Nova Scotia, Canada
You can embrace the spirit of the perfect road trip in Nova Scotia, Canada. A car is optional because you can also bike, hike, sail or paddle your way to relaxed discovery. Beautiful scenery, cute bed-and-breakfast places, great food, and interesting history.
Be ready to see the Bay of Fundy with its tides.
There are numbers of cute small coastal towns along this South Shore region, but Lunenburg is a good choice. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Town. There’s a historic waterfront with a Fisheries Museum, and old sailing ships and lots of seafood restaurants. There are no worries about places to stay from small hotels to B&Bs.
You could easily spend a day or two in this area. If you just left Lunenburg, you can cut across the peninsula to the town of Annapolis Royal.
Annapolis Royal calls itself the birthplace of Canada, and it does have lots of history.
It was founded in 1603. You can visit Fort Anne which was built in 1703. It’s a typical “star fort” with cannons facing out toward the sea. You can wander the embankments, and some of the original buildings are available for tours.
Among other attractions, Annapolis Royal has the oldest cemetery in Canada and the Garrison Cemetery is next to Fort Anne. Take a nighttime tour of the cemetery. You’ll learn a lot on that lantern light tour.
A nearby attraction is the Port-Royal National Historic Site. It represents an early French colony. Learn a bit about the Acadians and Canadian history. This reconstruction of early 17th century buildings is across a causeway where there is a power plant which uses the tides of the Bay of Fundy to generate electricity.
Drive north to Wolfville and Grand Pré. This is the area you can stay in to see the tides on the Bay of Fundy. There is the Grand Pre National Historic Site of Canada here. It a Commemorative Site about the deportation of the Acadians from Canada… The “Grand Derangement”.
Grand Pré is also a place you definitely have a great time doing a little wine tasting.
Wine tasting in Canada?
Yes, indeed. The Domaine de Grand Pré has a great wine tasting and a nice lunch there. You can also have nice tastings at other small wineries in the area.
Not but not the least, you can stay at the Inn on the Lake. It’s only about 30 minutes from Halifax, so you can easily visit and tour the town and still stay in the countryside. This hotel is also close to the airport, so it makes for an easy departure.
What do you think? Maybe we should explore Nova Scotia further.
Here are some places you definitely need to visit in Nova Scotia, Canada.
Cape Breton Island
Things to Do in Cape Breton Island Canada
Cape Breton is home to the Cabot Trail, the world’s most scenic drives and Nova Scotia’s prize. However, there are still plenty more attractions to discover trough this enticing area.
One should not just be content with simply a spectator’s glimpse of the spectacular views that have made the trail so famous. Immerse yourself right smack in the midst of the stunning vistas and get up close and personal by exploring these must-see sights. You can go on a cruise and be on the lookout for whale sightings or trek the hiking trails of the island and discover a rich diversity in the area’s flora and fauna. The island also features a vibrant cultural scene and it is worth catching a performance while you are there.
Baddeck is a popular stop because it is where much of the driving tour starts.
The town is known for the museum dedicated to the famous inventor, Alexander Graham Bell. But even if you are not interested in his genius or curious about his life, the town is still worth a stopover because it is a good base to book a boat tour to the stunning Bras d’Or Lake or head out to the open sea for charter fishing trips.
There is also a nice little sandy beach at the nearby Kidston Island where you can soak up the sun and enjoy the view of an old lighthouse close by. The Fortress of Louisbourg is also well worth a visit. It features an impressive reconstruction of life back in the 1700s. Artifacts on display, traditional buildings, costumed residents and period-inspired restaurants all contribute to the bygone-age atmosphere in the area.
If you are interested in the Celtic heritage that is pretty much evident in Cape Breton’s culture, music and way of life, it is best to schedule your visit in the month of October when the Celtic Colours International Festival is in full swing. It is a celebration of music and culture where you can enjoy impressive visual arts exhibitions, dance performances, concerts, and engaging story-telling. If you are visiting outside the month of October, check out one of the bars and you just might chance upon a lively Ceilidh which is a local music jam.
If you are interested in the ingenious local crafts, follow the artisan trail and visit countless shops that sell local paintings, textile, wooden utensils, woven baskets, and intricate jewelry. You just might fall in love with one special creation which would make a perfect souvenir for your Cape Breton Island holiday.
Avid golfers will bask in putting bliss while on the island.
The Fabulous Four – Dundee, Le Portage, Bell Bay and Highlands Links – await.
These golf courses are fabulous indeed and all the more enticing with the splendid scenery surrounding them.
Of course, take advantage of the abundance of lobsters while you are here in Cape Breton. You can feast on them in any of the island’s coastal restaurants and you can be sure that they just came in from the morning’s haul. After your superb lunch, give yourself a break and take lazy strolls along scenic trails overlooking the striking Canadian coast.
Bay Of Fundy, Canada
What can you find in the Bay of Fundy?
The Bay of Fundy is home to the highest tides in the world. It’s a long ocean bay that is 170 miles (270 km) long-running between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia on the east coast of Canada.
The Bay of Fundy has a lot of bore tides which are really called tidal bores. Tidal bores are where the tide reverses the flow of a river making the water run in instead of out. The tide pushes the water into a wave, sometimes up to 10-12 feet high.
Most of the tidal bores are on the Nova Scotia side.
Other tidal effects you might see are the vertical tidal effect, horizontal tidal effect, and tidal rapids or whirlpools.
The horizontal tidal effect is where, in the upper parts of the bay, you see the tide go out for what seems like miles. Tidal rapids are just that–rapids created by the flow of the tides. Sometimes these are called “reversing falls” because the tide appears to be a waterfall that reverses direction depending on whether the tide is going in or out. You can ride jet boats to ride the rapids and reversing falls.
You can sit at one of the local restaurants to watch the vertical tidal phenomenon.
Boats can be floating at dockside, then as you dine, you notice them floating lower and lower, until at low tide you may see them stranded in the mud. It takes six hours, so you may not see the whole show at dinner.
That’s the tidal cycle. 6 hours and 13 minutes to go from high tide to low tide. Then another six hours and 13 minutes to get back to full tide. There are two full cycles a day, but of course, the two cycles take more than 24 hours, so you have to check tidal charts so you’ll know the times to see the high and low tides. Tide charts are easy to find anywhere around the Bay of Fundy. Those tides are important to the tourist trade, not to mention the fishermen of the area.
There are plenty of places to stay and they are mostly cozy inns and bed-and-breakfasts.
You’ll find plenty of restaurants to choose from, some with a view of those tides. You can even go to wine tasting.
The Bay of Fundy is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It’s great for active travelers too. You can go whale watching, sea kayaking, and hiking. Nothing boring there.
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
The Capital of the Province of Nova Scotia
Halifax is at the same latitude as Bordeaux, France, and Southern Oregon. And it’s not exactly remote. You can easily get there by air directly from Toronto and Montreal in Canada. There are also flights from New York, Boston, and Chicago in the U.S and from London and Amsterdam among others.
It has the world’s third-largest oceanographic institute, five universities, and is one of North America’s most popular convention sites according to their tourist bureau. And of course, it’s the capital of the province of Nova Scotia.
It’s a medium-sized city. About one-third of Nova Scotia’s population lives there.
Halifax is a major port city on the Atlantic Ocean, but it sits on a beautiful harbor–the second largest natural harbor in the world. One fun fact is that this city is closer to Europe than any other east coast port of call.
You can visit Citadel Fort.
It is located high on a hill overlooking the harbor. This star-shaped fort was completed in 1856 and it is now a National Historic Site of Canada. During the summer months, you’ll see period-uniformed soldiers drill and bagpipers play on the parade grounds. You can take guided tours of the buildings.
There is another fort on a bluff overlooking the harbor — York Redoubt.
If you visit, you’ll have a spectacular view of the city and surrounding area.
Just below the Citadel is the big white tower with the Town Clock which is one of the city’s most famous landmarks.
You have to visit the waterfront area. Pier 21 was recently named as the National Immigration Museum. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic has exhibits relating to the Titanic, and there are old ships moored nearby. The whole waterfront area has lots of historic buildings. Most have been converted into shops and restaurants. It’s all very entertaining.
Everyone wants to see “Theodore Tugboat“, the funny little tugboat painted up with a funny little face and baseball cap. You can take harbor tours from here. You can even take a town AND harbor tour in an amphibious vehicle known as a “duck” that will take you on streets and the water. Who cares if it’s touristy… you’re a tourist!
There’s plenty of parking all along the waterfront. Many hotels too, large and small, if you want to stay right in the action. And with all the restaurants and fast food places, you won’t have to worry about eating.
So if you plan to visit Nova Scotia, don’t miss Halifax. That maritime climate makes it warmer than we expected… and you’ll have a warm welcome with lots to see and do.
10 Other Attractions in Nova Scotia, Canada
1. World-Class Golf
Grab your clubs and discover the seaside links, inland forest courses, countryside parklands, and historic urban fairways that make Nova Scotia a not-to-be-missed golfing experience.
2. Halifax PUBS
Pull up a stool in a city that is rumored to have the most pubs in Canada. You’ll discover many friendly pubs featuring live music with a traditional roots flair. Or maybe you’ll find the love of your life in one of them, who knows?
3. Light Houses
For centuries, Nova Scotia’s lighthouses have greeted those who have arrived on their shores and have helped to protect those who make their living on the water. Today, there are 150 lighthouses located throughout Nova Scotia.
The lush soil and climate in Nova Scotia are ideal for producing the grapes that result in our character-rich and award-winning wines. Nova Scotia is home to more than 18 wineries and vineyards, each a testament to commitment and dedication to the craft.
Wander Old Town Lunenburg’s distinctive waterfront with its colorful buildings and listen for salty tales of maritime and rum-running.
6. Cabot Trail
Cape Breton Island is the home to the world-renown Cabot Trail, one of the world’s must-see islands. The natural beauty of the highlands provides the perfect backdrop for outdoor activities such as golfing, kayaking, hiking, cycling, motorcycling and whale watching!
7. Peggy’s Cove
Nova Scotia is home to over 160 historic lighthouses, but the most photographed one is the vibrant fishing village of Peggy’s Cove.
If you haven’t eaten Nova Scotia lobster in Nova Scotia, then you haven’t really eaten lobster!
9. Kejimkujik National Park Seaside
For ocean-lovers, this place is a bounty of white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and abundant shorebirds and wildlife.
10. Artisan Studios
Experience a wide range of art—from glass, silver, and ceramics to woodcarving and quilts – made with local materials and local inspiration. It’s an inspiring way to get close to the history and culture of Nova Scotia.
Satisfy your wanderlust and find a spot for the perfect vacation. Succumb to the feeling of spontaneity, and surely, it will guide you anywhere you want to go. Explore hundreds of hiking and cycling trails, or vast oceans for surfing, rafting and whale watching.
Explore Nova Scotia, Canada!