Image Above: The Ovens (Itinerary 7)
Updated March 30, 2016
With the summer road-trip season upon us my inbox is full of requests for last-minute day-trip ideas in Nova Scotia. Talking about the beauty and bounty of our fair province is second only to actually exploring NS on a list of my favourite things to do. In the past three years of running The Local Traveler, we have uncovered some pretty spectacular day-trips, so I’ve put together
10 12 day-trips within two hours of Nova Scotia.
Want to discover even more cool trips in Nova Scotia? Check out these 11 itineraries that will take you to every region of Nova Scotia. For Fall adventures, you may like 10 Fall Day Trips Within Two Hours of Halifax.
1. Head to Meander River Brewery in Ashdale for a taste of their craft beer and cider offerings and tour the hopyard where they grow hops for beer brewed across the province. Next, stop at Avondale Sky for some wine samples and get a peek at the vineyard. Finally, grab lunch at The Spitfire Arms in Windsor. It’s a fun daytrip less than an hour from Halifax, and you can bring back a growler and some wine to share over stories of your adventures with friends.
2. Face your fear of heights at Anchors Above Zipline Adventures in French River (near Pictou). Next, stop into Uncle Leo’s Brewery in Lyons Brook and buy a growler of Nova Scotia craft beer to take home. Before heading back to Halifax, stop into Pictou. It is a beautiful spot for a waterfront walk and to grab a bite to eat. If you haven’t yet experienced the unique NS culinary wonder that is Pictou County Pizza, you can check that off your list at Acropole Pictou while you’re there. If you have kids (or want a really fun history lesson) check out the Museum of Industry in New Glasgow.
3. Take in the Saturday Morning Market at Creamery Square. Next, head down the road and dine in an old fashioned rail car at the Train Station Inn and Restaurant in Tatamagouche. After lunch, check out the new digs at Jost. They renovated in 2014 and the new space and tasting bar is stunning. If you’re day tripping later in the year, check to see if their fall Grape Stomp is taking place – it makes for a very fun afternoon.
4. Hubbards and Chester are SO CLOSE to Halifax, but they feel like a million miles away from the city. Take the Saint Margaret’s Bay Road and do some early season beach hopping (there are many). Grab brunch at The Trellis, or, if you’re there on a Saturday between May and October, shop the Hubbards Farmers’ Market and walk the extensive trails on site. It’s located in a converted barn and filled with mouthwatering foods and local artisan goods. If they’re open for the season, explore the Chester VIC, one of the many re-purposed old train stations that also rents kayaks during the summer months, then take in a show at the Chester Playhouse, a 1930’s theatre that now serves as a venue for plays, musicals, and live music performances.
You can also view photos and more stops along this route in our recent Hubbards day trip itinerary with photos of stops at the beach, market, Trellis, and a darling little antique store HERE.
5. Go to the valley. There are a million adventures to be found here, but this is what we suggest. Go as far as Oaklawn Farm Zoo in Aylesford and spend the morning with some furry friends. Head to The Port Pub for lunch (where you can also get a flight of Sea Level beer if you aren’t the DD). Keep heading towards Blomidon, and take a hike in Blomidon Provincial Park. If you’re lucky (or you plan right), you can walk the mudflats during low-tide. Before you head home, get a history lesson at Grand Pre National Historic Site.
More interested in the wine side of the valley? Check out this post for an itinerary.
6. You aren’t really Nova Scotian until you’ve been to Peggy’s Cove, and May is a pretty good time to do it. This time of year, it isn’t yet packed to the gills with tourists, so you’ll get a better view. Keep doing the loop and stop at the Swiss Air Memorial, then lunch at Rhubarb Restaurant. It is a lovely little day trip that is oh-so-close to the city, but with views so pretty you’ll want to plan plenty of time for photo stops.
7. Take a trip to Lunenburg County. Start with a morning hike through The Ovens in Riverport, breathtakingly beautiful natural caves that were extended back in the gold mining days. After your walk, head into the town of Lunenburg for lunch at The Grand Banker, Lincoln Street Food, or one of the many other amazing restaurants that line the streets. Visit the aquarium at The Fishermans Museum after lunch where you can learn about (and see) some of our native aquatic species and learn about the provinces history of ship building. Finish up with some shopping, or stay a little later and do the Hauntings and Hangings tour with Lunenburg Walking Tours.
8. If you’ve ever driven on Hwy 102 between Truro and Halifax, you’ve probably seen the tall, beautiful statue of Glooscap. This weekend (and if not, this summer) is the time to investigate what he’s been guarding. Glooscap stands in front of the Glooscap Heritage Centre, where you’ll learn about Mi’kmaq culture, past and present. Next, head to Shubenacadie Wildlife Park to learn about (and see) species native to Nova Scotia mixed in with a few visiting animal friends. There is a lovely trail next to the zoo that makes for easy hiking when you’re finished. Finally, head to Bitar’s Pizza, Pasta and Grill in nearby Elmsdale for lunch.
9. Take a trip up the Eastern Shore, the least visited part of Nova Scotia. It’s a lovely drive, with lots of places you’ll want to stop to stare or take photos. Start at Lawrencetown beach for a surf lesson, a great hike or a few hours at the beach. A few more stops we recommend –
Willy Krauch & Son’s Smoked Fish Shop in Tangier (now closed), Taylor Head Beach and Provincial Park, and the many little antique stores that dot the road along your drive.
10. Take a drive (or hop the bus) to Fisherman’s Cove. We LOVE this area, and at just a 15-20 minute car ride and 30-ish minute bus ride from Halifax it is the perfect getaway. Walk the boardwalk, do some shopping, then grab brunch at Boon Docks or Fish and Chips at Wharf Wraps (our facebook friends tell us they have awesome F&C!). If you want a longer adventure, keep heading out to Lawrencetown Beach and Provincial Park or (the lesser known, and very cool) Silver Sands Beach Park. See more adventures along the #60 Bus Route here.
11. Get out on the water for a kayak or canoe adventure with East Coast Outfitters. It’s a great way to de-stress and get back to nature. This is great for a full or half day escape. We recommend going out a little early (or staying a little late) to tour the pretty sites around the Wreck Cove area (you’ll see an adorable example in the post linked above). They do take walk-in’s, but to be safe, call ahead.
12. I didn’t originally add Liverpool to this list because we love Liverpool so much that we always want to stay more than a day when we go. But indeed, Liverpool is only 90 minutes from Halifax, making it very ‘day-trip-able’. Our must-stops are always Hell Bay Brewery and Lane’s Privateer Inn and Restaurant. This weekend is also the Liverpool international Theatre Festival. Take a tour of some of the history, spaces and places in our No-Fail Guide to Liverpool video. Liverpool is home to our favourite festival in the province, Privateer Days. This year it will run June 20-22, so if you can’t go this weekend, start planning a June trip.
Head in any of those general directions and use the suggestions above as a very loose guide. You’re going to find a hundred interesting things in any of those general directions. If we missed your favourite, or you find something you have to share, this is the place to do it! Leave ’em in the comments, on our facebook page, or tweet us as you go @GillianWesleyNS.
Want to discover even more cool trips in Nova Scotia?
Check out these 11 awesome itineraries that will take you to every region of Nova Scotia.
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