Let me show you around my backyard....
Where can you go for incredible sunsets, beautiful ocean views, endless white sand, charming cottages, and fields filled with flowers? If you're guessing Hawaii or Ireland or New Zealand - you're wrong. Well, I suppose technically you're right! But I had a much more accessible and affordable destination in mind - Nova Scotia! This is more than just a favourite travel destination of mine - it's home.
I grew up in Nova Scotia, along the shores of Cape Breton Island. While I no longer live there, it still has a warm spot in my heart and I never hesitate to passionately recommend my favourite spots to visitors. Whether you're visiting the province for the first time or the 10th, here are three incredible scenic spots you shouldn't miss.
The Digby Shore
The Digby Shore is famous for its dramatic tides, charming lighthouses, and the lush, fertile shores of the Annapolis Valley - and there's a few wineries cropping up there as well! The area is also the ancestral home of the Acadians, the first Francophone settlers of North America, and history lovers will fall in love with the area's UNESCO-listed heritage site.
To get a sense of the region's history, you can read the famous Longfellow poem Evangeline or, one of my favourites, The Birth House by Ami MacKay, which tells the story of an Acadian midwife. Perfect for a little shore-side reading! Just make sure to look up and keep an eye out for the whales! This area is famous for ocean life small and large.
The Cabot Trail
Growing up, I had no idea I lived beside what has been crowned the most beautiful drive in the world. I thought everyone was raised with phenomenal sunsets, incredible ocean views, and rolling green hills! Now as an adult, I can truly appreciate just how gorgeous Cape Breton Island's Cabot Trail really is. You'd be hard pressed to find a more beautiful spot anywhere in the world and it's worth coming to Nova Scotia just for this drive.
And you'll love more than just the jaw-dropping scenery. This is a fantastic area for spotting whales and rare seabirds - even moose make an occasional appearance! The area is also famous for its hospitality, musical talent, and delicious food. (PS: My secret pro tip to the Cabot Trail is to keep an eye out for Aucoin's Bakery, based in Cheticamp. Shops all over the island carry bread and old fashioned baked goods from this traditional Acadian bakery. Its one of my favourites!)
The Cabot Trail isn't a drive for the faint of heart, with high cliffs and sharp turns. If this makes you uncomfortable, it's a good idea to go with an organized tour so you can relax and enjoy the scenery.
Chester to Lunenburg and Mahone Bay
Looking for a real taste of Maritime history? You'll find it in these three former fishing villages which have developed into beautiful, charming towns. I must confess that Mahone Bay, the smallest of the three, is my favourite (keep an eye open for a house with cedar shingles and a bright yellow door - I think it's the cutest in town!).
But most visitors take a shine to Lunenberg, as the old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Their shipyard is legendary as the home of the famed Bluenose racing schooner and remains an important port for fishing and commerical activities. And as you make your way between the villages you'll get gorgeous glimpses of the coast, complete with tiny fishing boats.
Welcome to my backyard.
I'm tremendously biased, but I think that Nova Scotia is one of the most under rated travel destinations in the world. It represents a great value to budget minded travelers, appeals to a wide variety of interests, and is stunning no matter what the season. But don't take my word for it - like I said, I'm biased! Come and have a look for yourself!
Have you ever been to Nova Scotia?
Do you agree that the Cabot Trail is the most beautiful drive in the world?
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