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Top 5 day trips from Nova Scotia’s capital city, Halifax

Northumberland Shore

Top 5 day trips from Nova Scotia’s capital city, Halifax

From exploring seaside fishing villages and historic towns to beach hopping, wine tastings, and walking on the ocean floor, there are many ways to spend a day or two exploring Nova Scotia.


Looking for suggestions for a spontaneous road trip outside of Halifax? We’ve pulled together five popular day trips to make sure you don’t miss popular activities and highlights along the way!


1. Tour Mahone Bay and Lunenburg

Take the Lighthouse Route from Halifax to Lunenburg for a journey through an unforgettable landscape of coastal beauty and historic charm. Follow shoreline roads past rugged, wave-carved headlands and tranquil, island-studded bays.


Depart Halifax for Lunenburg early in the morning as this is a coast-filled road trip with must-see stops to take in along the way, including Peggy's CoveExternal Link Title, Canada's most beloved lighthouse. If you're hungry make sure to try a lobster roll while strolling through the village!


Make your way to Mahone BayExternal Link Title, a small, walkable village on a harbour with lots to explore. Local must-eat stops include The Biscuit EaterExternal Link Title, Mateus BistroExternal Link Title, and Jo-Anne's Deli Market Bake ShopExternal Link Title. Don't leave Mahone Bay without capturing the iconic photo of the Mahone Bay Three Churches.

Visit the seafaring town of LunenburgExternal Link Title, where the bustling waterfront, narrow streets, and captivating and colourful architecture radiate the flavour of the town's rum running and ship building heritage. Old Town Lunenburg is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to Nova Scotia's famous racing schooner, the BluenoseExternal Link Title, which is also featured on the Canadian 10-cent piece.


The Lunenburg area is too rich to do it all in one day. The best way to get to connect to this town, its heritage, and its people is through the popular Lunenburg Walking TourExternal Link Title.  Stroll through the UNESCO World Heritage Site town with your tour guide as they delve into the stories of Lunenburg that can't be seen from the street.


For the photographer and/or kayaker, a 10-minute drive to the nearby fishing village of Blue Rocks should be on your must-do list. Blue Rocks is a photographer's and kayaker's paradise with its shallow, pristine waters and hundreds of islands and inlets to explore. Book a kayaking tour or kayak rental with Pleasant PaddlingExternal Link Title for an afternoon excursion in a landscape so unique you will be captivated by its beauty.


2. Tour Nova Scotia's warmest beaches

If you're looking for the warmest waters north of the Carolinas, you'll find them here in Nova Scotia. With more warm-water ocean beaches than anywhere else in Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia's Northumberland ShoreExternal Link Title is a beach lover's paradise. The region is also home to the award winning Jost VineyardsExternal Link Title, bustling villages, and one of the highest ranked resorts in Canada, Fox Harb'r ResortExternal Link Title.

Spend the day at the beach


The coastline in this region is dotted with many warm water beaches. Arrive at one of the most beautiful beaches along the Northumberland Shore, Melmerby Beach Provincial ParkExternal Link Title, where you'll practically have this two-kilometre sandy beach and boardwalk to yourself.


En route to the beach, a must-stop for snacks is at Masstown MarketExternal Link Title near the town of Truro. The market has large, bright displays of local fruits and vegetables, made-from-scratch daily baked goods, famous chowders and soups, an ice cream shop, a garden centre, a giftshop, and more.


Oh, and the fish and chips at Masstown Market are sooo good!


Explore a vibrant village


Full of character, TatamagoucheExternal Link Title is a thriving seaside village that embraces quality of life along Nova Scotia's Northumberland Shore. Be sure to check out the weekend farmers' marketExternal Link Title and hop aboard the town's road trainExternal Link Title.


Check out these suggestions in the local area to add to your day:


Want to fly direct to Nova Scotia's Northumberland Shore?


Fly direct to Fox Harb'r ResortExternal Link Title. Private planes frequent from Montreal, Boston, and New York. Consistently ranked among the top Destination Resorts in Canada by leading travel consumer reports and industry peers, Fox Harb'r is one of only five 5-star resorts in Canada and the only one in Nova Scotia. The resort offers classic elegance with a variety of activities including the award-winning Fox Harb'r championship golf course and par 3 courseExternal Link Title, a luxury spa and wellness center, a deep sea marina, the five-star dining room, and The Willard restaurant for casual dining.


3. Discover Annapolis Valley wineries

A must-do road trip from Halifax is discovering Nova Scotia's award-winning wines.


Framed by two parallel mountain ranges and not more than 20 minutes to the ocean, the Annapolis ValleyExternal Link Title's rolling fertile fields are becoming known as Nova Scotia's wine region thanks to over 15 local wineriesExternal Link Title who work with more than 20 types of grapes.


A trip would not be complete without stopping in to try fresh and crisp cider varieties from the Annapolis Cider CompanyExternal Link Title and unique flavours at Barrelling Tide DistilleryExternal Link Title.  For a complete list of wineries and distilleries featuring 50+ locations across the province, check out the Nova Scotia Good Cheer TrailExternal Link Title.

Wine tour operators


If you don't want to worry about driving, there are daily tours departing from Halifax bringing visiting to Nova Scotia's wine region.

  • Grape EscapesExternal Link Title: Provides a variety of day tours to Nova Scotia's wine country. Sip and savour your way through wineries and vineyards that show off our cool climate "terroir" and leave the driving to us.
  • Wolfville Magic Winery BusExternal Link Title: Hop-on, hop-off wine tours on a traditional British double-decker bus. Departing three times each day from downtown Wolfville and delivering guests to the participating wineries and between locations.


4. Adventure on the Eastern Shore

Are you looking for an authentic outdoor experience? In less than an hour's drive from downtown Halifax, start your coastal adventure with surfing lessons on Martinique Beach Provincial ParkExternal Link Title or Lawrencetown Beach Provincial ParkExternal Link Title with a surf school operated by a professional surfer.

Visiting the Eastern Shore of Nova ScotiaExternal Link Title is not complete without exploring the 100 Wild IslandsExternal Link Title - a fascinating and undeveloped archipelago of islands which feature white sand beaches, bogs, barrens, and forest. These islands are one of the last remaining intact and ecologically rich island groups of this size in North America. To get an impressive experience of these islands, explore them by kayak. Book a tour with Coastal AdventuresExternal Link Title in advance for an unforgettable experience.


Before heading back to Halifax, stop and enjoy a local meal featuring fresh seafood at The Henley House Pub and RestaurantExternal Link Title which is conveniently next door to Sober Island Brewing CompanyExternal Link Title. Yum!


5. Experience the highest tides in the world

Within a 45-minute drive from Halifax, you'll arrive at the site of the highest recorded tides in the world, Burntcoat Head ParkExternal Link Title. Their ocean floor tourExternal Link Title is offered daily - be sure to book at least 24 hours in advanced as space is limited. At the park, explore the lighthouse, woodland trails, and kilometers of ocean floor while the tide is out.


Not far from Burntcoat Head Park you'll find the Shubenacadie River, the only place in North America where a tidal bore happens not once but twice daily. Ride these wild rapids with one of the many tidal bore rafting operatorsExternal Link Title in the area, and end your adventure with a mud slide. This is something you can only do in Nova Scotia!