Grand Nova Scotia Tour
The Eastern Canadian Province of Nova Scotia provides the perfect mix of culture, Canadian history, sea, sand and outdoor adventure. Wherever you go in Nova Scotia, you are never far away from the ocean: visiting fishing towns and villages, enjoying their famous seafood, or spending your days leisurely exploring the beaches and national parks. The people are warm and friendly, and always willing to share their treasures, whether with their rich musical heritage, the world-famous lobster and seafood, or their lively art and theatre scene. This 13-night adventure introduces you to the very best of the province and allows you to fully explore the landscape on the open roads.
Pick up your RV at our Dartmouth location today. Leave Halifax behind you as you head south to Peggy's Cove, one of the most photographed places in Canada. The graceful lighthouse is one of the most picturesque destinations in Atlantic Canada and is a must-visit. Follow shoreline roads past past rugged bays and headlands and into historic towns and weathered fishing villages.
In Mahone Bay, the narrow streets are lined with a unique collection of studios and galleries of some of Canada's finest artists and craftspeople. Continue to Lunenburg, where the colourful waterfront, narrow streets and captivating architecture radiate the town's seafaring heritage. Lunenburg is home to Nova Scotia's famous racing schooner, Bluenose, the ship on the Canadian ten-cent piece. Old town Lunenburg was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995.
Today's journey ends in Liverpool - the privateering capital of North America - located at the mouth of the beautiful Mersey River. Overnight in Liverpool.
Before leaving Liverpool this morning, take a drive out to Fort Point Lighthouse Park. The lighthouse was built in 1855 and is the 4th oldest surviving lighthouse in Nova Scotia – surrounded by the sea on three sides, it will provide great photo opportunities. Later, travel further south into the province's scenic countryside on Highway 103 and turn off at Port Joli. Here you will find one of the South Shore's premier outdoor experiences awaiting you at Kejimkujik Seaside Adjunct which covers 22km of unspoiled Atlantic coastline.
Return to Highway 3 and complete the loop by heading through East Jordan and rejoining Highway 103 at Jordan Falls. The next stop on your route is at Shelburne, a town whose rich history and picturesque charm has captured the hearts of many and attracted the attention of the film industry. The town's history comes alive in a harbourside stroll along Dock Street, where 18th-century houses and more recent commercial buildings have been restored and revitalized.
Continuing back on the route, in Shag Harbour you can climb the tower in the Chapel Hill Museum for a panoramic view of the sea and outlying islands. At night the lights of five lighthouses are visible from this point. The post office in Shag Harbour has a special stamp cancellation commemorating the sighting of a UFO which crashed and sank here in 1967.
The Lighthouse Route ends, appropriately, at one of Nova Scotia's most dramatic and historically significant lighthouses. The Yarmouth Light stands on the rocky point of Cape Forchu. The original lighthouse, built in 1839, was replaced by the current structure in the 1960s. Today it's a great place to have a picnic or to walk the short shoreline trail, enjoying the views and crisp salty air of Yarmouth Harbour. If you are looking for a campground close to downtown Yarmouth, we recommend you consider staying at Campers Haven Campground on Highway 3 east (Starrs Road).
Today you will enjoy another full day of traversing the landscape. Route 1 passes through twelve picturesque French-speaking villages between Beaver River and St. Bernard. This is a region of handmade quilts, smoked fish and Stella Maris, the tri-coloured Acadian flag with a single star that proudly flies from many homes and public buildings.
Further along the Evangeline Trail, Smugglers Cove Provincial Park affords a splendid place for a picnic lunch, with inspiring views of the coastal cliffs and St. Mary's Bay. A small path leads down to a pebble beach and a natural cave.
The Acadians built magnificent churches and every visitor should make time to stop in at least one of these celebrated edifices. One of the finest and most celebrated of these is St. Mary's Church at Point de LÉglise (Church Point). An engineering marvel, St. Mary's was constructed between 1903 and 1905 in the form of a cross 58 m (190 ft.) long and 41 m (135 ft.) wide.
Digby is home port of one of North America's largest scallop fleets, harvesters of the world-famous Digby scallop. This historic waterfront is lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants, and in summer there is live entertainment at the bandstand next to the marina. Visitors can stroll past the fishing boats tied up to the fishermen's wharf, take a harbour cruise, wander through the marina, or observe an active boatyard.
Digby is the gateway to one of Nova Scotia's most spectacular natural regions. The Bay of Fundy's great tides have created a rich ecosystem that supports an abundance of wildlife, including great numbers of whales and seabirds. The area has become famous for its whale and seabird watching tours, and the land is an environmental treasure that offers spectacular panoramas of rocky headlands and tide-carved coastline.
The Evangeline Trail continues to Smith's Cove, a favourite resort area. A scenic detour leads to Bear River. Bear River is a wonderfully picturesque village nestled in a deep valley at the head of a tidal river. Visitors with children may want to stop and enjoy Upper Clements Park in Upper Clements, where they'll find fun for kids of all ages. This is a bright, modern 10-hectare (25-acre) park, where the theme is Nova Scotia's heritage and music. In addition to exciting rides and activities, there are several historic buildings that house displays, entertainment, handcrafts, food outlets and other attractions.
Your overnight stop is at Annapolis Royal, which offers a captivating blend of heritage and charm that has made it a favourite stopping place along the Evangeline Trail. Today, Annapolis Royal is a town of gracious large homes, colourful gardens and broad tree-lined streets.
Today you will travel into the province's scenic countryside to Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site - 381 square kilometres of scenic inland wilderness country. Nature walks can be enjoyed on one of the park's 14 hiking trails. Quiet lakes and gently-flowing rivers make Kejimkujik National Park the best canoeing country in Nova Scotia. Rent a canoe at Jakes Landing and enjoy a peace we sometimes forget still exists. Five cycling trails are open in the park ranging from easy to more demanding. If you don't have your own bike, you can rent one at Jakes Landing.
Kejimkujik is by far the most important national park for reptiles in Atlantic Canada. Eight reptile species live here; five snake species and three turtles. Watch for signs along the way warning you to look out for turtles crossing the road! There is a beautiful National Park Campground in the park. We recommend you make advance reservations for this campground during the busy holiday period.
Retrace your steps back to Annapolis Royal and re-join the Evangeline Trail. Stop briefly in Wolfville -a charming university town with stately trees and beautiful heritage homes - before arriving at Grand-Pré National Historic Site, where a graceful stone church stands as a memorial to the Acadians. Continue on to the town of Windsor, the birthplace of Canada’s national sport. Visit the Hockey Heritage Centre with displays on the origins of hockey and unique articles from the game's early years.
Along your route today, be sure to check the tide schedule as you might have the opportunity to ride the world famous tidal bore at one of the tidal bore rafting companies that operate along the Shubenacadie River. Watch in awe as a small stream reverses into a turbulent river and the wet and wild adventure begins. For those who would rather watch than ride, a look-off and interpretation centre are located in South Maitland which gives viewers an outstanding view of the rafters battling the currents.
Your destination today is Truro. Colourful painted murals throughout the town depict its history and tree sculptures highlight important figures from the past.
Travel today along the Fundy Shore where the majestic power of the world's highest tides has shaped a landscape of unforgettable splendour. Stop in Economy, a great place to ‘walk on the bottom of the sea’, where clam digging, rock housing and bass fishing are popular activities. Watch for Adrian's Lunch a little west of Five Islands Provincial Park; it is home to the best lobster roll in Nova Scotia. Make sure you also visit Cape Chignecto, the site of Nova Scotia's largest provincial park, with a hiking trail which circumnavigates the cape along rugged cliffs rising high above the Bay of Fundy.
Your journey today ends in the historic harbour town of Pictou, one of the largest communities on the Northumberland Shore. The Quay's colourful displays and costumed guides bring to life the history of the Scottish immigrants who arrived on the ship Hector in 1773. The town's slogan is ‘The Birthplace of New Scotland’ as the first wave of immigrants is acknowledged to have arrived in Pictou in 1773.
Take your time today as you begin your journey up Cape Breton Island, where historic villages and fashionable resorts peacefully co-exist to entertain travellers. From the causeway, take Highway 19 which follows the sea coast to Port Hood, Mabou, Inverness and Dunvegan. Along the way, stop at Mabou Provincial Park, 1.5 km north of Mabou, where you will get a panoramic view of the Mabou Valley.
The Margaree Valley is a beautiful, pastoral valley in any season. There are lots of things to do here, from visiting the historic Fish Hatchery (Nova Scotia's oldest) to visiting an internationally known pottery gallery called Cape Breton Clay. Join the Cabot Trail at Margaree Harbour and continue on to Cheticamp. Cheticamp is a busy fishing village with a thriving Acadian culture. Stay overnight at Plage St-Pierre (St-Pierre Camping) which is located 3.5km off the Cabot Trail, just to the south of Cheticamp. This spectacular beach and campground offers a vacation for the whole family to enjoy while visiting and touring the Cabot Trail.
Spend today exploring the world famous Cabot Trail - a coastal highway described as one of the most spectacular drives in North America. The Cabot Trail winds through Cape Breton Highlands National Park, a 950 square metre (366 square mile) wilderness area that is home to a variety of wildlife.
Some places of interest to stop at include Pleasant Bay, a working fishing village where you find the fascinating Pleasant Bay Whale Interpretive Centre, and Dingwall, originally known as Youngs Cove after Walter Young, one of the first settlers in the area. Dingwall is situated just off the Cabot Trail. Fishing and tourism are the town's primary industries
The Cabot Trail continues slightly inland to North River Bridge then on to St Ann's. If you have time to explore by sea, we recommend you check out North River Kayak Tours, situated just south of North River Bridge at 644 Cabot Trail. Designed for the traveller who wants a taste of sea kayaking, along with a cup of Cape Breton Culture, this company offers half and full day kayaking tours for all skill levels off the Cape Breton sea coast. No matter what your interest, today you will undoubtedly be entertained.
Leave Baddeck behind as you retrace your steps on Highway 105 back to South Haven before continuing east on Bras d'Or Lakes Drive and through North Sydney to Sydney. Follow signs on Highway 22 to Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site. This historic site, about a one hour drive from downtown Sydney, is the crown jewel of the Canadian Park Service and the largest historical reconstruction in Canada.
Fortress of Louisbourg was built to protect France's interests in the new world and to serve as the centre of its massive seasonal fishing industry. The fortress offers a unique window into Canada's past and 18th century colonial history. Dozens of costumed animators become the town's residents of the summer of 1744. Visit Chapell St. Louise, Louisbourg's garrison chapel. See artifacts found during 20 years of archaeological excavation. Talk to a soldier. You'll find them happy to tell you about guard duty, living conditions, armaments, security, food and a soldier's life in general.
The Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic site is open for self- guided visits from June 1 to September 30. Enjoy a home-made period meal authentically prepared and served in one of the historical restaurants. If you'd like to stay in a campground close to this site, we recommend Riverdale RV Park, only 5 minutes away. This park is a CanaDream Club partner campground and offers a discount to CanaDream guests. Return to Sydney via scenic Route 255 which becomes Marconi Trail as it nears the sea coast. At Glace Bay, visit the Marconi National Historic Site, which marks the place from which Guglielmo Marconi and his team of engineers and scientists sent the first wireless transatlantic signal in 1902.
Also at Glace Bay, visit the Cape Breton Miner's Museum, one of the region's most popular attractions. Here you can experience life in a coal mine first-hand. Take the underground tour of the Ocean Deeps Colliery, located beneath the Museum building. Retired coal miners are your guides for the excursion underground and promise to entertain and inform you in a custom that has become treasured by visitors all over the world.
Take highway 4 back to Sydney or, if you have time, take the scenic loop road 28 to New Waterford and return to Sydney along the coast, through South Bar and Whitney Pier.
From Sydney today, you will travel along the shores of Cape Breton Island's beautiful inland sea - the Bras d'Or Lakes. The Bras d'Or Lakes are a traditional home of Nova Scotia's native Mi'kmaq and the Mi'kmaq language and culture are still evident today in the four reserves along its shores.
Stop in St Peter's, known at the "Gateway to the Bras d'Or Lakes", which is a full-service community situated on a narrow strip of land separating the Atlantic Ocean and the Bras d'Or Lakes. At the Canso Causeway, travel back to the mainland of Nova Scotia through Antigonishand inland to Sherbrooke. Spend the afternoon at Sherbrooke Village Museum which looks like it did 100 years ago before gold mining transformed it into a boom town. Approximately 8 km (5 mi) further on is Liscomb Mills, a fishermen's and canoeists' paradise. The Liscomb River Trail follows the river's edge to a swinging bridge spanning a 20-metre waterfall and returns along the other side.
Your drive continues along the Eastern Shore. Stop at the Memory Lane Heritage Village in Lake Charlotte, which offers a nostalgic look at life in the 1940's, and at Fisherman's Life Museum in Jeddore, where guides in period costume recreate the simple yet powerful daily life of coastal fishing communities.
End your day at Fisherman's Cove in Eastern Passage, a restored fishing village which is located at the mouth of Halifax Harbour, which offers an inviting collection of craft shops and restaurants along with an extensive seaside boardwalk. Spend your last night on the road at the campground of your choice.
Sadly, today you must wave goodbye to your time on the open roads as you return your RV and embark on your flight back to the UK.