Nova Scotia is Canada’s “vacation state”. Its milder temperatures and dramatic landscapes draw around 2 million visitors each year.
With a province full of activities, it’s hard for people to choose which Nova Scotia attractions to prioritize.
That’s where we come in! This list has something for everybody, from golfers to history buffs. Choose your adventure below.
The Halifax Citadel
Over the course of Halifax’s first 100 years, there were three different Citadels. The first in 1794 was a far reach from what it is today, as a wooden garrison on the top of a hill.
The Citadel of today wasn’t built until 1820 when tensions between the UK and the Americas peaked. British forces were afraid that the Americans would try to take Halifax by land.
It served as a functioning military fort until after the Second World War. Now, it’s run as a Nova Scotia attraction for tourists to experience Canadian history.
Plan your visit around noon when the guard shoots the traditional noon gun. If you’re braver, opt for a guided tour and learn about the Citadel’s resident ghosts!
As a harbor city, many Nova Scotia attractions revolve around the water. This museum is no different. It is Canada’s oldest marine museum and shows a large range of vessels.
The museum has 30,000 artifacts, including information about Canada’s connection to the Titanic.
If you have kids, they’ll love the outside 100-year old CSS Acadia ship they can explore. Lots of cute picture opportunities and things to learn.
If you’re really into ships, take time to tour Ship Hector, a recreated vessel that brought early immigrants to the island. If it’s a nice day, bring a picnic and eat on the rocks overlooking this historic harbor.
The Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk
What is any main city without an outdoor stretch? If you don’t have time to explore other nova scotia attraction, you’ll get a good feel for the culture on this two-mile stretch.
At any given time you’ll see local craftspeople, musicians, and the best eats in Halifax. How about fish and chips overlooking where they were just caught?
If you want a deeper experience, you’ll come upon maritime adventures on the boardwalk’s stretch. Set up a schooner ride or schedule to go out deep-sea fishing.
Fortress of Louisbourg
If you didn’t get enough military excitement at the Citadel, check out the Fortress of Louisbourg.
When you step inside, you’ll walk into the 1700s. Historical costumes and actors give you the feeling of being in a functioning sea fort.
The longer you spend inside, the more immersed you’ll feel. Check out the historical information but don’t miss the live lace making or freshly cooked seafood.
If you’re feeling strong, learn how to fire a cannon – watch out below!
Old Town Lunenburg
This old, French harbor town is a UNESCO World Heritage site because it’s been so well preserved. The harbor is reminiscent of old times with sailboat masts piercing the horizon.
Walk around the town’s colorful wooden storefronts, that boast historical art, and local craftsmen.
Want to rest your feet? You can take a historical horse buggy around the town. Talk to your hotel concierge or travel guide about touring the town at night and see if you can spot any of the town’s famous ghosts.
Historical moored ships, not enough? Then get out on the water with the Bluenose II! It’s a remake of the 1921 racing boat that went undefeated for 17 years.
For those seventeen years, the Bluenose had the title of “Queen of the North Atlantic. Unfortunately, this queenly ship met its death on a coral reef off of the Haitian islands.
Nova Scotians and Canadians as whole missed her existence so much, they built the Bluenose II in 1963.
This exact replica you can ride on has traveled around the world but now takes you around the coast of Lunenburg two-hour harbor cruises. Tickets run around $64 Canadian dollars for adults and $36 for kids.
You can book your tickets online for their morning or afternoon outing. There’s room for the whole family on the 143-foot boat and it’s a ride you won’t forget!
Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse
There are over 150 lighthouses in Nova Scotia. Peggy’s Cove is easily the most famous.
Why? It’s only an hour from Halifax and gives the viewer a historic fishing village feel. Built in 1915, the lighthouse protects sailors from it’s rocky shores to this day.
Want to visit? Bring a windbreaker and wear closed toed shoes. The boulders Peggy’s cove perches on are fun to climb around, but only with caution.
Warnings aside, you’ll find a great half-day family-friendly outing at the cove. Catch the free walking tours at 10 am and 2 pm every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (weather and staff permitting).
The Evangeline Trail
Looking for more fitness related things to do in Nova Scotia? Take a leisurely walk (or intense bike ride!) on the Evangeline Trail. This historic trail will take you from the seaport of Yarmouth to the high cliffs of Fundy’s Minas Basin.
Want to see wildlife? Bring your binoculars. Hikers along this trail regularly see migrating shorebirds, whales, and sandpipers.
The Cabot Trail
We couldn’t discuss fitness related things to do in Nova Scotia without talking about the Cabot Trail. This 185-mile roadway winds right along with the shoreline, approaching ocean cliffs and popular attractions.
Many road bikers and motorcyclists aim to ride the long stretch, but it’s equally as enjoyable in a car. We’d suggest asking the rental company for a convertible and going in the early afternoon.
Highlands Links Golf Course
With its dramatic views and topographically interesting course, Highland Links has been a favorite for 75 years.
Its clubhouse the Keltic Lodge is a sight to see as well. The historical building just got a multi-million dollar renovation that’s not to be missed.
Book your tee time online by emailing their concierge.
Choosing Your Nova Scotia Attractions
There’s never been a better time to experience Nova Scotia. As the seasons round into spring and summer, we’re approaching peak tourist weather.
Never too hot, the sun on the water will keep you warm with just a light breeze.
If you’re coming from the US, you get to take advantage of the weaker Canadian Dollar. Your US dollars give you about a 30% decrease in Canada’s already exceptional prices. There’s no better time than right now to enjoy all the Nova Scotia attractions.