When travelling outside of Nova Scotia, I always speak with pride and passion about my home province. Perhaps even obnoxiously, as some of my university friends could attest to. Since I am constantly trying to convince people to visit, I decided to create a list of the best destinations Nova Scotia has to offer.
The most well-known place to tourists, Halifax is an obvious choice for first time visitors. Learn about our military history at Citadel Hill, shop on Spring Garden and Barrington Street, stroll along the waterfront and learn about our immigration history at Pier 21. Head downtown for dinner at a number of amazing locally-sourced restaurants, then head to the waterfront for some Cow’s ice cream or a Beavertail.
- Beaches (anywhere!)
In Nova Scotia, we have some amazing beaches. If you’re staying close to Halifax, I suggest Lawrencetown or Crystal Crescent Beach which are only about half an hour away from the city. My personal favourite is Melmerby Beach, located near New Glasgow. After a day well-spent on the beach, head to New Glasgow’s famous Acropole Pizza joint and grab a slice. Pizza and beach, what more do you need?
- Bay of Fundy
Although watching the tide roll in is a bit anti-climactic, a trip to Nova Scotia wouldn’t be complete without learning about the tidal bore. To add a bit of fun to your “fun”dy experience, be sure to try whitewater river-rafting up the Shubenacadie River. There are many guided tours to choose from too! Check out River Runners, Shubenacadie River Adventure Tours or White Water Adventures to get the full Fundy experience!
- Victoria Park
I’m a little biased to include this on the list, but with any friends that come to visit, I make sure to show them Truro’s natural treasure. With a playground area and many different trails and waterfalls, Victoria Park has something for everyone. While you’re here, be sure to walk downtown and enjoy many of the creative local shops my hometown has to offer!
You won’t truly experience Nova Scotia unless you head up north to Cape Breton. Cape Breton is deeply rooted in its Scottish heritage and a visit to Sydney is a must for those who wish to see Nova Scotia’s different cultures. Speak with the locals, visit the world’s giant fiddle and learn a wee bit of Gaelic while you’re there!
An idyllic fishing village is often the stereotype for those not familiar with Nova Scotia. Lucky for them, we have that too! Visit Lunenburg to view colourful houses and shops, ships on the water, and maybe a few buoys. Having visited for the first time last year, Lunenburg has quickly become one of my favourite towns in NS. For visitors who want the “Bluenose experience”, a visit to Lunenburg is essential.
- Yarmouth & the South Shore
Keep heading south from Lunenburg to Yarmouth and take in the picturesque landscape of rocky hillsides and beautiful lakes. Stop in to the small towns of Liverpool and Shelburne for a bite to eat and to chat with the locals. You can also visit the Kejimkujik National Park to camp, canoe, and hike your way into Nova Scotia backcountry. In Yarmouth, be sure to check out the Cape Forchu lighthouse and eat some Nova Scotia delicacies at the Red Shed.
- Annapolis Valley
My favourite thing to do in Nova Scotia is to visit family down in “the valley”. Sprawling farmland, vineyards and small communities characterize the drive down Highway 101. If you head this way, make sure to hop on one of the many winery tours. There are also many hiking opportunities with beautiful look-offs. Cape Split is a personal favourite.
- Peggy’s Cove
Located about 50 minutes outside of Halifax, Peggy’s Cove is a necessary experience for a first time visitor to Nova Scotia. Walk on the smooth rocks, take pictures by the famous lighthouse, and feel that ocean breeze. Because of its proximity to the ocean, do not walk on the black rocks as it can get quite slippery and people have been known to fall in.
- Cabot Trail
Arguably the most beautiful scenery in Nova Scotia, the Cabot Trail is the ultimate Nova Scotian road trip. Autumn is the prime time to see the leaves change to a mix of orange, red and yellow.
Do you have a favourite spot in Nova Scotia? Let me know in the comments!