If you’re planning to visit Nova Scotia for the first time and wondering what to see or where to go, here are the top 5 places you must see in Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia is a fantastic province located in Eastern Canada that offers incredible natural scenery and plenty of activities for visitors. With stunning coastlines and gorgeous beaches, Nova Scotia is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. There are also plenty of historical sites and cultural attractions to explore in Nova Scotia, and of course, delicious seafood to enjoy!
While there are plenty of things to do in the province, we realize you can’t see everything, so we’ll highlight the top 5 places you must see in Nova Scotia while you’re here.
While Nova Scotia may be the 2nd smallest province in Canada, it’s a province with a lot to offer visitors. From incredible natural scenery to historical sites, quaint fishing villages and delicious seafood, there’s something for everyone in Nova Scotia.
See the highest tides in the world at the Bay of Fundy, relax on the gorgeous beaches on the Eastern Shore or take in the dramatic scenery of Cape Breton. Wherever you choose to go in Nova Scotia, you’re sure to be amazed.
And I bet you’ll be planning a return visit before you even leave the province.
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Why only 5 Places to See in Nova Scotia?
There are so many great places to see in Nova Scotia – honestly, it’s an amazing province.
And yes, we’re a little biased, as we now call Nova Scotia home, but once you visit, I’m sure you’ll see why!
I could easily make this a list of 55, or even 75 places to see in Nova Scotia. It wouldn’t be hard to keep adding to the list.
But I realize many people don’t have the luxury of spending weeks and months exploring the province and you’re trying to see as much as you can in the time you have!
So that’s where this post comes in.
We’re highlighting the top 5 places to see in Nova Scotia, and within these areas or places, we’ve suggested a few places you might want to visit. If you have the time, fit as many as you can into your itinerary.
But if you’re short on time, pick and choose from each area so you can see a bit of everything in Nova Scotia.
Top 5 Places to See in Nova Scotia
As the capital city of Nova Scotia, there are plenty of things to do in Halifax. Whether you ’re visiting for a few days or a week, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy.
Start by exploring downtown Halifax and checking out the Historic Properties along the waterfront. Then head to the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, one of the most popular Nova Scotia attractions, which offers incredible views of the city.
If you’re interested in learning more about Nova Scotia’s history, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is a must-see. For some great photo ops, head to the Public Gardens or take the ferry across the harbour for a great view of the Halifax skyline.
No matter what you do while you’re in Halifax, you’re sure to have a great time!
While in Halifax, here are some things not to miss:
- Visit the Citadel and hear the noon cannon
- Stroll along the waterfront boardwalk
- Visit the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
- Explore the Halifax Public Gardens
- Cross the Harbour and explore some of the things to do in Downtown Dartmouth
- Dine at any of one of the delicious restaurants in Downtown Halifax
- Visit Fisherman’s Cove, a working fishing village across the harbour from Halifax
Lunenburg and the South Shore
Nova Scotia’s South Shore is home to charming towns and quaint fishing villages.
One of the most charming and picturesque towns along the South Shore is Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Be sure to explore the historic streets, check out the unique shops and enjoy the fresh seafood.
The South Shore is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Nova Scotia. So if you’re looking to relax on the beach, take a hike or just enjoy the incredible scenery, the South Shore is the place to be.
While on the South Shore, here are some things not go miss:
- Visit the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic in Lunenburg
- Explore the quaint fishing village of Mahone Bay
- Visit the picturesque town of Chester
- Dine on fresh delicious seafood
- Kayak or paddle at Blue Rocks
- Relax on a beach – Carter’s Beach looks like it’s right out of the Caribbean
- Visit the iconic lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove
The Annapolis Valley is home to stunning scenery, quaint towns, farmers markets and some of the best vineyards in Nova Scotia. It’s also one of the oldest settled areas in North America, so there’s plenty of history to explore.
The Annapolis Valley is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the slower pace of life. But there’s also plenty to keep you busy, from exploring historic sites and museums to hiking, biking and kayaking.
While in the Annapolis Valley, here are some things not to miss:
- Visit one of the many wineries in the valley
- Explore the historic town of Annapolis Royal and the gorgeous Annapolis Royal Historical Gardens
- Stroll through the quaint town of Wolfville
- Pick up fresh produce at the local farmers markets
- Visit the Landscape of Grand Pre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Enjoy fresh scallops in Digby
Bay of Fundy
The Bay of Fundy is home to the highest tides in the world and some of the most unique and diverse coastline. Twice a day, the water flows in and out of the Bay of Fundy, exposing the ocean floor and creating a unique landscape. It’s an impressive sight to see.
While New Brunswick is better known for seeing the tides and exploring the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia is a great place to experience this well. In fact, the highest recorded tides were actually in Nova Scotia, at Burntcoat Head Park.
And Nova Scotia is the only place to go tidal bore rafting!
You can experience the tides all along the coast from Digby and Annapolis Royal to Windsor, as well as Advocate Harbour, Parrsboro and Five Islands on the other side of the Minas Basin.
While in the Bay of Fundy, here are some things not to miss:
- Walk on the ocean floor at low tide
- Visit Burntcoat Head Park where the highest recorded tides are
- Explore the Fundy Geological Museum
- Visit the Joggins Fossil Cliffs, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Admire the Bay of Fundy from the Blomidon Look Off
- Try Tidal Bore Rafting on the Shubenacadie River
Cape Breton Island
Cape Breton is an island off the eastern end of the province and it’s one of the most beautiful places in Nova Scotia. With its rugged coastline, stunning beaches, quaint villages and incredible scenery, it’s no wonder Cape Breton is a popular tourist destination.
There’s plenty to do on the island, from driving the world-famous Cabot Trail to hiking the many trails or exploring the small towns and villages. It’s also one of the best places in Nova Scotia to go whale watching in the summer months.
And don’t forget to sample the delicious seafood!
While on Cape Breton, here are some things not to miss:
- Drive the world-famous Cabot Trail
- Visit the Fortress of Louisbourg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Explore the small town of Cheticamp
- Hike the Skyline Trail or Franey Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park
- See the world’s largest fiddle in Sydney
- Visit Baddeck and take advantage of the many activities on Bras d’Or Lake
A Few Other Must See Places in Nova Scotia
Beaches of the Eastern Shore
The Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the province.
With its sandy beaches, crystal-clear water and stunning scenery, it’s no wonder this area is a popular spot to visit.
Martinique Beach is the longest sandy beach in Nova Scotia while Lawrencetown Beach is a popular spot for surfing and windsurfing and Rainbow Haven, our personal favourite, is a popular beach near Halifax that’s perfect for families to spend the day at.
Kejimkujik National Park
Kejimkujik National Park is a beautiful National Park located in the southwest of Nova Scotia. The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including moose, deer, beavers and bald eagles. There are also many hiking trails and over 200 lakes in the park, making it a popular spot for canoeing, kayaking and fishing.
The park is also home to a dark sky preserve, making it one of the best places in Nova Scotia to stargaze.
Final Thoughts: 5 Places to See in Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is an incredible province with so much to see and do. And while this definitely isn’t all that Nova Scotia has to offer, these are a few of the best places and things to see in Nova Scotia.
We hope you enjoy your time exploring Nova Scotia!
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