When you think of Nova Scotia, chances are your brain immediately thinks of Halifax, Peggy’s Cove and the Cabot Trail. While the eastern side of the province is certainly beautiful and worth all the attention it gets, the western side deserves a lot more love and affection. Steeped in rich history, adorable small towns, fantastic eats and some of the friendliest locals around, you won’t believe how much the Acadian Shores has to offer. Here’s a run down of the fantastic things to do in Yarmouth and the surrounding area!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links where if you make a purchase, I may receive a kickback at no extra cost to you. It helps keep IBB alive so thank you!
About Yarmouth & the Acadian Shores
Yarmouth is located on the western coast of Nova Scotia just south of the Bay of Fundy. While these lands have been Mi’kmaq territory since time immemorial, it is said that the Vikings officially “discovered” the Cape Forchu Region around 1000 AD. Runic stones have been found that are connected to an expedition led by Leif Erikson, one of which is still preserved at the Yarmouth County Museum!
However, the Town of Yarmouth is said to have been founded in 1761 when New Englanders settled here from Massachusetts. Unlike those who settled in the Annapolis Valley east of the Acadian Shores who turned to farming for their livelihood, the rocky shores of Yarmouth forced settlers to get creative to survive. Luckily, the sea was calling!
Early Yarmouthers (Yarmouthians? Yarmouthonians? You get it.) took to fishing to make a living while early trading began with Boston. It then expanded into Halifax, Saint John and the West Indies. As trading routes grew, so did the shipping industry as fleets of boats increased. By 1879, Yarmouth was the second largest port of registry in the country in regards to tonnage, with only Saint John beating their numbers. While it no longer has this claim, fishing and shipping are still a large part of Yarmouth’s industry. You can read more in-depth about the history of Yarmouth here.
The Acadian Shores encompasses the communities of Argyle, Pubnico, Wedgeport and Yarmouth. Within these regions, you’ll find a number of bright communities bursting with character. This area is where Indigenous, Acadian, English, and African Nova Scotia cultures co-exist and it’s a beautiful sight to see.
Yarmouth is the perfect spot to call home while exploring the Acadian Shores. Located just over 3 hours from Halifax whether you take the north or southern shore, Yarmouth is easily accessible from Nova Scotia Highway 101 and 103. You can also take the CAT Ferry Service from Bar Harbour, Maine. It makes a great road trip destination in Nova Scotia! While it’s a little long for a day trip from Halifax, it won’t take long to realize why you’ll need more than a day trip to explore all that Yarmouth has to offer anyway!
Top 10+ Things to Do in Yarmouth
Yarmouth is the largest town in the Acadian Shores with just over 7000 people. As you can imagine, it still has that small town vibe but boy, does it have a lot to offer! Here are some of the top things to do in Yarmouth you won’t want to miss.
Get Acquainted with Yarmouth Walking Tours
In my personal opinion, there is no better way to get your bearings in a city than with a walking tour. Candice and her husband own Mile East Productions and as a part of their company, operate walking tours to help folks like you and I get to know Yarmouth better!
Established in 2016, her Introduction to Yarmouth tour will take you all over town as you learn more about the history as well as the characters that helped Yarmouth become what you see today. Candice will take you all the way back to the beginning of settler history, starting with Leif Erikson. You’ll hear about how the forest and the sea became the main livelihoods of the early folks of Yarmouth including prominent people such as Sydney Frost, Andrew Lovitt and more.
Candice is a fantastic storyteller and will show you so many beautiful sights as you explore the waterfront, Frost Park, Yarmouth’s colour homes and landmarks. I won’t give much away as there really is so much content in this fantastic tour that you need to take it yourself. Trust me when I say you’ll be blown away by the plethora of information you’ll hear as you explore!
If you’ve had the pleasure of enjoying her Introduction to Yarmouth tour, I recommend checking out her Eerie & Ominous tour where you’ll hear about some of the darker sides of town… if you’re brave enough to handle it! Check out her Facebook Page for more details.
Explore Yarmouth Bar
When you look out across the water from Yarmouth, you’ll notice an arm of land that juts into the Atlantic Ocean. Follow your curiosity and head on over to explore what’s known as Yarmouth Bar!
On the cusp of the area, you’ll see a pull-out area with a lookout point. Here lies the Lost to the Sea Memorial, honouring the seafaring folks of Yarmouth County who never made it home since the first boat launched in 1764. It’s an eerily beautiful spot for a picnic or for a break to enjoy the sights in front of you. There is also interpretive signage which shares more information about Bunker Island and Bug Lighthouse, Stanwood’s Beach and the various industries born right here in Yarmouth.
A little further on, a colourful sight is guaranteed to catch your eye. Say hello to the Yarmouth Bar buoys! If you’re a sucker for a quirky installation like I am, you won’t be able to resist snapping some photos with this ragtag collection. There’s even a little shack that seems to sell treats, though it was closed during my visit so I can’t confirm if this is the case.
If you find yourself exploring on a Saturday, be sure to stop in for a Living Wharves demonstration. Here you’ll get a taste of what the fishing industry is like as you set a trap, band a lobster and even splice a rope to help with tomorrow’s catch. Run by local fishermen and fisherwomen, you’ll be fascinated by their knowledge and have a newfound appreciation for the fruits of the sea. Living Wharves are set up at various locations around Yarmouth throughout the week so take a look at their website for more details.
Whether you hop on a bike and peddle out on a sunny afternoon or hop in a car and drive out, you won’t want to miss the colourful sights and sounds of Yarmouth Bar.
Climb the Cape Forchu Lighthouse
Just a minute or two south of Yarmouth Bar is where you’ll find the iconic Cape Forchu Lighthouse. A lighthouse has stood in this spot since 1839, though the lighthouse you currently see wasn’t built until 1961… and not without some uproar! Locals weren’t fond of the current apple core style lighthouse we see today but it sure has become a symbol of Yarmouth.
While the lighthouse is certainly a sight to see – so are the views from the top! Climb the 77 steps for some incredible vistas of the surrounding area. Tickets must be purchased in order to gain access and there are a few different options available. Take a look at their website for more details, though I highly recommend a guided tour so you can learn more about this fascinating structure! Your guide will share how Cape Forchu got its name, some information about the area including spots like Cat Rock and the Tusket Islands as well as some of the more recent events like how it was the location for filming the 2018 film “The Lighthouse”.
However, going to the top was not always an option. When the lighthouse was automated in 1993, it was shuttered with no public access. For three years it stood vacant until a group of citizens came together to form the Friends of Yarmouth Light Society in order to ensure the lighthouse didn’t whither away. With extensive fundraising, they were able to secure its future and it’s because of their hard work and dedication that we get to enjoy this great Yarmouth attraction today.
Oh, and it’s pronounced fer-shoe, not for-choo… almost like a sneeze!
Dive into History at the Yarmouth County Museum
Chances are you’ll pop by if you do a tour with Candice however it’s worth a return visit to spend some quality time with the Yarmouth County Museum. Overseen by the Yarmouth Historical Society, they formed in 1935 with the mission of collecting and preserving historical records, any objects of interest and promoting the fascinating history of Yarmouth.
Their collection consists of over 20,000 artifacts, many of which are on display inside the gorgeous Tabernacle Congregational Church. Admire the high ceilings of this Gothic Revival style building as you’re fascinated by the exhibits throughout. Beginning with the original Mi’kmaq inhabitants, you’ll traverse numerous eras of Yarmouth and the surrounding area’s history. You’ll read about the Acadians, various shipping vessels, iconic buildings and more. One of the highlights is their collection boasts the original bulb from the Cape Forchu lighthouse and wow, it is massive!
During your visit, make sure to take a peek inside the Pelton-Fuller House next door. Once the summer home of Alfred C. Fuller, the original Fuller Brush man, it was donated to the Yarmouth Historical Society by his late wife in 1996 with 85% of the interior contents! You can enjoy a guided tour of this two-storey Italianate-style house during the summer months or by appointment otherwise. It’ll certainly feel as though you’ve taken a step back in time as you explore each room!
Check Out the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
As the largest art museum in Atlantic Canada, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia has been a conduit for people from all walks of life to engage in the art world since 1908. Its original location is in downtown Halifax, however Yarmouth is proud to have the only satellite location in Nova Scotia! You can’t miss it while strolling down Main Street as the art gallery resides in what was once a Royal Bank of Canada location. Built in 1912-1913, this gorgeous Victorian Commercial style building was designed by Montreal architect Kenneth G Rea and is a work of art all on its own.
Right now the gallery is showcasing some of the incredible artists from across the province as part of the Nova Scotia Art Bank Program. Created in 1975, this program was established to increase public awareness of the plethora of contemporary visual artists found in Nova Scotia. It consists of 2400 works (and counting!) with 42 artists from 2020 and 2021 currently being displayed in the Yarmouth Gallery. From sculpture to painting and any medium in between, you’ll be impressed by the creativity and calibre of work within these walls.
My favourite piece within the gallery was crafted by Two Spirit Indigenous artist Raven Davis. Their sculpture pictured above, (Dis) Honour, speaks to the mistreatment of Indigenous communities by colonial policing systems since the creation of what is now Canada. It’s a very powerful piece that is guaranteed to make the viewer think about our past, present and future while triggering uncomfortable feelings for some viewers.
Visit the W. Laurence Sweeney Fisheries Museum
As you’ve probably already gathered, the sea is directly intertwined with the history of Yarmouth. The late W. Laurence Sweeney was a prominent businessman in Yarmouth who shaped the fishing industry of the area into what it is today. Exposed to the business world early on as his father ran a restaurant, grocery store, shipyard and fishing supply business in town, Laurence quickly learned how to keep costs low in order to maintain a competitive advantage and founded Laurence Sweeney Fisheries when he was just 19 years old in 1923!
The W. Laurence Sweeney Fisheries Museum is dedicated to showcasing the history of Yarmouth’s freight and fishing industry. Approximately 90% of the material and items found within the museum are authentic – carefully preserved to share the town’s marine heritage with all who visit. Inside you’ll find seven reproduced buildings, a replica of a coastal freighter and a wide collection of artifacts.
This museum is not only fascinating to explore but is interactive, making it just one of the many great things to do in Yarmouth for families! Take a seat at Laurence’s original desk or stand in the wheelhouse as if you’re the captain of a coastal freighter. Oh, and be on the lookout for Sou’west Homer to see if you can spy him all 21 times throughout the exhibits!
Take a Seat in a Lobster Car
As you’re walking around Yarmouth, these funky coloured sculptures with chairs are guaranteed to catch your eye. These six stations are pieces of what’s known as a lobster car. After lobsters are caught, they’re often held in a simple storage area referred to as a lobster car where crates are strung together and submerged until the lobsters are ready to be weighed and shipped to market. These cars along Main Street are not for lobsters but rather a fantastic public art piece and a nod to one of Yarmouth’s biggest industries!
Take a seat on a hot day, grab a coffee and catch up with a friend or just admire these pieces of public art with a purpose.
Soak Up Some Sun at the Beach
With Yarmouth’s location right along the coast of Nova Scotia, there’s guaranteed to be some pretty fantastic beaches in the area! How about somewhere that you can catch sunrise AND sunset in a single day if you so choose? Head to False Harbour beach and John’s Cove as these two beaches are right across from each other, meaning you can maximize your time in the sun. In early summer, the beautiful sea roses will be in bloom as well as the brilliant lupines which you’ll see scattered along the beach!
Other popular options for a beach day in Yarmouth include Pembroke Beach northwest of downtown and Sunday Point beach ot the south.
Tour the Firefighters Museum
Everyone can agree that firefighting is such an important service that we hope we never need to tap into during our lives, yet would you think to visit a museum dedicated to it? Step inside the Firefighters Museum of Nova Scotia to discover the history of this occupation in the province!
FUN FACT: It was once the only firefighters’ museum in all of Canada but now its claim is only to the Maritimes as both Manitoba and Alberta each has one.
The museum exists thanks to the tireless efforts of the late Ken Allen who started collecting firefighting paraphernalia from photos to books to even discarded fire engines. However, it wasn’t until the Fire Prevention Week of 1962 that the museum officially opened inside the Yarmouth North Fire Station for all to enjoy! It has since moved to its present location where you’ll find a vast collection of fire engines from all eras, patches, toys, photos and more.
Spend some time strolling through both floors of exhibits as you’ll be blown away by the apparatuses used by firefighters back in the day. Some of these vehicles are pretty snazzy like the 1863 Amoskeag Steamer and the 1922 Ford Model T Hose Truck. This is another fantastic family attraction in Yarmouth as it will surely satisfy that childhood delight of getting up close and personal with a fire engine… no matter how old you are!
Hunt for Yarmouth’s Murals
Yarmouth is already a colourful city with a number of beautiful buildings painted with bright and cheery colours. For a few years now, city council has funded the creation of murals through initiatives like the Outdoor Mural Grant Program. Each mural enhances the charm of town with some speaking to the history while others add a splash of colour that’s guaranteed to brighten anyone’s day.
I encountered at least ten murals just on my own but I’m sure there are even more around. Why not use this as an opportunity to explore all the nooks of Yarmouth and see just how many there are? If you do, let me know in a comment below the final number as I’m curious to know just how many beautiful illustrations there are in town!
Grab a Pint at Heritage Brewing
After all that adventuring, there’s a good chance you’ll be thirsty so pop on into Heritage Brewing for a pint or a flight of their tasty brews! What started as brewing under the patio (literally) has evolved into one of the top spots for a beer in the eyes of locals and visitors alike. No matter what’s on tap, you’ll always get quality flavours, fantastic service and a great night on the town.
Grab a seat on their patio or snag a table inside the brewery to indulge in a pint. I was absolutely enamoured with their pineapple wheat beer which tastes just as delicious as it sounds! If you’re not a big beer drinker, never fear! They also have fantastic seltzers and often a guest cider on tap like Bulwark. There’s always a beer cocktail if you’re looking for something a little fancier like their Sail Away Sangria!
…or Ride with Wine & Beer Tours Nova Scotia
Why visit one brewery when you can visit multiple in safe and responsible manner with some fantastic folks as your guides? Dawn and Josh will show you what east coast hospitality is all about as well as plenty of flavours with their company Wine & Beer Tours Nova Scotia. Since 2018, they’ve been sharing their passion for the province with both locals and visitors which will make you fall even more in love with it… if that’s even possible!
This isn’t just your average beer, wine or cider tour as you can not only enjoy a mix of these but include stops at points of interest along the way. Looking to check out scenic waterfronts and lighthouses? What about an epic adventure indulging in oysters and a lobster boil along with your bevvies? You honestly can’t go wrong with one of their tours and I guarantee it will be an evening of fun you’ll never forget!
Head to their website to check out all of their tour offerings as they have quite a few including not just Yarmouth and the Acadian Shores but the Annapolis Valley, Halifax, the South Shore and more! If you book a tour (which you should), be sure to say hello from Lindsay and Dawn will make sure you’re well taken care of. More importantly, she’s an absolute gem of a human so help me send my love until I’m able to return to Nova Scotia please and thank you!
Things to Do Near Yarmouth
Why only stay in Yarmouth when there’s so much to see around it! When you’re looking to get out of the city, check out these great things to do near Yarmouth.
Visit the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre
I have to admit that I know very little of the Black Loyalists. I really only knew of them before my visit but I learned so much thanks to this incredible museum. The Black Loyalist Heritage Centre is located in the historic Birchtown near Shelburne as it preserves and celebrates the history and legacy of the Black Loyalists.
These people of African descent fought with the British against American colonists during the American Revolutionary War from 1775-1783. While this is said to be the first free Black settlement in what is now Canada, that didn’t mean there weren’t hardships and broken promises. Spend a few hours learning about those who risked their lives for equality, dignity and respect to create a new community as Birchtown became the largest settlement of free Blacks in the world outside of Africa for a period of time.
One of the best ways to do this is to take the name of Black Loyalist from the front desk. You will find stands with a corresponding page for each name as you follow their story from the time they arrived in Birchtown and throughout their lifetime. Some stayed and forged a life for themselves, some left with the opportunity to resettle in Sierra Leone 9 years later and some ended in tragedy. While the museum itself is impactful, this experience will leave a lasting impression on you.
Grab a Bevvie at Boatskeg Distillery
The brainchild of two friends, one with an old boat shop and the other the descendant of bootleggers, they combined their passions to create one of the only distilleries in the Acadian Shores from an old boatyard in West Pubnico!
Boatskeg Distillery uses two 1000 litre fermenter tanks and a brite tank to make their vodka with rum and gin coming down the pipeline. While they don’t give official tours, the fine folks of Boatskeg will happily give you a tour if time permits. You might even hear stories of back in the day bootleggers burying barrels (try and say that five times fast) and then forgetting where they left them. This might even be a hint to some of their future plans…
Pop in for a tasting and grab a cocktail like their salted caramel iced coffee as you enjoy the incredible views of Pubnico Harbour from their patio and ponder their name. Is it a boat skeg? Or a boat’s keg? That’s up to you to decide!
Enjoy a Flight at Tusket Falls Brewing Company
If you don’t make it on a tour with Dawn and Josh of Wine & Beer Tours Nova Scotia, I recommend making your way to Tusket Falls Brewing Company for a pint and a tour.
Established and run by a husband and wife duo, Tusket Falls Brewing is serving up fantastic brews in a cozy, rustic atmosphere. Jeff is the brewmaster who focuses on creating the beer while his wife Melanie manages the taproom and heads the office. She’s one of eighteen beer sommeliers in the entire province of Nova Scotia so clearly these two know their stuff!
Open year round, you can enjoy some great eats such as their FUMO pizza or double BBQ smash burger alongside their beer. While they’re known for their IPAs and sours like their creamsicle sour with pineapple, tangerine, vanilla bean and lactose, Tusket Falls is always changing for the better. Whether they’re fiddling with style, technique or ingredients, it’s always with the goal of making their next beer better than the last. All that to say you never know what might be on tap the next time you visit!
Admire the Stars from the Deep Sky Eye Observatory
Imagine being born blind but with many surgeries, being given just a small fraction of your sight back only to discover you can see the night sky better than the majority of people on earth? Tim Doucett might not have originally thought he’d become fascinated with the stars and planets but what he has built at the Deep Sky Eye Observatory is certainly out of this world!
I won’t go into all the details as his story is truly remarkable and one you need to hear for yourself. He will explain it all during his nocturnal sky theatre summer experience as Tim gives you a crash course on astronomy and the night’s celestial wonders. He’ll then walk you through how to navigate the night sky using reference points as you admire the Milky Way above. Afterwards, you’ll be treated to brilliant views of the planets and deep space objects thanks to their 16” Meade Lightbridge and Astro Physics 6” Planet Fire telescopes!
FUN FACT: Acadia First Nation, the Municipality of Yarmouth, the Municipality of Argyle, and Clare all fall under the Acadian Skies and Mi’kmaq Lands project which is designated as a Starlight Tourism Destination and is the only dark sky site in all of Nova Scotia
Are you looking to enjoy the night sky for even longer? Well, you’re in luck as the Deep Sky Eye Observatory offers overnight accommodations! Book a night in their sky cabin where you can get cozy in the upstairs loft and admire the stars through the skylight above. Or you can stay in Atlantic Canada’s only sky bubble hotel as they offer three bubbles each with a remarkable view of the skies! If you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a family adventure to remember, head to Quinan and visit Tim for an incredible night at the Deep Sky Eye.
Yarmouth Restaurants for a Bite to Eat
There is no shortage of great eats in town! While this is only a handful of the restaurants in Yarmouth, they’re a great starting point for some tasty meals during your visit.
The Shanty Café
Located just off the main drag on Central Street, The Shanty Café is serving up incredible eats with a variety of flavours. Grab a seat inside or snag a spot on their beautiful patio and enjoy their internationally-inspired dishes. Whether it’s sharing a plate of Cuban Croquetas with friends, savouring the spices of their Indian Aloo or starting your day off right with their Shanty Breakfast, you will not leave the cafe hungry! However, I highly recommend their fish cakes dinner with the beet salad. Their fish comes in right from the harbour daily, sometimes even just moments before you’ll arrive!
While their excellent food and impeccable service are certainly great reasons to visit, another is that The Shanty Café is also a social enterprise. Run by the Yarmouth Association for Community Residential Options (YACRO), they provide employment opportunities to folks who face barriers to employment such as mental illness, disability, age, language and more. All of the proceeds made from The Shanty Café go back into the community.
Once you’ve devoured your meal, head to The Store Next Door right beside The Shanty Café for a little shopping in Yarmouth. Another one of YACRO’s social enterprises, this local Nova Scotia manufacturer and store focuses on recycling wherever possible. Just like The Shanty Café, they hire people with disabilities. You’ll love all the trinkets inside… especially their recycled hockey stick furniture!
Rudder’s Brew Pub & Seafood Restaurant
Enjoy wholesome eats and a fresh pint at Southwest Nova Scotia’s only microbrewery restaurant! Located right on Yarmouth’s gorgeous waterfront, Rudder’s Brew Pub & Seafood Restaurant specializes in those tasty fruits of the sea with lobster, haddock, scallop, shrimp, and clams all sourced from the local industry.
Step inside 150+ year old building as you admire the 18th century beamed ceilings and thick plank floors. You’ll love the cozy atmosphere as you settle in for a great meal. Rudder’s has a number of fantastic seafood dishes from the classic haddock and chips and their famous haddock fish cakes along with land-based protein items including steak and chicken. If you’re not sure what to order, I highly recommend their hot lobster sandwich. Tasty Nova Scotia lobster is smothered in a rich cream sauce on top of toast with a side of fries. Let’s just say it’s a maritime favourite for a reason!
In the summer, their wraparound patio is the place to be as you soak up the sun at one of the colour picnic tables. It’s also not uncommon to see a live band performing at Rudder’s, making it a must visit when in Yarmouth!
Homegrown right here in Yarmouth, Sip originally started as a small kiosk inside the local drug store. They may have been small but were mighty with over 100 varieties of loose lea tea to try! Thanks to their daily tasting and word of mouth recommendations, it wasn’t long before Sip was the place to go for tea in the Acadian Shores!
Since then, they’ve upgraded their building and their repertoire as you’ll now find their adorable cafe at 357 Main Street. Grab a seat and enjoy the cozy vibes of their cottage-esque space that will make you feel right at home. If you’re looking for some caffeine, I highly recommend their dirty hippie which is a chai latte with a shot of espresso. It also pairs deliciously with an oat cake and something you must enjoy when in Nova Scotia!
If you find yourself north of Yarmouth and craving a good cup of joe, Sip Cafe now has a second location in Meteghan that will happily provide the energy boost you need for your adventure.
It may not look like much from the outside but if you’re looking for some seriously delicious seafood chowder, you’ll want to ensure the Windless Restaurant is on your Yarmouth itinerary. Follow Main Street south out of town for about 7 kilometres. On the ocean side, you’ll see a quaint white restaurant to your right.
This family-run restaurant serves up some incredible eats at fantastic prices. While I was here on a mission for seafood chowder, they also have a variety of eats both from the land and the sea. Lobster rolls, clam dinners, fish sandwiches, steak, rappie pie – let’s just say you won’t go hungry!
However, make sure to come prepared with cash in hand as you won’t find debit or credit here.
Places to Stay in Yarmouth
As you can see, there is so much to do in and around town that you’ll need to stay overnight! Here are two great options for places to stay in Yarmouth so you can rest up during your adventure.
TRU by Hilton Yarmouth
As soon as I stepped inside the lobby, I couldn’t believe how snazzy the TRU by Hilton Yarmouth hotel was! Bursting with colour, modern furnishings and some incredible amenities, it’s a fantastic place to stay when visiting Yarmouth.
Featuring 89 guest rooms, visitors will enjoy the bright cheerful decor as they settle into their home away from home. Space is impeccably utilized with bright accents to highlight features such as a plethora of hooks and plugs. You’ll sink right into their plush sheets and cushy pillows meaning a restful sleep is guaranteed… and very important since there are so many things to do in Yarmouth that you need to be well-rested for your adventure!
Another thing I love about the TRU by Hilton Yarmouth is that it’s owned and operated by the Acadia First Nation, meaning you’re supporting one of the local Mi’kmaq communities by staying here. Nods to the community are found throughout the hotel such as the large Every Child Matters flag flying above the check-in desk and the incredible mural in the common area.
To make this hotel even better, the hotel features a pool as well as a fitness centre for those looking to keep up their exercise regiment or just go for a soak after a long day. Though it’s important to start your day off right and yes, breakfast is included with your room rate! It’s also one of the best spreads you’ll see at a hotel with waffles, pancakes, a hot breakfast area with eggs and other protein options, yoghurt, fruit… if you stay there multiple nights (which you should), you can easily eat something different each morning!
Rodd Grand Yarmouth
Another great option for hotels in Yarmouth is the Rodd Grand. Located in the heart of town, it makes leaving your car for a day to explore Yarmouth a breeze which I always love when I’m travelling.
This 3.5 star hotel features 132 guest rooms with modern amenities such as mini fridges, coffee makers, high speed internet and more. Many of their rooms have gorgeous views of Yarmouth’s waterfront so you can enjoy some of Nova Scotia’s beautiful scenery from the comfort of your room! The Rodd Grand Yarmouth also features six family suites making it easy to travel with kids in tow and have plenty of space for everyone. For those fitness buffs or travellers that like to stay active while on the road, the Rodd Grand Yarmouth has a fully-equipped fitness centre as well as an indoor pool.
Another feature I love is that the Rodd Grand Yarmouth is a member of Green Key Global. This international environmental certification ensures that its members are reducing their carbon footprint by following key initiatives such as an emphasis on recycling and providing members with resources that connect them to eco-friendly alternatives for a variety of a hotel’s needs.
Something to note is that the Rodd Grand Yarmouth will soon be under renovation. It may mean some disrupted stays in the near future but the facelift will really be quite the sight to see. I can’t wait to stay and experience them once complete!
More Things to Do in Yarmouth & the Acadian Shores
As you can imagine, the Acadian Shores cover quite a bit of land and while juggling tours, a conference and meetings, it was hard to see everything! If you’re looking for more things to do in Yarmouth and the Acadian Shores, here are my suggestions. These are the activities I’ll be checking out on my return visit! Of course if there’s anything you think I should check out next time I’m in Yarmouth, please leave a comment so I can ensure it’s on my radar.
Tusket Island Tours
Set sail from Wedgeport for an adventure through the beautiful Tusket Islands! This cluster of beauty is only accessible by boat and the fine folks of Tusket Island Tours will share the rich history of this unique area. From shipwrecks to treasure to murderous tales and even World War II spies, it’s guaranteed to be quite the adventure!
During your trip, folks will learn how to haul a real lobster trap and witness the full process a lobster fisherman goes through on a daily basis. You’ll stop on Big Tusket Island and visit the LeBlanc’s very own private fishing shanty and sample tasty local seafood chowder. With plenty of laughs and entertainment to enjoy, the day will fly by and before you know it, you’ll be docking at Wedgeport hoping to get back out on the water again soon.
Village Historique Acadien
There just aren’t enough hours in a day and one of the things I regret during my visit is that I didn’t get to experience much of the incredible Acadian culture you’ll find in and around Yarmouth. I’ll certainly be rectifying this with a visit to Le Village historique acadien de la Nouvelle-Écosse… aka The Historic Acadian Village of Nova Scotia!
This 17 acre property offers a glimpse into the everyday lives of Acadians during the early 1900s. Spend an afternoon exploring the historical homes on-site, mail a postcard from the rural post office, learn how to make dried salted fish, explore the Abbott Harbour Lighthouse and enjoy the incredible views of Pubnico Harbour.
Shelburne was an important place during the American Revolution as pro-British refugees founded it back when it was known as the port of Roseway. By 1784, this new community was said to have a population of at least 10,000 people making it the fourth largest in North America!
Spend some time uncovering the rich history of the town with a visit to Cox’s Shipyard, The Dory Shop, the Ross Thomson House and, of course, the Shelburne County Museum. Grab a tasty bite like the smoked fish plate at the Charlotte Lane Cafe. If you love being out on the water (I mean, who doesn’t?) then book a stand-up paddleboard excursion with Borrow My Boards. Of course, we are in the land of lighthouses so make the trip to Sandy Point at the entrance to Shelburne’s harbour.
Visit the Lobster Capital of Canada
Did you know that Southwest Nova Scotia has the largest catches of all of Canada’s 41 lobster fishing areas? It accounts for 40% of our country’s annual catch! What better place to celebrate all things lobster than in the lobster capital of Canada – Barrington!
While Lucy the Lobster, their local weather forecaster, is definitely someone you want to meet, a large draw to Barrington is Cape Sable Island as it is home to Nova Scotia’s tallest lighthouse! Head to Hawk Beach for impeccable views of the Cape Sable Light and to experience the most southern point in Nova Scotia.
After all that adventuring, be sure to fuel up with a lobster dish – you are in the capital after all! Capt Kat’s is said to have some fantastic eats from lobster rolls to stuffed mushroom caps.
Things to Know For Planning Your Visit
Now that you know what to see in Yarmouth, it’s time to plan your visit! Here are a few tips and some frequently asked questions about the town.
What is Yarmouth Known For?
With a history steeped in fishing, it’s safe to say that Yarmouth is best known for the fishing industry as it has one of the largest fishing fleets in Atlantic Canada. It’s also where the 2019 film The Lighthouse with Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson was filmed.
How Far is Yarmouth from Halifax?
Yarmouth is less than a 3.5 hour drive from Halifax. You can take either the north or south shores as Yarmouth is almost equidistant in the middle. I honestly recommend taking one and then the other so that you get to see as much of southwestern Nova Scotia as possible with highlights like Kejimkujik National Park, the Annapolis Valley, Birchtown and more.
Are There Other Ways to Get to Yarmouth?
While a large number of visitors drive from Halifax, many will take the ferry from New Brunswick to Digby and then head southwest to Yarmouth. For any American visitors, you can take the CAT ferry from Bar Harbour, Maine and it will drop you right off in the heart of Yarmouth.
Do You Need a Vehicle when Exploring Yarmouth?
While the downtown core is easily walkable with plenty to do, you will need a car in order to explore more of the Acadian Shores. If you plan to rent a car, you will want to reserve well in advance as there can be shortages in the summer months.
Is Yarmouth Worth Visiting?
If you’ve made it all the way through this article, then I think you’ll agree that Yarmouth is definitely worth visiting. The quaint colourful charm, welcoming atmosphere and friendly locals, beautiful beaches and the iconic Cape Forchu lighthouse alone make it worth the trek in my opinion!
This post is based on my experience exploring Yarmouth during the Travel Media Association of Canada Conference. While the majority of these great Yarmouth attractions were comped, all of the content and opinions here are honest and speak to my personal experience!