Maritime Canada: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island could easily be called Canada’s best-kept secret, and that is a good thing! Among these provinces, Nova Scotia, reaching out the farthest into the Atlantic Ocean, lures its visitors with the promise of stunning scenery and peaceful vacations. From the world-famous Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island, through historic Lunenburg, to an idyllic fishing village of Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia vacation has something for everyone. If you are thinking of escaping it all, here are the reasons to take a road trip to Nova Scotia.

Finding solitude in Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia invites you to take a deep breath and relax.


1. The Cabot Trail
2. Nova Scotia’s #1 national park: Cape Breton Highlands National Park
3. Stunning hiking trails
4. Lunenburg Nova Scotia
5. The idyllic village of Peggy’s Cove
6. Halifax Nova Scotia
7. Lobster
8. Inexpensive accommodation
9. Camping at its best
10. No traffic and no crowds
11. Wildflowers
12. Celtic culture
13. Friendly locals
14. Nova Scotia’s beer
15. Nova Scotia’s distilleries
16. The favorable exchange rate for those traveling from the USA

I had a road trip to Nova Scotia in my head for years, but I needed a final push to make it happen. What was this final push? I learned that lupin flowers are widespread in the province during the end of June and the beginning of July. I always dreamed of seeing meadows of lupins, so I decided to go. That simple.

No need to fly, easy to get a hotel reservation even in season, lots of room in the car for my hats, and a few other belongings – a road trip to Canada is a breeze. During my one-week stay in Nova Scotia, I discovered many more reasons to visit the province.

1. The Cabot Trail

The Cabot Trail scening highway, looping around the northern tip the coast of Cape Breton Island, is considered one of the world’s most scenic routes. It offers stunning ocean vistas, old-growth forests, mountain passes, wildlife, and beautiful hiking trails. The northern section of the Cabot Trail passes through Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

When driving Cabot Trail, make sure to take side roads connecting to the main trail. They are often just dirt roads, but you can stop there without waiting for a designated overlook. They will take you to hidden gems that no one is talking about in tour books.

I especially recommend a drive to White Point and also to Meat Cove at the northern tip of the island. Both roads are breathtaking. Overall, don’t just drive the Cabot Trail, experience it!

Check out the highlights of The Cabot Trail here.

The Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia at sunset.
No wonder that The Cabot Trail is one of the most famous in the world.

2. Nova Scotia’s #1 national park: Cape Breton Highlands National Park

The Cabot Trail and Cape Breton Highlands National Park are inseparable. You must drive the Cabot Trail to reach Cape Breton Highlands, and you can’t complete the trail without visiting the park. Cape Breton Highlands National Park is a must-visit on your trip to Nova Scotia.

You will love the views of the Atlantic Ocean, opening to steep cliffs and deep river canyons carved into a forested plateau. With 26 hiking trails, six beaches, 24 lookout points, eight campgrounds, and numerous waterfalls, the park is a nature lovers’ paradise.

One of the beautiful beaches of Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia.
Just another beach, with no one around, at Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia.

3. Fascinating hikes including Skyline Trail

A hiking attraction not to be missed when taking a road trip to Nova Scotia is a popular Skyline Trail located in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Most of the trail is level and well maintained. It leads mostly through the woods with occasional benches to take a break. It’s a 7 km (4.3 miles) easy round trip.

Once you walk out from the forest, you will be greeted with spectacular vistas of the ocean and an eagle’s eye view of the Cabot Trail. Simply breathtaking!

The trail is just one of the 26 trails located within the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The rest of the province delivers more excellent hiking opportunities. Explore the best hikes of Nova Scotia here.

Skyline Trail - number one hiking trail in Nova Scotia.
Put hiking Skyline Trail on the top of things to do in Nova Scotia. Wait for the sunset!

4. Lunenburg Nova Scotia

Old Town Lunenburg is one of only two urban communities in North America designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Seventy percent of the original colonial buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries continue to greet visitors with their colorful facades. 

Today Lunenburg is a perfect place for a stroll along the water and a meal with a view. Make sure to leave the harbor area and explore the side streets where you will find interesting art shops and more colorful colonial houses. Do not miss Ironworks Distillery! Learn more about visiting Lunenburg here.

Historic Lunenburg.
Historic Lunenburg will great you with an old-world charm, water views, and great food.

5. The idyllic village of Peggy’s Cove

I completely misjudged how much time I needed to visit Peggy’s Cove. I was thinking just a lighthouse for a sunset or a sunrise and then a few photos of the boats in the village. Wrong! You can spend hours exploring the area. Peggy’s Cove lighthouse is magical and sunset.

It does get crowded at that time, but you can find your own space between the boulders to enjoy the moment of solitude. To avoid crowds, visit at sunrise. The area is also very scenic for a visit during the day.

Peggy' Cove Lighthouse Nova Scotia.
Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse Nova Scotia

6. Halifax Nova Scotia

Halifax is not just the capital of Nova Scotia, it is also the commercial hub of Canada’s Maritime provinces and significant tourist attractions. Its natural harbor cuts into the Atlantic coastline, with docks, piers, and parks.

This is where you will find museums, street performers, waterfront restaurants, and colorful Adirondack chairs for resting. The area is home to numerous exciting sculptures, an old indoor market, and a brewery. The harbor is a perfect place to relax and have fun. Check out top experiences in Halifax here.

Reasons to take a road trip to Nova Scotia - Halifax.
Halifax waterfront was meant for relaxation.

7. Lobster

For the lobster lovers, it cannot get any better than Nova Scotia. The traditional method to cook lobster in the province is in a big pot of boiling salt water, fresh from the ocean. You can eat your lobster hot or cold, but melted butter and lemon wedges are a must. For a meal on the go, get a delicious lobster roll.  I had one every day when visiting the province.

Lobster is a big attraction in Nova Scotia.
Lobster is considered one of the main attractions of Nova Scotia.

8. Inexpensive accommodation

You will not need to spend a fortune to visit Nova Scotia. The province is low key and definitely speaks to those who look to stay close to nature and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Nova Scotia’s hotels reflect that spirit.

Most of them offer clean accommodation with everything you need but nothing you do not. Many are waterfront with priceless views for your peace and relaxation. But if you are looking for fancy hotels, you will find them in Halifax. Check out the Best Places to Wake up Next to the Ocean in Nova Scotia

From the famous Cabot Trail through historic Lunenburg to an idyllic fishing village of Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia had it all for a great road trip destination. #canada #novascotia

These are hotels I stayed at during my visit to Nova Scotia. I recommend them because of the right combination of price, amenities, and views:

Clifty Cove Motel just under 2 miles from Peggy’s Cove. It offers excellent water views and nicely decorated clean rooms.

Midtrail Motel offers an excellent location to explore Cape Breton Highlands National Park right on the Cabot Trail. This hotel is also a waterfront with great views.

Clifty Cove Motel near Peggy's Cove Nova Scotia.I really enjoyed Clifty Cove Motel near Peggy’s Cove Nova Scotia.

9. Camping at its best

I thought my camping days were over, but the campsites I saw in Nova Scotia made me want to dust off my equipment. Meat Cove Campground, I discovered by taking a side road from the Cabot Trail, is a campers paradise. It sits right on the cliff with stunning water views.

You will find hiking trails nearby and meadows carpeted with wildflowers. You can eat and have a drink at Oceanside Chowder Hut located by the campground. My lobster roll was delicious there, and the beer too.  I absolutely loved this little corner of Nova Scotia. Learn more about camping in Nova Scotia. 

Meat Cove Campground in Nova Scotia Canada.
Picture perfect site at Meat Cove Campground in Nova Scotia.

10. No traffic and no crowds

Nova Scotia is loved by many, but it is far from being overcrowded even during the peak summer months. Imagine a road trip without a traffic jam and empty beaches just to yourself. Only a few spots, like Skyline Trail and Peggy’s Cove, can get crowded and mostly at sunset.

But we are talking Candian definition of crowds – you will just see other people around you but not next to you. 

The Skyline Trail at sunset.
Nova Scotia – the Skyline Trail.

11. Wildflowers

If you are into wildflowers, you will fall in love with Nova Scotia. My hunt for lupins exceeded my expectations even though I visited a few days past the blooming peak. Statistically, the end of June and the beginning of July are the best months to see them. You can find them along the roads and some in the wild.

To my surprise, I also found areas of wild irises on the cliffs near the ocean. I can’t even name many other flowers that I spotted in the province.

Lupin by a small church in Nova Scotia.
Beauty along the road in Nova Scotia.

12. Celtic culture

Several hundred years after Canada’s Nova Scotia province was settled by refugees from the Scottish Highlands and Islands. The Gaelic culture they brought with them is still alive.  Fiddle and pipe music and Gaelic song provide a rich musical experience to these days. Dance, storytelling, local history, and customs are part of community living.

A street performer in Halifax.
A young street performer in Halifax.

13. Friendly locals

It seems that a slower way of life in Nova Scotia maks its residents happy. It almost seems like you step back in time. People are incredibly polite and helpful. What a great feeling when you not only feel safe on your vacations but also welcomed.

Old shack decorated with flowers in a fishing village in Nova Scotia.
Discover off the beaten path areas of Nova Scotia to find treasures like that.

14. Nova Scotia beer

Canadian beer has its high reputation, and Nova Scotia is not an exception. There so many brewers in Nova Scotia, they even have their own trail. Introducing 15 breweries you must visit in Nova Scotia. And yes, the beer goes perfectly with a lobster roll. I can confirm that!

Garrison Brewery Halifax Nova Scotia.
Garrison Brewery in Halifax Nova Scotia.

15. Nova Scotia distilleries

I can only say that everything I tried was excellent. I am quoting here because I could never describe liqueurs so eloquently. 

Per Visit Nova Scotia page: “From the meandering paths and fresh herbs for liqueurs at Tangled Garden and North America’s first single malt whiskey at Glenora Distillery to Pear Eau de Vie (with the pear in the bottle) found at Ironworks Distillery and a maple vodka made with local maple syrup at Steinhart Distillery, distilleries in Nova Scotia continue to push the envelope in creating quality distilled products using superb local ingredients.”

Bottles at Ironworks Distillery in Lunenburg Nova Scotia.
Goodness in the bottles at Ironworks Distillery in Lunenburg Nova Scotia.

16. The favorable exchange rate for those traveling from the USA

For those living in the USA, there is another important reason to take a road trip to Nova Scotia – a favorable exchange rate! I am sure it would make your vacation even sweeter.

Best time to visit Canada’s Maritime Provinces

I recommend visiting between June and September when you’re most likely to experience drier, warmer weather. Outside these months, lots of restaurants and guesthouses close down for the winter, and it can get cold and rainy.

Other must-see attraction in Maritime Canada

Make sure to visit Nova Scotia’s neighboring province, New Brunswick, and its famous Hopewell Rocks where you can kayak among amazing flowerpots and a few hours later walk around them on the ocean floor.

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