Nova Scotia, province that is second-tiniest in Canada, is a peninsula at the country’s easternmost point. It is beautiful and peaceful. But there are plenty of things to do in Nova Scotia. Its long coastal areas are studded with white sand beaches, harbors, lush islands and other stunning sites.
The landscape differs from the misty Atlantic Ocean in the southeast to the Gaelic highlands of Cape Breton in the west and the coastal salt marshes of the Bay of Fundy in the east in the north.
Nova Scotia offers a nice, breezy, moist climate at these maritime latitudes. While the summer is sunny and bright, the winter is frequently foggy and covered with snow due to weather conditions.
In the Annapolis Valley in 1604, Samuel de Champlain and other French immigrants founded Port-Royal, the first permanent European colonisation in north of Florida. They gave the name Acadia, which is still used the term for all French settlements in the Maritime provinces.
Summer holidays in Nova Scotia are unmatched. It is one of the best spots in the world to go on a road trip because there is so much to see and do there.
With a ranking of Nova Scotia’s best attractions, you can discover the greatest locations to visit in this intriguing province.
Let’s begin because, despite not being the largest province in Canada, Nova Scotia delivers a powerful impact.
Things to do in Nova Scotia:
1. Cabot Trail
The Cabot Trail, with its breathtaking ocean views, old-growth forests, glacier-scarred prehistoric granite, and the enigmatic Cape Breton Highlands, is regarded as one of the world’s most scenic travel routes. Enjoy our outdoor recreation options, music, and culture. Among the finest things to do in Nova Scotia is visit the Cabot trail.
Take part in the fiestas, concerts, ceilidhs, and cooking parties that take place everywhere along the Cabot Trail. Enjoy delicious local seafood at one of our fantastic eateries to recharge yourself.
As fresh local seafood is available in all settlements along the Cabot Trail, lobster is a specialty in many eateries. Look for locally raised or fished crab, mussels, oysters, clams, mackerel, and scallops. If you’re lucky, you might even “discover” your own clams or mackerel!
A 300-kilometer-long, stunning route circles Cape Breton Island’s northwest shore and the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
The Gulf of St. Lawrence abruptly meets the tallest mountains in Nova Scotia along this coastline path. This route for motorcycle tours is highly well-liked because of the numerous photo opportunities provided by the cliffs, beaches, vistas, and winding roads. Along with numerous local artists’ studios and one-of-a-kind stores, the road is lined with small towns and tourist destinations.
One of the most popular activities is hiking. There are other great hiking paths as well, and visitors can choose to hike independently or hire a local guide to point out the best locations.
Informally, the Cabot Trail begins and finishes in Baddeck, the town where Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, was born. The Cabot Trail is frequently driven in the autumn because of the area’s stunning fall foliage.
2. Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site
A living history museum is the Fortress of Louisburg National Historic Site that uses greater than 40 historic structures, costumed docents, and operating businesses to recreate fort life in the middle of the 18th century.
The town, which was reconstructed in 1713 on the site of a French fort, is surrounded by massive fortifications walls, a few of them were as thick as 35 when completed.
The restored complex is currently populated by a group of costumed interpreters going about their daily lives, from military to domestic.
Visitors can observe cooks at work, sample real hot cocoa and freshly baked bread, observe traders hawking their wares, and experience the ground trembling from cannon and musket fire.
Couples seeking a memorable romantic vacation have the option of spending the night here in a replica tent or period home for those visitors seeking a more immersive experience.
3. Peggy’s Cove
The fishing community of Peggy’s Cove, which is 43 kilometers southwest of Halifax, has a vintage vibe. On the misty Atlantic Coast, Peggy’s Point Lighthouse, one of Canada’s most famous lighthouses, marks a dangerous point.
Among the top things to do in Nova Scotia is spend some time at Peggy’s Cove.
Visitors should take extra caution when visiting the rocky shoreline due to the stark, wave-battered granite bluffs surrounding the lighthouse.
The shore of this bustling fishing village is lined and the meandering road is lined with vibrant historic residences and art galleries.
A superb collection of local artist William E. deGarthe’s paintings may be found at the deGarthe Gallery and Museum. He was an immigrant from Finland who was first captivated by Peggy’s Cove and its fishermen as a young child, which is a notable illustration of this.
The Coastal Heritage Trail is available for use and has been referred to as a “museum without walls.”
Popular tourist spots include the Peggy’s Cove Preservation Area, Pioneer Cemetery, Bishop’s Park, and various other places that are historically noteworthy, like the SS Atlantic Heritage Park.
The park has a museum, a lovely boardwalk, and a memorial, in addition to information about the terrible loss of the ship and its people.
Be ready for swarms of people because this is a very popular day-trip location from Halifax, especially in the area surrounding the lighthouse.
4. Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
4.1. Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
This museum’s exhibits and displays vividly depict the province’s and the North Atlantic’s maritime past while illuminating the significance of the sea for many aspects of local life. Among the top things to do in Nova Scotia is to go to this museum.
Excellent multimedia presentations use images and firsthand testimony of survivors to tell the story of the Halifax explosion was brought on by a ship collision in 1917.
Museum holdings contain more than 200 model ships, including freighters, historic sailing ships, ocean liners, and military ships. A component of the museum is also housed in what used to be a ship chandlery, where goods were purchased to equip ships for long voyages.
There is also a sizable display about the Titanic’s recovery attempts, including how Halifax played a crucial role in the rescue efforts. Items salvaged from the sea after the rescue is on display, recounting the story of the ship and her passengers.
The museum also includes a number of vessels that are berthed in Halifax Harbor, including Queen Victoria’s Royal Barge, a gift from Queen Elizabeth II.
Another important ship in terms of history is the corvette-class ship HMCS Sackville, which is renowned for bobbing up and down like a cork in choppy waters. It took part in the convoys that kept Britain alive during the Battle of the Atlantic.
The CSS Acadia, which spent many years charting the ocean floor in the Arctic and North Atlantic, is also available for viewing as part of museum admission.
4.2. Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
Between 1928 and 1971, Pier 21 welcomed 20% of the country’s immigrants, making it once Canada’s Ellis Island. Through both ongoing and cyclical displays, visitors can discover what it was like to travel across the ocean and arrive in a new country.
Visitors can dress in period clothing, enter a replica ship, examine the items inside trunks and crates, and participate in other interactive exhibitions to learn more about the lives of the immigrants who packed up their most treasured possessions.
The Scotiabank Family History Centre, a free location where anybody can visit to research the immigration history of their own family, also houses a wealth of genealogy materials.
5. The Lunenburg UNESCO Town and the Grand Pré’s UNESCO Landscape.
5.1. The Lunenburg UNESCO Town
There might be a to-do list for Lunenburg! The port city of Lunenburg is a well-deserving UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a historic coastal community in Nova Scotia. You will be enchanted by its appeal whether you go shopping, eat at one of the charming eateries, or simply stroll along the coastline.
Grab a coffee and start your day at the Shop on the Corner by engaging in some retail therapy. Visit Ironworks Distillery later on for a quick tour and a taste of their delectable raspberry liqueur. Visit Salt Shaker Deli for lunch; its name is misleading because it serves much more than sandwiches! Among the top things to do in Nova Scotia is to visit this spectacular place.
If the tall ship Bluenose II, a replica of the well-known fishing and racing schooner, is docked in town, set sail on it. At the upscale Lincoln Street Food, you can get vegan fish and chips or beet gnocchi with chanterelles for dinner.
5.2. The Grand Pré’s UNESCO Landscape
There are five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nova Scotia. Therefore, you can also include the Grand Pré landscape in that list in addition to Lunenburg. The 5 square mile region is found in the Bay of Fundy in the Annapolis Valley. The marshes and archaeological sites are examples of 17th-century technology. Drive to View Park on Old Post Road for the greatest view of the surroundings.
Since you’ll be close by, you should also visit Domaine de Grand Pré to sample some local wines.
6. Cape Breton Highlands National Park
The highest peaks in Nova Scotia can be found in the more than 950 square kilometer Cape Breton Highlands National Park, which is situated at the northernmost point of Cape Breton Island. Hikers, campers, and families are drawn to the park by its inland forests and rivers as well as its coastline of beaches and cliffs. Of all the things to do in Nova Scotia, visiting this site is one of the most fun things to do in Nova Scotia.
The Cabot Trail scenic drive, which partially cuts through the national park, provides excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing. From here, visitors can frequently see moose, beavers, eagles, and deer.
The park is also the location of the Skyline Trail, a picturesque route built along an accessible wooden boardwalk trail. Visitors can see whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence below while taking in expansive vistas of the untamed shoreline.
Chéticamp, a small Acadian community, is located just beyond the park’s boundaries. For its quaint stores, art galleries, and restaurants, it is worth a visit.
Les Trois Pignons, a distinctive museum and visitor center with a sizable collection of artifacts and conventional hooked rugs, is also located there.
7. Kejimkujik National Park
Inland Nova Scotia is covered by Kejimkujik National Park, which is around 400 square kilometres large. and has a little outpost on the coast with a lovely white sand beach. The lengthy past of the Mi’kmaw people, who inhabited the area for millennia, is one of the main attractions of this serene setting. Among the finest things to do in Nova Scotia is pay a visit to this location.
Numerous petroglyphs still include remnants of Mi’kmaw existence, and visitors can observe Mi’kmaw craftsman Todd Labrador making birchbark canoes to learn more about native culture. The park is a great spot to truly disconnect because most of it can only be reached by boat or on foot.
There are campsites dotted across the area for individuals who favor being in the natural environment. Alternatively, visitors can explore the region by kayaking or hiking along historic Mi’kmaw trails during the day.
8. Halifax Harbor and Waterfront Boardwalk in Halifax
A walkway that spans the entirety of Halifax Harbor connects the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic to the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 and dining options.- Views look out to Georges Island in the middle of the channel and Dartmouth across the port as sailboats, tugs, and navy vessels come and leave. Among the top things to do in Nova Scotia is to explore Halifax Harbor and Waterfront Boardwalk in Halifax.
You can catch the Dartmouth ferry from here, and there are also lots of options if you want to go whale watching or take a harbor tour.
A collection of heritage structures that have been renovated can be found close to the ferry terminal, along with a bustling pedestrian zone full of eateries that regularly have live nautical bands and always serve the finest seafood.
The Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market, the first farmers’ market in the Americas, gives visitors more purchasing options in addition to a broad selection of delectable foods. The market is open every day and sells goods that are created, caught, and farmed locally, along with prepared foods.
8.1. Waterfront Boardwalk in Halifax
Like the majority of the major cities in the province, Nova Scotia’s capital is situated directly on the water. One of the longest downtown boardwalks in the world may be seen in Halifax along that waterfront.
The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic are just two of the cultural and historical attractions that can be found along the three-kilometer Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk. It also has many quaint stores and boutiques, as well as some of Halifax’s greatest restaurants (fresh fish and chips, anyone?).
You can run into street entertainers and bagpipers while strolling along the boardwalk, or you might find a deep-sea fishing cruise that interests you.
Perhaps you’ll play a game of beach volleyball and then indulge in an ice cream cone to cool off. There is something fresh every day.
9. Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens
The 10 acres of historically and horticulturally themed beds at the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens are among the best show gardens in North America. Of all the things to do in Nova Scotia exploring Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens is one of the top things to do in Nova Scotia.
The Governor’s Garden is landscaped in a manner and utilizing the plants from the 1740s, while the Rose Garden contains two thousand bushes arranged among walks and lush meadows.
Plots of demonstrations for modern methods and species are located in a separate area, and a winter garden is also present. with plants chosen for their appealing bark, stem shapes, or forms in the winter.
The path on the other side of the garden goes to the riverbanks. You might have to maneuver surrounding a content couple and their proud parents because the grounds are a popular location for weddings.
Another significant historical landmark near Annapolis Royal is the Fort Anne National Historic Site, which was built by the French in 1643 and taken over by the British in the 1750s.
The spectacular walls and ramparts are still mostly intact, even though the only structures left standing are an officers’ barracks and a gunpowder magazine from the 18th century.
10. Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park
The Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park, from which Halifax is 40 kilometres away, is a fantastic day excursion. Beavers, moose, wolves foxes, cougars, and black bears are just a few of the numerous natural and exotic animal species that call the 40-hectare park home.
By giving the animals grains that are available in dispensers located all over the park, visitors can engage with many of the park’s inhabitants. The park has Sable Island horses, which are unique among wildlife parks worldwide.
The region is home to more than a dozen different pheasant and bird species, raptors including the bald eagle, peregrine falcon, great horned owl, and even emus.
11. Kayak To The Three Sisters and Go Tidal Bore Rafting
11.1. Kayak To The Three Sisters
The Three Sisters are stunning rock formations that may be observed from both land and water in the Bay of Fundy. According to Mi’kmaq mythology, the God Glooscap cast turns his three sisters into stone, and ever since they have been keeping watch for him to come back.
Exploring this location is one of the best things to do in Nova Scotia out of all the things to do in Nova Scotia.
The ideal Nova Scotia bucket list experience is being able to kayak out to Seal Cove and out to the Three Sisters at both high and low tides. You may kayak past sea arches one minute and then go directly into sea caves the next because of how quickly the tides shift.
11.2. Tidal Bore Rafting
For those looking for an amazing activity, tidal bore rafting is the most exhilarating activity in Nova Scotia. The Shubenacadie River’s mouth is at the world’s greatest tides pour in. The Bay of Fundy transfers in excess of 100 billion tonnes of water twice daily, or every six hours and thirteen minutes.
You surf the waves on an unparalleled whitewater adventure as it crams into the riverbed.
12. Halifax Citadel National Historic Site of Canada
The Halifax Citadel, a sizable hill above the city, protected the people living in the seaside city for almost 200 years. The British decided to establish a town in Halifax in 1749 because they knew the hill would be simple to protect. The Halifax Citadel National Historic Site of Canada now educates visitors about the town’s past rather than protecting it. Exploring this location is one of the best things to do in Nova Scotia out of all the things to do in Nova Scotia.
Discover the military fortress in the shape of a star that was constructed in 1856 and that no adversary has ever dared to attack. Visit the Army Museum and picture life inside the fort’s walls as a soldier. Observe the sentry shifting at the Citadel Gates and keep an eye out for the Royal Artillery’s customary Noon Gun.
Alternatively, go on a guided tour to find out more about the ghosts that are supposed to still linger in the Citadel.
13. The Magic Winery Bus In Wolfville
As entertaining as it sounds, the Magic Winery Bus in Wolfville. Get aboard a huge double-decker bus and travel through gorgeous vineyards while enjoying wine along the way. The bus tour will take you to four distinct wineries in Wolfville, one of Canada’s major wine districts, where you can spend a leisurely hour sipping and learning. You’ll learn about the history of the area along the journey, including how the vineyards and regional food producers fit into it. After the tour is through, they’ll drop you back off in Wolfville, where you can head straight to a local tavern or restaurant for more regional cuisine.
14. Skyline Trail Hike
The numerous vehicles lining the entrance will let you know that you have arrived at the Skyline Trailhead. The Cabot Trail’s most well-known destination is this hiking trail and with good reason. Exploring this location is one of the best things to do in Nova Scotia out of all the things to do in Nova Scotia.
You will not only be treated to the most breathtaking views, but you also could get to see a moose. To catch Bullwinkle before they flee into the thick undergrowth, be careful to ask the hikers you pass along the trail if they saw him on their journey and how far back.
15. Overdose on Maple Syrup and Eat a Moon Mist Ice Cream
15.1. Overdose on Maple Syrup
Spring is the time of year when the Sugar Moon Maple Farm produces sugar, you can get a taste of maple at any time of year. While there, you can go on a tour to discover the farm’s operations and the process of manufacturing maple syrup.
After the tour, you may have meals such as Spiked Maple Mocha, Maple Baked Beans, and Maple Mac n’ Cheese in the on-site café. Do you notice a pattern here?
15.2. Eat a Moon Mist Ice Cream
Canada’s Nova Scotia is home to the tasty ice cream flavor Moon Mist. The ice cream has a special blend of banana, grape, and bubble gum flavors that creates the ideal harmony of sweet and acidic flavor.
All around the province, numerous ice cream shops sell Moon Mist.
Although Moon Mist is also available in pints and various sizes, cones are the most common form in which it is consumed. For anyone visiting Nova Scotia, Moon Mist is a must-try, so make sure to indulge in a scoop (or two).
These were the 15 most amazing things to do in Nova Scotia! We hope you found this article helpful. Visit our site for more such articles!As an Amazon Associate, Icy Canada earns from qualifying purchases.