23 Best Things to Do in Nova Scotia and Fun Places to Visit in 2024

Known for its lobster and high tides, Nova Scotia is a popular tourist destination in Canada. From the world-famous Peggy’s Cove to the picturesque scenery and quaint towns, this province is one you don’t want to miss. 

If you like hiking and enjoying amazing mountain and sea views, you need to check out Cabot Trail in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. If you’re a foodie, eat some lobster dishes, and if you like wine, there are a ton of wineries to explore. 

To help plan your trip to this beautiful province during the summer or fall, we’ve compiled a list of the 19 best places to visit and things to do in Nova Scotia. 

If you are visiting other provinces in the Maritimes, here are the best places to visit in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Best Things to Do In Nova Scotia 

There are so many fun things to do in Nova Scotia for everyone – enjoy this list of our top 19 attractions. 

Visit Peggy’s Cove

Visiting this world-famous lighthouse on your trip to Nova Scotia is a must. Located in the small fishing village of Peggy’s Cove along the South Shore, Peggy’s Cove (or Peggy’s Point Lighthouse) is one of the most photographed locations in all of Canada. 

It is one of the most beautiful places in Nova Scotia as it is very picturesque. You can spend the day exploring around the rocks and watching waves, as well as climbing up to the viewing deck to take in from a different vantage point. 

You can also get your passport stamped here with a tiny picture of the lighthouse in the small post office. 

Explore the Grand Pre National Historic Site

Located in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Grand Pre National Historic Site is a must-visit. Immerse yourself in the monument uniting the Arcadian people and discover the unique history. 

Take a guided tour or go at your own pace while taking in the quaint scenery. Here, you will uncover the tale of Le Grand Dérangement, a catastrophic event in Arcadian history that has shaped the modern-day culture and views of Arcadians today. 

Since 2021, there have been installations of oTENTiks, which are a cross between a rustic cabin and a tent – which you can sleep in! 

There is so much to learn and see, so if you like history, you will love the Grand Pre. 

Discover the Historic Town of Lunenburg

The only other UNESCO World Heritage Site in Nova Scotia, Lunenburg is a port town and a historic coastal community. There’s lots to do here, so take your time and soak it all in. 

70% of the original colonial buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries are still standing. Take a walk along the waterfront with the colourful buildings and discover a delightful small town with breweries, distilleries, restaurants, artisan shops, and more. 

If you want to go even deeper into the history, you can book a walking tour. Whatever you decide to do here, you will be in awe of this town. 

Drive Through Cabot Trail

If you’re looking to do something different and take in a lot of scenery, drive through the famous Cabot Trail. This 298km highway entwines through the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Look out the windows and see the most beautiful coastal views and valleys. 

There are lots of spots to pull over and take photos or enjoy walking or hiking trails. You can drive either clockwise or counter-clockwise; either way, you’re sure to have a good time. 

This is one of the best free things to do in Nova Scotia, with its winding roads, stairs, paths, and overall beauty. It takes you from small fishing villages to stunning ocean views. 

There are many more things to do in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, which we cover below. 

Stroll Though the Halifax Public Gardens

Walk through the ever-evolving Halifax Public Gardens, and you’ll see the Victorian Gardenesque style from the 1800s. This is the only true Victoria Garden in North America, so you must visit if you’re a nature lover. 

Take a stroll through yourself or join a free one-hour historical and horticultural tour of the gardens, running daily at four different times. 

You can find various gardens inside, including herb and Japanese gardens. Concerts are often held here in the summer months, too. 

Recognized as a National Historic Site in 1984, it is part of Canada’s Garden Route. Try to go in the spring when the flowers are in bloom – you’ll surely have a breathtaking experience. 

Explore the Stunning Cape Breton Highlands

One of Canada’s most captivating places, the Cape Breton Highlands National Park is hands-down one of the best Nova Scotia attractions. 

Drive through the famous Cabot Trail and stop at any one of the 26 different trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging hikes. Families and adventurers love to camp here while enjoying the beautiful scenery where the mountains meet the sea. 

You might see moose or bald eagles here, as well as pilot whales or minkes in the Atlantic. You can also enjoy golf, cycling, beaches, and so much more. 

Spend the Day at a Beach

From Hirtle’s Beach to Green Bay Beaches to Broad Cove Beach and more, Nova Scotia’s south shore has over 8 must-see beaches. The coastline is beautiful, so it’s no wonder why going to the beach is one of the best things to do in Nova Scotia in summer. 

At Hirtle’s Beach, you’ll see more than 3km of white sand, stunning views, and rolling surf. 

Crescent Beach connects the LaHave Islands to the mainland, so you can drive your car here. 

Green Bay Beaches is a hidden gem with three small sandy beaches. It’s a great place to go if you want to avoid the crowds at the neighbouring beaches. 

There are also some amazing beaches along the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island. While in the area, check out the Atlantic Gondola for a ride and take in views of Cape Breton Highlands National Park and the Atlantic Ocean.

There are so many more we haven’t talked about, so take a look and see which ones you want to check out! Plus, many of the beaches are within a 20 minutes’ drive of each other. 

Spend the Day Whale Watching

If you’re in Nova Scotia during the summer and fall seasons, whale watching is a top attraction. 12 species of whales visit the province every year, so if you go to the right spots, you can’t miss them. 

The best places for whale watching in Nova Scotia include Cape Breton, the Bay of Fundy, Brier Island, Lunenburg, and Pleasant Bay. 

If you’re lucky, you may even see the legendary blue whale in the Bay of Fundy, or the more rare North Atlantic right whale, of which there are only about 400 remaining. 

Visit the Bay of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy is famous for its shoreline cliffs, beaches, and high tides. Over 160 billion tonnes of water flow in and out of this bay twice a day.

There are many ways to explore this famed location. You could visit Burntcoat Head Park, where the highest recorded tides in the world have happened. Enjoy the tidal pools, look for fossils, and explore the caves. 

Another fun way to experience this bay is by riding the tidal bore with tidal bore rafting. Where the Bay of Fundy’s incoming tide meets the Shubenacadie River, a change in the current brings about tons of rolling waves – a fun roller coaster on the water. 

The Bay of Fundy is famous for having the world’s most complete fossil record over 300 million years ago. You can explore the rocky shoreline with a tour guide at any one of the museums. 

You can also take a 3-hour ferry cruise across the Bay of Fundy from Digby to Saint John, New Brunswick.

There is so much more to do here that we couldn’t even cover, so be sure to check it out, as it’s one of the most fun things to do in Nova Scotia. 

Eat Lobster

If you’re a fan of lobster, you can’t go to Nova Scotia without eating at least a few. There are so many variations of the classic lobster dish across the province, with many restaurants specializing in it. 

Every February, the province hosts the Nova Scotia Lobster Festival, a month-long celebration with over 150 different variations of the dish and ways to eat it. 

The lobster industry is huge in Nova Scotia. Some of the most famed dishes include the lobster roll, creamed lobster, lobster bisque, and even lobster beer. 

Walk or Cycle the Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk

The Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk is one of the world’s longest urban boardwalks, spanning 4 kilometres. It is one of Nova Scotia’s most visited attractions, and it runs from the Casino Nova Scotia to the Halifax Seaport. 

There are tons of activities to do besides simply walking and enjoying the view. You can check out the Halifax Street Market on the weekends, dine at a waterfront restaurant, shop at one of the many unique stores for souvenirs, and so much more. 

You can explore by walking, renting a segway, or riding a bike. You can also rent a kayak or Sea-doo for water adventures. 

Also consider checking out the Georges Island National Historic Site. 

Visit the Fort Anne National Historic Site

As Canada’s first national historic site, Fort Anne has thousands of years of history. It stands on part of the traditional homeland of the Mi’kmaq, who originally came there to fish and gather. In the 1600s and 1700s, it was an important place for early European settlement. 

Here, you can visit the Officers’ Quarters Museum, explore the exhibits, and discover the history of the Mi’kmaq, British, Acadians, French, and Nova Scotians who have previously lived there. 

After visiting the museum, go to the walking trail and take a self-guided or guided tour of the Vauban Fortifications. Or, enjoy the views of the Annapolis River and Basin. 

If you like learning about Canadian history, this is one of the top things to do in Nova Scotia. 

Fort Anne NHS Nova Scotia

Visit Various Wineries

With over 20 wineries in Nova Scotia, you must visit a few if you like wine. The province has a long-standing tradition of growing grapes for wine since the 1600s. It was actually one of the very first areas in North America to cultivate grapes. 

A few must-try wines grown here include L’Adacide Blanc, Seyval Blanc, Baco Noir, and New York Muscat. 

You can enjoy a customizable winery tour or hop on a Wolfville Magic Winery Bus, which takes you to four wineries in the Annapolis Valley. 

Be sure to check out Annapolis Valley, as that is Nova Scotia’s official Wine Country and one of the most popular tourist destinations. 

Explore the Blue Beach Fossil Museum

Close to Grand Pre and the Annapolis Valley, the Blue Beach Fossil Museum has a huge display of fossils, including the world’s oldest collection of fossil footprints and bones. 

It is a world-famous fossil site with lots to discover, known for its unique creatures and fossil trackways. 

Blue Beach is very close to the museum and is recommended to visit after. If you and the kids like dinosaurs, reptiles, or fossils, this is one of the best Nova Scotia attractions. 

You may be lucky to find plant and sea animal fossils on Blue Beach!

Visit Annapolis Valley

The Annapolis Valley is Atlantic Canada’s richest agricultural region. It is a prime destination for vineyards and wine tours. The Bay of Fundy tides, rocky shores, and sandy beaches are also very prominent here. 

Try the Tidal Bay signature wine in the famous Wine Country, or head to the historic town of Annapolis Royal. 

You can also drive along the Digby Neck to whale watch on the Bay of Fundy, check out the Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site, and spend the night at a historic Victorian house converted into a bed and breakfast. 

There’s so much to do here that you could probably stay for about three days. 

Stop by Cheticamp

Cheticamp is a picturesque Arcadian fishing village on Cape Island along the west entrance of the Cabot Trail. Here, you can learn about Arcadian culture, sample some traditional food, and enjoy the colourful scenery. 

If you’re here, you must go to the Cape Breton National Highlands Park, as we mentioned above. Visit the Les Trois Pignons Museum and stop by the Aucoin Bakery for fresh treats and sandwiches. 

A few top places to stay in Cheticamp, Nova Scotia, include the Cheticamp Campground in the Cape Breton National Highlands Park, Soliel Chalets, and the Cheticamp Outback Inn. 

Immerse Yourself in History at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

In the heart of Halifax’s waterfront, you can immerse yourself in the rich maritime heritage and learn about the people, stories, and events that have defined Nova Scotia and surrounding areas at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

You can expect to see displays such as the Titanic, the Halifax Explosion, World War Convoys, and more. 

It is Canada’s oldest and largest maritime museum with over 30,000 artifacts, listed on TripAdvisor as the #7 top thing to do in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Visit Port-Royal National Historic Site

Port-Royal National Historic Site was one of the first European settlements in North America and was originally built in the 17th century. It is located in Port Royal, Nova Scotia.

A Discovery Pass gives you admission to this site and over 80 other national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas operated by Parks Canada.

Hike One of the Many Stunning Trails

One of the best ways to explore Nova Scotia is on foot. With over 900 top trails in the province, you’re spoilt for choice. You can go hiking at any time of year and see tons of wildlife and breathtaking ocean and mountain views. 

Choose your hikes based on how difficult or easy you want them to be and how long you want to hike. Some are extremely difficult and can take a few days, while others are only a few hours. 

Try hiking Cape Split Trail to see a beautiful view of rock formations coming out of the ocean, Slapfoot Trail for lakeshore views, or Skyline Trail for stunning views of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

If you’re hardcore and want to hike for 3-4 days to see gorgeous scenery, go to the Cape Chignecto Coastal Loop on the Bay of Fundy, or the Liberty Lake Trail at the Kejimkujik National Park.  

Explore Halifax Citadel National Historic Site (Fort George)

Check out the fort and cannons at Fort George on Citadel Hill. Watch the sentry guard change and explore a fort once used by the British military to defend the Halifax harbour.

Check Out the Canadian Museum Of Immigration At Pier 21

The Canadian Museum Of Immigration At Pier 21 is Canada’s 6th national museum and a heritage site that tells the stories of those who have made their way to Canada. 

Pier 21 has been a popular spot in Canada for millions of immigrants since it opened in the early 1900s. 

In this museum, you can explore the history of immigration through many different displays, interactive exhibits, and stories. 

It is a must-see museum for anyone looking to learn more about Canada’s history and diverse culture. 

Visit the Museum of Natural History

The Museum of Natural History is located in downtown Halifax. See remarkable ancient fossils, Mi’kmaq artifacts, and more.

museum of natural history nova scotia-img
Museum of Natural History, Nova Scotia

Walk the Trails in Point Pleasant Park

Close to downtown, Point Pleasant Park is a great place to hike and enjoy nature.

You can also view the Prince of Wales Tower, and the ocean views are exceptional.


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Enoch Omololu

Enoch Omololu is a traveller, culinary tourist, and money expert. He is the co-founder of Only Earthlings and established the popular Savvy New Canadians platform. Enoch has been featured in Business Insider, Forbes, Best Life Online, GOBankingRates, Penny Hoarder, Globe and Mail, Yahoo, and CBC News.

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