Getting ready for a trip to Nova Scotia? Here are some things you might want to bring to ensure your trip is the best!
1. Your Sense of Adventure – If you’re a thrill seeker, it’s definitely time to try something new. Go tidal bore rafting in the Shubenacadie River. Run the ocean floor in the Not Since Moses Walk/Run in Five Islands (August 2, 2015). Take a surf lesson. Zipline in the Annapolis Valley or on the Northumberland Shore. Kayak the ocean to a remote island. Or see it all from above skydiving or riding in a hot air balloon.
2. Your Taste Buds – Okay that might sound a little cheesy (speaking of cheese, you have to visit Fox Hill Cheese House or That Dutchman’s Farm) but there are some seriously delicious food experiences here. If you’re a lover of seafood, your mouth is probably already watering - lobster, mussels, oysters, scallops, clams, haddock, seafood chowders and buttery biscuits – so good but not altogether unexpected. There are also some unanticipated discoveries – like our vineyards with their very own appellation – Tidal Bay. Did you know that we also have a thriving craft brewing industry and some really interesting spirits being distilled here, like the vodka you’ll find at Ironworks Distillery in Lunenburg - with a pear grown right in the bottle - or the single malt whisky at Glenora Distillery - or the historical Fortress Rum, aged in casks at the Fortress of Louisbourg.
Now back to the food - you can taste your way through Halifax, morsel by morsel, on a tasting tour, spend the day with our talented and animated Kilted Chef, stop multiple times along the Chowder Trail to eat delicious chowders, pick your lobster right out of the tank at Hall’s Harbour Lobster Pound - and so much more. All you need to bring is your appetite.
Photo: The one and only Kilted Chef
3. Your Swimsuit – To our surfers, who brave the water year round in Nova Scotia, one of the world's top cold water surfing destinations, ocean summer temperatures probably feels like bathwater. It's refreshing and you’ll find us on any given beach on a hot summer day. But we’ll let you in on a little secret. If you are looking for the warmest water – you have to check out the beaches on the Northumberland Shore. All along the Northumberland Strait, with its shallow depths close to shore, the water temperatures can reach as high as 25 Celsius. Checkout local favourites like The Merb (Melmerby Beach Provincial Park), Heather Beach Provincial Park, Caribou-Munroes Island Provincial Park or Pomquet Beach Provincial Park.
Photo: Melmerby Beach Provincial Park
4. Your Dancing Shoes – we’ve got a pretty lively music scene, from the Celtic sounds you’ll find in many a pub, like the Red Shoe Pub in Cape Breton - to music festivals like the Stan Rogers Folk Festival or the 2015 TD Halifax Jazz Festival. You can take a party cruise around the Halifax Harbour and dance on the deck of the Tall Ship Silva or tap your toes in a lively pub almost any night of the week.
Photo: Mairi Rankin performs at the Red Shoe Pub
5. Your Rubber Boots – Did you know you can actually walk on the ocean floor in Nova Scotia? In the Bay of Fundy you can. That’s because we have the highest… and lowest tides in the world. It's really cool but it can get pretty muddy. Fundy Adventures offers some amazing hands on experiences where you can go dulsing (picking a seaweed superfood), clam digging, periwinkling and exploring along the ocean floor. You can also eat on the ocean floor at Burntcoat Head Park as your guide helps you to learn more about what the tide leaves behind.Just a few experiences where rubber boots will come in handy.Of course, if you like the feel of mud between your toes, feel free to abandon the boots and for an organic pedicure. If you want to save room in your suitcase, just bring a towel.
Photo: Burntcoat Head Park
6. Your Sweater – let's get this standard question out of the way because we get asked it quite often by those visiting Atlantic Canada for the first time. What kind of weather can I expect in Nova Scotia? We have lots of hot, sunny days with an average temperature between 20-28 Celsius (70-80 degrees Fahrenheit) in the summer. And of course, there are usually a few heat waves too. But sometimes cools off at night. Which is usually great - the perfect temperature for sleeping with the window open and the ocean breeze blowing through. Of course there are mornings when the fog comes gently rolling in too. You'll want your summer clothing. But don't forget to bring a sweater. Especially for those walks along the beach. We guarantee, you'll want to stay and watch the sunset.
7. Your Hiking Boots – Whether you are an experienced hiker or a trail walker, you won’t want to be caught without your boots. Take in the famous Skyline Trail – or any of the 26 trails in Cape Breton Highlands National Park and you’ll find amazing views of the Cabot Trail. Looking for something a little more challenging - try a multi-day trek to Cape Chignecto. Want to see something unique? Check out Balancing Rock on the Bay of Fundy near Tiverton. Looking for some great coastal trails? Visit Taylor Head Provincial Park and Kejimkujik Seaside... just to name a few.
Photo: Cape Chignecto Provincial Park
8. Your Binoculars – in addition to the amazing views you’ll find at many of our hiking trails, Nova Scotia has some amazing wildlife and you never know where you’ll see it. Sometimes we can get pretty close to it – it’s not rare to see a humpback spy hopping or breaching on a whale watching cruise in the Bay of Fundy or in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Cape Breton. But some of it you might see from far away. For example, it’s fun to watch the seals on the island in the distance at Kejimkujik Seaside or to see those adorable Puffins even closer on one of our birdwatching or nature cruises. While it’s not rare to see a moose meandering in the Cape Breton Highlands or an eagle soaring above, it’s not a bad idea to observe these beautiful creatures at a distance.