The locals boast that Nova Scotia is home to the friendliest people in Canada. They are right—people in this area are overly nice. Nice like “we still don’t lock our doors when we go out” nice. That, combined with over 100 beaches, picturesque lighthouses, great sailing, mouth watering seafood (this area of Canada is the main fishing region), and a marvelous coastline, makes Novia Scotia an amazing place to visit.
- Hostel prices – Hostels cost about $30 USD per night for a bed in a dorm room. Few will have private options around $40 USD per night, but guest houses or hotels are your better option.
- Budget hotel prices – A typical budget hotel costs $45-65 USD per night for a single, and upwards of $80 USD for a double. Bonus- they often include breakfast.
- Average cost of food – The region is world famous for seafood and with everything caught right off shore, this can be the cheapest and freshest meal you’ll have. A restaurant will set you back about $30 USD for a decent seafood meal. Lobsters are cheap here since they are caught nearby. If you aren’t into seafood, most grab and go food is less than $10 USD. If you are going to cook your own food, expect to pay between $50-75 USD per week.
- Transportation costs – Nova Scotia is easy to get around, but most do end up renting a car to have the full experience. If you opt to try without, here is a reliable bus system that is free July-October, $1.25 per zone during the rest of the year. Downtown Halifax is very walkable, but to get around other places on the island, you’ll need a car or use the bus.
Money Saving Tips
- Rent a kayak — For about $15 USD, you can rent a kayak and view Nova Scotia from the coast. It’s cheaper than going on an organized tour.
- Book together — During the off season, if you book your hotel and flight together as a package deal, the rate will be cheaper than booking separately.
Top Things to See and Do
- North River Kayaking Tours – For about $65 USD you can get a nice half day kayak tour around the shoreline.
- Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse – The lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove is famous for being one of the most picturesque in the world. If you’ve ever seen a stereotypical lighthouse photo, then you know what to expect—it’s a great photo opportunity.
- Hike the Skyline Trail – About seven miles in length, you can make this hiking experience an afternoon outing or one that can last all day. It has breathtaking views of the bay, and sometimes you’ll encounter moose along the way.
- Point Pleasure Park – Enjoy a relaxing day here with a wonderful view of the ocean. It’s a good place for a picnic, or if you’re up for some more activity, there are jogging and rollerblade paths too.
- Wolfville Farmer’s Market – During the month of October, try to attend this elaborate and entertaining Farmer’s Market. Complete with produce, arts and crafts, and delicious food, it’s a great way to taste the culture and food of the region.
- Alexander Keith’s Brewery – Take a tour of this local brewery or simply be entertained by the animators in their period costumes of 1863.
- Attend a summer concert – Halifax offer hundreds of concerts, theater performances, and festivals during the summer months.
- Go whale watching – Throughout the year, you can find whales off the coast of Nova Scotia, especially the mighty humpback whales. There are tons of tour operators here, and if you don’t see a whale, most of them will give you a free voucher for next time.
- Upper Clements Park – Upper Clements park is a fun place for kids. It is kind of a small amusement park that also has a lot of wildlife. On nice days, the park is very crowded, so plan ahead.
- The Cabot Trail – The Cabot Trail, one of North America’s most spectacular ocean drives, is a 185-mile ribbon of road that loops around Cape Breton Island and passes through Cape Breton Highlands National Park. This is one of the best things to on a visit here in my opinion.
- Enjoy summer on the water – When the weather is nice and the sun comes out, sailing, kayaking and canoeing are popular pastimes along the coast or on the myriad of inland kayaking routes. Try swimming on Melmerby Beach on the Northumberland Strait and going tidal bore rafting on the Shubenacadie River.
- Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens – Measuring 17 acres in size, these historical gardens overlook a tidal river valley and showcase a massive rose collection, an Acadian House, and hundreds of years of gardening knowledge.
- Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site – This museum is host to a rich collection of artifacts and documents, which chronicle the life and career of A. G. Bell, inventor of the telephone. The collection was accumulated by his family during their time here. It is quite an impressive display, one which history buffs will surely love.
- Highland Village – This is an outdoor pioneer museum that features the lifestyle and experience of the Scots in Nova Scotia, some of the original settlers to the region.
- Maritime Museum of the Atlantic – This museum depicts the region’s marine history through a rich collection of binnacles, buoys, anchors, armaments, and more. If you don’t understand Nova Scotia’s close ties with the sea, you will never be able to understand the province as a whole.