This Atlantic Canadian province has it all: the city life; the ultimate road trip experience; charming and colourful little towns; breathtaking ocean views, and above all: the highest tides in the world. You’ll love these unique things to do in Nova Scotia.
Having grown up and spent most of life in New Brunswick, a province just a few hours drive away, I spent a lot of time in Nova Scotia over the years for weekend getaways, weddings and work trips. Nova Scotia has so much to offer; it never disappoints.
This Canadian province is located on the East Coast. Halifax Stanfield International Airport is where you’ll land if you’re flying. This airport is also very central if you plan a road trip to visit other maritime provinces such as New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
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25 Unique Things To Do In Nova Scotia
Halifax is Nova Scotia’s biggest city, and it offers great shopping, dining, and entertainment. It’s a great place to visit for a weekend getaway.
I love to stay at The Westin Nova Scotian when I visit Halifax. They have the absolute most comfortable beds. It’s downtown, close to all the best restaurants and shops. But most importantly, it is located just across the street from the Farmers Market.
Halifax Seaport Farmers Market
First on this Halifax list of things to do is one of my favourite places to grab breakfast at The Halifax Seaport Farmers Market. With over 250 vendors, it’s known to be the oldest operating farmers market in North America. Besides the wide variety of options it offers, I love that this market is open from Tuesday to Sunday.
Canadian Museum of Immigration
Next, just down the street from the Farmers Market, you can experience what it was like to immigrate to Canada via the Pier 21 at the Canadian Museum of Immigration. Canada’s National Museum of Immigration offers exhibits and a glimpse and stories of some of the newcomers that arrived in Canada and the locals who welcomed them.
Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk
When visiting the city, I love to just stroll downtown and enjoy Halifax’s waterfront boardwalk, which offers cute little shops. In the summer months, you can enjoy lots of entertainment and food vendors.
Halifax offers so many great restaurants such as my favourites downtown: The Gahan House, which has an awesome patio, and The Bicycle Thief is the perfect spot to cap off the day with an outstanding dinner.
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
Lastly, on this Halifax list is The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, which is located in downtown Halifax and offers a glimpse into Nova Scotia’s heritage. Get a taste of what you’re in for with a virtual tour of the galleries and the Museum’s exhibits with Google Street View.
Where to stay in Halifax :
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Halifax and prefer to stay in an Airbnb rather than a hotel like my favourite, The Westin Nova Scotian, check out this list of Airbnb options in the Halifax area.
The South Shore
Firstly on this South Shore list is Peggy’s Cove. Being the lighthouse fan that I am, I have to recommend iconic Peggy’s Cove. It’s just a short drive from Halifax, making it an excellent option for a day trip. This location and the lighthouse screams East Coast and offers incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean.
On Nova Scotia’s South Shore is Lunenburg: the prettiest, more picturesque fishing village and a UNESCO World Heritage site. While you’re there, take advantage of the many waterfront view dining options.
Take in the views of all its coloured houses by taking a sailboat ride aboard Nova Scotia’s tall ship, the Bluenose II.
Cape Breton Island
The Cabot Trail
You’ll find the ultimate road trip with Cape Breton’s Cabot Trail, where you’ll appreciate the beauty of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park as you drive the 300-kilometre (186-mile) Trail. You’ll be spoiled with amazing coastal views. It also offers excellent hiking trails, camping and whale watching tours.
Inverness is home to The Resort at Cabot Links, which has two stunning, world-renowned golf courses. I love this resort so much. It has luxury accommodation with ocean and golf views as well as three restaurants on site that offers seasonal local food. It’s the perfect destination for a relaxing escape.
Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site
Next up on your Cape Breton itinerary, is the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site, another popular destination located in Louisbourg. This National Historic Site of Canada offers a partial rebuilt of the 18th-century fortress from Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island.
Annapolis Valley and Bay of Fundy
Twenty-five minutes east of Annapolis Royal, located in Paradise (I promise I did not make this name up), you’ll find The Wee Creagan, the most peaceful Airbnb there ever was. I stayed here once for a week-long solo getaway. It was an excellent opportunity to check out Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley.
Highest tides in the world
The Bay Of Fundy, which separates New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, offers the highest tides in Canada and the world.
Another excellent day trip that you can do from Halifax is to Burntcoat Head Park, where you’ll see the world’s highest tides. During low tide, the Park offers guided experiences on its ocean floor.
Not too far from Burntcoat Head Park, you’ll find Tidal Bore Rafting Resort is a popular destination if you want to experience the rapids by going rafting. Their resort also offers cottage life, traditional lobster boils and local music.
Joggins Fossil Cliffs Beach
If you’re driving to Nova Scotia from New Brunswick, only a 30 minutes drive from the New Brunswick, you’ll find the Joggins Fossil Cliffs beach, another excellent location to witness the highest tides in the world. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s cliffs are made of 300 million-year-old fossils.
Wolfville is another excellent location to view the tides and a beautiful little town worth exploring. A popular destination for its many wineries, this charming little town has so much to offer. Wolfville is home to the Food Film Festival Devour! held annually in October, as well as the Deep Roots Music Festival held every September.
In Annapolis Royal county, you’ll find Annapolis Royal, a beautiful small waterfront community that is a great location to spend a day sightseeing. Make sure to have dinner at Cafe Restaurant Compose. They have a lovely menu as well as great water views.
Annapolis Royal Gardens
My favorite place to visit in this charming little town is the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens, with its 17 acres of flowers and gardens. In fact, it’s the perfect place to escape for a few hours. The site also has a reconstructed 1671 Acadian House which was a nice treat.
Fort Anne National Historic Site
If you love history, you’ll enjoy visiting Canada’s First Historic Site, the Fort Anne National Historic Site. The Museum also offers exhibits where you can learn about all the different groups of people who have called this place home: the Mi’kmaq, French, British, Acadians, and African Nova Scotians.
Lastly, just a half-hour south from Annapolis Royal, you’ll find Digby, a fishing community famous for its scallops and the perfect location to go on a whale-watching tour.