Nova Scotia’s gorgeous climate, natural beauty and expansive views make it a beautiful destination to explore any time of year. Maritime breezes coming off the surrounding bodies of water – the Bay of Fundy, Gulf of Maine, Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the Atlantic Ocean – moderate the summer temperatures, so it’s rare that it ever gets too hot to enjoy the many opportunities for outdoor fun that exist in and around the province. No matter what type of outdoor excursion you’re looking for, whether it be a visually stunning stroll through a garden, a challenging hike along the coast, or a relaxing day at the beach, it’s all here for you in Nova Scotia.

Explore the (Not So Secret) Gardens of Nova Scotia

Halifax Public Gardens

Image courtesy of Tourism Nova Scotia

The Halifax Public Gardens has stood in the heart of Halifax for almost 200 years and was designated a National Historic Site in the 1980s. Covering almost 16 acres, here you’ll find different types of flower bed displays, including the exotic varietals in the Tropical Bed, foxgloves, poppies and thistles in the Herbaceous Beds and countless dahlias and rhododendrons. Other notable elements of this beloved gardens are the swan enclosure, a nod to King George V gifting the gardens its first pair of swans in 1915, Griffin’s Pond, in which different sailboat models float, and two small concrete bridges that were originally built in 1911 and, to this day, are very popular spots for photo ops, so be sure to bring your camera along!

Annapolis Royal Historic Garden

Image courtesy of Tourism Nova Scotia

Ponds, boardwalks, bridges and thousands of types of flowers displayed in different gardens await you at The Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens. A 17-acre paradise in Annapolis Royal, a gorgeous seaside town on the northern coast of the province, the gardens are currently in their 40th year of operation and boast hundreds of different types of roses in their collection – the largest in Eastern Canada – and on display throughout the Rose Maze, and thousands more florals beautifully blooming in the Governor’s, Victorian, Knot and Perennial Gardens. Also on site is La Maison Acadienne, a small house depicting 17th century Acadian Life. It’s no wonder that this gorgeous site was named Canada’s Garden of the Year in 2015.

Take a Hike!

Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Image courtesy of Tourism Nova Scotia

Hiking enthusiasts will love exploring the trails throughout Cape Breton Highlands National Park, which total more than 100 kilometres. With options ranging from easy, family friendly paths perfect for leisurely summer strolls to longer, more challenging treks that are best suited for more experienced hikers, there is something for everyone here, whether you’re looking for a quick loop to enjoy some summer sunshine, or a full day’s worth of exploring nature. Nestled on the northeastern coast of the province, looking east to the Gulf of St. Lawrence or south to the North Atlantic Ocean, the views from the coast leave nothing to be desired, and you may even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of some of the majestic wildlife that call the park grounds home.

Jacobs Ladder

Image courtesy of Tourism Nova Scotia

Those looking for a different kind of park experience will love discovering Victoria Park in Truro, just an hour north of Halifax. An urban park with gorgeous natural elements, including waterfalls, a meandering river and hiking trails, this destination offers the best of both worlds. One of the oldest public parks in the province, dating back more than 130 years, Victoria Park is also home to the famous Jacob’s Ladder. One hundred and seventy five steps up the side of a steep gorge, the vantage point from the top offers one of the best views of the waterfalls, and is a fun challenge for those looking for a steeper route to see the waterfalls. 

Life’s a Beach

Melmerby Beach

Image courtesy of Tourism Nova Scotia

Melmerby Beach is just like Nova Scotia: warm, welcoming and filled with fun things to do. At the height of summer, the waters along this gorgeous sandy beach can get up to almost 20°, so visitors can enjoy wading, swimming or just relaxing on a floatie. The boardwalks along the beach are ideal for leisurely walks, taking in the views of the beach and the Northumberland Strait, and marine enthusiasts can take advantage of the boat launch or enjoy a paddle out on the water. Ideally located just a short distance from New Glasgow and less than two hours from Halifax, Melmerby is a perfect escape for a day at the beach.

You can’t think of beaches in Nova Scotia without Martinique Beach springing to mind – it’s the longest sandy beach in the province, covering almost 5 kilometres along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Less than an hour from Halifax, this spot is perfect for wading, swimming, surfing or even kayaking on the water. It’s also a wildlife refuge for waterfowl, so bird enthusiasts can expect to catch a glimpse of various bird species, including Sandpipers, Plovers and Sparrows, to name a few. Bring a picnic lunch, or takeout from your favourite local restaurant and enjoy a beautiful beach day in Nova Scotia.

There’s no shortage of ways to enjoy the outdoors in Nova Scotia, but if you’re looking for other ways to enjoy the province, there’s no better place to spend a weekend than Halifax, and after working up your appetite in the sun, you’re sure to want to sample some of the best food around the Cabot Trail.

Always follow Canada and local health authority COVID-19 guidelines for travelling or visiting attractions. Learn more about current restrictions and travelling within Canada.

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