10 Things to Do in Nova Scotia with Kids
Whether you stay on the mainland, or head to the mountains of Cape Breton, you’ll encounter friendly folks, reasonably priced accommodation, and plenty of things to do in your home province of Nova Scotia, Canada. For play, think beaches, lakes, whale watching, fishing, antiquing, wine tours and downtown city fun along Halifax harbour. Food-wise, you are spoiled for choice with fresh, delicious seafood and fish n’ chip trucks at nearly every turn. Don’t forget to sample the local beer and wine – our humble province is becoming a hotspot for sommeliers and beer-connoisseurs!
Here are 10 things to do in Nova Scotia with kids, with plenty of useful links (so that you can book ahead), and also some links to other articles we’ve written over the years, so you can get an idea of what to expect.
1. Be a Tourist in Downtown Halifax
Your first stop in Nova Scotia’s capital should be the incredible Halifax Citadel – a military fortification at the top of the city. Enjoy local folk art at The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, set aside an afternoon for the new science Discovery Centre. or just spend a day strolling through all the markets, kiosks and entertainment along the waterfront. If you’re adventurous rent a bike, Segway or I Heart Bikes. And don’t forget Halifax’s hip little sister, Dartmouth, just across the harbour. You can take a ferry ride across to Dartmouth for $2.50.
Click here to read our story about Playgrounds on both sides of the harbour.
2. Explore your Genealogy at Pier 21
Located at Pier 21, the Canadian Museum of Immigration has passenger lists and ships’ records for most landings up to 1935. If there is anyone in your family tree who came to Canada as an immigrant or refugee, you can research their history. Don’t forget to explore the excellent exhibits in the museum itself – there are some wonderful interactive exhibits for kids.
This museum is fantastic for all ages. Click here to read about our visit to Pier 21.
3. Stay Overnight at Peggy’s Cove
Beautiful Peggy’s Cove lighthouse an iconic Maritime treasure. Clamber across the enormous granite boulders and grab a selfie next to one of the world’s most photographed lighthouses. Inside the Sou’Wester restaurant, treat yourself to a piece of warm gingerbread – the house specialty. Why not turn your day trip into an overnight adventure? For luxury, stay at The Oceanstone Resort. For upmarket, Instagram-worthy cottages, try Lighthouse Lane Cottages, and for cheap and cheerful motel accommodation with priceless view, book a room at the Clifty Cove Motel.
4. Relax at White Point Beach Resort
American families have been travelling to the South Shore of Nova Scotia since the 1920’s and many of them would take a cottage at the locally famous 90 year-old White Point Beach Lodge. For an all-inclusive holiday that feels like you’ve stepped back in time, rent a cottage on the beach, take your meals in the grand dining room, and pet the wild rabbits that live along the shore. White Point beach is a truly magical step back in time, and something one of the best things to do in Nova Scotia with kids, if you love making simple, summer memories.
We fell in love with White Point back in the winter 2014, and it’s still one of our favourite stories.
5. Drive the Cabot Trail
As soon as you drive across the Cape Breton causeway, you will feel like you’ve entered another world. The drive along the Cabot trail is considered one of the world’s best road trips, especially in the autumn when the leaves are changing. Along the way, discover the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, the Alexander Graham Bell Museum in Baddeck, and the Fortress Louisbourg National Historic Site. Give your family at least four days to explore Cape Breton – any shorter and you will be disappointed.
6. Put Your Toes in the Sand
You ‘re never more than 30 minutes from a beach in Nova Scotia – there’s always a spot to cool off or relax in the sun. Many of the beaches have soft white-brown sand. Some, like Hirtle’s Beach on the South Shore, are a treasure trove of sand dollars and shells. Martinique and Lawrencetown beaches are great for big waves and surfing. Queensland beach, Cleveland beach and Crystal Crescent are local favourites near Halifax.
7. Devour a Lobster Supper
Don’t leave Nova Scotia without enjoying a traditional lobster supper, with melted butter, coleslaw and soft bread rolls. Don’t worry if you’re not a pro – all the tools will be provided and waiters will happily show you how to break the shell, and pry out the delicious lobster meat. The further out of town you go, the better the fare – try the Shore Club in Hubbards for one of the best (this year, they’re doing it Covid-style). If you’re craving lobster in the winter, catch the South Shore Lobster Crawl, a laid-back culinary festival that happens each February.
8. Sleep in a Caboose
One of the quirkiest things to do in Nova Scotia with kids is to sleep overnight at the Train Station Inn in the town of Tatamagouche on Nova Scotia’s North Shore. Sleep in a refurbished caboose or boxcar and enjoy a delicious local menu in the dining car. Explore the town itself and the nearby coastline for warm, shallow water, great for swimming.
9. Go Whale Watching
Whale watching tours can be booked in advance, or by chance, depending on the season. Try Digby Neck and Brier Island for great opportunities to see whales and other sea life. We recommend Mariner Whale and Seabird Cruises. Don’t forget to bring a warm jacket and sunscreen.
Top tip: Our favourite place to stay in this area is the super-friendly Whale Cove Campground.
10. Taste the Annapolis Valley
In the Annapolis Valley, marvel at the red mud flats of the Minas Basin, which boasts the highest tides in the world. Have lunch in the pleasant university town of Wolfville. In October, Wolfville is the quaint location for an international giant – Devour!, the world’s largest film and food festival. And of course, simply picking appples is a great day out.
If you’re travelling sans kids (which we recommend, at least once in a while) the Wolfville Magic Winery Bus is a great day out. “The Valley” is also gaining a reputation as a hotspot for wines. Ice wine, or anything sparkling is usually delicious.
Why not tell us some of your favourite things to do in Nova Scotia with kids?