On Canada’s 150th birthday, why not take advantage of the free National Park Pass and visit as many of these National Parks & Historic Sites in Nova Scotia as you can? Some have special events happening that I wouldn’t mind attending, in fact, I’m putting some of these on my calendar right now.
Cape Breton Island
Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site, Baddeck, Cabot Trail – Plan at least 3 hours to visit. The kid in you may want to take part in Tetrahedral Kite Workshop . $9.60 per kite. May 19 to October 30.
Cape Breton Highlands National Park-hiking, camping, special events and weekly activities. One event that takes my eye is Learn to Lobster Boil Wednesdays from June 21 to the end of Aug. $44 per person. I hope you plan on several days to enjoy this beautiful park. For access times for the Visitor Centre, click here
Marconi National Historic Site Glace Bay. Plan an hour or so to view the exhibits. Beware the steep cliffs. July 1 to September 4
Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site– There are tons of daily activities, so -at least an entire day, please….19 and older? You may enjoy Rum: The Spirit of Louisbourg . Drink, er, I mean taste rum daily from June 1st -Oct 15th $10.80 per person. Open daily from May 22 to October 15.
St. Peters Canal National Historic Site– Pack a picnic and enjoy the scenery and interpretive trails at this site. Bring your camera. Allow a couple hours on a pleasant day. Battery Provincial Park is nearby if you’d like to spend a night or two camping. Hours of operation differ according to season-check them here.
Canso Islands National Historic Site, Canso, Eastern Shore This site has two separate sections. Plan 30 minutes to tour the Visitor centre, including exhibits and then take a boat to Grassy Island, 15 minutes away where you can stretch your legs by strolling the interpretive trail. Closed during the winter.
Bay of Fundy/Annapolis Valley
Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site, Maitland Bridge Oh….mygod. I love this place sooooo much. I have so many great memories – I could write a post just about ‘Keji’. In fact, I probably will. But for now, just know there is kayaking, canoeing, camping, biking, hiking swimming special events and weekly activities. An awesome one I’ve enjoyed is the Halloween celebration on Thanksgiving weekend. At the park, just go for the day to enjoy some of the trails or kayak the lakes or Mersey River (rentals available at Jake’s Landing within the park) or why not plan several days? Warning, warning, warning. Weekend (Thursday-Sunday) campsites book up fast.
Fort Anne National Historic Site, Annapolis Royal You gotta take in the ever-so-popular Candlelight Graveyard Tour. Presented by the Historical Association of Annapolis Royal, tours are held nightly @ 9:30pm in July ,August & Sept, as well as every Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in June and October 1-15. Meet at the Fort Anne parking lot. Adults $10, Youth (13-18) $5, Child (12 & Under) $3. Rain or Shine. Fort Anne has beautiful grounds and is right in the heart of Annapolis Royal, if you get an itch to shop or grab a meal. Fort Anne’s hours are here.
Melanson Settlement National Historic Site, Port Royal – Plan an hour or so to stroll around the grounds and read the interpretive panels at this. The trail and the outdoor potty are both wheel chair accessible. Open May 15 – October 10 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You can still walk the trail in the evening, but no toilet access after 4 pm (what the…!)
Port-Royal National Historic Site, Port Royal – Learn about local native cultural and step into a snapshot of French settlers’ life in a remote area. To learn more about how these two diverse cultures interacted, plan a visit August 20 for ‘Sharing Cultural Alliances and Traditions – Acadiens-Métis Souriquois Day’. Royal-Royal’s hours are here.
Grand-Pré National Historic Site –Grand Pre – The big event taking place at Grand Pre National Historic Site is Grand Pré 2017 — A Peace and Friendship Gathering of the Mi’kmaw and Acadian People, August 10-13th. While at the site, be sure to take time to watch the vignette about the expulsion of the Acadians-very touching, I thought. Grand Pre National Historic Site abuts dyke land built by the industrious Acadians-keeping the tides of the Minas Basin at bay while wresting fertile farmland out of what was tidal water. These dykes are quiet, flat places to walk and ride your bicycle. Doing so is at your own risk, of course and watch out (and stay out of the way of) farm machinery at work. Grand Pre National Historic Site is open daily ,May 19 to October 9 am to 5 pm. Accessible Services. Plan several hours for this site
Fort Edward National Historic Site, Windsor – Trails surround this 1770 British Blockhouse where Acadians were gathered in 1775 to be deported. There are views of the Avon River from the top, and the grounds are open year-round (there is no winter maintenance). Upstairs, the fort testifies to the soldiers’ creativity (or boredom) with drawings of ships and sloops on the walls. The blockhouse itself is open from June 25 to Labour Day. Plan 30 minutes for this site.
Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, Halifax. I’m a sucker for Christmas and the 28th Annual Victorian Christmas- November 25-26 -at the Citadel seems as if it would be a great way to get into the Christmas spirit. Or, if you’d like to throw on a kilt and be a soldier for a day, that opportunity presents itself twice a day from May 7 to October 31. Spaces are limited to 4 a day, so pre-book @ firstname.lastname@example.org and be prepared to shell out $199 for adults. Citadel hours of operation are here. Accessible Services .
Prince of Wales Tower National Historic Site, Halifax . Located in beautiful Point Pleasant Park, and built in 1796 on the orders of Prince William, this tower was intended as a defense against French attacks by sea. In 1866, the military offered the area to Halifax for the cost of one shilling per year. The park itself offers walking and biking trails with an off-leash section for Poochie. Accessible services.
Georges Island National Historic Site, Halifax. This was another key spot in the British defense of Halifax Harbor. This site is usually not open to visitors, however…. During the Rendez-vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta Halifax, July 29-August 1, the popular historic underground Tunnel Tours will be conducted on George’s Island. I wanna go.
Fort McNab National Historic Site, Halifax. Another important military site, Fort McNab is accessible by a 25 minute boat ride from the Halifax waterfront or from Eastern Passage. Old roads provide a network of over 14 km of trails to walk along. Outdoor privy’s are located around the island. There is no water available on the island-make sure you bring your own. The Friends of McNabs Island are hosting a Fall Foliage Tour It’s $20 for non-members. Find more details here closer to the event @
York Redoubt National Historic Site,Halifax. Another jewel in the crown of British Military defense, York Redoubt offers interpretive panels and trails, and wonderful views of the city. York Redoubt National Historic Site will be open, with washrooms available, from June 25 until Labour Day, from 8 am to 8 pm daily. Accessible services ( wheelchair accessible with assistance )
What you need to know about Nova Scotia’s National Parks and Historic Sites
Things change. Data does not always get updated. Best to double check this information before heading out.
Be prepared with bug stuff ( maybe with DEET for those damn ticks), water, and sensible footwear when exploring trails. Now I didn’t have to tell you that, did I? Thought not.