The Getaway
Nova Scotia: A Treasure of Exciting Adventures

Welcome to Nova Scotia, Canada's ocean playground. This maritime province on Canada's eastern coast is a haven for travelers who want outdoor adventures, history, and culture. The province of Nova Scotia captures every traveler's heart with its picturesque lighthouses and world-class seafood. From the rugged cliffs of Cape Breton Highlands to the bustling streets of Halifax, Nova Scotia offers experiences that will leave you yearning for more.

Buckle up as we embark on a journey through Nova Scotia's most exciting attractions.

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01 Visit the Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Cape Breton Highlands National Park is a place of breathtaking beauty. What's it like? Imagine a place where the mountains meet the sea, and the air smells like spruce trees. Whether you're hiking the famous Skyline Trail, spotting moose, or exploring the park's diverse ecosystems, every moment celebrates nature's grandeur.

The park offers a unique blend of Acadian, Boreal, and Taiga habitats. And don't forget to keep an eye out for bald eagles! With over 26 hiking trails covering a variety of landscapes and difficulty levels, Cape Breton Highlands National Park has an adventure for everyone.

Motorcycles riding on the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada on a summer day flyzone / Getty Images

02 Drive the Cabot Trail

Cabot Trail is next on the list. This 300-kilometer stretch of highway hugs Cape Breton Island's highland coast. Every twist and turn greets you with stunning views of the rugged coastline and lush highlands.

But the Cabot Trail is more than just a scenic drive; it's a journey through Acadian fishing communities, Gaelic-speaking towns, and Mi'kmaq artisans. During your journey, take rests to enjoy the area's traditional Celtic music, delicious seafood, and warmhearted hospitality.

Nature photographer on coastline. Woman photographing in a wild area on top of rocks near ocean. pchoui / Getty Images

03 Visit the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site

The Canadian government started restoring the Fortress of Louisbourg, an 18th-century fortress, in the early 1960s. Now, you can see the historic site in all its original glory. Plus, you'll meet costumed animators who bring the fortress to life with tales of battles, sieges, and life in the 1700s. During your visit, set aside time to experience a cannon firing, taste traditional bread, and immerse yourself in the daily routines of the French soldiers and civilians who once lived here.

You can even spend the night through Parks Canada's "Wake up in the Past!" program. It's a little rugged but worth it for an authentic experience.

Old cannons and fortifications in Fortress of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, Canada GeorgeBurba / Getty Images

04 Visit the Glenora Distillery

Glenora Distillery, North America's first single-malt whisky distillery, is a must-visit destination for all whisky lovers. Take a guided tour to see the copper pot stills and sample their famous Glen Breton Rare. The distillery also offers cozy accommodations and a gourmet restaurant. It's the perfect arrangement for an evening when you might have enjoyed several whiskies.

05 Go whale watching in Cape Breton

Cape Breton is one of the best places in Nova Scotia to witness a whale breach the ocean's surface. Between May and October, up to 12 species of whales—including humpbacks, fin whales, and the rare North Atlantic right whales—make their way to the rich feeding grounds off the coast of Nova Scotia. You're bound to see some if you visit at the right time. It helps to book a boat excursion with a knowledgeable guide.

Whale watching - Pilot whales blowing at Pleasant Bay, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada Chefmd / Getty Images

06 Walk the Halifax Harbour

Take a leisurely stroll along Halifax Harbour's boardwalk. You'll find a huge selection of shops, restaurants, and historic sites. Don't miss the chance to hop on the Harbour Hopper Tour. Their amphibious vehicles offer a unique perspective of the city from both land and water.

As you walk, soak in the views of the large working harbor framed by two beautiful suspension bridges that lead to the city of Dartmouth. You can also watch street performers entertain bystanders and visit food stalls serving local delicacies. The harbor is a feast for the senses.

Aerial drone view of the Halifax downtown/waterfront with a departing ferry. shaunl / Getty Images

07 Tour the Halifax Public Gardens

Go to Halifax Public Gardens to escape the city's non-stop activity. This Victorian-era garden, spanning 16 acres, is a green oasis in the heart of Halifax. Wander through the beautifully manicured lawns, admire the vibrant flower beds, and relax by the tranquil fountains. Don't forget to visit the bandstand, where free public concerts are held during the summer months.

With its charming bridges, ornamental gates, and a delightful duck pond, the Halifax Public Gardens offers a peaceful retreat amid the city's hustle and bustle.

The Halifax Public Gardens are Victorian era public gardens formally established in 1867, the year of Canadian Confederation. sphraner / Getty Images

08 Visit Alexander Keith's Brewery

Beer enthusiasts, this one's for you! Visit Alexander Keith's Brewery, one of the oldest breweries in North America. Founded in 1820, this brewery offers an immersive experience that takes you back to the 19th century. Join the costumed guides as they lead you through the historic brewery, share tales of Alexander Keith, and let you sample their traditional ales. If you visit in October, you can join the annual birthday celebration of Alexander Keith, complete with live music, traditional food, and plenty of merriment.

09 Visit Peggy's Cove

Peggy's Cove is one of Canada's most photographed spots, but there's more to this fishing village than a lighthouse and cliffs. Climb over the sparkling boulders to explore the rustic village and savor a lobster roll at a roadside kiosk. For a unique experience, stay overnight at the Oceanstone Seaside Resort or the Bluefin Cottage by Lighthouse Lane. They're just steps away from the cove, so you can take breaks as needed and wake up to nature's wonder.

Aerial drone view of Peggy's Cove lighthouse and the newly completed accessible observation deck & walkways. shaunl / Getty Images

10 Visit the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

Discover Canada's rich immigration history at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. As the gateway for one in five Canadians between 1928 and 1971, Pier 21 holds stories of hope, struggle, and new beginnings. The museum offers a poignant look into the experiences of immigrants who shaped Canada's culture. It's a moving tribute to the multiculturalism that defines the nation. Exhibits will give you a deeper understanding of the journeys immigrants undertook and how they contributed to Canada's cultural mosaic.

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 Rob Crandall / Shutterstock.com

11 Visit the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site

Perched atop a hill overlooking downtown Halifax, the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site is a testament to the city's military past. Step inside this star-shaped fort, and you'll be transported back to the Victorian era. Watch the changing of the guard, listen to the noon gunfire, and learn about the soldiers' lives through interactive exhibits. For a truly immersive experience, join the "Soldier for a Day" program and don the iconic red serge of the 78th Highlanders.

With its panoramic views of the city and the harbor, the Halifax Citadel offers a unique blend of history and scenery that's hard to beat.

An aerial view of Citadel Hill National Park dominating the core of downtown Halifax. shaunl / Getty Images

12 Visit the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

Dive into Nova Scotia's maritime heritage at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. From the Titanic's tragic voyage to the Halifax Explosion of 1917, the museum houses a wealth of artifacts and exhibits that tell the stories of Nova Scotia's relationship with the sea. Don't miss the chance to explore the museum's floating exhibits, the CSS Acadia and HMCS Sackville, two ships that played significant roles in Canada's maritime history.

View of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on Lower Water Street on the seaport waterfront in Halifax, Nova Scotia EQRoy / Shuttesrtock

13 Visit the Bluenose II in Lunenburg

Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is home to the Bluenose II. If you aren't Canadian, you might wonder what that is. Find the answer on any Canadian dime. That schooner is the Bluenose. Lunenburg offers a replica of the original Bluenose, a famous racing ship and fishing vessel, as a symbol of Nova Scotia's shipbuilding heritage. Take a tour of the ship, learn about its history, and, if you're lucky, sail aboard this iconic vessel. After your visit, take a stroll through Lunenburg's historic waterfront. It's a charming seaside town that perfectly encapsulates Nova Scotia's maritime spirit.

Nova Scotia's sailing ambassador, Bluenose II. shaunl / Getty Images

14 Take a Lunenburg walking tour

Explore the charming town of Lunenburg on foot. With its brightly colored buildings, steep streets, and rich shipbuilding history, Lunenburg is a delight to explore. Join a guided walking tour and discover the town's fascinating history, architectural gems, and hidden secrets. Stop by the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic to delve deeper into the history of Atlantic Canadian fisheries. As you wander through the town, you'll be captivated by the stunning views of the harbor, the historic architecture, and the friendly locals. It's a walking tour that offers a taste of Nova Scotia's vibrant culture and heritage.

The beautiful and historic town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia in the fall. Boats drift in the harbour and the amazing colours of the buildings in this picturesque seaside town add to the scene. This image was taken across the harbour from town on a gorgeous fall morning. Lunenburg is located approximately an hour from Halifax. ImagineGolf / Getty Images

15 Visit the Ironworks Distillery in Lunenburg

Round off your visit to Lunenburg with a stop at the Ironworks Distillery. Housed in a 19th-century blacksmith's shop, this micro-distillery crafts artisanal spirits and liqueurs using locally sourced fruits and grains. Take a tour of the distillery, learn about the distillation process, and sample their award-winning products. From apple brandy to blueberry liqueur, there's something to tickle every tippler's fancy. Pick up a bottle or two to take home as a souvenir of your Nova Scotia adventure. With its ch​arming ambiance and delicious spirits, the Ironworks Distillery is a must-visit for any spirit connoisseur.

16 Explore the Bay of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy, home to the highest tides in the world, is a natural wonder you can't miss. Watch in awe as 160 billion tonnes of water flow in and out of the bay twice daily, creating a tidal phenomenon that can reach up to 16 meters. Take a walk on the ocean floor at low tide, go fossil hunting at Joggins Fossil Cliffs, or hop on a boat tour to see the majestic cliffs and sea stacks up close. Don't forget to try the local delicacy, Fundy lobster! With its dramatic landscapes and unique tidal phenomena, the Bay of Fundy offers a one-of-a-kind experience that's sure to leave you spellbound.

Image of the flowerpot at Burntcoat Head an hour after high tide. The water level changes at a speed of around 2 inches per minute.The highest tides of the world are recorded here, at Burntcoat Head with an average of 55.8 feet. The highest tide was during the tropical cyclone Saxby Gale in 1969 at 70.9 feet. Laszlo Podor / Getty Images

17 Visit the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens

Step into a horticultural paradise at the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens. Spanning 17 acres, these gardens beautifully showcase the history of Nova Scotia through themed gardens. Wander through the Victorian Garden, admire the roses in the Rose Collection, and step back in time in the Acadian House. The gardens are a riot of color from spring to fall, making it a must-visit for any garden enthusiast.

18 Hike the Skyline Trail

The Skyline Trail in Cape Breton

Hike the Skyline Trail for breathtaking views of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Cape Breton Highlands. This 7-kilometer loop trail takes you through a dense forest to a dramatic headland cliff. Keep an eye out for moose, bald eagles, and whales in the distance. The trail is relatively easy. Just remember to stay on the trail to protect the fragile ecosystem.

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19 Visit the Sherbrooke Village

Travel back in time at Sherbrooke Village, a living history museum that recreates life in rural Nova Scotia in the 19th century. Explore over 25 original buildings, including a blacksmith's shop, a general store, and a schoolhouse, all staffed with costumed interpreters. Join in on traditional activities, like wool spinning and bread making, for an immersive historical experience. With its charming streets, historic buildings, and engaging activities, Sherbrooke Village offers a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

Staff at Sherbrook Village welcome visitors to the historic museum Gina Smith / Shutterstock.com

20 Go tidal bore rafting on the Shubenacadie River

For an adrenaline-pumping adventure, try tidal bore rafting on the Shubenacadie River. As the Bay of Fundy's tides rush into the river, they create a series of rapids and waves that you can ride on a Zodiac boat. It's a wild, wet ride that will get your heart racing. Just remember to hold on tight! After the thrill of the ride, relax on the riverbanks and enjoy a traditional Nova Scotian picnic. It's an adventure that combines the thrill of white-water rafting with the unique tidal phenomena of the Bay of Fundy.

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