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The Best Day Trips from Halifax

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The Best Day Trips from Halifax

(in under a 3 hour drive)

Day Trips from Halifax

Whether you come to Nova Scotia for pleasure or business, for most travellers, a stay in Halifax is undoubtedly going to be the main focus of  your vacation. Halifax is not only the vibrant capital of Nova Scotia but also the province’s largest city and the location of its major international airport.

Halifax is a city rich in history and culture and a gateway to the many charming towns and natural wonders of Canada’s East Coast. While the City of Halifax offers many attractions you will want to visit, from the historic Citadel Hill to the bustling waterfront, the potential for exciting day trips truly sets Halifax apart.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or a foodie, the surrounding areas promise a variety of experiences, each unique and memorable in its own right. This article will guide you through some of the best day trips you can take from Halifax in three hours or less. Ensuring you make the most of your visit to Canada’s Ocean Playground.

 

Fisherman’s Cove Eastern Passage

Drive time: 25 min

Fishermans Wharf Eastern Passage Nova ScotiaPerched on the shores of Eastern Passage at the mouth of Halifax Harbour lies Fisherman’s Cove, a working fishing village with a 200-year history. Instantly recognizable thanks to its cheerfully iconic, brightly coloured seaside shacks, Fisherman’s Cove is the perfect place to find unique gifts created by local artisans, enjoy a waterfront meal or tasty snack, or stroll along MacCormacks Beach with its picturesque boardwalk. Along the way, you’ll be treated to views of Lawlor Island, Devil’s Island and McNabs Island; while the first two are not open to the public, guests can visit McNabs Island by private boat or charter a ride from Fisherman’s Cove or Halifax.

Fisherman’s Cove is open year-round, but hours change seasonally, so check online for opening hours for individual merchants before you go.

 

Peggy’s Cove

Drive time: 50 min

RogueTrippers Day Trip Ideas in Nova Scotia - Peggys Cove
@jasoncdick

One of the most popular destinations every visitor to Nova Scotia will want to see is Peggy’s Cove. A day trip to Peggy’s Cove from Halifax is a lovely scenic drive along the coast, taking less than an hour.
The main attraction is the iconic Peggy’s Point Lighthouse. This century-old red and white building is undoubtedly the most famous lighthouse and one of the most photographed landmarks in Canada.
Despite its small size, the village of Peggy’s Cove captivates visitors with its quaint atmosphere and rich maritime history. The newly opened public viewing deck and wheelchair-accessible walkways enhance the site’s accessibility, allowing everyone to enjoy the breathtaking views safely. The area’s natural beauty, with its unique rocky shore landscape, is amplified by the meeting of St. Margaret’s Bay with the Atlantic Ocean.
While at Peggy’s Cove, the Sou’wester restaurant and gift shop is a great spot to enjoy a fantastic meal any time of year and pick up some amazing local souvenirs.

A day trip to Peggy’s Cove is a must when visiting Halifax and is a highlight on every tourist’s Nova Scotia travel itinerary.

Remember to visit the SwissAir Flight 111 memorial site just up from Peggy’s Cove.

 

Lunenburg & Mahone Bay

Drive time: 1 hour

When people visit Nova Scotia, one of the most popular day trips from Halifax that tourists often want to take is to see the communities of Lunenburg and Mahone Bay. These two beautiful Nova Scotia towns are very close to each other and offer different experiences. The drive from Halifax to Mahone Bay and Lunenburg offers a delightful exploration of Nova Scotia’s rich maritime heritage and natural beauty.

Lunenburg

Nova Scotia Travellers Best Day Trips from Halifax Lunenburg Bluenose IILunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a vibrant town known for its well-preserved British colonial architecture and deep connections to maritime history. The town’s colourful buildings, waterfront, and Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic are must-see attractions. There are many amazing places to enjoy local cuisine and fresh-caught seafood, and you can also enjoy the breathtaking scenery while you dine.
The world-famous Schooner: The Bluenose II calls Lunenburg her home base, and tours are popular activities.

Mahone BayVisit Mahone Bay Nova Scotia day trip destination

Mahone Bay, on the other hand, is a charming seaside town famous for its picturesque views and the iconic Three Churches (the Three Sisters) that line the bay. The town also offers unique shopping experiences with its local artisan shops, unique crafts, markets, and souvenirs.

 

The day trip from Halifax to these towns is a scenic drive along Nova Scotia’s South Shore, making the trip itself enjoyable. Whether you are interested in history and architecture or simply enjoying the stunning coastal views, a day trip to Lunenburg and Mahone Bay is well worth the drive.

 

Visit the Town of Riverport just outside of Lunenburg

 

Wolfville

Drive time: 1 hr 10 min

Luckett Vineyards is a popular day trip destination from Halifax
@jasoncdick

The journey from Halifax to Wolfville is a comfortable 1-hour drive of approximately 90 kilometres, making it an ideal day trip destination. A day in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, offers a delightful blend of cultural, historical, and gastronomical experiences.

Wolfville is a vibrant and artsy town and the gateway to the bountiful Annapolis Valley. It’s a must-visit for food and drink enthusiasts, with local wineries offering tours and tastings. The Wolfville area’s wineries are some of the best in Canada and are popular destinations for tourists visiting Nova Scotia.

The bustling Saturday Farmer’s Market is a feast for the senses, and the independent downtown stores are perfect for finding unique souvenirs. Nature lovers can enjoy a leisurely walk along the scenic railway path. If you are looking to enjoy freshly caught lobster while in Nova Scotia, a lobster supper is a must. Outside of Wolfville, on the shores of the Fundy, is the town of Hall’s Harbour, where you will find Hall’s Harbour Lobster Pound- a perfect spot to enjoy the local catch.

Grand Pre National Historic site Evangeline Statue AcadiansThe town of Wolfville is also close to the Grand-Pré National Historic Site, which preserves and tells the area’s Acadian history, is one of the most photographed spots in Nova Scotia.

 

Truro / Stewiacke / Masstown Market

Drive time: 1 hr 5 min

With only 1 hour drive time from Halifax, these three spots make for some great day trip fun.

Stewiacke

Roguetrippers Day trip to Stewiacke Nova Scotia and Mastodon Ridge Just a short drive from Halifax is the charming town of Stewiacke. Situated amidst rolling hills and scenic countryside, Stewiacke offers a delightful escape for day-trippers. Visitors will want to check out the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park, where you can spot local wildlife. A visit to the Stewiacke Valley Museum provides a fascinating insight into the town’s history. But for our money – the highlight is a visit to Mastodon Ridge, where you will be able to visit a Mastodon statue, play mini-putt, visit the Flintstones dwellings, and pick up some amazing craft spirits at Cold Stream Clear Distillery.

Truro

visit Truro Victoria Park Roguetrippers hikingTruro is just about an hour’s drive from Halifax, making it an easy and convenient day trip destination. There are several great reasons to hop in the car and head to Truro when you visit Halifax. Truro offers a variety of activities for active travellers, including biking, hiking, and exploring the great outdoors. The town is known for its beautiful parks and outdoor spaces and is home to a vibrant arts and culture scene.

The Fundy Discovery Site is a popular destination for visitors to learn and experience the Bay of Fundy Tides – the highest tides on Earth! A tidal bore occurs here on the Salmon River near Truro, Nova Scotia, twice daily.

Remnants of the Berlin Wall can also be found along the Cobequid Trail along the Salmon River.

Masstown Market

Visit Truro Nova Scotia and Masstown Market Just outside of Truro is the beautiful Masstown Market, a large one-stop shopping and dining experience. It is part farmers market, grocery store, gift shop, home decor store, bakery, and eatery. The Catch of the Bay in the Lighthouse is a must for some amazing fresh-caught local fish and chips.

 

This area of Nova Scotia has something to offer whether you’re interested in history, nature, or local cuisine. So, if you’re in Halifax and looking for a quick getaway, it’s worth considering. you can easily take in all three locations in one day.

 

Pictou & New Glasgow

Drive time: 1 hr 40 Min

New Glasgow

Carmichael Museum New Glasgow Nova ScotiaLocated just under two hours northeast of Halifax, New Glasgow is a vibrant town along the banks of the East River. The town is home to the Museum of Industry, where you can discover the region’s rich industrial past. The Carmichael Stewart House Museum offers a glimpse into the town’s history through its well-preserved heritage building.
The town offers a variety of dining options for food lovers, and the New Glasgow Farmers Market is a must-visit for fresh local produce and artisanal goods. Nature enthusiasts can enjoy a leisurely walk along the Samson Trail, which offers beautiful views of the East River.

 

Pictou

Pictou Harbour Nova Scotia Day TripsAs you drive along scenic routes, the salty sea air welcomes you. Explore the Pictou Waterfront, where historic ships dock and charming shops line the streets. Don’t miss the Hector Heritage Quay, where you’ll step back in time to the days of Scottish immigrants. Wander through the town’s vibrant art scene and indulge in seafood delights at local eateries. Whether you’re drawn to history, nature, or simply unwinding by the water, Pictou provides a delightful escape.

Planning a day trip to New Glasgow & Pictou from Halifax offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, making it a worthwhile addition to your Nova Scotia itinerary.

 

Liverpool

Drive time: 1 hr 50 min

Best Day Trip destinations in Nova Scotia Escape the city buzz and venture to Liverpool, a coastal gem just of a day trip from Halifax. Explore the Liverpool Waterfront, where historic ships dock and charming shops line the streets. Don’t miss the Privateer’s Park, a serene green space overlooking the Mersey River. Wander through the town’s vibrant art scene, visit the museum of country music legend Hank Snow, and indulge in seafood delights at local eateries. Whether you’re drawn to history, nature, or simply unwinding by the water, Liverpool promises a delightful escape.

 

Parrsboro

Drive time: 2 hrs.

Embark on a sceParrsboro Nova Scotia Fundy Geological Museum is a great spot to visit.nic day trip from Halifax to Parrsboro! This charming coastal town along the Bay of Fundy, is very inviting with its rugged beauty and rich geological history. Explore the Fundy Geological Museum, where ancient fossils and minerals come to life. Don’t miss the Parrsboro Harbour, where tides ebb and flow dramatically, revealing hidden treasures along the shoreline. Savour fresh seafood at local eateries and soak in the breathtaking views of cliffs and sea stacks. We enjoyed some of the best clam chowder we have ever had in Parrsboro. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply seeking tranquility, Parrsboro promises an unforgettable escape.

 

Amherst / Springhill / Oxford

Drive time: 2 hrs

The drive to Amherst is about 2 hours by car, making it a feasible and worthwhile day trip idea when you are visiting Nova Scotia.
A day trip to Amherst, Nova Scotia, is a wonderful opportunity to explore the rich history and diverse culture of this charming town. Located in the geographic centre of the Maritime provinces, Amherst is Cumberland County’s largest town. It’s full of beautiful sandstone buildings, unique artwork, museums, and galleries and offers exciting dining and shopping opportunities.
The town is also just a stone’s throw away from the Bay of Fundy and the Northumberland Straight, providing easy access to waterfalls, beaches, wineries, and lighthouses.

Along the way, stop into Oxford, the Blueberry Capital of Canada, and fans of Anne Murray will want to visit Springhill for the Anne Murray Centre.

So, if you’re visiting Halifax, don’t miss the chance to explore the picturesque and historic town of Amherst.

For more on the best things to do in Amherst, Nova Scotia, click here.

 

Annapolis Royal

Drive time: 2hr 13 min

Annapolis Royal Best Day Trips fromTaking a day trip to Annapolis Royal is a journey into the heart of Nova Scotia’s rich history. The charming town of Annapolis Royal was founded by the French in 1605. It served as Nova Scotia’s first capital until 1749. Today’s Annapolis Royal is a town that belies its turbulent past. The town is home to numerous heritage buildings, including Canada’s oldest wooden frame buildings. Visitors can explore the historic sites, enjoy the stunning waterfront shopping area, dine at world-class restaurants, enjoy a beer in the brewery, or visit the local farmer’s market.
The town is also home to the stunning, world-famous Historic gardens. It is a 17-acre attraction representing more than 400 years of local history.
The impressive Fort Anne National Historic Site, located in the heart of town, is the oldest extant Fort in Canada. No longer in Active service, it was built to protect the Harbour of Annapolis Royal. The Fort is now a Parks Canada destination.
A visit to Annapolis Royal is like taking a step back in time. It offers the perfect blend of natural beauty, history, and culture for a day trip destination.

 

Want to learn more about the best things to do in Annapolis Royal? Check our Weekend Getaway itinerary.

 

 

Digby

Drive time: 2.5 hours

Nova Scotia Traveller Best Day Trip ideas from HalifaxA day trip to Digby is approximately a 2.5 – 3 hour drive from Halifax, depending on the route you choose. Thus, making it one of the longer day trips from Halifax on this list; however totally worth it. Embarking on a day trip from Halifax to Digby, is an adventure that promises a blend of historic charm, natural beauty, and culinary delights. Digby is located on the beautiful shores of the Annapolis Basin at the Bay of Fundy. The Fundy is known for having the highest tides in the world and some of the best whale watching. The area is renowned for its world-famous scallops and offers a quintessential maritime experience.
The journey itself is a scenic treat, with picturesque landscapes and quaint towns along the way. Explore the rugged coastline and visit the historic Admiral Digby Museum. Savour fresh seafood at one of the waterfront restaurants. A day trip to Digby provides a refreshing escape from city life and a glimpse into the heart of Nova Scotia’s rich heritage.

The “Digby Scallop Days” take place every year in early August. This would be the perfect day to experience the best that Digby has to offer.

 

McNab’s Island

Drive time: 30 min, Boat ride: approx. 15 – 20 min.

Abandoned buildings and military structures McNabs Island Nova ScotiaJust a short boat ride from Halifax or Eastern Passage, McNab’s Island awaits with its colourful past and unspoiled natural beauty. As part of the McNab’s and Lawlor Islands Provincial Park, this large harbour island offers a world away from the bustling city. Making this one of the most unique day trips from Halifax that you can take.

Here, you will learn about the island’s significance to the Mi’kmaw First Nations, early French settlers, and British fortifications. Explore the ruins of forts, the forgotten English Gardens, and the A. J. Davis Bottling Plant. Climb atop the crumbling remains of Fort McNab for panoramic views of the water and the harbour. Many visitors report seeing island spirits, given McNab’s intriguing and sometimes tragic history. You can watch Ospreys dive for fish, observe endangered barn swallows, and stroll along sandy beaches.

Enjoy a day of adventure, history, and tranquility on McNab’s Island. Remember to pack a picnic lunch.

 

George’s Island

Ferry Ride: < 20 Min

Georges Island National Historic Site Halifax best day tripsGeorge’s Island, located in Halifax Harbour, is a hidden gem that every traveller should explore. The Island has a rich and fascinating history. It was armed with cannons in 1750 to protect the fledgling settlement of Halifax from sea attacks. During the Acadian Deportation (1755-1763), it served as a holding area for many Acadians.
The Island is home to Fort Charlotte, named after King George’s wife, Charlotte. Explore the underground complex beneath the fort and discover its role in defending Canada and developing Nova Scotia. The tunnels and fortifications provide a glimpse into the Island’s strategic importance.
Pack a picnic and enjoy it against the backdrop of stunning harbour views and enjoy the unique view of the Halifax skyline. Let nature be your dining companion as you savour your meal on this historic Island.
Taking a ferry to Georges Island is an adventure in itself, and a visit to this Parks Canada Historic Site is a perfect (and easy) day trip from Halifax.

 

Beaches near Halifax

There are many beaches near halifax to visit during a day trip adventureIs a day at the beach how you wish to spend a day when you are in Halifax? Well, you are in luck. Since Nova Scotia is surrounded by water, there are numerous beaches that make for great day trips from Halifax. Depending on what you want from a beach, you can find it within a short drive from the city. Some beaches are rugged filled with stones rounded over millennia by countless waves. There are red sandy shorelines with the warmest waters in the province. Some beaches are known for the enormous waves make for perfect year-round surfing. While others are quiet coves where the ocean is a beautiful Caribbean-esque aquamarine that you’ll have to see to believe.

 

Click for more on The Best Beaches Near Halifax.

 

Hiking Around Halifax

Best Hiking Trails in Nova Scotia. Best Day Trip ideas HalifaxIs going on hiking adventures on your list of things to do when you visit Nova Scotia? There is no shortage of places you can go hiking on day trips from Halifax. There are rugged shoreline hiking trails, inland wooded trails, historic parks, trails with ruins, rail trails, and parks. Pack your hiking boots when you plan your trip to Nova Scotia. You can discover some of these amazing hiking trails that you can trek on a day trip from Halifax.

 

 

Click for more on the Best Hiking Adventures Near Halifax.

 

If you are planning a trip to Nova Scotia and wondering what can you do outside of the city.  These day trip ideas will be sure to help you fill your time. Each of these day trips from Halifax is less than a three-hour drive. Making any of them the perfect day trip destination.

 

For more Nova Scotia Day Trip inspiration – follow us on Instagram: @NovaScotiaTraveller

Adventurer, gastro-tourist, avid road tripper, and butter tart aficionado. Exploring the road less travelled and the adventures that exist for all to see if you open yourself up to new possibilities. Greg and his husband Nick are residents of Guelph, and their greatest joys in life are exploring the world around them. Road trips with no real destination are a favourite past time. Get off the beaten path and discover somewhere they have never been before. Sometimes the best vacations are the ones you don't really plan. Life is about the journey together and not the destination.

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