With thousands of miles of coastline, easygoing Maritime culture, and impeccable cuisine, Nova Scotia, Canada is a unique destination with a ton of things to do. In fact, this province has so much history and jaw-dropping scenery that it can be hard to narrow down your list of must-sees.
To help you out in your research, I’ve compiled my top 15 dream destinations in Nova Scotia!
Dream Destinations in Nova Scotia To Add To Your Bucket List
Cliffs of Fundy UNESCO Global Geopark
A newly-designated UNESCO Global Geopark location, the Cliffs of Fundy encompasses a 165km drive along the coastline, over 40 geosites, colorful villages, and so many unique natural and historic stops! The drive will take you from Debert to Apple River with tons of hiking trails, views, rock formations, and sea stacks along the way.
Before you head out on your drive, make sure you check the tide times at the Bay of Fundy. Because the tide changes the landscape so dramatically, you’re going to want to begin your exploring just as the tide is going out, and then be back to the shore 2-3 hours before high tide. Safety first!
Cape d’Or Coastal Park
Dream of looking out over the Bay of Fundy and Minas Channel? Then heading to Cape d’Or Coastal Park is the place to be. At the site, which includes the famous Cape d’Or lighthouse, you’ll get gorgeous panoramic views of the landscape.
The park includes telescopes, interpretive trails, a guesthouse, and a restaurant.
Located near the Bay of Fundy, the Annapolis Valley is one of the most scenic agricultural regions in Canada. It’s chock-full of vineyards, rocky shores, beautiful beaches, and distinct sites.
In particular, don’t miss the Wolfville Magic Winery Bus (a hop-on-hop-off bus that will take you through various wineries), the Fort Ann National Historic Site (Canada’s oldest!), whale watching in Digby, and the petroglyphs in Kejimkujik National Park.
Old Town Lunenburg
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Old Town Lunenburg has stood the test of time and is the best surviving planned British colonial town in North America. You can expect unique shops, well-preserved colorful homes, incredible cuisine, and amazing ocean views.
I recommend taking a walking tour of the town to get a history lesson and get a whole new perspective on Maritime culture!
Fortress of Louisbourg
The largest historical reconstruction on the continent, the Fortress of Louisbourg is a site that perfectly blends educational history with incredible landscapes. The site is dedicated to the history of the Mi’kmaq and French colonialism of the 1700s.
The Fortress of Louisbourg is located amongst the craggy shoreline of Cape Breton, which is a stark beauty against the fortifications, reconstructed houses, and ruins.
One of the most famous sites in all of Canada, Peggy’s Cove is located on Nova Scotia’s Bluenose Coast just 45 minutes from downtown Halifax. At Peggy’s Cove, explore the town of the same name, roam around the many coves, photograph the famous Lighthouse, hit up the hiking trails, or go kayaking.
Brand new to Peggy’s Cove is a viewing deck. This will give you absolutely incredible views of the area and up your photography game!
Also located in the county of Lunenburg is Mahone Bay — an idyllic small town with great views of the harbor, shops full of hand-crafted goods, fun kayak and sailing tours, and its own microbrewery.
This is a great place to go to relax, take in the views, and recharge your batteries!
Located just down the road from Old Town Lunenburg is Blue Rocks — a little community that has been dubbed “Lunenburg’s answer to Peggy’s Cove”. The town is famous for its blue slate rocks that make up its coastline and its photogenic on-the-water fishing shack.
Martinique Beach Provincial Park
Feel like having a beach day? Then head over to Martinique Beach — Nova Scotia’s longest sandy beach. Martinique beach has smooth white sand, wooded areas for having a picnic, and great swimming spots.
If you want something a little bit more active, then consider hiking the Martinique Beach Trail. This trail is an 8.2km (5 miles) out and back trail along the dunes that’s great for all hiking levels.
Located in the county of Antigonish, the Arisaig Lighthouse is a photogenic spot that is perfect for a quick stop or a longer explore.
Fun fact, there is also a Lobster Interpretive Centre at the site if you feel like learning a little more about fishing in the area.
Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island
One of the world’s most stunning drives, the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island is a 298km (186mile) loop that winds its way through Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
There are endless stops you could make along the Cabot Trail, but the top sites are visiting the community of Baddeck, exploring Ingonish Beach, hiking the Skyline Trail, and whale watching in Pleasant Bay.
Train Station Inn in Tatamagouche
Whether you want to stay at this unique accommodation for a night or just explore the area, I highly recommend stopping in at the Train Station Inn in Tatamagouche. The rooms at the inn are made up of converted box cars stunningly outfitted into deluxe accommodations. I recommend soaking up the railway history of the area and taking yourself on a guided photo tour.
Tatamagouche itself is also a great place to explore, with a ton of local art, museums, and history.
Just down the road from Tatamagouche is Jost Vineyard — one of the best vineyards in all of Nova Scotia. The area is Nova Scotia’s original wine country, which is interesting given the landscape and the ocean’s role in the production process.
While here, take a tour of the winery, grab lunch on the patio, or hike around the vineyard.
Cape Chignecto Provincial Park
A must-visit for outdoorsy types, Cape Chignecto Provincial Park is the place to be for lush hikes, ocean views, and cozy campsites. Perhaps the most famous site you’ll see while in the park is the Three Sisters sea stacks — towering rocks formed by ancient lava flows.
Just east of Cape Chignecto is the artist town of Parrsboro. A photogenic oasis to its core, this community is full of colorful lighthouses, murals, and interesting installations.
Georges Island National Historic Site
Located smack dab in the middle of the Halifax Harbor, Georges Island National Historic Site was once a fortified island that once played a role as a prison, as an internment camp, and as a line of defense for Canada. On the island, you can take a tour of the historic tunnels and view Halifax from a new vantage point.
The island is easily accessible by ferry or private boat.