Fall is the best time of year in Nova Scotia. Warm days, crisp evenings, colourful fall foliage, and harvest are all wrapped up in a perfect package. These are 4 must-do's to experience all that is fall in Nova Scotia!
Fall is the best time of year to get outside and experience the rugged coastline and woodland of Nova Scotia. Let’s be honest, summers in Nova Scotia are beautiful, sunny, and warm but when you’re hiking the Cape Breton Highlands National Park or through back-country at Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site, there is nothing like breathing fresh crisp air. Here are some recommended outdoor adventure experiences:
- Hiking: Hiking in Nova Scotia is at its best during the fall. You don't have to worry about pesky flies or getting overheated, just grab your water bottle, granola bar and set out on your afternoon adventure! There are tons of family friendly parks and gardens, like the Tangled Garden in Grand Pré, to choose from. For the nature lover, some recommended hikes are: Cape Split, Skyline Trail, Taylor Head Provincial Park, and Cape Chignecto Provincial Park.
- Cycling: Biking along coastal routes doesn't get any more beautiful in Nova Scotia than in the fall. With scarlet reds, yellows and oranges reflecting on blue crystal waters, it creates picture perfect scenery around every turn. A few don't miss cycling trails are: Celtic Shores Coastal Trail, The Aspotogan Peninsula (a 50 km loop along the South Shore), and the Cabot Trail (a 300 km road carved into the edge of the jaw-dropping Cape Breton Highlands).
- Kayaking: Nova Scotia's coast is best seen from the water! From sea kayaking in Cape Breton to exploring Halifax or Lunenburg Harbour, our tour operators will give you a whole new perspective.
- Whale Watching: One of the most popular activities in Nova Scotia is whale watching. It's at its best in Digby, Brier Island and Cape Breton Island. Many tour operators operate until the middle or end of October and say the likelihood of seeing calves increases during the fall season.
Experience the Harvest
Fall in Nova Scotia is also harvest season. My absolutely most favourite part is enjoying the unique apple varieties being picked. Trust me, if you haven’t bitten into a McIntosh apple right off the tree then you haven’t lived. Apples, pears, root vegetables and more are available fresh from local producers every weekend at Farmers' Markets across the province and at local farm market locations such as Hennigar’s Farm Market (off exit 11 on HWY 101). To compliment the Annapolis Valley’s harvest bounties, wineries are celebrating with Tidal Bay wines that pair perfectly with locally sourced food and cheese.
During the harvest season many communities celebrate in unique ways that are fun for the whole family (including the kid in all of us):
- Annapolis Valley Pumpkin People Festival: Every year in October the town of Kentville becomes decorated with pumpkin people displays. In the last number of years, major displays throughout the town have been themed. It is an entertaining time to drive through the town and see dressed up scarecrows with pumpkin heads scattered everywhere.
- Corn Mazes: These are great activities to burn some energy and have some adventurous fun. Popular corn mazes include one at Noggins Corner Farm Market, just off exit 11 on HWY 101 and Captain Cob's Crazy Corn Maze and Family Fun Farm at Masstown Market near Truro. For a spooky corn maze and haunted house experience aimed toward an older audience check out the Bloodfields in Truro at RiverBreeze Farm which is also home to a fun family corn maze.
- Mahone Bay Scarecrow Festival: The Scarecrow Festival and Antique Fair is one of Nova Scotia's most popular fall events attracting visitors from all over the continent. For the entire month of October there will be 100's of stage worthy scarecrows decorating the entire town.
- Ghost Walks: Ghost walks of historic downtowns are a very popular activity, they are fun and educational! For Halifax tours contact Tattle Tours and in the Valley locations contact Valley Ghost Walks. Ghost Walk experiences are also available at the Fortress of Louisbourg, Halifax Citadel and in Annapolis Royal.
The Cabot Trail is known as one of the world's must see islands and there is no doubt why. The slopping hills and highland views make it the perfect road trip. The fall is the most popular time of year to tour the trail and to take photos of the amazing fall colours. With so many hiking trails to explore within the Cape Breton Highlands National Park and events taking place during the Celtic Colours International Festival, Cape Breton Island is the perfect all inclusive Nova Scotia fall escape.
Each year the colours peak in the first few weeks of October starting with reds and then unfolding into yellows and oranges into the third week of October. Each season the timing of colours does change as it is dependent on temperatures.
And you never know who you may meet along the way...
Last, but not least, piece of the pie is feasting the senses at some of the most popular events of the year! Just to name a few:
- Celtic Colours International Festival: Happening Oct 9th-17th, 2015, the Celtic Colours International Festival has featured hundreds of musicians from all over the Celtic world and attracted tens of thousands of visitors to Cape Breton Island.
- Devour! Food and Film Fest: Held November 4th-8th, 2015, five jam-packed days of film, food and wine. They will be serving up the latest from the world of culinary cinema, paired with wine tours, tastings, pop-ups, and industry sessions.
- Starlight Festival: Taking place Oct 7th-11th, 2015 in southwestern Nova Scotia, this festival features guided star gazing events, photo presentations, guided tours, canoeing under the stars, starlight crafts, a star gazing platform, an astro-photography course, food, music, museum exhibits and information, and more.
Fall is the perfect time of year to get out and explore everything this beautiful and bountiful province has to offer - and I think you'll agree.
Travel Tips: It is best to dress in layers and to have warm and cool weather options as daytime temperatures can get up to 20C/70F and nighttime temperatures can go down as low as 0C/32F.