Alyssa has been writing about exciting travel topics for Trips to Discover since 2013. After living the big city life in Chicago, Washington, DC, and Atlanta, Alyssa sold the bulk of her possessions and became a digital nomad, living full-time in her camper and working from wherever she could find an outlet and an internet connection for her laptop.
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Located on Canada’s beautiful far eastern coast, Nova Scotia is an exciting travel destination that’s well worth the journey of getting here. Summer is the most popular time to visit; however, all four seasons offer a unique and exciting way to learn about Canadian coastal life and traditions.
Nova Scotia is an ideal destination for maritime enthusiasts, foodies who love seafood, water sport adventurers, and photographers who can’t get enough shots of quaint seaside towns full of history. This province embraces old Scottish, English, and French traditions but has a unique and welcoming culture that’s all it’s own.
These are some of the most amazing places to visit in Nova Scotia to keep in mind as you start planning your trip!
One of the most popular islands in Canada, Cape Breton is a treasured destination in Nova Scotia for its bright blue lakes, luscious green landscapes, and location along the Atlantic Ocean. The vibrant Gaelic and Acadian cultures are evident on this island that’s part of the Nova Scotia province. The island is divided into four counties and is famous for its traditional fiddle music, which is played frequently at concerts and performances, especially in Inverness County. Top sights to see while visiting this area include the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site in Baddeck, Ingonish Beach, Pleasant Bay, and the Cape Breton Highlands Bog.
For many visitors, Halifax is the most logical starting point for an exploration of Nova Scotia. The urban area is on the harbor, and Halifax is a major economic center for business on Canada’s Atlantic coast. There are lots of things to do in Halifax, including public spaces that serve as venues for concerts and ceremonies, including the Halifax Boardwalk and the Halifax Common. The city also has a vibrant nightlife scene with more pubs and clubs per capita than pretty much anywhere else in Canada. Hop onboard North America’s longest-running saltwater ferry to cross the harbor and find more local shops and cafes, and don’t miss out on trying a donair, which is a “meatlog” specialty and the city’s official food!
No trip to Nova Scotia would be complete without a stay in Lunenburg, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and beautiful small town. It’s located along the shores of Southern Nova Scotia and about an hour from Halifax. Lunenburg is uniquely marked by its pastel buildings and hilly landscape. It has a nice downtown area that’s great for browsing boutiques and artisan stores.
Parrsboro is known as being home to the world’s highest tides, but there’s much more to this place than big waves. It’s an off-the-beaten-path destination that’s been described by National Geographic as “the prettiest place, more than picturesque”, and “full of unusual things to see and do”. This is a great place for geology enthusiasts because the Bay of Fundy has mineral specimens and fascinating rocks, not to mention the Parrsboro Rock and Mineral Shop Museum where the world’s smallest dinosaur footprint is on display. Adventure seekers will enjoy this place because of the great kayaking, parasailing, and hiking opportunities.
Nova Scotia is practically radiating with charm, and that’s seen and felt so well in Mahone Bay. This town is picturesquely framed by sailboats, traditional architecture, and historic churches. Main Street is lined with shops that are fun to explore at a leisurely pace. If you visit during the summer, try to catch a live music performance here.
Truro is a small town of about 12,500 people but known as the hub of Nova Scotia because of its location and historical significance in the province. The town has been an important manufacturing and distribution center because of its position along the railroad. The big draw here for outdoor enthusiasts and families is Victoria Park, which is a 1,000-acre woodland park in the center of town. There are two sets of waterfalls and a scenic rocky gorge here, and it’s a birdwatcher’s paradise. Take a walk through the Truro Farmer’s Market Saturdays from April to December to sample locally grown produce, home-baked goods, and Nova Scotian-produced wines and spirits.
Digby is known as a gateway for travelers who are visiting St John nearby or passing through to see Digby Neck and the French Shore. Scallops are a local specialty in Digby, so don’t pass through too quickly so that you have enough time to enjoy a meal at one of the local seafood restaurants. There’s a nice waterfront area here too that’s worth a stroll before or after dinner.
Anyone who’s studied Canadian history will recognize Annapolis as the country’s birthplace. This is a must-see destination for history buffs because there are many historic sites here that tell the story of how Canada was settled and fought over by opposing forces. Take a walk down St. George, which is Canada’s oldest street with plenty of heritage buildings along the way.
Travelers interested in architecture will enjoy a trip to Wolfville, which is known for its Victorian buildings and beautiful tree-lined streets. This is home to Acadia University, so there’s a large student population here and all the trendy establishments that go with it. One of the biggest draws to this area is the wine-producing regions that surround Wolfville. There are quite a few wineries in this area and even winery bus tours that safely transport wine lovers from one winery to the next to sample the local varieties.
To experience a hometown vibe while visiting Nova Scotia, take a drive to Trenton, which was first settled by Scottish immigrants in the 1770s. The town was built upon its manufacturing industries, especially its glasshouses: The Nova Scotia Glass Company, Lamont Glass Company and Humphreys Glass Company. Today, Trenton is a great place to stay if you love to shop or play golf. There are two major golf courses within 10 minutes of town, as well as lots of local places to shop. Trenton Park is one of the best parks in Nova Scotia and is great for fishing, walking, and letting the kids play on a playground.
Located on the Northumberland Shore, New Glasgow is another place shaped by hardworking Scottish immigrants with a long history in the transportation, shipbuilding, and manufacturing industries. It’s near Trenton and the top attractions are the Nova Scotia Museum of Industry for those who enjoy history and the New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee, which hosts musical artists in early August. Take a walk down Provost Street to see the historical buildings or on the riverside trails. Melmerby Beach Provincial Park is a great place to sunbathe and take a dip on a warm summer day. This is where some of the warmest waters in Atlantic Canada are located, so if you like to swim, this is the place to be!