Skip to Content

10 Day Nova Scotia Road Trip Itinerary (with Maps)

Nova Scotia is the ideal province in Canada for road trips and scenic drives because you’re never far from the ocean. You get to enjoy gorgeous coastal scenery all around this beautiful province.

There’s a reason Nova Scotia is known as Canada’s Ocean Playground! Fishing, beachcombing, and whale watching are popular attractions you’ll want to make time for during your maritime road trip. Or just eat a ton of seafood like I did!

Enjoy the long summer days exploring the beauty of Canada’s east coast with this Nova Scotia road trip guide.

You can adjust the trip itinerary to suit your needs and add extra days as you desire.

 

10 Day Itinerary Nova Scotia Road Trip

This ten day road trip itinerary around Nova Scotia is planned with the idea of exploring a region, spending the night, then moving on to the next location.

You can always add more days if you want to take it slower and immerse yourself in the culture. Alternatively, you can do a section of the road trip and stay in one place for the duration of your trip.

I traveled around Nova Scotia solo but you’ll find this guide is perfect for planning your family summer vacation too!

Most people fly into Halifax so that’s where we’ll start with this ten day itinerary for Nova Scotia.

This post contains compensated links and I may receive a commission for purchases made through links. See my disclosure about affiliate links

 

Nova Scotia 10 Day Road Trip Itinerary Canada

 

Day 1 – Halifax

Halifax – Capitol of Nova Scotia

Pick up your rental car at the airport and drive to downtown Halifax (30 minutes) to explore the waterfront region. If you arrive late at night spend the night and you’re ready to explore the next day.

I stayed at the Hollis Halifax Doubletree, overlooking the harbor, a great location.

Check the latest hotel deals and prices in Halifax Nova Scotia now

 

Halifax Nova Scotia waterfront and Tall Ship Silva.

Waterfront along Halifax boardwalk – Tall Ship Silva

 

Popular Halifax Attractions

  • Waterfront – Beautiful place to walk and if the Blue Nose II is in harbor book a trip – check the schedule here
  • Halifax Citadel National Historic Site – Citadel Hill with its star shaped architecture once guarded Halifax
  • Maritime Museum of the Atlantic – Explore Halifax maritime history at this waterfront museum
  • Fairview Cemetery – Final resting place of over 100 victims of the Titanic
  • Halifax Public Gardens – Beautiful Victorian era gardens opened in 1867, the year of Canadian Confederation

Overnight Halifax: Hollis Halifax or the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront are both good choices. View more Halifax hotels here.

 

Day 2 – Halifax to South Shore

Peggy’s Cove – Lunenburg – Blue Rocks – Ovens Natural Park – Hirtle’s Beach

Total driving time 3.5 hours

From Halifax you’ll drive 45 minutes to Peggy’s Cove to visit one of Canada’s most iconic landmarks.

The Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse is one of the most photographed spots in Canada.

 

Tourists walking on rocks at Peggy's Cove Lighthouse in Nova Scotia.

The iconic Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse in Nova Scotia is a popular tourist attraction in Nova Scotia

 

From Peggy’s Cove drive 100 km (60 miles) to the historic town of Lunenburg Nova Scotia. The downtown area near the harbor is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Lunenburg is an attractive town with Victorian era houses painted in bright colors. The view from across the water on Tannery Road is wonderful.

 

Lunenburg Nova Scotia brightly painted historic buildings on the waterfront.

Lunenburg is a popular Nova Scotia road trip destination with its brightly painted historic buildings

 

Eat lunch at one of the seafood restaurants, I tried Grand Banker Bar and Grill and it is excellent. Walk off your lunch along the harbor.

There are two museums you should visit in Lunenburg:

  • Knaut-Rhuland House at 125 Pelham Street will give you a glimpse into the early days in Lunenburg.
  • Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic at 68 Bluenose Drive

If the Bluenose II tall ship is docked at Lunenburg, you can hop aboard and get a look at the ship for FREE! There are also paid boat tours available – check the listings for more info

 

Tourist at wheel of Blue Nose II in Lunenburg Nova Scotia.

Blue Nose II in Nova Scotia open for tourists to walk aboard

 

Next drive 10 minutes from Lunenburg to Blue Rocks and walk the shoreline or take a sea kayaking trip. There are bunches of islands nearby, so the water is usually calm.

Pleasant Paddling will rent you a kayak or you can sign up for one of their guided tours. Traveling by myself I opted for the guided tour and I enjoyed it a lot.

 

Small fishing village called Blue Rocks Nova Scotia.

Beautiful Blue Rocks Nova Scotia – small fishing village near Lunenburg

 

Now take a drive from Blue Rocks to the Ovens Natural Park and enjoy a hike along the cliffs, plus you can try panning for gold on the beach. Read my full post about Ovens park here

From Ovens park drive to beautiful Hirtle’s Beach – only 12 km away – and enjoy a walk on the beach, watch for seals surfing in the water.

If you are into hiking, I highly recommend the Gaff Point hike – the trailhead is at Hirtle’s Beach! This was my favorite hike in Nova Scotia but it’s not for everyone.

Check out my Gaff Point hike video to see the variety of terrain on this hike.

 

View of Hirtle's Beach Nova Scotia from a fenced hillside.

Gaff Point trail view of Hirtle’s Beach from the hill

 

Take a scenic drive to Bridgewater and spend the night. Dine at the River Pub at 750 King Street.

In the morning grab some cookies at Weagles’ Bakery at 15 Victoria Road (they open at 6 am). Cookies are the perfect road trip snack. For a full breakfast I suggest Fancy Pants Café at 807 King Street.

Overnight in Bridgewater at Best Western or the Lighthouse Motel overlooking the LaHave River.

Check availability and the latest deals on hotels in Bridgewater.

 

 

Day 3 –  South Shore to Yarmouth

South Shore –Crescent Beach – Kejimkujik Seaside – Cape Sable Island – Yarmouth

Total of 3.25 hours driving time

From Bridgewater drive to Crescent Beach – 20 minutes or so. Crescent Beach is the place for windsurfing, kitesurfing, or regular board surfing. Enjoy walking the beach.

I found several sand dollars on this beach. As you may have guessed from all the surfing, it gets very windy at Crescent Beach!

From Crescent Beach to Kejimkujik National Park Seaside – 75 km (45 miles) takes about 45 minutes.

Hike out to the seashore and watch the waves crashing into shore.

 

Kejimkujik National Park Seaside Nova Scotia Canada with big waves and flowing grasslands.

Kejimkujik National Park Seaside Nova Scotia Canada features coastal hikes

 

Kejimkujik to Cape Sable Island is a scenic 1 hour 10 minutes drive. I enjoyed exploring Cape Sable Island and visiting a couple of the beaches.

The Hawk Beach at low tide exposes the petrified stumps from a former forest.

Walking this sandy beach, you can see the Cape Sable Lighthouse, the tallest in Nova Scotia at 31 m (101 ft).

 

Cape Sable Lighthouse in the distance with ancient tree stumps and rocky coastline foreground.

Cape Sable Lighthouse is the tallest in Nova Scotia at 31 m (101 ft)

 

Fill your belly at the JB’s Steak and Seafood Restaurant – it’s located on the left side just before you cross the causeway over to Cape Sable Island.

They have great food and wonderful staff.

 

Bacon wrapped scallops over bed of lettuce.

Bacon Wrapped Scallops at JB’s Steak and Seafood Restaurant in Barrington NS South Shore region

 

Cape Sable Island to Yarmouth – 75 km – around an hour. Yarmouth is another Nova Scotia coastal town and its located on the southwest tip of the Nova Scotia peninsula.

In Yarmouth visit the Cape Forchu Lighthouse and Museum – a wonderful place to watch the sunset.

Have dinner overlooking the harbor at Rudder’s Seafood at 96 Water Street. Looking for vegan, vegetarian, or gluten free options in Yarmouth – check out Gaia Global Kitchen at 222 Main Street Yarmouth

In the morning The Shanty Café opens at 6 am to help you break the fast – Shanty Café is located at 6B Central Street in downtown Yarmouth near the waterfront.

Overnight Yarmouth – find the latest hotel rates and availability here.

 

 

Day 4 – Yarmouth to Annapolis Valley

Digby – Annapolis Royal – Wolfville

Total driving time 2 hrs 50 minutes

The drive from Yarmouth to Digby – 100 km (60 miles) should take you just over an hour.

Do you love lobster and scallops? If so, Digby is your happy place! Home to the famous Digby scallops and delicious Atlantic lobster too.

July 2 – 4, 2021 you can enjoy the Lobster Bash in Digby. If you are around in early August, you’ll want to attend the Digby Scallop Days Festival – August 5 – 8, 2021.

Digby to the historic town of Annapolis Royal – 30 minute drive. Annapolis Royal is a charming coastal town with a lot of history – the early European settlers arrived in the area in 1605. The Mi’kmaq First Nations peoples have lived in the area for over 10,000 years.

 

Popular Annapolis Royal Attractions

  • Visit the only Tidal Power Plant in North America
  • Fort Anne National Historic Site
  • Port Royal National Historic Site
  • Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens
  • Abundant historic buildings – 135 registered heritage buildings in a town with a population of around 500 people

 

Mural of boat and pocket watch with night skies.

Downtown Wolfville Nova Scotia mural of boat and pocket watch

 

Annapolis Royal to Wolfville – 1 hour 15 minutes driving time.

Wolfville was once home to some of the Acadians, later expelled by the British – many of them later settled in the land around Lafayette Louisiana.

2020.01.09 Editor’s Note/Correction. Thank you to Richard Riddell Comeau for the following:

Acadie was all of the Maritimes and much of the Gaspé Peninsula. Grand Pré, near what is today Wolfville, was one of our homes. The “Cajuns” of Louisiana are part of an Acadian diaspora which reaches across the globe.

There were Acadians that either avoided expulsion or returned after expulsion to the Maritimes to live. Acadian people and culture are alive and well in Nova Scotia and throughout the Maritimes. Vive l’Acadie!!
 
~ Richard Riddell Comeau
 

Nowadays around the Annapolis Valley there are several wineries within easy access from Wolfville.

Explore the wine region and enjoy dinner at one of the restaurants in downtown Wolfville. Try The Naked Crepe – good eats!

Overnight Wolfville – Wolfville hotel options and latest deals

You can visit the Grand Pre Historic and UNESCO site just a few km from Wolfville.

 

 

Day 5 – Bay of Fundy to Northumberland Shore

Walton Lighthouse – Bay of Fundy – Truro – Tatamagouche – Pictou

Total driving time: 3.5 hours

Wolfville to the Bay of Fundy – Burntcoat Head Park – 1 hour and 10 minutes – 90 km (56 miles)

Watch the biggest tides in the world! It’s amazing to walk on the ocean floor and where only 6 hours earlier the water reached up to the rocky coastline.

Bay of Fundy is a must visit in Nova Scotia.

 

Tourists on the ocean floor near the flowerpot at low tide Bay of Fundy.

Exploring the ocean floor near the flowerpot at Burntcoat Head Park on Bay of Fundy Nova Scotia

 

In between tides at Bay of Fundy drive to Walton Lighthouse and enjoy lunch at the Walton Pub – 20 minute drive.

Burntcoat Head Park to Truro – 50 minutes – 60 km (36 miles)

Truro to Tatamagouche – 45 minute drive (50ish km/30ish miles)
Take a walk on the beach at Rushton’s Beach Provincial Park in Tatamagouche.

Truro to Pictou – birthplace of New Scotland – 45 minutes – 65 km. The first Scottish immigrants landed in 1773.

At Hector Heritage Quay in Pictou step aboard a replica of the Hector – the tall ship that arrived in Pictou with the first immigrants from Scotland – more info on Ship Hector.

Interested in tracing your family tree and Scottish heritage – visit the McCulloch House Museum and Genealogy Centre.

Overnight in Pictou – Find the latest deals and hotel reviews here.

 

 

Day 6 – Northumberland Shore to Cape Breton

Antigonish – Port Hood – Mabou – Cheticamp

Total driving time: 3 hours 15 minutes

Pictou to Antigonish will take about 45 minutes on the road.

In Antigonish if you are in the mood for a hike to stretch your legs check out Fairmont Ridge Hiking Trail for a 10 km (6 miles) out and back trail.

Next drive from Antigonish to Port Hood on Cape Breton Island. Grab some lunch at the Clove Hitch Bar and Bistro at 8790 NS Trunk Road 19.

 

Road sign for The Cabot Trail with an arrow pointing the way.

Road sign for The Cabot Trail in Cape Breton Nova Scotia

 

The drive from Port Hood to Mabou is only 10 minutes. Mabou is a good choice if you want to add on an extra night to the trip because it’s a hotbed for music.

The village of Mabou has a population of around 1,200, with a few options for accommodation so check the Mabou website for listings – and check out the music events in Mabou.

Mabou to Cheticamp takes about an hour to drive. Cheticamp is just outside of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. You’ll need to buy a pass to visit the park but it’s totally worth it!

In Cheticamp you’re only a 20-minute drive from Skyline Trail – hike it at sunset for beautiful coastal views.

Stay in Cheticamp overnight – check for Cheticamp hotels here.

 

 

Day 7 and Day 8 – Cape Breton Island

Pleasant Bay – Cabot’s Landing – Meat Cove – White Point – Ingonish

Total driving time: 3 hours

I know some people drive the Cabot Trail in one day, but you won’t have much time at all for the beaches, coastal hiking trails, or filling your face with seafood and local beer. Spend some time enjoying Cape Breton!

From Cheticamp drive to Pleasant Bay (40 minutes) and do some whale watching.

Grab a cup of coffee at the Pumpkin Patch...and some fudge. They also sell organic body care products…but coffee and fudge are important road trip products.

There’s also a cool looking art shop in Pleasant Bay – it wasn’t open when I visited town though. But take a look at Timmons Folk Art Studio at 22 Harbour Road if you visit Pleasant Bay – handmade souvenirs are the best!

 

Colorful art adorns Timmons Folk Art Studio and lobster traps stacked next to it.

Timmons Folk Art Studio Pleasant Bay Cape Breton NS

 

From Pleasant Bay you can stop at Cabots Landing Provincial Park and visit the beach where Cabot is thought to have landed.

 

Rocky coastline and beach below the forest at Cabots Landing Provincial Park.

Cabots Landing Provincial Park in Cape Breton Nova Scotia

 

After visiting Cabots Landing you may as well continue on to Meat Cove – the northernmost community in Cape Breton.

There’s some good hiking around Meat Cove and great food awaiting you at The Chowder Hut.

 

View of Meat Cove Beach from Chowder Hut Restaurant with miniature lighthouse on deck railing.

View of Meat Cove Beach from the deck of the Chowder Hut Restaurant

 

After you satisfy your hunger get back on the road and visit the town of Cape North then continue to White Point for a scenic drive along the Nova Scotia coastline.

From there you’ll pass Neil’s Harbour and continue on to Ingonish where you’ll spend a couple of nights so you can explore the area.

 

Large rock on Ingonish Beach Cape Breton at dusk.

Ingonish Beach at dusk Cape Breton Nova Scotia

 

Enjoy the beaches, hiking, and scenic coastal drives around Ingonish. I hiked a few trails in Cape Breton and visited Ingonish Beach in the evenings.

There’s a golf course at the Celtic Lodge in Ingonish and the lodge features live music events at the Arduaine Restaurant and the Highland Sitting Room.

Three great hikes around Ingonish are Jack Pine Trail, Middle Head Trail, and Broad Cove Mountain – get info on these and more hikes in Cape Breton here.

Find hotel deals in Ingonish and check availability here – they book up fast! If you want to stay closer to the beach check these listings. I stayed in a cute little cabin in Ingonish.

 

 

Day 9 – Cape Breton Ingonish to Baddeck

Total driving time: 90 minutes

Baddeck is home to the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site so you’ll want to spend some time at the museum. The town of Baddeck is beautiful, enjoy exploring and tasting your way through town.

Hike the Uisge Ban Falls at 715 North Branch Rd Baddeck Forks.

Enjoy one last seafood dinner at the family owned Baddeck Lobster Suppers located at 17 Ross Street near the Baddeck Harbour.

Find the perfect hotel in Baddeck now!

 

 

Day 10 – Cape Breton to Halifax

Baddeck to Halifax

4.5 hours total driving time

On the road again for another scenic coastal drive from Baddeck to Halifax. It’s time to gather your wonderful memories of road tripping in Nova Scotia and fly home.

Split up the drive with stop in picturesque Guysborough and get some road trip snacks at Days Gone By Bakery at 143 Main Street – about 1 hour 40 minutes from Baddeck.

Readers have pointed out that this road trip is missing the eastern shore region. That is a great excuse for another trip to Nova Scotia for me!

For now you can check the Nova Scotia tourism info for a 3-day itinerary along the eastern shore here.

 

 

Alternate Route Baddeck to Halifax via Eastern Shore

5.5 hours total driving time

This route will take you to Guysborough and Sherbrooke and along the eastern shore. As folks have mentioned there is plenty to see in this region of Nova Scotia.

There are several beautiful beaches on the eastern shore.

Taylor Head Beach at Taylor Head Provincial Park is gorgeous! There are also hiking trails along the coast, Spry Bay Loop is an awesome hike.

Clam Harbour Beach at Clam Harbour Provincial Park is another excellent stop along the eastern shore.

Martinique Beach is the longest beach in Nova Scotia and popular with surfers. During summer months you can take a surf lesson and rent all the gear right at the beach parking lot.

Lawrencetown Beach at Lawrencetown Beach Provincial Park is another popular surf spot. And you can hike the Atlantic View Trail here as well.

 

 

Enjoy your east coast road trip exploring beautiful Nova Scotia!

If you have any tips or suggestions for places to stop on the way please let me know in the comments section below.

Thank you for reading and happy travels!

 

Read these related posts to plan your Nova Scotia trip!

 

Save this for later on Pinterest at share!

Nova Scotia Best Road Trip Itinerary with Maps

Canada 10-day Road Trip Itinerary Nova Scotia

Sharing is caring!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Denis Frenette

Saturday 15th of February 2020

Sounds like a nice trip.

Susan Moore

Saturday 15th of February 2020

Denis, Thanks for reading the blog. There's so much to see in Nova Scotia, looking forward to visiting again in the fall. Cheers, Susan

Lisa MacPherson

Saturday 15th of February 2020

So I have read all the comments, you certain didn't have time to hit all the places you could have in our lovely province! There is one I would love for you to see, it is a coastal community between Barrington and Yarmouth on the South Shore, it is called Pubnico (it encompasses several communities), a jewel you will never forget and while you are there don't forget to visit the Red Cap Restaurant and motel have a piece of pie ;) you will meet some lovely people especially if you go around 7pm when the locals gather for coffee and a chat! The Acadien museum is also a good place to stop and visit to get a feel for the history of the area. Enjoy your month in NS lol you will need at least that much time next visit!!!

Susan Moore

Saturday 15th of February 2020

Lisa, Thanks for commenting. You had me at pie :) I will add your suggestions to the big list for next trip. I'm putting together my itinerary for a fall road trip and you're right a month or more is needed! I think I may split it up with a week or so in Nova Scotia before I go to Newfoundland and then 3 weeks when I get back. Looking forward to my next trip! Cheers, Susan

Karen

Tuesday 21st of January 2020

We are currently planning our trip for September, this has given us some great ideas thank you

Susan Moore

Tuesday 21st of January 2020

Karen, Thanks for your comment. Wonderful! I hope you have a most amazing time in Nova Scotia. September is a beautiful time of year to visit Nova Scotia. Have fun! Cheers, Susan

Catherine Hunter

Sunday 12th of January 2020

Sounds wonderful, however it seems you’ve left out a lot of beautiful places in Cumberland County such as Amherst, Parrsboro, Advocate, Joggins, Cape Chignecto, etc.

Susan Moore

Sunday 12th of January 2020

Catherine, Thanks for your comment. Yes, I missed a bunch! But I have added those places to my list for the fall trip, I'm looking forward to visiting Cumberland County for sure! Cheers, Susan

Carla Snair

Sunday 12th of January 2020

I’ve read ALMOST all of your comments... people seem to get a little bitter when you haven’t visited their area, lol. I’m from just outside of Halifax and I’ve travelled extensively throughout North America and obviously especially all through NS, but I will tell you that of all the places I’ve been, the area of Five Islands-Parrsboro-Advocate, is the most beautiful and secret place of Nova Scotia. I know this area has been mentioned at least 5 times in the above comments, but I’ve been to all parts of our beautiful province and this is definitely a hidden “gem”! I don’t know if you like or have had clams, but Five Islands is famous for them and there are several places in that area that cook them the best, haha. When you start your travels just outside of Truro to head down that way you are travelling on the #2 Highway. It is scenically beautiful the entire drive! What gets me is that the view is never the same, because the tide is constantly changing along the Bay of Fundy. Seriously so incredibly gorgeous, the people and phenomenal and the food is to die for! I’m glad you loved what you’ve seen so far of our province. We can’t wait to have you back!

Susan Moore

Sunday 12th of January 2020

Carla, Thanks for commenting. I can't wait to come back! I LOVE that the people of Nova Scotia are so passionate about where they live and the places that are dear to them. This is helping me with my trip planning, although it's still going to be a challenge to see all the places in a few weeks. I'm reading up on all the locations people mentioned. Thanks for details and more input on Five Islands, Parrsboro, Advocate - I'll definitely try the clams and spend some time there. The tides around Bay of Fundy are simply amazing to see. I'm super excited about my next trip! Cheers, Susan

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.