal Crescent Beach Provincial Park.Hike through a variety of landscapes to enjoy a picnic lunch on a white sand beach.
If surfing is on your bucket list, look no further. Nova Scotia is a globally recognized surf destination. Bring your board (or hire one for the day) and head to one of many beaches that offer world-class surf. Shaka bro!
Get a Little Help from a Local
If you’re short on time to plan an epic adventure, a self-guided trip itinerary prepared by a Yervana local is an easy way to make the most of your time in Nova Scotia. Get off the beaten path to discover hidden gems, local favourites, and unmissable scenery.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out more Nova Scotia Adventures below!