Nova Scotia, the second-smallest province in Canada, is a peninsula located on the eastern border of the Canadian continent. It is known for its beauty and tranquility. However, it has a lengthy coastline that is replete with fishing bays, sandy beaches, whole islands, and other breathtaking spots to visit.
The landscape is extremely diverse, ranging from the misty Atlantic Ocean in the southeast to the tidal salt marshes of the Bay of Fundy in the west and the Gaelic highlands of Cape Breton in the north.
At these maritime latitudes, Nova Scotia enjoys a climate that is pleasantly windy but tends to be fairly moist. The summertime is bright and sunny, but the weather conditions often generate fog, and there is snow in the wintertime.
The Best Places to Visit in Nova Scotia
Halifax is the provincial capital and largest city. When the French under Samuel de Champlain, founded Port Royal as the first permanent European settlement north of Florida, the Annapolis Valley saw its first sustained influx of Europeans. They gave it the name Acadia, which is now often used to refer to all French settlements in the Maritimes as a whole.
Utilize our guide to the most popular tourist destinations in Nova Scotia to learn more about one of Canada’s most intriguing provinces.
1. The Halifax
Halifax, the province’s largest and most populous city, is not only one of the most interesting places to visit in Nova Scotia, but it’s also likely to be the first location you visit when you get there. The travel from the Halifax Stanfield Airport to Downtown Halifax and the bustling Waterfront district takes only thirty minutes and is relatively speedy.
The city of Halifax is not large enough to make you feel overwhelmed, but it does have enough activities and attractions to keep you occupied for a few days.
2. Peggy’s Cove and the Other Coves in the Area
I had no choice but to include Peggy’s Cove on the list because it is one of the most well-known tourist destinations in all of Nova Scotia, and there is a very good reason for it!
Peggy’s Cove can be reached from Halifax via the Lighthouse Route in about half an hour, making it a convenient destination for a day trip from the province’s capital as well as a worthwhile detour for those on a more extensive tour of Nova Scotia.
The neighborhood is located directly on the coast, and large stones in the area provide vantage points overlooking the sea. One of the most photographed locations in the country is the lone white and red lighthouse that stands alone.
3. The Mahone Bay area
If you keep going down the breathtaking Lighthouse Route, you’ll eventually end out in Mahone Bay, which is famous for its iconic three churches, laid-back environment, and friendly people from tiny towns. If you get the chance, stop in Chester along the way.
Pay a visit to the numerous stores that specialize in the creation of textiles, jewelry, and works of art, or make use of the mobile library bus!
Mahone Bay is an excellent location in which to spend some time, and it is unquestionably one of the attractions in Nova Scotia that you won’t want to skip.
4. Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
The entire town of Lunenburg is a popular tourist destination in Nova Scotia. This once-thriving fishing community has been elevated to the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its attractive setting.
Although day trips from Halifax are popular, staying the night and exploring the town when it is less crowded is what you should do if you want to get the most out of your visit.
Walking around Lunenburg is a wonderful experience due to the city’s Victorian and Colonial buildings, British colonial grid-style streets, and restaurants that line the harbor.
5. Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia
The neighborhood of Blue Rocks can be reached from Lunenburg in a little over ten minutes by car. This location lives up to its eponymous moniker as yet another photographer’s paradise.
The calm inlets are on the other side of the blue shale cliffs, which have small islands defending them from the raging Atlantic Ocean.
There are a lot of people who come here to explore the area, snap pictures, and simply take in the peaceful atmosphere. On the other hand, if you are interested in kayaking, this is one of the top locations in Nova Scotia that you should consider visiting.
6. The Shelburne
During the American Revolution, thousands of Loyalists escaped to the town of Shelburne, which is located on the Lighthouse Route and is situated along the ocean. Despite their continued allegiance to the British, they were persuaded to relocate to Shelburne on the promise of receiving land and provisions upon arrival.
There are still British flags flying in Shelburne, and the town even has a roadway with a painted flag of the United Kingdom on it. In addition to a shipbuilding facility, a farmer’s market, cafes and restaurants, and the Bowers Meadows Wilderness Area, which is an excellent location for fishing, canoeing, hiking, and camping, you can discover all of these things here.
7. The Kejimkujik National Park and Preserve
Before I tell you about Kejimkujik National Park, you’re probably curious about how to say its name, so let me explain it! It is pronounced keji-ma-ku-jik.” You only need to recite it quickly, and everything will be OK.
Hiking, geocaching, canoeing, mountain biking, and camping are just some of the activities that can be enjoyed in this gorgeous national park in Nova Scotia. You also have the option of staying in one of the hip woodland cabins, which is something that my partner and I have discussed doing the next time we travel to Nova Scotia.
You can choose to embark on any of the 15 hiking or biking paths or one of the two backcountry trails. We went for a trip on the “Hemlocks and Hardwoods” trail, which was a pleasant circle through the woods that was about five kilometers long.
8. Town of Digby and Digby Neck, Nova Scotia
Digby is a city that fans of seafood won’t want to pass over simply because it’s famous for being the scallop capital of the world. The range of possible preparations for scallops is virtually endless: pan-fried, deep-fried, sauteed, raw, bacon-wrapped, grilled, ceviche, etc.
After seeing the town of Digby (and seeking treasures at low tide), we went to the Shoreline Restaurant for a supper that focused heavily on scallops. Unfortunately, the Shoreline Restaurant is no longer open, but there are other restaurants in the area that are just as delicious. Not only was the food delicious, but the scenery was breathtaking; in the distance, we could even make out the silhouettes of seals bobbing their heads over the water.
9. The Valley of the Annapolis, Nova Scotia
The Annapolis Valley can be found on the eastern shore of the Bay of Fundy, sandwiched between two mountain ranges. This breathtaking valley, located in Nova Scotia, is one of the most beautiful spots to visit in the province and is home to towns, wineries, and other forms of agriculture.
This valley has a lot to see and do, from vineyards and orchards to farmer’s markets and pick-your-own fruit and vegetables. Additionally, the Annapolis Valley is the location of a large number of villages. I would suggest going to Wolfville and Annapolis Royal.
Annapolis Royal is home to Canada’s oldest National Historic Site (Fort Anne) as well as one of the oldest streets in all of North America. Wolfville is a charming town with a rich history.
10. Pictou, Nova Scotia
Pictou was the first spot the Scottish settlers landed when they arrived in Nova Scotia, hence the name Nova Scotia, which translates to “New Scotland” in Latin. Pictou is also the name of the province. There are still Scottish tartans adorning the lampposts, and there is a model of the ship (the Hector) that the settlers arrived on in 1773.
The waterfront is lined with brightly colored homes and shops, and the atmosphere of the town as a whole is relatively laid-back. The Scotsman Inn is situated on the very edge of the Northumberland Strait, with a view that extends all the way to Pictou Island and beyond Prince Edward Island.
The warm coasts of the Northumberland Strait and the rich red tides of the Bay of Fundy are ideal for fossil searching and road-tripping on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, while the colorful fishing villages of the Bay of Fundy and the Northumberland Strait are ideal for exploring the region’s maritime history.
The island of Cape Breton is remarkably distinct from the continent of Nova Scotia, with lush, dramatic mountains and a friendly, laid-back atmosphere. The island is connected to the mainland of Nova Scotia by a causeway that is only a few hundred meters long.