Day trips Halifax

The Annapolis Valley


This strongly agricultural area has gentle scenery and is often warmer than coastal areas. At harvest times there are plenty of U-Pick's - strawberries in July, blueberries in August, and plenty of apples and harvest vegetables in the autumn. Alternatively, you can often buy direct from farmers or farmers' markets. Upper Clements Amusement and Wildlife Parks are both found in the Valley region, a two-hour trip from Halifax . The parks are small but appealing, with a wooden roller coaster attracting many to the Amusement Park. The admission fee covers entry to both.

Annapolis Royal

This small town is about two hours from Halifax , is home to the Fort Anne National Historic Site, and is nearby the Port Royal National Historic Site. Fort Anne saw battles between Canada 's colonial parents and has a museum detailing the site's history. Port Royal was among the earliest settlements in North America . The site has been reconstructed and features costumed interpreters allowing visitors a glimpse into life there in the early 17th century. Both sites are open seasonally (May - October) and subject to entrance fees.

Grand Pre National Historic Site

Grand Pre is just past the pretty town of Wolfville (home to Acadia University ) on the Minas Basin , also within two hours of Halifax . The site commemorates the 1755 deportation of the Acadians. The grounds, including a statue of Evangeline, the fictional heroine of Longfellow's famous poem "Evangeline," are free and open year round. The formal gardens, church, and a restored 19th century blacksmith's shop are accessible seasonably and are subject to an admission fee.

Cape Split / Blomidon Provincial Park

Cape Split is a deservedly popular hike for Haligonians and those living in the valley. Within two hours of Halifax , past the teeny Canning, this hike takes 1-2 hours each way and provides a beautiful view over the Bay of Fundy 's Mina Basin , with its spectacular tides. After a highly civilized walk on a wide path with only a few, short hills, the woods give way to a meadow that drops sharply down several hundred meters to the Basin. For those with more time, Blomidon Provincial Park is not much further from the Cape , and has many good trails with similarly spectacular views, and official camping sites.


While there is no shortage of beaches near Halifax , swimming in the ocean in Nova Scotia is nothing short of an accomplishment given the frigid water. On the Dartmouth side of the bridge, Lawrencetown is a favorite with surfers and wave jumpers, and is dependably foggy and cold. Slightly closer to town is Rainbow Haven, a more sheltered and thus marginally warmer beach. Both are supervised. Crystal Crescent , on the Halifax side of the harbour is beautiful though busy, given its proximity to town. The main beach and the nearby (but out of view from the main beach) clothes-optional area are unsupervised. Queensland beach on St. Margaret's bay is supervised, and also quite popular given its proximity and tendency to be the warmest of options near Halifax . Martinique beach is unsupervised, the longest in the province, and beautiful. Also beautiful, but extremely cold is the beach at Taylor Head on the Eastern Shore - a Provincial Park that also has quiet trails in the woods. If you have more time, head to beaches on the Northumberland Straight, where water is usually more tolerable (at least by mid-summer).


A somewhat warmer prospect than the ocean, there are many lakes in and around Halifax . The following is but a sample and locals often have their personal favorite swimming hole they would recommend if you ask. Well-loved and close the city centre are Chocolate and William's Lakes. While the former has a supervised beach, the latter is less frequented and thus cleaner and quieter, with the nicest swimming spots a short walk through the woods (look for cars parked alongside Purcell's Cove Road). Larger and also popular is Papermill Lake in Bedford , which has several supervised beaches. Birch Cove Beach on Lake Banook in Dartmouth is a supervised local favorite for swimming. Lake Banook also has several paddling opportunities and trails, with one leading to the Shubie campground.

McNab's Island

This island at the harbour's mouth is easily accessible by a short boat ride booked on the waterfront. McNab's and Lawlor Islands were made a Provincial Park in 2002 to preserve the area's natural habitat and historical value - there are forts on McNab's dating to the early 19th century. There are guided nature and history tours, camping can be arranged through the department of Natural Resources, and fall foliage tours make McNab's an easy escape from the Halifax while affording a seldom-seen view of the city. Lawlor Island is closed to the public.

Peggy's Cove

This tiny fishing village is an iconic image of Nova Scotia , and among the most photographed sites in Canada . The 45-minute drive to the village is itself stunning, as it winds along an increasingly barren landscape. The lighthouse on the rocks at Peggy's Cove, with a sweeping view of the ocean, is breathtaking, particularly if you are lucky enough to catch a sunset without fog. Visitors are wise to heed the warnings about slippery rocks, lest they join the handfuls of people who have ended their visit tragically. On the way to or from the lighthouse, the homage to fisherman carved in some of the natural exposed rock is worth a look.

Sherbrooke Village

Though approximately 2.5 hours from Halifax , Sherbrooke Village is an interesting trek for those interested in Nova Scotian life during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Affiliated with the Nova Scotia museum, over 25 of its 80 restored buildings are open to the public seasonably and with an admission fee. Historical interpreters in period dress recreate town life, with blacksmith and other such demonstrations.

Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park

Operated by the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resource, the park is open year-round with an admission fee, and is merely 40 minutes from Halifax . Shubenacadie's 40 hectares feature both local and foreign wildlife. The Park's dedication to education makes it a great place to take children.

The South Shore

The towns of Lunenburg and Mahone Bay on Nova Scotia 's south shore are picturesque, deservedly popular tourist destinations. Home to the famous schooner the Bluenose, Lunenburg's remarkable conservation of its shipbuilding and fishing heritage is recognized in its UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. Mahone Bay is an even smaller town, with lovely small boutiques, the fabulous La Have Bakery, and three charming wood churches that make a beautiful photo from across the bay. If you have a car you can easily visit both towns from Halifax within a day.

York Redoubt National Historic Site

York Redoubt is yet another old fortification that only takes about half a day out of town to visit. Positioned on a bluff at the harbour's entrance, you can wander about the armaments, take in a wonderful view, and breath in some salty sea air, without paying an entrance fee. If you continue along Herring Cove Road , you eventually come to Duncan 's Cove, which is quiet, rocky, windswept, and a great place to walk several kilometres along the coast.

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