Nomadic Matt: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Better

Nova Scotia Travel Guide

Last Updated: November 10, 2023

an aerial view of a scenic Nova Scotia landscape in Canada

That welcoming atmosphere — combined with over 100 beaches, picturesque lighthouses, fresh seafood, and endless rugged coastline — makes visiting Nova Scotia an exciting (and underrated) destination in Eastern Canada.

Outside the capital city of Halifax, Nova Scotia is dotted with tiny fishing villages and coastal towns. Drive further north, and you’ll hit scenic Cape Breton Island which comes alive with vivid fall foliage each year along its Cabot Trail. In short, Nova Scotia is a province perfect for road trips.

Another bonus: Nova Scotia doesn’t see nearly as many tourists as the country’s larger cities, making it a somewhat off-the-beaten-trail destination that’s much more affordable than many of the more popular cities in Canada.

This travel guide to Nova Scotia can help you plan your trip, save money, and make the most of your visit to this beautiful east coast province!

Table of Contents

  • Things to See and Do
  • Typical Costs
  • Suggested Budget
  • Money-Saving Tips
  • Where to Stay
  • How to Get Around
  • How to Stay Safe
  • Best Places to Book Your Trip
  • Related Blogs on Nova Scotia

Top 5 Things to See and Do in Nova Scotia

The iconic white lighthouse in Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia on a sunny summer day

1. Hike the Skyline Trail

The Skyline Trail is easily the most popular hike in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. It stretches 6.5 kilometers (4 miles) through thick forest and then along the coast to reach a viewing platform overlooking the ocean. It’s a breathtaking walk on which you might even encounter moose. The hike is suitable for all levels and takes between 1.5-3 hours. Make sure to bring your own water, good shoes, and clothing layers as the weather can change quickly. The most popular time to visit is July, August, and September but many people come to see the autumn leaves change in October. Park admission is 8.50 CAD.

2. Tour the Alexander Keith’s Brewery

Alexander Keith is a legend in Nova Scotia. He opened his brewery in 1820, became mayor of Halifax, and was so wildly popular that Halifax throws a massive birthday party for him on the waterfront every October. Today, the 200-year-old brewery is one of the oldest in North America. Take a tour of the Halifax brewery to learn more and sample some of the limited edition beers at “Stag’s Head” pub at the end of the tour. Tours are 29.95 CAD.

3. Hang out in Halifax

Halifax is Nova Scotia’s cool capital city. It’s home to half a dozen universities so it has a lively nightlife, a thriving music scene, and countless trendy restaurants and craft breweries. Stroll the waterfront boardwalk, grab a lobster roll, and spend the evening at a local pub. Take the ferry over to Dartmouth across the harbor, known as ‘Halifax’s Brooklyn’ and check out the live music at New Scotland Brewing Company. The city has a youthful, arty vibe and is worth visiting for a couple of days.

4. Visit Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse

There are some 170 lighthouses in Nova Scotia, but Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse is the most famous. Once you see it, you’ll understand why it’s one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world. It’s a quintessential red-topped lighthouse standing on a rocky shore overlooking the Atlantic. Walk around and enjoy the ocean views and snap some photos. Beware: rogue waves are common, even on calm days. It’s possible to reach the lighthouse via bus and taxi but it is much easier by car.

5. Drive the Cabot Trail

Other things to see and do in nova scotia, 1. go tidal bore rafting in shubenacadie.

The Shubenacadie River’s rapids in the Bay of Fundy are powered by the highest tides in the world. One minute you’re floating down a peaceful river keeping an eye out for bald eagles and other wildlife and the next minute the river turns into a raging, foaming mass of rapids. When the tide changes twice a day, the tidal bore temporarily reverses the flow of the river, resulting in this wild river ride. A four-hour tour includes the guided rafting excursion, safety flotation gear, extra mud sliding on request (yes!), and post-rafting showers for when you need to clean up. Make sure to bring an extra clean change of clothes as well as a towel. A four-hour rafting trip starts at 95 CAD.

2. Go whale watching

In the summer and fall, 12 species of whales visit the waters around Nova Scotia, including pilot whales, minke whales, giant humpbacks, and the endangered North Atlantic right whale. There are tons of whale-watching tours to choose from in the area, with most operating outside of Halifax. Mariner Cruises takes you out for a 2.5-hour boating tour for 50 CAD departing from Westport on Brier Island, while larger groups like Lunenburg Whale Watching Tours start at 70 CAD.

3. Enjoy summer on the water

Summer is short in Nova Scotia, so when the weather is nice and the sun comes out, Nova Scotians hit the water to go sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and canoeing. Surfing is also big here, with Lawrencetown Beach being one of the more popular areas to find the biggest waves. Go swimming at Melmerby Beach or take a kayak around Kejimkujik National Park. Kayak rentals cost around 25 CAD for two hours or 32 CAD for the entire day.

4. Wander the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens

Spanning 17 acres of greenery, these historical gardens overlook a tidal river valley and include an enormous rose collection (best seen in July) as well as an 18th-century Governor’s Garden and a 19th-century Victorian Garden. You can check out the reconstructed 1671 Acadian House or grab a coffee and light lunch at The Elm Tree Café (seasonal). It’s 16 CAD to visit except November to April when there is only a suggested donation of 5 CAD as the Gardens are not maintained during the winter months.

5. Visit the Alexander Graham Bell Historic Site

This museum in Cape Breton is host to a rich collection of artifacts and documents chronicling the life and career of Bell, the inventor of the telephone. The collection was accumulated by his family during their time here in Baddeck, Cape Breton. In the parlor, you can see Bell’s personal effects, like his favorite jacket, notebook, and walking stick. You can also take a behind-the-scenes “White Glove Tour” of the artifact storage facilities. The site is open May-October and admission is 8.50 CAD (13 CAD for the white glove tour).

6. Explore the Highland Village Museum

Over the centuries, the Canadian Maritimes have been heavily influenced by Scottish and Irish immigration. This outdoor pioneer museum and Gaelic culture experience highlights that history. The 43-acre site overlooking Bras d’Or Lake includes historic buildings like three frame houses, a mill, and a forge. You can take part in a traditional céilidh dance, hear Gaelic singing, and even practice a little of the language yourself. It’s open from June to October and costs 11 CAD.

7. Tour the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

This museum depicts Nova Scotia’s maritime history with exhibits on boatbuilding, World War II convoys, the Titanic, and the Halifax Explosion (a huge disaster that happened in 1917, when two ships carrying ammunition ran into each other and destroyed much of the city). It’s a very comprehensive overview of the region’s history. Admission is 5.15 CAD from November-April and 9.55 CAD from May-October.

8. Visit nearby New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island

These two provinces are close to Nova Scotia and can be visited as day trips (or multi-day trips) if you have your own vehicle. Don’t miss New Brunswick’s Fundy National Park to see the world’s highest tides. In P.E.I., you can soak up some tranquility on the sea (and eat lots of seafood) and visit the Anne of Green Gables house.

9. Explore Lunenburg

Lunenburg is one of the most colorful towns you’ll ever come across. With its narrow streets and colonial 18th- and 19th-century buildings painted in bright hues of pinks, oranges, and greens, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back into the past. There are still tall ships in the harbor and even an operational blacksmith hammering away on the waterfront. The harbor is home to the famous Bluenose II, a replica schooner of the original Bluenose boat that’s featured on the Canadian dime (ten-cent coin). The Bluenose was a famous fishing/racing schooner that went undefeated in her 18-year run and is an iconic part of Canadian history.

10. Tour the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

If there’s just one museum you visit in Halifax, make it this one . Pier 21 was the immigration point for one million newcomers to Canada between 1928 and 1971. You’ll learn about 400 years of Canadian immigration history through first-person stories, archival photos, artifacts (including trunks and personal treasures), and digital documentation. Exhibits are incredibly interactive and you can even research your family’s pre-1935 immigration records from all ports of entry in North America. Admission is 15.50 CAD.

11. Relax in Kejimkujik National Park

For a taste of Maritime nature, come to this national park to paddle, hike, camp, and relax. Here you’ll find ancient rock carvings (petroglyphs), canoe routes, and coastal wilderness punctuated with sandy beaches and wildlife. To learn more about the Mi’kmaq people who traditionally have called the region home, join a storytelling session, take a guided petroglyph tour, or participate in a canoe-building workshop. Admission to the park is 6.25 CAD.

For more information on other destinations in Canada, check out these guides:

  • Calgary Travel Guide
  • Montreal Travel Guide
  • Ottawa Travel Guide
  • Quebec City Travel Guide
  • Toronto Travel Guide
  • Vancouver Travel Guide
  • Vancouver Island Travel Guide

Nova Scotia Travel Costs

A stunning scenic view of a lake and forest in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada

Hostel prices – Hostels are virtually non-existent in Nova Scotia. The only exception is Halifax. A bed in a 4-6-person dorm costs 30-35 CAD per night. A private room costs about 78-90 CAD per night. Expect basic amenities like free Wi-Fi and self-catering facilities.

For those traveling with a tent, camping is available around the province starting at 27 CAD per night. This gets you a basic plot without electricity for two people.

Budget hotel prices – Budget hotels start around 105 CAD per night for a place outside of Halifax. Within Halifax, most budget hotels start at around 130 CAD per night. Expect basic amenities like free Wi-Fi, TV, AC, and a coffee/tea maker. Prices are lower during the off-season.

Airbnb is available all around Nova Scotia. Private rooms start around 50-75 CAD per night, though they average double (or even triple) that price. An entire home/apartment costs around 100 CAD per night, though they average closer to 160 CAD (200 CAD in Halifax). Book early to find the best deals.

Food -In Nova Scotia, seafood is king. Be sure to try scallops and oysters, wild blueberries, lobster, and donair (thinly sliced beef in a pita with a sauce that’s similar to kebab; it’s the official food of Halifax). Also, be sure to sample more general Canadian staples like poutine (fries with gravy and cheese curds), beaver tails (fried dough with maple syrup), Canadian bacon, and the oddly tasty ketchup chips.

You can find cheap street food eats like donair for around 7 CAD (go to Johnny K’s), or a small pizza on Halifax’s “Pizza Corner” (an intersection at Blowers Street and Grafton Street full of pizza places) for less than 10 CAD.

A fast food combo meal (think McDonald’s) costs around 12 CAD. A lobster roll at an inexpensive restaurant is about 20 CAD, while lobster poutine is closer to 18 CAD. A bowl of pasta (such as scallop carbonara) costs around 20 CAD. A beer to go with it is about 7 CAD while a glass of wine starts at 9 CAD.

A meal at a higher-end restaurant costs about 40 CAD for a steak or duck entree without a drink, while lobster is closer to 55 CAD.

If you cook for yourself, expect to spend 50-65 CAD on groceries per week. This gets you basic staples like rice, pasta, seasonal produce, and some meat or fish.

Some recommended places to eat include No. 9 Coffee Bar (Lunenburg), The Barn Coffee & Social House (Mahone Bay), The Economy Shoe Shop (Halifax), McKelvie’s Restaurant (Halifax), and The Wooden Monkey (Halifax).

Backpacking Nova Scotia Suggested Budgets

If you’re backpacking Nova Scotia, expect to spend about 70 CAD per day. This assumes you’re staying in a hostel, cooking all your meals, limiting your drinking, taking public transit to get around, and doing mostly free activities like swimming and hiking. If you plan on drinking, add another 10-15 CAD to your daily budget.

On a mid-range budget of 180 CAD per day, you can stay in a private Airbnb, eat out for a few meals, enjoy a couple of drinks, rent a car to get around, and do more paid activities like rent a kayak, visit museums, and day trips to a nearby province.

On a “luxury” budget of 280 CAD per day or more, you can stay in a hotel, rent a car, drink more, eat out for most meals, and do whatever tours and activities you want. This is just the ground floor for luxury though. The sky is the limit!

You can use the chart below to get some idea of how much you need to budget daily, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages — some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in CAD.

Nova Scotia Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips

Nova Scotia can be an affordable destination if you budget properly. It gets more expensive during peak summer season and early fall (everyone comes to see the leaves change color). Here are some of my ways to save money in Nova Scotia during your visit:

  • Stay with a local – If you plan ahead, you can usually find a Couchsurfing host in Halifax. This way, you not only have a free place to stay, but you’ll have a local host that can share their insider tips and advice.
  • Take a free walking tour – Walking tours are a great way to get familiar with a city and its culture. Halifax Free Walking Tours offers daily informative walking tours in the summer. In the off-season, tours are available by request. Just be sure to tip your guide at the end!
  • Look for free events – Many of Nova Scotia’s events and festivals are free, including Halifax’s Busker Festival in July. Many towns (like Pictou) also have free summer concerts in public spaces. Check the Tourism Nova Scotia website for more info!
  • Go camping – If you want to camp, use to find available campsites around the province. A two-person site costs around 27-35 CAD.
  • Look for the happy hours – The Ultimate Happy Hours website lists all the happy hour drink and food specials around Halifax. They update with new info frequently!
  • Get the Museum Pass – If you plan on visiting lots of museums, the Nova Scotia Museum Pass lets you pay one price to access any of the province’s museum sites. It’s valid for 12 months and costs 47 CAD.
  • Bring a water bottle – The tap water here is safe to drink so bring a reusable water bottle to save money. LifeStraw makes a reusable bottle with a built-in filter to ensure your water is always safe and clean.

Where to Stay in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia doesn’t have many hostels and most of the existing ones are in Halifax. Here are my suggested places to stay:

  • HI Halifax Heritage House Hostel
  • Halifax Backpacker
  • Bear on the Lake Guesthouse

How to Get Around Nova Scotia

A quaint house along the rugged coast of sunny Nova Scotia, Canada

Public transportation – Halifax is the only major urban center in Nova Scotia and locals depend on a public bus system to get around. Halifax’s public buses can take you all around the inner city and into the suburbs, but the downtown area is very walkable. Fares are 2.75 CAD.

You can take the MetroX bus from the airport to downtown St. John’s for 4.25 CAD (exact change required). There’s also a ferry connecting downtown Halifax to Dartmouth for 2.75 CAD.

Bus – Taking the bus is the best way to get around Nova Scotia if you don’t have a car. Maritime Bus connects most towns in the province. A two-hour trip from Halifax to Lunenburg is 26 CAD, while Halifax to Mahone Bay takes an hour and costs 20.25 CAD. Halifax to Sydney (Cape Breton) costs 72 CAD and takes 6 hours.

To find bus routes and prices, use BusBud .

Taxi – Taxis are not cheap here. Their base rate is 3.75 CAD, and it’s an additional 1.70 CAD per kilometer afterward. Prices add up fast so I’d avoid them if you can.

Ridesharing – Uber is available in Halifax, but the city is easily walkable so I’d skip the ridesharing if you can.

Car Rental – Car rentals can be found for as little as 30 CAD per day for a multi-day rental. If you want to take advantage of all that Nova Scotia has to offer, this is your best option. For the best car rental prices, use Discover Cars .

When to Go to Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is at its busiest in the summer, with the best weather occurring between June and August. Temperatures often exceed 25°C (78°F). Keep in mind that accommodation prices are higher during this time, but tourist attractions are never overly crowded compared to elsewhere in Canada.

Both early fall and late spring are also excellent times to visit. The weather is warm, you can do all the outdoor exploration you want, and the tourist season isn’t in full swing. This is the best time to drive Cape Breton’s Cabot Trail. The fall colors are particularly pretty.

Winters in Nova Scotia are cold and wet, with temperatures ranging between from -17-0°C (0-32°F) from December to March. If you come during this time, be prepared for all weather types and dress in layers because it is cold. Keep in mind that many businesses shut down for the winter (mostly outside of Halifax). In short, I’d avoid a winter visit unless you’re here for winter sports and activities.

How to Stay Safe in Nova Scotia

You don’t have to worry much about crime in Nova Scotia — it’s incredibly safe to visit. Your greatest risk is petty crime like pickpocketing, but even that is super rare. Overall, I really wouldn’t worry about crime here. Getting hurt hiking is more likely to happen than any crime!

Like much of rural Canada, Nova Scotia has ticks that carry Lyme Disease. If you’re hiking, try to wear long sleeves or pants, or stick to well-trodden trails. Check yourself for ticks after spending time in nature.

Solo female travelers should generally feel safe here. However, the standard precautions you take anywhere apply (never leave your drink unattended at the bar, never walk home alone intoxicated, etc.). For more information, check out one of the many solo female travel blogs in the city.

If you’re visiting in the winter, make sure you keep an eye on the weather — especially if you’re driving a car. Road conditions can change rapidly.

Hurricanes can occasionally make it up to the Maritimes, so keep an eye on them if you’re visiting during hurricane season (June-November).

If you experience an emergency, dial 911 for assistance.

When in doubt, always trust your instincts. If a taxi driver seems shady, get out. If your hotel or accommodation is seedier than you thought, go somewhere else. Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and ID, in case of an emergency.

The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past.

Nova Scotia Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources

These are my favorite companies to use when I travel. They consistently have the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are always the starting point in my search for travel deals.

  • Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
  • Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
  • – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
  • Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
  • SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
  • LifeStraw – My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
  • Unbound Merino – They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.
  • Top Travel Credit Cards – Points are the best way to cut down travel expenses. Here’s my favorite point earning credit cards so you can get free travel!

Nova Scotia Travel Guide: Related Articles

Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on backpacking/traveling Canada and continue planning your trip:

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Explore Nova Scotia Home


Visitor Information

Visitor Information

Nova Scotia is located in Canada, on the upper east coast of North America, lying between the provinces of New Brunswick (in the west) and Newfoundland (in the northeast).

Explore Nova Scotia, from the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island, to Greater Halifax and Peggy's Cove, the famous tides of the Bay of Fundy, the rugged wilderness and pristine white sand beaches of the Eastern Shore, the orchards and wineries of the Annapolis Valley, to the lighthouses and Acadian culture of the South Shore.

How do I get there ?

Nova Scotia is easily accessable by Air, Sea or Land. An international airport is located just outside the capital city of Halifax. There is also an airport located in Sydney which services the island of Cape Breton. Several ferry services operate in Nova Scotia, offering connection to the surrounding Provinces of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. Nova Scotia is connected to mainland Canada at the New Brunswick border. Travelling the Trans Canada Highway east from New Brunswick will enter Nova Scotia in the Amherst area... from here it is roughly a 2.5 - 3 hour drive to the capital city of Halifax. Passenger rail service is provided by VIA Rail, with stations in Truro and Halifax.

Visitor Information Centres

There are several Visitor Information Centres located throughout Nova Scotia, staffed by travel counsellors who will help you with travel information and literature (brochures, maps, guides, etc). Just follow the Question Mark ( ? ) signs!

I need more Information

Download your free Nova Scotia Travel Guide by clicking here . For more information please call: 1-800-565-0000 (within North America). If you are outside of North America, please call 1-902-425-5781 , or Email: [email protected] .

What else ?

Don't forget to Sign the Guestbook !

Enjoy your Vacation !

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17 Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Nova Scotia

Written by Chloë Ernst and Lura Seavey Updated Sep 26, 2022

Pretty and peaceful, Nova Scotia is Canada's second smallest province, a peninsula on the eastern edge of the Canadian mainland. But its lengthy coastline is dotted with fishing harbors, sandy beaches, plump islands, and other beautiful places to visit. The scenery varies greatly, from the foggy Atlantic Ocean in the southeast to the tidal salt marshes of the Bay of Fundy in the west and Gaelic highlands of Cape Breton to the north.

In these maritime latitudes, Nova Scotia has a pleasantly breezy if rather damp climate. Summer is bright and sunny, but weather conditions can often cause fog, with snow in winter.

Halifax is the capital and largest city. In 1604, the French, including Samuel de Champlain, settled the Annapolis Valley, founding Port-Royal , the first lasting European settlement north of Florida. They called it Acadia, a name that is now used to refer to all French settlement in the Maritimes.

Find the best places to visit in this fascinating province with our list of the top attractions in Nova Scotia.

1. Cabot Trail

2. peggy's cove, 3. fortress of louisbourg national historic site, 4. cape breton highlands national park, 5. halifax citadel national historic site, 6. maritime museum of the atlantic, 7. kejimkujik national park, 8. halifax harbour, 9. lunenburg, 10. canadian museum of immigration at pier 21, 11. annapolis royal historic gardens, 12. halifax public gardens, 13. shubenacadie provincial wildlife park, 14. grand pre national historic site, 15. port-royal national historic site, 16. hall's harbour, 17. ross farm museum, map of attractions & places to visit in nova scotia.

Cape Breton's scenic Cabot Trail

A 300-kilometer scenic drive rings the northwest coast of Cape Breton Island and Cape Breton Highlands National Park. It is a coastal route, where the highest mountains in Nova Scotia dramatically meet the Gulf of St. Lawrence . Cliffs, beaches, viewpoints, and a twisting road give countless photo opportunities, and this is a very popular motorcycle tour route.

Many small communities and tourist attractions line the route, including a variety of local artisans and unique shops. Hiking is one of the popular things to do. There are also many excellent hiking trails, and tourists can either hike on their own or hire a local guide to show them the best spots.

Cabot Trail unofficially begins and ends in Baddeck, home to the father of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell. Autumn is a favorite time to drive the Cabot Trail owing to the region's vibrant fall colors.

Location: Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Peggy's Cove

About 43 kilometers southwest of Halifax, the fishing village of Peggy's Cove has a back-in-time feel. Peggy's Point Lighthouse, one of Canada's most photographed lighthouses, sits on the foggy Atlantic Coast marking a perilous point. Stark, wave-battered granite bluffs surround the lighthouse, and tourists should exercise extreme caution if exploring the rocky shoreline.

Fishing wharves and boathouses line the shore of this active fishing community, and colorful heritage homes and art galleries line the winding road. Among these is the deGarthe Gallery and Museum , home to a fine collection of the work of local artist William E. deGarthe, a Finnish immigrant who was inspired by Peggy's Cove and its fishermen at a young age.

Tourists with some time to spend exploring the area can take a self-guided sightseeing tour of the Coastal Heritage Trail , which has been described as a "museum without walls." Top destinations include the Peggy's Cove Preservation Area, Pioneer Cemetery, Bishop's Park, and many other historically significant sites like the SS Atlantic Heritage Park .

The park includes a museum with many artifacts and information about the tragic demise of the ship and its crew, as well as a nice boardwalk and a memorial.

This is an extremely popular day-trip destination from Halifax, so be prepared for crowds of tourists, especially near the lighthouse.

Living history at the Fortress of Louisburg National Historic Site

The Fortress of Louisburg National Historic Site is a living history museum, which recreates mid-18th century fort life with more than forty historic buildings, costumed guides, and working establishments. Rebuilt on the site of a 1713 French fort, enormous defensive walls surround the town, some of which were up to 35 feet thick when constructed.

The reconstructed site is now filled with a cast of costumed interpreters who go about daily life, from domestic to military. Visitors can watch servants cook and taste authentic hot chocolate and fresh baked bread, see the merchants hawk their wares, and feel the ground shake as soldiers fire the cannon and their muskets.

Tourists looking for a more immersive experience can choose to spend the night here in a reproduction tent or period home - a truly unique experience for couples looking for a memorable romantic getaway.

Address: 259 Park Service Road, Louisbourg, Nova Scotia

Official site:

Skyline Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park

The highest peaks in Nova Scotia are in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, which covers more than 950 square kilometers at the northern tip of Cape Breton Island . Both the coastline of beaches and cliffs and the inland forests and rivers tempt hikers, campers, and families to explore the park.

Wildlife watching is excellent in the national park, with moose, beaver, eagles, and deer often visible from the Cabot Trail scenic drive, which partially cuts through the park.

The park is also home to Skyline Trail , a scenic route laid out in an easy-to-walk wooden boardwalk path. Overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence, visitors can spot whales below while enjoying panoramic views of the rugged coastline.

The small Acadian town of Chéticamp lies just outside park boundaries. It is well worth a stop for its small shops and galleries and dining establishments. It is also home to Les Trois Pignons , a unique museum and visitor center that houses a good collection of antiquities and traditional hooked rugs.

Official site:

The clock tower on Citadel Hill, Halifax

Overlooking downtown Halifax, this hilltop fortress is the remnant of a British garrison that was first established in the 18th-century. Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, which itself was built in 1856, never saw a battle.

Today, the warren-like tunnels, powder magazine, and barracks have been preserved, and living-history guides give tours. There are reenactments and fortress guards with interpreters dressed in British reds, complete with musket salutes and the sound of bagpipes.

The road leading up Citadel Hill is popular for its city and harbor views, and it passes the Old Town Clock , which Prince Edward commissioned in 1803.

Address: 5425 Sackville Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Official site:

Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

The exhibits and displays at this museum bring the maritime history of the province and the North Atlantic to life, showing visitors the role the sea has played in all facets of local life. Using photographs and personal tales of survivors, excellent multi-media exhibits chronicle the 1917 collision of two ships in the harbor, which caused the Halifax explosion.

Museum collections include more than two hundred model ships, from old sailing craft to ocean liners, freighters, and naval ships. Another part of the museum is in an old ship chandlery, where items were bought to outfit ships for sea.

There is also an extensive exhibit on the recovery efforts after the Titanic sank, Halifax being instrumental in rescue operations. On display are items found on the sea during rescue and later recovered, telling the tale of the ship and the people on board.

Also part of the museum are several craft moored in Halifax Harbour, including Queen Victoria's Royal Barge, a gift to the museum by Queen Elizabeth II. Another historically significant ship is the HMCS Sackville , a corvette class known for bouncing around like a cork in heavy seas, which saw duty during the Battle of the Atlantic in the convoys that kept Britain alive.

CSS Acadia is also open for touring as part of museum admission; it's now retired after long years of service in the Arctic and North Atlantic, charting the ocean floor.

Address: 1675 Lower Water Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Official site:

Canoe on the Mersey River in Kejimkujik National Park

Kejimkujik National Park occupies nearly 400 square kilometers of inland Nova Scotia, with a small seaside adjunct that has a stunning white-sand beach.

One of the biggest draws to this peaceful space is the rich history of the Mi'kmaw people who occupied the land for millennia. Visitors can still see evidence of Mi'kmaw life in the numerous petroglyphs, and learn more about native culture by watching Mi'kmaw craftsman Todd Labrador build birchbark canoes using traditional methods.

The majority of the park is only accessible by hiking or by canoe, making it an excellent place to truly get away. Campsites are located throughout the park for those who want to be completely immersed in nature, or visitors can enjoy the area during the day by hiking or paddling traditional Mi'kmaw routes.

Address: 1188 Saint Catherines River Road, Port Joli, Nova Scotia

Official site:

A tall ship sails out of Halifax Harbour

A boardwalk lines the Halifax Harbour, leading from the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and restaurants. Tugs, sailboats, and navy vessels come and go, and the views look out to Dartmouth across the harbor and Georges Island mid-channel.

This is where you will find the ferry to Dartmouth, as well as plentiful choices if you want to take a sightseeing cruise in the harbor or go whale-watching. Near the ferry terminal, you can find a group of restored heritage buildings and a pedestrian area, which is lively both day and night, full of restaurants that often feature live maritime bands and always offer the freshest of seafood.

Tourists will find more shopping and plenty of goodies to snack on at the Halifax Seaport Farmer's Market , founded in 1750, making it the oldest farmers market in the Americas. The market is open daily and features locally grown, caught, and hand-made items including prepared food.

Lunenburg waterfront

Brightly colored heritage buildings dot the hilly Lunenburg townscape, nearly three-quarters of which are the original structures from the 18 th and 19 th centuries. Many of these have been turned into inns and bed-and-breakfasts, and the community is a UNESCO World Heritage Site .

Lunenburg's legacy was established when it became an early shipbuilding center. The town's most famous craft is the Bluenose schooner. Built here in 1921, the boat won many international races before sinking off the coast of Haiti. A replica, Bluenose II, is often in port, while other fishing vessels and a schooner can be seen at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic.

Along the waterfront, the port is still alive with vessels docking at the wharves and fishermen unloading the catch of the day.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Things to Do in Lunenburg & Mahone Bay, NS

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, Halifax

At one time, Pier 21 was the Canadian equivalent to Ellis Island, welcoming twenty percent of the nation's immigrants from 1928 through 1971. Through permanent and changing exhibits, visitors can find out what it was like to travel across the ocean and arrive in a new country.

Many of the exhibits are hands-on, including the chance to actually dress in period costumes, go inside a replica ship, and explore the contents of trunks and crates to learn more about the lives of the immigrants who packed up their most valued possessions.

The museum also has extensive genealogical resources at the Scotiabank Family History Centre , where anyone can go to trace their own family's immigration history free of charge.

Address: 1055 Marginal Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Official site:

Waterlily pond at the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens

The Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens is one of the finest show gardens in North America, with 10 acres of beautifully planned and expertly executed historical and horticultural beds. The Rose Garden has two thousand bushes set among paths with green lawns, and the Governor's Garden is planted in the style and with the plants of the 1740s.

In a separate section are demonstration plots for current techniques and plants, and there is a winter garden where the plants are chosen for a bark, stem shape, or form that makes them attractive in the winter.

On the back side of the garden, the path looks out over the banks of the river. The gardens are a popular place for weddings, so you may have to sidestep around a happy couple and beaming parents.

Another top historic attraction in Annapolis Royal is the Fort Anne National Historic Site, originally built by the French in 1643 and taken over by the British in the 1750s. While the only remaining buildings are an 18 th -century gunpowder magazine and officers barracks, the impressive walls and ramparts are substantially intact.

Address: 441 St. George Street, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia

Official site:

Halifax Public Gardens

The Halifax Public Gardens are the oldest Victorian gardens in North America, created in 1867 and now an official National Historic Site. Tourists can enjoy an hour-long guided tour of the gardens, which reveals its historic and horticultural significance. The gardens are free to visit and often host both public and private events.

In the spring, the gardens are bright with beds of tulips, daffodils, and irises, and the magnolia and cherry trees are in full bloom. June brings azaleas and rhododendrons, and later in the summer, dahlias, peonies, and roses line the artfully laid-out paths.

Even into November, you will find a variety of color, although the Friends of the Public Gardens Information Desk and park café close at the end of October.

Address: 5665 Spring Garden Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Official site:

Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park

Located 40 kilometers from Halifax, Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park makes an excellent day trip. The park is spread over 40 hectares and is home to a wide variety of native and exotic animal species, including moose, foxes, beavers, wolves, black bears, and cougars. Visitors can interact with many of the park residents by feeding the animals grains provided in dispensers throughout the park.

Horse fanciers take note: the park is the only wildlife park in the world with Sable Island horses .

The park is also home to a variety of birds, including over a dozen species of pheasant and fowl, raptors including the bald eagle, peregrine falcon, and great horned owl, and even emu.

Address: 149 Creighton Road, Lake Egmont, Nova Scotia

Official site:

Grand Pre National Historic Site

Acadians settled in Grand Pre in the early 18th century, reclaiming Bay of Fundy salt marshes for agricultural land through a series of dykes. But as Nova Scotia changed hands between the French and British, it brought unrest to the region. When the French-speaking Acadians refused to swear allegiance to England in 1755, the British deported about 10,000 people and destroyed their farms.

Grand Pre National Historic Site is a memorial to this injustice. Pretty gardens, a small chapel, and a statue of Henry Longfellow's fictional heroine Evangéline are part of the picturesque grounds at the historic site.

Official site:

Port-Royal National Historic Park

Port-Royal National Historic Site in the Annapolis Valley is where, in 1605, Sieur des Monts founded one of the first permanent settlements in North America and established a fur-trading center.

Though the British later destroyed the fort, it has now been rebuilt using authentic 17th-century building techniques. The complex includes a Governor's Residence, a fur trading post, and priest's quarters, as well as a reproduction of the original quadrangle named the Habitation.

Living-history interpreters give insight into the settlers' struggle to survive, including how the native Mi'kmaq helped the Europeans through their first hard winters. Visitors can interact with the interpreters and ask questions, and there is also a special hands-on learning program for kids ages 6-11.

Address: 53 Historic Lane, Port Royal, Nova Scotia

Official site:

Hall's Harbour at low tide

Though it's lesser publicized than New Brunswick, the Nova Scotia side of the Bay of Fundy shares claim to the highest tides in the world. Hall's Harbour is not the pinnacle of that tidal range (head instead to the Minas Basin ), but it is one of the prettiest, with a wide sandy beach and wharves where docked fishing boats act as tidal markers. At low tide, the vessel sits on the harbor bottom.

A seafood restaurant is the main destination in the tiny village. From Hall's Harbour, other Annapolis Valley attractions are nearby, including The Lookoff viewpoint near Canning, Cape Split hiking trails , and Blomidon Provincial Park .

Ross Farm Museum

Ross Farm Museum does an excellent job of representing a working farm from more than 150 years ago. Numerous displays and buildings take visitors through a time warp to a bygone era. The 60-acre farm is, in fact, a real working operation, with a dairy barn, oxen pulls, and wagon rides.

Visitors can see a variety of animals including Canadian horses, oxen, various types of poultry, Southdown and Cotswold sheep, along with Berkshire Pigs. There is a nature trail that allows visitors to stroll throughout the property, along with a blacksmith's shop, cooper's shop, barn, schoolhouse, and the original Ross cottage.

Address: 4568 Highway 12, New Ross, Nova Scotia

Official site:

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15 Best Things to Do in Nova Scotia: A Bucket List Guide

Looking for the best things to do in Nova Scotia to add to your bucket list? Here are 15 of the top things to do in this amazing province!

Nova Scotia is an incredible province with so much to offer, from its stunning coastlines and scenic trails, to its beautiful beaches and charming small towns. There are plenty of things to do in Nova Scotia, whether you’re looking for an adventure or simply want to relax and enjoy the scenery.

One of the Maritime Provinces on the East Coast of Canada, Nova Scotia is almost completely surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, its nickname is Canada’s Ocean Playground. With thousands of kilometers of coastline to explore, you’re never too far from the water. Experience the tides at the world famous Bay of Fundy, visit the iconic lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove, drive the scenic Cabot Trail or visit one of the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites – whatever you choose to do, you’re sure to have an amazing time in Nova Scotia.

Whether you’re planning to visit Nova Scotia for the first time or you’re looking to explore more of this great province, we’ve rounded up the best things to do in Nova Scotia.

15 of the Best Things to Do in Nova Scotia

Head to the beach.

Nova Scotia is known as Canada’s Ocean Playground – and for good reason!

With thousands of kilometers of coastline, there are plenty of beaches in the province.

And the beaches here are some of the nicest in Canada.

Lawrencetown Beach in Nova Scotia

Relax on the gorgeous sandy beaches of the Eastern Shore, dip your toes in the warm waters of the beaches on the Northumberland Strait or explore the beaches of Cape Breton Island.

Wherever you visit in Nova Scotia, you’re sure to find some fantastic beaches. Here are some of our top recommendations in the Halifax Region.

Sample the Seafood

The East Coast is known for their seafood and Nova Scotia is no exception!

Lobster is the specialty here and each area of the province has a different lobster season. Along the South Shore, you’ll find Lobsterfest for the whole month of February.

Lobster rolls can be found everywhere in the province or pick up a fresh lobster to cook on your own at home. For those, like me, who don’t love lobster, there is plenty of other seafood to try!

Digby is known for their scallops – and they are fantastic! You can find scallops throughout the province, but if you’re in Digby, you NEED to try them.

Atlantic salmon, haddock, mussels, and clams are also available in most restaurants – or better yet, buy fresh from local fishermen selling seafood from trailers.

See the Highest Tides in the World

The Bay of Fundy is home to the highest tides in the world.

Twice a day, 100 billion tonnes of water flow in and out of the Bay of Fundy! The tides here can be as high as 16 meters (52 feet)!

And while the Nova Scotia side of the Bay of Fundy isn’t as well-known as some spots on the New Brunswick coast, it’s just as beautiful.

low tide in the bay of Fundy, as seen from the Nova Scotia shoreline

Walk on the ocean floor at low tide, search for fossils at Joggins Fossil Cliffs or head to Burntcoat Head Park, home to the highest recorded tides.

Experience the Tidal Bore

When the tides rise and push water into the river, the two currents meet and create the phenomenon called the tidal bore. It’s one of the most unique things to see in Nova Scotia and the best spot to experience this is in Truro.

View the tidal bore from the viewing area or for the adventurous, try some tidal bore rafting! It’s one of the only places in the world where you can go tidal bore rafting!

Go Whale Watching

Nova Scotia is a fantastic place to go whale watching, especially in the summer months from June to August.

Humpback whales and minke are the most common, although you may also spot pilot whales and possibly blue whales.

The best spots for whale watching are found along the coast in Cape Breton, especially around Cheticamp and Pleasant Bay, but also in the Bay of Fundy and the South Shore around Lunenburg.

Take a Scenic Drive

Nova Scotia is the perfect place to explore by car. The scenic routes here are incredible and there are plenty of places to stop along the way.

There are 6 scenic trails in the province, each with their own highlights. The Evangeline Trail will take you through the French-Acadian history of Nova Scotia, the Lighthouse Route follows the South Shore with its many lighthouses and of course, there’s the famous Cabot Trail in Cape Breton.

The Cabot Trail is a scenic trail on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia

Or for the foodies, choose a trail designed to showcase the food and drink of the province – there’s the Good Cheer trail, the Lobster Trail and Chowder Trail.

Check out these trails in the Doers and Dreamers travel guide, which is available from the Welcome Centre at the New Brunswick/Nova Scotia border, the Tourist Info centre on the Halifax Boardwalk or download a copy online here .

Nova Scotia boasts some gorgeous scenery and there are plenty of hiking opportunities to take in the views.

Cape Breton Highlands National Park has 26 trails to choose from, including the popular Skyline Trail, where you might just spot a moose.

There are plenty of other hiking trails throughout the province too, from short, easy trails to longer, more challenging hikes.

Some of our recommendations are Cape Spilt on the Bay of Fundy, the BLT near Halifax or, my personal favourite, the Salt Marsh Trail in Cole Harbour.

Get Out on the Water

There are plenty of opportunities in Nova Scotia to get out on the water.

Sea kayaking is popular, especially along the Eastern Shore or the Bay of Fundy.

Head to Blue Rocks near Lunenburg for calm ocean kayaking or Kejimkujik National Park, where there are plenty of lakes and rivers to canoe, kayak or paddleboard on.

If you prefer to stay closer to the Halifax region, head out on the water at the Dingle Peninsula in Halifax or one of Dartmouth’s many lakes.

Visit a Winery

While Nova Scotia’s wines aren’t as well known as others in Canada, they are just as good!

The Annapolis Valley is the main wine region in the province where you’ll find plenty of fruit wines and NS’s own appellation, Tidal Bay wine. A bright, crisp white wine, it’s only made in Nova Scotia.

view of winery in Nova Scotia with an iconic red phone booth in the middle of the vineyard

You’ll also find some fantastic red wines too! There are plenty of wineries in the Annapolis Valley region to try, including Grand Pre, Sainte-Famille and Avondale Sky Winery.

You can drive to the wineries yourself and stop in for a taste and tour, or take a winery tour from Halifax.

There’s also the popular Magic Wine Bus, which is a hop-on hop-off bus that begins in Wolfville and takes you to four wineries in one day; the oldest, the newest, the largest and the smallest.

Nova Scotia has some incredible camping spots, whether you’re looking for somewhere to pitch a tent or rent a cabin.

There are over 100 campgrounds in the province, from remote wilderness campsites to those with all the amenities.

Some of our favourites include Rissers Beach Provincial Park on the South Shore, Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Cape Breton and Kejimkujik National Park.

Bring your tent or trailer and camp out under the stars, or rent an otentik or yurt in either of the two National Parks.

Be sure to make a reservation, especially during peak season.

Get Lost in a Garden

Did you know – 2022 is Canada’s Year of the Garden?

Nova Scotia is home to some stunning gardens, perfect to stroll through on a summer day.

Halifax Public Gardens is the oldest and most well-known garden in the province (and it’s open year-round), but don’t miss out on the other beautiful gardens throughout the province.

Bandstand in Halifax Public Gardens, Halifax Nova Scotia

There’s also the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens, with 17 acres of gardens to explore and over 250 varieties of roses. Or visit the Victorian garden at Grand Pre, which is a perfect spot for a picnic lunch.  

Visit a Farmers Market

Nova Scotia has some great farmers markets where you can buy local produce, meats, baked goods and more.

There are markets all over the province, including Halifax’s Seaport Farmer’s Market, which is open year-round.

In the summer months, there are also weekly farmers markets in almost every town and city. Check out this list of farmers markets in Nova Scotia to find one near you.

Find a Lighthouse

Nova Scotia has a long and rich fishing and shipping history, so it’s no surprise that there are plenty of lighthouses to be found along the coast. In fact, there are over 150 lighthouses, which is more than any other Canadian province.

These iconic structures dot the coastline and no two lighthouses are the same, each with their own history and charm.

Peggy's cove lighthouse - one of the iconic things to do in Nova Scotia to add to your bucketlist

You can visit many of them, including the Peggy’s Point Lighthouse, near Halifax, the Cape Forchu Lighthouse in Yarmouth and the lighthouse at McNabs Island.

Some of the lighthouses are even open to the public and you can climb to the top for a stunning view.

Soak up the History

There’s plenty of history in Nova Scotia. Some of the oldest settlements in North America can be found in the province.

Explore the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, a star-shaped fort that was built to protect Halifax from a possible attack by the Americans.

Head to the Annapolis Valley and visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Grand Pre to learn about the Acadian settlements or visit Annapolis Royal, the oldest town in Nova Scotia.

For a taste of military history, check out the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site, a replica of an 18 th century French fortress.

Explore Halifax

The capital city of Nova Scotia, Halifax, is the largest city in the Maritime Provinces and it definitely deserves a visit!

Situated on the world’s second largest natural harbour, Halifax is a beautiful and historic city with some of the top Nova Scotia attractions.

view of the Halifax Waterfront and part of the boardwalk

Stroll through the Historic Properties and visit the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site.

Walk along the waterfront boardwalk and then take a harbour tour on the Harbour Hopper, one of the most interesting Nova Scotia sightseeing tours.

Or spend an afternoon at one of Halifax’s many museums, including the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic or Pier 21, Canada’s immigration museum.

How to Get to Nova Scotia

Located in Eastern Canada, Nova Scotia is easy to get to from Quebec and New Brunswick or from the United States.

By car: Halifax is about a ten-hour drive from Quebec City and just over four hours from Fredericton.

By Ferry: From the U.S., there’s a ferry from Maine to Yarmouth, or within Canada, there’s a ferry from Prince Edward Island that arrives in Pictou or a ferry from Newfoundland to Sydney on Cape Breton Island.

By Plane: Halifax Stanfield International Airport is the main airport in Nova Scotia, with both domestic and international flights landing daily.

Getting Around Nova Scotia

Once you’re in Nova Scotia, there are several ways to get around depending on where you’re going and how much time you have.

Halifax has an extensive public transit system, including buses and ferries, that can get you around the city and surrounding areas. For visitors, there’s also a Hop On Hop Off bus tour that stops at all the major attractions and day tours are available to nearby attractions, such as Peggy’s Cove and the Annapolis Valley.

However, we recommend renting a car so that you can explore more of Nova Scotia at your own pace. The 100-series highways will take you from one end of the province to the other and there’s plenty of scenic routes, such as the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island or the Glooscap Trail along the Bay of Fundy.

When is the Best Time to Visit Nova Scotia?

While we’re a fan of Nova Scotia all year round, summer is the most popular time to visit the province.

You’ll find the best weather from June to September, although the warmest months will be in July and August.

October is a fantastic time to visit Cape Breton and see the fall colours, while May and June is a great time to see everything is bloom – especially the apple blossoms in the Annapolis Valley.

Being on the ocean means that the temperatures in the winter won’t get as cold as in some other parts of Canada, but temperatures will dip below freezing and there will be plenty of snow and ice. There are still plenty of fun things to do in Nova Scotia in the winter though, so bundle up and enjoy!

Nova Scotia is a beautiful province with plenty to see and do.

We hope this bucket list guide has inspired you to start planning your next Nova Scotia adventure.

And if you have any questions on what to do in Nova Scotia, be sure to ask in the comments below and we’ll do our best to help you out.

Happy travels!

Looking for more ideas on what to see in Nova Scotia? Check out these other posts:

  • 7 Fun Things to Do in Nova Scotia in July
  • 9 Great Beaches Near Halifax
  • 9 Best Things to Do in Lunenburg
  • Prettiest Small Towns in Nova Scotia
  • Places to Eat & Drink in Dartmouth

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14 Best Things to do in Nova Scotia: A Comprehensive Travel Guide 

If you’re looking for an exciting East Coast travel destination, look no further than Nova Scotia. From the stunning coastline of Cape Breton Island with plenty of outdoor adventures and hiking trails, to the vibrant capital of Halifax with plenty of restaurants, bars, and cultural attractions, and the charming towns of Wolfville and Lunenburg, Nova Scotia has something for everyone.

*This post may contain affiliate links, as a result, we may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) on any bookings/purchases you make through the links in this post. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Read our full disclosure

We spent 3 weeks exploring Nova Scotia on our recent East Coast Canada road trip and found it to be one of the most diverse Maritime provinces with a range of activities, experiences and destinations for all tastes and travel preferences. 

We loved hanging out in Halifax, enjoying great food and local brews, sampling locally made wine in the Annapolis Valley, learning more about Canadian history in Annapolis Royal, hiking the Skyline Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park and admiring the views on our road trip along the Cabot Trail. 

We’ve rounded our best experiences and favourite destinations into this comprehensive guide to help others plan their own Nova Scotia travel itinerary.

Canada Nova Scotia Cape Breton Ingonish Franey Trail Oksana 03672

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About Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is one of the three Maritimes provinces and is located on the East Coast of Canada. The province has 7500 km (4660 mi) of coastline and is dotted with fishing villages, stunning beaches, rugged coves and headlands and a variety of wildlife. This makes it an especially memorable destination for an epic road trip with spectacular scenery and extremely friendly locals. 

Cultural Influence 

Originally the home of the Mi’Kmaq people who have called Nova Scotia home for over 10,000 years, the province is a multicultural part of Canada. A unique blend of English, Scottish and French influences can still be seen today, making it a culturally fascinating place to explore.

Fun Facts About Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is the second smallest province in Canada, after Prince Edward Island.

The capital of Halifax is the largest city in Nova Scotia, with a population of over 400,000 people. The waterfront in Halifax is the most visited destination in all of Nova Scotia.

The Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island is frequently ranked as one of the most popular scenic drives in Canada. It was named one of the world’s top 10 motorcycle rides by National Geographic.

The Annapolis Valley in the western part of the province is known for its wineries and orchards and is a popular destination for cyclists. Tidal Bay wines produced in the region are unique to the area and are said to be shaped by the sea. 

Lunenberg, located on the south shore of Nova Scotia, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to some of the most beautiful architecture in Canada.

things to do in Nova Scotia

How to Get to Nova Scotia

There are a variety of transport options when travelling to Nova Scotia, depending on how you prefer to travel.

Trans-Canada Highway connects Nova Scotia to New Brunswick and the rest of Canada. Those coming from Quebec, Ontario and beyond will find the drive to Nova Scotia to be a long one. 

The distance between Toronto to Halifax is almost 1800 kms. It takes roughly 14-18 hours to drive to Halifax from Ontario. 

From Quebec, the distance is a bit more manageable. Montreal is located 12.5 hours rom Halifax and Quebec City is just over 10 hours away.

By Bus/Rail

There are both train and bus options for reaching Nova Scotia. Long-distance buses by Maritime Bus connect Quebec through New Brunswick to Halifax and also run up to North Sydney. 

VIA Rail offers overnight trains from Montreal to Halifax a few times per week. The journey takes up to a full day of travel time.

Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ) is Atlantic Canada’s largest airport. There are domestic flights to many other parts of Canada, as well as international flights to major US cities like New York, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia and European capitals including London.

The airport is located around 40 minutes drive from the city center, with a local bus network or taxi service available for getting to and from the airport.

travel nova scotia  

Best Time to Visit Nova Scotia

There are pros and cons to traveling around Nova Scotia any time of the year.

Summer is definitely the busiest season in Nova Scotia, with the best weather occurring between June and August. Temperatures are generally pretty warm and can exceed 25 degrees C (78 F). You’ll find accommodation prices across Nova Scotia to be a bit higher in the summer, although summertime in Nova Scotia is still quieter than other parts of Canada, so it’s not a big concern. After all, summer in Nova Scotia is beautiful!

In Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia

Fall can be the best time to visit Nova Scotia attractions, with fewer crowds, nice and stable weather and pretty fall colours. If you want to check out peak foliage, plan your trip from September until October. However, it can be difficult to hop on tours late in the season, as much of the tourist industry starts to die down toward the winter months.

The colder months are pretty cool and wet on the East Coast, with temperatures getting as low as -15 degrees (5 F). It’s not the best time for a Nova Scotia tour as many operators and businesses shut down for the winter. 

On the flip side, Nova Scotia offers a number of winter-specific adventures and attractions so if you can brave the chilly weather, you can enjoy wintertime in Nova Scotia and experience something very different. If you do visit, be prepared for all conditions and dress in warm layers.

things to do in Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotia tourism industry starts to come alive in Spring after a long winter. However, it can remain cool until May. Many operators will not resume business until late May, so it’s something to be aware of if you are planning a trip to Nova Scotia in late Spring. 

With that said, late Spring can be the best time to go to Nova Scotia for the outdoors and to explore some of the stunning natural wonders of the province. 

14 Best Things to do in Nova Scotia

If you’re planning a trip to the East Coast, then here are the best things to do in Nova Scotia for every type of traveler. 

1. Spend Time in Halifax

Home to one of the world’s largest harbours, Halifax is a lively and welcoming city that is worth a few days’ visit on your Nova Scotia road trip. The province’s capital is known for its excellent dining and shopping scene within the very walkable Downtown Halifax area. 

There are plenty of things to do in Halifax , from historical and cultural attractions to nearby outdoor activities and coastal scenery.  Here are just a few of our favourites!

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Top Activities, Destinations and Things to Do in Halifax, NS

Halifax Waterfront: The bustling Halifax harbour area is the heart of the action in the city, with a variety of restaurants, cafes and shops. It’s also worth strolling along the Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk which passes by many other attractions in the city.

Halifax Waterfront

Halifax Seaport Farmers Market: Running every weekend on the waterfront, this vibrant market is one of the top Nova Scotia tourist spots. It’s conveniently located right by the docked fishing boats and cruise port in Halifax Harbour, so it offers a fun way to spend the morning.

Halifax Maritime Museum: This is the largest maritime museum in Canada, with over 30,000 artifacts on display. It has some interesting exhibits on the Halifax Explosion and the Titanic and is one of the true highlights of Nova Scotia for history buffs.

Halifax Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Nova Scotia things to do 

Canadian Museum of Immigration: A fascinating museum to visit, Pier 21 was the immigration point for one million newcomers to Canada between 1928 and 1971. You’ll learn about 400 years of immigration history through first-person stories, archival photos, and artifacts.

Halifax Public Gardens: As one of the finest surviving examples of a formal Victorian garden, it’s a lovely place to go for a stroll in Downtown Halifax. The garden is home to a variety of plants and flowers, as well as a number of statues and fountains.

Halifax Public Gardens

Halifax Citadel National Historic Site: The star-shaped citadel commands a hilltop position overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and cityscape. The landmark is worth visiting to learn a bit more about the military history of the area.

Nova Scotia things to do 

Kayak Halifax: For a fun activity, Kayak Halifax offers a range of paddle and kayak tours along Northwest Arm and McNab’s Island. There are a variety of tours ranging from sunset excursions to Harbour Highlights to choose from. A great way to see Halifax from another perspective – one of our favourite experiences in Halifax.

things to do in Halifax, Nova Scotia things to do 

Alexander Keith Brewery: Founded in 1820, it’s one of the oldest working breweries in North America. They offer an hour-long guided tour of the brewery, which includes a tasting.

Halifax Alexander Keith's Brewery

2. Visit Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse

Located southwest of Halifax, Peggy’s Point Lighthouse is one of the most iconic landmarks in Nova Scotia. The lighthouse marks the eastern entrance of St. Margarets Bay and is still operated by the Canadian Coast Guard. 

It’s become the postcard shot for Tourism Nova Scotia and is recognizable around the world, so it’s definitely a must-see in Nova Scotia. You can explore the granite outcrop around the lighthouse, which offers spectacular sea views in all directions.

It’s less than an hour’s drive from Halifax, but there is also a small village there with a few restaurants, shops and accommodation options. 

Nova scotia points of interest   

3. Explore Cape Breton Island

As the northeasternmost island in Nova Scotia, the beautifully rugged island is worth taking some time to explore on any Nova Scotia trip. Cape Breton Island is most well-known for being home to the popular Cabot Trail road trip, but it is equally great for those who enjoy getting out to explore the dramatic scenery on one of the many hiking trails. 

The Island is home to plenty of activities and attractions to keep you busy. Here are just a few of the many things you can do while on the island:

Visit Cape Breton Highlands National Park: With stunning landscapes and plenty of trails to explore, this national park is a must-see. You can also enjoy wildlife watching, camping, and picnicking. If you only have time to hike one trail make it the Skyline Trail – and do it at sunset – trust us, the views are incredible!

Skyline trail, things to do nova scotia 

Bike the Cabot Trail: This world-famous scenic route takes you through some of the most beautiful scenery in Cape Breton. The Cabot Trail is a popular road trip, but it is also a cycling route with lots of stops and lookouts along the way to take in the sweeping views. More on that in the next section.

things to do nova scotia 

Visit Fortress of Louisbourg: This historical site is a reconstruction of a French fort originally built in 1720. It’s a partial reconstruction of a huge 18th-century French fortress that was built in 1713. It was a pivotal location for two sieges that were turning points in the Anglo-French struggle for Canada. T oday, the fortress is open to the public and offers guided tours, exhibits, and performances. 

And of course, it goes without saying that Cape Breton Island is one of the best places to go in Nova Scotia for stunning views. The region has a number of small towns worth visiting on your road trip, including the historical capital, Sydney. 

If you’re looking for jaw-dropping views, a quick trip around this island definitely needs to be high on your Nova Scotia sightseeing itinerary. 

things to do nova scotia 

4. Drive the Cabot Trail

The Cabot Trail road trip is so good it deserves its own section in this guide. 

Widely considered to be one of the most scenic drives in Canada, the Cabot Trail winds its way around Cape Breton Island, following the 300 km (185 mi) road loaded with stunning scenery and plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy the natural landscape. 

If it’s beautiful, raw views you’re after, a drive around the island on the Cabot Trail is one of the must do things in Nova Scotia.

While you could drive the entire thing in 4-5 hours, we recommend spending at least 3 days to do it justice. There are plenty of things to do on the Cabot Trail , which are worth your time and effort.

Canada Nova Scotia Cape Breton Cabot Trail Benji 0265

Notable Stops along the Cabot Trail

Baddeck: A beautiful small town to start or end the scenic drive, Baddeck has a strong Gaelic heritage and culture that you can experience during your visit. Located on the shores of Bras d’Or Lake, it’s a charming place to stop for a day or two to get a sample of Gaelic culture on the Cabot Trail

Canada Cape Breton Cabot Trail Baddeck Inverary Resort 03706

Cape Breton Highlands National Park: Arguably the biggest attraction of the Cabot Trail, the park is located on the northern end of the island. The park is filled with forests, rugged mountains, and winding rivers and is home to moose, black bears, bald eagles, and other wildlife. There are plenty of hiking and camping spots in the park, so it’s definitely a highlight for those who want to hit a hiking trail.

Canada Nova Scotia Cape Breton National Park Franey Trail OM 03663

Skyline Trail: As one of the best hikes in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, it’s a 7km (4.3 mi) walk along a trail and boardwalk with steps down the headland which opens up to a birds-eye view of the coast. It’s the perfect place to snap some photos and watch the sunset.

Canada Nova Scotia Cabot Trail Cape Breton National Park Skyline trail OM 03618

Sea kayak in the north: A great way to admire the Cape Breton highlands is by kayak. Cabot Trail Adventures offer half-day guided tours around the underexplored northern coastline. 

Ingonish: A popular town on the east coast of the island, known for great hiking, a stunning white sand beach, and the famous Keltic Lodge Resort , which houses the incredible Highlands Links Golf Course .

Canada Nova Scotia Cape Breton Cabot Trail Ingonish beach 03631

5. Go Wine Tasting in Wolfville

Located around 100 km (62 mi) northwest of Halifax, Wolfville lies in the beautiful Annapolis Valley . This central city on the eastern end of the valley has both historic and horticultural significance. It’s home to several excellent wineries and Acadian historical sites, making it one of the best places to see in Nova Scotia. 

The main street is lined with historical buildings and busy restaurants and cafes serving delicious seafood. 

The surrounding area makes up Canada’s smallest and coolest climate wine region , producing crisp wines that pair well with seafood. The pride of Nova Scotia is the Tidal Bay wine variety, a white wine blend made strictly from Nova Scotia grapes.

There are a number of great wineries to visit in Wolfville, so if you are a wine lover, plan to spend a couple of days wine-tasting.

Lightfoot Winery, Wolfville

Our Favourite Wineries in Wolfville

Domaine de Grand Pré: The oldest farm winery in Atlantic Canada. You can sample delicious reds and whites just down the street from The Tangled Garden.

Luckett Vineyards: Visit the beautiful property for a wine tasting, cellar tour, or private barrel room dinner. 

Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards: Certified organic and biodynamic vineyards offering German-style whites.

Lightfoot Winery, Wolfville

6. Witness Rising Tides at Halls Harbour

Hall’s Harbour is one of the best places to visit in Nova Scotia. The charming fishing village dates back to the 1770s and is located on the east side of the Bay of Fundy. Known for having some of the highest tides in the world, with a 45-50 foot (13-15 metre) change every 12 hours, this is by far the best place to watch this natural wonder right from town.

Halls Harbour, Bay of Fundy

Halls Harbour Lobster Pound and Restaurant

The best way to enjoy the magic of the Bay of Fundy tides is to pay a visit to Halls Harbour Lobster Pound and Restaurant , from where you can admire the tides and enjoy a delicious lobster meal in outdoor seating. They have their own lobster pound from where you can make your selection before sitting down to enjoy the views over the bay. 

Plan your visit for a few hours after low or high tide and plan to stay for at least 3-4 hours to see the tides change right in front of your eyes. 

Halls Harbour Lobster Pound, Annapolis Valley

7. Eat Scallops in Digby

On the western side of Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, Digby is a small town known as the scallop capital of Nova Scotia . For foodie travelers, it’s definitely considered one of the cool places in Nova Scotia. 

The active fishing community is well-known for its wildlife spotting and mouth-watering seafood. 

Canada Nova Scotia Annapolis Valley Digby scallops 7331

Other things to do in Digby

Digby Pines Golf Resort and Spa: A beautiful resort where you can play golf at the on-site 18-hole golf course, visit the spa, or dine on famous Digby scallops at their on-site restaurant.

Brier Island: In the summer, Whale Watching Tours depart from Brier Island, not too far from Digby.You’ll have the chance to spot endangered or rare species of whales like the Humpback, Finback and Right Whales, and seabirds. 

Digby Neck Whale

8. Explore National Historic Sites in Annapolis Royal 

Annapolis Royal is a historic town filled with plenty of incredible things to see and do. There are a number of Historic Sites in Annapolis Royal itself and a few more across the bay near the town of Granville Ferry. 

In town, you’ll also find waterfront shopping, heritage lodging, arts scene, and outdoor activities to explore. Despite being small, it’s one of the top Nova Scotia destinations for history buffs.

Annapolis Brewing Company, Annapolis Royal

Must see Nova Scotia sites around Annapolis Royal

Fort Anne National Historic Site: This is the oldest National Historic Site in Canada, so it’s certainly a must do in Nova Scotia. The historic grounds feature a 17th-century fortress and museum. Guided tours are available

Port-Royal National Historic Site: Across the bay you’ll find a reconstruction of the Port-Royal National Historic Site – another popular attraction in the region. You can admire costumed interpreters as they put on demonstrations to recreate one of North America’s earliest settlements.   

Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens: Just east of Fort Anne, the gardens are known for the beautiful rose garden and historic homes. 

9. Hike Cape Split Trailhead

If you want to enjoy some more stunning Nova Scotia scenery in Annapolis Valley, then a hike along Cape Split Trail is worthwhile. Overlooking the Bay of Fundy, the challenging 12 km (7.5 mi) hike traverses the headland near Scots Bay.

The pretty walk offers panoramic views of the Blomidon Provincial Park, Minas Basin and Burntcoat Head Park, where the ocean floor becomes visible when the tide is out, while opportunities for some wildlife watching are also abundant. 

It’s especially scenic in the Fall, when the foliage colours have come out in full, making it a photographer’s paradise.

Cape Split trail, Bay of Fundy

10. Go Tidal Bore Rafting

One of the most fun things to do in Nova Scotia is to go rafting down the Shubenacadie River. The river’s rapids are powered by the high tides of the Bay of Fundy, which moves more than 100 billion tons of water twice a day. 

Tidal Bore Rafting offers the ultimate adventure for thrill seekers, as the river turns into a raging mass of rapids when the tidal bore temporarily reverses the flow of the river. 

The Tidal Bore Rafting Resort is the best place to experience this natural phenomenon, with guided tours for all ages and lengths of time. It’s definitely one of the best places to visit in Nova Scotia in summer if you’re planning a family vacation.

Tidal Bore Rafting Nova Scotia

11. Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park

One of the many reasons for visiting Nova Scotia is to see the incredible wildlife, and there’s no better way to do that than at the 40-hectare wildlife park in Shubenacadie. It’s one of the best things to do in Nova Scotia with kids, just less than an hour’s drive from Halifax.

It’s one of the only wildlife park areas in the province being home to an incredible variety of animals, including cougars, black bears, arctic wolves, red deer, moose and bald eagles. There’s also a range of educational programs and even night tours available to learn more about wildlife.

12. Visit Lunenburg

Lunenburg is one of the best places in Nova Scotia, known for its charm. It’s often regarded as the most picturesque town in Nova Scotia and is just over an hour’s drive south of Halifax. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of only two urban centres in all of North America to hold that status, making it an incredible historic attraction.

It’s characterized by narrow streets and colonial buildings in bright colours. A visit to Lunenburg is like walking through a living history museum with tall ships lining the harbour and an old marine blacksmith shop on the waterfront.

Lunenburg Waterfront Nova Scotia

Things to do in Lunenburg

There are plenty of things to do in the town to explore for a couple of days. 

Bluenose II Ship: A replica schooner of the original boat that’s featured on the Canadian dime can be found docked in Lunenburg. It’s a historically significant ship, for being undefeated in her 18-year run as a fishing and racer boat.

Lunenburg Waterfront: A stroll around the waterfront area and UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must. It’s one of the most well-known Nova Scotia tourist attractions, with fishing boats sitting in the harbour and colourful buildings lining the waterway.    

Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic: A maritime history museum that takes a look at the local fishing history, with an aquarium, historic boats and interactive displays. 

Bluenose II ship nova scotia

13. Go Whale Watching 

One of the best Nova Scotia activities in summer is whale watching. There are plenty of places where you can go to see whales. But, a few of the best spots are on Cape Breton Island and near Digby in Annapolis Valley.

Catching a glimpse of whales breaching off the coast is definitely one of the best things to see in Nova Scotia. So, it’s worth planning your trip around it. The best months are from May until October, so it’s definitely a Summer and Fall activity.  

Best Spots for Whale Watching in Nova Scotia

Cape breton island.

One of the best things to do in Nova Scotia in July is to go whale watching on Cape Breton Island. There are a couple of operators offering whale-watching tours in Cheticamp and Pleasant Bay. 

Around Chéticamp, you can find humpbacks, finbacks, minke, and pilot whales. Chéticamp Adventure Co and Captain Zodiac Whale Cruise in Cheticamp are two reputable local operators offering Whale Watching Tours. 

Canada Nova Scotia Cape Breton Cabot Trail Cheticamp 01007

Annapolis Valley

Near Digby and around St Marys Bay is another good spot for whale watching in Nova Scotia. The waters of the Bay of Fundy are essential feeding grounds for whales, as well as several species of sea birds. During the summer, whale-watching tours depart from Brier Island

14. Explore Kejimkujik National Park

For outdoor lovers, Kejimkujik National Park is one of the best things to do in Nova Scotia, Canada. It’s a beautiful park just over an hour’s drive inland from Lunenburg. Here you’ll find ancient rock carvings, large swathes of wilderness areas with canoe routes and sandy beaches, as well as a variety of wildlife.

Kejimkujik National Park tourism nova scotia 2

It’s a Nova Scotia must see for anyone wanting to learn more about the Mi’kmaw people who traditionally called the park area of Nova Scotia home. There are storytelling and petroglyph tours available for getting to know the history of Nova Scotia.

Have you ever visited Nova Scotia? What other things to do in Nova Scotia would you add to this list? 

READ NEXT: Tidal Bore Rafting in Nova Scotia Experience

About The Author

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Oksana & Max St John

1 thought on “14 best things to do in nova scotia: a comprehensive travel guide ”.

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Nova Scotia is such a hidden gem! Your blog captures the essence of this beautiful Canadian province perfectly. From the rugged coastline to the charming coastal towns, Nova Scotia offers a unique blend of natural beauty and maritime culture that’s truly captivating. Whether it’s exploring the historic streets of Halifax, indulging in fresh seafood, or hiking along the breathtaking Cabot Trail, there’s no shortage of adventures waiting to be discovered. Thanks for shining a spotlight on this underrated destination – it’s definitely going on my travel bucket list!

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Bucket List Journey | Travel + Lifestyle Blog

Nova Scotia Bucket List: 40 Fun Things to Do

Scenic hiking trails, relaxing beaches, cool craft breweries and lots of lobster—there are definitely so many fun things to do in the Nova Scotia, and sometimes driving yourself is the best way to experience all the attractions. 

This was very much true on my flexible self-driving tour of Nova Scotia with Canada by Design , which gave me the opportunity to explore the points of interest at my own pace allowing me to focus on finding the best bucket list adventures for you.

Fun Nova Scotia Attractions and Things to Do in Halifax and Beyond

Fun Nova Scotia Attractions and Things to Do

1. visit the unesco town of lunenburg.

Lunenburg could have a things to do list of its own! The port town of Lunenburg is a historic Nova Scotia coastal community that has the well deserved title as an UNESCO world heritage site . Whether you take in some shopping, dine at the quaint restaurants or stroll along the waterfront you will be in awe of its charm.

Start your day with a cappuccino and a little shopping at the Shop on the Corner . Afterwards, hit up  Ironworks Distillery  for a short tour and a taste of delicious raspberry liquor.  Make a stop for lunch at  Salt Shaker Deli  whose name is deceiving because there is much more than just sandwiches! If it’s docked in town, set sail on the tall ship Bluenose II , a replica of the famous fishing and racing schooner. For dinner head to the trendy  Lincoln Street Food  where you can nosh on vegan fish and chips or beet gnocchi with chanterelles.

Lunenburg Nova Scotia

2. See the UNESCO Landscape of the Grand Pré

Lunenburg isn’t the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Nova Scotia (there are five!), you can add the landscape of the Grand Pré  to that list. The 5 square mile landscape is located in the Annapolis Valley’s Bay of Fundy. The marshland and archaeological sites are a testament to the technology from the 17th century. The best glimpse of the landscape drive to the View Park on Old Post Road .

Since you’ll be nearby, also stop at Domaine de Grand Pré  for a wine tasting from the region.

Landscape of the Grand Pré

3. Witness the Dramatic Changes in the Tide

Nova Scotia has some of the most dramatic tide changes in the world (at a rate of up to 1 inch per minute!!).  Hall’s Harbour is a small fishing village where not only can you eat at  the local lobster pound , but is also the best place to witness these tide fluctuations.

Annett at Nova Scotia High Tide

When I went, at low tide the wharf is completely dry, leaving the fishing boats sitting on the rocky floor of the harbor. But we timed it correctly and returned about 6 hours later, the boats were bobbing in the water ready to fetch some fresh fish.

Nova Scotia High Tide

4. Go Tidal Bore Rafting

The Nova Scotia tides cause 160 billion tons of water flow through the Bay of Fundy twice a day, which feeds into the Shubenacadie River. This surge of seawater creates a once-in-a-lifetime adventure like no other, tidal bore rafting . It’s a wild ride where you will zip through up to 10 foot waves, they will crash over your motorized raft drenching you from head to toe or submerging you completely. If you have only one adventurous thing you do in Nova Scotia, this is it!!

There are many companies that have Tidal Bore Rafting. River Runners , Shubenacadie River Adventures and  Fundy Tidal Bore Adventures  are amongst the most popular, plus have great reviews. We chose the latter of the three because if was a shorter excursion (2 hours versus 3 1/2 – 4) and it included mud sliding where you can roll down hills of fluffy mud until you are not only wet, but also covered in mud.

See my video > Tidal Bore Rafting Video Read about my experience > A Nova Scotia Adventure: Tidal Bore Rafting the Bay of Fundy Tides

Annette enjoying a Tidal Bore Rafting

5. Make a Call From the Luckett Vineyard Phone Box

At  Luckett Vineyards , not only can you get a taste of the locally grown grapes, but you can also make a free call to anywhere in the United States from inside the famous Phone Box! This booth is sitting in the center of the vineyards.

By the way, try a glass of Luckett’s Phone Box Red, it was my fav!

Annette having a great time at Luckett Vineyards Phone Booth

6. Take a Candlelight Graveyard Tour in Annapolis Royal

If a spooky adventure is on your things to do in Nova Scotia  bucket list , then don’t miss the opportunity to tour the oldest English graveyard in Canada by candlelight. The Garrison Cemetery in Annapolis Royal comes alive with a fun tour that starts at Fort Anne.

Tour Annapolis Royal  will guide you through the graveyard telling stories of the people who lay there, dating back to the 1700s. Some of the tombstones are so old that they have lost their facing!

Candlelight Graveyard Tour in Annapolis Royal

7. Walk on the Ocean Floor

Nova Scotia has some of the most severe tide fluctuations, with the average tide being 47.5 feet. If you plan it correctly to catch low tide at  Burntcoat Head Park , you can take a stroll on the ocean floor. There are not many other opportunities to walk for miles on the bottom of the ocean without getting wet! Have fun exploring the small leftover pools of saltwater to see what types of marine life you can find inside. Maybe a crab or mussel.

Annette at Burntcoat Head Park

8. Drive Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island

The Cabot Trail is a 185 mile driving loop that has picturesque lookout points, miles of hiking trails, lush forests and 360 degree beauty, plus quaint crafty shops, harbors and delectable fish eateries. It is a drive where you can take a walk on the beach, take in the scenic vistas, eat lobster rolls at the Rusty Anchor and pet some four-legged friends at the Groovy Goat Farm .

Don’t forget to make the quintessential Cabot Trail stop — hiking the Skyline Trail.

For more information see our: Canada’s Cape Breton Island: 9 Best Stops While Driving the Cabot Trail

Cabot Trail Cape Breton Island

9. Hike the Skyline Trail

You’ll know you’ve reached the Skyline Trailhead by the dozens of cars that line the entrance. This hiking trail is the most famous attraction on the Cabot Trail and for very good reason. It will not only give you the most incredible views, but you will also have the opportunity to spot a moose (we saw 3!). Make sure to ask the hikers you pass along the trail if they saw Bullwinkle on their route and how far back, so you can catch one before they retreat into the dense brush.

Annette at Skyline Trail Cabot Trail

The full trail took us about 2 1/2 hours, but if you are strapped for time when you get to the the fork in the trail head left to get to the boardwalk view and then turn around and come back the same way you came instead of completing the loop which can add up to a half hour.

Skyline Trail

10. Go Back in Time at the Fortress of Louisbourg

The Fortress of Louisbourg will bring you back in time to a busy 18th century seaport. It is the largest reconstruction project in North America, a quarter of the walls and a fifth of the town has been restored back to an old French town.

Once you are greeted at the front gates, you will be immersed into a different lifetime where elaborately dressed actors enhance the experience by roaming the streets and putting on a show with every one they encounter. Some will be acting out a scene from the second story of a window, while others will be shooting muskets at the range. There is always some sort of action going on at the Fortress!

For families, this is one of the best things to do in Nova Scotia. Keeping all ages entertained!

Fortress of Louisbourg

11. Be a Soldier For a Day

The Halifax Citadel has a strategic hilltop location which made it the perfect place for the 78th Highlanders to protect the city back in the 1700s. You can not only visit the star-shaped structure, which is the highest point in the city, but also take a step back in time by being a soldier for the day . 

Are you ready to enlist as a temporary British soldier? You will be fitted for a uniform (kilt included of course!), march in line, practice military drills and learn to fire your rifle.

Soldier For a Day

12. Get Your Passport Stamped at Peggy’s Cove

Thousands of people travel to the quaint fishing village of Peggy’s Cove to see the iconic lighthouse (and it’s a beauty!) or eat lobster rolls with a picturesque view of the water. But, you can also get your passport stamped with the cutest picture of a lighthouse in the little post office.

Peggy's Cove Lighthouse

TIP: Get to Peggy’s Cove early to avoid the hordes of tourists. And if you have time make a pitstop in the tiny village of Prospect . It’s just as adorable as Peggy’s Cove, minus the crowds and shops.

Peggy's Cove

13. Go Clamming in Nova Scotia

Break out your rubber boots and go on a clam digging adventure on the shores of Clam Harbour. You will not only get an informational lesson about clams, but also learn how to use a clam fork to find your prize mollusk. The experience wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t get rewarded for your hard work with a steamed clam feed. 

14. Walk One of the World’s Longest Boardwalk

The approximately 3km long wooden boardwalk in Halifax is one of the longest in the world. It winds along the waterfront passing picturesque ships at dock, plus cute knick-knack shops, historic buildings, restaurants and seaside snack shacks.

It’s the perfect thing to do on a sunny afternoon while indulging in a bit of shopping followed by dinner at The Bicycle Thief and a beer at  Garrison Brewing Company .

Halifax Boardwalk

15. Listen to Fiddlers on Cape Breton

Nova Scotia is home to the largest fiddle in the world , a tribute to Cape Bretons signature celtic music style. On the island there are many places that you can hear the sounds of their trademark fiddle music, Scottish immigrants brought fiddle music to Cape Breton and it’s tradition has been upheld ever since.

It’ll be hard to keep your feet from tapping once the musicians start to play!

Related > Cape Breton’s Fiddle Music Hot Spots

16. Eat the Famous Digby Scallops in Digby

The small town of Digby has an active fishing community that harvests the famous Digby Scallops. These same sea scallops are served throughout Nova Scotia, but if you eat them anywhere else you can’t say that you ate “Digby Scallops in Digby”. It’s bragging rights just like drinking Champagne is Champagne!

There are a few restaurants in the town that will serve you up some fresh scallops. Try  It’s a Shore Thing or Fundy Restaurant .

Digby Scallops

17. Drink at One (or Several) of the Craft Breweries

Craft beer is all the rage in Nova Scotia (and thousands of other cities around the world!). Grab a creatively named brew (like an Ol’ Scurvy Bastard and Goseface Killah) at the  Good Robot Brewing  company or if the weather is nice sit outdoors at the popular Stillwell Beergarden . One of the most popular beer experiences is to take a tour at Alexander Keith’s  (samples included!) and then hit up the Red Stag Tavern  right next door to buy a glass of your favorite.

Like beer and want to drink lots of it? Then don’t mess around and just take the  Beer Bus Tour .

nova scotia tourism guide 2022

18. Eat at a Nova Scotia Lobster Pound

Technically, a lobster pound is the enclosure where live lobsters are kept while waiting to be sold. But in Nova Scotia, restaurants where you can pick your own lobster based on weight, then have them cooked to order are what they refer to as a lobster pound.

Peter and Annette eating at Lobster by the Pound

At Halls Harbour Lobster Pound  you can pick your live lobster from the their tanks that separate them by pound, ranging from 1 to 5. Take your selection to the cookhouse where it will be prepared to perfection. While you wait, take a stroll along the dock just outside to watch the lobster boats as they are waiting for the tide to come in, when they can navigate their way out to sea.  

Lobster by the Pound

19. Overdose on Maple Syrup

Sugar season at the  Sugar Moon Maple Farm  is in the spring, but you can enjoy the taste of maple there all year long. During a visit you can take a tour to learn about making maple syrup and life on the farm. Follow up the tour with breakfast or lunch at the on-site restaurant where you can feast on things like Maple Mac n Cheese, Maple Baked Beans and a Spiked Maple Mocha. Do you see the theme here?

Sugar Moon Maple

20. Go to a Lobster Supper

Lobsters suppers are typically know as a church or town event where hundreds of folks gather in large halls to eat multi-course meals where the star of the show is of course a big, juicy lobster. Though you can still find these events, many being fundraisers, there are also restaurants around Nova Scotia who have created their own style of a lobster supper.

Baddeck Lobster Suppers  is the perfect stop at the end to  Driving on the Cabot Trail  or just about any other time too. You can choose from a main dish (lobster, crab, salmon or steak) and it includes all-you-can-eat fixins — mussels and chowder.

Annette having Lobster Supper

21. Climb Jacob’s Ladder

Looking for a fun and unique way to spend an afternoon in Nova Scotia? Why not walk the Jacob’s Ladder trail in Truro’s Victoria Park? The trail gets its name from the series of 175 steps that lead up to the top of a gorge. From there, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

The walk is slightly challenging but can be completed in about an hour. The best part is that it’s free! So next time you’re looking for something to do, consider taking a walk on the wild side with Jacob’s Ladder.

Jacob's ladder

22. Eat a Moon Mist Ice Cream

Moon Mist is a popular ice cream flavor in Nova Scotia, Canada. The ice cream is a unique combination of flavors: banana, grape, and bubble gum, giving it a perfect balance of sweet and tangy flavor. Moon Mist is available in many different ice cream shops across the province.

The most popular way to eat Moon Mist is in a cone, but it is also available in pints and other sizes. Moon Mist is a must-try for anyone visiting Nova Scotia, so be sure to enjoy a scoop (or two).

23. Explore Chéticamp

Chéticamp is a small fishing town located on the west coast of Nova Scotia. It is known for its Acadian culture and its beautiful scenery.

The town is home to several attractions, including the Les Trois Pignons, which chronicles the history of the Acadian people through hooked rugs, and the Chéticamp Island Nature Reserve, which is a haven for birdwatchers and nature lovers.

Visitors to Chéticamp can also enjoy hiking, canoeing, and fishing in the nearby Cape Breton Highlands. With its friendly people and stunning location, Chéticamp is an ideal place to visit for anyone looking to experience the best of Nova Scotia.


24. Explore Kejimkujik National Park

Kejimkujik National Park is located in Nova Scotia, Canada. The park is known for its many hiking trails, which wind through forests and along lakeshores. In addition, the park is home to a variety of wildlife, including beavers, black bears, and white-tailed deer.

Kejimkujik is also home to the world’s largest collection of petroglyphs – images that have been carved into rocks. These petroglyphs (there are 500 of them) are a testament to the park’s rich history, and they provide visitors with a unique glimpse into the past.

Kejimkujik National Park

25. Explore the Bay of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy is a large body of water located between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in Canada. The bay is famous for its tides, which are some of the largest in the world.

Every day, the water rises and falls by as much as 16 feet (5 meters), with the highest reaching a whopping 53 feet (16 meters), creating a constantly changing landscape. The tides also create a unique habitat for plant and animal life. For example, the bay is home to the world’s largest population of wild Atlantic salmon.

Visitors to the Bay of Fundy can enjoy activities such as hiking, kayaking, and whale watching. They can also learn about the area’s history and culture at one of the many museums and historic sites. With its dramatic tides and rich variety of experiences, the Bay of Fundy is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Nova Scotia.

Bay of Fundy

26. Explore the Ross Farm Museum

The Ross Farm Museum is a marvelous place to learn about early American farm life. Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, the 150-year-old museum/farm grounds offer a beautiful setting for a day of exploration. Visitors can tour the historic farmhouse, barn, and outbuildings to see how early settlers lived and worked.

The farm animals are also a big hit with kids, and there are plenty of opportunities to learn about old-fashioned farming techniques. In addition, the museum hosts a variety of special events throughout the year, making it a fantastic destination for groups of all ages.

Ross Farm Museum

27. Go Glamping on LaHave Islands

Glamping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors without having to rough it, and there’s no better place to go glamping than the LaHave Islands, a group of three small islands off the coast of Nova Scotia known for their beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and camping/glamping sites.

Glamping sites on the LaHave Islands offer all the comforts of home, including beds, electricity, and running water. And because they’re located on an island, you’ll have gorgeous ocean views right from your campsite.

28. Go Whale Watching

There are few experiences more exhilarating than whale watching. During summer and fall, thousands of people travel to Nova Scotia to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures (12 whale species!) in their natural habitat.

Two of the best places to go whale watching in Nova Scotia are Cape Breton and the Bay of Fundy, both of which are abundant with marine life making them the perfect breeding and feeding grounds. There are also plenty of whale watching tours from several ports in Nova Scotia, so it is easy to find one that suits your schedule and budget.

Whale Watching

29. Go Winery Hopping

If you’re a fan of wine, then you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of great places to go wine tasting in Nova Scotia’s Wine Country in Annapolis Valley.

The Annapolis Valley is one of the province’s most popular tourist destinations and is also one of the four main producers of wine. Many of the valley’s wines are produced from locally-grown grapes, and the climate here is ideal for grape-growing.

Of course, a Nova Scotia wine tasting is never complete without having a taste of its signature wine: the Tidal Bay. Some of the best producers of this wine include Benjamin Bridge in Gaspereau Valley, Domaine de Grand Pré in Eastern Annapolis Valley, and Jost Vineyards in Malagash Bay.

Whether you’re a casual wine drinker or a serious connoisseur, you’ll be sure to find something to suit your taste in Nova Scotia.

30. Hike Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Cape Breton Highlands National Park is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Situated on the east coast of Canada, the park is home to spectacular cliffs, pristine forests, towering waterfalls, and picturesque views (especially on Cabot Trail, which requires a park pass). And that’s just the beginning – the park also offers countless opportunities for hiking, camping, canoeing, and wildlife watching.

Whether you’re looking for an adventure-filled vacation or a relaxing nature escape, Cape Breton Highlands National Park is the perfect destination. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and head to Cape Breton!

Cape Breton Highlands National Park

31. See the Animals at Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park

Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park is a great place to see wildlife in Nova Scotia. The 40-hectare park is home to a variety of animals and birds, including moose, bobcats, emus, and pheasants.

The wildlife park also offers a variety of educational programs, making it an excellent place to learn about the wildlife of Nova Scotia. In addition, the park offers a variety of recreational activities, such as hiking and canoeing. Whether you’re looking to see animals or just enjoy the outdoors, Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park is a great place to visit.

Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park

32. See the Cape Forchu Lightstation

Cape Forchu Lightstation is an iconic landmark in Nova Scotia. The unique “apple core” lightstation overlooks the beautiful Bay of Fundy and has been guiding ships since 1840. Today, the lightstation is a popular tourist destination, and visitors can tour the lighthouse (which you can also climb), museum, and grounds.

The lightstation is also home to a colony of protected seabirds, making it a fantastic stop for birdwatchers. Whether you’re looking for a fun day trip or a chance to see some of Nova Scotia’s natural beauty, Cape Forchu Lightstation is definitely worth a visit!

Cape Forchu Lightstation

33. See the Concrete Creations at Cosby’s Garden Centre

Cosby’s Garden Centre in Nova Scotia is home to the studio and outdoor gallery called Concrete Creations, a variety of sculptures made from concrete. The sculptures are made by local artist, Ivan Higgins, and range in size and subject matter from small animals to larger-than-life figures. Each sculpture is designed to be weather-resistant and durable so that it can withstand the elements for years to come.

Cosby’s Garden Centre is open to the public year-round, and visitors are welcome to explore the grounds and view the sculptures at their leisure. For those looking for a unique gift or piece of art for their home, Cosby’s Garden Centre and Concrete Creations are definitely worth a visit.

34. Stroll Through the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens

The Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens are a must-see for any gardening enthusiast. Located in Nova Scotia, the historically-themed gardens are situated on 17 acres of land and feature over 200 varieties of plants.

Visitors can explore the gardens via a series of stairs that wind through each section or take a leisurely stroll along the paved paths. Highlights of the gardens include the fragrant Rose Garden (with over 270 rose varieties and 2000 roses), the tranquil Japanese Water Garden, and the lively Butterfly (Victorian) Garden.

With something for everyone, the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens are a must-visit for all those who appreciate the beauty of nature.

35. Take a Peak into the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is one of the must-see attractions in Nova Scotia. Located in Halifax, the museum tells the story of the province’s rich maritime history, from the early days of exploration to the present day.

The museum is home to a variety of exhibits, including a small replica of the Titanic and a detailed model of the Halifax Harbour. Visitors can also learn about Nova Scotia’s role in the War of 1812 and see a variety of historic ships, including the CSS Acadia.

With so much to see and do, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is an essential stop for anyone interested in Nova Scotia’s history.

36. Take the 235 Stairs to Balancing Rock

Sitting atop a long set of stairs, (there’s 235 of them!) in Nova Scotia is a massive boulder known as Balancing Rock. The rock is believed to be about 535 million years old and is precariously balanced on a small stack of stones.

Visitors to the site can’t help but wonder how the rock got here and how it has managed to stay in place for so many years. While the exact origin of the rock is a mystery, scientists believe it was likely carried here by glaciers during the Ice Age.

As for how it has stayed in place, it’s all thanks to gravity. The force keeps the rock from toppling over, despite its seemingly precarious position. So next time you’re feeling stressed, take a cue from Balancing Rock and find your own sense of calm and balance.

37. Throw an Axe

HaliMac and Timber Lounge are two of the most popular axe-throwing venues in Halifax, Nova Scotia. HaliMac offers a wide range of axe-throwing games, while Timber Lounge specializes in traditional Nordic axe-throwing. Both venues also offer drinks and food, making them the perfect place to relax after a long day of work or play.

38. Visit a Distillery

Nova Scotia is home to a thriving whisky industry, with dozens of distilleries dotting the landscape. The province’s cool climate and rocky coastline make it the perfect place to grow barley and produce high-quality malt.

Nova Scotia’s whisky producers use a variety of techniques to create unique spirits that reflect the region’s terroir. In recent years, the province has become known for its peated whiskies, which are distilled using malted barley that has been smoked over peat fires. These smoky whiskies have a bold flavor that is perfect for sipping on a cold winter’s night.

There are plenty to choose from, but don’t miss Ironworks Distillery , Halifax Distillery Co. and Steinhart Distillery.

39. Visit the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

Pier 21 has been a gateway to Canada for millions of immigrants since it first opened in 1928. Today, the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 is the country’s sixth national museum and is a nationally significant heritage site that tells the stories of those who have made the journey to Canada.

The museum offers visitors a chance to explore the history of immigration through interactive exhibits, multimedia displays, and personal stories.

Visitors can also learn about the immense contribution that immigrants have made to the building of the country. The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 is a must-visit for anyone interested in learning about our country’s rich history and diverse culture.

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

40. Walk through the Halifax Public Gardens

The Halifax Public Gardens are a lovely place to take a walk, especially in the spring when the flowers are in bloom. Located near Spring Garden Road (a famous shopping district), these 16-hectare gardens were first established in 1867, and cover an area of approximately 16 hectares.

Visitors can find a variety of different gardens inside, including a Japanese Garden and an Herb Garden. There is also a bandstand where concerts are often held in the summer months.

Halifax Public Gardens

The Canadian province of Nova Scotia is filled with lots of fun things to do. The region has some of the best attractions and breathtaking points of interest, plus lobster—lots of lobster! From activities in Halifax to Cape Breton to Yarmouth, your bucket list will be overflowing. Have fun!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my links, I earn a commission that helps to keep this blog running—at no extra cost to you. For more information read my full disclosure .

More things to do in nova scotia.

Tidal Bore Rafting Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy Tides A Wild Nova Scotia Adventure: Tidal Bore Rafting Canada’s Cape Breton Island: 9 Best Stops While Driving the Cabot Trail Canada: Kayaking with Beluga Whales in Manitoba

Helpful Resources

BOOK: Scenic Driving Atlantic Canada: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island & Beyond Nova Scotia (Bradt Travel Guide)

26 thoughts on “Nova Scotia Bucket List: 40 Fun Things to Do”

The pictures are stunning! You’re making me want to visit Nova Scotia!

Then I’ve done my job well :)

i want lobsternow

I always want lobster!

Thank you. I’m taking a small person to do this tour. It’s perfect.

Heading to Nova Scotia in September and your tips are going to come in handy – thank you very much. Looking forward to our trip/vacation.

Have a great time!

We hope to visit Nova Scotia next September. Your bucket list and accompanying pictures are great! Thanks for the tips!

I’m so happy to hear this and hope you have an incredible time!

very informative – good job.

Do you have a map with all of these wonderful ideas listed on it?

Unfortunately I do not, but that is a great idea for me to work on!

Just loved seeing these Annette! We are heading to Canot Trail next. Hope to see the fall foliage! Xx Bri

Ooh! It’d be beautiful for fall foliage!!! PS: I enjoyed peeking at your blog :)

Why is there nothing here about northern Nova Scotia? Parrsboro Geologic Museum and Rock Hounding, Joggins Fossil Cliffs, Thinkers Lodge in Pugwash (recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and home of the original World Peace Movement attended by Einstein and Bertrand Russell), Springhill Miners Museum and Anne Murray Centre, beautiful Sunrise Trail along Northumberland Strait, and so on!

A mention of Cape Breton South Coast as well…Isle Madame…Have you ever been? It’s a kayakers paradise! A very unique and beautiful piece of Nova Scotia.

hey, your photos and tips are awesome! My family and I are headed to NOva Scotia in June and I was wondering if you would be able to help with the route you took, and how any places you stayed to sleep! We have 4 kids aged 5-13 and so I want to make it as successful as possible! What would you not do with kids?

Hello, unfortunately I don’t recall the exact route we took, but I think if you google map the items on the list you could come up with something perfect! Everything seemed fun for kids (except maybe wine tasting 😊). I don’t know the age restrictions for tidal bore rafting but there was one young girl on our trip who had a great time! Nova Scotia is a great place—have fun!

I love this part of Canada! Walking on the ocean floor, the Bay of Fundy, whale watching, I mean, what more can you ask for? Great article and I can’t wait to return.

Nova Scotia is getting higher and higher up on my bucket list! I can’t believe I’ve lived in Canada for a year and haven’t visited any part of the east coast yet!? Thank you for sharing all of these tips — they are definitely going to be helpful when I finally go :)

Really? Glad to have help you see how beautiful Nova Scotia is.

Wow I didn’t realize there was so much to do!

I want to see that changing of the tide and also the candlelight graveyard tour seems interesting. As does the National Park! I’ve been doing a lot more road trips lately from the US. So I need to now try to open up those trips to Canada as well.

Thank you so much for such a detailed look at Nova Scotia…I am not sure what I’d want to first though the ocean floor walk is high up there…and Jacobs Ladder…

Such a list! Hopefully, we can do those things and visit to see the beauty of Nova Scotia soon. Thanks for sharing.

Thank you for sharing this type of content i love canada

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Nova Scotia Complete Travel Guide - Things To Do, Activities & Food

Find the best ways to explore Nova Scotia and everything it has to offer from top sights to food to discover.

Quick Links

Fast facts about nova scotia, nova scotia - accommodations, top sights, activities & food.

  • Major Cities That Make UpNova Scotia: Halifax, Dartmouth, Sydney, Glace Bay, Truro, New Glasgow.
  • Timezones include: Atlantic Standard Time (AST).
  • Most Populous Cities: Halifax, Cape Breton-Sydney, Truro.

Geographic Places of Note

  • Mountains to see: White Hill, Franey Mountain, Wilkie Sugar Loaf, Kellys Mountain, Nuttby Mountain, Sgurra Bhreac.
  • Caledonia is home to the Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site.
  • Notable bodies of water include Tusket River, Bras D'or Lake, Lake Milo, Canso Canal, and Shubenacadie Canal.
  • Major islands include: Cape Breton Island, Sable Island, Big Tancook Island, George Island, Oak Island.




Budget-friendly accommodations in Nova Scotia offer guests basic amenities, including wireless internet, television, air conditioning, and a refrigerator. Such accommodations provide a good value relative to their low prices.

  • English Country Garden Bed and Breakfast , Indian Brook, Cape Breton Island
  • Best Western Glengarry , Truro
  • The Barrington Hotel , Halifax

Mid-range accommodations in Nova Scotia usually offer additional amenities, such as an on-site pool and complimentary breakfast. Moreover, they tend to be closer to the city center and the main attractions.

  • Holiday Inn Express Stellarton-New Glasgow, an IHG Hotel , Stellarton
  • Residence Inn by Marriott Halifax Dartmouth
  • Delta Hotels by Marriott Dartmouth

High-end accommodations in Nova Scotia are the most expensive and offer the best amenities, including saunas, jacuzzis, spas, and pools. Rooms in such accommodations come with the best views of the city.

  • Four Points by Sheraton Halifax
  • Chateau Bedford Trademark Collection by Wyndham
  • The Sutton Place Hotel Halifax

Nova Scotia Travel Guides

Top sights in nova scotia.

Nova Scotia is home to several unique landmarks, including the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, and others.

  • Enjoy splendid sights while driving Nova Scotia's scenic Cabot Trail
  • Dover Island in Nova Scotia is a must-see
  • Here's how to explore Nova Scotia's charming Oak Island

Things To Do In Nova Scotia

People enjoy doing several activities while vacationing in Nova Scotia. These include witnessing the iconic Peggy's Point Lighthouse, stunning Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site, the beautiful town of Lunenburg, and performing a handful of other activities.

  • Here are the most amazing things to do when visiting Nova Scotia

Food To Discover In Nova Scotia

The fantastic scene in Nova Scotia is vibrant and exciting, and one will find the freshest food and international world-class cuisine, wineries, and breweries in this Canadian province.

  • The most iconic foods to try in Nova Scotia

Globe Guide

The ultimate Nova Scotia road trip: A one week itinerary

nova scotia tourism guide 2022

Iconic lighthouses, impressive coastal scenery, colourful fishing villages and experiencing east coast hospitality are just a few highlights of a Nova Scotia road trip, which is why this corner of Canada is so beloved.

Thanks to the province’s compact size it’s possible to see most of the highlights in just one week, which includes a couple of days exploring one of the world’s best driving destinations, the Cabot Trail.

Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

This 7 day Nova Scotia itinerary has it all, from easy-going experiences like visiting historical landmarks and wine tasting, to spellbinding hikes and extreme rafting in the Bay of Fundy.

NS route planner

Nova Scotia Road Trip Day 1-2: Halifax

The main airport is in Halifax, which makes the capital city a natural place to grab your rental car and kick off a trip to Nova Scotia.

It’s worth spending a couple of days here to check out the main attractions in Halifax , go whale watching, grab a donair or lobster roll and enjoy some live music at one of the bars along Argyle Street.

The waterfront in Halifax

Get a lay of the land by strolling along the four-kilometre Harbourwalk, which winds along the colourful waterfront overlooking the Bedford Basin which is fed by the Atlantic Ocean.

Wander past the Historic Properties where three blocks-worth of warehouses and Victorian-era buildings dating back to the 1700s have been beautifully restored, and continue along the wharf all the way down to the Farmers’ Market and the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.

nova scotia tourism guide 2022

Other fun things to do in Halifax include:

  • Maritime Museum of the Atlantic: This museum houses a collection of artifacts from the doomed Titanic, since Halifax was the closest major port to where the storied ship sank.
  • Alexander Keith’s Brewery: This brewery was founded in 1820 by Alexander Keith, who served three terms as the mayor of Halifax. While production has since moved to a larger location away from Lower Street, actors in period costumes take guests around the historical property and outline the company’s history and brewing process. In true east coast fashion, there’s also musical entertainment, stories and lots of beer samples. Click here to book
  • The Citadel: This star-shaped fort overlooking the harbour was built in 1749 to protect the city, and is essentially responsible for the founding of Halifax since the British military was drawn to the easily-defendable perch on what is now called Citadel Hill.
  • Halifax Public Gardens: Located along Spring Garden Road, these Victorian gardens span 16 acres in the heart of the city and have fountains, 140 different species of trees, gardens overflowing with vibrant flowers, carpet beds and statues.

nova scotia tourism guide 2022

Where to stay in Halifax

  • The Lord Nelson Hotel & Suites: This grand property has an incredible location across from the public gardens, down the street from the Citadel, and a short walk to the waterfront. There’s underground parking on-site, a bar and restaurant, and the rooms are clean and elegant. Click here to book
  • The Westin Nova Scotian: The location can’t be beat, as the Westin is right on the waterfront a quick walk from attractions like Pier 21 and the farmer’s market. The luxe rooms feature their signature Heavenly Beds, and amenities include a gym, indoor pool and hot tub. Click here to book

nova scotia tourism guide 2022

Nova Scotia Road Trip Day 3: The Nova Scotia Lighthouse Route

Halifax to lunenburg: 75 minutes/100 km.

Hit the road to discover one of the best places to visit in Nova Scotia: the Peggys Cove lighthouse, found along the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Route.

The 339 kilometre route winds along the coast between Halifax and Yarmouth, passing quaint fishing villages, beaches and picturesque lighthouses. Instead of doing the full drive, many people opt to stop in historic Lunenburg instead, which is what’s recommended if you only have one week in Nova Scotia.

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada

The Peggy’s Cove lighthouse is one of Canada’s most photographed landmarks, thanks to its dramatic perch on a bed of boulders framed by St. Margaret’s Bay. While most people make a beeline for Peggys Point Lighthouse, it’s also worth spending a bit of time wandering around the tiny fishing village. 

Head down to the waterfront to watch locals reel in the likes of mackerel, tuna and lobster, check out the boats, nets and traps lining the shallow waters of the cove, then duck into the local gift shops and art galleries to pick up some east coast handicrafts.

Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada

There’s also a spa with a hydrotherapy circuit including a steam room, outdoor plunge pools and a sauna, which opened at Oceanstone Resort near the waterfront. 

Oceanstone Resort

Other great stops once you continue along the Nova Scotia South Shore is beautiful Queensland Beach, the seaside resort village of Chester, and the cute town of Mahone Bay.

Queensland Beach, Nova Scotia, Canada

Aim to arrive in Lunenburg in the early afternoon, to allow plenty of time to explore the town which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Perhaps best known as being home to the famous racing schooner The Bluenose which is featured on the Canadian dime, most of the action in this seafaring spot is found along the waterfront.

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada

Fun things to do in Lunenburg include:

  • Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic: Visitors can explore retired fishing schooners in the working wharf, learn how to shuck a scallop and take a selfie with the skull of a giant fin whale.
  • Lunenburg historic district: The narrow Montague, Pelham and Lincoln streets in old town Lunenburg are lined with the bright facades of shops and restaurants, and have plaques designating heritage properties dating back over a century.
  • Ironworks Distillery: Nova Scotia’s first micro-distillery produces more than a dozen spirits, including award-winning rum and fruit liqueurs using local ingredients like Nova Scotia apples, Saskatoon berries, raspberries and blueberries. Learn about the distilling process, and enjoy some free tastings on site.

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada

Where to stay in Lunenburg

  • Rum Runner Inn: Located in the heart of Old Town Lunenburg, rooms at the Rum Runner Inn have great water views (be sure to request a balcony room to make the most of your stay). Click here to book
  • Lunenburg Arms Hotel: The harbour is just one block away from this top-rated property, which has huge, well-appointed rooms with great views. The main sites are within walking distance, and there’s also a spa. Click here to book

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada

Nova Scotia Road Trip Day 4: The Annapolis Valley vineyards

Lunenburg to wolfville: 75 minutes/106 km.

The next leg of this Nova Scotia trip heads north to the picturesque Annapolis Valley , a region renowned for its pretty towns and vineyards. Its acidic l’Acadie grape thrives in cold temperatures, producing Tidal Bay which is a local favourite named for the first Nova Scotia wine appellation.

The Look Off in Nova Scotia

The charming town of Wolfville is at the centre of it all, and home to Acadia University and the Grand Pré National Historic Site which has a UNESCO designation.

Cute B&Bs, ivy-coloured buildings and grand, historic homes make this a wonderful place to stay overnight, and use as a base for visiting the Nova Scotia wineries and spots like the Annapolis Cider Company.

Benjamin Bridge winery

Book an organized Wolfville winery tour, bike or drive to the local vineyards which include:

  • Luckett Vineyards: As one of the most established Annapolis Valley wineries, this operation overlooking the Gaspereau Valley produces up to 13-thousand cases of wine per year. There’s a beautiful tasting room and outdoor restaurant, and visitors love the bright red phone booth that was shipped straight from England and nestled among the vines.
  • Gaspereau Vineyards: This cute spot has a big red barn as its tasting room, towering walls of wine, and is surrounded by vibrant green vineyards. Gaspereau Winery is best known for its crisp Rieslings and fruit-forward wines, and has live music on the outdoor patio.
  • Domaine de Grand Pré: Grand Pré Winery is often the first stop on a Wolfville wine tour since it’s closest to town, and is the oldest farm winery site in Atlantic Canada. There’s a tasting room, fine dining restaurant, and tours highlighting the grape hybrids that are unique to the wineries in Nova Scotia.

READ MORE: The best spots for fall foliage in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley

Luckett Vineyard

To book guided experiences of the Wolfville wineries, check out Grape Escapes and Go North Tours which offer packages that include a guide, tasting fees, transportation and food. Tours run from May through October.

Where to stay in Wolfville

  • Blomidon Inn: This charming property was built as a private residence in 1881, and has been operating as an inn for the last century. A long, flower-lined winding driveway leads to the stately entrance, onto the wooden front porch outfitted with rocking chairs which are the perfect spot to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail. Those wanting to splurge should book the inn’s so-called “Honeymoon Cottage” which has its own entrance separate from the main house. The cottage boasts a parlour, huge bedroom, private garden, and even a bathroom outfitted with a two person jacuzzi tub. Click here to book
  • Old Orchard Inn & Spa: This large hotel has plenty of amenities including a pool, hot tub, outdoor patio and tennis courts. There are great views since it’s close to the Bay of Fundy, and surrounded by vineyards and orchards. Click here to book

Wolfville, Nova Scotia wineries

Nova Scotia Road Trip Day 5: Bay of Fundy tidal bore rafting

Wolfville to maitland: 75 minutes/98 km.

Wolfville is on the shores of the Minas Basin, which feeds into the Bay of Fundy. Twice a day, this natural tidal bore phenomenon sees the water literally pile up on itself, completely changing the flow. The collision of the tide and river creates the tidal bore, resulting in mammoth, churning waves in spots that were tranquil sandbars just moments before.

You can see it from above in Cape Split and Cape d’Or, or experience it first-hand during an exhilarating tidal bore rafting adventure which is one of the most fun things to do in Nova Scotia for those who aren’t afraid to get soaking wet.

Tidal bore rafting in Nova Scotia, Canada

Starting from the banks of the Shubenacadie River near Maitland, guests hop in a zodiac and are guided past the towering red rock formations lining the bay, and will have a chance to walk on the sandbars before they get swallowed up by the changing tide.

It isn’t long before the boat ride feels like being on a roller coaster, as you cling to the sides to avoid being toppled out by the waves!

Tidal bore rafting in Nova Scotia, Canada

Nova Scotia Road Trip Day 6-7: Drive the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island

Maitland to sydney: 4 hours/340 km.

One of the best things to do in Nova Scotia is driving the Cabot Trail, a 300-kilometre loop that circles the coast of Cape Breton. The remarkable scenery shows off some of the east coast’s best landscapes, while highlighting the history of the area’s Scottish roots.

Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

The Cabot Trail drive can technically be done in half a day, but that wouldn’t allow much time for stops. Instead, plan to spend two days of your Nova Scotia vacation here to properly enjoy the waterfalls, dramatic rocky coastlines, vibrant bays and beaches around the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

Globe Guide tip: Drive the Cabot Trail route counter-clockwise, so your view isn’t obstructed by oncoming traffic and it’s easier to pull off the highway.

Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Some of the top places to include on a Cabot Trail itinerary are:

  • Ingonish: This is one of the most developed areas, and there are plenty of fun things to do including golfing at the scenic Highland Links Golf Course, relaxing on sandy Ingonish Beach, and hiking Franey loop or Middle Head trail.
  • Skyline Trail: If you only do one hike along the Cabot Trail, make sure it’s the Skyline Trail. The 7.5 kilometre pathway hugs the coastline around the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and has breathtaking views looking down at the highway. Moose sightings are frequent, and other wildlife in the area include bears, whales and eagles.
  • Chéticamp: Chéticamp is one of the larger towns along the trail, with plenty of accommodation options, restaurants and sightseeing cruises. The Acadian fishing village is also the gateway to the Chéticamp campground in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, where visitors can pitch a tent or relax in an equipped campsite or oTENTik.

Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Cabot trail accommodations

  • Keltic Lodge: The views of the Atlantic Ocean are fabulous at this hotel in Ingonish, which dates back to 1940. There are a variety of rooms and cottages, and amenities include a heated outdoor pool, restaurants and the golf course. Click here to book
  • Silver Dart Lodge : Guests rave about this serene spot in Baddeck, which overlooks the Bras d’Or Lakes and has easy access to walking trails. Some of the bright, spacious rooms in MacNeil House and Silver Dart Lodge include options like multiple bedrooms, kitchenettes and chalet-style accommodation. Click here to book

Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Once you’ve completed the Cabot Trail loop, head back to Halifax which marks the end of the ultimate, one week Nova Scotia road trip.

Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

This article was written in collaboration with Tourism Nova Scotia


  • Happy harvest! Fun things to do in the Annapolis Valley during fall
  • Finding hidden waterfalls in the Cliffs of Fundy Geopark
  • 10 incredible Canadian road trips you need to take
  • 5 amazing places to visit on a southern New Brunswick road trip


nova scotia tourism guide 2022

This post may contain affiliate links, which Globe Guide receives compensation for at no additional cost to you.

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Tamara Elliott

3 thoughts on “the ultimate nova scotia road trip: a one week itinerary”.

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It’s a shame that the writer didn’t include the South West area of the province, beautiful beaches, lighthouses, history, and the best seafood in the province. It’s not really a completed tour of NS without that area.

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Tell me more please

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yes, you have to stop at Digby and try their scallops.

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Nova Scotia on a budget

Darcy Rhyno

May 26, 2024 • 7 min read

Man preparing hammock, Ingonish, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada

Nova Scotia has plenty of options for budget travelers – and lots involve experiencing its wild landscape © Seth K. Hughes / Getty Images

Nova Scotia ,  Canada ’s second smallest province, offers a surprising variety of landscapes. Rocky headlands end in sweeping crescents of white sand, and the ancient mountains of  Cape Breton Island add another dimension. Mammoth tides pick fishing boats up and set them down again in the Bay of Fundy, and rivers stitch together small lakes across the interior. The capital, Halifax  – home to a third of Nova Scotia’s population – its walkable waterfront is a beehive of bars, restaurants and attractions. The key to visiting Nova Scotia on a budget? Get outside and explore all these beautiful places.

“Canada’s ocean playground,” as it’s nicknamed, offers a wide selection of accommodations, activities and food options, making Nova Scotia a budget-friendly destination. July and August – when most visitors arrive and Nova Scotians are out and about – are the most expensive months, but even peak season is made affordable by making informed choices and following these tips. 

Daily Costs

  • Hostel room: $40-150
  • University residence room: $56-150
  • Basic room for two: $125-400
  • Self-catering apartment (including Airbnb): $100-335
  • City bus or ferry ticket: $2.75
  • Coffee: $2-6
  • Sandwich: $5-18
  • Dinner for two: $50-150
  • Beer/pint at the bar: $6-12
  • Whale watching tour: adult $50-85, children $25-60
  • Average daily cost per budget traveler: $150-300

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

Driving is the cheapest way to get to and around Nova Scotia

Visitors from the far reaches of North America and beyond must fly into Halifax’s Stanfield International Airport. Halifax public transit runs an airport shuttle for $4.25. Rental cars can be scarce in the summer and add significantly to a travel budget, so if you do go with a rental, book early. People within one or two days of driving to Nova Scotia can skip the flights and rental cars, saving a significant amount of cash. 

Without a vehicle, getting around Nova Scotia is difficult as there’s little public transportation outside Halifax – driving into Nova Scotia guarantees you access to all the free things to do and the cheaper accommodation options beyond the city. Arrival from Maine and New Brunswick by car ferry is expensive, so budget travelers should drive into Nova Scotia from New Brunswick.

How you can drive, fly, float, cycle and more around Nova Scotia

Spring and fall are the cheapest times to visit Nova Scotia

Some costs in Nova Scotia might be lowest in winter, but only marginally. Food and drink prices at the many grocery stores and restaurants don’t vary much from season to season. The cost of accommodations also remains relatively steady year-round, except in July and August, when it spikes, especially in Halifax. On the other hand, the price of gas is usually lower before and after the busy summer driving season. In late summer and fall, farmers markets and U-picks burst with affordable produce. Share a seaside cabin or rental home with friends and family to cut down on individual accommodation costs.

University residences are the alternative to hostels

Hostels are literally few and far between in Nova Scotia. The Highlands Hostel in Cape North near the Cabot Trail, one of the world’s great scenic drives, is open year-round with dorm beds and private rooms from $50 to $150. However, there just might be as many universities, which rent out their student housing between May and August. Though sparsely furnished, they include linens and towels in clean, secure buildings. Some require a minimum two-night stay. Prices range from $56 for a single to $150 for a suite. Try Dalhousie , St. Mary’s , Mount St. Vincent and King’s College in Halifax, Acadia in Wolfville, Dalhousie in Truro, St. Francis Xavier in Antigonish and Cape Breton University in Sydney. 

Nighttime shot of friends sitting at campfire underneath the Milky Way at Malay Falls, Nova Scotia, Canada Getty

Take advantage of Nova Scotia’s many campgrounds

The biggest savings come to those happy to pitch a tent at one of Nova Scotia’s campgrounds. Campground locations in the two national parks – Cape Breton Highlands and Kejimkujik – vary from remote backcountry to roadside, while private campgrounds are plentiful and tend to be more family-oriented with lots of activities for kids. The most affordable camping in Nova Scotia is found at its 20 provincial parks , where basic campsites start at about $25 a night. Many provincial sites come with views of the ocean and direct access to beaches, forest walks and lakes, and nearly all come equipped with indoor washrooms, showers and cooking huts where campers can prepare their own meals and wash dishes. Most have RV hookups. 

These are Nova Scotia’s 8 best national parks and historic sites

Hit Nova Scotia’s scenic routes, beaches, hiking trails and waterways

When in Nova Scotia, the mantra is “get outside,” which is also the most budget-friendly way to explore the undulating coastline and inland waterways. Follow the designated scenic routes such as Marine Drive, the Lighthouse Route and the Bras d’Or Lake Scenic Drive. Beaches number in the hundreds, so there’s always one handy near a campground or rural rental should you wish to stroll, build sandcastles or just read a book to the hush of waves against the sand. Some hiking trails, like the 119km (74-mile) Rum Runners Trail , are built on former railway beds. Others follow rivers and cut through park wilderness like the 7.2km (4.5-mile) Salmon Pools Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Except for a $9 daily entry fee in the national parks, hiking is free.

Look for free entry days and discounts at museums

On Thursday evenings, admission is free to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax, where you'll find works by Nova Scotia artists like Maude Lewis. At other attractions, look for family rates. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on the Halifax waterfront, which displays artifacts from the Titanic, asks $9.55 per adult in peak tourist season, while the off-season family rate is just $11.85. AAA and CAA members, and armed forces personnel get a buck off. Entry fees to most rural museums are often just a few dollars.

Lighthouses, whales and fishing villages: these are the best places to visit in Nova Scotia

A vendor sells food at the Farmer's Market in downtown New Glasgow, Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Canada,

Eat for less by buying local and cooking for yourself

Cooking your own meals is always easy on the travel budget, especially away from home. Whether it’s in your full kitchen at your oceanfront rental or over the fire at the campground, homemade meals and snacks save bundles. If U-picks or foraging are your thing, even better. Otherwise, look for small, roadside farm stands that often sell via the honor system – take a cuke, leave a quarter. Province-wide, farmers markets during harvest season – which runs from June to November and longer – are the best source of local, high-quality and better-tasting produce, meats, cheeses and beverages. Pack a picnic for road trips and hikes. Shopping local also leads to eating like a local: gather young veggies to make Nova Scotia hodge podge, a buttery vegetable chowder.

Save your dime for high-value splurges

Put all those savings into activities and goods that will bring the most satisfaction. A whale-watching trip – a bargain at well under $100 – leaves every passenger with incredible memories. Take a vineyard tour in the Annapolis Valley at wineries like Benjamin Bridge for an in-depth understanding of how Nova Scotia’s wines gained a reputation for quality so quickly – and take advantage of the samples. 

Order the local craft beer at a bar or taproom, where a couple of bucks more per pint gets you tons more flavor and stories to tell folks back home. Hear the sailor’s tale behind Boxing Rock Brewing , sample Beth’s Black Oyster Stout from Sober Island Brewing  and learn why Tatamagouche Brewing named its pale ale Hippie Dippie. Watch for happy hours at most bars to save on craft drinks. 

Plan your trip to Nova Scotia:

  • Add these top experiences to your itinerary
  • Figure out the best times to visit
  • The locals think you should know these things before you visit
  • Plan the ultimate Nova Scotia road trip with these incredible routes

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Nova Scotia Travel Guide

Nova Scotia Vacations

Nova Scotia is a popular fishing area that is just off the east coast of Canada, steeped in history & tradition, It’s easy to understand why Nova Scotia has become a popular tourist destination. Nova Scotia has lots of natural beauty to explore, with places like Highlands National Park, Peggy’s Cove, Glooscap Trail, and the Fortress of Louisbourg all a big hit with visiting tourists.

Experience Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley

Experience Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley

Nova Scotia's Bay of Fundy

Experience Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy

Foodie Tour of Acadian Cuisine

Foodie Tour of Acadian Cuisine

South Shore Nova Scotia

Experience South Shore Nova Scotia

Explore Nova Scotia’s Backyard, where new and exciting adventures are waiting for you. Dramatically different landscapes with breathtakingly beautiful seacoasts and lush farmlands offer spectacular natural wonders, fascinating history steeped in Acadian, English, and Micmaq settlements, and uniquely entertaining cultural activities. Relish a rich combination of sights, sounds, smells, textures, and tastes that delivers an unforgettable range of satisfying experiences in Nova Scotia.

nova scotia travel guide

Southwest Nova Scotia encompasses the Fundy Shore & Annapolis Valley, Yarmouth & Acadian Shores, and South Shore. These historic lands wind through the Annapolis Valley along the phenomenal Bay of Fundy and the Acadian Shore, passing lush rolling fields and wilderness backcountry to the picturesque seaport of Yarmouth. Then travel onward to the vast sandy beaches, secluded coves, fishing ports, and lighthouses of the South Shore.

Here the surf of the Atlantic crashes over the world’s highest tides; rolling hills share historic mysteries and islands’ bountiful secrets. Where culture began, folklore flourishes, and every season offers a whole new adventure. Come experience your best vacation ever!

Exploring Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia lies on the extreme east coast of mainland Canada, a narrow spike of land surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, and is Canada’s second-smallest province. Nova Scotia is divided into two distinct geographic locations.

Nova Scotia peninsula

The first is the Nova Scotia peninsula which sits attached to the rest of Canada, the peninsula acts as home to Nova Scotia’s capital, Halifax, and hosts a variety of different terrains ripe for exploring, from the rolling highlands of the Cobequid Hills in the north to the rocky forested lands of the Atlantic Interior in the south, Nova Scotia peninsula is ideal for people who enjoy the outdoors.

Cape Breton Island

The second is Cape Breton Island, a large landmass attached to the northeast of the Nova Scotia peninsula and is lined with steep cliffs, Cape Breton Island was originally exploited by early European settlers for its rich deposits of coal.

Green Cove trailhead, Cape Breton

Cape Breton acts as the terminating point of the Appalachian mountain range in the form of the Cape Breton Highlands, tourists visiting the Nova Scotia peninsula will be happy to know that Cape Breton is home to the Highlands National Park and Cabot Trail, two prime spots for those with a taste for fresh air and emerald forests.

Halifax has been recognized as a center of culture in the Atlantic region, and it’s not hard to see why it’s a bastion for the arts, The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia features a wide collection of cultural pieces, from beautiful paintings to meticulously crafted ceramics, or if you’d rather treat your ears to a masterpiece, there’s always the Symphony Nova Scotia which puts an elegant spin on a wide range of musical ventures, from bluegrass folk tunes to songs from Franklin the Turtle, Symphony Nova Scotia has something for everybody.

Halifax Public Gardens

If history is your thing then travel to the Fortress of Louisbourg is an accurate recreation of the real fort destroyed back in 1745, You could visit the Halifax Citadel, a grand fortification built to keep invaders out of the capital and protect Canada from attack. Nova Scotia has plenty of outdoor activities and is well known for its active fishing community, Nova Scotia offers unlimited opportunities for pros and amateurs alike to catch big fish. Golfers will be surprised when they see Nova Scotia’s beautiful seaside courses overlooking waters filled with swimmers enjoying the warm Atlantic weather.

Things to do in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia has spectacular sea views, picturesque fishing villages, interesting lighthouses & breathtaking countryside, including the Lighthouse Route, Canso Islands National Historic Site, Intercolonial Railway Station, and the Balmoral Grist Mill.

Glooscap Trail

The Glooscap trail shows the wilderness of Nova Scotia, the Bay of Fundy is surrounded by this trail and the world’s largest tides crash against the shore and can be seen here in Minas Basin which is a wonderful display of natural force. The Shubenacadie River reverses directions due to the powerful tides and flows upstream, this happens daily mostly during full moon days. There is a park named Five Island Provincial Park which has beaches, camping facilities, and hiking trails, there are cliffs that line the Bay of Fundy, the cliffs are worn out because of the strong waves and reveal the sedimentary layers.

Lighthouse Route

The Lighthouse Route connects fishing villages with a shoreline that is sea-carved and has open sand dunes and rural roads. There are over 20 lighthouses on the route including the world’s most photographed lighthouse which is located in Peggy’s Cove. Peggy’s Cove is one of the most visited places in Nova Scotia mainly because of its charm, Peggy’s Cove is quite near to Halifax.

Peggy's Cove lighthouse

The William E. deGarthe Memorial Provincial Park is in Peggy’s Cove and has a complicated mural describing the lives of Nova Scotia’s fishermen. Lunenburg is an old town that has the archetypes of a British Colonial town. There are beaches that offer picnic facilities such as Queensland Beach, Beach Meadows, and Bays Water Beach.

Marine Drive

Marine Drive is a rugged coastline and is located on Nova Scotia’s Eastern shore, there are hiking trails around Marine Drive with wide inland reserves, lakes, and rivers filled with fish. One place that is worth visiting is the Fisherman’s Life Museum which enables visitors to participate in hooking rugs and cooking on a wooden stove, The Memory Lane Heritage Village will take visitors back to ancient days, Memory Lane Heritage Village is situated near Lake Charlotte. A former shipbuilding and lumber-producing village is the Sherbrooke Village which also can be seen from afar away, another attraction is the Canso Islands National Historic Site.

Cape Breton Metro

Sydney is at the heart of the Cape Breton Metro which is the second-largest city in Nova Scotia, Cossit and Jost has two famous museums that have kept documentation of the city’s history, both have unique architecture and are decorated with period furnishings, and antiques and relics related to that time. Other attractions include Sydney River and the oldest Catholic Church St. Patrick’s Church which is situated on Cape Breton Island, Cape Breton Centre for Heritage and Science describes the history of the city, Tourists are frequent visitors to the surrounding seas on the many various cruises that are available.

Sunrise Trail

Northumberland Strait is bordered by the Sunrise Trail and provides some of the warmest ocean waters. It also has an abundant number of lobsters which is the one thing that Nova Scotia is famous for, boats that go out to catch lobsters never return without making a big catch of lobsters if you like you could visit the public wharf or lobster pound where you can buy fresh seafood.

Northumberland Strait

Visitors to this area will be able to see farmlands and country roads, throughout the region people, are very warm and friendly. There are plenty of other places that are worth visiting like galleries, theatres, the Nova Scotia Museum of Industry, the Intercolonial Railway Station, and the Balmoral Grist Mill which is one of the oldest operating mills.

Fleur-de-lis Trail

This trail consists of the beautiful Atlantic coastline and also the scenic Isle Madame. A group of coves, inlets, and ponds are the main fishing spots, and naturists can enjoy visiting the provincial parks in the Lennox Passage and Pondville areas. The major attraction of this area is the Fortress of Louisbourg, during the 18th century, the fortress was one of the major military and political centers of France.

Cabot Trail

The trail consists of highlands, vistas, and wildlife, the Cabot Trail is named after the famous explorer John Cabot who landed here in search of a shortcut to Asia, at the Cabot’s Historic Site and Provincial Park visitors can learn about the monumental landing of John Cabot.

Cabot’s Historic Site and Provincial Park

Alexander Graham Bell who is the inventor of the telephone and the Silver Dart, took the first flight with an aircraft powered by gas, Graham Bell built the Benin Bhreag estate on the banks of Bras d’Or Lake which visitors can explore with the help of displays, programs, and audiovisual presentations, at the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site visitors can learn about his scientific contributions towards humanity.

Bras d’Or Scenic Drive

Bras d’Or scenic drive is in Cape Breton’s center which consists of Bras d’Or Lakes and surrounds the villages along the shore, Bras d’Or lakes offer shelter for bald eagles, and there are also numerous boat tours available which include bird watching tours, adventurous tours, and relaxing cruises.

St. Peters Canal National Historic Site of Canada

St. Peter’s Canal was completed in 1969 and connects the Bras d’Or to the Atlantic Ocean, at the National Historic Site you can enjoy interpretive displays and picnic amenities, while the Highland Village Museum tells about the lives and period of Scottish settlers, the museum has the peculiarity of becoming North America’s only living history museum that commemorates Gaelic culture.

Attractions in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia has a wide variety of attractions that shouldn’t be missed, like the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum, Scot Manor House, Oak Lawn Farm Zoo, and Bluenose II.

please use the search form at the bottom of this page, or select from the most popular attractions listed to the right.

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

This gallery is situated in the center of Halifax and was built in 1865, off the main lobby there are gift shops, an art store, and a café, this art gallery acts as an entrance for the visual arts that brings world art to Nova Scotia and vice versa. Th…

Scot Manor House

The only full two-story structure with a gambrel roof in Nova Scotia is Scotmanor’s house, this building was built by Joseph Scott an Irishman who arrived in Halifax with Governor Cornwallis on land which was given by the King of England, even after t…

Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum

The Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum was opened in 1977, the museum displays both civilian and military aspects that include hundreds of artifacts such as books, badges, uniforms, engines, and aircraft. The museum gives information from a heritage poi…

From Silver Dart to Starfighter

Bay of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy is one of the world’s great natural wonders with huge tides, twice a day, on an average tide one hundred billion tones of water flows in and out of the Bay. The tides create rip currents, whirlpools, seething up

Activities in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is renowned for having plenty of exciting outdoor activities to offer, whether you’re looking to go Cycling, Surfing, Whale Watching, Horse Riding, walking along the Bras d’Or Lakes, or playing a round of golf at the Grandview Golf and Country Club.

The beautiful coastlines of Shad Bay, Blind Bay, and Prospect Bay are close to Halifax and offer breathtaking coastal scenery for canoeists, there are tours that are designed for small groups that are organized to accommodate canoeists of various experiences and interests. Single and double kayaks are also available, kayaks should always match the size of the individual and their ability. Tour organizers make you feel comfortable and safe throughout the tour making it an enjoyable experience for everyone who wants to explore Nova Scotia.

Horse Riding

Cape Breton Highlands is a small ranch located in the foothills where you can go horse riding on spectacular trails, rivers, or along the mountains of Cape Breton. Horses are rented out to whoever wants to ride and the riding centers will allow you to go riding with or without a guide. Beginners should not try horse riding without any assistance as you will need the training to handle a horse, training courses are available for beginners. Horse riding through the scenic trails in Baddeck and Cape Breton is quite relaxing and enjoyable as you ride through scenic villages, enjoying Nova Scotia’s beauty.

There are different Golf courses in Nova Scotia, courses vary from 9 to 27 holes, the Grandview Golf and Country Club is an 18-hole regulation course located on the outskirts of Dartmouth, most of the golf courses around Nova Scotia are fully irrigated and have a professional layout, golf courses in and around Nova Scotia will give an enjoyable experience for both beginners and expert golfers.

BNI Tournament at Grandview Country Club

The beauty of these golf courses is shown in the well-groomed wide fairways. If need to rent or buy golf equipment then there are site shops that have a good selection to choose from, and there are also cafeterias for when you get hungry. If you’re new to golf, then don’t worry as there are lessons available for beginners. Most golf courses are only open during certain seasons, while others are open for the whole year.

Cycling around central Cape Breton along the Bras d’Or Lakes is an enjoyable experience, cyclists can pass through Estmere and Ottawa Brook. On the way, you will see MacKinnon’s Harbour and a country ski trail and hiking trail at Highland Hill. You will pass the Highland Heights Inn and Nova Scotia Highland Village, as well as the Scottish Outdoor Museum.

Along your journey, you will see St. Columba Church and the Rankin Memorial School that goes on towards MacCormack’s Provincial Park where you can stop for a picnic park and enjoy the view of Bras d’Or Lakes, Grass Cove, and Gillis Point. From here you can easily reach Maskill’s Harbour, Washabuck Beach, Washabuck Bridge, and onto St.Columba Road and Cains Mountain Road heading towards Hazeldale.

The South Shore of Nova Scotia is good for surfing and has a good mix of beaches with a rugged coastline, there are hundreds of bays and inlets that give best the surfing opportunities and challenges, surfers will find steep fast breaks, right and left point breaks along with reef and shoal breaks. The best time of the year for surfing in Nova Scotia is from August to late November, the temperatures of water can reach up to 20 degree Celsius, though surfers should wear wetsuits as the air and water temperature varies, accessories for surfing are available for rent, surfing lessons are also available for beginners.

Whale Watching

On the southern coast of Nova Scotia there is a whale watching tour. Make sure you take a camera and binoculars so you can enjoy whale watching to the fullest, boats depart four times a day from the historic waterfront and World Heritage Site of Lunenburg. While cruising on the boat you will see magnificent whales that are so close you can almost touch them.

There are different types of whales such as fin, pilot, minke, and the favored humpback whales, there are also dolphins, several sunfish, giant blue tuna, leatherback turtles, and birds such as terns, black guillemot petrels, shearwaters, gannets, you will also get a chance to see seals. If the seas are too rough it is quite difficult to see the whales. The spectacular rugged coast and sea caves at the Ovens Natural Park are beautiful to see, along with the bright-colored buildings that provide a perfect backdrop for the tour.

Eagle Watching

Eagles can be seen in Nova Scotia from late November until early March, the best months for viewing eagles are between January and early February. If you want to see eagles close up then visit the Sheffield Mills Eagle Watch, displays are open for two weekends i.e. from February 8-9 and February 15-16, schools can also visit. Bookings for schools are encouraged during weekdays from January 20 – February 14.

Nova Scotia offers a wide variety of trails and there are numerous scenic villages along the trails, Glooscap trail shows the wilderness of Nova Scotia, and the Bay of Fundy has the largest tides in Minas Basin, as you walk along the sunrise trail there you will pass through farmlands and country roads. Along the Lighthouse Route, you will see over 20 lighthouses and it takes you through many picturesque fishing villages, including the beautiful Peggy Cove which is a British colonial town. There are also several beaches to walk along on this trail.

Nova Scotia is the best place for Sailing off the beaten path. There are numerous large harbors, small bays, and inlets by navigable rivers along the coastline of Nova Scotia, and there are also groups of smaller islands. The finest Sailing area in Nova Scotia is Lunenburg’s Mahone Bay, Mahone Bay is a large bay as well as a town and is just a few miles away from Lunenburg. Shelburne is the most popular port for yachts from the US. The vast harbors and bays in Nova Scotia can handle 275 yachts. Lunenburg is a picturesque harbor in Nova Scotia and is a wonderful stop for yachts. Surrounding Mahone Bay there are hundreds of pristine anchorages and small towns, from Mahone Bay, you can sail to Halifax to Bras d’Or Lakes.

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Nova scotia now providing coverage for dexcom continuous glucose monitoring systems.

Nova Scotia becomes the latest province and territory to offer access to simple and easy-to-use diabetes management solutions, helping Canadians living with diabetes take control of their health

BURNABY, British Columbia, June 03, 2024 --( BUSINESS WIRE )--Dexcom, Inc. (NASDAQ: DXCM), a global leader in real-time continuous glucose monitoring (rtCGM) for people with diabetes, today announced that residents of Nova Scotia living with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes who use intensive insulin and meet eligibility criteria now have coverage for Dexcom G6 and Dexcom G7 continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems.

Through the province’s Pharmacare programs and the new income-based Sensor-Based Glucose Monitoring Program, thousands of eligible Nova Scotia residents will now have access to funding for continuous glucose monitoring systems, helping to reduce the out-of-pocket costs for essential diabetes tools and making modern diabetes management solutions more accessible from coast-to-coast. See program details at .

"We applaud the Government of Nova Scotia’s commitment to continuous glucose monitoring funding for residents living with diabetes. Access to advanced CGM systems will lessen the daily burden of diabetes management and allow those living with the condition to experience an improved quality of life," said André Côté, Vice President and General Manager of Dexcom Canada. "We're very proud to work closely with government and private payers across Canada to advocate for the quality-of-life benefits and better health outcomes that Dexcom’s real-time continuous glucose monitoring systems provide."

Diabetes management requires daily glucose level monitoring, which can be a significant challenge for those who live with the chronic health condition. The new CGM programs in Nova Scotia mark an important milestone for Canadians living with diabetes, as they can now access public funding options for continuous glucose monitoring systems in every province and territory.

This news is the latest in a series of provincial announcements regarding coverage eligibility for Dexcom G6 and G7 CGM systems. New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Prince Edward Island have recently adapted their respective provincial coverage programs to include or expand coverage for continuous glucose monitors, specifically Dexcom G6 and G7.

With more than two decades of pioneering diabetes innovation, Dexcom offers continuous glucose monitoring options that are clinically proven to reduce A1C, improve time in range, and reduce hypoglycemic events 1 -6. The newest introduction to Canada – Dexcom G7 – is the most accurate CGM system available *,2 and provides reliable glucose numbers 24/7 so Canadians make confident diabetes management decisions. The G7 features the smallest Dexcom sensor ever that can be worn comfortably and discreetly and is suitable for people living with all types of diabetes ages two and older, including those who are pregnant.

To learn more about Dexcom G6 or Dexcom G7, or to inquire about additional coverage options, please visit or ask your healthcare provider.

About Dexcom, Inc.

Dexcom, Inc. empowers people to take control of diabetes through innovative continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems. Headquartered in San Diego, California in the United States, and with operations in Canada, Dexcom has emerged as a leader in diabetes care technology. By listening to the needs of users, caregivers, and providers, Dexcom simplifies and improves diabetes management around the world. For more information about Dexcom CGM, visit .

1 Beck RW, et al. JAMA. 2017;317(4):371-378. 2 Beck RW, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2017;167(6):365-374. 3 Martens T, et al. JAMA. 2021;325(22):2262-2272. 4 Laffel LM, et al. JAMA. 2020;323(23):2388-2396. 5 Welsh JB, et al. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2022:19322968221099879. 6 Heinemann L, et al. Lancet 2018;391 :1367-77. 7 Dexcom, data on file, 2023

* When compared with CGM systems commercially available in Canada as of October 2023.

View source version on

Media Contact: Laura Andrejicka, 519.560.7860 Veritas Communications [email protected]


  1. 17 Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Nova Scotia

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    nova scotia tourism guide 2022


  1. Travel Guide

    Discover where to go and what to do on your next Nova Scotia adventure when you download a copy of our annual Doers and Dreamers travel guide. This comprehensive planning tool comes complete with contact information, accommodation details, and top attractions and experiences. From time to time, we ask travellers to participate in follow-up ...

  2. Plan Your Trip to Nova Scotia

    Find all the helpful info you need to plan your visit to Nova Scotia, Canada. Discover the top things to see and do, along with unique experiences.

  3. 2022 Nova Scotia Doers & Dreamers Travel Guide

    THE OFFICIAL NOVA SCOTIA DOERS & DREAMERS GUIDE, 2022 EDITION Published in Nova Scotia, Canada. The guide is produced under the authority of Tourism Nova Scotia, for free distribution worldwide.

  4. Nova Scotia Travel Guide (Updated 2024)

    Plan your trip to Nova Scotia, Canada's friendliest and most scenic province, with this comprehensive guide. Find out the best things to see and do, typical costs, money-saving tips, and more.

  5. Explore Nova Scotia

    Discover Canada's Ocean Playground with its iconic lighthouses, scenic trails, and fresh seafood. Find virtual tours, places to stay, and things to do in Nova Scotia for 2022.

  6. Things to Do

    From Yarmouth to Meat Cove and all points in between, your Nova Scotia adventure awaits. Experience our sandy beaches, mountain hikes, whale watching, coastal inlets perfect for paddling, national parks, charming seaside towns and bustling city nights. Savour our seafood, fresh produce, and locally-inspired menus. Pair it with our wines, beer, cider and spirits crafted by talented producers ...

  7. 11 best places to visit in Nova Scotia

    9. Tatamagouche. Best for experiencing small-town Nova Scotia. For such a tiny town, Tatamagouche is both a destination in itself and a great base for exploring Nova Scotia's north shore. Once a locale for the reality TV show The Week the Women Went, the town has re-imagined itself after a long downturn.

  8. Itineraries

    Trip Ideas. Itineraries. 48 Hour Itineraries. 3 Day Itineraries. 5 Day Itineraries. 7 Day Itineraries. 10 Day Itineraries. From weekend getaways to extended visits, with so much to see and do in Nova Scotia, we have some suggested itineraries to get your trip planning started.

  9. Travel Information for your visit to Nova Scotia

    I need more Information. Download your free Nova Scotia Travel Guide by clicking here. For more information please call: 1-800-565-0000 (within North America). If you are outside of North America, please call 1-902-425-5781, or Email: [email protected].

  10. Nova Scotia Travel Guide

    Get information on Nova Scotia Travel Guide - Expert Picks for your Vacation hotels, restaurants, entertainment, shopping, sightseeing, and activities. Read the Fodor's reviews, or post your own.

  11. 17 Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Nova Scotia

    Location: Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. 2. Peggy's Cove. Peggy's Cove. About 43 kilometers southwest of Halifax, the fishing village of Peggy's Cove has a back-in-time feel. Peggy's Point Lighthouse, one of Canada's most photographed lighthouses, sits on the foggy Atlantic Coast marking a perilous point.

  12. 15 Best Things to Do in Nova Scotia: A Bucket List Guide

    By emartin June 1, 2022 July 15, 2022. ... Check out these trails in the Doers and Dreamers travel guide, which is available from the Welcome Centre at the New Brunswick/Nova Scotia border, the Tourist Info centre on the Halifax Boardwalk or download a copy online here. Go Hiking.

  13. The Perfect Road Trip Itinerary in Nova Scotia (Massive Guide)

    Nova Scotia Road Trip Itinerary. First, you'll want to fly into Nova Scotia's capital city of Halifax (direct flights are available from the New York area) and rent a car. Keep $1 CAN coins on your person or in your car for tolls coming in and going out of Halifax. There are 2 legs of the road trip from Halifax: north and west.

  14. Tourism Nova Scotia

    Tourism Nova Scotia

  15. 14 Best Things to do in Nova Scotia: A Comprehensive Travel Guide

    Cape Split trail, Bay of Fundy. Cape Split, Bay of Fundy. 10. Go Tidal Bore Rafting. One of the most fun things to do in Nova Scotia is to go rafting down the Shubenacadie River. The river's rapids are powered by the high tides of the Bay of Fundy, which moves more than 100 billion tons of water twice a day.

  16. Nova Scotia Bucket List: 40 Fun Things to Do

    22. Eat a Moon Mist Ice Cream. Moon Mist is a popular ice cream flavor in Nova Scotia, Canada. The ice cream is a unique combination of flavors: banana, grape, and bubble gum, giving it a perfect balance of sweet and tangy flavor. Moon Mist is available in many different ice cream shops across the province.

  17. Nova Scotia Complete Travel Guide

    Published Feb 21, 2022. Find the best ways to explore Nova Scotia and everything it has to offer from top sights to food to discover. Quick Links. ... Nova Scotia Travel Guides Top Sights In Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia is home to several unique landmarks, including the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, Cape Breton Highlands National Park ...

  18. Top 25

    Make the most of your time by exploring our Top 25 things to see and do in Nova Scotia... with a little off-the-beaten-path adventure mixed in. There's no question that the hardest part about your visit to Nova Scotia is deciding what to do next. Explore our Top 25 things to see and do. There's no question the hardest part about your visit ...

  19. Visitors

    Visit Nova Scotia's official tourism site; Order a travel guide; Destinations, Festivals, Events. Things to see and do; Festivals and Events; Museums; Parks (provincial) How to get here. How to get to Nova Scotia; Find a place to stay. Places to stay

  20. The ultimate Nova Scotia road trip: A one week itinerary

    Halifax to Lunenburg: 75 minutes/100 km. Hit the road to discover one of the best places to visit in Nova Scotia: the Peggys Cove lighthouse, found along the Nova Scotia Lighthouse Route. The 339 kilometre route winds along the coast between Halifax and Yarmouth, passing quaint fishing villages, beaches and picturesque lighthouses.

  21. Regional Travel Guides

    Travel Info. Regional Travel Guides. Discover more of what to see and do throughout the province when you view our regional partners' travel guides.

  22. Nova Scotia on a budget

    Nova Scotia, Canada's second smallest province, offers a surprising variety of landscapes. Rocky headlands end in sweeping crescents of white sand, and the ancient mountains of Cape Breton Island add another dimension. Mammoth tides pick fishing boats up and set them down again in the Bay of Fundy, and rivers stitch together small lakes across the interior.

  23. Request Road Maps

    Tourism Nova Scotia has moved to a digital-only format for the 2021 and 2022 Doers & Dreamers Guide for both English and French versions, reflecting the flexibility required by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting public health protocols. We will continue to print and distribute the Nova Scotia Road Map.

  24. Nova Scotia Travel Guide

    The finest Sailing area in Nova Scotia is Lunenburg's Mahone Bay, Mahone Bay is a large bay as well as a town and is just a few miles away from Lunenburg. Shelburne is the most popular port for yachts from the US. The vast harbors and bays in Nova Scotia can handle 275 yachts. Lunenburg is a picturesque harbor in Nova Scotia and is a ...

  25. Nova Scotia Now Providing Coverage for Dexcom Continuous Glucose

    Nova Scotia becomes the latest province and territory to offer access to simple and easy-to-use diabetes management solutions, helping Canadians living with diabetes take control of their health ...

  26. Bank of Nova Scotia Buys Shares of 115,009 Travel

    June 5, 2024. Bank of Nova Scotia bought a new stake in shares of Travel + Leisure Co. ( NYSE:TNL - Free Report) during the fourth quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the SEC. The institutional investor bought 115,009 shares of the company's stock, valued at approximately $4,496,000.