Things To See And Do In Nova Scotia

There is nothing quite like the breath-taking sites and warm hospitality of the East Coast. Nova Scotia is the perfect getaway for couples, families, and solo travelers alike and has a variety of activities and attractions whether you’re visiting for the cuisine or the outdoors. From delicious food and drink to the beautiful trails and the quaint towns, we’ve rounded up the top 20 things to see and do in Nova Scotia, Canada.

1. The Cabot Trail

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The Cabot Trail is 580 kilometers long, so while we’re not suggesting you hike or bike the whole thing (unless you’re into that!), it is quite the experience to see the fall colors, dine in restaurants along the trail, and take in some of the highland culture and music. You can hike portions of the coastal trail on your own if you visit Cape Breton Highland National Park or take a guided hike if you’re inexperienced or want to learn more about the local history. Alternatively, you can drive the entire trail in about 8 hours by car or motorcycle, if you’ve got a bike!

2. Peggy’s Cove

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Peggy’s Cove Coastal Region is way more than the iconic lighthouse, though you don’t want to miss Peggy’s Point lighthouse and surrounding village. Known as nature’s playground, this region is the perfect place for kayaking, hiking, birding, whale watching, golf courses, and pristine beaches. There’s enough to do here to spend two or three days with enough fresh seafood restaurants and cozy cottages and bed and breakfasts to make your time there comfortable. Peggy’s Cove is also a great place to head out on the water for a wildlife tour to see birds, puffins, seals, turtles, and fish, so book a tour while you’re in the area.

3. Whale Watching

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There are many parts of the province that you can head out on a whale watching tour, but regardless of what coastal town you choose to set off from, make sure you take the time to see these great creatures of the sea. It’s a classic East Coast activity to do in the Summer and Fall months (which are the best times for sightings) that may end up being the highlight of your trip! Depending on when you go in the season, you may see Minke, Humpback, Fin, Sei, or North Atlantic Right Whales on your tour.

4. Wineries, Cideries, and Distilleries

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Spend a day visiting some of the wineries, cideries, and distilleries that Nova Scotia has to offer! There are actually more of them than you might think – Nova Scotia has over 18 wineries, 12 distilleries, and 8 cideries to explore and drink at. Tour on your own or with a company that will drive you around. If you’re interested in doing a mix of all three, check out the Nova Scotia Good Cheer Trail to plot your trip around the province and grab your boozy passport!

5. Halifax Boardwalk

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Take a stroll down one of the world’s largest boardwalks! The boardwalk in Halifax is 3 kilometers of shops, restaurants, and gorgeous views. Explore the stores, grab a drink at one of the city’s best restaurants, and enjoy the lazy afternoon at the bustling boardwalk. Taking a harbor tour by boat is another great way to experience the waterfront and learn more about Halifax’s nautical history. Before departing on your trip, be sure to check out the Nova Scotia Tourism website to see what unique events might be taking place while you’re in town.

6. Tidal Bore Rafting in the Bay of Fundy

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The Bay of Fundy has a must-experience outdoor activity called tidal bore rafting. You go out on the bay in a motorized boat with a guide to take on the highest tides in the world – up to 16 meters! All you do is hold on! Different times of day have different intensities, making it a great thing to do regardless of whether you’re timid or a total adrenaline junkie. Tidal bore rafting (followed with some mud sliding!) has been named a Canadian Signature Experience, proving further that it’s not an activity to be missed while in Nova Scotia!

7. Lunenburg

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Lunenburg is a port city and UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its colorful and historic buildings and gorgeous waterfront, as well as the Bluenose II, a replica of the sailing boat that graces the Canadian dime. If you want to see the city from a local’s perspective, consider taking a Lunenburg walking tour where you’ll get to take in the sites and cuisine with a knowledgable 8th generation guide. The town has won several awards including Prettiest Painted Places in Canada and Communities in Bloom, making it a can’t-miss stop on your vacation.

8. Sea or Lake Kayaking

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Nova Scotia, or anywhere by the ocean, is a wonderful place to go kayaking and feel the rush that comes with being on the not-quite-flat water. You don’t need to be an expert as many guide companies are offering a variety of levels of difficulty. Don’t pass up this opportunity to explore the hidden coves, paddle the choppy sea, and perhaps even see some wildlife. If you’re looking for more flatwater to kayak in, check out this full moon experience for an evening paddle paired with local cuisine and music!

9. Lobster-Related Activities

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One of the best parts of the East Coast is all the delicious fresh seafood, including lobster! Make sure you indulge in at least one all you can lobster dining experience at one of the many seafood restaurants. If you’re visiting in February, be sure to take part in the infamous Lobster Crawl for some serious fun all month long! Other fun lobster-related activities include seeing the rare colored lobsters at the Northumberland Fisheries Museum hatchery, take a boat tour with a local lobster fisherman to experience a day in the life, or take a lobster cooking class! There are many fun ways to learn about this aspect of the province.

10. Take in Live Local Music

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From local pubs to street corners to boat tours, live East Coast music is everywhere in Nova Scotia. Before you leave on your trip, search for popular live music venues in the area you’ll be staying in. Then you just need to show up, grab a beer, and listen! East Coast music is some of the most lively, foot-tapping music, so don’t worry about seeing the concert of a bigger named musician! Locals know the best spots and favorite musicians, so don’t be afraid to ask the host at your accommodations for some recommendations in the area.

11. Burntcoat Head Park

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Visit Burntcoat Head Park to see the highest tide in the world (up to 53.6 feet!), walk the ocean floor during low tide, and find small sea creatures in the tiny pools left behind. It’s a beautiful display of nature and a lot of fun for kids and kids at heart! The park also offers guided ocean floor tours on certain days, so check the park’s calendar of events before you head East!

12. Kejimkujik National Park

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Kejimkujik Park is a breathtaking park to camp, hike, bike, paddle, learn about Mi’kmaw culture, view petroglyphs, and to connect with nature. The park is biodiverse, allowing you to explore many different habitats and take in the unpolluted night sky in the Dark Sky Preserve! The park has a variety of accommodations, from backcountry and front-country campsites to yurts and cabins, so there’s somewhere to stay regardless of your comfort level.

13. Halifax Food Tour

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Guided food tours are one of the best (and most delicious!) ways to get an overview of a bigger city and therefore are a great way to start your trip. In Halifax, there are two primary tour companies: Local Tasting Tours and Taste Halifax. Both come highly reviewed, so it’s up to you to decide what type of tour you want. Local Tasting Tours offers a downtown tour, SoMo neighborhood eateries tour, and a night out tour – all done on foot. Taste Halifax offers two food tours and two alcohol tours, all done by vehicle with a guide to drive you around. Regardless of which one you choose, you’ll get to taste the local cuisine (often in places that tourists might not otherwise know about) and get to see the city from a local’s perspective.

14. Visit Sugar Moon Maple Farm

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Sugar Moon is a can’t-miss attraction located on the North Shore of Nova Scotia that is all about maple syrup. It doesn’t matter what season you’re visiting in, there are tons to do at the farm! The farm offers maple syrup tasting and tours, an all-day maple brunch with maple-themed cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages, monthly fine dining Chef’s Nights, hiking on the property, or the famed Maple Magic Package! It’s a quintessentially Canadian experience that even a home-grown Canadian can’t miss while in Nova Scotia.

15. Sable Island

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A trip to Sable Island isn’t necessarily the most budget-friendly activity to do on your Nova Scotia vacation, but it is well worth the trip if you’ve got the time and extra money. Sable Island is most well-known for the legacy of over 350 shipwrecks that dot the shore and the 400 gorgeous feral horses that roam the island. The 25-mile long island is entirely made of sand and boasts the world’s largest breeding colonies of harbor and grey seals. Sable Island is quite remote and takes planning, registering with Parks Canada, and several days to visit, so it isn’t for the faint of heart. But if you’re into adventure, it’s worth the trip by air or sea.

16. Joggins Fossil Cliffs

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The fossil cliffs are fun for both kids and adults! This world heritage site and natural attraction is a thorough fossil record of the Coal Age, which was 100 million years before dinosaurs roamed the earth! Here you can see some incredibly exposed fossils on your own or on a beach tour with a knowledgeable guide on easy, medium, or difficult terrain. New fossils are regularly being uncovered and guides are aware of them, making a guided tour a really great option.

17. Oak Island Money Pit

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Oak Island has a long and fun history of treasure hunting! In 1795, a teenager found a large oval-shaped hole in the ground that after many years of many people digging, has become much larger and well known as the Oak Island Money Pit. Though no treasure has actually been found, many other things have including wooden planks, a cavern, a tunnel, and other small things that are just enough to keep the mystery and digging going.

18. Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

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If you enjoy learning about history, the Maritime Museum is a great place to explore on a rainy day. Here you can learn about Nova Scotia’s rich and long relationship with the sea, from World War convoys and the Titanic to the Frankin Exploration to the Halifax Explosion. Like many museums, there are often events going on that may enrich your experience, so check out the events before your trip to see what’s going on! There are lots to learn about and no better place to “dive in” than this museum.

19. McNab’s Island

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McNab’s Island is only a short boat ride out of the Halifax Harbor and has many historic and natural attractions, including wildlife and over 200 species of birds. The island boasts 18 kilometers of hiking trails and abandoned buildings and ruins to view and explore (though not all are open to the public). You can get to the island for about $20 per person round trip and guided tours are available during the summer months, though you can always explore on your own! It’s a great way to enjoy nature and history not far from the Halifax city center, making it a perfect day trip.

20. Cape Breton Highlands National Park

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Cape Breton is a beautiful park where the mountains and sea meet, making for exciting hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing. The Cabot Trail goes through the park and offers some of the best hiking and glorious views in the province. One of the coolest things about this park is its Equipped Campsite partnership with Mountain Equipment Co-op allowing you to affordably rent a campsite already equipped with a tent, dining shelter, sleeping pads, chairs, camp stove, dishes, utensils, cooking gear, wash bins and a lantern. This is a great way to experience the park if you don’t own the gear yourself or you couldn’t bring it along (for example, if you flew to the province).

10 Canadian Attractions Every Kid Should Experience

Canada is loaded with both adult and kid-friendly attractions from coast to coast and whether you live in this beautiful country or are just here for a visit, there are a few key ones not to miss. From the highest point in Toronto to the red sands in Prince Edward Island to the frozen city of Quebec, here are 10 Canadian attraction that every kid should experience in their lifetime.

10. The Carnaval, Quebec City, Quebec

If there is a winter experience that every kid should have in Canada it would be the Carnaval that takes place every year in Quebec City. Every year thousands of visitors flock to this cold weather event which plays host to a slew of activities including snow sculptures, human foosball, snow slides, night parades, outdoor dance parties, sleigh rides, skating and more.

Kids love to meet the mascot of the Carnaval, Bonhomme-the giant real-life snowman who loves to meet with the kids. Make sure to visit him in his epic Ice Palace that is created especially for him and serves as a focal point for several of the activities. Visit a traditional sugar shack, watch as brave men and women frolic in the snow in only their bathing suits at the snow bath and take in one of the family-friendly shows. Whatever you do, make sure you bundle up!

9. Green Gables, Cavendish, P.E.I

Every year hundreds of thousands of people come to the tiny island of Prince Edward Island to visit the site that inspired L.M. Montgomery’s famous Anne of Green Gables novel. This is the perfect place to take the kids and one of the most famed attractions across the country. Located in the popular town of Cavendish visitors to the site will have the opportunity to tour the house and take part in interpretation programs, as well as a stroll through the Haunted Woods and Balsam Hollow trails as found in the book.

Head down to Avonlea Village, a recreated rural community based on the village where Anne lived. Here you can enjoy a children’s music show, browse electric shops and join an authentic PEI kitchen dance party with the kids. Don’t miss the chance to let the kids dress up as Anne at Gateway Village where they can get a replica photo taken, memories that will certainly last a lifetime.

8. Santa’s Village, Bracebridge, Ontario

This 60-acre family entertainment park is nestled in a beautiful setting on the Muskoka River in Bracebridge, Ontario, just a couple short hours from Toronto. It was established in 1955 and this particular location was chosen, as it is exactly halfway between the equator and the north pole, a place where Santa chooses to spend his warm months. This park is only open in the summer and plan on getting there early in the morning to enjoy breakfast with Santa, every day between 9:30-10:30.

Younger ones will love the rides such as swan paddleboats, air bouncers, a miniature Santa roller coaster and more. The splash pad feature giant water buckets that tip and towering candy cane fountains. Come decorate your Christmas cookies at the bake shop, head to Santa’s cabin to grab a photo or visit the farm where there are plenty of deer, sheep, and goat. It is truly Christmas in July here at this unique Canadian attraction.

Via Groupon

7. Algonquin Park, Ontario

If you are looking to get outdoors in the summer and hit the campgrounds there is no better place than Algonquin Park in Ontario. Let’s face it, as much work as it is for parents to take their kids camping, kids absolutely love being able to explore the outdoors. A canoe ride in this park should be on anyone’s bucket list, slicing over the still water with an expanse of water, rock and pine trees in the distance.

Although this park offers a ton of backcountry experiences, they have also made it extremely family friendly with kid-friendly camping areas, rentals on-site and recommended short canoe trips. There is no shortage of beaches to explore, hiking trails, wildlife and enough room for any kid to run around until they can run no more. Hey, maybe they might even sleep in past 7 am.

6. Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto, Ontario

With a name like that, it’s hard to write this list without recommending that this Canadian attraction is visited. The CNE, also known as The Ex is an annual event that takes place for 18 days leading up to an including Canadian Labour Day. Activities here range from an incredible air show, rides, and games, a farm, special kids world, talent shows, special demonstrations and foods that kids will go crazy for.

Every year there is one day during the event that has super discounted prices for kids with the purchase of adult admission. It is here where you will find sing-along with Dora, meet and greets with your kid’s favorite characters, art studios, toy workshops and enough activities to keep you busy for days. Bring a stroller for the wee ones though as it does require a lot of walking.

5. West Edmonton Mall, Edmonton, Alberta

It is the largest shopping mall in North America and absolutely littered with things to see and do, from amusement parks to theatres to an indoor water park. Galaxyland, the indoor amusement park features 24 rides and attractions including roller coasters and thrilling launch rides. World Waterpark is the second largest indoor waterpark and features the world’s largest indoor wave pool and towering twisting waterslides.

The Ice Palace invites skaters of all levels to skate on this scaled down version of an NHL ice rink in the center of the mall. Other exciting things to do here with the kids is indoor mini-golf, an arcade, bowling alley, indoor skate park and explore the theme areas throughout. We promise you could spend 5 days here and still not run out of things to do.

4. CN Tower, Toronto, Ontario

It is Toronto’s most famous landmark and going to the top as a kid is absolutely one of the most memorable moments. For a long time this city attraction was the tallest free-standing structure in the world, and although it lost that title in 2010 it still remains a popular tourist attraction. Kids will love riding in the glass-fronted and glass-floored elevator up to the SkyPod for fantastic views over the city, especially if the kids are a little older to appreciate just how high up they actually are.

The lookout level offers the chance for kids to step out onto the glass floor and really feel like they are floating. If you have kids under the age you will want to make your way to the KidZone, a recent addition to the CN tower which features over 1,500 square feet of space for kids to play. Kids also happen to love the short 14-minute film that features streetcars and propels the audience through the city. Fun for both kids and adults, visit this iconic landmark next time you are in Toronto.

3. Calgary Stampede, Calgary, Alberta

This annual rodeo, exhibition and festival is held every July in Calgary, Alberta and calls itself the greatest outdoor show on earth. Kids love the chance to get up close and personal with the animals at the Stampede including cows, horses, donkeys, sheep, dogs and more. Captivating shows such as superdogs, acrodunk, Thomas and friends, Dora the Explorer and more happen throughout the festival.

Fun interactive activities and rides are located throughout the park, along with enough deep-fried chocolate treats to keep them going all day long. With a midway, market, one epic parade, the rodeo and plenty of parties; the time is now to put on those cowboy boots and hit this epic Canadian attraction with the kids.

2. Canada’s Wonderland, Toronto, Ontario

It is one of the best theme parks in Canada and the largest, opened in 19981 and improving each year that passes. Located in the north of Toronto, it is the perfect day trip for families with kids of all ages. Open daily from May to September and then weekends only until November your best bet to avoid lines is to go during the week before school is out for the summer. Featuring 16 roller coasters, a waterpark, many thrill rides and a special kids-only zone; this park has something for everyone.

Planet Snoopy and Kidzville is perfect the wee ones in your life and features character meet and greets, miniature roller coasters, live entertainment, bumper cars, train rides, swings and more. If you have older kids you won’t want to miss the Halloween Haunt where the park transforms into one giant spooktacular experience complete with rides, mazes and scare zones with live actors throughout the park.

1. Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls, Ontario

It is well known that the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is far prettier than the American, but truth be told how many kids really care about that. Sure they love to see the gushing waterfalls but what makes this attraction really awesome in Canada is the amount of kid-friendly attractions near the falls.

The best-known attraction has to be the Maid of the Mist boat cruise which takes passengers into the rapids immediately below the falls, an exciting experience for all ages. Lundy’s Lane is where the kids will want to head in this town as it offers activities such as bowling, arcades, mini-putt, haunted houses, laser tag and an indoor waterpark. Watch the fireworks over the falls during the summer, grab a bite to eat and wander alongside the impressive thundering falls.