Looking for some fun things to do in Halifax with kids? Here are 18 great ideas,
sure to be fun for everyone in the 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.
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, there’s something for everyone in Halifax.
Here are some of our favourite things to do in Halifax with kids.
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Fun Things to Do in Halifax with 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 and is especially fun for kids to experience.
Explore the fort walls, visit the barracks and learn about life in the 18th century. In the summer, kids can take part in the soldier for a day experience.
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. Explore the Waterfront
One of the longest waterfront boardwalks in the world, this 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 stunning harbour views.
Relax in the hammocks, run, 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.
Just past the hammocks, there’s a fun path for kids to hop, jump and turn on and there’s plenty of public art to admire, including the interesting Drunken Lamposts.
Then grab a snack at one of the many food stalls, where you can find everything from lobster rolls to ice cream – the famous COWS Ice Cream can be found along the boardwalk.
It’s free to stroll along and honestly, it’s one of the best things to do in Halifax with kids, or without!
3. Visit the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
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, making it one of the best things to do in Halifax with kids.
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. 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, take in the flowers, trees and ponds, visit the bandstand and kids will love seeing the ducks in ponds.
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.
5. Take a Harbour Hopper Tour
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.
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 saves having to walk up and down all the Halifax hills, making it a great way to explore when you’re visiting Halifax with kids.
6. Visit the Discovery Centre
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! Tickets can be purchased for the morning or afternoon time slot, details can be found here. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
7. Take a Ferry Ride
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.
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.
Walk up to Sullivan’s Pond and see the geese and swans. There’s a nice path that circles around the pond as well.
There’s also a great playground at the ferry terminal, perfect for kids of all ages, as well as a piece of the Berlin Wall, for any history fans.
There are also some great playgrounds in Dartmouth that are within a short walk from the ferry terminal.
8. Explore Point Pleasant Park
Point Pleasant Park is a fantastic park located in the south end of Halifax, only a short distance from downtown.
With over 39km of trails to explore and fantastic views of the Halifax Harbour, it’s a great place to take a walk or go for a run.
Ruins of several forts can be found throughout the park, as well as the Prince of Wales Tower, one of Halifax’s National Historic Sites. And it’s free!
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.
9. Visit the Halifax Public Library
Normally a library wouldn’t be one of the highlights I’d recommend, but the Halifax Central Library is definitely an interesting place to visit.
Located on Spring Garden Road, just a short walk from the waterfront or the Halifax Public Gardens, the Public Library is an interesting building both inside and out.
The library has won awards for its architecture – it looks like a stack of books from the outside – and the inside is just as interesting. Plus there are some great views of downtown Halifax from the 5th floor.
It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for things to do in Halifax with kids, and a perfect way to spend a rainy day or to cool down on a hot day!
10. Stop by the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum
Located at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum is a great place to learn about aviation history and see some interesting aircraft up close.
The museum has over 30 different aircraft on display, and several interactive exhibits, which make the museum fun for kids of all ages.
The best part is that admission to the museum is free!
11. Get Active at the Oval
The Emera Oval is a year-round outdoor skating rink at the Halifax Commons, just beside the Citadel.
In the summer months, you can rollerblade, scooter or ride your bike around the track.
In the winter, the oval is transformed into an outdoor skating rink, which is the size of three NHL hockey rinks!
The Oval is free to use and there are you can rent equipment and helmets if you didn’t bring your own.
12. Get Outdoors at Sir Sanford Fleming Park
If you’re looking for more ideas of what to do in Halifax with kids, head to the Sir Sanford Fleming Park.
Sir Sanford Fleming Park is a beautiful park located just outside of 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 things for kids to do 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!
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.
13. See a Sports Game
Halifax is home to a few professional sports teams, who play throughout the year.
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.
14. Play Indoors
While there are so many fantastic 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!
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.
15. Head to Crystal Crescent Beach
Crystal Crescent Beach is a bit of a drive from downtown Halifax but well worth it in our opinion. This is honestly one of my favourite beaches.
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.
There are actually three beaches, with a boardwalk path connecting the first two beaches, and you can continue hiking out to Pennant Point if you’re up for a longer hike.
16. Visit Rainbow Haven Beach
Over on the Dartmouth side of the harbour, you’ll also find some fantastic beaches and plenty of lakes.
Another of our favourite beaches is Rainbow Haven Beach. It’s quiet in the off season but you’ll still find people walking along the beach in the middle of winter too!
In the summer, it’s a popular spot for families to spend the day, but there is plenty of room for everyone to find a spot on the sand.
There are lifeguards on duty during the summer months and it is a bit more sheltered than some of the other beaches along the Eastern Shore, making it a family favourite.
17. 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 even a boardwalk, and a great spot to try surfing or boogie boarding.
There are surfing schools nearby that offer lessons or rent boards.
Or you can just walk along the beach and look for sea glass and shells!
18. 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.
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 – Just be sure to watch your step and stay off the black rocks.
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 and you can find some great seafood here.
Read more | Visiting Peggy’s Cove
19. Explore Fisherman’s Cove and McCormacks Beach
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. These days it’s a popular spot for tourists, with plenty of boutique shops – including a unicorn shop – and restaurants to explore.
Grab a lobster sandwich or an ice cream 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 1km 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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
Enjoy your time in Halifax!
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.
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.
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