10 Days RVing in Nova Scotia
10 Days RVing in Nova Scotia
An example itinerary for exploring this beautiful area of Canada.
By: Noel Fleming & Chris Miller
After RVing full-time for three years, our travel modus operandi continues to be flying by the seat of our pants. Such was the case when we decided to do an initial exploration of Nova Scotia in June. We racked up a lot of “pants” frequent flyer points by setting each day’s agenda the day before, or even the morning of.
Traveling during the shoulder season, just before the summer season kicked into high gear, afforded us even greater flexibility. If you tend to travel spontaneously like us, we are happy to report that you most certainly can RV through the Canadian Maritimes on a wing and a prayer. Of course, you can also successfully spreadsheet your way through the region.
Regardless of your travel style, you will find adventure and variety around every corner. Ever present will be the traveler’s dilemma of which opportunities to grasp and which to let go of for a return trip.
Below are a few of our recommendations for what to see and do in Nova Scotia.
Example Itinerary for 10 Days RVing in Nova Scotia
For anyone unsure of where to start, we’re sharing our route to help you get started …
Day 1: West Pubnico and Shelburne
After spending the night at the Yarmouth Walmart, we made tracks to LeVillage Historique Acadien. This 17-acre site contains the historic Acadian Village of Nova Scotia and provides an opportunity to discover Acadian life in the early 1900s. It was one of our favorite stops as all of the docents were descendants of the original Acadians. We ate freshly baked molasses cookies, planed wood for a dory (fishing boat), and learned how fishing nets were made, maintained, and used.
Next we visited Shelburne's Museums by the Sea and met a master dory builder. The nearby Barrel Factory offers a view of the barrel building process – a much-needed skill for this maritime region. We ended our day with our first Boondockers Welcome stay; the hosts knocked it out of the park with hospitality and a stellar spot to overnight right on the water.
Day 2: Roseway, Port Joli, and LeHave
With coffee and biscotti in hand, we strolled alongside the gentle waves at Roseway Beach. Feeling moved for a little more water action we headed to Kejimkujik Seaside Adjunct, part of the Canadian National Park system. The hiking trail we chose led to Harbour Rocks, a perfect spot to spy seals in the water below.
Having built up an appetite, we hightailed it to LaHave Bakery. This stop had been so frequently recommended that we couldn’t pass it up. We decided to take the short route and experience the LaHave River Cable Ferry. It’s one of the last remaining cable ferries, and it’s free! Lightship Brewery, a Harvest Host, was our overnight stop with beautiful shoreline scenery just across the water.
Day 3: Lunenburg, Mahone Bay, and Peggy’s Cove
We drove through the mist laden town of Blue Rocks, a working fishing village named after the blue slate rocks lining the shores, and headed toward Lunenburg. Old Town Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has sufficient character and interest to fill a day.
We enjoyed the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic where our lobster knowledge was greatly expanded. We boarded a schooner to check out what life was like above and below deck, and walked the town, admiring the architecture, breathtaking churches and even a segment of the Berlin Wall. (Nova Scotia is host to six UNESCO sites grouped so closely together that you can explore them all.)
Next, we explored the town of Mahone Bay. Advertised as one of the most treasured views in all of Canada is that of the three churches on Mahone Bay. We finished our days adventure with a stop at Peggy’s Cove. Our overnight stay was at another Boondockers Welcome just minutes from downtown Halifax which set us up perfectly for the next day’s adventure.
Day 4: Halifax
We strolled the boardwalk at the Halifax Harbour Waterfront admiring the sculptures, taking in more Acadian history, and chilling in the hammocks along the water. Our Canadian NP pass covered entry into the Halifax Citadel. The tour was educational and entertaining and included the firing of a cannon!
Next we found ourselves moved by the Titanic exhibit at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Halifax played key roles in the aftermath of the disaster. The museum hosts the largest collection of wooden Titanic artifacts in the world.
As formers teachers, we couldn’t pass up the Halifax Central Library which is an architectural beauty in itself. Our last adventure of the day was the Alexander Keith’s Brewery Tour. We sampled beers in the Stag’s Head, a historic pub in what was the aging cavern, while being musically entertained. We parked overnight at the Walmart in Antigonish.
Day 5: Cheticamp and Petit Etang
We finally started our 185 mile circle of the Cabot Trail, including Cape Breton Highlands National Park! The road wound, dipped, and climbed, offering stunning scenery at every turn. We made a number of stops to soak in the beauty before landing at the waterfront Corney Brook Campground where we sat for hours admiring our surroundings before turning in for the night.
Day 6: Cape Breton Highlands
Skyline Trail was first on our docket. If you’re going to be anywhere in the vicinity, this is a must do! A level trail led through a moose exclosure built to keep moose out so that recently planted tree seedlings can grow. As we reached the boardwalk, we began descending down to the headland cliffs overlooking the coast where whales can be spotted. If you time it just right, you can catch a spectacular sunset.
From here we journeyed along White Point Beach arriving just in time for lunch at the Chowder House in Neils Harbour planted right on the water’s edge adjacent to the lighthouse. Our overnight stay landed us at the Ingonish Beach Campground.
Day 7: Ingonish, Cape Smokey, and Baddeck
We walked through the Keltic Lodge before riding up the Cape Smokey Gondola. On the mountain top we saw a bird’s eye view of much of the island that we had just driven. It was a quiet day at the top. We soaked in the grand vistas and enjoyed a picnic lunch.
Our day ended with a visit to the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site. Mr. Bell truly was a reluctant genius, and we marveled at many of his contributions even though not all were successful. Our rest stop for the night was the Walmart in the North Sydney Mall.
(Tip: Since the ferry terminal to Newfoundland is located in North Sydney, we took this opportunity to go further north. If you are considering traveling to Newfoundland, we recommend booking this passage in advance.)
Day 8: Louisbourg and Glacé Bay
The Fortress of Louisbourg is a place where you could spend days! The reenactors, clothed in period wardrobe and taking us through historically accurate architecture, provided a wealth of information, transporting us back to the 1700s.
Next stop was the Miners Museum in Glacé Bay. This was one of the most unique tours we’ve ever taken. These tours are led by retired miners who worked this mine for decades. Get your hard hat on and your hunchback walk ready because portions of the tunnels are only 4.5 feet high. After this tour, we enjoyed dinner at the restaurant on site, before overnighting in the museum parking lot. Thanks again, Harvest Hosts!
Day 9: Maitland and Noel
After driving west, halfway across the island, we stopped for lunch at Frieze and Roy, the oldest General Store in Canada! We were then ready to walk on the ocean floor between the tides at Burntcoat Head Park. This is the site of the world’s highest tides. If you’re going, plan your timing accordingly! We overnighted in the parking lot
Day 10: South Maitland and Truro
Our last day we visited the Fundy Tidal Interpretive Center where we were both educated and amazed by the bore wave causing enough rapids for the rafters to have a ball. From here we raced the wave to get to the next watch spot at the Fundy Discovery Site in Lower Truro. At this viewing area, you may even see a surfer ride the wave!
You can’t go wrong, regardless of your agenda choices, when traveling through Nova Scotia!
As we boarded the ferry from Pictou to Prince Edward Island, we realized the province still had much more to offer us. We predict that you, like us, will already be scheming about a return trip even as your initial visit draws to a close.
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