Looking for the best day trips from Halifax? Here are 10 great suggestions to see more of the province.

While Halifax is a great place to explore, there’s so much more to experience in Nova Scotia as well. From beaches and lighthouses to charming small towns and fishing villages, there’s plenty to see and do around Halifax.

Here are 10 of our favourite day trips from Halifax, Nova Scotia that will let you experience more of the province. They are all within an hour of the city and are well worth the drive!

Choose as many of these day trips as you have time for, or save this list for the next time you visit Nova Scotia! 

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10 Best Day Trips from Halifax

1. Peggy’s Cove

Distance: 45 km
Driving Time: 45 minutes

This small fishing village is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nova Scotia.

Located just 45 minutes from Halifax, Peggy’s Cove is a working fishing village with beautiful granite cliffs, stunning ocean views and of course, the iconic lighthouse.

It’s said to be the most photographed lighthouse in Canada and it’s easy to see why. 

Peggy's Cove lighthouse on granite rocks in Nova Scotia
The lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove

There’s a new accessible viewing deck, making it possible for everyone to enjoy the Peggy’s Cove experience, including families with strollers. 

Stop by the Sou’wester for lunch or a snack, then wander through the village of Peggy’s Cove to get a taste of east coast life. Nearby is the Swissair Memorial, which is worth a visit.

Here’s a full post with more information on visiting Peggy’s Cove, including things to do in and around the area.  

A Peggy’s Cove day trip from Halifax is an easy, and scenic one-hour drive. Unfortunately, there is no public transportation available, but you can book a half-day tour like this one, which provides transportation from your hotel in Halifax to Peggy’s Cove.

2. Lunenburg

Distance: 100 km
Driving Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Just an hour’s drive from Halifax is the town of Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lunenburg is known for its well-preserved architecture and vibrant colours, as well as the delicious seafood. 

But Lunenburg is best known for being the birthplace of the famous Bluenose racing schooner that’s featured on the Canadian dime.

colourful buildings in Lunenburg Nova Scotia

Stroll through the streets and take in the charming sights, then stop for lunch at one of the many great restaurants.  Be sure to try some of the local seafood! 

After lunch, visit the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic to learn more about Lunenburg’s fishing heritage, see the Bluenose II if she’s in port and then stop by Ironworks Distillery for a tour and tasting. 

There are plenty of great photo ops in this picturesque town, so don’t forget your camera!

Day trips from Halifax to Lunenburg, like this one are a convenient way to visit this UNESCO town, as there is no public transportation from Halifax.

3. Mahone Bay 

Distance: 87km
Driving Time: 1 hour

Nearby Mahone Bay is also worth a visit, and it’s located just minutes from Lunenburg. One of the prettiest small towns in Nova Scotia, Mahone Bay is known for its three picturesque churches which overlook the bay.

3 churches in Mahone Bay

Mahone Bay is also home to Saltbox Brewing Company, where you can stop by for a tour and try some of their locally brewed craft beer. There are also plenty of great cafes and shops to explore in town. 

Lunenburg, Mahone Bay and Peggy’s Cove are the most popular attractions along the South Shore, and can easily be combined to make one of the best day trips from Halifax. 
This popular full-day tour is a great way to see the best of the South Shore from Halifax.

4. Wolfville and the Annapolis Valley 

Distance: 90km (Wolfville) to 110km (Blomidon Look-Off)
Driving Time: 1 hour

The Annapolis Valley is home to some of the best wineries, breweries and cideries in the province, as well as fantastic farmer’s markets and plenty of great places to eat.

The Valley, as it’s commonly known, is one of the more popular day trips near Halifax, as it’s just over an hour’s drive away. 

Tour one of the many wineries in the area and be sure to try Tidal Bay wine, a crisp, white wine that is Nova Scotia’s first wine appellation. Or try some locally sourced cider at the Annapolis Cider Company in Wolfville or some small batch spirits at Barreling Tide Distillery.

The Annapolis Valley is also home to the impressive Grand Pre National Historic Site and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Learn about Acadian history and wander through the beautiful grounds, or bring a picnic lunch and enjoy it in the gorgeous gardens. 

Then for a fantastic view of the Valley, head up to Blomidon Look-off before heading back to explore Wolfville.

view of Annapolis Valley from blomidon look off
View of the Annapolis Valley from Blomidon Look-Off

Wolfville is the largest town in the Annapolis Valley and is a great place to explore. Wander the quaint downtown area, shop in the boutique stores or grab a bite to eat in one of the great restaurants. 

For those looking for a guided tour, this Annapolis Valley Half-Day Tour includes stops at Grand Pre National Historic Site, Blomidon Look-Off, Halls Harbour, three vineyards as well as time in Wolfville.

5. Burntcoat Park 

Distance: 90 km
Driving Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

The Bay of Fundy is known for having the highest tides in the world, and while the Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick are one of the most famous spots to see these tides, you can also experience them in Nova Scotia as well.

A visit to Burntcoat Head Park is a great Bay of Fundy day trip from Halifax.  

At low tide, the ocean recedes and you can walk on the ocean floor for miles.

My guys love exploring the many tide pools, but the exposed rock formations are pretty impressive too.

Look for shells, fossils and other treasures as you walk along the ocean floor – just be sure to check tide times as they vary daily.

 ocean floor and exposed rocks when the tide is low at burntcoat head park
Walk on the ocean floor when the tide is low at Burntcoat Head Provincial Park

6. Dartmouth 

Distance: 5km
Driving Time: 10 minutes or 15 minutes on the ferry

The city of Dartmouth is one of the easiest places to visit near Halifax. (And while we may be a bit biased, we think it’s one of the best!)

Located just across the harbour from Halifax, it’s a great place to explore and there are plenty of things to do in Dartmouth

If you take the ferry over, you’ll arrive at Alderney Landing, where you can check out the weekly farmer’s market on Saturdays or the craft market on Sundays. 

Then take a stroll on the Ferry Terminal path and enjoy the stunning views of Halifax Harbour, or walk up to Sullivan’s Pond where you can see the historic Shubenacadie Canal

Wander back along Portland Street, browse the unique shops and keep your eyes open for art murals that are found all throughout the downtown area. 

street art in dartmouth Nova Scotia - painted photo of postcard

There are also plenty of great places to eat and drink in Dartmouth, so be sure to stop in for lunch or dinner, or even just a snack and beverage. 

No matter what you do, you’re sure to have a great day exploring Dartmouth!

7. The Beaches of the Eastern Shore

Distance: 20km to 100km
Driving Time: 30 minutes to 1 hour 25 minutes

The Eastern Shore is known for its gorgeous sandy beaches, and is another of the most popular Halifax day trips.  And while the beaches are beautiful, they also have some of the best waves on the east coast. 

Lawrencetown Beach is a well-known surfing spot – even in the winter! – and there are several surf schools in the area. Rent a board, take a lesson, or just try the waves! 

While Lawrencetown Beach may be the most well-known, there are plenty of other great beaches within an hour’s drive from Halifax. 

sand beach on the Atlantic Ocean in Nova Scotia
The Eastern Shore is known for sandy beaches

Martinique Beach is the longest beach in Nova Scotia, with 5 kilometres of white sand and is another popular surfing destination.  

Clam Harbour Beach and Taylor Head Provincial Park are also fabulous beaches, and although they are just over an hour from Halifax, it’s worth the drive to either of them!

Rainbow Haven Beach Provincial Park is a local favourite, with a huge stretch of sand and calmer water than the other beaches mentioned above. 

Any of the beaches on the Eastern Shore can be combined with a visit to Dartmouth for a full-day trip. Both Lawrencetown and Rainbow Haven beaches are under a half-hour drive from Downtown Dartmouth, making for an easy half-day trip.
Note: There is a $1.25 cash toll to cross either of the bridges over the Halifax harbour.

8. MacNabs Island 

Located in the Halifax Harbour, MacNabs Island is a great place for a day trip. The island played a major role in defending Halifax Harbour and is now a provincial park.

There are no cars on the island, but plenty of trails to hike, ruins to explore and beaches to relax on. It’s a great spot to spend a day in the summer!

MacNabs Island can be reached by private boat or charter operators from the Halifax Waterfront or Eastern Passage. The trip takes about 20-30 minutes from Halifax or 10-15 minutes from Eastern Passage. 

9. Truro 

Distance: 95 km
Driving Time: 1 hour

Truro is a great place to visit if you’re looking to get out of the city and explore some of Nova Scotia’s nature. 

Hike one of the many trails in Victoria Park, a large park in downtown Truro, where you can see two of the best waterfalls near Halifax, or climb the 175 steps to the top of Jacob’s Ladder.

Joe Howe Falls in Truro Nova Scotia
Joe Howe Falls in Victoria Park

Then visit the Glooscap Heritage Centre, where you can learn about Mi’kmaq culture and stand beside the impressive statue of Glooscap himself. 

Truro is also a great spot to watch the tidal bore – a phenomenon that happens twice a day when the incoming tide pushes against the outflow of the Salmon River, causing a wave to form that can be quite spectacular to watch. Check the tidal bore times before you go though, as the tides change daily. 

For the adventurous, try tidal bore rafting – it’s the only place in North America you can do it!

10. Stewiacke and Shubenacadie Wildlife Park 

Distance: 65km
Driving Time: 45 minutes

This is one of the best day trips from Halifax for kids!

While Stewiacke is known for being the halfway point between the North Pole and the equator, it’s best-known for being the home of Mastodon Ridge

Here on a hill that overlooks both the Shubenacadie and Stewiacke rivers, you can see Marvin the Mastodon.

large statue of a mastodon at mastodon ridge near Stewiacke Nova Scotia
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

A giant mastodon replica standing 14 feet tall and 22 feet long, Marvin is one of the biggest statues in Nova Scotia!

There’s also a visitor centre with information about the mastodon and the Stewiacke area, a children’s play area, restaurants and a mini putt course. 

After stopping here to see the Mastodon up close, head just outside of town to the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park. Here you’ll find plenty of wildlife, including bears, moose, bighorn sheep, foxes, wolves, beavers and otters. There are also owls, bald eagles, wild turkeys and of course, Canada geese. 

There are also several hiking trails in the park that wind through forest and meadow areas and a petting zoo for younger children. 

The Shubenacadie Wildlife Park is a 45 minute drive from Halifax and is open mid-May to mid-October. 

Transportation and Tours from Halifax

While Halifax itself has a great public transportation system, which includes public transit to and within Dartmouth, getting to some of these other day trip destinations will require a car. 

For those without a car, here are some of the best Halifax Nova Scotia tours:

Final Thoughts: Day Trips from Halifax 

Halifax is a fantastic city to visit, but there is so much more to explore beyond the city limits.

Whether you’re looking to explore Nova Scotia’s nature or its history, there are plenty of great day trips from Halifax to choose from. 

And while summer is the most popular time to visit Halifax, many of these day trips can be done year-round.

Shubenacadie Wildlife Park and MacNabs Island are closed in the winter months, but all of the other day trips from Halifax that we’ve listed can be done throughout the year – even the beaches!!

Happy exploring!

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HALIFAX: There are plenty of things to do in Halifax with kids, and while the weather is best in the summer, there are lots of fun things to do in Halifax in the winter too.

NEAR HALIFAX: Across the harbour, there are also plenty of things to do in Dartmouth and some great places to eat and drink in Dartmouth. And visiting Peggy’s Cove is an easy drive from Halifax.

CABOT TRAIL: This Cabot Trail itinerary for 2 days is a great way to see this beautiful area of Nova Scotia and hiking the Skyline Trail in Cape Breton is one of the top hikes in Nova Scotia.

NOVA SCOTIA: And to explore more of the province, here are 5 places you must see in Nova Scotia. If you’re visiting in the fall, here are some fun things to do in Nova Scotia in the fall and the best places to see the fall colours in Nova Scotia.

DRIVING TO HALIFAX: If you’re planning a road trip from Ontario or Quebec, here’s some info on the drive from Toronto to Halifax, including things to do along the way and suggested places to stop.

Need help planning your vacation to Nova Scotia?
We offer custom itineraries, built specifically for you and your preferences.
Find out more about itinerary planning here.

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