The Perfect 7-Day Nova Scotia Road Trip Guide

A Nova Scotia road trip is the perfect introduction into the Maritime region of Canada. Nova Scotia, which means “New Scotland” has a significant Scottish influence while also being known as Canada’s ocean playground.

I road tripped around many areas of Nova Scotia and have put together what I think is the perfect 7-day Nova Scotia Road Trip. If however you have more than a week to spare, you may want to also explore New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island, the other two regions of Maritime Canada.

Nova Scotia Road Trip Day One

If you fly into the capital city of Halifax and it is late, you may want to stay the night at the Alt Hotel and start fresh the next morning. The Alt Hotel is one of the coolest airport hotels I’ve ever stayed. And, the car rental facility is located just a few hundred feet from the hotel.

Alt Hotel sign at Halifax terminal Photo by Mike Shubic of MikesRoadTrip.com

Start your day off by exploring the small fishing village of Blue Rocks. This is a lesser-known area off the tourist beaten path of nearby Lunenburg. You can simply stroll the village and enjoy the scenic coastal drive. Or, time permitting; there is a kayak outfitter with tours to explore the area by the sea.



Less than 10 minutes from Blue Rocks is the UNESCO site of Lunenburg. This vibrant and colorful community dates to the 18th and 19th centuries, where the past mingles with the present. Tall ships are often moored in the harbor with horse-drawn rides taking visitors through the historic town. If you’re hungry, check out the Salt Shaker Deli for some seafood chowder.

Note: The best view of Lunenburg is on the other side of the harbor, down Tannery Road. There is a pullout that makes the perfect spot for photos.



Peggy’s Cove and its lighthouse is probably one of the most popular places in the province, and for good reason. The idyllic village is utterly charming and the photographic opportunities are boundless. Click the following link for a video and more information: Peggy’s Cove.

Peggy's cove lighthouse on a Nova Scotia Road Trip. Photo by MikesRoadTrip.com


The Westin Nova Scotian in downtown Halifax makes a great central resting spot for the next two nights. There is so much within walking distance that you won’t need to drive on Day 2 of this itinerary.

There are many places to eat near the Westin, however, if you just want to relax for the evening, the restaurant at the Nova Scotian is quite lovely.


Drive From Peggy’s Cove To downtown Halifax
Drive Time: 50 minutes
Distance: 28 miles


Westin Nova Scotian in Halifax Nova Scotia by MikesRoadTrip.com

Nova Scotia Road Trip Day Two

Directly across the street from the Westin is the oldest farmers market in North America (1750). On the second floor of the market is a coffee shop with a small deck overlooking the harbor…this is a spot to start the day.

Halifax Seaport Farmers Market by MikesRoadTrip.com

Walking along the harbor pier is a must! The views, public art, street performers, shops and restaurants make this a lively place to explore.

A couple blocks up from the harbor are streets full of additional shopping and restaurants. Continuing straight up the hill is a Halifax landmark, the Citadel National Historic Site. This large hill overlooking the harbor below is what led the British to found the town in 1749. Among the first buildings constructed was a wooden guardhouse on top of what would eventually be called Citadel Hill, with Halifax’s first settlers building their homes at the base of the hill, closer to the water. The sweeping views are definitely worth the walk up.

Halifax Waterfront by MikesRoadTrip.com

If you’re interested in Titanic History, be sure to check out the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Here you will find that Halifax has many ties to the tragedy of 1912. About 5km from the museum is the Fairview Cemetery, where over 100 victims were laid to rest, in an ensemble that represents the shape of a ship. One of the gravesites is for a gentleman with the markings J. Dawson. Many people think this is “Jack Dawson,” the character played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie Titanic, but in fact, that character was fictionalized.

Another tie to the Titanic is a restaurant I would highly recommend, the Five Fishermen Restaurant—a fantastic venue for dinner and just a short walk from the Westin Nova Scotian.

Nova Scotia Road Trip Day Three

Head straight across the province to Grand Pre National Historic Site. This is another UNESCO site in Nova Scotia and honors Acadian history from the 18th Century, many of whom were deported to New Orleans between 1755 and 1764.

Grand Pre in Nova Scotia

Nearby is the Domaine de Grand Pre Winery, a wonderful place to take a stroll through the vineyards and taste some award-winning local wines.


  • Drive From Downtown Halifax To Grand Pre
  • Drive Time: 65 minutes
  • Distance: 54 miles
  • Explore Time: At least 1-2 hours depending if you go to both places

Seafood, and lobster in particular, are big business in Nova Scotia. An interesting experience to learn about the lobster industry is at Hall’s Harbour Lobster Pound, which is located right on the famed Bay of Fundy. Here you can take a tour of the facility, while also getting to pick your own live lobster that will be prepared and delivered to your table. After lunch, this is a great place to take a stroll on the beach if the tide is out. You’ll also see a slew of fishing vessels on the harbor floor patiently waiting for the tide to rise.

Hall’s Harbour photo supplied by Nova Scotia Tourism


  • Drive From Grand Pre National Site To Hall’s Harbour
  • Drive Time: 30 minutes
  • Distance: 22 miles
  • Explore Time: 60-90 minutes

Head to Pictou for the night. I stayed at the Pictou Lodge and Beach Resort. The location is fantastic, with stunning views, great grounds and a wonderful beach. Note: The accommodations are on the rustic side and have not been updated in a very long time. The lodge is pretty cool and the restaurant serves great food.



Nova Scotia Road Trip Day Four

Pictou is known as the birthplace of “New Scotland” Nova Scotia. Drive to downtown from the Lodge and be sure to check out the Hector Heritage Quay, a living history attraction that tells the story of 18-Century Scottish migration to the area. Touring the replica ship in the harbor really puts in perspective the arduous journey that took place over two hundred years ago.

Pictou Nova Scotia aerial photo by MikesRoadTrip.com

Head east along the coast toward Arisaig. Along the way (about 40 minutes from Pictou) you will see Big Island Road. Head north toward the water and you will drive across a very cool stretch of road with water on both sides. There is a wide spot in which you can pull over and walk along the beach on one side of the road. When I was there, there wasn’t a soul in sight and I only saw two vehicles drive down the road. The road leads to Big Island, an area I did not explore, but if you have the time, it might be worth checking out.

Big Island Road NS 3 by MikesRoadTrip.com

A little farther down Shore Road is Arisaig, an area full of artisan studios. Also in the area is Steinhart Distillery, which has gained fame for its maple-flavored vodka. Well worth a stop for a tour and a tasting.


  • Drive From Pictou To Arisaig
  • Drive Time: 50 minutes
  • Distance: 46 miles
  • Explore Time 1-2 hours

Steinhart Maple Vodka by MikesRoadTrip.com

One of my favorite lighthouses in all of Nova Scotia was at Cape George Point, about 18 miles east of Steinhart Distillery. A dirt road winds itself around a mountain face until finally the lighthouse reveals itself. Unlike most of the other lighthouses around Nova Scotia, Cape George is on a high elevation overlooking the sea. This is a wonderful place to take in the views, have a picnic, or just walk around and explore.

ape George lighthouse aerial photo by MikesRoadTrip.com

Make your way to Guysborough for the night. There are several charming inns to stay at, I happened to call it a night at DesBarres Manner Inn, which I would certainty recommend. The inn is situated on 6 acres and dates back to 1873. This historic inn has been nicely restored with elegant common areas and spacious rooms. The accommodations are marvelous with a superb on-site restaurant.



DesBarres Mannor in Nova Scotia by MikesRoadTrip.com

Nova Scotia Road Trip Day Five

Guysborough is definitely one of those ‘off the beaten path’ destinations. There are not a lot of amenities in the area, but the quiet shoreline leads road trippers to romantic seaside villages where traditions and legends of the sea come alive. The rugged coastline is littered with glorious beaches that provide the perfect setting for outdoor adventure. There are nearby parks, hiking trails, kayaking, birding and other activities to take in while exploring this area.

I should mention that this part of the eastern shore of Nova Scotia has a lot of rugged un-paved back roads, so do explore with caution. Personally, this is just the types of area I enjoy checking out, those that are lesser known to tourists.

Guysborough, Nova Scotia road trip aerial photo by MikesRoadTrip.com

From Guysborough, head to Sherbrooke Village, an extraordinary living history museum that depicts life in the mid to late 19th Century. The village is quite large with interpreters throughout brining history alive. Each of the authentic buildings have interpreters wearing period attire and are often working on creating goods from the era, such as a blacksmith, woodworker, crochet to a photographer using original techniques. This is a fantastic experience for both young and old.


  • Drive From Guysborough To Sherbrooke
  • Drive Time: 1:05 hours
  • Distance: 51 miles
  • Explore Time: 2-3 hours in Guysborough and surrounding area. 2-3 hours in Sherbrooke Village

Sherbrooke Village in Nova Scotia by MikesRoadTrip.com

From Sherbrooke you could head to Liscombe Lodge Marina for the night like I did. The location is fantastic, right on the Liscombe River surrounded by lush trees. While the secluded setting is wonderful, the lodge and its accommodations are dated, so keep that in mind. There is a lot to do at the Liscombe Lodge, from nearby and back-country hiking trails, biking, canoeing to swimming.  You may also opt to take a boat tour of the river with captain Chester, who has been employed by the lodge for over 40 years. The lodge also has a nice on-site restaurant so you don’t need to leave the property.



Nova Scotia Road Trip Day Six

After breakfast at the Liscombe Lodge you may want to go kayaking, take a hike or partake in some of the other on-site recreational options.

 Liscombe Lodge aerial photo by MikesRoadTrip.com

If you stepped back in time at Sherbrooke Village the day before, you may want to take a stroll down Memory Lane Heritage Village. This attraction is somewhat similar to Sherbrooke, but celebrates an era about a hundred years later, the 1940s.

Memory Lane Village is also considerably smaller than Sherbrooke, but still a really cool place to explore. Visitors enter via the General Store to pay the admission fee, and then you are release out into the village to explore the bike shop, the ship building area and much more. There are some beautiful 1940s vehicles on site as well as other artifacts from the era. After perusing the grounds, you may want to stop by the cookhouse for some authentic buffet style chow.  The food prepared features baked beans, fresh soups, homemade brown bread, gingerbread cookies and coffee, tea, or lemonade.

Memory Lane Heritage Village by MikesRoadTrip.com



After strolling down memory lane, my next suggestion will surely get your adrenal going, it’s called tidal bore rafting.  This is a truly unique experience, and, Nova Scotia is one of the only places in the world you can do this activity (be sure to watch the video above to see it in action).

In a nutshell, tidal bore rafting is a group of people in a small Zodiac boat with a highly experienced captain. Excursions are timed based on the changing tide. Your captain will cruise upstream the nearby river with a massive sand bar in the middle. Once beyond the sand bar, the caption will check his watch to see how much time until the tidal bore arrives. Once it passes by, it isn’t long before the channel begins to fill up and create massive waves over the sand bar. Once this occurs, the captain will navigate the boat down the rapids for a thrilling ride.

Tidal Bore Rafting in Nova Scotia by MikesRoadTrip.com

Many aspects of tidal bore rafting may seem unpleasant or even scary, but trust me, you’ll be telling all your friends about this exciting and unique experience.

Depending on the day and time you raft the tidal bore, you may want to stay the night in a cozy cottage right there at the Tidal Bore Rafting Resort. Situated on 180 acres of wilderness, there are a number lodging choices, some over looking the majestic Shubenacadie River while you can see the tidal bore pass by.



Nova Scotia Road Trip Day Seven

The last day of this road trip could be spent lounging around at the Tidal Bore Rafting Resort. Or, do a little exploring on your own en route to the airport. Depending on what time your flight is, you could return your rental car and hang out at The Alt Hotel for dinner, or, stay the night and leave the next day. This way you can rest a bit before having to go back to the real world after such an amazing adventure traveling around Nova Scotia.



If you have any questions about doing a Nova Scotia road trip, please feel free to leave a comment below. Or, if you have any suggestions on places not to miss or stay, please include that as well. Click here to see more of my photos from this Nova Scotia road trip.

Nova Scotia Road Trip Guide Pinterest PinNova Scotia Road Trip Guide 2

 

Mike Shubic

Mike Shubic is a seasoned road trip travel video blogger, traversing the byways of the world looking for those hidden gems of the road. From unique destinations, unexpected discoveries, creative cuisine, intriguing inns to exciting attractions…the road is his page. The experiences are his ink. And every 300 miles, a new chapter begins. Whether you live vicariously or by example, Mike will do the exploring so you can have an adventure.

52 Comments

  1. I’d love to do this road trip! I went to Newfoundland last year, and would love to go back to the eastern end of Canada for more exploring!

    1. Hi Bryna…You should! It really is fantastic. I too have road tripped around central Newfoundland and enjoyed that too, however good lodging is an issue, but the scenery was stunning. Thanks so much for stopping by. All the best, Mike

  2. We live in such a beautiful.province but so etimes take its beauty for granted. Thanks for your article. You have suggested some spots that I have yet to get to as a life long resident! Of course, you will have to come back to explore as there are so many more phenomenally scenic spots to explore and interesting adventures to be had! Well-written and informative article. Thank you for posting!

    1. Hi Doris…thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message. You do indeed live in an amazing place and I’m glad I could inspire a few new places for you to visit. You are correct, I have a lot more that I could explore and hope to come back again one day soon to check it out. Thanks again for stopping by. Cheers, Mike

      1. Hi Akin, I can’t really because this is the extent of the time I had exploring in the week that I had. I have recommended all the best places/things to do (in this region that is). You can also search my site for other Maritime provinces as well. I have road trip guides and videos on PEI, New Brunswick and even Newfoundland.

      2. The Annapolis Valley is a must! The Wolfville/ Grand Pré area has a lot to offer with all of the wineries and miseries along with Barreling Tide Distillery and the Wayfarer’s Brewery in Port Williams. Travel on Highway 1 all the way to Annapolis Royal, a place whose history dates to 1605! From there, head to Brier Island for Whale Watching! The Bay of Fundy is host to lots of whales. From there, make your way to Yarmouth via the District of Clare which is an Acadian Region. Spend at least a night in Yarmouth before traveling along rte 3 ( the Lighthouse route) towards the Pubnicos and Barringron., considered the lobster capital. Then , head to historic Shelburne and dine at Charlotte’s Lane. From there, continue to Liverpool, the museum town of the south shore. Visit the Keji Seaside Adjunct wilderness park! Follow the Lighthouse Rte to ..

  3. As a resident of Nova Scotia you have hit on the tourist areas that is found on many highlights of our province. I would like to mention to tourists that Nova Scotia has more to offer than you can find on any web sight or Google Search. There are many areas along the Eastern shore untouched and beautiful that you won’t find in a book or article. Please come back again and ask areas what they have to offer that isn’t in any tourist book. Nova Scotia is more than Peggy’s Cove and Halifax.

    1. Hi Judy…thanks so much for your feedback. Yes, some of the spots are well known, and for good reason. Others, like Guysborough are lesser known. I agree with you and your points are well taken. I would absolutely love to come back and discover some areas that people are not talking about.

  4. Love your article, especially the fact that you covered Guysborough and surrounding areas. This beautiful part of Nova Scotia is often ignored. Next time stop by the Authentic Seacoast Destillery and Brewery in Guysborough for some delicious rum, and stay in Charles Cove at the Seawind Landing.
    And yes, riding the Tidal Bore is an experience of a lifetime, glad you covered it!

    1. Hi Alice…thank you so much! I really appreciate that. I do like to try and cover some lesser known areas. I tried twice to stop by the distillery, but they seemed uninterested in giving me a tour. No kidding, that Tidal Bore rafting was one wild experience. Thanks so much for stopping, but, really appreciate it. All the best, Mike

  5. I’m surprised that you did not include Capr Breton Highland, the drive around the eastern part, Bedec, Louisburg, etc.

    1. Hi Magdalene…well, I only had a week. I really hope to make it back and explore those regions as well. Thank you so much for stopping by, and for the suggestions.

  6. Again the south western part of the province is totally ignore . I understand you only have 7 days but you are missing this important fishing and historical area; not to mention the whales !

  7. I’ve been to Nova Scotia for a week before, but I only stayed around Halifax because I went in February. Next time, I want to come in the summer.

  8. Hi Mike! You have given me some ideas for my next trip!! I live on the south shore of Nova Scotia with its beautiful white sand beaches be sure to check this area and the French Shore Annapolis Valley on your next Nova Scotian Adventure.

    1. Hey Lorraine…I am so happy to hear that! Thank you so much for stopping by, I really appreciate it. Hope you’ll check out some of my other road trip adventures. 😉

  9. I love Nova Scotia. Raised in the Annapolis Valley but moved to Ontario in my early teens. Really appreciate the awesome beauty every time I go back. Was on quite a road trip myself last year and visited many of the spots you named. Heading back again this Sept.

  10. I am definitely going Memory Lane! This looks like an awesome vacation Mike. The countryside, the lighthouses, seemed the tidal bore rafting… I can’t wait for my next vacation.

    1. Hey Tina. Yeah, I hear ya…only so much one can cover in a week, especially in Nova Scotia. Now, when I spent a week on PEI, I could cover a lot more ground as it is so much smaller. I really appreciate you reading and watching the video though, and, for sharing your suggestions. Really appreciate it. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it back to Nova Scotia again one day soon. Cheers!

  11. Hi Mike – This is fantastic! We’ve been wanting to explore the Maritimes, and this itinerary is a big help in planning. Can’t wait to explore Memory Lane – that sounds like fun. The biggest question now is whether to go in summer, or try to time it for fall foliage. Either way, looking forward to it!

    1. Hey Rob and Ann…thank you so much. So glad you found it helpful. I don’t think you can go wrong either in summer or fall. When I was there it was late summer and you could just start to see the leaves change, I can only imagine how beautiful it must be. BTW, I have road trip guides to New Brunswick and PEI, so if you have the time, check those out as well. Cheers, Mike

  12. On the way back from Lunenburg, always stop into Mahone Bay, wonderful shops including the best shoe store, and yummy cafe/restaurants with great food and views of the water. Then Queensland Beach or Bayswater Beach for sandy beach and dip in the Atlantic Ocean.

  13. Hi Mike! My husband and I are planning to drive to Nova Scotia from Ottawa in middle of August! We’re planning on camping all the way down there! Do you know of any good campsites in Nova Scotia we can just stop for a night without reserving? Thank you!
    Cheers
    Elaine

    1. Hi Elaine…wow, that sounds like a wonderful trip! I’m afraid I don’t have any suggestions. From my experience, camping in the east requires reservations because the sites full up so fast. That’s disappointing I know, because you just want to go off and explore and not be subject to having to stay at a particular place. I hope it turns out great though and you both have a wonderful time. Cheers, Mike

  14. Shouting out for the Southwestern region of Nova Scotia…stunning coastline…world class beaches! See Queens, Shelburne, Yarmouth & Digby Counties!!!! You can have a magnificent itinerary in this part of the province alone.

    1. Hi Jane…thank you so much for stopping by and providing some additional suggestions. I would love to see that part of the province one of these days. All the best, Mike

  15. My husband and I are planning on a 2 week trip to Nova Scotia and are considering traveling the last week in August. We want to see as much of the area as possible and prefer roads less traveled. Also, we both live rocks and fossils.

    1. Sounds like you need to stop at the fossil cliffs in Joggins. They’re a UNESCO world heritage site. If you enjoy hiking a stop at Cape Chignecto is Advocate Harbour is well worth the drive. The views of the Bay of Fundy are outstanding.

  16. So happy I found your blog while doing research for my trip in early September! Quick question if you don’t mind, instead of staying at the airport Alt Hotel, could I stay in Halifax the first night and still fit in the day one plan you described? Based on flights, I should be getting into Halifax in mid-afternoon and would rather not stay in the airport. Thanks!

    1. Hi Sue…I am too! 😉 I think it all depends on your flight times, that’s why I put the suggestion of staying at the Alt at the hotel. That, and it really is a cool airport hotel, one of the best I’ve stayed at. Hope you have a fantastic time. Thanks for stopping by. Cheers, Mike

  17. How is this road trip and hotels etc for an elderly person using a wheelchair – not wheelchairbound but cannot walk far. How well do you feel the disabled are catered for generally in NS? Thanks.

    1. Hi Nina…to be honest, it’s hard for me to say since I was not looking at it through that lens. If I had to guess, I would say fairly well. You might want to contact the Nova Scotia Tourism office to double check and ask specific questions though. Hope you get a chance to make it there, it’s a lovely province. All the best and thanks for stopping by. Cheers, Mike

  18. You have missed the entire North Shore, Truro, the Hub of Nova Scotia, and Cape Breton. You didn’t even mention Issac’s Harbour in the Guysborough area.This is a 7 day road trip around selected parts of NS.

  19. We are planning a road trip in Late Aug. we have friends in Halifax so we will start there. Your road trip looks fascinating and we are looking forward to following in your “tire tracks”.

  20. I am coming for two weeks from Scotland in July with my family 3 boys (2 teenagers and a 9yr old) can’t wait! Staying with family in Halifax then Chester then Digby enjoyed reading your post! How’s the weather in summer and costs for eating out etc?
    Thanks

    1. Hi Marianne…that’s great, you’ll have a fantastic time. Weather is fantastic in the summer, mild, about 75f/24c. Coming from Scotland I think you’ll find the prices fair, not too expensive. Have a wonderful time.

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