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Thursday, August 1, 2019

Nova Scotia: Where to stay, what to do and see

Peggy's Cove

I love travelling and seeing different parts of the world, and our kids enjoy it too ( that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)   But recently my husband reminded me that we have so much left to see of our own beautiful country - Canada! So this summer we decided we would hit the East Coast of Canada.

Our itinerary was 3 days in Nova Scotia, 3 days in Prince Edward Island and two days in Cape Breton (technically Nova Scotia). Even after 9 days we felt like we only got a small sampling of the stunning Maritimes, and can't wait to go back to explore even more!

For this post I'm going to just focus on our 3 day Nova Scotia Itinerary (not including Cape Breton - that'll come later!)

Halifax Harbourfront
How to Get there: 
To get to Halifax, Nova Scotia where we started and ended our trip, we decided to take a quick 2 hour flight from Toronto rather than doing a full on road trip from Toronto. 

Getting to Halifax from Toronto was a quick flight and I forgot how easy it is to travel within the country! Air Canada has over 10 direct flights daily from Toronto to Halifax.

If you choose to drive, it is about an 18 hour drive from Toronto.

You can also take a ferry from Bal Harbour Maine, St John's New Brunswick or Wood Island PEI over to Nova Scotia on North Cumberland Ferries. We used the ferry to get back from PEI to Caribou Nova Scotia which was a pleasant journey and made for a nice break from driving.

Where to Stay:
We chose to make Halifax our home for the 3 days we were there as it seemed to be most central for what we had planned. We stayed at the Cambridge Inn & Suites which is located right across from the Citadel. It was an adequate accommodation for us that was clean, had enough space in a one bedroom suite and also had breakfast included in our stay. Except that getting my family downstairs in time for breakfast is much harder on vacation!

Other hotels in and around Halifax that I would consider for next time would be:

The Prince George Hotel
Westin Nova Scotian
OceanStone Seaside Resort 

What to Do:
Don't expect to need to fill your itinerary with a lot to do, but definitely give yourself lots of time to do it. That's mostly because getting from one place to the next from Halifax can take at least an hour.

  • Halifax harbour: you can easily spend a couple of days just strolling along the Halifax harbour at a very leisurely pace. From exploring the Museum of Immigration at Pier 21  to strolling along the waterfront boardwalk you can stop and sway in hammocks, grab ice cream from Cow's , discover some delicious places to dine such as The Bicycle Thief , or sit down for some gourmet nibbles and local wine at one of Canada's Top 100 restaurants Little Oak Bar. Or you can just grab a lobster roll and explore the waterfront with its historic buildings, shops, view the tall ships out on the water or let the kids play in the playground.  
Historic Halifax Buildings
  • The Citadel: For a taste of some history and really just a cool fort, head uphill to the Citadel. Bonus: The kids are free! Once inside, head over to the visitor centre to get the kids their free Xplorers booklet that can be found at participating parks Canada places. It's a great way to get kids involved in exploring the grounds, history and activities and keeps them busy so you can actually take it all in. Don't forget to go back to the visitor center with their completed booklets to get their little free souvenir! This was our best discovery for the kids yet!

Doing one of her challenges from the Xplorer's activity book!
  • Peggy's Cove: Is driving an hour out to the most photographed lighthouse worth it? Yes! When you ask our kids what their favourite part of the trip was, they say Peggy's cove! Be warned of the throng of tourists however, we tried to get out earlier before tour buses came in, but failed. Also make sure to follow the signs and heed the warnings about slippery rocks and the dangers of them.  You can still find to explore and wander around the rocks and take in the gorgeous views from this area. Don't forget to get some lobster rolls or an ice cream treat before heading back on the road. 
Peggy's Cove

Safely exploring Peggy's Cove
Joining the Flocks of Tourists
  • Lunenburg: This port town is a UNESCO World heritage site and is filled with colourful little buildings sitting right by the water. It is about an hour from Peggy's Cove and from Halifax, and you can spend an afternoon strolling around, having some delicious food to eat, shop for some arts and crafts, take a walking tour or a horse drawn carriage tour. 

Grab a bite from the South Shore Fish Shack in Lunenburg

  • Bay of Fundy, Burntcoat Head: The Bay of Fundy lies between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and is known for the highest tides in the world.  While there are numerous places to go and see the tides both when they have come in and gone out, we choose to go to Burntcoat Head Park as it was the closest park from Halifax, about an hour's drive. Plan ahead of time to get there for when the tides are the highest and plan your day to get back when the tides have come out. Depending on the timings you can have a guided tour of the ocean floor! 
Walking on the Ocean Floor at Burntcoat Head
When the tide is in at the Bay of Fundy

Other Tips:

Car Rental: If you plan on flying in and renting a car, be sure to book one early as there are limited car rentals. Having a car is really the best way to get out and discover this beautiful province!

Enjoy the Food Scene: eat all the seafood you can, and then have some more! We aren't huge Lobster fans, but I couldn't resist a lobster poutine or a lobster roll every time I saw one. There really are some great places to eat such as Edna's Restaurant in Halifax, Little Oak Bar, The Bicycle Thief and the Stubborn Goat.

History of Beer: Nova Scotia's oldest brewery is open for a visit, tours and some beer tastings. If beer isn't your thing you can still pop by Alexander Keith's Brewery for some historical charm.

Wine a little: Nova Scotia has a growing wine region and offering of wines. We popped into Lightfoot & Wolfville while we waited for the tides to go out at the Bay of Fundy. It's a beautiful little winery that also serves food on its outdoor patio overlooking the lush vineyard, even if wine isn't your thing, you can enjoy the gorgeous grounds on your way into the cute town of Wolfville - home of Acadia university, to grab a meal while you wait for the tides to change.

Flytographer: my not so secret tip and favourite thing to do when travelling is to get professional pictures by Flytographer. They make for great souvenirs and ensure that I'm actually in the pictures! Also, our photographer, Heather had some great tips and stories to share about Halifax as well as for our upcoming leg to Prince Edward Island. Check out her more of her travel tips on her blog at

Flytographer Captures

Captured by Flytographer

You can get off $25 of your first Flytographer photoshoot by using code: RAJBINDERGREWAL


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