By Candice Walsh
One of the joys of travelling Nova Scotia is the ease of getting around the province by car. When Halifax starts feeling a little too close for comfort, you can hightail it out of there with a moment’s notice. You don’t even need to go overnight—just go.
This should be a familiar sight—perhaps because the Peggy’s Cove lighthouse is reputably the most photographed lighthouse in the world.
Less than an hour’s drive from Halifax, the Peggy’s Cove Region is the hypothetical portal into Atlantic Canadian life. It’s laid back, coastal living with lobster pots, boats pulled up onshore and fishing nets adorning battered wharves. From here, walk to the famous lighthouse (but stay away from the edge—rogue waves are common!), have some chowder at the Sou’Wester Restaurant, and stop by the gift shop.
45 km/30-minute drive southwest of Halifax via Hwy. 333
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the waterfront town of Lunenburg was established in 1753 by settlers from Germany, Switzerland and France. Their economy was built on farming, fishing and ship-building, and the town is home to Canada’s famous Bluenose racing schooner.
It’s also an insanely busy tourist destination for people of all ages. With storefronts and homes painted in intense hues of pink, green and even purple, there’s so much eye candy in Lunenburg you’ll be reaching for your camera every few seconds. The 19th-century Lunenburg Academy and the 1763 St. John’s Anglican Cathedral are particularly noteworthy for their striking, ornamental architecture.
Explore the town on foot, or opt for a horse-drawn carriage ride. Be sure to check out the tall ships in the harbour.
92 km/1-hour drive west of Halifax via Hwy. 103
The Annapolis Valley
On the western Nova Scotia peninsula, the Annapolis Valley is one of Canada’s top fruit-growing regions and is well known for its apple harvest. The valley’s fertility is attributed to its favourable microclimate, created by its location between two mountain ranges. It’s one of those popular summer getaways for Nova Scotian due to the great weather and pretty beaches, but the valley has year-round attractions, too. Come see the Balancing Rock, a columnar formation of Digby Neck which literally looks like it’s balancing precariously on the cliff’s edge; enjoy fresh lobster at Hall’s Harbour; or check out giant pumpkins at Dill’s Atlantic Giant.
200 km/2.5-hour drive west of Halifax via Hwy. 101