Canada is a country rich in natural beauty, we are recognized worldwide for having stunning landscapes, a varied geography, thousands of lakes, the stunning northern lights, the best autumn foliage and more. We Canadians love to travel and to explore our country. If you live on the west coast you want to know the east coast, and if you live more south you would like to explore the north. Which is the case with us. We live in Toronto and we have always wanted to explore the North East, specifically the beautiful province of Nova Scotia.
“New Scotland”, Nova Scotia in Latin, is the second smallest province after Prince Edward Island (PEI), and it is also the second most-densely populated province in Canada. This lovely place is one of the three maritime provinces that form Atlantic Canada. Halifax, Nova Scotia’s capital, is the business centre and a place full of art and history, where you can find many art galleries and museums to learn about this wonderful province’s history.
For us adventurers and travel lovers, the best way to explore a new place is by hitting the road and driving to new horizons! Nova Scotia is not the exception, if you really want to appreciate this province you must do a road trip, it will be an amazing experience. So, be sure to fill your canvas backpack with snacks, water, sun glasses, a map, phone charger and good music to keep up the good vibes!
One of the advantages about taking a road trip to explore Nova Scotia is that since the province is small you can plan it for a long weekend and discover lots of places. Another important thing to consider is the climate, Nova Scotia has the most moderate climate in Canada, this means that the extreme temperatures of the winter and summer are moderated by the ocean. Don’t get me wrong, winters are still cold! But the summer and fall are lovely, so this is the perfect time to go, low season and still awesome weather.
The best place to start your adventure is at Cape Breton Island, one of the biggest islands that forms Nova Scotia. If you like hiking, visit the Cape Breton Highlands National Park and enjoy one the most scenic views at the Skyline Trail. This impressive place will steel your heart. If you have a more wild adventurous spirit you can zipline along the Cabot trail, it’s amazing! Depending on the season, you may have the chance to spot whales from the top, watch the horizon carefully!
Follow the Cabot Trail and if possible make a short stop at the Gympsum Mine Lake in Cheticamp, a former quarry that has now become a spectacular place to take a dip or enjoy a picnic with a lovely view of the lake. Make sure to pack your backpack with a blanket, food and drinks, so you can stop at that spot you fall in love with to enjoy a snack.
Get back to the road and head south towards Truro, a beautiful small city in Nova Scotia. Once you arrive, find Victoria Park, a natural beauty located in the heart of Truro, it is a great place to take a hike. Park the car, grab your backpack with all your essentials and have your camera ready, because this place is awesome for pictures. This urban park features amazing nature, with a dramatic steep-sided gorge, a winding river, cascading waterfalls, and a forest.
Victoria Park is an ideal place to spend the afternoon, you can go birdwatching, have a picnic and walk surrounded by nature. If you like challenges you can do a 175-step climb to the top of Jacob’s Ladder.
Continue this amazing road trip and now we are heading towards the Bay of Fundy, an incredible place for water activities. You will reach a super cute small town named Wolfville. Visit the streets and take enchanted pictures of the old stunning buildings like the Acadia Theatre. Enjoy a nice cup of coffee from a local cafe and continue your journey.
Reach Annapolis Royal and prepare yourself for an incredible adventure. This place is famous for its Whale watching tours. The Bay of Fundy is visited by many different whale species like humpback whales, mine fin and porpoise. This is a unique opportunity you cannot miss. There are many tourist packages you can take, get on the cruise, have your camera ready and enjoy this adventure. All these tours are only available until the end of October, so this is the perfect time to go.
Head back to the highway and head towards Yarmouth, a port town located in Southwestern Nova Scotia, exactly at the other end of the province (opposite to Cape Breton). At this point, you have crossed the whole province at its longest side. This town is home to the largest fishing fleet in Atlantic Canada, and it is located at the intersection of two founding cultures: French-speaking Acadians and English-speaking communities.
This heritage town is rich in history, take a walk on the streets and admire the architecture of the old buildings, like the stunning sea captain homes that were built in 1850. Also, you can visit the firefighter’s museum and learn about oyster farming at the Eel Lake Oyster Farm. Nova Scotia is a province known for its adorable lighthouses along the shores. Visit the Cape Forchu Lightstation, the first style lighthouse, just 11 kms away from the town.
This light station is the perfect place to admire the ocean with the sunset as background. On your way to the lighthouse, you will pass the Fisherman’s Monument, working fishing villages and beautiful sandy beaches. There are guided tours available so you can learn more about the history of this lovely port-town. Don’t forget to bring your water repellent backpack some snacks, candies and be ready to stay there until the sun is gone. You will really want to stay here as long as possible.
After your experience at the lighthouse in Yarmouth and resting the night, you are ready to continue your journey, this time heading to Nova Scotia’s Capital: Halifax. This is the perfect place to end your trip. It will take about 3 hours to reach Halifax, so if you plan to leave early you can make some stops along the way at Shelburne, to enjoy the beach and take some nice pictures, and in Bridgewater to enjoy delicious lunch in this adorable town.
Since we are coming from the southwest side of Nova Scotia, it is better for us to stop first at the Peggy’s cove region, where we will find the most photographed and famous historic lighthouse in Nova Scotia. Peggy’s Point Lighthouse was built in 1915 and it still keeps watch over the waves and working lobster boats. This region is also well known for hiking scenic trails to St. Margaret’s Bay, kayaking adventures, birdwatching and of course the specialty of the house, Lobster!
There are B&B’s available so you can stay the night and enjoy all the fun of Peggy’s cove region. When done, continue your trip towards Halifax, this is the perfect place to learn about the music, culture and history of Nova Scotia. Enjoy a lovely meal at the local restaurants, visit the many museums and galleries, and don’t forget to check out the festivals, since the Thanksgiving long weekend is coming, there will be a lot going on! People from Halifax are so fun and welcoming, enjoy the music and learn how to dance Polka!
Share the photos from your adventures and remember to tag us in the ones with your TruBlue backpack. Happy road tripping!
Photos from Pixabay CC0