Driving out of Halifax, the heat of excitement begins to rise. Whether you drive West, East or North.. adventure awaits. The size of the province makes it easy to escape for some weekend getaways from Halifax.
The landscape rolls from craggy rocks obstructed by dense Atlantic fog. It opens onto terracotta mud rivers fed by the high tides of the Bay of Fundy, surrounded by rich wetlands. You glimpse the rolling green hills and the unmistakable vineyards before settling into pine forests rising up to the edge of cliffs that sink down to bow before the Atlantic.
You’re never more than 20 minutes from the coast which has earned Nova Scotia its title of Canada’s Ocean Playground. Want to explore all corners of this immaculate province? Whether you are a Scotian for life or a Scotian for a week, join us as we set the stage for your next couple gorgeous weekend getaways from Halifax
Distance from Halifax : 1 hour 20 mins
Lunenburg is quintessential Nova Scotia. This UNESCO World Heritage Site enchants visitors from around the world with its colourful houses, narrow streets and working harbour. The gust of a new wave of visitors has made way for new artisanal shops, art galleries and a new breed of restaurants that make this town 100 kilometres from Halifax well worth the drive. Start the morning with the Lunenburg Breakfast at The Savvy Sailor. The combo of salt cod, smoked bacon fish cakes and rhubarb relish is one you won’t find elsewhere but will be dreaming about till you return. Dinner can either go casual with a traditional NS beer battered fish and chips from The South Shore Fish Shack, or haute cuisine at acclaimed Fleur De Sel- doin’ it French with a locavore twist.
If you’re coming with kids don’t miss out on the souvenir shops carrying salt-water taffy and tchotchkes galore as well as the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic for a more educational take on the beating heart of this historic town.
While Lunenburg could be done in a day, to be frank, it deserves an entire weekend with a stay at the Atlantic Sojourn B&B.
Atlantic Sojourn B&BSee it on trivago!
Enjoy the cheer and charms of one of Nova Scotia’s best preserved historic towns at the Atlantic Sojourn B&B in Lunenburg. Situated a lovely 10-minute jaunt from the Old Town and the wharves of the harbour, the B&B was once the home of a local sea captain. Many of its Edwardian era details have been preserved and joined by antique furnishings as well as modern amenities like free WiFi and parking. Visitors enjoy a generous two-course breakfast with eggs from a local free range heritage farm plus all the necessary beverages. Dietary restrictions are happily accommodated.
Ingonish & Ingonish Beach
Distance from Halifax: 5 hours
This remote corner of the Cabot Trail is one of the most beautiful in the whole province. Come summer time, millions of purple lupins bloom against a dramatic backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. Cut grass is ripped by the gusts of wind. On the beach, you can oftentimes find yourself completely alone during low seasons but at its warm and sunny summer peak, the beach and its surrounding fresh-water lakes bustle with visitors.
You can hike the world-renowned Cape Breton Highlands National Park, play a round of golf at the Highlands Links Golf Course or hop aboard a snowmobile to experience the thrill of solitude only a deep blanket of snow offers. When your appetite has been whetted by the blur of activity, head to Coastal Restaurant & Pub for a three-course menu with helpings of their heralded fresh Crab Dip, Ringer Burger, and the Cinnamon Roll Skillet.
It’s easy to fall in love with the people and the beauty of Cape Breton. Extend this amicable experience all the way to your Ingonish Beach weekend with a stay at Salty Rose’s and the Periwinkle Cafe.
Salty Rose’s and the Periwinkle CafeSee it on trivago!
A true labour of love for cousins/best friends/owner duo, Salty Rose’s and the Periwinkle Cafe sits 9 km from the breathtaking Ingonish Beach. Their small guest house has a communal patio and sitting room and is serviced by a kettle tea service every night. Guests awake to the tantalising waft of fresh baking every morning from the onsite cafe which serves fair-trade coffee and a shifting menu of breakfast and lunch options made from locally-sourced ingredients. The four sweet guest rooms have pillow top beds decked in soft cotton linens, lamb wool duvets, original features like pine floors and touches of the cousins’ creative endeavours. Their gift shop is chock full of delightful wares from Nova Scotia artists, craftsmen and designers, offering the perfect opportunity to bring a magical piece of this Cabot Trail memory home with you.
Distance from Halifax: 1 hour 45 mins
White Point was once merely a sleepy fishing village till the opening of the White Point Beach Resort created a destination out of the peaceful village. As part of the UNESCO Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve, this coastal resort offers up little distraction from the most important task at hand: relaxing.
White Point Beach ResortSee it on trivago!
Welcoming both Scotians and strangers to its 1-km-long white sand beach perch since 1928, the White Point Beach Resort and its friendly, free-roaming bunnies are Nova Scotian icons. Sharply salted air and the lullaby of the rolling surf reaches the windows of the pet-friendly guest rooms and cottages where visitors sleep soundly and awake as refreshed. If you’re still feeling groggy, hop on one of the property’s surfboard and take on the dawn ocean waves. The cottages can accommodate large families or groups and are nestled against the shoreline with views of the ocean and the river. They are fully prepped to welcome weekenders with a fireplace, full-kitchen, BBQ and access to a private lawn.
Wolfville & The Valley
Distance from Halifax: 1 hour 15 mins
Wolfville is a beloved Nova Scotian destination. Home to Acadia University, the rolling hills, historic dykes and small parish churches have lent to its many charms. Further afield, driving towards the Blomidon Provincial Park, the picturesque villages continue from Port Williams to Canning all the way up to Hall’s Harbour and the Cape Split trail. The Annapolis Valley is home to the world’s highest tides; it’s truly a sight to behold when twice daily, boats bobbing on the water’s surface are suddenly left stranded upon the distinctive red earth that lays beneath the waves. The land here is fertile, showering visitors with crab apple trees, fine wines and juicy summer berries. Wine lovers should stop into both Gaspereau Vineyards and Luckett Vineyards for tastings, while cheese lovers must try the Dragon’s Breath Blue cheese, the creation of local cheesemongers at That Dutchman’s Farm.
The Farmhouse InnSee it on trivago!
The Farmhouse is located in the midst of a quaint Annapolis Valley village and was once the personal home and farm of a shipbuilder who oversaw its construction in 1861. Historic details like pine flooring and marble fireplaces have been carefully preserved and guests can enjoy the sweet charms of uncovering these time-withstanding features. Come evening, there is nowhere more idyllic to enjoy this setting than the front porch swings, perfect for refuelling with cookies following your day exploring the myriad of natural wonders nearly on the front stoop of the Farmhouse. Whether you are hiking, biking or driving the region, you’ll be welcomed back following your adventures by innkeepers Lynn and Rod who are also eager to offer their favourite secret Valley spots for a truly locally-loved experience.
Planters Barracks Country InnSee it on trivago!
Hidden away on a lovely strip two kilometres from the village of Port Williams, the Planters Barracks Country Inn has set out to bring a boutique hotel experience to the quaint Annapolis Valley countryside. Beautifully-designed rooms are a mix of modern and antique furniture, rich colours, bespoke fabrics and historical build details. Soak in the clawfoot tubs while overlooking the rolling hills of the countryside, the Cornwallis River or the North Mountain that encloses this boutique inn. The friendly innkeepers ensure you’ll never go hungry with a gourmet breakfast worthy of mountaineers and hospitably providing snacks whenever they can.
Distance from Halifax: 1 hour 45 mins
The name Tatamagouche rolls delightfully off the tongue. Stemming from the native Mi’kmaq term Takǔmegoochk, it translates to “extending across” in reference to the intersection of two important rivers here. Most striking here is the red earth that dominates both the waterways, the beach sands and the very earth from which the trees rise.
The seaside town bustles with plenty to do from swimming in some of the warmest waters in Nova Scotia to enjoying wine at Jost Vineyards in neighbouring Malagash. Some must-trys are chowders of your choice at the aptly named Chowder House or lobsters at the Train Station Inn, all washed down by a hearty microbrew from the Tatamagouche Brewing Company.
Green Dragon Organic Farm and B&BSee it on trivago!
Retreat to the magical surrounds of Tatamagouche with a renewing stay at the Green Dragon Organic Farm and B&B. This small certified organic and Biodynamic farm grows its own hardy fresh produce from March to December and is home to friendly deer and farm animals galore. Fresh veggies and fresh air aren’t the only stalwarts of the farm however- -their historic farmhouse opens its doors for visitors who seek the solaces of simplicity and a farm-fresh breakfast. The comfortable rooms are organically dressed with natural materials and finishes ensuring your stay is one rooted in the wonders of nature. Wild silk and goose down duvets are a treat for enthusiastic cuddlers and with heavenly pillows made from stone ground buckwheat hulls, you could be in for the best sleep of your life.
Distance from Halifax: 2 hours 8 mins
Annapolis Royal has long held a special place in the hearts of Nova Scotians: all the way back to the native Mi’kmaq communities and later the earliest European settlers who made this the provincial capital long before Halifax had been founded. Today, you can still visit Canada’s oldest National Historic Site Fort Anne, enjoy the blooms that come with the Valley’s mellow summers at the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens or make a day of nearby Upper Clements Theme Park. On any given day, a stroll through this tiny dollhouse of a town will acquaint you not only with the beautiful old houses and elegant trees but also the folks who have called it home. Plenty of tantalizing bakeries waft the aroma of their wares from open doors. Reserve a patio spot at the Cafe Restaurant Compose in advance- it’s almost always busy and once you bite into those Digby scallops, you’ll understand why.
Still Point LodgeSee it on trivago!
Find your ohm in the secluded outcrop of the Annapolis Basin that is Still Point Lodge. You’ll find yourself surrounded by water, meadows, forests and steps from the beaches. Guests will be naturally pulled into a state of mindfulness that comes with the views the Lodge offers. Guest cottages are scattered about the property offering seclusion and views from the wrap around decks and balconies that beg you to watch the sunset with a cup of tea. Many cottages come with full kitchens and different sleeping configurations, make this perfect for a communal retreat. If you find yourself desiring some deeper, guided healing, guests are welcomed at the Still Point Reiki Center for treatments in Reiki, Sound Healing and Crystal Therapy that focus on achieving a balanced state of energy flow in your body.
Baddeck & Bras d’Or Lakes
Distance from Halifax: 3 hours 40 mins
Situated on the banks of an inland sea known as the Bras d’Or Lakes, tourists first started to come to Baddeck following the publication of a travel story by Charles Dudley Warner (who also stayed at our pick for your Baddeck hotel stay, the Telegraph Inn!). Baddeck marks the start and end of the magnificent Cabot Trail loop, the perfect voyage for travellers who want it all; hiking, winding drives, dramatic landscapes and beaches all intersect on the little island of Cape Breton. Understand how great a role Little Baddeck has played in the story of technology with a visit to the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site.
The food here is as appetising as the scenery. Seafood lovers flock to the Kissing Cod where the scallops, smoked salmon and oysters never run out. If pounds upon pounds of lobster is your kryptonite, time your visit with a Baddeck Lobster Supper, served by cheery locals and ending with a fresh berry cobbler.
Telegraph HouseSee it on trivago!
History and technology enthusiasts alike will be delighted by the welcoming Telegraph House in Baddeck. Still owned and operated by later generations of the same family who built the house in 1861, the Inn was also home of the first Trans-Oceanic Cable Company office and the site of many of the first telegraph messages sent from North America. Regular guest Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, was once received within these same quarters that have been carefully tidied and swept, yet impeccably preserved so that modern day visitors can experience the bygone era when this Victorian inn was the Chateau Marmont of Cape Breton.
Since then, it has hosted many notable figures including the Prince and Princess of Japan to its tasteful, period-furnished rooms located in the main lodge. Motel rooms are more modern but what remains is the exciting historic-infused atmosphere that continues to delight Baddeck visitors.
Seaweed And Sod FarmSee it on trivago!
Leave your troubles behind with a trip to the middle of nowhere. Located 22 kilometres from the main road and encompassed by the UNESCO Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere, Seaweed and Sod Farm welcomes guests to this magnificent tract of land. Whether you are coming to hike, bike or simply relax, this corner of Cape Breton is bursting with memorable sunsets and friendly folks. You’ll be sharing the 100-acre farm with heritage breed farm animals including llamas, sheep, turkeys and plenty of cats and dogs.
Two rooms overlook either the idyllic farm or the sparkling Bras d’Or Lake and share a common bathroom with an original clawfoot tub and amenities that were hand-made in Cape Breton. Breakfast is served fresh every morning and can be made vegetarian and gluten-free with advance notice.
Shelburne & Trout Point
Distance from Halifax: 3 hours 10 mins
Shelburne is a seafarers town, traditionally focused on the fishing and ship making, it’s a pretty corner of Nova Scotia to take a rest. Hollywood has taken note, with feature films like The Scarlet Letter and The Book of Negroes having been filmed on location. Once a stronghold of Loyalists, many residents can still trace their familial history back to the 18-century settlers. History buffs should visit the Black Loyalist Heritage Center for a look at what this history looked like for this often forgotten branch of folk who left their stamp on the region. Nature lovers will be enthralled by the pristine beauty of The Islands Provincial Park. You’re likely to have the place almost entirely to yourself.
All those activities will have you starving, so before you complete the last leg of your journey to Trout Point Lodge, refuel at the Charlotte Lane Cafe & Crafts. This lovely restaurant is a hidden gem with a feast sure to please even the most sophisticated foodies.
Trout Point Lodge of Nova Scotia
See it on trivago!
Welcome to Trout Point Lodge, a truly refined rustic experience and one of Nova Scotia’s best-kept secrets. Built in the most remote corner of the Tobeatic Wilderness Area, straddling the shore of a wide river, the adults-only lodge is Nova Scotian eco-tourism at its best. The wilderness here has been made accessible by guided stargazing excursions, kayaking and canoeing. Try out forest bathing- these slow, mindful jaunts through the ancient forest are practised by the Japanese and said to heal body, mind and soul. Rounding out your blissful weekend experience is the onsite Trout Point restaurant. Here, sustainability, organic ingredients, local products, foraged goods and onsite gardens dictate the ever-changing menu of Atlantic Acadian fare. A variety of rooming options are available but across the board, they are tastefully decorated with craftsman detailing, natural finishes and unparalleled comforts.
Do you have your own list of Nova Scotia weekends away? Let us know in the comments!