10+ Unique Things to Do in Nova Scotia Now

Venture into Nova Scotia's Oak Island—where hidden secrets beckon. Will its elusive treasure tales lure you to unearth...
Date Published
March 8, 2024

Table of Contents

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Ever wondered what it's like to stand in a place where the whispers of an ancient pirate's curse might actually tickle your ears? Sure, you could read about it in a dusty old book, but let's face it, you're craving adventure with a capital 'A'! Nova Scotia isn't just about scenic vistas and hearty lobster dinners – it's a treasure chest of secrets, with each cove and crevice telling tales as old as the waves. From the mystery-laden Oak Island that's sparked a thousand treasure tales to indulging your inner sommelier among the flourishing Gaspereau Valley vineyards, this gem of the Maritimes offers unparalleled escapades.

Whether you're yearning to soak up the solitude at the serene Ingonish Beach or eager to lace up your boots for a rugged hike through the trails of Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia is your playground. And get this – you can even embark on a wild journey to Sable Island to observe horses that ignore mankind's rules. So, saddle up for a whirlwind of activities that promise to elevate your Instagram stories and feed your soul the maritime magic it hungers for!

Uncover the Intrigue of Oak Island

Picture yourself stepping into a scene straight out of a treasure hunter's diary. You're on Oak Island, a spot that's sparked tales of mystery and fortune for over two centuries. Talk about a real-life adventure! Why are Oak Island treasure tales so gripping? Maybe it's because buried treasure is just a concept to most, but here, it's a breathing slice of history that you might just stumble upon.

Oak Island is famous for theories of hidden riches, notorious pirates, and daring escapades. This small island in Nova Scotia is not your average tourist destination; it's a vault of dreamers' quests. Legends whisper of treasures hidden deep beneath the surface, guarded by clever traps. You don’t need to be Indiana Jones to feel the rush; it’s all there waiting for you!

Spend an afternoon exploring the interpretive center where stories come to life through exhibits and artifacts. Or better yet, join one of the guided tours where the past is unearthed, bit by fascinating bit. As you wander through the island, the air feels thick with secrets—each nook and cranny of the island whispers of fortunes unclaimed.

Oak Island is not just for solo treasure seekers; it's a unique experience for families, history buffs, and adventure chasers. The tale of Captain Kidd’s lost treasure isn't just a bedtime story; it's real enough to touch here. And while there's no guarantee you'll find gold or ancient manuscripts, you're certain to find a rich piece of Nova Scotia's past.

And remember, even if your hands don't grasp any shining doubloons, the true treasure is the adventure itself. So come on, bring your curiosity and maybe a good pair of boots because you never know where the Oak Island tales might lead you. Who knows? The next chapter of the story could have your name in it.

Indulge in the Gaspereau Valley Vineyards

Picture this: You're strolling through the rolling hills, the sun is kissing your face, and there's the faint aroma of grapevines in the air. Welcome to Gaspereau Valley Vineyards, where you can sip and savor some of Nova Scotia's finest wines.

What makes this vineyard unique? For one, its quaint charm and the fact that it's snuggled in a picturesque valley known for producing award-winning wines. This isn't just grape juice, folks, this is the nectar of the gods that's been perfected by cool climate and terrain.

Now, don't go rushing through like there's a wine sale at the end. Take your time. You'll want a good half-day here to truly indulge in the taste-testing and to feast your eyes on the views. Trust me, once you're there, surrounded by vines and with a glass in hand, you'll want to press pause on life.

And hey, who is this vineyard good for? Whether you're a couple looking for that perfect romantic outing or just a single person with a penchant for good wine, Gaspereau Valley has your back. Not so much for the kiddos, but they can certainly run around in the open while you "research" the best wines.

Are you ready for a little extra fun? You can take a tour, get to know the winemakers, and learn what it takes to go from grape to glass – an experience that could make a sommelier out of anyone.

Your taste buds will dance, your Instagram will pop with scenic shots, and who knows, you might just find your new favorite wine. Just remember to bring your friends, or make new ones there; wine has a way of bringing people together like no other.

So swirl, sniff, sip, and most importantly, smile. Because you're in the Gaspereau Valley, and life is fine and dandy – especially with a glass of wine in hand.

Soak Up Solitude at Ingonish Beach

Imagine the sound of waves lapping on the shore, the salty breeze caressing your face, and the sun kissing your skin as you dig your toes into the warm sand. That's Ingonish Beach for you – a serene slice of heaven where relaxation isn't just encouraged, it's mandatory!

Ingonish Beach, nestled on the scenic Cape Breton Island, offers the perfect escape for those looking to unwind. Stretch out on its creamy, sandy expanse and let the world's worries wash away with the tide. This isn't just any ordinary beach; it's a getaway where you can recharge in solitude or frolic in the gentle waves with your friends and family.

Why is Ingonish Beach ideal for relaxation? It's simple:

  • Peaceful ambiance: Unlike some crowded beaches, Ingonish offers a tranquil environment where you can hear your own thoughts.
  • Stunning scenery: The beach is framed by lush highlands and the sparkling waters of the North Atlantic, creating postcard-worthy views at every turn.
  • Family-friendly: The relatively calm waters make it a safe spot for the little ones to paddle, and for adults to indulge in some leisurely swimming.

And for the adventurous souls, there's more than just lounging on the beach! Explore the nearby hiking trails and let the majestic landscapes of Cape Breton Highlands National Park invigorate your spirit. Trust us, the views are like hitting the refresh button on life.

Spend a full day here to truly appreciate everything Ingonish Beach offers. Pack a picnic, a good book, and perhaps a kite – because the winds here are just begging for it. Whether you're a solo explorer, a romantic couple, or a fun-loving family, this beach is a crowd-pleaser.

Be sure to hang around for the sunset – it's a fiery spectacle that burns brightly in your memory long after you've left. Leave your footprints in the sand, soak up the solitude, and breathe in the pure Nova Scotia air. Ingonish Beach is not just a place to visit; it's an experience to savor.

Are you ready for an adventure that'll get your heart racing and your Instagram popping? Lace up those hiking boots, because Kejimkujik National Park is where the magic happens. With trails that cater to your every whim, whether you're in for a gentle stroll or a heart-thumping trek, this is your chance to commune with nature in a park that's brimming with more than just trees — it's steeped in stories and alive with every step you take.

In Kejimkujik, every trail is a new story, a new adventure. Feel the rush of energy as you traverse paths surrounded by ancient hemlocks in a forest that’s been doing its thing for over a millennium. You're about to witness scenery so stunning, your camera will beg for mercy. But the real star here? The pure, unadulterated solitude. This park isn’t just some walk in the woods — it’s a sanctuary where you can listen to the whispers of the leaves and giggle at the squirrels' antics without the cacophony of the outside world.

Now, let's not kid ourselves, Kejimkujik National Park is massive, and you could spend days uncovering all its secrets. But even if you've only got a few hours, there's a piece of this wild wonderland that's perfect for you. It’s an all-ages party in the great outdoors, perfect for families craving that quality time, or daredevils looking to scale cliffs like there's no tomorrow.

Is it an adrenaline fix you're after, or perhaps a zen moment by a tranquil lake? Either way, this park's got you covered — with a scenic backdrop, no less. So, bring the kids, bring your friends, or hey, make it a date with Mother Nature herself. Just be sure to pack a spirit of adventure — in Kejimkujik, it's about to be unleashed!

And the best part? You're mere steps away from plunging into other back-to-nature activities. So if you're wondering what's nearby, think serene camping spots, canoeing escapades, and night skies that turn into a canvas of stars. Save a whole day, or maybe two; this place deserves your undivided attention.

So what are you waiting for? The trails at Kejimkujik National Park are calling. Can you hear them? They're saying, "Let's make some memories you'll never, ever forget." Now go on, get out there and answer the call!

Voyage to Sable Island's Wild Horses

Ever dreamed of setting foot on a far-off sandbar where wild horses gallivant freely amidst sea breezes? Welcome to Sable Island, the crown jewel of Nova Scotia, where adventure and wonder prance about with every hoofbeat. This isn't the average day trip—this is where equine enthusiasts and the wildly curious collide with nature's untamed elegance.

Prepare to be swept up in the mystique the moment your feet sink into the soft sands. As for who might join you on this escapade? It's a haven for solo explorers thirsty for solitude but just as perfect for families looking to inject a blip of untamed magic into their vacation scrapbooks.

Now, how long should you set aside for this escapade? Allocate a full day for Sable Island's wild horse excursions to truly soak in the raw beauty of this unique ecosystem. You'll be part of a rare breed who have witnessed these majestic creatures in their natural habitat—roaming free, bucking the bridle of modern life.

Roam alongside these fabled beauties—flaxen-maned and steely-eyed—as whispers of folklore and shipwrecks swirl around you. Nearby, the Atlantic toyfully laps at a shore that embraces both the weight of history and the lightness of the breeze. Every gust seems to say, “Freedom lives here!”

And who do we thank for this secluded spectacle? None other than Mother Earth herself, throwing a party where the invitees are seals, birds, and one curious human—yeah, that’s you! Whether you're a wild-at-heart adventurer or a peace-seeking wanderer, Sable Island calls out to your inner child to come and play.

So, slip on your sturdy boots, zip up your adventure with anticipation, and set your sights on the horizon where wild horses await to remind us all—free spirits never really fade, they just find new places to roam.

Experience the Tidal Bore Phenomenon in Truro

Picture this: You're standing by the river's edge, anticipation fizzing like a just-popped soda can—because in Truro, the tidal bore phenomenon isn't just some high tide. It's a salty show you don't want to miss! Twice a day, the Bay of Fundy's massive tides surge into the Salmon River, causing a wave that can reach up to 30 cm in height to roll against the current. It's like the river's putting on a reverse waterfall for you, with one rip-roaring entrance.

Now, what exactly does the tidal bore look like? Imagine a wave, just doing its regular wave thing, crashing onto shore, right? Well, take that image, and flip it—a wave, but surging up a river. Yes, a river! And you, lucky thing, you’re scoring a front-row seat to Mother Nature's quirky river stunt.

The Truro tidal phenomenon is not only unique—it's a natural spectacle that's strangely hypnotic. So how long should you onlook this aquatic anomaly? Give it a solid hour—you'll want to catch it gain speed and hear the bubbling whispers grow to a watery roar. It’s prime time for nature buffs and those in need of a good, "Guess-what-I-saw-today?" story.

You betcha it's also a photographer’s candy store, especially if you're after that one-of-a-kind snapshot. Kiddos with a curiosity for the wilder side of waterworks will be absolutely gobsmacked. Oh, and don’t forget the thrill-seekers! Wanna ride the bore? Grab a surfboard or hop on a raft. For a less wet-and-wild experience, just laze back and watch the spectacle unfold.

Here's a pro tip: Check the tide schedule before you go. Timing is everything, and you wouldn’t want to miss the show because you got the schedule wrong, now would you?

Whether you’re a solo adventurer or hauling the whole squad, this tidal treat in Truro promises to splash a little magic onto any Nova Scotia itinerary. Now, go tide-watch like a boss!

Patrol the Past at the Fortress of Louisbourg

Imagine stepping back in time, wading through a living snapshot of the 18th century - welcome to the Fortress of Louisbourg. Here, history buffs and families alike can patrol through one of Canada's national historic sites where the echoes of muskets still linger in the crisp sea air.

At the Fortress of Louisbourg, you're not just walking on cobblestones; you're tracing the footsteps of soldiers, merchants, and families from over 300 years ago. Step inside the painstakingly restored buildings and feel the weight of history in every stone and cannonball. Each crack in the thick fortress walls tells a story of epic battles, and the costumed interpreters are just bursting to share an old sea tale or two.

Don't rush this experience; you'll need at least half a day to do it justice. Whether you're a solo explorer or wrangling a crew of curious kids, there's something to captivate every age. Get ready to be recruited by a regiment or barter like a local in the bustling market square – it's all part of the adventure.

And hey, are those your stomach growling like a cannon or just hunger setting in? Fear not, for you can munch on some authentic period eats at the on-site restaurant, making the trip not only a journey through history but a culinary expedition as well.

Here's a pro tip: check out the Fortress of Louisbourg website before you visit for special events that might just catapult your historical escapade to the next level. From military reenactments to traditional cooking workshops, see how days gone by can be more than just a chapter in a history book.

Gather your personal troop of time travelers, because at the Fortress of Louisbourg, the past isn't just told, it's lived!

Savor Seafood with Digby Pines Dining

Craving seafood? Then Digby Pines Dining is your ultimate go-to. Picture this: Waves crash upon the shore, a cool breeze carries the scent of the sea, and there you are, seated with the finest catch of the day on your plate. It's not just a meal; it's an event that tickles all your senses.

Digby, after all, is renowned for serving up the juiciest scallops you'll ever taste. And here's the best part—the seafood practically jumps from the ocean onto your plate. Freshness? Check. Flavor? Double-check. Whether you're flying solo or with the fam, you're in for a one-of-a-kind maritime feast that will leave your taste buds dancing the jig.

Here's the deal:

  • Succulent scallops are the stars of the show. Seriously, they're so good, they could probably get their own TV show.
  • Not a fan of scallops? No problem. The menu's brimming with oceanic treasures like lobster, haddock, and mussels. There's something scrumptious for every seafood enthusiast.

For the complete seafood experience, pair your meal with a crisp glass of white wine, and let the maritime merriment begin. With views overlooking the Bay of Fundy, you're not just dining; you're making memories.

Digby Pines offers a setting that's both casual and elegant, perfect for those 'treat yourself' moments or when you want to impress someone special. You'll want to set aside an evening to fully immerse in this epicurean delight because let's face it, you can't rush perfection.

Whether you're a seeker of succulent seafood or you just love a dining scene with a view, your visit to Digby will be incomplete without this culinary escapade. It's a spot that captures the essence of Coastal Nova Scotia, hook, line, and sinker. Now, go on, dive into the nautical nirvana that is Digby Pines Dining. Your stomach will thank you, and so will your Instagram.

Revel in Maritime Music at the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival

Imagine you're sauntering along the picturesque streets of Lunenburg, a cool sea breeze mingling with the strains of a fiddle, a guitar, maybe even a soulful voice carrying through the air. This isn't just any music; this is the heart-pumping, foot-tapping symphony of the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival. Trust me, your ears are in for a treat like grandma's secret recipe!

Here, my friend, is where the soul of Atlantic Canada's music scene thrives. Plan to spend the whole day (or heck, why not the whole weekend?) soaking in tunes from traditional to contemporary, by artists who live and breathe this rich cultural legacy. Your playlist is going to burst with new favorites, I guarantee it.

So, who usually comes to this melodic extravaganza? Everyone from solo adventurers to entire families, locals and tourists alike, find themselves clapping to the rhythm. But it's particularly magical for those who vibe with folksy tunes and the charm of small-town celebrations.

You'll want to arrive early to grab a good spot—maybe even snag a seat by the waterfront stage. As the sun sets, the glow of festival lights creates the perfect ambiance for making memories. And when hunger strikes, you're only a skip and a hop away from some of the best ocean-fresh seafood dives in town.

Best part? The Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival is more than just a treat for the ears. It's a feast for the eyes too, with the vibrant UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lunenburg as its backdrop. Trust me, this is where you'll feel the pulse of Nova Scotia's traditional heartstrings playing just for you. Don't forget to get the full festival experience, from workshops to art vendors, making sure your maritime music adventure is as rich as the history echoing in each song.

Track Hidden Gems on the South Shore Beaches

Imagine strolling along a serene coastline where each gentle wave whispers a secret. Welcome to the South Shore beaches of Nova Scotia, where hidden coves and sweeping vistas are just waiting for you to discover them. Wrapped in the arms of the Atlantic, these spots are a beachcomber's paradise, sprinkled with treasures that the ocean gives away with each tide.

First things first, bring out your inner explorer at Crescent Beach – it's not just a beach, it’s a highway of sand you can actually drive on! Yes, drive right onto the sand and park your wheels beside the seashore. Once you've had your fill of motorized thrills, ditch the car and dip those toes into the cool Atlantic waters.

Next, mosey on over to Rissers Beach Provincial Park. Here's where you soak up the sun, picnic like royalty, and maybe even spot a rare piping plover. With boardwalks that guide you through marshes brimming with life, it's like Mother Nature curated a living museum just for you. Oh, and by the way, Rissers has a cozy little campground, so why not make it a sleepover?

And let’s not forget Hirtle’s Beach. It's the kind of place where time slows down to a crawl. Trek the three-kilometer stretch of this sandy wonderland or venture on to the Gaff Point hiking trail. There, cliffs clasp the raging sea, and you feel like you're at the edge of the world, rooted in awe.

These South Shore beauties are a haven for families, couples, and solo travelers alike, offering everything from adrenaline-pumping surf to solitary moments of zen. Plan to spend a day – or why not a few – giving into the lull of the sea. Barbecues, beach volleyball, or a quiet read with the waves as your soundtrack – it's here waiting for you.

Now, grab your sunscreen and come make some footprints in these sands that still manage to fly under the radar. Because trust me, these are the kind of days that memories cling to, the kind of places postcards get jealous of.

Engage with Acadian Culture in Cheticamp

Dive headfirst into a kaleidoscope of French heritage at Cheticamp, where Acadian culture is not just alive—it's kicking! Imagine strolling through streets humming with the sounds of fiddles and foot-tapping. The living traditions of the Acadians, French descendants with a zest for life, embrace you with every step.

This picturesque fishing village is a tapestry of vibrant history and folklore. Ready for a sensory thrill? Let your nostrils guide you to the savory aroma of freshly baked 'pain d'habitant' while tuning your ears to the lively Acadian ballads that fill the air. You’re not just visiting Cheticamp; you’re becoming a part of its heartbeat.

From the minute you get here, it's all hands on deck. Adults and kids alike can try their hand at crafting exquisite hooked rugs, a timeless local craft that's as much a part of the landscape as the iconic lighthouse. Not a crafter? No problem! The warm and welcoming locals will share stories that make you feel like you've lived here all your life.

And oh! When the sun dips down, that's when Cheticamp really shows off. The local 'joie de vivre' comes out in full force with toe-tapping ceilidhs (that's 'parties' to you and me). Imagine dancing the night away with people who start as strangers but feel like family by the last dance.

  • Immerse yourself in infectious fiddle music
  • Learn a craft that stitches you right into the town fabric
  • Join a spirited ceilidh and dance like there's no tomorrow

This isn't just a visit; it's an invitation to step into a culture-rich enclave that’s perfect for solo explorers craving authenticity, families who love a bit of history with their holidays, and frankly, anyone ready for a good time. Spend at least a day here, but fair warning—you might just want to stay forever! It's an experience that's as real as it gets, making you a part of Cheticamp's ongoing story.

Paddle Through Serenity on the Shubenacadie Waters

Picture this: you're gliding along the waters of the Shubenacadie, the sun peeking through leafy branches, painting shimmering gold on the ripples around you. Your paddle stirs the sleepy river as you navigate the serene flow, East Hants' best-kept secret whispers of adventures waiting to be discovered.

Pssst, wanna meet some wild friends along the way? Not too far from your tranquil escape is the Shubenacadie Wild Animal Park, a place where the wild things are. Expect to make eye contact with a curious ostrich or a nonchalant deer as if inviting you to stay a little longer. It's perfect for families or simply if you're wild at heart!

But don't let the calm waters fool you—Shubenacadie is also home to the heart-pumping thrill of tidal river rafting. Feel the adrenaline as the world's highest tides from the Bay of Fundy rush in and transform the river into a wild ride. Straddle the line between serenity and excitement—and hey, solo adventurers and groups alike can't get enough of this natural rollercoaster!

How long should you spend here? Give it a few hours to really soak it up. Float in peace, paddle against the pulse of the tide, and bask in the wildness of nearby sanctuaries. It's a balance between relaxation and exhilaration, the kind of journey that welcomes anyone willing to dip their toes into its unique rhythm.

Whether you're a water enthusiast or seeking a calm escape, this paddle through the Shubenacadie Waters is a novella etched in Mother Nature's book. And trust me, she's written quite the adventure for you.

FAQ

Q: What are some unusual things to do in Nova Scotia?

A: Walk on the ocean floor at Burntcoat Head Park or join a grape harvest at a local vineyard.

Q: What can I do in Nova Scotia during winter?

A: Go snowshoeing at Kejimkujik National Park or hit the ski slopes at Wentworth Valley.

Q: What are some activities in Nova Scotia today?

A: Check local event listings; there's always live music, a museum exhibit, or a seasonal festival happening.

Q: Are there any free things to do in Nova Scotia?

A: Absolutely! Visit the Halifax Public Gardens or explore the many hiking trails throughout the province.

Q: What's happening in Nova Scotia this weekend?

A: From farmers' markets to live theater, the weekend bustles with events. A quick search will hook you up with the hottest spots.

Q: What are some things to do in Nova Scotia in October?

A: Enjoy the Celtic Colours International Festival, or get spooked at a haunted corn maze.

Q: How many days do I need for Nova Scotia?

A: To take it all in, a good 7 to 10 days can cover the highlights without rushing.

Q: What is the best month to visit Nova Scotia?

A: September! Warm days, cool nights, and fewer crowds make it perfect for sightseeing.

Q: What is the most visited place in Nova Scotia?

A: The Cabot Trail is a showstopper with its stunning coastal views and vibrant communities.

Q: Is Nova Scotia worth seeing?

A: Without a doubt! It's a treasure trove of coastal beauty, cultural experiences, and delicious seafood.

Final Words

We've journeyed together from the mystery-laden Oak Island to the vineyard bliss of Gaspereau Valley, dipped our toes into the serene Ingonish Beach, and got our hiking boots dirty on Kejimkujik's trails. Not to mention, we gazed at Sable Island's wild horses, got swept up by Truro's tidal phenomena, and stepped back in time at the Fortress of Louisbourg.

Your taste buds got their fair share of excitement too, with Digby's seafood and you discovered the heartbeat of Nova Scotia at Lunenburg's Folk Harbour Festival. We hunted for coastal treasures on South Shore and immersed ourselves in Cheticamp's Acadian culture. Remember those peaceful moments paddling on Shubenacadie's waters?

Whether you're a thrill-seeker or a wine sipper, there are tons of things to do in Nova Scotia that'll make you want to stick around longer than you planned. So grab your map, and let's create some unforgettable memories!

Meet the Author
Aria Ohlsson
Aria Ohlsson, the Instagram storyteller extraordinaire, takes you on adventures through her enchanting narratives. An avid hiker, she scales peaks and weaves tales of mountaintop triumphs. When she's not conquering trails, you'll find her immersed in classic novels, finding inspiration for her next tale.
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