Wondering what to do in Halifax with kids? Here are 21 great ideas for things to do in Halifax with the whole family.

As the capital of Nova Scotia, Halifax is a vibrant and historic city with plenty to see and do. It’s a great place to visit with kids and there are plenty of family things to do in Halifax to keep everyone entertained.

We have lived in the Halifax area for a few years now, and while we enjoy visiting popular tourist spots like the Waterfront boardwalk, we also keep finding new things to suggest.

Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, historical sites, or just somewhere to relax, Halifax has it all. From strolling the waterfront to exploring the city’s history, exploring Point Pleasant Park or taking a ferry ride across the harbour and feeding the geese, these are some of our favourite things to do in Halifax with kids.

Best Things to Do in Halifax with Kids

Below we’ve highlighted some of the popular tourist attractions that are great for families, as well as other attractions and activities in Halifax for kids.

1. Visit the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site 

The Halifax Citadel is one of the top attractions in Nova Scotia and is a must-see for any visitor to the city.

The star-shaped fort is a National Historic Site that sits high on a hill overlooking the city. There’s been a fort here for almost 300 years, and the current fort is close to 200 years old. While it’s an important historical site to visit in Halifax, it’s especially fun for kids to experience.

Explore the fort walls – you can even walk inside the walls, visit the barracks and learn about life in the 18th century. In the summer, kids can participate in the Soldier for a Day experience. They’ll be outfitted in a uniform, then learn to march and practice drills, and learn to play the field drum.

If you time your visit around noon, you’ll be able to see the cannon demonstration that happens every day! (And if you’re somewhere else in Halifax at noon, you’re still sure to hear the cannon.)

2. Have Fun on the Boardwalk

One of the longest waterfront boardwalks in the world, walking along it is THE thing to do in Halifax, especially in the summer. 

It’s full of shops, restaurants, cafes, as well as fun activities during the summer months. It’s also a great place to people watch or take in the beautiful harbour views.

Relax in the hammocks, take a picture in the giant postcard, or just sit back and enjoy the view of the harbour in any one of the colourful chairs lining the boardwalk.

colourful chairs on the Halifax Boardwalk

Just past the hammocks, there’s a fun path for kids to hop, jump and turn on and plenty of public art to admire, including an interesting installation, nicknamed the Drunken Lamposts. 

Then grab a snack at one of the many food stalls in the Salt Yard, where you can find everything from lobster rolls to coffee and of course, ice cream – the famous COWS Ice Cream is here, as well as locally made Black Bear Ice Cream.

Near the Salt Yard, you’ll also find the iconic “Wave”, a favourite for kids to climb up and slide down – although there is a sign saying no climbing. It’s just across from the submarine play area, which is a hit with toddlers and younger kids.

There’s space for parents to sit on the wood steps of the former Tourist Info Centre, where you can watch both the submarine play area and the wave. I’ve spent quite a few hours sitting here over the years!

Other sights to see along the Boardwalk include the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Historic Properties, Queens Marque, and at the other end is Pier 21 and the Discovery Centre.

It’s free to stroll along the boardwalk and honestly, it’s one of the best things to do in Halifax with kids, winter or summer!

3. Visit the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

As mentioned above, along the boardwalk, you’ll find the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, one of Halifax’s most popular attractions.

It’s a great museum with interactive exhibits, hands-on activities and plenty of interesting things to see, including exhibits on the Titanic. You’ll also get to meet Merlin the Macaw, who makes the visit even more interesting.

entrance to the maritime museum of the Atlantic in Halifax Nova Scotia
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

Learn about Halifax’s maritime history; see exhibits on shipwrecks and lighthouses, including displays on the Halifax Explosion and the Titanic exhibit. 

The museum is also home to the CSS Acadia, the only ship to survive World War I and II and the Halifax Explosion. 

Kids will love exploring the different decks of the ship and learning about life on board, as well as checking out the many other exhibits in the museum.

4. Ride the Harbour Hopper

A visit to Halifax wouldn’t be complete without taking a Harbour Hopper Tour.

These amphibious vehicles offer tours of Halifax’s historic downtown, passing by many of the popular tourist attractions before heading into the harbour for some spectacular views of the city from the water.

the harbour hopper taking a tour out on the Halifax Harbour
The Harbour Hopper is a fun way to see Halifax

It’s a great way to see Halifax, learn about its history and have some fun all at the same time.

And taking a Harbour Hopper tour is a great way to see the city, as it saves having to walk up and down all the Halifax hills, which can be steep! It’s a great way to explore when you’re visiting Halifax with kids.

5. Visit the Discovery Centre

Located at the end of the Waterfront Boardwalk, the Discovery Centre is one of the best Halifax attractions for kids.

It’s a hands-on science museum, with tons of interactive exhibits and activities for kids.

Experience the wind tunnel and the flight simulator, learn about climate change or make it rain in the Ocean Gallery.

Then get up close with sea stars, urchins, molluscs and other creatures that are found along the shores of Nova Scotia.

Book a time and be prepared for plenty of family fun!

The Discovery Center is open Wednesday to Sunday and tickets can be purchased for the morning or afternoon time slot. Details and online booking can be found here.

6. See Gus at the Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum in Downtown Halifax is a great museum for kids. It features various permanent interactive exhibits, including one about Sable Island and another on the reptiles and amphibians of Nova Scotia.

But it’s also home to Gus, a gopher tortoise who turned 100 years old in 2023! He’s the oldest known gopher tortoise and has been living at the museum for over 80 years.

Stop by and see Gus in the front hall of the museum, or join him for a walk every day at 3 pm.

7. Skate at the Emera Oval

The Emera Oval is a year-round outdoor skating rink at the Halifax Commons, just beside the Citadel.

During the summer months, you can rollerblade, scooter or ride your bike around the track.

But as soon as the cold weather hits, the oval is transformed into an outdoor skating rink, which is the size of three NHL hockey rinks. It’s honestly one of the best things to do in Halifax in the winter. And it’s free!

skaters skating on the emera oval in Halifax
Skating at the Oval in the winter months

if you don’t have equipment, don’t worry – skates and helmets are available in the winter, and scooters, bikes and trikes are available to rent in the summer months. Rentals are at no charge, but government identification is required.

8. Stroll Through the Halifax Public Gardens

The Halifax Public Gardens are one of the oldest Victorian gardens in North America and are definitely worth a visit. 

Stroll through the gardens and admire the flowers, trees and ponds, visit the bandstand and escape from the busy streets of Halifax for a moment.

While it’s not a place to run and play, kids will love crossing the bridge and seeing the ducks in ponds.

bandstand surrounded by flowers at the Halifax Public Gardens
Halifax Public Gardens

The Public Gardens are free to enter and open year-round, sunrise to sunset. 

In December, the gardens are open in the evening for the Holiday Light Festival, which is one of the most popular holiday events in Halifax.

9. Visit the Halifax Central Library

It’s not often that a public library makes a list of things to do in a city, although I do recommend it when visiting Prague with kids too.

The library’s unique design, intended to look like a stack of books, has won awards for its architecture and is worth seeing. The inside is just as interesting, and boasts five levels of books, including an excellent children’s section, as well as some great views from the top floor.

Halifax Central Library on spring garden road in halifax
Halifax Central Library

There are also two cafes, one just inside the entrance and one on the top floor, where you can enjoy a coffee and snack, or pick up a snack to go. It’s a perfect way to spend a rainy day or cool down on a hot day!

The Halifax Central Library is located right downtown on Spring Garden Road, just a short walk from the waterfront or the Halifax Public Gardens.

10. Explore Point Pleasant Park

Point Pleasant Park is a fantastic park located in the south end of Halifax, only a short distance from downtown. It’s a great place to explore and get away from the city streets.

There are over 39km of trails to explore, including a 3km trail around the perimeter, and fantastic views of the Halifax Harbour.

Throughout the park are ruins of several forts, as well as the Prince of Wales Tower, one of Halifax’s National Historic Sites. And it’s free to explore!

Fun Fact: The City of Halifax rents Point Pleasant Park from the British for 1 shilling a year (around 10 cents), with a 999 year lease.

11. Take the Ferry

Halifax is located on the world’s second largest natural harbour and taking a ferry ride across the harbour is a must-do when you’re visiting Halifax.

Kids will love the short trip across the harbour from downtown Halifax to Dartmouth, which only takes about 15 minutes and offers some stunning views of the city skyline.

ferry crossing the Halifax Harbour
Take the Halifax ferry across the harbour to Dartmouth

And once you’re on the other side of the harbour, there are plenty of things to do in Dartmouth.

Wander through Downtown Dartmouth, browse the unique shops or stop for a snack or bite to eat at any of the great restaurants and cafes in the downtown area.

At the ferry terminal, there’s a weekend market, a coffee shop and restaurant, as well as the Kiwanis Playground, which is great for kids of all ages.

There’s also a few other great playgrounds in Dartmouth that are within a short walk from the ferry terminal.

12. See the Geese at Sullivan’s Pond

Downtown Dartmouth has plenty to see and do. And while there are plenty of good restaurants, cafes and shops in the downtown area, be sure to take a short walk to Sullivan’s Pond.

This popular spot in Dartmouth is home to a large pond and a paved walking path circles around the pond. But it’s most known for the resident geese and ducks that call the pond home.

The geese don’t just stick to the pond though, and can often be seen walking around the grass and even crossing the street to the small park on the other side. It’s not permitted to feed the geese, but taking a short walk to see them is a fun thing to do with kids.

13. Visit Pier 21

Pier 21, located on the Halifax waterfront, is one of the top attractions in Halifax. This historic site served as the gateway to Canada for over one million immigrants and is now home to the Canadian Museum of Immigration.

The museum highlights Canada’s history of immigration, featuring stories of people who have passed through Pier 21, as well as other permanent and rotating exhibits.

While the museum will be appreciated more by the adults, there are also interactive exhibits and activities for kids that make the history come alive and keep them engaged.

14. Explore Sir Sanford Fleming Park

Sir Sanford Fleming Park is a beautiful park located a few minutes from downtown Halifax, just off the Northwest Arm. Also known as the Dingle, the park is huge, with lots of walking trails, benches and picnic areas.

But the best reason to visit is the amazing Dingle playground! If you have young kids, this is easily one of the best playgrounds in Halifax.

It’s a natural playground with a challenging slide tower, a water pump and a log tower and plenty of opportunities to climb. It’s a kids’ paradise! 

natural playground at the Dingle
Dingle Playground

But even if you’re not into playgrounds, it’s still a great place to visit!

The park is home to the Dingle Tower, which you can climb for some amazing views of the Northwest Arm and the Halifax Harbour, and there are walking trails throughout the park.

15. Try Moon Mist

When visiting Halifax with kids, be sure to try the unique Moon Mist flavour.

If you’re in the mood for ice cream, be sure to try the unique Moon Mist flavour. This brightly coloured grape, banana and bubblegum flavoured ice cream is a local specialty, and can only be found in Nova Scotia.

You’ll find it at various ice cream shops around Halifax, and anywhere that sells Farmers ice cream. Enjoy a scoop (or two) of Moon Mist while exploring Downtown Halifax, or you can also find it in two shops at Fisherman’s Cove.

16. See a Sports Game

Halifax is home to a few professional sports teams, and no matter what time of year you visit the city, you’ll be able to find a game on.

If you are visiting Halifax in the winter, be sure to check out a Halifax Mooseheads hockey game or a Halifax Thunderbirds Lacrosse game at Scotiabank Centre.

And if you are visiting in the summer, be sure to check out a HFX Wanderers game at the Wanderers Grounds, just opposite Public Gardens and the Citadel.

soccer players running on the grass at Wanderers grounds in Halifax.
See a HFX Wanderers game

17. Play Indoors

While there are so many fantastic outdoor things to do in Halifax with kids, if the weather isn’t cooperating, or you’re just looking for an indoor activity to burn off some energy, Hop! Skip! Jump! is the perfect place to go.

Perfect for toddlers or kids up to 12 years of age, Hop! Skip! Jump! is a great indoor play space just a few minutes’ drive from Downtown Halifax.

There’s plenty to do for kids of all ages, including a three-level structure with a ball blaster arena, a spider climbing tower, a soft climbing wall and a ball pool.

For toddlers, there’s a separate area where they can jump on the trampoline, ride the spinning palm tree or the animal merry-go-round.

Passes are available for two time slots and you’re welcome to stay as long as you want within that four-hour period. Socks are required!

18. Take a Day Trip to Peggy’s Cove

The iconic lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove is one of the most popular day trips from Halifax, and it’s just under an hour’s drive from downtown.

It’s the most photographed lighthouse in Canada, and a beautiful spot to visit.

lighthouse at Peggy's cove

There’s a new accessible boardwalk that takes you out for a fantastic view of the lighthouse, or you walk out on the rocks right up to the lighthouse.

Kids will love climbing the rocks and you can walk along the rocks for awhile. Just be sure to stay safe and keep off the black rocks! Even when it looks calm, the waves can be unpredictable.

two kids playing on the rocks at Peggy's cove

While most people come to see the lighthouse, the village of Peggy’s Cove is also worth a visit. It’s a working fishing village and absolutely picturesque. Stroll around and browse the shops, have a coffee or try some great seafood. Here’s more information on visiting Peggy’s Cove.

Things to Do Near Halifax

If you have a car while you’re visiting Halifax, here are some things to do just outside of the city. 

19. Visit a Beach

Halifax, being on the coast, is close to quite a few great beaches. While they are a few minutes’ drive from the downtown area, if you have a car, visiting the beach is a great way to spend an afternoon in Halifax.

Some of the best beaches near Halifax are Rainbow Haven, Crystal Crescent and Lawrencetown.

Rainbow Haven Beach is a large beach with soft sand and gentle waves, making it great for families. It’s our go-to beach, both during the summer months for a beach day, and in the winter, for a great spot to walk on a sunny day.

In the summer months, lifeguards are on duty, and there are washroom facilities near the parking lot.

Crystal Crescent Beach is a bit of a drive from downtown Halifax but well worth it in our opinion. It’s honestly one of my favourite beaches.

There are actually three beaches here, with a boardwalk path connecting the first two beaches and the water is a bit chilly – you’re on the ocean after all – but it’s not usually too crowded, making it a great spot to spend the afternoon.

child running along white sand at crystal crescent beach in halifax Nova Scotia
Crystal Crescent Beach

Lawrencetown Beach is across the harbour along the Eastern Shore, and is known to be a great place to surf. We’ve mentioned it below, but even if you’re not interested in surfing, it’s still a great spot to visit and experience the coastline of the East Coast.

20. Explore the Shops at Fisherman’s Cove

Another great day trip (or half-day trip) from Halifax is to visit Fisherman’s Cove across the harbour in Eastern Passage.

This historic fishing village has been around since the 1700s and was once a busy port for ships coming into Halifax. Now it’s a popular spot for tourists, with plenty of boutique shops, including a fun unicorn shop and an old-fashioned candy shoppe, as well as a few great places to eat.

Grab a lobster sandwich or an ice cream (my kids recommend Moon Mist) and take it to enjoy as you stroll the boardwalk that takes you out over the water. 

It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon exploring and soak up some of Halifax’s history.

Beside Fisherman’s Cove is McCormacks’ Beach. It’s a small beach, but you can walk on the sand when the tide is out, or even go clamming.

There’s also a kilometre-long boardwalk that loops around the shore and you’ll be treated to some great views of the harbour, and the Halifax skyline in the distance. 

brightly coloured buildings alongside the pier at fisherman’s cove in eastern passage - it’s a great half-day trip to take from halifax with kids

21. Surf at Lawrencetown Beach

Also over on the Dartmouth side of the harbour and a short drive from Halifax, Lawrencetown Beach is a fantastic beach and a popular spot for surfing – year round!

It’s another of our favourite beaches, with a mix of stones and sand and it’s a great spot to try surfing or boogie boarding.

If you’re interested in learning to surf, there are surfing schools nearby that offer lessons or rent boards during the summer months.

Or you can just walk along the beach and look for sea glass and shells!

pebble and sand beach in Nova Scotia on the Atlantic ocean

Where to Stay in Halifax

Halifax has plenty of accommodation options. If you’re looking for a place to stay in Halifax, here are some great family-friendly options:

The Westin Nova Scotian

The Westin Nova Scotian is great option for families. It’s close to the Halifax Waterfront, the Discovery Centre and many other kids activities in Halifax.

Rooms include a mini fridge and there is an indoor pool and a fitness center. There is an additional charge for parking.

👉 Check for rates and availability on Booking.com | Hotels.com | Expedia

Homewood Suites

Another great family friendly choice is the Homewood Suites by Hilton. Suites are air conditioned and have a full kitchen with microwave.

Breakfast is included and there is an indoor swimming pool.

👉 Check for rates and availability on Booking.com | Hotels.com | Expedia

Coastal Inns Halifax

For those looking to stay outside of the downtown area,  Coastal Inns Halifax is a great option. It’s located just off the highway and is only a few minutes drive from Downtown Halifax.

The hotel also has an indoor pool, complimentary breakfast, and free parking. They also have free board games to borrow, which is always a good thing when you’re travelling with kids!

👉 Check for rates and availability on Booking.com | Hotels.com | Expedia

Hampton Inn & Suites

Outside of downtown Halifax, and our personal recommendation, is Hampton Inn & Suites in Dartmouth.

Located in the outlets at Dartmouth Crossing, Hampton Inn & Suites is conveniently located off the highway and just a short drive to Halifax.

We love the huge family suites that come with a kitchenette, but the hotel has a fantastic breakfast too! There’s also an indoor pool, with a hot tub and large water slide. We’ve stayed there quite a few times and always had a great experience!  

👉 Check for rates and availability on Booking.com | Hotels.com | Expedia

These are just a few of the great family-friendly hotels in Halifax. For more ideas on where to stay in Halifax, we use and recommend booking.com.


Final Thoughts: Best Things to Do in Halifax with Kids

Halifax is a great place to visit with families. There’s so much to see and do in the city, from exploring the downtown area to visiting some of the great family-friendly attractions in Halifax or simply walking along the waterfront boardwalk. Whether you’re looking for ideas on spending 3 days in Halifax or if you only have one day while passing through, these family-friendly things to do in Halifax will ensure everyone has a great time!

Enjoy your time in Halifax! 

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MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO NOVA SCOTIA

DRIVING TO HALIFAX: Here’s some info on the drive from Toronto to Halifax, including things to do along the way and suggested places to stop.

HALIFAX: There’s plenty to do in the city year-round, including these fun things to do in Halifax in the winter. And kids will love to check out the best playgrounds in Halifax. Across the harbour, there are also plenty of things to do in Dartmouth and some great places to eat and drink in Dartmouth.

NEAR HALIFAX: If you’re looking to get out and explore more of the province, here are 10 great day trips from Halifax, including visiting Peggy’s Cove.

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.

Need help planning your vacation to Nova Scotia?
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