Looking back at my past trips to Canada – fantastic memories start to flood in from my time exploring Nova Scotia, one of the four provinces that make up Atlantic Canada.
Nova Scotia is an ideal location to visit post lockdown, offering loads of wild nature, wide open spaces, incredible food, and easy accessibility for travellers from the UK.
This blog post is part of a two-part road trip guide which will explore Atlantic Canada.
Combined, you can easily visit two of the Atlantic Canada provinces – Nova Scotia and New Brunswick – on a road trip, and I would recommend you allow two weeks so that you can explore the area in depth.
Here is a list of recommendations for where I would visit on a road trip around Nova Scotia. Let’s get started!
How to travel to Atlantic Canada from the United Kingdom
Before we get started, I would like to note that this trip took place pre-covid. Information may have changed.
Flight time from the UK to Atlantic Canada is quicker than you might think. London Heathrow Airport to Halifax Stanfield International Airport takes just 6 hours and 55 minutes on a direct flight.
Halifax is the biggest city In Atlantic Canada and offers the best international connections to the area, making it a good starting point for your road trip adventure.
Start your road trip adventure in Halifax
Make the bustling city of Halifax your start and endpoint of your Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canada road trip.
It’s a must-visit, buzzing city located in the Nova Scotia province. You can find endless amounts of history and a great place to find incredible seafood and rich fishing heritage and culture.
If you fancy stretching your legs before hitting the road, you should check out my Halifax blog post for some fantastic things to see and do around the city.
1. Enjoy the Good Cheer Trail along the Annapolis Valley
Be sure to visit the Annapolis Valley and enjoy some classic Nova Scotia wine, cider and spirits along the Good Cheer Trail.
Plan to spend a night in the Annapolis Valley. Park your car and check in to one of the cosy bed and breakfasts or historic inns.
Then you can sample the fruits of the valley without having to worry about driving later.
I would highly recommend enjoying the Magic Winery Bus, a vintage double-decker hop-on bus transfer service that stops off at vineyards in the area.
This way, you can fully relax, and sample what the province has to offer.
2. Enjoy a lobster supper here at Hall’s Harbour
Hall’s Harbour, located on the world-famous Bay of Fundy, is known for having the highest tides globally and is also the location of Hall’s Harbour Lobster Pound.
Here you will find a delightful eatery which sells lobsters straight from the offshore catch – You can choose your lobster to take to the cookhouse and then enjoy it on the dock overlooking the harbour.
You can enjoy the whole experience of coastal living and fresh catches here.
The lobsters get sent worldwide from South Korea to Belgium, but you don’t have to wait in line as they do.
For those up for a dining adventure, be sure to order the Lobster Poutine, a Canadian classic mixed with a Nova Scotia Twist.
A must-see stop off dining location along your Nova Scotia road trip.
If you would like to explore more lobster locations in Nova Scotia (It’s a big deal in Atlantic Canada!) be sure to check out the Lobster trail for more unique lobster locations across the province.
3. Hike around Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site
Time to put on your hiking boots and explore Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site, which is one of two National Parks found in the province. It’s located in the southwestern tip of Nova Scotia.
The park is split up into two areas; an inland part made up of Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site, and the Kejimujik National Park Seaside on the Atlantic coast near Port Joli.
I would recommend the Mill Falls Hike (around 2km in length) in the main park. The trail starts from the Parks Canada visitor centre.
Kejimkujik Lake is also a perfect spot to explore by kayaking or canoeing if you have some free time to pick up a paddle and explore – this is a great place to enjoy some water sports as well.
A short drive to the ocean and you will find Kejimkujik Seaside. The Atlantic coast reveals much beauty with white sandy beaches, clear turquoise water, and lagoons that provide space for all sorts of sea life.
Remember you will need to purchase a Parks Canada pass if you wish to explore the National Park. You can buy from the Parks Canada visitor centre or online. The Cabot Trail will also require a Parks Canada pass.
4. Explore the cosy town of Lunenburg
The UNESCO town of Lunenburg is a very charming little historical town, full of character.
I would recommend taking a walking tour with Lunenburg Walking Tours. There is much history of being discovered here in Lunenburg, and if you’re lucky, you might spot the Bluenose II schooner (found on the Canadian 10 cent coin) sitting at the dock.
Check out the colourful houses and enjoy a local seafood meal from the area at one of the many waterfront restaurants, serving fresh local seafood.
The Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic on the Lunenburg Waterfront is well worth a visit to learn about the fishing industry in this town and how it brought wealth and trade to the area.
5. Paddle around Blue Rocks
Blue Rocks offers loads of open space, making it a great spot to enjoy stunningly desolate views. Getting away from city life and towns can be a great way to absorb Nova Scotia’s wild natural beauty.
Blue Rocks is perfect for capturing dramatic and moody photos, and even better, rent a kayak for the day to explore the caves from the water.
6. Discover the local charm of Mahone Bay
(Photo credit: Tourism Nova Scotia)
Discovering Nova Scotia’s smaller towns and villages can be a great way to absorb the province’s coastal charm.
Explore the quaint streets of Mahone Bay and take in the history, unique shops, artisan and locally inspired restaurants.
Mahone Bay has been named one of Canadas Top 10 most beautiful towns. The town is famous for its iconic three churches.
You can explore Mahone Bay’s calm waters and the hundreds of surrounding islands by taking part in a guided boat tour through the area.
7. Visit Picturesque Peggy’s Cove
Did you know that Peggy’s Cove is one of the most photographed locations in all of Canada?
And it’s still a fully functioning lighthouse in use today, making it a must-stop destination along your road trip route.
This tiny fishing village needs to make it onto your camera reel.
Make sure to save time to stop off here for a lobster roll lunch. I found this location a great spot for a picnic by the cove.
If you happen to be short for time, Peggy’s Cove, Mahone Bay and Lunenburg are all roughly an hour away from Halifax, making this an excellent alternative day trip.
8. Tidal Bore Rafting along the Bay of Fundy
Add some adventure thrills to your road trip by experiencing some of the world’s highest tides.
Tidal bore rafting is a thrill-a-minute adventure rafting tour along one of Canada’s top 5 rafting rivers.
It’s a must-try activity along the Bay of Fundy, as you will experience something rather unique to the area. You’re in for a wild ride!
What is tidal bore rafting you may ask? The water from the Bay of Fundy gets funnelled into the river to create a surge of water as the outgoing tide meets the incoming tide.
The front wave of this surge is known as the tidal bore. After the tidal bore passes, the river reverses direction and starts flowing inland.
Tidal bore rafting means you are riding these roller-coaster-like waves in a zodiac and having the time of our life!
Warning, you will get wet and muddy. Not to worry as you can enjoy a lovely hot shower at the end and be back on the road in no time.
9. Drive around the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island
A road trip around Nova Scotia wouldn’t be complete without driving around the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island.
This incredible 185-mile (298-kilometre) roadway will take you around the northwestern part of the island, weaving in and out of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, passing through wild forests and along the stunning rugged coastline.
As Canadians drive on the right side of the road (that’s a vital driving tip!) I’d recommend going around the loop road counter-clockwise on the Cabot Trail, meaning you will have better coastal views on the way round.
Make time to take in some viewpoint hiking trips throughout the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
The Skyline Trail footpath overlooks the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and I highly recommend it. Fingers crossed, the area is known for migratory whales. So keep a lookout to the coast, you might be in luck depending on the season.
Enjoy this incredible scenic drive and the sight and stops along the way. There are several local restaurants located along the Cabot Trail to stop and enjoy the local cuisine.
After you finish exploring the Cabot Trail, I recommend heading into the only city on the Island, Sydney for some fish and chip bistro dining at Flavour Downtown – and keep a lookout for the Big Fiddle, a giant violin statue on the waterfront that’s hard not to miss.
Thank you for reading about my road trip around Nova Scotia
Thank you for reading about my road trip around the Canadian province on Nova Scotia, and I hope you’ve found all the above information useful.
If you have any more questions that need answering about this trip, please feel free to send me an email, and I’ll be more than happy to help.
I can’t wait to re-visit Atlantic Canada once it’s safe to travel again, and I hope that Nova Scotia is at the top of your bucket list for post-lockdown travel.
This article was put together in collaboration with Atlantic Canada and Nova Scotia Tourism.