Best Things to do in Nova Scotia

14 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Nova Scotia

1 Cabot Trail

A 300 kilometer scenic drive rings the northwest coast of the island and Cape Breton Highlands National Park. It is a coastal route, where the highest mountains in Nova Scotia dramatically meet the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Cliffs, beaches, viewpoints, and a twisting road give countless photo opportunities. Many small communities and attractions line the route, which unofficially begins and ends in Baddeck, home to the father of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell. Autumn is a favorite time to drive the Cabot Trail owing to the region's vibrant fall colors.

2 Peggy's Cove

About 43 kilometers southwest of Halifax, the fishing village of Peggy's Cove has a back-in-time feel and sits on the foggy Atlantic Coast. The much-photographed lighthouse marks a perilous point. Stark, wave-battered granite bluffs surround the lighthouse. Fishing wharves, boathouses, colorful heritage homes, and art galleries line the winding road through the community. In September 1998, a Swissair plane crashed off the coast here, killing 229 people.

3 Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site

Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site

This historical reconstruction recreates mid-18th century life with more than forty historic buildings, costumed guides, and working establishments. It is a living history museum with a cast of soldiers, servants, fishermen, maids, and merchants who go about daily life. A defensive wall surrounds the town, and the Frédéric Gate sits right on the waterfront, for easy access to ships. Another entrance is the heavily guarded Porte Dauphine near the Armoury.

Address: 259 Park Service Rd, Louisbourg

4 Halifax Citadel National Historic Site

Halifax Citadel National Historic Site

Overlooking downtown Halifax, this hilltop fortress is the remnant of a British garrison that was first established in the 18th-century. Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, which itself was built in 1856, never saw a battle. Today, the warren-like tunnels, powder magazine, and barracks have been preserved, and living-history guides give tours. There are reenactments and fortress guards with interpreters dressed in British reds. The road leading up Citadel Hill is popular for its city and harbor views, and it passes the Old Town Clock, which Prince Edward commissioned in 1803.

Address: 5425 Sackville St, Halifax

5 Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Cape Breton Highlands National Park

The highest peaks in Nova Scotia are in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, which covers more than 950 square kilometers at the northern tip of Cape Breton Island. Both the coastline of beaches and cliffs and the inland forests and rivers tempt hikers, campers, and families to explore the park. Wildlife watching is excellent in the national park with moose, beaver, eagles, and deer often visible from the Cabot Trail scenic drive, which partially cuts through the park.

The small Acadian town of Chéticamp lies just outside park boundaries

6 Lunenburg

Brightly colored heritage buildings dot the Lunenburg townscape, which is picturesquely set on a hill. The community is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its legacy as a working port. Along the waterfront, fishermen shovel ice, and vessels dock at the wharves. The town's most famous craft, however, is the Bluenose schooner. Built here in 1921, the boat won many international races before sinking off the coast of Haiti. A replica Bluenose II is sometimes in port, while other fishing vessels and a schooner can be seen at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic.

7 Grand Pre National Historic Site

Grand Pre National Historic Site

Acadians settled in Grand Pre in the early 18th century, reclaiming Bay of Fundy salt marshes for agricultural land through a series of dykes. But as Nova Scotia changed hands between the French and British, it brought unrest to the region. When the French-speaking Acadians refused to swear allegiance to England in 1755, the British deported about 10, 000 people and destroyed their farms. Grand Pre National Historic Site is a memorial to this injustice. Pretty gardens, a small chapel, and a statue of Henry Longfellow's fictional heroine Evangéline are part of the picturesque grounds at the historic site.

8 Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park

Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park

Located 40 kilometers from Halifax, Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park makes an excellent day trip. The park is spread over 40 hectares and is home to a wide variety of native and exotic animal species, including moose, foxes, beavers, wolves, black bears, and cougars. Horse fanciers take note: the park is the only wildlife park in the world with Sable Island horses.

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