Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s smaller provinces but at 55,000 kilometres squared of area and 13,000 kilometres of coastline, there is plenty to explore! While many fly into the province’s capital of Halifax and stick close by, I highly recommend hitting the open road. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a few times now and there is so much to experience in Nova Scotia!
Cape Breton and the Cabot Trail may be Nova Scotia’s iconic road trip route, but the southwestern half of the province is not to be missed. With the rolling hills of the Annapolis Valley, the burst of culture along the Acadian Shores, and the quaint towns of the south shore, there’s something for everyone on a Halifax to Yarmouth road trip!
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Road Tripping Halifax to Yarmouth
What is now Nova Scotia has been known as Mi’kma’ki and home of the Mi’kmaq since time immemorial. These lands have a rich and complicated history, as does much of what is now Canada. Road tripping the province will allow you to not only see more of this are of Nova Scotia but afford you the time to dive deeper and learn more about where you are.
Yarmouth is located on the western shore of the province. You have two options for your Nova Scotia road trip as you can either take the northern route and follow Highway 101 or go south and follow Highway 103. Funny enough, Yarmouth is equidistant from Halifax so both of these routes take the same amount of time!
While you can make a beeline for Yarmouth and arrive in just over three hours, there is so much to see and do along the way. I highly recommend taking your time! This way you can experience more of what Nova Scotia has to offer on your Halifax to Yarmouth road trip. As it is, there’s a big chance you still won’t have time to see everything you’d like because there are so many beautiful spots to explore.
So the question becomes – why not take both highways? Since there’s really no reason not to, this guide will have you following Highway 101 to Yarmouth and then Highway 103 as you return to Halifax. Of course, you can always return via the path you took if you’d like to explore that part of the route more thoroughly.
If you’re wondering “What is there to do between Halifax and Yarmouth?“, the answer is plenty. Let’s get into the fun things to see and do on a Halifax to Yarmouth road trip!
Halifax to Digby
Whether you’re departing directly from the airport or downtown Halifax, it’s approximately 230 kilometres from Halifax to Digby. It’s approximately 2.5 hours of driving as you pass through towns such as Grand Pré, Wolfville and Annapolis Royal.
Grand Pré is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is located one hour from Halifax. Founded in the early 1680s by Pierre Melanson and Marguerite Mius d’Entremont along with their children, they established a lively Acadian community along the shoreline of the Minas Basin. In less than a century, this area (known as Les Mines) became the largest settlement in Acadie.
While it was able to maintain its independence from both Great Britain and France for an extended period of time, Grand Pré became a bloody battleground in 1747 as French troops from Quebec attacked British troops who were occupying the Acadian Village as they planned their attack on the French in Beaubassin. Even still, the Acadians continued their neutral stance due to the oath of allegiance that was recognized by Nova Scotia authorities in 1729 and 1739.
However, that all changed on the eve of the Seven Year War in 1755 as the acting governor of Nova Scotia, Charles Lawrence, forced the Acadians into an awful ultimatum. They either had to sign the oath of allegiance and side with the British or be deported. The Acadians refused and thus began the forced removal of nearly 6000 Acadian men, women and children from Les Mines.
The Grand Pré National Historic Site dives deep into this history with a number of informative exhibits, a stunning memorial church and breathtaking grounds. Within the main site building, you won’t want to miss catching the interpretive film that clearly illustrates Le Grand Dérangement of the Acadians as well as the struggles of the Mi’kmaq at the hands of the British.
INSIDER TIP: Most visitors only make time for the main area of the Grand Pré National Historic Site. Make sure to carve out some time to explore the other areas of signifiance in Grand Pré including the Deportation Cross Monument at Horton Landing and The Guzzle whivh separates Boot Island (Wkwatituk) from the mainland.
The historic site isn’t the only spot to check out while in Grand Pré! There is a lot of information to absorb so you will need to keep your mind and body fuelled. Whether you go before or after visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site, make sure you stop by Just Us! Coffee & Tea House. It’s the first Canadian organic coffee roaster to join the only fair trade network in the world that is 100% small producer-owned. They also have a roast where proceeds are donated to educational scholarships in the local Mi’kmaq community. Not to mention their sandwiches and snacks are absolutely delicious!
Just 10 minutes down the road, you’ll find the neighbouring town of Wolfville. It’s home to Acadia University and has an absolutely adorable town centre. Enjoy a stroll and take in the maritime charm with brightly coloured buildings and decor reminiscent of beach bungalows you would find in Florida. You can see the stark difference in low and high tide as you look out over the Minas Basin from Wolfville Waterfront Park.
With its location in the heart of the Annapolis Valley, Wolfville is the hub of Nova Scotia’s budding wine scene. You’ll find eight wineries within a 10 kilometre radius! If you’re a wine enthusiast, you’ll want to pop by some of the locations including Benjamin Bridge and Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards.
Wine isn’t the only thing you’ll find here, though! Wolfville is also home to Church Brewing, an incredible craft brewery housed within a beautiful stone church. Admire the intricate stained glass windows and stunning decor while sipping on a pint or flight. Church Brewing dabbles in everything from light lagers to hearty marzens and even some tangy sours. They also have an extensive menu with a variety of eats. You won’t want to miss their shrimp tacos or seafood chowder!
One of my favourite spots along Highway 101, Annapolis Royal is a gorgeous town nestled on one of the inlets along the Bay of Fundy. This historic town is one of the oldest in the country as it became home to North America’s earliest European settlers in 1605. Long before that, it has been a place of signifcance for the Mi’kmaq community.
Stroll through town along St George Street as you explore one of the oldest roads on the continent. There are a number of quaint shops to pop into along with museums and restaurants. One that’s not to be missed is the Mad Hatter Wine Bar, though it’s a little tricky to find! Make your way to Bainton’s Tannery Outlet and afte perusing this book store and leather goods shop, head to the back where you’ll find an unsuspecting wine bar! Get comfy in one of their big armchairs or, if the weather is on your side, snag a seat on their outdoor patio. It’s seriously a little hidden oasis in the Annapolis Valley. Check out my Instagram reel and you’ll see what I mean!
Annapolis Royal is also where you’ll find the Fort Anne National Historic Site and one of the most highly contested parcels of land on the continent. Stop in and learn about how the Scottish, French and English settlers as well as the Mi’kmaq fought over this important landscape along the Annapolis River. It switched hands 13 times between the British and French alone! Pop into the museum where you’ll learn more about this Vauban style of fort, important events within the fort’s timeline and more about the Mi’kmaq traditions as well as their worldview.
FUN FACT: Fort Anne is the oldest national historic site in all of Canada!
For the history buffs who are looking to absorb more knowledge of the area, head across the bay to the Port Royal National Historic Site. Here you’ll find reconstructions of 17th Century era buildings that are a recreation of the former French colony that were settled here in Nova Scotia. Explore the fort as you interact with costumed interpreters and watch demonstrations emulating what life was like during the days of Port Royal. Make sure to soak in the panoramic views of the Annapolis River while you’re here!
Before departing, make sure to take a stroll along the boardwalk. If you can manage to do so during golden hour, thta’s even better as this is an incredible spot to catch the sunset! Enjoy the sounds of the water lapping along the shore as you admire the Annapolis Royal Lighthouse from one of the benches nearby.
Say hello to the scallop capital of the world! While Digby was named after the Rear Admiral Sir Robert Digby who led a group of United Empire Loyalists to settle the town in 1783, it has been the active fishing industry that put Digby on the map. You cannot come to Digby and not try the delectable scallops harvested from these local waters!
Digby is located within the SouthWest Nova UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, encompassing the town as well as part of the Annapolis Valley, Yarmouth, Shelburne and Queens. It preserves this vast region’s rich culture and heritage as well as protects unique flora and fauna found within this large area.
The town itself is quite small as it’s only nine blocks wide and seven blocks tall meaning it’s easy to explore in just a few hours. Digby still has a highly active fishing industry with tourism gaining traction in the area. Here you can enjoy quality whale watching, meander through charming fishing villages, as well as enjoy a plethora of outdoor activities including hiking, cycling, kayaking, golfing and more. If you’re an early riser, Digby is a great place to catch the sunrise so head for Fisherman’s Memorial Park to catch those stunning early morning colours. Even if you aren’t, enjoy a stroll along the boardwalk is one of the unmissable things to do in Digby!
As I mentioned, no trip to Digby is complete without enjoying some scallops and you’ll have no trouble finding a restaurant to do so. However if you eat later like I typically do, you may struggle to find one that’s open! Luckily the Fundy Restaurant is open until 9:00pm so you can get your fill of seafood before calling it a day. When I visited, they had their seafood platter on special featuring those fresh Digby scallops, shrimp, a lobster tail as well as seasonal vegetables. I’m still drooling about how delicious it was, especially after a long day of exploring!
Where to Stay From Halifax to Digby
Depending on when you begin your journey, you may wish to stay closer to Halifax during this stretch of the drive in order to experience the important historic sites of Grand Pré.
Evangeline Inn in Grand Pré
It may look like your typical 1970s motel on the outside but I highly recommend booking a room at the Evangeline Inn! As soon as you open the door to your room, you’ll be treated to spacious rooms with upscale minimalist features. There are five types of rooms: the King Suite, Standard King, Studio King, Two Queens, and the Family Suite. All of the rooms have incredibly comfortable beds, Malin + Goetz bathroom products, large flatscreen televisions, full length mirrors, plush bath robes and a Nespresso machine.
For those looking to have a bit more space, there are additional accommodation options on their five acre property. The Borden House features five individual suites located within the restored childhood home of Sir Robert Borden, the 8th Prime Minister of Canada. There’s also The Owner’s House. a private house featuring five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen and plenty of space to entertain.
As if that’s not enough, guests have access to the Evangeline Inn’s multitude of amenities which will take your stay to the next level. Take a dip in the indoor pool, relax in the infrared sauna, get cozy by the firepit or soak away your worries in the outdoor hot tub. What else could you ask for in a hotel?
Digby Pines Golf Resort & Spa
Located a short five minute drive from the middle of town, you’ll feel spoiled during your stay at the Digby Pines Golf Resort & Spa. This Norman-style Chateau dates back to 1929 with 79 guestrooms, 6 suites and 31 adorable Maritime-style cottages sprinkled around their expansive grounds. You’ll be awed by the architecture before you even step foot into the resort!
I had the pleasure of staying in one of their expansive suites featuring a fabulous king bed, large sofa with coffee table, window seating area, full size dresser and television. There was even not one but two four-piece bathrooms! I was thrilled to see they had a Nespresso machine as well since you know your gal survives on caffeine. Though the views of the town as well as the Annapolis Basin were what made the room extra special.
The Digby Pines Golf Resort & Spa has a number of amenities guests can take advantage of during their stay. The obvious one is for those looking for a tee time on their picturesque Stanley Thompson designed 18-hole golf course. For those not putting-inclined such as myself, they have a full-service spa as well as an outdoor heated pool and sauna. Guests can also enjoy some quality nature time with a hike along their trails. It’s also a great spot for families as kids can frolic on the playground and partake in a number of outdoor games.
Digby to Yarmouth
When you’re ready to say goodbye to Digby, hop in your car and get ready to conquer the next stretch of your Halifax to Yarmouth road trip! Instead of heading right for Highway 101, make a minor detour and head west along Nova Scotia Route 217.
Just 10 minutes outside of Digby, you’ll find this adorable little house dedicated to one of Nova Scotia’s famous artists. Step inside the Replica of Maud Lewis’ House for a glimpse of how this folk painter lived! While she had the unfortunate luck of physical disability and crippling arthritis, it didn’t stop her from painting. Her works evoke a childlike whimsy as she painted rural scenes with an appreciation for animals and nature. The house was crafted in honour of her by Murray Lewis who lives on the property. Chances are he’ll stop by and say hello as you’re exploring! You can read more about Maud and the replica house here.
On the Road Again!
Hop back on Highway 101 as you continue in the direction of Yarmouth. You’ll be driving along the southern shore of St Mary’s Bay as you spot a lighthouse off in the distance. If you’re so inclined, head to Gilbert’s Cove Lighthouse. This Nova Scotia lighthouse was built in 1904 and has only had two lightkeepers throughout its lifetime. Maintained by a local non-profit organization, there are a number of historical photos and marine artifacts on display inside, including a manual foghorn you can try for yourself! Enjoy the surrounding views of the Digby Neck before departing for your next destination.
Depending on how much time you have, you can stay on the highway or you can choose to enjoy the scenic seaside views along the Evangeline Trail. This coastal route runs parallel to the main highway and will take you through numerous picturesque fishing villages and tiny towns. It only adds approximately 20 minutes to your drive so the choice is yours! Either way, you’ll be leaving the Annapolis Valley as you enter into the Acadian Shores.
As the saying goes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. So now that you’re in the Acadian Shores, it’s time for a taste of Acadian culture! What better way to do that than with some delicious eats in the largest Acadian community in the province? You won’t want to miss enjoying a meal at La Cuisine Robicheau in Saulnierville! Enjoy beautiful views of the Baie Sainte-Marie as you indulge in fresh local seafood and culturally distinct dishes. Rapure or rappie pie is a must-try Acadian dish made with either chicken or mussels and grated potatoes. They also have Fricot on the menu, a traditional Acadian chicken soup with potato dumplings.
INSIDER TIP: You can enjoy a “taster” of Rappie Pie so you have more room to try a variety of their dishes. You have to try Rappie Pie and Fricot but their Au Gratin Special and Seafood Lasagna are not to be missed. This way, you can truly enjoy a taste of what La Cuisine Robicheau has to offer on their menu.
Cape Forchu & Yarmouth Bar
While there are 53 lighthouses in Nova Scotia and hundreds across the country, there are only a handful built in the “apple core” style. Cape Forchu is one such lighthouse and is the only one you’ll find in the entire province! However, it wasn’t always in this iconic shape.
Cape Forchu has been home to a lighthouse since 1839 though it wasn’t until it was reconstructed in 1961 that it had this design. While the locals weren’t fans of it at first, it has since become a symbol of Yarmouth and the Acadian Shores. Climb the 77 steps to enjoy 360 degree views of the surrounding area and take a guided tour to learn more about the lighthouse itself.
Afterwards, enjoy the trails of Leif Erikson Park where you’ll find 19 acres of stunning shoreline scenery. Stroll along the trails as you watch fishing boats go about their day. You might even see the CAT Ferry! It also offers some great angles for capturing stunning photos of the lighthouse.
As you backtrack along the peninsula, you have to stop at the Yarmouth Bar Buoy Wall. Yep, it’s exactly what it sounds like. This eclectic little spot is so much fun for a photo opportunity but it symbolizes more than that. Buoys of all shapes, colours and sizes hang from a wall, paying homage to this area’s rich fishing heritage. Each of these buoys have been used as they represent the perseverance and dedication of local fishermen and women to their craft. If you’ve eaten any seafood during your visit (which there’s a 99% chance you have!) Take a moment to appreciate the hours they put into this thankless job.
Then it’s onwards to the halfway point of this Nova Scotia road trip route!
Ohhhh we’re half way there~🎶 That’s right folks, we’ve made it to Yarmouth! As the largest town in the Acadian Shores, this is the logical home base for exploring the area.
Spend some time exploring the Main Street as well as the beautiful waterfront. One thing you’ll immediately notice about Yarmouth is how colourful it is and it seems to grow brighter every time I visit! Your eyes will be treated to stunning murals and eclectically decorated buildings as you mosey from street to street. Pop into the numerous local shops and see what unique trinkets catch your eye.
With a history deeply ingrained in the shipping industry, this adorable Maritime town is full of good vibes and even better people. Learn more about the unique history of the area at the Yarmouth County Museum, admire the incredible works inside the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and whatever you do, ask all the questions you like because Yarmouthers are proud of their town and will happily share as much as they can about it.
RELATED: I’m not going to go into too much detail about Yarmouth because I already have a guide for that! For all the great things to see and do, places to eat and spots to check out in and around the area, take a look at my guide to Yarmouth. It has everything you need to plan your stay!
Depending on how much time you’re planning on spending in the area, Yarmouth is a great spot to stay for a night or two so you can spend some quality time in the Acadian Shores. There are a number of great day trips you can take from Yarmouth including exploring the nearby Tusket Islands, being shuttled to wineries and breweries with Wine & Beer Tours of Nova Scotia, casting a line on some fishing adventures, star gazing tours and more.
Whenever you’ve had your fill of the area, it’s time to hit up Highway 103 as we continue along our Halifax to Yarmouth road trip! Errr, I guess it’s technically Yarmouth to Halifax now?
Yarmouth to Shelburne
There are so many nooks and crannies you can explore along the highway between Yarmouth and Shelburne. While it’s less than 100 kilometres distance between the two, you can easily spend a day or more exploring all this stretch has to offer!
Said to be the oldest Acadian community, Pubnico was founded in 1653 by Sieur Philippe Mius d’Entremont. Despite Le Grand Dérangement, the Acadians returned just over a decade later and never left. To this day, it’s still inhabited by descendants of the families who founded it!
You can learn more about these families and the stories they have to share at Le Village Historique Acadien de la Nouvelle Ecosse. The Historical Acadian Village of Nova Scotia depicts what it was like to live like an Acadian in the early 1900s. Situated on 17 acres overlooking Pubnico Harbour, explore the grounds as you visit two historical homes, a rural post office, a blacksmith shop and more. Costumed interpreters add to the experience as they bring the Acadian village to life. The Village is open from late May until mid-September every year.
Just around the corner from the Acadian Village, you’ll find Boatskeg Distillery. Two friends with unique histories came together to create one of the only distilleries in the area. When one has an old boat shop and the other is a descendant of bootleggers, it seems like a natural fit for West Pubnico! Crafting vodka and rum with gin on the way, this unique space is a great spot to enjoy a beverage on the patio or in their unique taproom. Make sure you try their salted caramel vodka and if time permits, enjoy their salted caramel iced coffee.
Welcome to the lobster capital of Canada! Barrington is the perfect mix of gorgeous scenery, historical museums, elegant lighthouses and delectable eats. The municipality is home to numerous coastal communities including the most southern tip of Nova Scotia!
For those looking to enjoy some fun in the sun, Sandhills Beach Provincial Park is the place to go. Enjoy the stunning white sand beach and its wide sand flats at low tide. Continue south to Hawk Beach where you’ll be the farthest south you can go in the province! It’s also home to a drowned forest where you’ll see the remains of trees hiding below sea level.
Life in rural Nova Scotia once required warm and durable clothing which meant the Barrington Woolen Mill was in its hay day! Visit to see the water-driven turbines and machinery that transformed raw fleece into yarn to make clothing. Learn about the daily lives of the local mill workers and even give spinning and weaving wool a try!
Whatever you decide to do, you must eat at Captain Kat’s Lobster Shack when hunger starts calling. You’ll feel immediately welcomed as soon as you step foot inside the kitschy restaurant as it’s bursting with seaside vibes. You’ll find puns galore and decor that will put a smile on your face. They even have a local weather prognosticator, Lucy the Lobster. She was away “at the spa” when we visited but it’s said she’ll be back December 1st… Anyway, lobster is their forte though they have a number of other fish and land-based dishes on the menu as well. I can confirm that their lobster-topped fishcakes are absolutely scrumptious.
If you find yourself short on time, grab dinner to go from Captain Kat’s for dinner and head across the Causeway to the North East Point Beach Gazebo. Here you’ll be treated to stunning golden hour views which will make your meal taste that much better!
Did you know that Nova Scotia was home to the largest free Black settlement in the 1780s? Located on the site of this historic community is where you’ll find the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre, dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of the Black Loyalists who won their freedom as they fought for the British during the American Revolution.
Step inside the gorgeous museum as you learn about the intricate histories of the over 3000 Black Loyalists recorded in the Book of Negroes. Interpretive digital panels allow you to discover at your own pace and focus on events of direct interest to you. There is so much information to dive into that you’ll easily spend at least a few hours sifting through it all! Make sure you visit the front desk to take the name of a Black Loyalist. You can then follow their journey from their arrival in Birchtown and see if they stayed to forge a life here, if they resettled in Sierra Leone, or what else may have happened throughout their lifetime.
Afterwards, explore the grounds to visit the other buildings on-site including the Old Schoolhouse which was the original Black Loyalist Heritage Centre. Follow the heritage trail behind it to see a replica of a Pit House, the temporary dwellings the Black Loyalists lived in as they arrived in Nova Scotia. St Paul’s Anglican Church, the Shaw Community Compass and the Black Burial Ground round out the site for a complete experience that will leave a lasting impression.
Home to the third-largest natural harbour in the world, Shelburne’s identity is deeply intertwined with the sea. It’s steeped in United Empire Loyalist history as it was a pivotal community during the American Revolution which is preserved in many ways to this day.
Stroll through the Waterfront Heritage District where you’ll see numerous stately homes and historic buildings dating back to the 18th Century, especially along Dock Street. Dive into this history by visiting the Shelburne County Museum, the Ross-Thompson House and the Dory Shop Museum. These will all give you greater insight into the sea-fairing ways that continue to shape Shelburne to this day!
Make your way inland to Water Street where you’ll find numerous shops and restaurants worthy of a stroll. When hunger strikes, stop in at The Emerald Light, one of Shelburne’s newest eateries. You’ll spot it right away from its deep green exterior as the harmonious elements that are iconic of the gemstone carry throughout the decor. Their menu has a variety of light and hearty eats as well as an extensive beverage list. Their spin on a Shrimp Po-Boy is delightful as is their housemade lemonade. If you’re looking for something refreshing, go for the cucumber.
If you’re a fan of craft beer, you’ll want to visit Boxing Rock Brewing Company before you leave Shelburne. Located just up the road from The Emerald Light, they brew a variety of styles and even have beers that non-beer drinkers will enjoy. They love to craft brews that will challenge your assumptions as well as honour traditional styles. As for the name, it references a special rock in Shelburne Harbour where captains would drop any crew members that wouldn’t get along during low tide to “share a beer and shake hands or box until one of you drops.” With this kind of vibe, you know it’s going to be a fun place!
Where to Stay from Yarmouth to Shelburne
During my latest visit to Nova Scotia, I made my way from Digby straight through to Shelburne. This is a fair amount of ground to cover, especially when there’s so much to see and do! I’ve previously stayed in Yarmouth and have some accommodation recommendations in my blog post about it, however if you’re looking for somewhere to stay in the Shelburne area, I have just the place for you!
The Cooper’s Inn in Shelburne
Settle in for a great night’s sleep surrounded by historic charm at The Cooper’s Inn. Built in 1785 amongst the aftermath of the American Revolution, it was beautifully restored in 1987 to its full glory that you see today. Originally home to a remarkable blind man named George Gracie, he was a representative of Shelburne County in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly who unfortunately drowned on a voyage from Halifax. However, its unique past still holds strong as the original logs used were sourced from his ship, the “Experiment”, are said to still be located within the walls!
The Cooper’s Inn features eight rooms, each embodying comfort and charm. You have the option of booking their standard rooms or splurging a little with one of their deluxe rooms. I highly recommend the latter as I absolutely loved my stay in the Morrison Room! Featuring a cozy queen bed, you’ll enjoy both harbour and garden views as you get comfy in one of the classy armchairs by the window. While I always appreciate a mini fridge and a Nespresso machine, my favourite feature was certainly the old-fashioned clawfoot tub. You bet I was in there for over an hour of a long day of adventure!
The icing on the cake? Starting your day off right with an incredible complimentary breakfast! While the menu does change based on the day, I was thrilled to have their eggs benedict. Not only is it my favourite breakfast food ever but Amanda puts a unique spin on it by crafting it with crispy potato patties instead of your typical English muffin. As a result though, I think she has ruined me for eggs bennies for the rest of my life. Yes, it’s that good!
Shelburne to Halifax
We’ve made it to the homestretch! While it’s time for the last leg of this Halifax to Yarmouth road trip, there is certainly plenty to see along the south shore. Actually, that’s an understatement. With numerous peninsulas and villages, you can easily spend days embracing quaint Maritime life.
While the major destinations like Peggy’s Cove, Mahone Bay and Lunenburg fall in this stretch, they’re all approximately an hour or less from Halifax, making them fantastic day trips if you’re visiting the city for an extended period of time. Instead of diving into them in this post (don’t worry, I will in a future article so stay tuned!), I’m going to focus on one of the more prominent destinations between Shelburne and Halifax that deserves some attention.
Kejimkujik National Park Seaside
While the main site of Kejimkujik National Park and Historic Site is further north, this small section along the coastline is not to be missed as you make your way towards Halifax. The park’s rich cultural and natural landscape is further diversified with the mixture of fishing and farming history in the Seaside area.
The park features two main hiking trails, the Harbour Rocks Trail and the Port Joli Head Trail, which interconnect to create a stunning loop along the shoreline. You’ll begin by traversing through coastal forest to reach the stunning views of Harbour Rocks Beach. Follow the shoreline north to reach a stunning lookout and snap a photo with the iconic red chairs! If you’re short on time, retrace your steps and head back to the parking lot. Or, continue your adventure south to connect with the Port Joli Head Trail as you wind your way across the barren coastal landscape and admire the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean.
Kejimkujik National Park Seaside is home to a variety of wildlife including the endangered Piping Plovers. They nest north of the Harbour Rocks Trail along the shores of St Catherines River Beach so if you visit between April and August, this area is closed in order to help monitor activity and promote the well-being of these struggling birds. There’s still lots to see though including white-tailed deer and if you’re lucky, you’ll spot a few seals playing in the water!
Onwards to Halifax!
As I mentioned, this is where you can easily stop by Lunenburg, Mahone Bay, Peggy’s Cove and other fantastic destinations along the south shore. Here are some very quick notes to help you decide where to visit.
Lunenburg is where the famous Bluenose was first launched in 1921. Her replica, the Bluenose II, is often docked here so you can admire her beauty as well as embark on a tour. Enjoy a walking tour to get more acquainted with this iconic town, pop into the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic to learn about the seafaring history of Lunenburg, stop in at some of the local shops and enjoy a tasting of vodka made from apples at the Ironworks Distillery.
Drive 15 minutes along the coast towards Halifax and you’ll find yourself in the town of Mahone Bay. Known for its artistic splendour, admire the colourful Victorian homes and be wowed by the talented local artisans. If you’re an avid paddler, the protected waters of Mahone Harbour offer fantastic conditions for sea kayaking.
Last but certainly not least, the iconic Maritime charm of Peggy’s Cove continues to wow the hearts of many. Soak up the lighthouse views as you traipse across the granite rock many have fallen in love with. Spend some time popping into the studios and shops and if hunger strikes, grab a bite to eat at the Sou’wester Restaurant.
Of course, if you can’t fit them all in but find yourself in Halifax for a few days with access to a vehicle, they all make great day trips so you can sprinkle them throughout your visit. Each community has its own charm so explore as you see fit! After all is said and done, congratulations are in order as you have successfully completed the entire loop of Southwestern Nova Scotia!
Things to Know For Your Halifax to Yarmouth Road Trip
Nova Scotia isn’t the biggest province in Canada but you’ll still have plenty of ground to cover during your visit! Here are some tips, tricks and answers to frequently asked questions so you’re ready for your road trip from Halifax to Yarmouth.
Of course, if you have any specific questions, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to answer them to the best of my ability!
How Many Days Should I Plan For My Halifax to Yarmouth Road Trip?
You should plan to do this trip in five days at the very minimum. For a comfortable speed of exploration, I would recommend at least a week, if not ten days. This will allow you to spend some quality time in each destination, though you can always have more time. Each community along this route deserves some attention. Plus you never know what suggestions you’ll receive along the way!
What Are the Road Conditions Like?
The majority of this route follows major highways so you won’t have to worry about any rough terrain! You will come across some rougher roads at more off-the-beaten-path destinations such as Kejimkujik National Park Seaside but nothing outrageous. Take your time at slower speeds and you’ll be just fine!
Are Gas Stations Hard to Find?
While you will be exploring more rural parts of Nova Scotia, gas stations are still quite frequent. However, if you find yourself travelling late at night or early in the morning, many gas stations are closed so make sure you are travelling with a full tank during any off hours!
What Are Some of the Things to Do in Halifax I Shouldn’t Miss?
That’s a great question… but for another blog post! Stay tuned as I work on a guide sharing all the great things to do in Halifax Nova Scotia.
This post is brought to you in partnership with Visit Nova Scotia. While I was compensated for my time, all of the content and opinions here are honest and speak to my personal experience!