Camping in a traditional tent takes a certain kind of hutzpah and that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But what if I said you could have all the fun of camping as well as the comforts of a high-end hotel room? That just might make the difference.
Glamping domes are a recent world-wide trend in glamorous camping. Here in Nova Scotia, people are still getting used to them — you sometimes hear them referred to as “UFOs” or, in the case of the Nova Scotia tourism website, “unusual lodgings”.
In truth, they’re often set amongst the best of the province’s natural wonders and offer you a unique experience for a vacation, either in summer or in winter.
Check out all the stories in our series on glamping domes:
- Nova Scotia comprehensive directory of glamping domes – a comprehensive map and directory of all the glamping domes we know about in Nova Scotia.
- Glamping domes 101 – all you need to know about glamping domes and what to look for when researching and booking a dome holiday.
- Top-rated glamping domes for your 2023 Nova Scotia vacation – based on customer satisfaction and ratings, which are the best glamping domes in the province?
In our list of top-rated glamping domes, you’ll find all the details you’ll need to consider when planning your 2023 Nova Scotia vacation.
To get on our list, glamping domes needed to have perfect customer review scores (e.g. 5-out-of-5 or 10-out-of-10) — for these domes, those reviews came from AirBnB or Google.
- Then, the list’s order was determined by the number of reviews each site had; the one with the most reviews was awarded the #1 position, and then it went in a descending order from there. (Review numbers often change — these ratings are current at the time of writing.)
- Some of these sites are almost brand new, opening just this past year (2022) — note the opening dates in the details. Yet they’ve managed to get excellent customer satisfaction ratings right out of the starting gate, and rack up a good number of reviews already. Just sayin’…
- We had to disqualify those sites that had combined their dome reviews with reviews for other types of accommodations. We want to tell you about customer satisfaction specifically with domes, and combined reviews just muddy those waters.
Editor’s pick: best of Nova Scotia’s glamping domes
Our pick is the Blysteiner Lake Dome because it of the attention to construction detail, the high-end finishes, and all the extras that are included in the base rental price.
Choose your glamping domes wisely – all domes are not the same
There are a many choices for glamping domes in Nova Scotia and, depending on what you are looking for, there’s an ideal choice for everyone. But you’ll need to choose wisely because not all glamping domes are the same.
Key points to remember
- Some glamping domes are best suited for those that like camping and “roughing it”. Others have many of the comforts of a high-end hotel room. In this list, we’ll give you a list of features of each of these top-rated domes to help you decide which one is best for you.
- For almost all domes, you’ll need to bring your own food and drinks, although if you are up to a short drive, many have great restaurants close by. Check with the proprietors when you book.
- Just like a regular hotel room, pricing for glamping domes will include a service fee and taxes and sometimes a cleaning fee. Make sure when you’re booking, you look at the bottom line for the actual price you’ll pay.
- If you’re simply looking for an inexpensive overnight stay somewhere, a bed-and-breakfast or a budget hotel room is probably your best choice. But if you’re looking for a unique vacation experience that’s close to nature with facilities for outdoor fun, then you can’t go wrong with a vacation of one of the province’s glamping domes.
OK, with all that out of the way, let’s get to our list of top-rated Nova Scotia glamping domes:
▶︎ BOOK Blysteiner Lake Dome
Why choose this glamping dome? The Blysteiner Dome is definitely built for those of us who like our luxury and creature-comforts, with many high-end construction features and finishes. It’s situated at the water’s edge of beautiful Blysteiner Lake and is central to major tourist destinations such as Lahave, Lunenburg, Mahone Bay, and Bridgewater.
The “rails-to-trails” (former rail tracks converted to trains) are close by and are convenient for hikers, or for enjoying your bike or ATV in the summer or, in the winter, your snowshoes, cross country skis, or snowmobile. Also if you are a rider, the owners invite you to bring your horse with you to enjoy their private riding trails and full size dressage ring.
The Blysteiner Lake Dome includes:
- Heating and Cooling: a heat pump mini-split ductless system for central heating and air conditioning in the summer and, in the winter, the addition of in-floor heating keeps you toasty. The dome is fully insulated with two inches of insulating foam in the walls and an insulated slab floor. There’s also an interior electric fire place.
- Kitchen facilities – The fully outfitted kitchenette also has a 3/4 sized retro fridge with a few drinks, two cooktops, microwave oven, coffee-maker, kettle, and ice maker.
- Bathroom facilities & hot water – nicely finished and ample-sized interior bathroom with a wash basin, toilet, and a large shower with a rain shower head and wand. Comfy robes and slippers and locally-made soaps. Lots of hot water: a 40-gallon hot water tank will keep your shower toasty hot.
- Sleeping – Comfortable king-sized bed with Egyptian cotton linens and extra sheets and blankets if needed.
- Indoor amenities – an inside dining table, two leather La-Z-Boy reclining chairs complete with USB charging ports, 50″ HDTV, 130 mbps Wifi, books, and games.
- Outdoor amenities – beautiful lake front views with a private hot tub and private “beach” of imported white sand, two sit-on-top kayaks and a standup paddle board (included in the price), outdoor patio seating with patio heater.
- Full lake and trails access – hiking, riding, or bring your 4-wheeler. In the winter, snowshoes, cross country skis, or your snowmobile.
- Access to riding trails/ full size dressage ring: bring your horse(s)!
- Close to key Nova Scotia tourist attractions – Lunenburg, Mahone Bay, Bridgewater, LaHave
What past Blysteiner Lake Dome guests have said:
“Beautiful stay at this location! Exactly as described and as the pictures represent. Everything is new, comfortable, and like being in an upscale hotel room with a camping type view. Could not recommend this enough!”
— Joseph (see more reviews)
#2 Valley Sky Luxury Glamping domes
▶︎ BOOK Valley Sky Luxury Glamping
Why choose one of these glamping domes? Valley Sky Luxury Glamping has two domes: the Tidal Dome and the Valley Dome and the owners plan to add more. Set amongst the woods in the Annapolis Valley near Wolfville, these domes are well constructed and nicely finished with a number of creature comforts. You could spend the entire day just in the dome, or on the deck, or in the hot tub.
But if you want to see the surrounding area, you’ll have easy access to all the restaurants and amenities of the Wolfville area, hiking trails, museums and historic sites, Blomidon Provincial Park and the Minas Basin coast, and Luckett’s vineyard.
The Valley Sky Luxury Glamping includes:
- Heating and Cooling: a heat pump mini-split ductless system for central heating and air conditioning as well as an indoor propane fireplace. The floors and walls are insulated for toasty warmth in the cooler months.
- Kitchen facilities – The fully outfitted kitchenette has a two-burner flattop electric stove, mini-fridge with drinks, sink and running water, coffee and tea supplies with a coffee-maker and a kettle, toaster, microwave oven, and marshmallows and sticks for the fire pit!
- Bathroom facilities & hot water – nicely finished indoor bathroom with washbasin, toilet, and a standup shower, and comfy robes and slippers for you to wear, additional towels and locally-made soaps.
- Sleeping – A queen-sized bed in the main floor and a second queen-sized bed on the mezzanine for star gazing.
- Indoor amenities – four-person dining area, seating area with easy chairs, books and games.
- Outdoor amenities – forest view from the dome window, deck with privacy walls, electric hot tub, outdoor dining area, seating area, BBQ grill, table-top fire pit.
What past Valley Sky Luxury Glamping guests have said:
“We just got home from a two night stay and already want to go back. The domes are magical and you are provided everything you need for a wonderful “glamping” experience. We most enjoyed the hot tub and cozy outdoor amenities especially during the evening. Sitting in the hot tub looking up at the stars made us feel like we were in another world. It was the best Anniversary getaway and we will be back!!”
— Kim (see more reviews)
▶︎ BOOK Archer’s Edge Luxury Camping
Why choose one of these glamping domes? Archer’s Edge has five glamping domes that look over a seaside cliff at a clear panoramic view of the ocean. The site is just off the Ceilidh Trail and you can easily take in a Ceilidh (Gaelic for a concert with celtic music and dancing), go hiking and biking, or walk or drive to one of the nearby beaches.
Evening lighting at the glamping domes site is kept reasonable so that you can see all the stars in the night sky. If you are truly trying to get away from the hustle and bustle of your daily life, the ocean setting and the lack of TV, phones, or WiFi will help you achieve that.
Have a look at this video by Nova Scotia celebrities Davey and Sky (left).
The Archer’s Edge Luxury Camping includes:
- Heating and Cooling: a heat pump mini-split ductless system for central heating and air conditioning. Also an electric wall heater in the bathroom.
- Kitchen facilities – small kitchenette with electric grill, mini-fridge, microwave, coffee machine, toaster.
- Bathroom facilities & hot water – indoor bathroom with washbasin, toilet, and a standup shower, and the aforementioned electric wall heater, and a 40-gallon water heater to supply hot water.
- Sleeping – a queen-sized bed.
- Indoor amenities – seating area with small table for dining.
- Outdoor amenities – unobstructed ocean views over the side of a coastal cliff – west facing for spectacular sunset views, small deck with a seating area, fire pit, BBQ grill with propane provided.
- Please note that the grounds may close when the Government gives a specific weather warning — they are sometimes exposed to high winds due to the cliff & ocean setting, especially in September and October.
What past Archer’s Edge Luxury Camping guests have said:
“We had a wonderful time at Archers Edge. We have been to other luxury campgrounds and this one blew us away. The domes have air-conditioning, heat, running water, are clean, comfortable and kept us dry on our first night there when it rained. We had a great second night hanging out by the fireplace with other couples watching the sunset. The view is AMAZING!! Scott was very accommodating and made sure we had everything we needed.”
— Sarah (see more reviews)
▶︎ BOOK FlowEdge Riverside Getaway glamping domes
Why choose one of these glamping domes? Situated on 200 acres of forest and fields, this glamping dome site is built next to the beautiful Musquodoboit River. The domes are are about 50 meters apart, evenly spaced with foliage in between to ensure the privacy of each guest. They are surrounded by many hiking trails, including a 1-km trail to a great swimming spot with a small natural beach.
The FlowEdge Riverside Getaway includes:
- Heating and Cooling: a heat pump mini-split ductless system for central heating and air conditioning. Indoor gas fireplace.
- Kitchen facilities – fully outfitted kitchenette with a 3/4 size fridge, Bosch electric stove, convection microwave oven, coffee maker, kettle, toaster.
- Bathroom facilities & hot water – Indoor upscale bathroom with a washbasin, toilet, shower with a rain-shower head, anti-fog backlit mirror, and heated flooring. There’s comfy robes to wear and the 40-gallon hot water tank and the instantaneous water heater will keep you in hot water.
- Sleeping – one king bed (live-edge walnut headboards) and one fold-out queen-size bean bag.
- Indoor amenities – lounge/rocking chair, indoor dining table, WiFi, full-length mirror, and board/relationship games.
- Outdoor amenities – river view with a rocky coast and wooded trails, electric vehicle charger, large deck, fire pit, propane BBQ & utensils, hammock, outdoor seating, and a wood-fired hot tub.
- To use the hot tub: fill with hot water (takes about 40 minutes) and you can make the wood fire yourself if you’d like to maintain the heat for a while.
What past FlowEdge Riverside Getaway guests have said:
“This place was like a fairytale. If your looking for a romantic getaway this is the absolute best place around. Absolutely beautiful from waking up to deer outside our window to the beautiful rustic hot tub and all of the above. Would highly recommendas a hurricane on the original date we selected. We will definitely be booking again in the future.”
— Jenna (see more reviews)
#5 The Sky Dome
▶︎ BOOK The Sky Dome
Why choose this glamping dome? Located in the town of Clare, an Acadian community rich in culture and history. There are restaurants featuring local seafood: lobster, scallops, haddock, crab, and shrimp. There are beaches, a golf course, whale watching, clam digging, hiking trails, and a farmers’ market close by the grounds.
The Sky Dome includes:
- Heating and Cooling: a heat pump mini-split to keep you warm and cool.
- Kitchen facilities – half-size fridge, microwave, coffee maker, tea kettle.
- Bathroom facilities & hot water – Indoor finished bathroom with shower.
- Sleeping – king size bed on the lower floor and queen size on the mezzanine with a window to the stars.
- Indoor amenities –
- Outdoor amenities – Ocean view with a rocky coast and wooded trails, hot tub, propane fire pit.
What past Sky Dome guests have said:
If you’re thinking about booking here, DO NOT HESITATE. This place is an experience like no other and you won’t find it anywhere else. The hospitality we received from Eric and Karen was beyond our expectations and they clearly put so much heart and hard work into this oasis. Not only have we made life long friends here, we made memories that will last forever while also fully relaxing from our very busy lives. THANK YOU ❤️
— Amanda (see more reviews)
▶︎ BOOK Port Wade Glamping Domes
Why choose one of these glamping domes? Port Wade currently has the Diamond dome with a second dome, the accessible-equipped Emerald, coming very soon. The Diamond Dome is nestled on 12 acres between North Mountain and the Annapolis Basin providing excellent views in both directions, and has a skylight to stare at the stars at night.
The Port Wade Glamping Domes site is only minutes away from Annapolis Royal where there’s restaurants, a theatre, brew pubs, and several unique tourist attractions.
The Port Wade Glamping Domes include:
- Heating and Cooling: a heat pump mini-split ductless system for heating and air conditioning and wall and floor bubble-foil insulation (R6) to keep the cool or the warmth inside.
- Kitchen facilities – kitchenette with sink and running water, 3/4-size fridge, microwave oven, coffee-maker, kettle, toaster, locally roasted coffee and locally blended teas.
- Bathroom facilities & hot water – indoor upscale bathroom with a washbasin, toilet, and standup shower, hot water supplied by a 40-gallon electric hot water tank. The Emerald Dome has an open shower, which is accessible to allow wheelchairs.
- Sleeping –
- Diamond Dome: king-size bed with Egyptian cotton linens and extra pillows and blankets, as well as a pullout chaise queen-size sleeper sofa.
- The Emerald Dome has queen-size bed as well as a double pullout sleeper sofa, which allows for accessibility inside of the dome.
- Indoor amenities – seating area and small dining table for two, 43″ HDTV, fast 642 Mbps WiFi, an Amazon Alexa Echo that controls the sound system as well as some of the lighting in the dome. There’s also children’s books and toys and board games.
- Outdoor amenities – View of the mountains and the Annapolis Basin, a patio deck with Adirondack seating and a propane fire table ($25 fee to use it), a dining area, propane BBQ grill with utensils in a covered barbecue area.
- walking trails on the grounds that will take you to the base of the mountains and a beaver lodge/dam.
- a laundromat in the nearby town (about 15 minutes away).
What past Port Wade Glamping guests have said:
“Our stay in the dome was great. It was very clean and everything was easy to use. The ambiance outside was really cool with the lights that are set up and seeing the stars from the inside was a bonus! I would definitely recommend if you are looking for something more interesting than a standard hotel, at the same time having the comfort of many common amenities. The shower was incredible! Thank you for ensuring we had a wonderful stay!”
— Sharon (see more reviews)
▶︎ BOOK Nova Glamping Peggy Dome
Why choose one of these glamping domes? This dome site is actually on its own 8.8-acre island within viewing distance of Peggy’s Cove. The owners pick you up on the mainland and ferry you to the island in just five minutes. There are two domes and a log cabin on the island and each has it’s own private location and amenities. The island is open for daytime exploration and there’s a shared Scandinavian wood-fired barrel sauna and hot tub.
The Nova Glamping Peggy Dome includes:
- Heating and Cooling: heat pump for air conditioning & heating, indoor pellet fireplace, and fans.
- Kitchen facilities – half-size fridge, sink, coffee maker and kettle, toaster. electric stove
- Bathroom facilities & hot water – indoor bathroom with a washbasin and compostable toilet. The cedar shower is outdoors.
- Sleeping – Queen-sized bed and a bunkbed with a queen mattress.
- Indoor amenities – Indoor dining table, WiFi, sound system, books and games.
- Outdoor amenities – Amazing ocean views, private patio/deck, hot tub, fire pit, BBQ and utensils, outdoor dining, shared wood fire barrel sauna, and a nearby beach.
- The boat captain is available to ferry you back and forth from the island between 8 am and 8 pm. They are also available all night in case of emergencies.
What past Nova Glamping Peggy Dome guests have said:
“Great Host ! Check-in was easy, he took time to show us around the island and how everything works . It was an amazing getaway with unreal ocean views . The sauna and private hot tub were really cool. Highly recommend!”
— Stephanie (see more reviews)
▶︎ BOOK Sissiboo River Retreat
Why choose one of these glamping domes? The Sissiboo River Retreat has three domes to choose from: the Timberland, the Driftwood, and the Fireside. All are located among the trees along the Sissiboo River just south of Digby in the southern part of the Annapolis Valley. The Timberland is a wheelchair friendly dome and will soon be fully accessible. It is elevated on a high deck that lifts you into the trees and gives you a bird’s-eye view of the Sissiboo River.
As well as the three well-outfitted domes, Sissiboo River Retreat also offers “getaway packages”, in which you can go whale watching, golfing, fishing, and even lobster fishing on a fishing boat.
There are several ways of getting to Sissiboo River Retreat. Less than a 3-hour drive from downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia, or a mere hop, skip and a jump from the Digby / Saint John Ferry will put you riverside and nestled quietly at the Sissiboo River Retreat.
Note that each dome has slightly different amenities. The Sissiboo River Retreat domes include:
- Heating and Cooling – heat pump for air conditioning & heating, indoor pellet fireplace.
- Kitchen facilities – Kitchenette with dishwashing sink and supplies (detergent/cloths/towels), Keurig coffee maker (coffee supplied), mini-fridge.
- Bathroom facilities & hot water – Private indoor bathroom with toilet, sink & shower.
- Sleeping – Fireside dome: the king-size bed sleeps up to two guests and there is a cot available for a third. The Driftwood and the Timberland are bigger domes and they can take up to four guests — each of them have a queen sized bed in the loft and a comfortable king bed (Driftwood) or a queen bed (Timberland) on the main floor.
- Indoor amenities – WiFi, Alexa, Board and card games.
- Outdoor amenities – large personal deck, private hot tub, BBQ with side burner, propane fire pit with chairs, starter wood bundle provided.
- gift certificates
- “getaway packages”, in which you can go whale watching, golfing, fishing, and even go lobster fishing on a fishing boat.
What past Sissiboo River Retreat guests have said:
“We had a great two night stay in the Fireside dome. The domes are equipped with everything a person needs. Each unit even has an Alexa to allow a person to listen to their favourite tunes. The owners Sonya and Jason were very helpful and friendly, adding to a positive stay. They even brought a nice welcome gift. Great touch on their part. If you are considering clamping, I would highly recommend booking with them. I know we will likely return sometime in the summer.”
— Bob (see more reviews)
▶︎ BOOK As The River Bends
Why choose one of these glamping domes? Located in the northern part of the Annapolis Valley, As The River Bends offers two domes: the Cedar and the Maple. The Cedar is a fully-certified accessible dome. There are numerous special spots throughout the retreat property such as gardens, trails, and the river. Many of the items found at the retreat are earth friendly; either sustainably made, up-cycled, reloved, or reimagined. Indeed, being eco-friendly, health-minded, and teaching people about those things are a major part of what this facility is all about.
They also offer several “Signature Experiences” such as Forest Walks and Forest Yoga, and even a catered lunch on Blue beach, a world-famous site for extremely ancient fossils. Close by there is Hantsport and West Hants for shopping and popular tourist attractions, the Avon River that has some of the world’s highest tides, and the Avonport beach.
The domes at As The River Bends include:
- Heating and Cooling – heat pump for air conditioning & heating, indoor electric fireplace. Insulated for your comfort with a polly-layered foil-backed insulation.
- Kitchen facilities – Fully equipped kitchen with small fridge, two-burner induction cooktop, convection toaster oven, kettle, coffee maker, and toaster.
- Bathroom facilities & hot water – private indoor bathroom with custom shower, vanity, organic towels, natural soap and luffa. Hot water provided through a propane-powered instantaneous water heater.
- Sleeping – queen-sized bed with luxurious sustainable linens and a roll-away bed.
- Indoor amenities – indoor seating area with sofas, dining area, books and games.
- Outdoor amenities – forest views, hot tub, BBQ grill with utensils, propane table-top fireplace and outdoor seating, outdoors games, a shared fire pit, and optional outdoor projectors with which you can watch TV or movies from the comfort of your hot tub.
- ‘Wander with Wonder’ Forest Walks, Forest Yoga, Peaceful Picnic, Dine with the dinosaurs, gift certificates
What past As The River Bends Retreat guests have said:
“Excellent experience from beginning till end. Fabulous way to access rest, nature and Nova Scotia sites without taking on a bland hotel stay or the heavy lifting aspects of camping. 🏕️ Beautiful!”
— Karrie (see more reviews)
▶︎ BOOK Nalu Retreat & Nordic Spa
Why choose one of these glamping domes? The NALU Retreat and Nordic Spa is more than just a dome vacation, as the name suggests. It’s also a retreat where you can benefit from all sorts of healing practices such as therapeutic deep tissue or relaxation massage, shiatsu or aromatherapy massage, cupping, guasha, reiki, breath-work, EFT tapping, and acupuncture.
There are three Nalu domes perched on the edge of a cliff with large panoramic windows to bring in the mountain and lake views. The owners also offer discounts to Nova Scotia residents and have some interesting partnerships with local vendors including Rousseau Chocolatiers and Lupin Dining.
The Nalu Retreat & Nordic Spa includes:
- Heating and Cooling – to keep the temperatures comfortable, Nalu domes have a heat pump mini-split ductless system, a propane fireplace, fans, and multiple heaters.
- Kitchen facilities – kitchenette with apartment-sized fridge, two electric portable burners, coffee-maker, toaster oven, microwave oven, french press with a variety of local coffee, local honey, oil, and more. You can also order pre-made meals through Nalu (these come from the partner, Lupin Dining).
- Bathroom facilities & hot water – nicely-finished spa bathroom with washbasin, toilet, and large shower with rain and wand shower heads. There’s also comfortable robes and slippers for you to wear, hand-made Turkish towels, and custom soaps by Ruby Brown. Hot water is provided by a 40-gallon hot water tank – the water comes from two wells (one is 400 feet deep) and the owner says the water is so pure and delicious that tests show it doesn’t have to be treated.
- Sleeping – queen-size bed on the main floor with high-end linens. There’s also oversized beanbag chairs on the second level for yoga or star gazing through the upper window.
- Indoor amenities – indoor dining area, indoor fireplace, comfy couch with cushions looking out the window to the panoramic outdoor view. Yoga Mats, singing bowls, meditation instruments, a selection of enlightening books, zen adult doodling books, board games, puzzles, a nature/ white noise machine, and a diffuser (a small heated unit with essential oils that produces aromatic scents.
- Outdoor amenities – private deck with hot tub and a propane fire pit, BBQ grill with utensils, and outdoor shower for a cold plunge. There’s a shared fire pit with provided wood but you need to confirm that its OK to burn at this website. There’s security cameras and a noise decibel meter as you’re expected to keep the noise level to what you’d expect at a spa.
- Healing sessions, local snacks, swag and meals available at check out or on the online guest shop.
What past Nalu Retreat & Nordic Spa guests have said:
“An incredible stay! The dome was clean, peaceful and had everything we needed. So many small touches that made it feel like home! The location is absolutely stunning! The deck was very private, and we loved having our own hot tub and fire pit. This place is an absolute treasure!”
— Nancy (see more reviews)
Our wrap-up: the top-rated glamping domes in Nova Scotia
If you’re wondering, Can I really enjoy camping in glamping domes? — the answer is YES.
If you’ve shied away from camping all your life because you want to stay somewhere comfortable, because you want to have your hot shower in the morning, and — most of all — because you want to be warm, then these modern outdoor hotel rooms are for you.
They offer you all those comforts as well as the natural wonder of Nova Scotia right outside your door.
For me, the best glamping domes experience is at the Blysteiner Lake Dome. It comes out on top because of the construction quality and attention to detail for the comfort of guests, as well as the many things to do at the dome and close by. It also has the highest number of positive customer reviews of any other glamping dome on the list.
But all the glamping domes in our list are top-rated, and there’s not much between them so the list could change by the next time we update it. The key is to read through the reviews to find the one that’s the best fit for you and your 2023 Nova Scotia vacation.
Here’s a couple of things to remember when planning for your vacation to Nova Scotia:
- First, Nova Scotia weather is changeable, and second, the temperature can change significantly between the city to the coast, so bring layered clothing that you can add or remove as the weather demands.
- Nova Scotia’s natural beauty is second-to-none, so definitely bring your camera and/or binoculars.
Most of all, please enjoy your glamping dome vacation and enjoy visiting Nova Scotia. It’s been an unbelievable experience each time we’ve stayed in one.