When you think of Nova Scotia you probably think of Halifax and lighthouses, which is fair, both are pretty rad. However, the northeastern part of the province is a bit of a hidden gem. It doesn’t seem to get the attention other areas do so I am here to tell you there is a wealth of beauty and awesome things to do along the Northumberland Strait and Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia.
I spent a week exploring the sandy beaches, forested mountains, and the unique and welcoming communities that call northeastern Nova Scotia home. From points of historical interest to amazing outdoor spaces, there was never a dull moment.
Here are the 10 coolest things to do in northeastern Nova Scotia
Hector Heritage Quay
Nova Scotia literally means “New Scotland” and the Ship Hector brought over some of those first Scottish immigrants. The Hector Heritage Quay is both a museum and recreation of the original ship. You can walk around the deck and climb down into the hold to get an idea of what life crossing the Atlantic might have been like in 1773.
Fishing is big in Nova Scotia, I mean, its surrounded by water so that makes sense right? The Northumberland Fisheries Museum’s mission is to preserve and bring awareness to the heritage and culture of the fishing industry. My favorite part of the museum was the lobster hatchery and tanks where they have unique and rare lobsters. You can also “adopt” a lobster, which is basically a donation for the hatchery to continue to stabilize the lobster population.
Seafoam Lavender Farm
Who doesn’t love the smell of lavender? Seafoam Lavender is family owned and operated, and makes and sells all-natural lavender products. Visit the farm to pick your own bunches of lavender, stock up on good smelling products, and just enjoy the beautiful grounds. They also have events like the Lavender Festival in July and Farm Day in September.
Hike or bike on the Trans-Canada Trail
The Trans-Canada Trail or Great Trail is a trail system that goes across all of Canada, connecting each province and spanning coast to coast. There are several sections that run through Northeastern Nova Scotia between Pictou, New Glasgow, and Guysborough. Get out and enjoy the beautiful scenery while getting in a little exercise!
I bet you weren’t expecting to see “go to the beach” on this list? But here we are! The Northumberland Strait has the warmest waters in Canada, in the summertime water temps have been known to get into the high 70’s! This makes Melmerby Beach an awesome place to hang out in the summer. It’s long sandy shore, blue water, and coastal dunes make it a picturesque spot for a day at the beach.
Taste some local flavors! From maple vodka to rhubarb gin Steinhart Distillery is distilling some excellent booze. You can take a tour of the distillery and do a tasting Monday through Friday, no reservations necessary, just stop on by. They have an extensive list of specialty cocktail that they make as well that I would highly recommend!
What do you do with a decommisioned ski hill? Turn it into a hiking and mountain biking park, obviously! Keppoch Mountain is now an all-season outdoor adventure park, with hiking and biking in the summer months and snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and fat tiring biking in the winter.
Tor Bay Provincial Park
What so special about a park you might ask, well, I’m not totally sure, but Tor Bay has a wild beauty about it that can’t be ignored. There’s something about the waves on the rocky coast, the sand dunes, and the wooden boardwalk through the trees that just captures your attention.
Being on the coast it seems like boating would be a no-brainer. Getting out on the water is refreshing and exciting, try your hand at fishing or just take in the sights. I was able to do a sunset boat right through the SeaWind Landing hotel which was an awesome way to see the coast and learn about the area from our host.
It wouldn’t be Nova Scotia without seeing some lighthouse, would it? Did you know every lighthouse is unique? From different shapes or structures to the paint job, no two lighthouses are the same.
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