The Perfect Nova Scotia Road Trip Guide

Whether you are interested in history, outdoor adventures, culinary delights, or simply enjoying the coastal beauty, visit Nova Scotia and feed your adventurous soul. We spent one summer enjoying scenic wonders, maritime charm, and cultural delights as we made our way through Nova Scotia. I share here what I think is Nova Scotia’s perfect road trip. This guide will focus on discovering hidden gems, savouring local flavours, and creating memories against the backdrop of Nova Scotia’s breathtaking beauty.

Don’t have time to read? Pin it for later.

Pin for the Nova Scotia Road Trip
Épingle d'un guide pour planifier un road trip en nouvelle-écose

*Discloser: This article may contain affiliate links, meaning I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase through a link. More information

Where is Nova Scotia?

Nova Scotia is a province located in eastern Canada. It is situated on the Atlantic coast. Nova Scotia is one of the maritime provinces of Canada and is known for its rich history, scenic landscapes, and coastal communities. The capital and largest city of Nova Scotia is Halifax.

Why visit Nova Scotia?

Nova Scotia has a deep maritime heritage. Discover historic lighthouses, visit maritime museums, and experience the vibrant fishing culture along its coastal communities. Here are several reasons why you might consider visiting Nova Scotia:

  • Nova Scotia offers abundant outdoor activities, from hiking and kayaking to whale watching. Kejimkujik National Park and Cape Chignecto Coastal Trail are popular destinations for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Nova Scotia is a paradise for seafood lovers. Indulge in fresh lobster, scallops, clams, and other delectable seafood dishes at local restaurants and seafood shacks.
  • Drive the iconic Lighthouse Route, a scenic coastal drive that takes you past numerous lighthouses, charming fishing villages, and beautiful coastal landscapes.
  • The Bay of Fundy is one of the best places in the world for whale watching. Take a boat tour to witness the diverse marine life, including humpback and minke whales.

The Best time to visit Nova Scotia

The summer months (June to August) offer pleasant weather for outdoor activities, but the fall (September to November) is also popular for its colourful foliage.

How long Do I need to visit Nova Scotia?

Any time spent in Nova Scotia is enjoyable and will make lasting memories. If you plan on exploring all the province offers, a minimum of two weeks would be great. Our itinerary is intended for a three-week road trip covering most of Nova Scotia. This itinerary can be modified according to the time you have available to you and your preferences. It can be separated into clusters of regions to make several shorter road trips.

Perfect Road Trip Itinerary to Visit Nova Scotia

Our road trip itinerary takes us from Northern Nova Scotia in Amherst and east to Cape Breton Island, the Cabot Trail and Louisbourg. It then heads us west towards the capital, Halifax, and follows the southern shores of Nova Scotia. Then, exploring the western part of the maritime province, we return by the northern shores.

The itinerary includes all the significant landmarks of the province plus several lesser-known gems.

Nova Scotia Road Trip: Cape Breton Island


Discover the beauty of Cape Breton Island. Cape Breton Island’s attractions showcase the island’s natural beauty, cultural heritage, and the warm hospitality of its communities. Whether exploring historic sites, enjoying scenic drives, or immersing yourself in cultural festivals, Cape Breton offers a memorable experience for visitors.

Cape Breton Island is located on the eastern shores in the far east of Nova Scotia. It covers 10 thousand square kilometres.

We road-tripped around the island, making our way clockwise, starting on the north shores, making our way east, and then exploring the island’s southern shores. We spent three days exploring the Cape Breton Highlands National Park and driving the Cabot Trail, then two days exploring the Bras d’Or Lake Region and one day visiting the famous Louisbourg Fortress. I recommend six days on the island to fully enjoy it.

Inverness

Inverness Beach

  • A beautiful sandy beach on the west coast of Cape Breton Island, known for its vast expanses, rolling dunes, and stunning sunsets.
  • Relax on the beach,  walk along the shore, and enjoy the natural beauty of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
  • The golf course is a championship-calibre layout that has gained international acclaim for its design, playability, and natural beauty of its setting.
  • Cabot Links offers golf packages that may include accommodations, rounds of golf, and dining options, allowing visitors to enjoy a comprehensive golf getaway.
  • The golf courses are set against the rugged Cape Breton coastline, providing golfers with stunning views of the ocean and the surrounding landscapes.

Glenora Distillery

  • North America’s first single malt whisky distillery is located on the shores of Loch Ness (Glenville), and it offers guided tours, tastings, and a restaurant.
  • Learn about the whisky-making process, sample local spirits, and enjoy the scenic surroundings.

Accommodation in Inverness

Cabot Trail

The world-famous scenic highway winding through the Cape Breton Highlands offers stunning vistas of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Atlantic Ocean, and the island’s rugged interior. Lookout points like Skyline Trail, hiking opportunities, and the chance to witness wildlife make this route a must-do when visiting Nova Scotia. This is a bucket list drive for any road tripper.

I enjoyed every kilometre of this fantastic scenic route. Ensure your camera battery is full because you will be clicking away trying to capture the beauty of this stunning part of Nova Scotia.

View of the Cabot Trail following the coast on one side and the forested highlands on the other.

Cape Breton Highlands National Park

It is a vast and diverse national park encompassing the island’s northern part, with the Cabot Trail passing through its stunning landscapes. The park is known for its dramatic coastal cliffs, high plateaus, deep river canyons, diverse ecosystems, scenic drives, hiking trails, and wildlife viewing.

You will need the Discovery Pass from Parks Canada or a daily admission to explore the park. It is well worth it.

The next stops on Cape Breton Island highlight the major attractions along the Cabot Trail and in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. We spent three days exploring the Cabot Trail, hiking beautiful trails, enjoying stunning beaches and photographing beautiful lookouts of the cliffs and the ocean.

The road is well-maintained and often busy in the summer and fall months, but it is one of the most scenic routes in Canada.

Margaree Harbour

While Margaree Harbour itself may be a smaller community, its charm lies in the surrounding natural beauty, outdoor recreational opportunities, and the cultural heritage of the Margaree River region. It’s an ideal destination for those seeking a peaceful retreat and a connection with the stunning landscapes of Cape Breton Island.

fishing boat heading out to sea from the Margaree Harbour and wharf in Nova Scotia

Margaree Salmon Museum

  • Learn about the history of salmon fishing in the Margaree River region at the Margaree Salmon Museum. The museum provides insights into the area’s angling heritage.

Margaree Harbour Beach

  • Enjoy the sandy shores and scenic views of the Gulf of St. Lawrence at Margaree Harbour Beach. It’s a peaceful spot for relaxation and a stroll along the coastline.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed this spot, with the fishing boat coming in and out of the harbour and the blue sea as far as the eye could see.

Fishing in Margaree River

  • The Margaree River is renowned for its excellent salmon fishing. Anglers often visit the area to try their luck in the pristine waters.

Chimney Corner Beach

  • Chimney Corner Beach is situated along the Cabot Trail, between Margaree Harbour and Chéticamp, offering panoramic views of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
  • The beach is known for its natural beauty: golden sand, clear waters, and stunning coastal landscapes. It’s a tranquil and relatively secluded spot, providing a peaceful escape.
  • Depending on weather conditions, the spot may attract surfers looking to catch some waves. The exposed location along the Gulf of St. Lawrence makes it an exciting place for water enthusiasts.
  • Visitors often highlight the beach as a great location to witness breathtaking sunsets over the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and I agree. The evening sky transforms with vibrant colours, creating a picturesque setting. It is a unique and lovely scene.
pink and purple sky over the sea on a sandy beach in Nova Scotia

#vanlife We spend the night in Margaree Harbour by the sea next to a sandy beach with breathtaking views of the shores.

Chéticamp

Chéticamp is a charming Acadian village on Cape Breton Island’s west coast. It is one of the entrances to Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Chéticamp’s blend of cultural heritage, outdoor recreation, and scenic beauty makes it a delightful destination for those exploring Cape Breton Island. Visitors can immerse themselves in Acadian traditions, enjoy outdoor activities, and enjoy the stunning coastal and mountainous landscapes.

Les Trois pignons

  • This cultural center and museum celebrates the Acadian heritage of Chéticamp. Les Trois Pignons features exhibits on local history, folk art, and traditional Acadian life.

Chéticamp River Salmon Interpretation Centre

  • Learn about the life cycle of Atlantic salmon and the efforts to conserve this iconic species. The center provides educational programs and exhibits related to salmon conservation.

Chéticamp Artisan Studio Tour

  • Explore local artistry by participating in the Chéticamp Artisan Studio Tour. Visit local studios showcasing handmade crafts, traditional rug hooking, and other unique creations.

Golf at Le Portage Golf Club

  • Le Portage Golf Club offers a picturesque 18-hole golf course with views of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Golf enthusiasts can enjoy a round of golf in a scenic setting.

Le Gabriel Restaurant and Lounge

  • A popular local restaurant offering Acadian and seafood cuisine. Visitors can enjoy fresh seafood, traditional Acadian dishes, and a cozy atmosphere.

Cheticamp Harbour

  • The harbour is a picturesque spot where visitors can enjoy the sight of fishing boats, stroll along the waterfront, and perhaps catch a glimpse of local marine life.

Hiking Trails near Chéticamp:

Gypsum Mine Trail: This short trail leads to a stunning blue lake bordered by high cliffs. Hikers can swim or paddle in the pristine water or hike up the cliffs to the viewpoint. 

  • Distance: 2.5 km out-and-back
  • Level: easy
  • Trailhead: 1289 Cheticamp Back Rd, Petit Étang, NS

Although there were many hikers and swimmers, it was less crowded than some of the hikes in the national park can be. This hidden gem is worth the stop before entering the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

View of the lake's blue water in the Gypsum Mine surrounded by trees in Cheticamp Nova Scotia

Skyline Trail: This popular trail offers panoramic views of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It’s known for its stunning coastal landscapes and is suitable for various skill levels.

  • Distance: 7.5 km out-and-back or 9.5 km loop
  • Level: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Cabot Trail, Pleasant Bay, NS

You can expect crowds when hiking this trail, but do it anyway. The famous trail leads to the iconic view of the highlands in Nova Scotia. It is within the park’s boundaries; you will need a daily pass or the Discovery Pass.

Hikers on the Skyline Trail boardwalk with the Cabot Trail wandering the mountains and the blue waters of the sea in the distance

Explore the Cape Breton Highlands National Park Visitor Center. Learn about the park’s history, ecology, and cultural significance.

Accommodations near Chéticamp

Cape North and Meat Cove

Cape North is a community located on the northern tip of Cape Breton Island on the Cabot Trail. While Cape North may be a quieter area, it serves as a gateway to the northern reaches of Cape Breton Island. Exploring the surrounding attractions will provide a deeper appreciation for the unique charm of this northernmost region of Cape Breton.

Meat Cove is a remote and picturesque coastal community known for its stunning cliffs and panoramic views of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It offers a serene atmosphere and opportunities for hiking and camping.

Meat Cove as seen from the Cabot Trail with the high cliffs and green hills around the small community

Hiking Meat Cove Mountain

  • Distance: 4 km out-and-back
  • Level: Moderate
  • Trailhead: on Meat Cove Road just before the Meat Cove community

This is a short trail but still demanding as you hike to the summit of Cove Mountain. Once at the summit, the trail wanders on the plateau of the highlands, and the views are surprising.

Hiker on the grassy trail on Cove Mountain in Nova Scotia

White Point Lighthouse

  • Visit the historic White Point Lighthouse, located near Cape North. The lighthouse provides scenic views of the coastline, and the surrounding area is excellent for photography.

Cabot Landing Provincial Park

  • Explore Cabot Landing Provincial Park, commemorating the landing of John Cabot in 1497. The park offers interpretive displays and beautiful views of Aspy Bay.

The Cabor Landing Provincial Park on the Cabot Trail was a favourite of mine. The green hills surrounding the sandy beach and the waves hitting the coast are prime examples of the stunning scenery of Nova Scotia.

Tourist standing on the Cabot Landing Provincial Park beach with her feet in the sand and the waves hitting her toes.

Cape North Farmers’ Market

  • Check out the Cape North Farmers’ Market if you visit during the warmer months. Experience local crafts, fresh produce, and a taste of the community’s vibrant culture.

Aspy Fault Look-Off

  • Enjoy a scenic drive to the Aspy Fault Look-Off, where you can witness breathtaking views of the Aspy Valley and the surrounding landscapes.

North Highlands Community Museum

  • Explore the North Highlands Community Museum, which provides insights into the local history, culture, and heritage of the northern region of Cape Breton.

Accommodations near Cape North and Meat Cove

  • Meat Cove Mountain Campground, located on the northern point of Cape Breton Island, offers campsites on a first-come, first-served basis, and they also have cabins for rent upon reservation. 
  • Hines Ocean View Lodge is set on a hill overlooking the ocean. They are also pet-friendly.
  • The national park’s Big Intervale Campground offers five unserviced campsites near Cape North.

#vanlife  We spend the night at Black Point on Meat Cove Road in a pull-off by the road. It is a beautiful spot by the sea with the highlands across the bay.

van parked by the water with the hills across the bay

Ingonish

Ingonish is a picturesque community located on the northeastern coast of Cape Breton Island. Ingonish’s attractions showcase the natural wonders of Cape Breton Island, providing visitors with opportunities for outdoor activities, stunning coastal views, and a chance to unwind in a tranquil setting. Ingonish serves as one of the entrances to the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

Ingonish Beach

  • A beautiful sandy beach within Cape Breton Highlands National Park offers a scenic spot for relaxation, picnics, and water activities.
  • Enjoy the panoramic views of the ocean and surrounding landscapes, and take a refreshing swim in the Atlantic waters.
  • Highland Links is a renowned golf course within Cape Breton Highlands National Park, offering a challenging layout and stunning ocean views. 
  • Golf enthusiasts can enjoy a round of golf while surrounded by the natural beauty of the highlands and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Ingonish Harbour

  • It is a picturesque harbour where visitors can enjoy views of fishing boats, explore the coastline, and perhaps spot marine wildlife. 
  • Take a stroll along the harbour, enjoy fresh seafood at local eateries, and experience the tranquillity of the coastal surroundings.

Keltic Lodge Resort and Spa

  • A historic resort in Cape Breton Highlands National Park offers luxurious accommodations, dining, and spa services. 
  • Experience the elegance of the Keltic Lodge, dine with scenic views, and unwind with spa treatments amid the park’s natural beauty.

Hiking Trails near Ingonish

Jack Pine Trail: This short, easy trail wanders through the forest and emerges on the rocky shore, following the coast with stunning views of the sea and the cliffs. 

  • Distance: 2 km loop
  • Level: Easy
  • Trailhead: Cabot Trail, Ingonish, NS 
Hiker standing on top of the rocky edge of the water looking out to sea with waves hitting the rocky shore.

Franey Trail: A moderately challenging hike leading to a panoramic viewpoint overlooking the park’s highlands and coastline.

  • Distance: 8 km loop
  • Level: Moderate
  • Trailhead: 49 Franey Rd, Ingonish, NS

Middle Head Trail: A coastal trail providing scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding landscapes.

  • Distance: 4.5 km loop
  • Level: Moderate
  • Trailhead: 383 Keltic Inn Rd, Ingonish Beach, NS
Hiker on the trail heading towards a meadow on the Middle Head Trail in Ingonish Nova Scotia
View of the sea and the rocky shore from the trail on Middle Head in Nova Scotia

Cape Smokey Trail: Hike to the summit for panoramic views of Cape Smokey Provincial Park’s natural beauty

  • Distance: 10 km out-and-back
  • Level: Moderate
  • Trailhead: 40301 Cabot Trail, Ingonish Beach, NS

Green Cove

  • This beautiful lookout deserves a short stop on the Cabot Trail to admire the rocky shore and the sea.

Accommodations near Ingonish

#vanlife  Our stop for the night in Ingonish at the end of Ferry Rd by the ocean offers a view of the sea, a nice beach walk and a warm campfire.

two camp chairs by a firepit facing the water of the Ingonish Harbour in Nova Scotia

Bras d’Or Lake Scenic Drive

A picturesque drive along the Bras d’Or Lake, offering panoramic views, charming villages, and opportunities for water activities. Consider including this region in your visit to Nova Scotia.

Baddeck

  • A charming village on the shores of Bras d’Or Lake, known for its connection to Alexander Graham Bell and its vibrant arts and crafts scene.

Kidston Island Lighthouse

  • Kidston Island Lighthouse is located on Kidston Island, part of the Bras d’Or Lake. The lighthouse holds historical significance as part of the region’s maritime heritage, as it was crucial in guiding ships and ensuring safe navigation along the waterways.
  • The lighthouse’s location on an island provides a unique vantage point of the scenic views of the Bras d’Or Lake and the surrounding landscape.
  • Kidston Island is accessible by boat; visitors may take a boat tour or use their watercraft to reach the island.
The Kidston Island Lighthouse with a sailboat on the water surrounding the lighthouse

Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site

  • The Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site provides a comprehensive and immersive experience, allowing visitors to delve into the life and mind of one of history’s most influential inventors. It’s a destination that celebrates innovation, education, and the enduring legacy of Alexander Graham Bell. 
  • The site includes the home where Alexander Graham Bell and his family lived, Beinn Bhreagh. Visitors can explore the rooms where Bell worked on various inventions and conducted scientific experiments. 
  • The site is set on beautifully landscaped grounds with stunning views of the Bras d’Or Lakes. Visitors can stroll through the gardens and enjoy the serene surroundings. 

Highland Village Museum

  • An outdoor living history museum showcasing the Gaelic culture of early Scottish settlers, complete with period-accurate buildings, costumed interpreters, and traditional activities. It is located in Iona on the western side of Cape Breton Island along the Bras d’Or Lakes.

Accommodations near Baddeck

Louisbourg

Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site

The Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site is a meticulously reconstructed 18th-century French fortress. This site provides a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience life in a bustling 18th-century French colonial town. If you are a history buff, you will enjoy this part of your visit to Nova Scotia.

Here’s what you can expect at the Fortress of Louisbourg:

  • Encounter costumed interpreters who bring the historic site to life. These knowledgeable actors portray various characters from the 18th century, including soldiers, servants, merchants, and artisans.
  • Throughout the fortress, you’ll find interactive demonstrations showcasing the daily life, trades, and activities of those who lived there. From blacksmithing and cooking to military drills, these demonstrations offer a hands-on experience.
  • Participate in guided tours led by knowledgeable interpreters who provide insights into the fortress’s history, architecture, and stories. Different thematic tours may focus on military and civilian life or specific events.
  • During certain times of the year, the fortress hosts military reenactments, where historical battles and events are recreated. This offers a dynamic and immersive experience of 18th-century military tactics and life.
  • Wander through the beautiful Governor’s Garden, a meticulously maintained 18th-century garden featuring herbs, vegetables, and flowers. The garden reflects the French gardening style of the time.
  • Visit cafes and shops within the fortress that offer 18th-century-style food, beverages, and crafts. Interact with historical interpreters while enjoying period-appropriate refreshments.
  • Begin your visit at the Visitor Center, which provides orientation, exhibits, and additional information about the history and significance of the Fortress of Louisbourg.
The Louisbourg Fortress in Nova Scotia

Louisbourg Lighthouse

  • The Louisbourg Lighthouse is situated on the rugged coastline near the historic town of Louisbourg, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. 
  • The location of the Louisbourg Lighthouse provides panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the coastline near Louisbourg. Visitors may enjoy stunning vistas and appreciate the natural beauty of the rugged coastal landscape.

Accommodations in Louisbourg

If you prefer camping, Peck’s Cottages and Riverdale RV Park is near Louisbourg centre town and only minutes from the Louisbourg Fortress. 

Mira Riverfront Getaway cottage is right on the Mira River with a private deck and amazing sunsets.

Louisbourg Harbour Inn and Louisbourg Heritage House are close to all amenities in town.

Celtic Colours International Festival

  • An annual celebration of Cape Breton’s Celtic culture featuring music, dance, workshops, and community events held at various locations across the island.
  • The festival features world-class Celtic music performances, cultural experiences, and vibrant community gatherings.

Nova Scotia Road Trip: Halifax

Halifax, the capital city of Nova Scotia, is a vibrant and historic city with a diverse range of attractions. The city is situated on the Halifax Peninsula, surrounded by Halifax Harbour and the Bedford Basin. Halifax has a deep historical significance, dating back to its founding in 1749 as a British military outpost. Given its strategic coastal location, Halifax has a strong maritime heritage.

Things to Do in Halifax

Halifax Citadel National Historic Site

The Halifax National Historic Site, commonly known as the Citadel Hill, is a prominent landmark in the heart of Halifax. It is part of Parks Canada’s system of national historic sites. The iconic Citadel, a star-shaped fortress, played a crucial role in Halifax’s history.

Explore the Citadel’s defensive structures, including cannons, barracks, and tunnels. The site offers guided tours that take visitors through the various parts of the fortress, providing historical context.

Military Museum: The Halifax Citadel is home to a military museum that provides visitors with insights into the military history of Halifax and its role in various conflicts. Exhibits showcase uniforms, weapons, and artifacts from different periods.

Changing of the guards: One of the popular attractions at the Citadel is the Changing of the Guard ceremony, which occurs daily during the summer months. The ceremony features reenactors in period uniforms and provides a glimpse into military traditions.

Climb to the top of the ramparts for commanding views of Halifax and its harbour. The elevated position of the Citadel allows visitors to appreciate the strategic importance of the location.

Inside the Halifax Citadel with the stone walls surrounding the grounds

The visitor center provides information, maps, and exhibits to enhance the visitor experience. It serves as a starting point for those exploring the Citadel.

Parks Canada manages the Citadel Hill, and there is an admission fee.

Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk

Stroll along the lively waterfront boardwalk, lined with shops, restaurants, and attractions. Enjoy street performers, visit the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, and take a harbour cruise.

HMCS Sackville

The historic ship is a naval memorial moored at the Halifax Waterfront, allowing visitors to explore its decks and learn about its wartime history.

HMCS Sackville (K181) is the last surviving Flower-class corvette from World War II. It served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Battle of the Atlantic, escorting convoys and engaging in anti-submarine warfare. 

The tour was informative, and I was impressed with the ship and the guides’ knowledge about the vessel and the life onboard, as well as the wartime history of the ship’s role.

the HMCS Sackville historic ship moored in the Halifax Harbour
Inside the cabin of the HMCS Sackville

Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

The museum is situated on the Halifax Waterfront, making it easily accessible to both locals and visitors. Its location allows for stunning views of the harbour and historic ships. It is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the rich maritime history of the region. 

The museum is home to the CSS Acadia, a retired hydrographic research vessel that served in the Canadian government’s survey fleet. Visitors can explore the ship and learn its role in mapping Canada’s coastal waters.

Front entrance of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax

The museum delves into the history of the Halifax Explosion of 1917, one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history. The explosion had a profound impact on the city. I really appreciated the exhibit and artifacts commemorating this event now part of the Canadian Heritage.

The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

Discover the stories of immigrants who arrived in Canada through Pier 21. The Canadian Museum of Immigration provides insights into Canada’s immigration history and cultural diversity.

The museum is located on the Halifax Waterfront in the historic Pier 21 building. The location provides a tangible connection to the experiences of immigrants who arrived by sea.

Personal stories play a central role in the exhibits, highlighting immigrants’ diverse backgrounds, challenges, and contributions to Canada. These stories create a human connection and bring the immigration experience to life.

The museum includes a Family History Center where visitors can research their own family immigration histories. This center offers resources and guidance for those interested in tracing their roots.

Halifax Seaport Farmers Market

Visit North America’s oldest continuously operating farmer’s market at the Halifax Seaport. Explore local produce, crafts, and artisanal products.

Halifax Public Gardens

Relax in the beautifully landscaped Halifax Public Gardens, a Victorian-era garden featuring flower beds, fountains, and walking paths.

Point Pleasant Park

Enjoy the tranquillity of Point Pleasant Park, a large urban park with walking trails, historical sites, and waterfront views. It’s a great place for picnics and outdoor activities.

Alexander Keith Brewery

Take a guided tour of Alexander Keith’s Brewery, learn about the brewing process and enjoy lively entertainment. The brewery tour includes a visit to the historic brewery building.

Bar and second-floor balcony of the Alexander Keith Brewery with the Nova Scotia flag and the brewery flag hanging from the ceiling

Halifax Distillery District

Explore the historic properties and warehouses in the Distillery District, known for its boutiques, galleries, and restaurants.

Hiking near Halifax

Hiking in Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area

The wilderness area covers a substantial expanse of land, characterized by a variety of natural features, including lakes, forests, wetlands, and diverse wildlife habitats. The landscape provides opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, bird watching, and nature exploration. 

The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail is a moderately challenging trail with uneven terrain and elevation changes. The trail is a loop that covers 13 kilometres. Hikers can complete the entire loop or opt for shorter sections, as there are various access points. The trailhead is accessible from the parking lot off Exit 4 on Highway 103. It is 30-40 minutes from Halifax.

Hikers should be prepared with appropriate footwear and provisions for a day hike. You can look at this list of essential hiking gear to be ready for a full day of hiking.

Hiking in Long Lake Provincial Park

Long Lake Provincial Park features a network of trails suitable for hiking. Explore the scenic wooded areas and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. The trails vary in difficulty, making them accessible for different fitness levels.

  • Cranberry Pond Loop is an easy 2-kilometre loop.
  • Long Lake Wilderness Trail is an easy 3-kilometre loop.
  • Pipeline Trail is an out-and-back 10-kilometre moderate hike.

Hiking in York Redoubt National Historic Site 

York Redoubt National Historic Site is a historic military fortification located on a southern headland overlooking the entrance to Halifax Harbour.

The site has walking trails that allow visitors to explore the fortifications and enjoy the natural surroundings. The trails lead to various points of interest, providing both historical and scenic experiences.

Hiking on MacNabs Island

McNabs Island is situated at the entrance of Halifax Harbour, providing stunning views of the cityscape, the harbour, and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.

Visitors can hop over to MacNabs Islands to hike some of the 22-kilometre trail system of the MacNabs and Lawlor Islands Provincial Park and explore its diverse landscapes, including forests, meadows, and coastal areas. *Note that the island is only accessible by ferry, and visitors must bring food and water.

More on the island:

  • Visit the Sambro Island Lighthouse
  • Camp on the island for a unique opportunity to experience the natural nocturnal beauty of the island. Campers must bring their supplies, and reservations are required.
  • Relax and enjoy the coastal scenery on the beach.
hiker on the rocky shore near Halifax
white sandstone and grassy area on a trail in Nova Scotia

Where to eat in Halifax

2 Doors Down Restaurant

Located in downtown Halifax, 2 Doors Down is the perfect choice for an authentic Nova Scotian dinner. There is a cozy ambiance, note-worthy service, and a diverse menu with something for everyone.

Clam chowder at the 2 Doors Down Restaurant in Halifax

Waterfront Warehouse Restaurant

The Waterfront Warehouse Restaurant is ideally situated on the historic Halifax Waterfront, providing diners with scenic views of the harbour and waterfront activities.

Known for its maritime-inspired ambiance, the setting is designed to offer diners a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.

Peggy’s Cove

Peggy’s Cove is a picturesque fishing village and tourist destination located on the eastern shore of St. Margarets Bay in Nova Scotia. This is where you will find Nova Scotia’s famous lighthouse.

Fishing Village:

  • Peggy’s Cove is a functioning fishing village, and visitors can witness the daily activities of local fishermen. The village maintains its traditional maritime character, with colourful wooden houses, a small harbour, and fishing boats.
Peggy's Cove fishing village with the fishermen's cabins along the harbour and the fishing boats docked on a gray day.

Lighthouse:

  • The Peggy’s Point Lighthouse, commonly known as the Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse, is one of the most recognizable and photographed lighthouses in the world. Perched on granite rocks, it overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and provides a scenic backdrop to the village.
Nova Scotia's Peggy's Cove Lighthouse on the white sandstones, with many tourists wandering the grounds

Coastal Scenery:

  • Rugged granite rocks, tidal pools, and the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean characterize the coastline around Peggy’s Cove. The combination of the lighthouse and the rocky shoreline creates a postcard-perfect setting.

Visitors can hike the rocky shore of Peggy’s Cove and enjoy the immensity of the ocean with the sun setting behind the lighthouse. 

The place is usually crowded but still a spot worth the stop for the stunning coastal scenery. Make sure to plan a stop here during your visit in Nova Scotia.

Hiking Peggy’s Cove Viewpoint or Cranberry Cove Lookout

  • Distance: 1 km out-and-back
  • Level: easy
  • Trailhead on Peggy’s Cove Road. 

A short trail leads to the rocky shore with the Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse across St. Margarets Bay. Enjoy the view of the lighthouse without the crowd.

Rocky shore and water in St. Margarets Bay in Nova Scotia

Dartmouth

Dartmouth Ferry Ride:

Take a ferry ride from Halifax to Dartmouth for beautiful views of both cities and the harbour. 

The Halifax ferry terminal is situated on Lower Water Street in downtown Halifax, near the historic waterfront. It departs from the Halifax Ferry Terminal, commonly referred to as the Halifax Ferry Terminal, at Alderney Landing. The ferry arrives at Alderney Landing in downtown Dartmouth. 

Before planning your ferry trip, it’s recommended to check the current schedule, fares, and any updates on the Halifax Transit website or by contacting Halifax Transit directly for the most accurate and timely information.

Visit Dartmouth Waterfront:

  • Stroll along the Dartmouth Waterfront Boardwalk, offering scenic views of Halifax Harbour. Enjoy shops, restaurants, and outdoor seating.

Alderney Landing:

  • Explore Alderney Landing, a cultural and community center with an art gallery, farmers’ market, and live performances.

Dartmouth Heritage Museum:

  • Discover Dartmouth’s history at the Dartmouth Heritage Museum. The museum showcases artifacts and exhibits related to the region’s past.

Shubie Park:

  • Enjoy outdoor activities at Shubie Park, a large urban park with walking trails, a canal, and recreational areas. It’s an excellent spot for picnics and family outings.

Brightwood Golf & Country Club:

  • Golf enthusiasts can play a round at Brightwood Golf & Country Club, offering a scenic and well-maintained golf course.

Dartmouth Common:

  • Relax at Dartmouth Common, a green space in the heart of the city, ideal for picnics, sports, and leisurely walks.

Accommodations in Halifax

For a waterfront experience, I recommend the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel.

If you prefer the B&B ambiance, a good choice is The Pebble Bed & Breakfast.

#vanlife We spent the night in the Peggy’s Cove parking lot with other RVs and vans—the perfect place to watch the sunset over the ocean.

Nova Scotia Road Trip: Lunenburg

This charming historic town is a must on a road trip in Nova Scotia. This Guide to Lunenburg will be helpful in planning the perfect adventure in Lunenburg.

Top Attractions in Lunenburg

Here are my favourites that you should not miss while in Lunenburg:

  • Exploring the waterfront
  • Hiking the Blue Rocks Common Trail in charming Blue Rocks, a little fishing community
  • Ironworks Distillery for a tasting of their famous rum and whiskey
  • Ovens Nature Park with the Sea Cave Hike
  • Seaglass hunting on one of the many beaches in Lunenburg
  • Crescent Beach for the sand
  • And last but certainly not least, a tour of Bluenose II
Lunenberg's waterfront boardwalk with colourful buildings

Accommodations in Lunenburg

#vanlife We spent the night at the Sawpit Park and Wharf at the end of Sawpit Road, waking up to a beautiful view of the sea and sailboats floating throughout the harbour.

Nova Scotia Road Trip: Kejimkujik National Park

Kejimkujik National Park is located in the interior of southwestern Nova Scotia, encompassing both a mainland and a coastal section. The park is part of the larger UNESCO Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve.

Activities in the park

Camping

Kejimkujik features several campgrounds, including backcountry campsites accessible by water. Camping allows visitors to immerse themselves in the natural surroundings and experience the park’s tranquillity.

Paddling

Kejimkujik is renowned for its freshwater activities. Visitors can enjoy paddling on its interconnected lakes and rivers, with canoeing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding opportunities.

Hiking

The park offers an extensive network of hiking trails that wind through various ecosystems. These trails allow exploring the park’s flora and fauna, including old-growth hemlock and sugar maple forests.

hiker standing on the trail by the rushing water in Kejimkujik National Park

Wildlife watching

Kejimkujik is home to white-tailed deer, beavers, otters, and bird species. Birdwatchers can observe both migratory and resident birds.

Stargazing

Kejimkujik National Park is designated as a Dark Sky Preserve, making it an excellent location for stargazing. The park’s remote location minimizes light pollution, providing a clear night sky view.

Mi’kmaq Cultural Heritage

In addition to the national park, there is a separate component known as Kejimkujik National Historic Site. This site focuses on the Mi’kmaq cultural heritage and includes interpretive programs, exhibits, and guided tours. 

The park holds cultural significance for the Mi’kmaq people. It features petroglyphs and rock carvings created by the Mi’kmaq over a thousand years ago, which can be explored at Kejimkujik National Historic Site.

Nova Scotia Road Trip: Kejimkujik National Park Seaside 

Kejimkujik National Park Seaside is a coastal extension of Kejimkujik National Park along the Atlantic coast. The park features a stunning and unspoiled coastal environment. Visitors can explore rocky shores, sandy beaches, and coastal heathlands, providing diverse ecosystems.

The park is home to various wildlife, including seals, seabirds, shorebirds, bears and white-tailed deer.

Activities in the park

Visitors can paddle along the shoreline, explore hidden coves and enjoy the coastal scenery, hike the trails to the shore and along the cliffs, and enjoy the stunning views or the opportunity to view seals sunbathing. 

Seals resting on the rock with waves hitting the rocks as seen from the trail in Kejimkujik National Park

The dramatic coastal landscapes and the play of light on the water offer excellent opportunities for photographers. The changing tides add to the dynamic beauty of the area.

Nova Scotia Road Trip: Annapolis Valley Region

Blomidon

The Blomidon Lookoff 

A little pit stop by the side of the road to enjoy the view. As the road goes up, it provides an elevated vantage point that allows visitors to gaze across the Bay of Fundy. The views are particularly picturesque, showcasing the dramatic tides and the expansive coastal scenery.

The lookout is a popular spot for enjoying the sunset over the Bay of Fundy. 

Houston’s Beach

We explored the beach at low tide, allowing us to walk along the high cliffs on the sea bed. The stunning views reminded me of the Prince Edward Island coasts with the red sandstone and unusual rock formations. 

Blomidon Provincial Park

Blomidon Provincial Park offers a range of activities for visitors to enjoy the area’s natural beauty. 

Highlights of Blomidon Provincial Park:
  • Hiking: The park features several hiking trails that provide stunning views of the Bay of Fundy and the surrounding landscapes. The Cape Blomidon Trail is popular, leading to viewpoints overlooking the cliffs and coastline.
  • Wildlife Watching: The park is home to various wildlife, including birds, seals, and other coastal species. Bring binoculars to observe the diverse birdlife and marine creatures in the area.
  • Picnicking: There are picnic areas within the park where visitors can relax and enjoy a meal surrounded by the natural beauty of the Bay of Fundy.
  • Photography: With its panoramic views, dramatic cliffs, and changing tides, Blomidon Provincial Park offers fantastic opportunities for photography. Capture the scenic landscapes and the play of light over the Bay of Fundy.
  • Beachcombing: Explore the beaches at low tide to discover interesting seashells, rocks, and other coastal treasures. Keep an eye out for unique geological formations along the shoreline.
  • Camping: If you prefer camping, Blomidon Provincial Park offers camping facilities. Enjoy a night under the stars in this picturesque setting.
  • Stargazing: The park’s remote location away from city lights makes it an excellent spot for stargazing. On clear nights, you can marvel at the stars and constellations overhead.
  • Sunset Watching: The park’s location along the Bay of Fundy makes it a great place to witness breathtaking sunsets. Find a comfortable spot with a clear view of the horizon and enjoy the changing colours of the sky.
Two parents and a child enjoying the beach at low tide with the sandstone cliffs in the distance in Blomidon Nova Scotia

Cape Split Provincial Park in Scots Bay

While exploring the northern shores of Nova Scotia by the Bay of Fundy, we stopped in Cape Split Provincial Park to hike the highly recommended trail. 

Cape Split is a prominent headland with a popular hiking trail that provides stunning views of the Bay of Fundy. It is part of the larger Blomidon Provincial Park. 

Activities in the Park

  • Hiking: The main attraction at Cape Split is the hiking trail that leads to the cape itself. The Cape Split Trail is approximately 6.5 kilometres one way and takes you through a forested area before opening up to breathtaking views of the Bay of Fundy. The trail can be challenging in parts, so wear suitable footwear. For a complete description of the park and trail, you can read my Cape Split Hike post.
  • Picnicking: Bring a picnic and enjoy a meal with a view. There are designated picnic areas where you can relax and take in the coastal scenery.
  • Photography: The panoramic views from Cape Split are a photographer’s delight. Capture the rugged coastline, the Bay of Fundy, and the surrounding natural beauty.
  • Whale Watching: The Bay of Fundy is known for its rich marine life. If you’re lucky, you might spot whales or other marine creatures from the cliffs at Cape Split. Binoculars can enhance your wildlife-watching experience.
  • Bird Watching: The area is home to various bird species, and Cape Split is a great place for bird watching. Bring your binoculars and try to spot eagles, hawks, and seabirds.
  • Sunset Viewing: Cape Split is an excellent spot for watching the sunset. The changing colours of the sky over the Bay of Fundy can be a spectacular sight.
View from the Cape Split Trail with the Rock pillars in the blue waters.

#vanlife We spend the night in the park’s parking lot at the trailhead. The parking lot overlooks Scots Bay. 

Walton Harbour Lighthouse 

Walton Harbour Lighthouse, located in Walton, Nova Scotia, is a picturesque coastal site that offers visitors a serene and scenic environment. This is a quick stop, but it left me amazed. I highly recommend you include it in your visit to Nova Scotia.

Highlights of the Walton Harbour

  • Lighthouse Viewing: Appreciate the historic Walton Harbour Lighthouse itself. Take in the architectural details and learn about the lighthouse’s history and significance to the local maritime community.
  • Visit the exhibit inside the lighthouse and learn about maritime history.
  • Climb the stairs to the top of the lighthouse for an astounding view of the bay. 
  • Photography: Capture the scenic beauty of the lighthouse against the backdrop of the sea and sky. The coastal setting can offer stunning photo opportunities, especially during sunrise or sunset.
  • Hiking trail: Enjoy a stroll along the coastline near the lighthouse. Take in the fresh sea air and listen to the sounds of the waves.
  • Stop by the gift shop for a souvenir before you leave.
View of the Bay of Fundy at low tide from the top of the Walton Harbour Lighthouse

Nova Scotia Road Trip: Burntcoat Head Provincial Park 

Burntcoat Head Provincial Park is located in the Central Nova Scotia region of Canada. Specifically, it is situated near the community of Noel. The park is known for having the highest recorded tides in the world, as it is positioned along the shores of the Bay of Fundy. The dramatic tidal fluctuations at Burncoat Head create unique coastal landscapes and offer visitors the opportunity to witness the impressive tidal movements of the bay.

Highlights of Burntcoat Head

  • Tidal Exploration: Witness the incredible tidal fluctuations of the Bay of Fundy. During low tide, you can explore the ocean floor and see unique rock formations, mudflats, and tidal pools. You’ll witness a rapid and powerful landscape transformation as the tide comes in.
  • Photography: Capture the breathtaking scenery at Burntcoat Head. The changing tides, expansive mudflats, and coastal landscapes offer excellent opportunities for photography, especially during sunrise or sunset.
  • Picnicking: Bring a picnic and enjoy a meal with a view. There are designated picnic areas to relax and take in the surroundings.
  • Beachcombing: Explore the shoreline during low tide to discover interesting seashells, rocks, and marine life. Be mindful of the changing tide to ensure a safe experience.

Make sure to have a good pair of shoes that you can easily wash if you plan on walking the ocean floor. The ground is very slippery, and you end up with very dirty shoes. There is a fountain to wash up after your walk.

the bottom of the ocean at low tide with the reddish sand and strewn rocks and the usual sandstone rock formation in Burntcoat Head Provincial Park

Nova Scotia Road Trip: Cape Chignecto Provincial Park

For more views of the Bay of Fundy and its extreme tides, Cape Chignecto Provincial Park is a perfect place to be. Perfect at the start or the end of your visit to Nova Scotia, the park is a beauty.

Activities in the park

  • Hiking: The park is renowned for its challenging and picturesque hiking trails that run along the dramatic cliffs and coastal landscapes. 
  • Backpacking: The Cape Chignecto Coastal Trail is often completed as a multi-day backpacking trip. There are designated campsites along the trail, allowing hikers to experience the park’s beauty over several days. The Cape Chignecto Coastal Trail is a multi-day trek that offers breathtaking views of the Bay of Fundy.
cape chignecto coastal trail at high tide
  • Sea Kayaking: The park’s coastal location is ideal for sea kayaking. Paddle along the rugged shoreline and explore sea caves, arches, and unique geological formations.
  • Wildlife Watching: Cape Chignecto is home to various wildlife, including seabirds, whales, and seals. Bring binoculars to observe the diverse marine life that inhabits the Bay of Fundy.
  • Photography: Capture the stunning landscapes, cliffs, and coastal views. The changing tides and natural beauty provide excellent opportunities for photography.
  • Beachcombing: Explore the beaches along the trail and discover interesting seashells, rocks, and other coastal treasures.

Camping in Cape Chignecto Provincial Park

Enjoy camping in the park at designated campsites. Whether you’re on a multi-day hike or prefer a more traditional camping experience, Cape Chignecto offers options for spending the night in the great outdoors.

The park offers three cabins, 3 group campsites, 28 walk-in campsites, 12 kayak campsites and 47 backcountry campsites. With the exception of the group campsites, all others can be booked online on the park’s reservation site.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Nova Scotia

What is the capital of Nova Scotia?

Halifax is the capital and largest city of Nova Scotia.

What is Nova Scotia known for?

Nova Scotia is known for its stunning coastal landscapes, historic sites, vibrant cultural scene, rich maritime heritage, and delicious seafood.

What language do they speak in Nova Scotia?

The primary language is English; you might also hear Mi’kmaq, Scottish Gaelic, and Acadian French in some communities.

What are some must-visit attractions in Nova Scotia?

Some must-visit attractions include Peggy’s Cove, Cabot Trail, Lunenburg, Citadel Hill, and the historic town of Annapolis Royal.

What outdoor activities are popular in Nova Scotia?

Popular outdoor activities include hiking, whale watching, kayaking, exploring national parks, and enjoying scenic drives.

What is the Cabot Trail?

The Cabot Trail is a scenic highway on Cape Breton Island, offering breathtaking views of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Cape Breton Highlands, and the Atlantic Ocean.

How can I explore Nova Scotia’s maritime history?

Explore historic sites such as the Fortress of Louisbourg, visit maritime museums, and tour picturesque fishing villages along the coast.

Are there festivals in Nova Scotia?

Yes, Nova Scotia hosts various festivals throughout the year, including cultural events, music festivals, and celebrations of its Scottish heritage.
Experience local festivals such as the Halifax International Film Festival, the Nova Scotia Highland Games, typically held in Antigonish, and the Nova Scotia Icewine Festival in the Annapolis Valley.

What is the Bay of Fundy known for?

The Bay of Fundy, located between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, is known for having the highest tides in the world.

Where can I enjoy fresh seafood in Nova Scotia?

Fresh seafood can be enjoyed at local restaurants, seafood shacks, and markets across Nova Scotia. Digby scallops and lobster are popular choices.

Can I see whales in Nova Scotia?

Yes, whale watching is a popular activity in Nova Scotia, particularly in the Bay of Fundy, where you can spot humpback whales, minke whales, and more.

What is the Dark Sky Preserve in Nova Scotia?

Kejimkujik National Park is designated as a Dark Sky Preserve, offering excellent stargazing opportunities due to minimal light pollution.

How do I get around Nova Scotia for a road trip?

You can explore Nova Scotia by car, making use of its well-maintained road network. Car rentals are available, and scenic drives are a popular way to see the province.

Rental car search for your visit to Nova Scotia:

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *