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Best Things To Do in Nova Scotia

Considering the endless options available and all the info online, it's can be daunting to plan a trip. If you're looking for the best things to do in Nova Scotia, your research ends here! Our team of travel experts at Canadian Train Vacations is here to provide you with all the insider info.

Even though it is one of the smaller provinces, there are plenty of unique things to do in Nova Scotia. This coastal province offers glowing sunsets, jaw-dropping scenery, stunning seascapes, local storytellers, and lively music.

To help you have the vacation of your dreams, we have curated the top Nova Scotia tourist attractions below. Check them out!

Ocean cove and mountains on the Cabot Trail

1. Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is the largest and oldest museum in Canada. It's situated on Lower Water Street in the center of Halifax's historic waterfront. This museum can also be reached by using the Halifax Harbourwalk, a 3-km boardwalk that spans the length of the city’s downtown core.

The museum is a prime spot for Nova Scotia's historical, cultural, and educational information. Learn about everything from local craftswork to the Halifax Explosion of 1917.

This museum is open year-round and the operates from 9am to 5pm, Wednesday to Saturday, 9 am to 8 pm on Tuesday, and 1 pm to 5 pm on Sunday. The Museum is closed on Monday.

Couple walking past ship displays in the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

2. Halifax Public Gardens

The Halifax Public Gardens is one of the oldest surviving examples of a Victorian garden in North America. They were founded in 1836 by the Nova Scotia Horticultural Society and now hold a National Historic Site status.

A stroll through this urban garden oasis in the heart of Halifax is an ideal way to spend an afternoon. It features gorgeous floral displays, winding paths, and bubbling fountains.

The gates of this garden are open for visitors daily from 8 am to half an hour before sunset. Make sure to connect with the Canadian Train Vacations advisor to include this garden in your Nova Scotia travel itinerary.

Victorian-style gazebo, flowers and trees in the Halifax Public gardens

3. Peggy's Cove Lighthouse

Are you a lighthouse enthusiast or someone who just enjoys the thrill of looking out to sea? Then Peggy's Cove Lighthouse should definitely be on your list of fun things to do in Nova Scotia.

Also known as Peggy's Point Lighthouse, this historic structure was built in 1915. It is one of the most photographed and famous lighthouses in Canada.

Peggy's Cove is open year-round and 24 hours a day. This enchanting place is close to a 50-minute drive from downtown Halifax.

Sunset behind Peggy's Cove Lighthouse

4. Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site

An easy day trip from Halifax is Sydney, Nova Scotia. While it's a four and a half hour drive away it offers a doorway into experiencing 18th-century French colonial life.

At the Fortress of Louisbourg, you can still find multitudes of boats crammed in the harbour. It's not all fortress — this place is an amalgamation of breathtaking town architecture and classic military structures.

During your visit, don't forget to devour the freshly baked warm bread slathered with butter from the King’s Bakery. And if you're a rum connoisseur, Grandchamp Inn will offer you its most popular drink, Fortress Rum.

The Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site is open for visitors year-round by appointment from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm.

The King's Bastion building at the Fortress of Louisbourg

5. Cabot Trail

Long drives along the coast in Noval Scotia offer phenomenal sightseeing. And the Cabot Trail is not to be missed.

Canada's well-known driving route, the Cabot Trail, attracts visitors throughout the year to enjoy its breathtaking sights. The 300-km trail surrounds Cape Breton Island's northwest coast and Cape Breton Highlands National Park. It showcases coastal scenery, picturesque villages, and lush forests.

Stop along the way to browse the work of local artists. You can also shop at some unique shops and have scrumptious food at seafood restaurants.

winding road along the coastline and view of the ocean from the Cabot Trail

6. Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk

The Halifax Waterfront is one of the most-popular things to do in Nova Scotia, Canada.

This waterfront boardwalk can be reached by a short stroll from the city center. You can access the place 24 hours a day. It runs for about 4 km from the Pier 21 Museum and the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.

The sun sets over the Halifax waterfront boardwalk, boats and buildings

7. Point Pleasant Park

Point Pleasant Park is considered one of Halifax’s top attractions for nature lovers. It is about a 10-minute drive from downtown Halifax.

There is paid parking available; however, be aware that the parking lot hours change with the seasons. The park is also easily accessible by bus or taxi. It's a must-visit if you're seeking a getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Cycling on designated trails is permitted on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. The park is open from 5 am to 12 am daily.

Two people walk through Point Pleasant Park in the snow

8. Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Here's another magical place in Nova Scotia where the mountains meet the sea. At Cape Breton Highlands National Park, you can explore 950 km of rugged wilderness. It also means you get to travel along the renowned Cabot Trail.

The park is reachable via the Canso Causeway in 2 hours by road, from Sydney, Nova Scotia in 2 hours, and by a 5-hour drive from Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The entry fee may vary depending on the season in which you decide to visit. The daily passes usually start from $8.50 for adults. There are also camping packages provided here. Get in touch with your Canadian Train Vacations advisor to know more.

Aerial view along the Franey Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park

9. Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic

The Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's just over an hour drive from Halifax and offers the ultimate waterfront experience. Visit the museum to learn about life at sea.

A series of fascinating exhibits, film screenings, vessel lighting, and talks are scheduled throughout the day for visitors. The museum opens at 9:30 am and closes at 5-5:30 pm.

There's a large parking lot opposite the museum. The tickets are available for $13 for an adult and $3.5 for a child. If you're planning on visiting the museum, your Canadian Train Vacations advisor can arrange the tickets for you.

The Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic red building entrance on the waterfront

10. Victoria Park

A natural woodland park spread across 3,000 acres, Victoria Park is located only a few minutes away from downtown. The extensive trail system passes through spectacular waterfalls, natural gorges, tall trees, and jaw-dropping scenic views.

Joseph Howe and Waddell Falls are the main attractions of Victoria Park. They are around 1 km from the main parking lot. You can also explore the Holy Well and the Wishing Well in the park.

During the winter months, a 20-km stretch of the trail is groomed for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and fat biking. Visiting Victoria Park is one of the free things to do in Nova Scotia as there is no entry fee here.

A couple walks along a trail past a waterfall in Victoria Park

11. Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site

Located on Cape Breton Island, around a 3.5 hour drive from Halifax, this historic site provides insight into one of the greatest inventors of the 19th century.

Full-scale replicas of Bell's revolutionary Silver Dart aircraft, medical innovations, telegraphs, telephones, kites, and electrical devices are housed here. This intriguing museum is on the outskirts of the city.

When it is operating, the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site is open from 9 am to 5 pm.

The entry fee is $7.8 for adults; however, there is no entry fee for children.

People looking at replicas of airplanes at the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site

12. Alexander Keith's Brewery

Alexander Keith's Brewery is one of the many fun things to do in Nova Scotia. Termed a "jewel in the crown" of Halifax, this brewery was set up around 200 years ago. It is devoted to crafting small-batch brews influenced by the local Nova Scotian culture.

Visitors can take a tour of the stunning location and discover the legacy of Mr. Keith. While at it, don't forget to get a behind-the-scenes look into the brewing process.

The tour timings are as follows — Fridays: 12 pm to 7 pm, Saturdays: 12 pm to 7 pm, and Sundays: 12 pm to 5 pm. The brewery tours start every hour.

A woman pouring a beer sample in a the Alexander Keith brewery

13. Cape Breton Miners' Museum

Located on one of Cape Breton island's most gorgeous coasts, the Cape Breton Miners Museum stands on a 15-acre plot covered with wild roses and grasses. The Men of the Deeps, a renowned miners' choir, are based at the museum.

If you decide to visit this museum — explore the modern exhibits, take a tour of an underground mine with a retired mine guide, and stroll through the ancient village.

The museum is located around five hours from Halifax in downtown Glace Bay on Birkley Street.

The entry fee is $7.83 for adults and $6.09 for children. The Muse

A tour guide talking on an underground mine tour at the Cape Breton Miners' Museum

14. Luckett Vineyards

Located in the Gaspereau Valley's hillsides, Luckett Vineyards produces wines that beautifully capture the essence of Nova Scotia. Just an hour out of Halifax, visitors can enjoy local dishes along with the red, white, and fruit wines from the winery.

You get a chance to soak in the views of the Minas Basin and Blomidon from the outdoor dining area. Don't forget to try the award-winning favorites, Tidal Bay or L'Acadie, while here. It should definitely be one of the things to do in Nova Scotia.

The vineyard operates on a seasonal basis. They are currently closed for the season and will be re-opening in spring 2023.

Luckett's Vineyard with a red telephone booth in the middle

Places to stay in Nova Scotia

Cabot Cape Breton

Cabot Cape Breton is Canada's first and only authentic links golf resort. It is tucked between the Atlantic Ocean and the charming town of Inverness, often lauded as a golfer’s paradise.

Argyler Lodge

The Argyler Lodge, constructed in 1996 with a yachtsman's passion, is the perfect mixture of modern efficiency and a rustic marine sense. Five antique-decorated apartments are located on the second floor of the lodge. It offers tired tourists a place to rest and unwind.

White Point Beach Resort 

National Geographic Traveller rated White Point Beach Resort as one of the top 10 coastal locations in the world. A beachcombing evening transforms into a stargazing one as you stroll along this section of white sand beach as the sun sets.

Norse Cove Camping

If you are someone who wants to reconnect with nature, Norse Cove Camping is the ideal spot for you. Visitors can park their cars, set up their tents, or hire a Nordic hut here. It's a great place to immerse oneself in the coastal experience.

Oak Island Resort

Oak Island Resort has a range of lodging choices, including hotel rooms with nautical themes, oceanfront chalets, and a beachfront home. This resort has a variety of on-site amenities that include a pool, bike rentals, and a tennis court. While here, you can go on a trip with Salty Dog Tours to learn more about Oak Island's mystery.

Aerial view of White Point Beach Resort next to a white sand beach and clear blue ocean

Famous food in Nova Scotia

Digby scallops

Digby, a little town in Nova Scotia, has one big claim to fame. It is known for having the best scallops in the world. The Crow's Nest is a nautically themed, well-liked restaurant in the town. A popular dish 'Scallops Three Ways' is served on a real scallop shell — includes pan-fried, deep-fried, and bacon-wrapped scallops.

Donair - Halifax's official food

Although the donair has been spreading across western Canada as a popular food, its origins are actually in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This sloppy, meaty, saucy wrap was named Halifax's official dish in 2015. King of Donair first began serving "the Official Food of Halifax” in 1973 and is famous all over Canada.

Oysters

A few different varieties of oysters grow in Nova Scotia's coastal waters. Shuck Seafood + Raw Bar in Halifax is pretty serious about their oysters. There are nine different varieties available on its seafood display and they change every day.

Rappie Pie

Traditional Acadian food, Rappie Pie, is made of meat and grated potatoes. Many restaurants in the province serve this dish. But, if you're traveling through Yarmouth and Acadian Shores, stop by the Red Cap Restaurant or La Cuisine Robicheau to try it. Rappie pies can also be purchased from D'Eon's to be baked at home.

Lobster

If you ask the locals where to eat in Barrington — the country's lobster capital — they'll probably recommend Capt. Kat's Lobster Shack. Their renowned Lobster Roll is a must-try.

Couple preparing a lobster dinner outside a winery

Frequently Asked Questions

How many days in Banff is enough?

A five-day vacation is enough to explore Banff. But to explore Jasper National Park on the same trip, a seven-day trip will be the best.

What should I not miss in Banff?

Lake Moraine, Lake Louise, and Banff Gondola Ride are among the top 10 things to do in Banff. The Parker Ridge Trail and Columbia Icefields are top spots as well.

Which month is best for Banff?

Summer and winter months are both ideal for enjoying Banff. May to August is ideal for hiking and other outdoor activities, while from December to March, Banff is a skiing hotspot.

Is visiting Lake Louise free?

You don't need a ticket, particularly for the Lake Louise visit. The one you get for Banff National Park will get you past the Lake Louise sightseeing.

Can you walk from Lake Louise Village to Lake Louise?

Yes! The trail is called The Louise Creek Trail. Nature's hidden secret connects Lake Louise to Lake Louise Village without the hassle of traffic and parking.

Is Banff worth visiting?

Of course! Banff has Canada's first national park offering stunning views of snowcapped mountains and pristine rivers.

Are 3 days in Banff enough?

The number of days you spend in Banff depends on your preferences. If you are okay with not seeing all of the national park, then three days is enough. Otherwise, you may want to consider extending your trip to at least five days.

Is Banff worth the money?

Yes. The area around Banff is considered a wonder of the world. The activities and amenities are worth the money.

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