5 Outstanding Things to Do in Nova Scotia

The Bay of Fundy
Tidal changes reveal layers of sandstone formations near Paddy's Island on the Bay of Fundy. (Photo: Maurizio De Mattei/Shutterstock)

If you and your family are headed to Nova Scotia any time soon, you should consider yourselves lucky! You're about to embark on an adventure in which every day will be filled with stunning views, delicious food and wonderfully friendly people.

Along with New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia is one of the Atlantic provinces of Canada. There are tons of family-friendly things to do in this charming province, so get ready to start making your list.

Get started with these top five must-see locations:

1. Peggy's Cove Lighthouse

Peggy's Point Lightbouse
This amazing view of Peggy's Point Lighthouse has captivated visitors of all ages for decades. (Photo: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock)

Did you know Nova Scotia has the most lighthouses in Canada? You can practically throw a ball at any point in the province and it will land on or close to a lighthouse. And if you are going to take in just one of these beauties, make sure it is the lighthouse at the famous Peggy's Cove. Located on the eastern shore of St. Margaret's Bay just south of Halifax, Peggy's Cove Lighthouse (also known as Peggy's Point Lighthouse) is easy to get to. So it's no wonder that it's Canada's most well-known and most photographed lighthouse. The breathtaking views of this gorgeous viewpoint will delight everyone in your family.

2. Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Cape Breton Highlands National Park
The world famous Cabot Trail offers a scenic tour of Cape Breton Highlands. (Photo: Vadim.Petrov/Shutterstock)

Cape Breton is a bit of a trek from Halifax, but you will be glad you made the effort when you drive on the famous Cabot Trail. Really, the word "scenic" doesn't do justice to the craggy cliffs, rocky beaches, and yes, of course lighthouses you will see along this route. Not to mention the fact that — if you're lucky — you can spot whales from land at several points along the drive! Break up the trip by stretching your legs on one of the park's spectacular trails.

3. Whale watching

Pilot whales
Pilot whales blowing at Cape Breton Highlands National Park near Pleasant Bay, Nova Scotia. (Photo: ChefMD/Shutterstock)

There are several locations to spot whales in Nova Scotia. If you're in the south and looking to see some humpbacks, head to Digby where several tour operators are available to take you and your family out for a day of oohing and aahing over these magnificent creatures. In the north, head to Pleasant Bay to see pilot whales and minke whales a-plenty. If you go to Pleasant Bay, be sure to start your adventure with a visit to the Whale Interpretive Center where you can learn all about the whales in and around Nova Scotia.

4. Halifax

Halifax waterfront
There is plenty to see and do in the capital city of Halifax. (Photo: Paul McKinnon/Shutterstock)

Halifax is the capital city of Nova Scotia and certainly the biggest city for miles and miles. But with a population of around 400,000 residents, you will be able to enjoy the comforts of big-city living without the noise or traffic. The Halifax waterfront has lots of great playgrounds and eye candy for kids such as tall ships, a wave sculpture and fun street vendors. Halifax is also home to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic where you and the family can learn about all kinds of boat-related goodness including the Halifax Explosion (the largest artificially induced explosion before the development of nuclear weapons), small craft boat building, as well as the Titanic (the museum has the largest collection of wooden artifacts from the infamous ship.)

5. Bay of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy
Tidal changes reveal layers of sandstone formations near Paddy's Island on the Bay of Fundy. (Photo: Maurizio De Mattei/Shutterstock)

Besides being absolutely stunning to look at, the Bay of Fundy is known primarily as the location with the highest tidal range on the planet. Why is a high tidal range so interesting? It means that if you visit the Bay of Fundy at any point during the day and stick around for 30 minutes or so, the landscape will completely change to either reveal or hide treasures from the bottom of the ocean. Burntcoat Head Park is ground zero for this tidal range phenomenon. During our three-hour visit, my girls could not get enough of the changing landscape and the constant revelation of new caves and features as the tide went out.