Yarmouth & Acadian Shores Region
Yarmouth lies at the intersection of two founding cultures in Nova Scotia and the seaport is a launching point for travels into French-speaking Acadie and English-speaking communities founded by settlers known as the Planters.
But before you head off, explore Yarmouth, home to the largest fishing fleet in Atlantic Canada. View the achitecturally stunning sea captain homes that were built between 1850 and 1900 and stand today as reminders of the wealth the ocean has long offered to those tough enough to ply the waters. A picture perfect place to ponder the sea is at the Cape Forchu Lightstation where the views, picnic grounds and hiking trails earned it the distinction as one of Canada’s greatest public spaces.
The Yarmouth & Acadian Shores region is home to communities with roots over 400 years deep, tiny villages in the shadows of lofty churches such as the Musée Église Sainte-Marie, the largest wooden church in North America. Though history hasn’t always been kind to the Acadians - they were caught between France and England as they fought for control over Atlantic Canada – it’s always interesting.
The Acadian identity is still very strong, and you can immerse yourself in the culture, traditions… and food. Rappie pie is a particularly unique dish, a traditional Acadian meal made from grated potatoes, meat and onions, sometimes topped with molasses.
Don’t Miss Experiences
- Experience 350 years of Acadian culture at Le Village historique de la Nouvelle-Ecosse.
- Named “Canada’s Greatest Public Space” in 2012, visit Cape Forchu Lightstation for the view and seaside walking trails. The Cape Forchu Walking Tours will shed some light on this 174 year old beacon.
- Forage in the forest with a naturalist as your guide before cooking your foraged delicacies at Trout Point Lodge.
- Visit our Living Wharves for a hands-on opportunity to experience the tools and skills of our fishery while hearing tall tales from our fisherman.
- Get your hands in the sand and dig for clams with locals at Belliveau Cove.
- Get the feel of a working fishing dock inside the W. Laurence Sweeney Fisheries Museum.
- Immerse yourself in Acadian culture and food at Rendez-vous de la Baie Visitor Centre.
- Enjoy fresh lobsters, steamed clams and snow crab with the locals during Les Beaux Vendredis at the Belliveau Cove wharf on Fridays alongside the scenic St. Mary's Bay.
- With Tusket Island Tours you can discover the scenic Tusket Islands on an authentic fishing boat with local fishermen, complete with music and homemade seafood chowder.
- Enjoy a hands on culinary experience in one of the oldest homes in Tusket, dating back to 1793. The Hatfield House Culinary Experiences and Restaurant showcases local dishes including seafood and Acadian fare.
- Join the Song of the Paddle on one of their paddling excursions to see the Yarmouth waterfront and its active fishery from the water.
- At Ye Olde Argyler Lodge take part in a traditional lobster boil on the shores of Lobster Bay.
- Tour a working oyster farm and board an authentic fishing boat at Eel Lake Oyster Farm to learn how their ‘‘Ruisseau’’ oysters are grown. Back at the dock, learn to shuck an oyster and taste this local delicacy.
Musique de la Baie / Music by the Sea
Music is a cornerstone of Acadian culture and Acadians have their own special word for this – a good party with lots of music is referred to as a "Tyme". Look for the Musique de la Baie logo throughout the area and discover the lively music and folklore of this region. Performances take place nightly between July 1 and September 30.
Get to know the Yarmouth & Acadian Shores Region
Best Photo Spots
Sandford Drawbridge, Sanford
Located 11 km (7 mi) from Yarmouth, the fishing community of Sanford is home to the world’s smallest operating drawbridge. The drawbridge allows fishing boats to come and go, while fishermen, residents and visitors walk along the waterfront from one side of the harbour to the other without having to leave the wharf.
Smuggler's Cove Provincial Park, Meteghan
Smuggler’s Cove was a prime location for the smuggling of liquor during prohibition in the 1920s. Today, Smuggler’s Cove Provincial Park is a picturesque picnic park with viewing platforms, interpretive panels, and an 80-step stairway to the ocean floor for exploring during low tide.
Mavillette Beach Provincial park, Mavilette
Mavillette Beach Provincial Park is a 1.5 km (1 mi) long sandy beach backed by fragile marram grass-covered dunes protected by boardwalks. Along with supervised swimming on weekends in July and August, the park also features bird watching platforms, interpretive panels, washroom facilities, and parking.
Belliveau Cove Municipal Park, Belliveau Cove
Also known as Parc Joseph et Marie Dugas, the park features a 5 km (3 mi) interpretive trail, craft centre (open July & August), and lighthouse. Don’t miss the Farmers’ Market on Saturdays (May to Sept.) and "Les Beaux Vendredis" Lobster Suppers on Friday evenings (June to Sept.), where visitors can feast on lobster, crab or clams.
Église St Bernard Church, St. Bernard
Built over a span of 32 years (1910-1942), this large, granite church is a prime example of early twentieth-century gothic architecture. Open to visitors May 1 to Oct 30, the church also hosts the Musique Saint-Bernard concert series throughout the summer months.
Cape Forchu Lightstation, Yarmouth
Cape Forchu Lightstation, an “applecore” style lighthouse, is situated 11 km (7 mi) from the town of Yarmouth. Constructed in 1962 to replace the original lighthouse built in 1839, the still-operating lightstation is one of Nova Scotia’s most popular and most photographed lighthouses and a much visited tourist destination.
Acadian Skies & Mi’kmaq Lands
Southwestern Nova Scotia is the first destination in North America to receive a Starlight certification and is one of only four places in the world to receive both Reserve and Destination designations by the Starlight Foundation, an organization supported by UNESCO. Some of the best places to view the night sky include:
- Trout Point Lodge
- Le Village Historique Acadien de la Nouvelle-Écosse
- Port Maitland Beach Provincial Park
- Church Point, where stargazing tours are offered on the Le Petit Bois trails
- Mavillette Beach Provincial Park
- Ellenwood Lake Provincial Park
- Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site
Yarmouth & Acadian Shores Communities
Let the beam of a weathered lighthouse guide you to friendly refuge in rugged fishing villages and historic towns along Nova Scotia’s South Shore. This scenic travelway winds along the shoreline en route to Halifax. For a direct drive, opt for Highway 103 (303 km from Yarmouth).
Travel with the spirit of Longfellow’s epic poem Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie, and discover centuries of heritage and perseverance in the Annapolis Valley. This picturesque drive provides easy access to wineries, breathtaking vistas, and unique topography, to name a few. For a direct drive, travel via Highway 101 (325 km from Yarmouth).