In the beginning, not being able to travel outside of Nova Scotia had me stressed! Not actually, but I’ve never been in my own province for this length of time since I was 18 years old. Once restrictions were lifted, I knew I had to make the best of what was around me, which meant exploring my hometown; a place that always seemed so foreign to me. I am in awe every day of the beauty Nova Scotia has to offer. Here are a few ideas if you’re looking for things to do:
Sensea Spa is the first Nordic Spa in Nova Scotia. Located in Chester and surrounded by nature and water, it was honestly a magical experience full of relaxation. They have a day pass for $57.50 and also offer massages & treatments for an extra cost. Once arrived you're able to rent a bathrobe and purchase sandals if needed. All you really need to bring is your bathing suit! There are beverages and snacks available for purchase. There are hammocks and chairs by the lake, different types of saunas, a hot pool, cold pool, ice buckets, hammam, fire pits and calming music all throughout the spa. They are in the process of building overnight accommodations on location but for now, people just rent Airbnbs nearby. (Click here to use my link for $$ off) Overall I would 100% recommend this place! Check their website here to book, check their COVID policy and hours. I went in the evening to catch the sunset. After 2 hours I left feeling mentally and physically refreshed.
This cute B&B is located near Yarmouth & Tusket, NS. It is owned by this lovely couple Elaine & Ray, who actually live in the house but in a separate section. There are three different bedrooms they rent out, but with the COVID restrictions, when I visited, they were only renting one at a time. Once arrived, I was greeted by Elaine who gave me a key and provided me with a tour of the area. The room was beautiful and so comfy, the guest living room area was great to sit and read a book or play a game, but my favourite part was the backyard. There is a big pool and a walkway with chairs along the way that leads to a lake. The view is amazing. There are kayaks, but because I was there the day after they opened from COVID, they weren’t offering it, but things might have changed now. You’re also able to bring your own. There are no pets allowed, and unfortunately, they don’t have the space to accommodate cribs for young children. It is a 15-minute drive from Yarmouth where I was able to go into town and have a nice dinner. In the morning, Elaine cooked a beautiful breakfast! Overall, it was a great stay. Click here to book - mention my name for a few dollars off!
Ovens Natural Park
Located in Riverport, Ovens Natural Park was an awesome adventure. Once arrived, we were greeted by a staff who took our payment – it costs $10 to enter for adults, $5 for children & seniors and kids under 5 are free. There was a lot of parking on site. We made our way to the sea caves first, which left me in awe that this existed in Nova Scotia. It wasn’t a strenuous hike around, I would definitely say it’s a great experience for children, and there is signage all throughout the trail to guide you to each cave and back. Once completed, there is Cunards Beach, and you’re able to rent a pan to try gold panning. They offer kayaking tours for a price, but you have to call ahead to reserve. You're also able to rent cabins or book a campsite. After spending a couple of hours at Ovens, we stopped in Lunenburg, which was about a 15-minute drive for some yummy fish and chips! You can view their website here.
About 40 minutes outside the city in Hants County was this BEAUTY! It was a bit difficult to find, but I first googled how to get to Three Mile Plains, I got off the 101 on Exit 5, turned left until I saw the Irving and made another slight left on Evangeline Trail, I went straight until I saw Three Mile Plain Rd and turned right, drove a short distance and turned right onto Windsor Back Rd. another short distance I saw a dirt road with no signs between two houses, I turned left and drove towards the yellow gate. The gate was closed, but even if it’s open, I was told not to park inside. I parked along the side of the dirt road, climbed over the gate and made my way towards the falls. It was about a 10-minute walk straight up the dirt road until you start to hear the water. You can see it and then you turn left into the trees where there is a manmade path downhill that takes you to the falls. The water was beautiful to swim in, some children were jumping from the rocks on the side of the hill. I’d advise you to bring a towel, bathing suit, drinking water and even some swim shoes as the rocks are very slippery and some are even sharp to walk on. There was one family there when I got there and then they left. I could have stayed there all night! On the way back into the city before the highway, there is a convenience store if you’d like to stop and grab some ice cream 🙂
One of the most scenic coastal hikes in Halifax, Duncan’s cove was the perfect way to spend my birthday! It does take about 3-4 hours for a roundtrip hike. It’s moderate/difficult depending on your hiking experience. About 30 minutes from the city, it's easily found on google maps. The trail itself was a bit difficult to find. Once arrived, I parked on the side of the road before the small community. There was a side dirt road with a closed fence that had a sign (I can't remember what it said), but I remember thinking it wasn’t the way to go because it seemed to be private property. I climbed the fence anyway and walked up the road and before I got to the house on the hill, I turned right onto a manmade path. You definitely have to find the most comfortable way for you to get down the hill to the rocks, but once there it’s beautiful and worth it. Throughout, the trail is narrow and extremely muddy in certain areas so definitely recommend wearing proper footwear, bringing snacks, water bottle and of course a camera as there are so many spots to capture photos!
Boat House AirBnB
Who would have thought 15 minutes from my house was this gem. Booked through Airbnb (click here for $$ off), this mini getaway was just what I needed. Greg & Samantha were such great hosts. The Boat House is right behind their main house, but you have your privacy. The place is so cozy, and the decorations are so beautiful. The balcony has lights that make it so nice in the evenings. There is a shared dock with the hosts, but they also share their kayaks with you! The house is built right on the lake, so sitting out on the balcony, reading a good book and listening to the water made the night perfect. It’s also pet friendly, and a 10 minute drive away from restaurants and shops. You can book here.
When I lived in Spain, I saw these things all over. People were driving them in their suits with briefcases to work, people were driving them with friends and for fun. When I saw that they were in Halifax, I knew I needed to try them out! I downloaded the HFX E-scooter app, where you create an account, add a credit card and check out the map to see how many scooters are available and where they’re located. There’s no main store to go to, you’re able to go to any charging station and unlock a scooter and start riding! I always go to the waterfront downtown though, at the Segway NS kiosk and each time, there were available scooters. Once ready to ride, you scan the barcode on the scooter and press unlock. It charges you $1.00 to start and then 0.25 per minute. You’re able to drop off at any of the designated parking locations that are shown on the app. You do have to be 18+ to ride. On the app, it also shows you a map of the zones you’re able to ride in. If you go outside of the area, the scooter will beep and tell you to turn around. It’s pretty broad though, so you can go pretty far. It will tell you on the app how many km's you drove and how much money you owe as you go along. Once you’re finished, make sure you end the trip on the app and receive the confirmation of payment! Download the app here.
Mckinnon Kayak Tours
Alexi Rodriguez, the owner of Mckinnon Kayak Tours created this awesome initiative called Different Strokes Paddle Program to provide free one-hour kayak lessons for all People of Colour (including Indigenous Peoples) in Nova Scotia. Alexi meets you at any lake closest to you in HRM. We met at Lake Loon in the evening for our lesson. He provides all the equipment, you just wear clothes you’re okay with getting wet! He’s a great teacher that is passionate about adventure. We kayaked on Lake Loon for an hour, chasing the sunset and having great conversation. Definitely grateful for this experience! McKinnon Kayak Tours also provides tours exploring Cape Breton for a price. Check out their website here.
Travelling to this beach is a bit of a drive, almost 2 hours to Port Mouton from the city, but so worth it. It truly felt like I was in the Caribbean. The sand was white and the water was so blue and beautiful. I haven’t been to many beaches here yet, but it’s definitely my favourite so far. It wasn’t crowded as we arrived a bit later in the afternoon, but it was a perfect day!
So those are some adventures I’ve been on so far this Summer. I’ve also been able to catch some sunsets at a few places that were new to me:
Long Lake National Park
Sandy Lake Park
Crystal Crystal Crescent Beach
Whatever you're doing this summer, I hope you're staying safe, having fun and living in the moment! Stay tuned for part 2 and feel free to reach out if you have any questions! Follow me on IG to stay updated on my adventures: laylajxxo