Visiting Peggy’s Cove is one of the most popular day trips from Halifax.
Located just an hour away from downtown Halifax, this small fishing village has become a must-see for visitors to the province.
Waves crashing over the granite rocks, a stunning coastline, and of course the famous Peggys Point lighthouse, a visit to Peggy’s Cove is sure to leave you with lasting memories.
About Peggy’s Cove
Peggy’s Cove is a small fishing village on the eastern shore of St. Margaret’s Bay in Nova Scotia. Only 40km from Halifax and technically part of the Halifax Regional Municipality, it’s an easy day trip from Halifax.
Home to 30 year round residents, Peggy’s Cove is still an active fishing community. And while the village may be small, it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nova Scotia, mainly for the iconic lighthouse that stands proudly on the rocks.
The famous lighthouse, which is actually named Peggy’s Point Lighthouse, was built in 1915 and is still an active lighthouse today, operated by the Canadian Coast Guard.
Fun fact: Peggy’s Cove is said to be named after Peggy, a shipwreck survivor who married a local fisherman and then became known as Peggy of the Cove.
What’s so special about Peggy’s Cove?
The lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove is said to be the most photographed lighthouse in the world.
And whether or not it actually is, it’s still an iconic Canadian landmark.
The picturesque setting of the lighthouse, against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean, is an iconic postcard image that most Canadians are familiar with.
And while there’s no doubt that Peggy’s Cove is beautiful, it’s also the quintessential Nova Scotian image. When many people think of Nova Scotia, they think of lighthouses and fishing villages, and Peggy’s Cove is one of the few places in the province which has both!
How long should you spend at Peggy’s Cove?
You could spend anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours in Peggy’s Cove!
If you’re just interested in taking the classic photo of the lighthouse, around 20-30 minutes would be plenty.
But if you’re interested in seeing the lighthouse from different angles, walking along the rocks and wandering through the village of Peggy’s Cove, you could easily spend half a day at Peggy’s Cove.
What is the best time to visit Peggy’s Cove?
Anytime is the good time to visit Peggy’s Cove!
During the day, first thing in the morning or late afternoon and early evening are the best times to visit. It will be the least busy, plus you’ll have the best light for photos. While we haven’t been for sunrise or sunset, the views then would be stunning!
Throughout the year, Peggy’s Cove is beautiful to see in any season, but keep in mind, it’s a popular tourist attraction in the summer months and it can get quite busy.
May and June, as well as September and October are great months to visit, as it won’t be as crowded as July and August, and the weather will still be warm, but not too hot.
If you don’t mind the cold – and the wind – Peggy’s Cove is gorgeous to visit in the winter months as well. Just be mindful of the ice and spray on the rocks.
How much does it cost to go to Peggy’s Cove?
Nothing, it’s free!
There is no entrance fee to see the lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove or to walk the rocks around the lighthouse, and parking is also free. The only cost to visit Peggy’s Cove would be the cost of transportation to get from Halifax to Peggys Cove.
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What to Do at Peggy’s Cove
See the Lighthouse
I mean, the lighthouse is what you came to see, isn’t it? And of course, to get that photo!
Peggys Cove Lighthouse is one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world for a reason – it’s beautiful!
The lighthouse is located on a large granite outcropping, which is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. The contrast of the red and white lighthouse against the dark rocks and blue ocean is simply stunning.
If you want to get different angles of the light house, or even just avoid the crowds, there are plenty of rocks around the lighthouse that you can explore.
Go for a Walk on the Rocks
Walking on the rocks around Peggy’s Point Lighthouse is one of the best things to do in Peggy’s Cove! It’s a great way to explore the area, get some fresh air and take in the stunning scenery.
There are no specific trails – you are free to wander wherever you like!
Just be careful and avoid the black rocks!
Rogue waves can sweep people off the rocks if they aren’t mindful of heeding the warning signs. If you see black rocks, stay clear of them!
Wander Through the Village
While many people come to see the lighthouse and then leave, there’s actually a lot more to Peggy’s Cove than just the lighthouse!
The village of Peggy’s Cove is small but charming, with brightly coloured houses and quaint shops. What it lacks for in size, it makes up for in character!
It’s worth spending some time exploring the village and popping into the different shops; you might just find that perfect souvenir to remind you of visiting Peggy’s Cove!
Stop for a Bite to Eat at Sou’wester
The Sou’wester Restaurant is right beside the parking lot for the lighthouse. While it might seem a bit touristy, their food is delicious!
The seafood chowder is fantastic but of course, you’ll also find plenty of lobster on the menu.
Lobster rolls are always popular, but you can also try lobster nachos or choose other seafood, such as oysters, mussels or my kids’ favourites, the fish tacos.
Visit the Swissair Flight 111 Memorial
The Swissair Flight 111 Memorial is just a short drive from the lighthouse and village of Peggy’s Cove.
The memorial is dedicated to the 229 passengers and crew who lost their lives when Swissair Flight 111 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Peggy’s Cove on September 2, 1998.
Take a Boat Tour
One of the most unique ways to see Peggy’s Cove is from the water! Peggy’s Cove Boat Tours takes you out on the water to see the lighthouse and coastline from the water.
Tours last for an hour and are available several times daily from June through September. They also offer Puffin & Seal Watching tours, Deep Sea Fishing tours, as well as Sunset Tours
See the Fisherman’s Monument
Just behind the William deGarth Art Gallery, the artist carved the Fisherman’s Monument into a 30 metre (100 feet) long stretch of granite rock.
The sculpture was created to honour the fishermen of NS and depicts 32 fishermen, their wives and children, as well as the legendary Peggy of the Cove.
What to Do Around Peggy’s Cove
Hike Polly’s Cove
Just down the road from Peggy’s Cove, you’ll find Polly’s Cove.
Just as gorgeous, but minus the lighthouse and the tourists, Polly’s Cove is a popular spot to hike.
While there’s more rock climbing than traditional hiking, it’s a short and favourite hike for kids, taking just under an hour to complete.
And as it’s not a groomed trail, but rather walking on the rocks, be sure to wear proper footwear!
Visit Mahone Bay
Mahone Bay is a small town located about 45 minutes from Peggy’s Cove. It’s a popular spot for shopping, with several cute boutiques and independent shops.
There are also several restaurants and cafes, as well as a brewery. Be sure to check out the iconic three churches!
Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most picturesque towns in Nova Scotia. Located just over an hour from Peggy’s Cove, Lunenburg is definitely worth a visit!
There is so much to see and do in Lunenburg, from exploring the historic streets to visiting the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic or taste testing at Ironworks Distillery.
Be sure to try some of the local seafood, especially the famous Nova Scotia lobster!
Tips for Visiting Peggy’s Cove
You can’t swim at Peggy’s Cove.
There are some beaches nearby where it is much safer to swim. And while it’s not directly en route from Peggy’s Cove to Halifax, Crystal Crescent Beach is one of our favourite beaches. Another popular one is Queensland Beach, and it’s on the way if you are heading to Lunenburg after visiting Peggy’s Cove.
You can’t go inside the lighthouse.
Much to my kids’ disappointment, you can’t go inside the lighthouse, or climb too the top like they were hoping.
Be very careful of the black rocks.
I know I mentioned this above, but it’s worth mentioning again. Rogue waves can break over the rocks and visitors who haven’t paid attention to the warning signs have been swept off the rocks.
Parking is free!
Parking can be found at the end of Peggy’s Point Road – the only road in the village – and in a few spots on the road leading up to the lighthouse, but parking on the side of the road is not permitted.
In early 2022, a new accessible viewing deck was completed, making it possible for everyone to see this popular tourist attraction!
How to get from Halifax to Peggy’s Cove
Peggy’s Cove is just under an hour’s drive from downtown Halifax.
You can either take the larger NS 103 highway and get off at exit 5, or take the more scenic route along route 333.
The scenic route is a smaller one lane road in each direction, so it does add a bit of time to the drive, but it is a prettier drive.
However, the roads do twist and turn, and if your kids are prone to car sickness, be sure to have a bag and wipes ready (speaking from experience on this…) or stick to NS 103.
If you don’t have your own car, unfortunately there is no public transportation but you can hire a taxi, cost is approx $150-200 or book a small group tour from Downtown Halifax.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Peggy’s Cove
Peggy’s Cove is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nova Scotia and it’s easy to see why!
With its stunning scenery, quaint village and fascinating history, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to add Peggy’s Cove to your list of places to visit in Nova Scotia!
Have you ever been to Peggy’s Cove? What did you think? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
For more ideas, inspiration and travel tips on Nova Scotia, be sure to check out these posts: