10 Unique Nova Scotia Activities You Have To Try (2024)

When you think of Nova Scotia, the ocean and seafood is probably what comes to mind. There’s a lot more to experience here than lobster and lighthouses; of which there are about 150 throughout the province. Whether you’re planning a visit to Nova Scotia to soak up the maritime culture, or adventure is what you’re after, there’s a wide array of experiences here for every type of traveller. If you’re a regular to Nova Scotia, or have never been, here are 9 unique Nova Scotia activities you have to try.

Learn To Surf At Lawrencetown Beach

A man and a woman in black wetsuits standing on Lawrencetown Beach holding bright blue surf boards.

I had never attempted to surf, and the idea of it terrified me. I’m told the surf at Lawrencetown beach is some of the best in the country. We decided to book a surf lesson with East Coast Surf School and give it a try. Wetsuits and a board are supplied, so no worries if you don’t have your own. Our teacher was a chap named Chaz, and he was exactly what you expect him to be – gnarly. He first taught us all the basics on the beach and then took us out to the equivalent of the kiddie pool area of the beach to give it a try. You’ll never have another experience like riding that salty surf. Good for beginners or experienced surfers.

Shuck Locally Grown Oysters At Bay Enterprises In Malagash

A man in a baby blue shirt with a navy blue baseball hat looking down at a red table covered in oysters as he attempts to shuck one open

Oysters grown in Nova Scotia are some of the best in the world. Getting to visit an oyster farm and see how they’re harvested was definitely a must on our list! This family-owned business began in 1867, and is still run by the Purdy family today. After an overview of the history of their business, we were treated to an oyster shucking demonstration that included a tasting. This is a not-to-be-missed Nova Scotia activity for oyster lovers.

Tossing Mackerel at the Yarmouth Seafest

A woman wearing a blue apron over a red tank top and yellow sou'wester hat stands inn a giant blue fish barrel with a white 5 gallon bucket in her hands and her arms ourstretched to catch a fish that was thrown at her

I can unequivocally tell you that the phrase ‘As easy as shooting fish in a barrel’ is untrue. We weren’t sure what to expect when we decided to sign up for the Annual Mackerel Toss at Yarmouth Seafest. The sun was shining, the seagulls were circling, and laughs were definitely had. The local competition was fierce, but we placed 2nd in the mixed team category. If Newfoundland’s right of passage is to kiss a cod, Nova Scotia’s should be to toss a mackerel. Definitely one of the most unique Nova Scotia activities.

Hike The Cape Breton Highlands

A man and a woman holding hands standing at the top of Franey Mountain overlooking the dense tree scenery towards the open water

With more than 20 trails to choose from, the Cape Breton Highlands National Park is a hiker’s haven. This is one of the Nova Scotia activities that draws people from all over the globe. Most of which offer a variety of stunning views over the land or the surrounding ocean. The Skyline trail is one of the most popular trails you see in photos. If you’re not afraid of a challenge, the views from the top of Franey Trail are incredible. This is a black diamond trail, and it came by that rating honestly. It is a tough hike but if you’re able to make the climb, the payoff is worth it. There trails you find in the Highlands have varying degrees of difficulty – from low grade easy walking to very challenging. Find a list of the trails and their info here.

Overnight In An Apple Orchard in Annapolis Valley

a 24 foot RV parked on the green grass in an apple orchard  as the sun sets behind it.

If you’re planning a visit to Nova Scotia, you must include the Annapolis Valley. There are various parks and campgrounds throughout the province have something for everyone. Whether you’re a family looking for a site with activities for the kids, or a friend group looking for a more private experience, you can choose a site tailored to your needs. Add Harvest Host to that, and you can find yourself parking your RV or trailer on farms, ranches or apple orchards for a totally unique experience. The stars were incredible at night out amongst the apple trees, not to mention the beautiful smell. 

A man and woman stopped on a bridge next to a river in a two person buggy peddle bike with a yellow white striped canopy

Ride A Peddle Buggy On The Butter Trail Of Tatamagouche

I think this is probably where we had the most laughs. Remember Adventures in Tatamagouche rents out 2 person peddle buggies that you can ride along the Butter Trail, which is part of the Trans Canada Trails and runs along the Waugh River. Not only did we enjoy taking in the scenic views, it was great exercise! Two peddling is better than one! There are a few bridges and beautiful views along the Tatamagouche River.

Find Fossils In Joggins

A downward look at a flight of wet wooden stairs that take you to a rocky beach and the ocean, with lush green foliage on each side of the wooden railing

The Joggins Fossil Cliffs is a great destination for kids and kids at heart! Named a UNESCO World heritage site in 2008, these cliffs were formed more than 300 million years ago. They’re bursting with fossilized plant life and prehistoric creatures. We opted for the guided beach tour and were glad we did. Our guide was so knowledgeable and we had a great time exploring the beach’s bounty. Not only do you get to see fossils right on the beach, but you also get to take in the incredible view of these jagged history-filled cliffs. You don’t have to be a geography buff to enjoy this experience.

A woman and two men stand together wearing yellow rain jackets and yellow hard hats at the entrance to the mine at the Springhill Miners Museum

Explore The Abandoned Mine Shafts Of Glace Bay And Springhill

The development of many of Nova Scotia’s towns and villages can be credited to its mining industry. This was one of the most emotional experiences we had on our adventures. Sheldon, our guide at the Glace Bay Miners Museum, was a miner for many years. Hearing his first hand experience as you tour the mine shafts was an invaluable experience. To hear how the miners and their families lived, not to mention the disasters that occurred at both locations was truly awe-inspiring. We also visited the Springhill Miner’s Museum. My husband and I were blown away by the passion and knowledge our guide Ben had at the age of 16. We highly recommend checking these sites out.

A glass plate with 8 kinds of cheese triangles places on it in a circle which sits on top of a wooden picnic table

Sample Artisan Gouda At That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm 

Tucked away in Nova Scotia’s north shore is That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm and Animal Park. This family business is Nova Scotia’s original artisan cheese makers. It boasts more than a dozen varieties of their house made gouda. Order a sample platter and pull up a picnic table overlooking the Bay of Fundy. They also have a shop onsite that specializes in Dutch delicacies. After your belly is full, wander the garden trails of the Animal Park where you can feed animals like potbelly pigs, emus, goats and more! You can easily spend a day at this unique destination.

Mud Sliding In Maitland

I know what you’re thinking – you don’t like the idea of being covered in mud… This is the one-of-a-kind experience you won’t want to miss when it comes to Nova Scotia activities. Only in Nova Scotia will you experience sliding down the slippery banks of the Shubenacadie river after high tide. This river has some of the highest recorded tides in the world in fact, and some of the smoothest mud rich with minerals. They should be charging spa fees for this experience! You’ll want to skip the water park wait lines this summer and put mud sliding on your summer bucket list! You can get the tide table times from the Fundy Interpretive Centre.

Mud sliding should be done at least 5 hours AFTER high tide, never when the tides are coming in. You want to be careful with mud sliding as the current can be quite strong as the waters recede. Some of the tidal bore rafting companies offer mud sliding as a part of their tours but locals can also direct you to the best spots to go.

A family of four covered in mud sliding down the muddy banks of the Shubenacadie river

Nova Scotia is bursting with unique experiential adventures for all types of travellers! Whether you’re an adrenaline junky or more into finding local bakeries, there are so many great options for RV lovers to get out and explore the province. Interested in a two week Nova Scotia road trip? Here’s the link to an itinerary for just that. Hopefully these 10 unique Nova Scotia activites will have you crafting the perfect itinerary for you, gassing up and hitting the open road! Happy trails!

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