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5 Best Places in Nova Scotia to Visit

Updated on November 27, 2010
Nova Scotia lighthouse
Nova Scotia lighthouse

Visiting Nova Scotia

If you're planning a trip to Nova Scotia or already live here, consider yourself lucky. While Nova Scotia is often overlooked as being one of the smaller and lesser significant provinces of Canada, it has a lot to offer and you will find that we have here many unique places to visit and lots of good options for day trips. I was born and raised in Nova Scotia and below, here are five of my favorite places in Nova Scotia to visit!

South Shore, Nova Scotia

The South Shore is a beautiful part of Nova Scotia and extends from the Halifax harbor all the way to the end of Shelburne county. This is one of the most beautiful parts of Nova Scotia in part because of all of its beaches such as Crescent Beach, Risser's Beach, Hirtle's Beach and many more (see below).

The South Shore of Nova Scotia is also home to the heritage town of Lunenburg and this fishing town is truly unique and a very popular tourist spot in the summer with many great restaurants to pick from, many of them overlooking the water.

Joann's Deli Market and Bake Shop in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. I love this place!
Joann's Deli Market and Bake Shop in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. I love this place!

Along the South Shore you will also find the quaint town of Mahone Bay which is another popular tourist spot for Nova Scotia in the summer. It's smaller than Lunenburg and arguably doesn't have the same amount of character but you will still find some delicious restaurants here, also many along the water. One of my favorite places to stop in Mahone Bay is Jo-Ann's Deli Market and Bake Shop. It's a really cute market (albeit a little pricey) where you can buy lunch and baked goods along with fresh fruits and vegetables of the season. You can eat outside on their colored tables underneath their flowering hanging baskets.

Carter's Beach, Nova Scotia. Can you see why some people say it looks a little bit like the Caribbean?
Carter's Beach, Nova Scotia. Can you see why some people say it looks a little bit like the Caribbean?

Nova Scotia Beaches

I love the beaches in Nova Scotia. I've lived here my entire life and I'm still discovering new beaches even within only a 2 hour driving radius from my house. My favorite beach is Carter's Beach which some refer to as "the Caribbean of Nova Scotia." That might be a bit of a stretch but it is certainly beautiful, has lots of character and actually does look a bit like the Caribbean with white sand although the water is still cold, being the Atlantic. You can find Carter's beach off Exit 21 on Highway 103 and it is near Liverpool, Nova Scotia. On average, the South Shore of Nova Scotia probably has the best beaches anywhere in the province.

Cabot Trail, Cape Breton

 If you're into nature and scenic routes, the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia is definitely for you. The Cabot Trail is a very well-known scenic drive in Canada and arguably one of the most beautiful. It takes you through a national park in Cape Breton Island where you will drive over mountains and see the ocean at the same time. There are camp sites along the Cabot Trail if that's your thing but there are also some motels/hotels as well but it's best to book early if you're going during the summer. If all you plan on doing is driving without any stopping, driving the Cabot Trail should take you around five hours. Of course, you will probably want to take longer than that if you're the type who likes to stop to take pictures and to not rush through your lunch and dinner! There are many hiking trails along the Cabot Trail as well.

The harbourfront in Halifax is a great place to go walking and exploring any time of year
The harbourfront in Halifax is a great place to go walking and exploring any time of year

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia and is a really nice medium sized city with a very charming downtown area and waterfront. You can find decent shopping in the Halifax area with several malls and many stores. What I like most about Halifax is the wide range of dining options including a large variety of ethnic restaurants. My latest favorite is Talay Thai on Barrington Street which is a Thai restaurant as you might have guessed.

Halifax is also very well known for its Point Pleasant Park. This is a park with trails in the middle of the city with water frontage. I'm ashamed to admit that I only visited there for the first time a few months ago but I would recommend it as a great place for people watching and as an escape from the city.

The Valley, Nova Scotia

"The Valley" is one of my favorite places to visit in Nova Scotia, especially in the fall. It's a great place to go apple picking at this time of year or if you don't want to pick your own, there are several really nice Farmer's Markets that have lots of character. Here too, you will not have a hard time finding many tasty restaurants to choose from. One of my favorite restaurants here is called Rosie's in a small town called Kentville.

Please comment below if you have any questions about Nova Scotia and where to visit. I will try my best to help you out!


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    • daybreak profile image

      daybreak 6 years ago from Atlantic Coast of North America

      A trip to Nova Scotia is on my bucket list!

    • Food Wine Travel profile image

      Food Wine Travel 6 years ago from New York

      Always great to see a piece promoting Nova Scotia. Have you any favorite farmer's markets? You mentioned you love them. I am a big fan of the Annapolis Royal weekly farmer's market. And a new one in Bear River in the summer months. I definitely want to check out Carter's Beach next summer. Looks so beautiful. What I am always amazed about in Nova Scotia, is that even at the height of the summer months, you can find peace and quiet anywhere, at any beach. This is not an over run destination. Peace, quiet, and the sound of the ocean waves ahhhhhh!

    • Green Lotus profile image

      Hillary 7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Oh Nova Scotia of course...home of unsalted lox.

    • PurpleOne profile image

      PurpleOne 7 years ago from Canada

      @carrie 450 - I'm glad that you had a chance to visit Nova Scotia! :) You're right that pictures just don't do it justice (or for that matter, most places).

      @Green Lotus - Do you mean NC or NS? :)

    • Green Lotus profile image

      Hillary 7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Hi PurpleOne - I had the pleasure of visiting NC early this fall (a bit too early to see the foliage), and it was lovely.

      I was on a cruise to New England and especially enjoyed the view from the sea!

    • carrie450 profile image

      carrie450 7 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

      Hi PurpleOne, Was just browsing this morning and came across your hub. How ironic is this that myself and my daughter just came back from Nova Scotia on Friday, Oct 15th. I went to see a childhood friend I haven't seen in 44 years. Your description of N.S. is very good. Peggy's Cove was a surprise in the way that it is more beautiful than I had ever imagined! Photos on the internet don't do this amazing place justice and the Autumn scenery was breathtaking.

    • PurpleOne profile image

      PurpleOne 7 years ago from Canada

      ahorseback - I agree that Halifax is a great city with a lot to offer!

      Duchess OBlunt - We have our stresses here too as I'm sure you can imagine but yes, I think the pace is definitely slower. Thanks for the comment!

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 7 years ago

      I'm loving these hubs about Canadian locations. Great job! The maritimes are a wonderful relaxed group of people. Everything seems slower there somehow.

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 7 years ago

      Nova Scotia is a beautiful maritime location , unspoiled by crowds and yet halifax is as great a hub as any city with lots to do.You cannot miss Lunenburg , for a maritime past and the beauty of a small town. All in all it's well worth it.....Great hub...

    • PurpleOne profile image

      PurpleOne 7 years ago from Canada

      FGual, I think you're right in that Nova Scotia is not overrun with tourist traps but we still do have some especially in the summer! Thanks for your comment!

    • FGual profile image

      FGual 7 years ago from USA

      Looks like a beautiful place which is still not overrun with tourist traps.