Best Places to Visit in Nova Scotia
Beautiful and peaceful, Nova Scotia is Canada’s second smallest province, located on a peninsula at the eastern tip of mainland Canada. But its long coastline is dotted with fishing ports, sandy beaches, and bustling islands. From the misty Atlantic Ocean in the southeast to the tidal salt marshes of the Bay of Fundy in the west to the Gale Hills of Breton Cape in the north, landscapes are very diverse.
At these maritime latitudes, Nova Scotia enjoys pleasant breezes despite a rather humid climate. Sunny in summer, but weather conditions tend to cause fog and snowfall in winter.
Halifax is the capital and largest city. In 1604, the French, including Samuel de Champlain, settled in the Annapolis Valley, establishing Port Royal, the first permanent European settlement north of Florida. They named it Arcadia, a name now used to refer to all the French settlements on the coast. Find the best places to visit in this fascinating province with our list of the best places to visit in Nova Scotia.
10 Best Places to Visit in Nova Scotia
Here are the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Nova Scotia:
1. Cabot Road
A scenic 300km drive around the northwest coast of Cape Breton Island and Cape Breton Highlands National Park. This is Nova Scotia’s highest mountain range, St. A coastal road where it meets the Gulf of Lawrence. Cliffs, sandy beaches, viewpoints, and winding roads offer countless photo opportunities and this is a very popular motorcycle tour.
Numerous small communities and attractions line the route, including a variety of local artisans and unique shops. Hiking is one of the most popular activities. There are also many great hiking trails that visitors can hike on their own or hire a local guide to show them the best spots.
The Cabot Trail unofficially begins and ends in Baddeck, home of the telephone’s father, Alexander Graham Bell. Fall is the best time to ride the Cabot Trail because of the area’s vibrant fall colors.
Location: Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
2. Peggy’s Cove
The fishing village of Peggy’s Cove, about 43 kilometers southwest of Halifax, has the feeling of stepping back in time. Point Page Lighthouse, one of Canada’s most photographed lighthouses, sits on the misty Atlantic coast and marks a dangerous spot. The lighthouse is surrounded by hard granite cliffs, and visitors should take extra care when exploring the rocky coastline. Fishing piers and houseboats line the shores of this active fishing community, and colorful heritage homes and art galleries line the winding roads.
This is a very popular day trip destination from Halifax, so be prepared for lots of tourists, especially near the lighthouse.
3. Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site
The Fort Lewis National Historic Site is a living history museum that recreates mid-18th-century fort life through more than 40 historic buildings, costumed tour guides, and businesses. Rebuilt on the site of a 1713 French fort, massive defensive walls, some 35 feet thick at the time of construction, surround the town.
The rebuilt spaces are now filled with a group of costumed interpreters who go about their daily lives, from families to the military. Visitors can watch maids cook and taste authentic hot chocolate and freshly baked bread, see merchants selling their wares, and feel the ground shake as soldiers fire cannons and rifles.
Visitors seeking a more immersive experience can choose to spend the night in a replica tent or an old mansion – a truly unique experience for couples looking for an unforgettable romantic getaway.
Address: 259 Park Service Road, Lewisburg, Nova Scotia
Official website: www.pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/ns/louisbourg
4. Cape Breton Highlands National Park
The highest peak in Nova Scotia is in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, at the northern tip of Cape Breton Island, which covers more than 950 square kilometers. The coastline of beaches and cliffs, as well as inland forests and rivers, attract hikers, campers, and families to explore the park. Wildlife viewing is excellent in the national park, and moose, beavers, eagles, and moose are often spotted from the scenic drive of the Cabot Trail, which partly runs through the park.
The park is also home to the Skyline Trail, a scenic route on an easy-to-walk boardwalk. st. Lawrence, visitors can spot whales below while enjoying panoramic views of the rugged coastline.
The Arcadian town of Chéticamp is located outside the park boundaries.
Location: Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
Official website: www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ns/cbreton/
5. Halifax Citadel National Historic Site
This hilltop fort overlooking downtown Halifax is the remnant of an English garrison first established in the 18th century. The Halifax Fortress National Historic Site was built in 1856 and has never experienced war.
Today, Warren-like tunnels, dust magazines, and barracks are guarded and toured by living history guides. There are reenactments and castle guards, interpreters dressed in British red, rifle salutes and bagpipes.
Famous for its city and harbor views, the road to Castle Hill passes by the Old Town Clock, commissioned by Prince Edward in 1803.
Address: 5425 Sackville Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Official website: www.pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/ns/halifax
6. Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
The museum’s exhibits and exhibits bring the maritime history of the province and the North Atlantic to life, showing visitors the role the ocean plays in all aspects of local life. Using photographs and personal stories of survivors, the excellent multimedia exhibition documents the collision of two ships in the harbor that resulted in the 1917 Halifax explosion.
The museum collection includes more than two hundred model ships, from old sailing ships to ocean liners, freighters and sea liners. Another part of the museum is in a former ship general store, where items are purchased to equip ships at sea. There is also an extensive exhibit on the rescue efforts after the sinking of the Titanic and Halifax played an important role in the rescue operation. Items found at sea during the rescue and later recovered tell the story of the ship and those on board.
Part of the museum, Queen II. It is home to several ships moored in Halifax Harbor, including Queen Victoria’s Royal Barge, which was a gift from Elizabeth to the museum. Another historic ship was the HMCS Sackville, a class of frigates known for bouncing like mushrooms in rough seas that served as an escort in the Battle of the Atlantic to keep Britain alive. CSS Acadia is also open for tours as part of the museum’s admission; After years of service in the Arctic and North Atlantic, it has now been decommissioned and scratched the ocean floor.
Address: 1675 Alt Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Official website: https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca
7. Kejimkujik National Park
Covering some 400 square kilometers in Nova Scotia’s interior, Kejimkujik National Park has a small stretch of coast with gorgeous white sand beaches. One of the biggest attractions of this peaceful area is the rich history of the Mi’kmaw people, who have occupied the land for thousands of years. Visitors can still see evidence of Mi’kmaw life in the myriad petroglyphs and learn more about the local culture by watching Mi’kmaw artisan Todd Labrador make traditional birch bark canoes.
Most of the park is only accessible by hiking or canoeing, making it a truly great place to escape. Campsites are spread throughout the park for those who want to immerse themselves completely in nature, or visitors can enjoy the area during the day by hiking or paddling the traditional Mi’kmaw route.
Address: 1188 Saint Catherines River Road, Port Joli, Nova Scotia
Official website: www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ns/kejimkujik
Brightly colored heritage buildings adorn the rugged Lunenburg cityscape, nearly three-quarters of which are original buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries. Many of these have been converted into inns and bed and breakfasts, and the community has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Lunenburg’s legacy was established when it became an early shipbuilding centre. The town’s most famous boat is the Bluenose sailboat. Built in 1921, the ship won several international competitions before sinking off the coast of Haiti. Replicas of the Bluenose II are often in port, while other fishing boats and caravans can be seen at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic.
Along the quay, the harbor is still alive as docked boats and fishermen unload their daily catch.
9. Canadian Immigration Museum at Pier 21
Pier 21 was once the Canadian equivalent of Ellis Island and was home to 20% of the country’s immigrants from 1928 to 1971. Through permanent and changing exhibits, visitors can learn to cross oceans and ride to new countries.
Many of the exhibits are hands-on, including the chance to dress in period costumes, enter replica ships, and explore the contents of suitcases and safes to learn more about the lives of immigrants collecting their most prized possessions.
The museum also has a wealth of genealogy resources at the Scotiabank Family History Center, where anyone can go for free to track their family’s immigration history.
Address: 1055 Edge Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Official website: https://pier21.ca/home
10. Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens
One of the finest exhibition gardens in North America, the Royal Historic Gardens of Annapolis features 10 acres of carefully planned and expertly made historical and horticultural beds. The Rose Garden has 2,000 shrubs, the paths are lined with green grass, and the Governor’s Garden features 1740s style and plantings.
In a separate section, there is a show area for available techniques and plants, and a winter garden where the bark, stem shape or shape of the plants is chosen to make them attractive in winter. At the back of the garden, the path overlooks the riverbank. The garden is a popular venue for weddings, so you may need to avoid a happy couple and a smile on the parents’ faces.
Another major historical attraction in Annapolis Royal is the Fort Anne National Historic Site, originally built by the French in 1643 and taken over by the British in the 1750s. The impressive walls and ramparts remain largely intact, though the only remaining buildings are an 18th-century gunpowder warehouse and officers’ barracks.
Address: 441 St. George Street, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia
Official website: www.historicgardens.com