No matter where you’re coming from, Nova Scotia feels like a world away. Surrounded by water, from the great Bay of Fundy to the Northumberland Strait and the Atlantic Ocean, this coastal destination is brimming with unexpected adventure, breathtaking scenery and the best seafood you’ve ever had.
Nova Scotia may be petite (it’s Canada’s second-smallest province), but it’s overflowing with seaside charm and friendly maritime hospitality. In a single day you can get lost in colourful fishing towns, sink your teeth into buttery lobster rolls (we dare you to have just one) and sip your way through unpretentious wineries in the Annapolis Valley a.k.a. Nova Scotia’s wine country.
There is so much to do here, no checklist could cover it all. Simply stepping outside your door is an exciting endeavour. Within this mighty province, you’ll find over 13,000 km of coastline and hundreds of islands, each with its own distinct personality and landscape.
Cape Breton Island, on the north-eastern tip, is perhaps the most well-known for its rugged beauty, the winding Cabot Trail and jagged cliffs rising from the ocean. It’s an easy island to get to from the mainland but difficult to leave once you’ve experienced its unique joie-de-vivre.
Good thing there are hundreds of other islands and hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re following the sweet sound of fiddlers or the pull of your stomach, you’re guaranteed to find something to feed your soul in Nova Scotia.
It’s where you can walk barefoot along warm sandy beaches, stay up late tapping your toes at Halifax’s oldest tavern, or lace up your hiking boots and journey through six UNESCO sites. It’s the kind of place where you can go with the flow or chart your own course for a seacoast trip unlike any other.
Where to stay in Nova Scotia
Go for glitz at recently opened wonders like the Muir Hotel, a five-star waterfront beauty that’s part of Halifax’s newly revitalized Queen’s Marque district. With its oak-panelled walls, porthole-shaped custom bars and hydrotherapy pools, the Muir feels like you’re spending the night on a luxury liner.
Or feel like you’re floating amongst the stars at the several off-grid glamping domes — “glomes” — popping up all over Nova Scotia. There’s Archer’s Edge Luxury Camping on Cape Breton Island, lakeside glomes at White Point Beach Resort on the South Shore, and Valley Sky Luxury Camping in the lush Annapolis Valley.
What to see in Nova Scotia
Take picnicking to a whole new level (literally) with a Heli-Picnic Island Escape tour. Your journey begins with a thrilling birds-eye-view over Halifax and the surrounding coastline — keep your eyes peeled for sunbathing seals — en route to the secluded Sambro Island. Pop some Nova Scotia bubbly on your own beach for the afternoon before digging into a picnic of local fare and exploring the granite coast.
What to do in Nova Scotia
Get your sea legs by learning how to sail on Halifax Harbour with J Farewell Sailing Tours. They’ve added a 50-foot catamaran to their fleet, and each passenger aboard gets to take part in the sailing journey. From tacking to setting the course, you’ll be a spiffy sailor in no time.
For those looking for a more grounding experience, get back to the earth at the historic Cliffs of Fundy UNESCO Global Geopark. It’s a stunning 165 km drive filled with attractions and guided hiking tours along the stunning Bay of Fundy shoreline shaped by the highest tides in the world.
Where to eat in Nova Scotia
With restaurants recognized on 50-best lists like Halifax’s coastal-cool Bar Kismet to slices of savoury pies from Humble Pie Kitchen in downtown Dartmouth, it’s impossible to be hungry while visiting Nova Scotia.
Try Halifax’s official food, the donair, or Acadian dishes like fricot and rappie pie. Amazing seafood is a given: From fresh scallops and creamy seafood chowder to briny oysters and succulent lobster, there is no shortage of fresh fish to choose from.
Nova Scotia is the lobster capital of Canada, so what better way to explore than by following the Lobster Trail where you can get your fill of traditional lobster dinners, delicious lobster rolls and everything in between.
To start planning your Nova Scotia adventure, visit novascotia.com