A few years ago, a visiting student who was new to Halifax told us how disappointed they were that they couldn’t get to the beach by bus.
From that moment on, we were on a mission – to show visitors and locals alike great dates, daytrips, and adventures that can be had using good old Metro Transit. Look, we know Metro Transit isn’t perfect. But on a day off, when your schedule is less hectic, MT is a cheap and fun way to explore the city. We’ve outlined 10 awesome Halifax daytrips you can bus to below.
IMPORTANT: Last year a fellow traveller got lost and I felt horrible. Here’s the thing, friends. I don’t know where you are starting your adventure, or what day or time you’ll be travelling, and bus routes have a habit of changing. Before you go, MAP IT on google. I’ve given the address of each location to make it easier. Most of our adventures started at Mumford Terminal, while other ones started in Dartmouth so do a quick map check to avoid getting lost (though, we here at The Local Traveler love getting a little lost).
1. Fisherman’s Cove:
I tell everyone about this place. It’s close to home and it is the perfect seaside 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 take your bike with you or you’re up for a bit of a walk, head another 5 km from Fisherman’s Cove to reach Silver Sands Beach Park (5 km each way) or the very popular Rainbow Haven Beach (8 km each way). See more adventures along the #60 Bus Route here.
Map It: 6 Government Wharf Rd, Halifax, NS
2. McNab’s Island:
You’ve got to go to McNab’s Island. For the nature lover, look for deer, rabbits, coyotes, and more than 206 bird species. The terrain ranges from cobblestone to sand to salt marsh to coves. For the history buff, McNabs historical evidence of use that spans back more than 5,000 years up to more recent involvement in World War II efforts.
I am separating this from Fisherman’s Cove because there are a few ways to ‘get on the boat’. Friends of McNab’s keep a list of charters that travel from Fisherman’s Cove and the Halifax Boardwalk to McNabs. Most charters are $20 per person round trip. You will want to phone ahead for this one as some charters do not go daily and others are small charters that need a minimum number to travel.
Map It: Pick your charter and then find your launch point HERE.
3. Swimming and a Lakeside Patio with Great Craft Beer:
Chocolate Lake has been a wildly popular swimming and beaching spot for as long as I can remember, but this year it got even cozier with the addition of new showers, change rooms and washrooms. A few busses will get you lakeside in a jiffy. After you beach, head around the corner (about a 10 minute walk) to the Chocolate Lake Hotel. It is one of our favourite patios in Halifax. It is right on the lake (and is far enough away from the beach side for some peace and quiet) and has a great local craft beer line-up, which you can indulge in because MT is your DD. GO!
Beach – 30 Herring Cove Road, Halifax
Patio – 20 St. Margaret’s Bay Road, Halifax
4. See Halifax From a Whole New Vantage Point:
There is so much to do in Downtown Halifax – just walking the boardwalk, the longest Harbourfront boardwalk in the world, makes for a nice experience. But there are many new ways to see the Halifax Waterfront.
From Kayak tours of the Harbour and McNabs to segway tours to side-car tours, there are so many fun ways to re-experience the waterfront and come home with some great stories. Take a $15 ghost walk, or rent a bike – We mapped out a little Historic Bike Tour of Halifax that’ll give you a crash course in Halifax history.
Map it: 1507 Lower Water Street, Halifax NS
5. A Heart Shaped Pond, A Music Room, and A Whole Lot of Hiking:
The whole area around Hemlock Ravine once played host to Prince Edward and his French mistress, Julie St. Laurent. What was once a huge estate fell into disrepair in the late 1800s, and was broken up and sold into lots. The circular building that can be seen from the road (the Rotunda – right around where you’ll first get off the bus) is an old music room.
Cross the street and head up the hill (Kent Avenue – go right to the end) to get to Hemlock Ravine Park. Here, you’ll see the ‘Heart Shaped Lake’, which Edward built for his mistress. It seems that Hemlock Ravine was a bit of a lovers playground for the pair. You might fall in love, too – Hemlock Ravine is huge with a network of well-groomed trails. This is a great spot for couples to go for a walk (or for kids to pretend they’re Robin Hood). Pack a picnic and plan to spend the day for a great, active, local adventure.
Map It: Kent Avenue, Halifax NS
6. History and Tea Time at Scott Manor House
I never thought that I was all that into old buildings, but Scott Manor House may have changed my sentiment. Built in 1767, it is the only full two and a half storey, gambrel-roofed colonial structure in Nova Scotia, and possibly in Canada.
It also has two original mortarless, loose field stone chimney bases. This attraction is free to visit, but only open in July and August. There is a tea room on-site that offers tea and assorted sweets between 2 pm and 4 pm.
Just around the corner from Scott Manor is Fish Hatchery Park. As the name suggests, it was once the site of a large fish hatchery. Considering it’s right next to the main route, it’s a very peaceful little area that would be a great place for a picnic or to read a book. There is a 2 km walking route from here to Fultz House in Sackville. This small seasonal (July-August) museum pays tribute to more than 200 years of Sackville history, including old-fashioned gardening tools, an original cooperage and a working replica of A.J. Smeltzer’s Lower Sackville blacksmith shop.
Map it: 15 Fort Sackville Drive, Halifax NS
7. Deadman’s Island and The Dingle:
Deadman’s Island, a great spot for a picnic on the water. It’s also a great spot for ghost stories after dark, considering the island’s history. In the 1800s, the island was a military training grounds, but later became the burial grounds for war prisoners. Our Halifax Blogger friend Noticed in Nova Scotia wrote an excellent piece on the island’s history HERE.
Walk a little further up the hill until you see the stone entry to Sandford Fleming Park. Here you’ll The Dingle, picnic areas with tables, a children’s playground by the water and walking trails. There is also a small beach. The water is very rocky in this area so if you plan to go in, bring water proof footwear.
Map it: Deadman’s Island, Halifax NS
8. York Redoubt and The Look-Off
York Redoubt marks the every end of route #15. This national historic site was part of the same network of forts to guard the harbour as the Citadel and today features the World War II Command Centre. It offers much of the same sense of visiting an historical site as Citadel Hill, but it’s free!
This may be the end of the road for the #15, but it doesn’t have to be for you. Take your bike or your walking shoes on the bus (this route features bike racks) and make the 3 km trek to The Look-Off. This is one of our favourite quite places in the city. Enjoy this panoramic vista of the ocean, or walk the rocky, rough trails.
Map it: 300 Ferguson Cove Road, Halifax NS
9. The MT Express to Italy:
We <3 Pavia. Love it. The #20 goes right by this Herring Cove gem. Pavia is an Italian-inspired café and gallery. The inside is clean and inviting, with lots of light, and a small, eclectic gallery. The menu is small – an assortment of paninis, Mokaflor Coffee, Italian wines, Dee Dee’s ice cream, and an variety of sweets.
But wait, a restaurant isn’t really an adventure – luckily the Look-Off is just a short walk from Pavia. It is actually easier to get to from Pavia than York Redoubt, though both make for a nice stroll. And if you double back about 5 minutes along the route there is a supervised lake with a sand beach called Long Pond Beach. As with all Halifax swimming spots, check before you go to make sure the water is safe for swimming that day. This changes throughout the summer.
Map it: 995 Herring Cove Road, Herring Cove NS
10. A Craft Beer Tour of Halifax:
You can bus to every brew pub and brewery in Halifax, and there is a big concentration right in the core, and it just keeps growing! We recommend going where the flights are (and bringing a friend to share each flight) so you get to try a lot of local beer on your bus adventure.
Start at Rockbottom Brewpub for a flight from their new brewer Jake Saunders. Walk around the corner and down the street to Stillwell where you can get a flight of craft beer from all around the province, or visit their new Spring Garden Patio, which is open for summer 2016.
Make your way by foot or bus to the Halifax waterfront to get some $2 samples at Garrison, then try the beer (and food) at Roy’s. Roy’s has a surprisingly good line-up, and we loved this beer and food platter for two which rang in at $36. From there, it’s just a 10 minute walk along the boardwalk to Halifax’s newest brewpub, Gahan (fresh off the boat from PEI).
Want to keep going? Hop a bus to Gottingen and stop into Propeller then hop a final bus to take you to Nova Scotia’s newest brewery, Good Robot. North Brewing and Granite are also accessible by bus, however you can’t buy flights or samples on-site. Both sell by the growler if you want to stop in and take some home.
Rockbottom: 5686 Spring Garden Rd, Halifax, NS
Bar Stillwell Beer Garden: Spring Garden/South Park
Bar Stillwell: 1672 Barrington St, Halifax, NS
Garrison: 1149 Marginal Rd, Halifax, NS
Roy’s: 1181 Hollis Street, Halifax, NS
Gahan Halifax: 1869 Upper Water Street, Halifax, NS
Propeller: 2015 Gottingen St, Halifax, NS
Good Robot: 2736 Robie St, Halifax, NS
North Brewing: 2576 Agricola St, Halifax, NS
Granite Brewery: 6054 Stairs St, Halifax, NS
There are more than 30 breweries and brewpubs in Nova Scotia. Discover them in our Complete Nova Scotia Craft Beer Guide.
Want more fun places to get to by bus? Check out our video series which sorts routes by activity like Six Beaches and Lakes you Can Bus To and Unique Eats By Bus.
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Now it’s YOUR TURN! What are your favorite places to visit that can be reached by bus?