We just wrapped up a superb 6 weeks in Nova Scotia, part of a 7-month spring/summer/fall road trip. We had whizzed through the province a few years ago, but this time we spent some quality time there, visiting many different parts of the province.
This post is meant to be a reference for anyone planning a visit there. We have Nova Scotian friends who planned most of the trip, so their “expert” recommendations made the visit even better.
We started with a visit to our friends who live in Aylesford, in the middle of the Annapolis Valley. We “camped” in their driveway, but if you have an RV, there are several parks in that area. The area is full of wineries, breweries, farm markets, and apple orchards.
One fun thing we did was to pick up the “Good Cheer Trail” passport and we got the passport stamped at various wineries and breweries around the province. It takes you to some interesting places! We managed to get 28 stamps out of the 94 places in the passport.
Then we visited other friends near Lunenburg, a quaint (touristy) town. Again, we didn’t have our RV, but there are several parks in that beautiful area. In addition to Lunenburg, Peggy’s Cove as well as a drive down the South Shore towards Yarmouth are great trips.
Halifax deserves at least a 2-day visit. We were without our RV and stayed in a lovely inn near Dalhousie University (walkable to downtown). If you are with an RV, there are RV parks in Dartmouth, across the river, and you can take the ferry into Halifax. We spent two days walking around the city, hiking in its many parks, strolling along the waterfront, and poking in to old cemeteries. A highlight was a drink at the upscale Bicycle Thief Bistro – highly recommend.
Then we were off for 5 weeks traveling with our friends. We have an Airstream; they have an R-Pod. (The two get along fine)……:-) We stayed at each campground 4-6 nights, making day trips from each.
Campground #1 – a small, private RV park on Spencer’s Island called Old Shipyard Campground. http://www.oldshipyardbeachcampground.com/
We were RIGHT on the water – Bay of Fundy – with its dramatic tide changes of up to 50 feet every 12 hours or so. The nearest town is Advocate Harbor. While there, we did some hiking in the nearby Cape Chignecto Provincial Park and around the Cape d’ Or. We made a day trip to Joggins, which is world-famous for its fossils. A high point was to have dinner at one of Nova Scotia’s finest restaurants – Wild Caraway – in Advocate Harbor. A real treat!
Campground #2 – Caribou Munroes Island Provincial Park on the Northumberland Coast.
The closest town is Pictou, home of the first Scottish settlement in Nova Scotia (New Scotland). We did a lot of hikes in the park and along the beach. We did a day trip on backroads to Antigonish (a cute college town with a nice brewery). On our way, we stopped at Steinhart Distillery which has food trucks and music in the summer months. Highly recommend. We had drinks at the Pictou Lodge and Resort, next to the campground Opened in 1920. It has hosted sports figures, like Babe Ruth, movie stars and famous US politicians. Quite upscale.
Campground #3 – Battery Provincial Park in south central Cape Breton. https://parks.novascotia.ca/park/battery
It is one of the nicest parks we have camped in. We were lucky to get site #34 -with the best view of the bay. The closest town is St. Peters – conveniently walkable from the campground. Lots of hiking around the park. We did day trips to Isle Madame and around the Bras d’ Or (Arms of Gold) Lake.
Campground #4 – Mira River Provincial Park in SE Cape Breton.
The closest town is Sydney, which is quite large, and is fun to explore. We made day trips to the Miner’s Museum (highly recommend) in Glace Bay and to the famous Fortress of Louisbourg.
Campground #5 – Whycocomagh Provincial Park – in north central Cape Breton, and on the fabulous Cabot Trail.
Lots of day trips – to cute Baddeck, home of Alexander Graham Bell Museum, to Big Spruce Brewery, drives around Bras d’ Or Lake, and to Inverness – right on the ocean with a famous links-style golf course. The area is very Celtic. Signs are in Gaelic. It is called Nova Scotia’s “Music Coast”, and we were able to find places to listen to Celtic music, including the Red Shoe in Mabou. We did some backroad trips, including one to Nova Scotia’s northernmost winery – Eileanan Breagha – with its Scottish heritage and beautiful views of the lake.
Campground #6 – Cheticamp Camground in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ns/cbreton/activ/camping/cheticamp
This national park campground is in north Cape Breton on the western side of the Cabot Trail. This was our longest stay – 6 nights – hiking the park’s many trails with views of the Bay of St. Lawrence, and making lots of day trips up and around the Cabot Trail. During our drives up and down the coast, we had oysters-on-the-halfshell twice at the Hideaway Campground and Oyster Bar. We had camped here on our previous trip, and you might want to add that to your camping list.
We made this trip from mid-September to the end of October. This is the perfect time to visit – fewer people, campgrounds with lots of space, and breathtakingly beautiful fall colors. Days were mostly warm – highs mid-60s to mid-70s; lows mid 30s to 50ish. Perfect temperature for hikes, sight-seeing, and evening campfires. In addition to all the sites, we enjoyed Nova Scotia’s bounty – chowder, oysters. wine, beer, ciders, and spirits – and VERY friendly people.
For detailed information about the trip, including a review of the campgrounds, an account of our daily activities, and every night’s menu, go to each day’s blogpost – from Day #177 through Day #218. The blog is www.reidsontheroad2018.wordpress.com