Nova Scotia’s must-see spots
Summer is short and sweet in Nova Scotia, so soak it all in while you can. From craggy coastlines and sleepy fishing towns to the vibrant bustle of Halifax, this peninsular Canadian province is full of wild beauty and a soft tranquility that make it the perfect setting for a summer road trip.
Cabot Trail & Cape Breton Highlands National Park
This famous 185-mile road loops around Cape Breton Island, at the north end of Nova Scotia, and through Cape Breton Highlands National Park. You can easily spend five days stopping along the way for incredible hikes, fresh lobster, and beautiful beaches — the sandy variety and those dramatic, bouldered shorelines.
Hike your way along Skyline Trail for unforgettable views or up to the Uisge Ban waterfalls for a little piece of fairyland, and for the adventurous, kayak the North River to get into the wild. Make a stop at Ingonish Beach in the national park, where you can surf, golf, or spend the night in little tent cabins.
Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk
The capital city of Nova Scotia is home to great nightlife, summer music festivals, fresh seafood, and craft breweries. But the boardwalk along the harbor that stretches for two and a half miles offers sparkling views of the waterfront, entertaining street performers, and some of the city’s most famous attractions.
Start with a visit to Seaport Farmer’s Market, which started in 1750, where you’ll find hundreds of vendors selling everything from lobster rolls to jewelry. Make a stop at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic to get the lay of the sea, and bone up on the city’s fishing history while you explore scale model ships. Finally, don’t miss the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, which offers an interactive look at the way immigration has richly shaped Canadian culture and history.
Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse
Of the 160 historic lighthouses in Nova Scotia, this one is by far the most photographed and it’s easy to see how this red-topped lighthouse on a rocky outcropping has become the icon of Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. Scramble up the rocks to snap your own photo and check out the inukshuk statues, then wander through the town’s shops and galleries and learn about the mysterious town namesake at Peggy of the Cove Museum.
Old Town Lunenberg
When you visit Old Town Lunenberg, you’ll immediately be struck by the original bright, wooden architecture that make it a UNESCO heritage site. The town has worked to preserve the look and feel of a British fishing town in the 1750s, which makes it a great place to take a horse and carriage through the tiny gridded streets and pretend you’ve gone back in time. You can get out on the water yourself on the historic ship Bluenose II, and maybe get a glimpse of humpback whales or come back with a few fisherman’s tales to tell.