The land that is now Nova Scotia has been inhabited by the Mikmak people for thousands of years. There are so many things to do in the Maritime province, whether you are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience or a family friendly attraction.

On the edge of the Atlantic, Nova Scotia offers up glowing sunsets and jaw-dropping scenery, which can be viewed along its incredible winding coastal roads. Pack your sense of adventure and a few layers because this is all about outdoor fun.

Tale of Humpback Whale in Bay of Fundy
See incredibly whales in the Bay of Fundy © Justin Foulkes / Lonely Planet

1. Feel the power of the Bay of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy is a great place to visit in Nova Scotia. Good reason as well. At the Natural Wonder of North America, you can find the highest tides on the planet, rare whales, semi-precious minerals and dinosaur fossils.

There are a lot of ways to experience this amazing site. At Burntcoat Head Park, kids will enjoy looking at ocean life in the tidal pools, while parents look at the jaw-dropping scenery. Pre-booking the Dining on the Ocean Floor experience will allow you to experience a full day of food and drink.

You can immerse yourself in the Bay of Fundy with Tidal bore rafting. You will find yourself mud sliding as you maneuver the raft through the water.

The Fundy Geological Museum is a great place to take your kids if they like dinosaurs.

Peggy's Cove Lighthouse at sunset
Peggy's Cove Lighthouse is often referred to as the most photographed lighthouse in Canada, and for good reason © Joe Regan / Getty Images

2. Go lighthouse spotting

Nova Scotia has the largest collection of lighthouses in Canada. It is one of the best places to visit in Nova Scotia, but there is more to see and do. You can see both Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton Island from the top of the Cape George Point Lighthouse. The Fortress of Louisbourg was lost during the famous battles between the French and the English. The Out of the Fog Lighthouse Museum on Half Island Cove is a great place to visit if you want to learn more about Nova Scotian lighthouses.

There are a lot of free things to do in the city.

3. Glamp under the stars

Not everyone is ready for the backpacker lifestyle and there are many scenic trails. Nova Scotia has a lot of options for those who want to have a nice place to stay.

The 5-star eco-resort at True North has luxury domes that come with full bathroom, kitchen and hot tub. Mountain sunrises greet you each day and ocean sunsets will lull you to sleep.

view of Cabot Trail Scenic Highway on coast
Savor all the experiences on the Cabot Trail Scenic Highway as it navigates throughout the majestic Cape Breton Highlands National Park © Rob Crandall / Shutterstock

4. Cruise the Cabot Trail

One of the best things to do in Nova Scotia is to take the Cabot Trail. Make time for the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic site if you go clockwise or counterclockwise.

If you can, stop to enjoy the views, taste the local flavors and attend a cilidh. Hooked rugs and fiddle music can be found in the village of Chticamp. One of the top 100 courses in the world is located at the Keltic Lodge Resort. If you are visiting during the warmer months of July and August, make sure to pack your bathing suits.

It's a good idea to visit during the Celtic Colours International Festival. It's a good idea to book early because the festival attracts a lot of visitors.

Nova Scotia is a lobster lovers paradise.

5. Take a helicopter to an island picnic

Do you want to see the romantic side of the province? You can take in the views from above with a helicopter. After boarding your helicopter at the airport, you can take in a bird's-eye view of the city. There is a private picnic and wine tasting with a sommelier on the island.

Lines of rows of grapevines, Annapolis Valley
Hit all the highlights of Annapolis Valley on the Magic Winery Bus tour © Design Pics Inc / Alamy Stock Photo

6. Sip wine through the Annapolis Valley

Nova Scotia's wine scene is ever-growing and a responsible drive through one of the four wine regions will delight wine lovers looking to chat with vintners. There are a variety of easy to navigate options in the valley.

Travelers can bike through Wolfville along the Harvest Moon Trailway and stop in for a tasting at Mercator Vineyards, try a few nibbles at Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards, or take a picture at Luckett Vineyard.

You can base yourself in Wolfville and check out the Grand Pre National Historic site. You can sip, savor and enjoy the delicious flavors found in this part of the province, often with picturesque water views of the Bay of Fundy.

The Magic Winery Bus will take you on a tour through one of the best places to visit in Nova Scotia, the Gaspereau Valley region.

Lobster roll food truck in Nova Scotia
Once a meal for the impoverished, Nova Scotia lobster is now in demand the world over © Jay Jones / Lonely Planet

7. Chow down on seafood

Nova Scotia has some of the best seafood and lobster in the world. On your East Coast trip, you can experience some seaside lobster boil, learn how to shuck oysters, and get some tips from the fishermen. If you want to go to the Baddeck Lobster Suppers, you should go to Old Fish Factory in Lunenburg and La Cuisine Robicheau. You can also get lobster beer and lobster fries. It's lobster all the way!

The Lobster Crawl Festival is held in February and is one of the many lobster festivals.

A Zodiak alongside a pod of pilot whales
Whale watching off the coast of Nova Scotia brings you closer than ever to these remarkable sea mammals © Christoph Zipko / Lonely Planet

8. Dive into a whale-watching expedition

Adding whale watching to your Nova Scotia itinerary is a great way to see whales in the summer and fall. The best way to see whales in the Bay of Fundy is to join a Zodiac tour but be aware that the ride can get bumpy. Fishing-style boat tours are the best option if you want a smooth ride. You never know when a whale will jump out in front of you, so get that camera ready.

Night sky panorama with stars and Milky Way behind mountain
Nova Scotia has some of the best star-gazing spots in North America © Gianni Triggiani / 500px

9. Go stargazing

Nova Scotia has a lot of places to stargaze and you can experience it when you visit. One of the best places to see the stars in North America is at the world's first Starlight hotel. Guests can get help learning about the stars from the astronomer.

The Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic site is less than 2 hours away from the city. It's a great place to see stars and constellations. You can take a tour of the observatory and look through telescopes. For those who want a complete overnight experience, they have sky cabins.

10. Head off in search of the best brews

You will have a lot of time to look for your favorite beer. Don't be shy, most brewmasters take pride in their work and are often nearby to answer questions about their locallysourced ingredients and craftsmanship.

You can enjoy the brewery farm and patio vibes while sipping on their classic Kitchen Party Pale Beer. You can find award-winning German-inspired Nova Scotian suds at the company. Are you looking for something new? At Schoolhouse Brewery, a classroom is waiting for you. You can find your perfect brew in Nova Scotia.

The article was published in August of 2021.