Nova Scotia Lighthouses

12 Nova Scotia lighthouses you’ll love to visit

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There’s no question that Nova Scotia lighthouses have enormous appeal for tourists coming to the province. Indeed, Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse has extremely high recognition worldwide and helps underscore the status of “Canada’s Ocean Playground” as an international travel destination.

And the lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove is just one of more than 185 lighthouses that pepper the province’s 13,000 kilometre (8770 mile) coastline. With that many lighthouses to see and that much coastline to explore, some helpful guidance would make planning a trip much easier.

So let’s look at some of the best Nova Scotia lighthouses along the South Shore’s Lighthouse Route — and concentrate on those that you can actually visit or at least see up close or from the roadside.

And in between the lighthouses, you’ll have the chance to see scenic fishing villages, beautiful coastal vistas, vibrant towns with many shops, restaurants, art galleries, ocean beaches, quaint bed-and-breakfast homes as well as large resorts, and the famous Oak Island of History-Channel treasure-hunting fame.

Sound like fun? Let’s go…

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Overview of the South Shore Nova Scotia lighthouses listed in this story (see individual listings for specific locations)

#1: Sambro Island Lighthouse: North America’s oldest functioning lighthouse

The Sambro Island lighthouse is the oldest functioning lighthouse in North America (not to be confused with nearby Sambro Harbour Lighthouse).

It stands on a granite island about two nautical miles outside the entrance to Halifax Harbour, marking an area of dangerous shoals. 

This makes it difficult to get to if you don’t have a boat, but there are two commercially-run tour operations that can help.

  • FIrst, the Sambro Island Lighthouse Heritage Society operates a boat tour out of Sambro Harbour, leaving from the small port next to the Coast Guard station.  They haven’t set a tour schedule yet for 2022, but you can check their Facebook page and message them — they’re usually pretty responsive.
  • Second, you can take a two-hour “Heli-Picnic Island Escape” — a helicopter tour run by Halifax-based Vision Air Services that includes a from-the-air tour of Halifax and the fully-restored Halifax Citadel fort, the harbour, and the granite coastlines that are often teeming with wildlife. They’ll take you to Sambro Island lighthouse for a picnic lunch complete with Nova Scotian wines. 
How to get there:

[About 40 minutes] From Halifax, take route 306/ Old Sambro road through Portuguese Cove, Duncan’s Cove, and Ketch Harbour, and then on to Sambro. You’ll see coastal vistas and small towns along the way.

Click to see working Google map

Other things to do in the area:

  • Before you leave Halifax, there’s the Halifax Citadel, a fully-restored English fort first built in the mid-1700s. You can take a guided tour, see exhibits, and even be a soldier for a day (but book ahead at bookings@halifaxcitadel.ca for that one!)  
  • Also in Halifax, there’s the natural history museum and the maritime museum, the technology-based Discovery Centre, the Sports Hall of Fame, and you can tour the WWII warship HMCS Corvette
  • Pavia Cafe and Gallery – on our way to Sambro, we discovered this small bakery/cafe with various coffees and tasty baked treats.  We couldn’t pass up the cookies! 

#2: Peggy’s Cove, the most famous of Nova Scotia lighthouses

Nova Scotia Lighthouses: Peggy's Cove

The Peggy’s Cove lighthouse, also known as Peggy’s Point Lighthouse, is likely the most famous of Nova Scotia lighthouses and one of the province’s most famous landmarks. Built in 1915, it may be the most photographed scene in Canada.

You can still get up close and personal with the lighthouse, close enough to touch it if you feel the need. Or, you can step back and enjoy the view and listen to the relaxing sound of the waves from the new 14,000 square-foot viewing platform across the way. 

The lighthouse is adjacent to the classic picture-post-card fishing village of Peggy’s Cove. Its exactly what you’d imagine: colourful houses perched on a wave-washed and wind-swept Atlantic coastline. Its still an active fishing community despite being designated as a preservation area.

STAY SAFE:  if you choose to walk across the rocks (as we did), keep your distance from the crashing waves — they can easily catch you by surprise on the slippy rocks and sweep you off your feet.  The safest way to enjoy the view is to make sure you are walking on dry, white rocks and not on the dark slippy ones. Signs are posted to show you how far to safely walk, so please heed them.

How to get there:

[About 50 minutes] Two options:

  • Take Highway 103 south from Halifax to Exit 5 and then take Route 333 to get directly to Peggy’s Cove (before the tour buses arrive and maybe early enough for the sunrise!)
  • Take NS Trunk 3 from Halifax and once out of the city go southwest on Route 333, which will give you a chance to stop off at small villages and sights along the way.
Click to see working Google map

👉 Taking a day trip to Peggy’s Cove? We recommend buying your ticket ahead of time through this tour company!

Other things to do in the area:

  • The Sou’Wester Gift & Restaurant is right on the grounds of the Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse and you can dine in full view of the lighthouse and the ocean and buy those Peggy’s Cove souvenirs for the folks back home.
  • After leaving Peggy’s Cove we stumbled upon another of Nova Scotia’s lighthouses, Paddy’s Head Lighthouse near Indian Harbour behind Ryer Lobster market, where you can buy fresh-from-the-sea fish and shellfish.
  • Another stop after leaving the Cove is Labour Day Picnic Cafe on Peggy’s Cove Road just after Glen Haven.  We loved their hot chocolate and baked goods! 

#3: Westhaver Island: An automated lighthouse in Mahone Bay

Like a number of Nova Scotia Lighthouses, the Westhaver Island Lighthouse is on an island and is owned or run by the Coast Guard. 

The grounds of the small island are theoretically open to the public, but you’ll need a boat to get there. It’s best to use a pair of binoculars to see the lighthouse from the shore at Mader’s Cove, just down the road from the town of Mahone Bay. 

Like many Nova Scotia lighthouses, Westhaver Island Lighthouse is now automated (in 1985). It has a fiberglass tower painted red at the top.  It looked a little weatherworn last time I saw it and is in need of a bit of a cleanup.   

How to get there:

[About 90 minutes] After leaving Peggy’s Cove, travel around St. Margaret’s Bay on NS Route 333 through Indian Harbour, Hacketts Cove, and Glen Haven and link up with NS Trunk 3.

Continue south along the twisty seaside road through Boutilliers Point, Black Point, Queensland, and Hubbards and on to Chester. 

Keep going on Trunk 3 past Gold River and Martin’s River until you get to Mahone Bay, a beautiful little town nestled on the shores of Mahone Harbour. 

Click to see working Google map

Other things to do in the area:

On the way to Mahone Bay:
  • Black Harbour Distillery: a distiller of vodka, gin, and rum products and some of them sound pretty tasty:  Maple or Vanilla Rum and Vodka made with cranberries or blueberries.  There’s lots of Black Harbour merchandise too!
  • Hubbard’s Cove Rentals offers hourly rates on stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, snorkel gear, bikes, and hydrobikes. They have lessons and stand-up paddleboard YOGA, and they’ll even deliver to local lakes and beaches.
  • For some relaxing oceanside time, visit Queensland Beach in Queensland Beach Provincial Park, one of the most popular beaches on the South Shore – and its supervised in July and August.
In Chester: 
  • The Chester Yacht Club claims they enjoy the best sailing in Canada thanks to the waters of Mahone Bay. This private sailing club holds various sailing events and regattas including:
  • In town, one of our favourite restaurants is the Kiwi Cafe.
  • Cross a short causeway to Graves Provincial Park and walk the three-kilometre trail (just under two miles) looking out over picturesque Mahone Bay.
  • Take an hour-long ferry ride to Big Tancook Island and Little Tancook Island for hiking, biking, and beachcombing.
In Mahone Bay: 
  • Mahone Bay is most famous for the Three Sisters, three immaculately-kept churches of different denominations (St. James Anglican Church, St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Trinity United Church) built right beside the Lighthouse Route, each other looking out over the bay.
  • The Saltbox microbrewery for craft beer and ciders. They also offer musical entertainment and, of course, Saltbox merchandise!

#4: Post-Confederation Nova Scotia lighthouses: Battery Point Breakwater Lighthouse

The Battery Point Breakwater Lighthouse is on the outer end of the breakwater on the east side of Lunenburg. 

For my fellow landlubbers, a breakwater is a permanent structure built to protect against tides, currents, waves, and storm surges.  Access to the Battery Point breakwater is not permitted due to concern for people’s safety.  

Of all the Nova Scotia lighthouses we’re highlighting here, this is likely the most tricky one to see clearly. It’s visible at a distance from the Lunenburg wharf (bring binoculars!).

Also, there’s a small “park” where Pelham Street becomes Blue Rocks Road, but this is no more than a walk through long grass down to the rocks-and-sand waterside. The best view I got was from Blue Rocks Road on our way towards Lunenburg, but it was still distant. So if you’re keen to see it, binoculars are a must! 

The original Battery Point Breakwater Lighthouse was built in 1864 and replaced in 1937 with new tower raising the height of the light above the water, then replaced again with the current tower in 1951.  It was automated in 1985 and sold in 1995. The keepers dwelling was removed and now only the tower remains.   

How to get there:

[About 15 minutes] From Mahone Bay, continue on Route 3 through Dean’s Corner and on to Lunenburg.   

Click to see working Google map

👉 Take a day trip to Peggy’s Cove, Mahone Bay, and Lunenburg — we recommend buying a ticket ahead of time through this tour company!

Other things to do in the area:

Even if seeing the lighthouse at a distance is not on your agenda, there are many fun things to do in Lunenburg.

  • THE most high-profile thing to do in Lunenburg is see and tour the Bluenose II schooner, namesake of the original Bluenose, which has adorned the back of the Canadian dime since 1937. Take a tour of the Bluenose II when its in port, talk to the crew, and even take a two-hour harbour cruise. Be sure to confirm their schedule as weather can change plans quickly (call 1-902-640-3177 or check the Bluenose Facebook page).

#5: LaHave Lighthouse and the Fort Point Museum

Three Nova Scotia lighthouses helped to guide sailors in and around the mouth of the LaHave River: the LaHave lighthouse and keeper’s house, the Mosher Island Lighthouse, and the West Ironbound Lighthouse.

The LaHave Lighthouse structure was first built in the early 1870s and is now co-located with the Fort Point Museum (not to be confused with the Fort Point Lighthouse in Liverpool).  So, in one visit, you get to see both landmarks.

The museum catalogs the the memories of the LaHave community from the local Mi’kmaq who have lived in Nova Scotia for thousands of years to the early French settlers who established Fort Ste. Marie de Grace, early European settlers, the heritage of the lighthouse, and the shipping and fishing industries of the area.

The museum/lighthouse is open from June to September. Many events are held throughout the season, including a lobster supper at the end of May, the Mi’kmaq Acadian Festival in August and the LaHave River Folk Festival on the Labour Day Weekend.

The site is also designated as a National Historic Site because LaHave was the first capitol of New France in 1632, which began the history of Acadians in Canada. 

How to get there:  

[About 35 minutes] Take Route 3 out of Lunenberg and turn onto Route 332 and then turn on to Indian Path Road to continue towards LaHave. 

Once you reach Route 332 again, turn right until you find the dock for one of the last remaining cable ferries in Nova Scotia. Taking the ferry in your car is always a fun ride and this one will take you and your car across the LaHave River to continue your journey. And did I mention the ferry is free?

On the other side of the river, take Route 331 south and turn onto Fort Point Road toward the museum.

Click to see working Google map

Other things to do in the area:

  • Salmon fishing from mid-May to early July.
  • The LaHave bakery, well-known provincially with lots of locally-baked treats.

#6: Port Medway Lighthouse Park & Medway Head Lighthouse

There are actually two points of interest in Port Medway:  Port Medway Lighthouse Park and Medway Head Lighthouse. 

Initially, Port Medway established the Medway Head Lighthouse on the headland at the western side of the entrance to the outer harbour in 1851.  But since mariners still had a significant way to go to reach the wharf, another lighthouse was built closer to town (where the park stands today).

The Medway River extends inland for many kilometres. Loyalists from Massachusetts settled Port Medway in the mid-eighteenth century and established significant logging, shipbuilding, and fishing industries. At its peak, Port Medway boasted six wharves and a population of over 5,000, But when the industries declined, so did the population.

At the park, visitors can enjoy the lighthouse, a picnic shelter, boardwalks, and informative panels that depict the rich maritime history of the area.   

Just seven minutes down the road, the Medway Head Lighthouse is built on a rugged shoreline that reminds some visitors of Peggy’s Cove probably because of the rocky shoreline and the beautiful ocean views.

How to get there:

[About 40 minutes] Proceed straight on Route 331 from the LaHave Lighthouse passing breathtaking ocean views along the way. Pass Crescent Beach, Broad Cove, Vogler’s Cove, venture briefly onto Highway 103, and then on to Port Medway Road for the final run to the Park.

Click to see working Google map

From the Park, drive for seven minutes along Love Cove Road to get to the Medway Head Lighthouse.

Other things to do in the area:

  • Visit the Old Meeting House, a small wood framed building built in 1832 by the Port Medway Free Will Baptist congregation at the mouth of the Port Medway River. 
  • You can also visit Seely Hall, which was built to be a general store, warehouse, and shipping office on the ground floor and a public space above. It became the ships’ chandlery and Customs House in the heyday of Port Medway shipping in the late 18th and 19th centuries.
  • Port Medway Art and Design is a very nice little shop with textile artwork and owner Pam Purves’s own photographs.

#7: Nova Scotia lighthouses you go inside: Fort Point Lighthouse Park

Fort Point Lighthouse is located on the Mersey River at the end of Main Street just outside Liverpool.  

As is the case with many Nova Scotia lighthouses, the light doesn’t operate any more. But visitors can go inside the lighthouse and up to the third floor to see the light mechanism and the magnificent views of the harbour.

There’s a gift shop on the ground floor and a year-round park outside with picnic tables and panels with historical information you can read. Admission is free.

Fort Point was originally an artillery battery built to defend Liverpool against American Privateers (essentially state-licensed pirates) and then during the American Revolution and the War of 1812.  

But as tensions eased, the town prospered, and water traffic increased dramatically. The first lighthouse built on an island at the mouth of the harbor in 1815 proved inadequate for the task.

The Fort Point Lighthouse began operation in 1855, making it the fourth oldest lighthouse in Nova Scotia and one of the few examples of a lighthouse built before Canadian confederation in 1867. 

How to get there:

Two choices:

  • [About 20 minutes] Take Fort Medway Road and go back to NS Route 103. Travel south to the exit for route 8.  Follow route 8 towards Liverpool. Turn on to route 3 into the town and when you come to Main Street, turn left.  The Fort Point Park is at the end of the road.
  • [About 24 minutes] From Medway, follow the Eastern Shore Road along the coast towards Liverpool. When you get to route 3, turn left. Then turn left again at Main Street.  The Fort Point Park is at the end of the road.
Click to see working Google map

Other things to do in the area:

  • Other Nova Scotia lighthouses:  the Western Head Lighthouse is just a 12 minute journey down Shore Road from the Fort Point Lighthouse Park, Coffin Island Lighthouse is only reachable by boat, however it can be seen from Fort Point Lighthouse Park.
  • Visit the Home Town Museum of Canadian country music star Hank Snow, who also made it big down south, playing in the Grand Ole Opry for 46 years.
  • Hell Bay Brewing Company, a craft beer brewing company that also has ciders.
  • ADJA studio and gallery, Andrew Danylewich specializes in custom jewelry and repair, fine art and crafts
  • The Astor Theatre presents movies and live shows.
  • Roger Savage Studio has original watercolours, drawings, serigraphs, giclees, postcards, and calendars by Roger Savage, as well as painting workshops. 
  • Sherman Hines Museum of Photography.
  • Liverpool Adventure Outfitters offers kayaks and paddleboards for day-time tours and sunset paddles. No previous experience is required.

#8: Enjoy the beach at Sandy Point Lighthouse

The nice thing about Sandy Point Lighthouse is that at low tide, a glistening stretch of beautiful beaches connect the lighthouse to the shoreline – perfect for walking out to the lighthouse or playing with buckets and sandcastles. 

At high tide, the beach yields to the water and the lighthouse is surrounded by the sea. Both picturesque and unique, it offers great photo opportunities any time of the day.  

There’s also a canteen (open 12-6 in the summer months) for ice cream, chips, hot dogs, hamburgers, and more. Enjoy the picnic area on the shoreline with fun and food in the sun.

How to get there:

[About 1 hour] Continue Southwest on Route 103 passing Summerville Beach Provincial Park, Port Mouton and Sable River.

Turn onto NS Trunk 3 towards Shelburne. Turn left onto Hammond Street, which becomes Sandy Point Road around the hospital.

Continue on Sandy Point Road until you get to Sandy Point. The lighthouse is just offshore in the water.

Click to see working Google map

Other things to do in the area:

  • Other Nova Scotia lighthouses in the area: Spectacle Island Lighthouse at Moutin Bay is still operational and has a square wooden tower with a red wooden lantern. You can view it in the distance from Route 3 between Summerville Beach and Hunts Point. (Exit 20 off Highway 103). 
  • There’s also Cape Roseway Lighthouse on McNutt’s Island and Lockeport Lighthouse in Lockeport.
  • Black loyalist heritage centre shows you a history that few in the region know about. Birchtown is the home of the largest free black settlement in the 1780s where people voted with their feet for freedom.
  • Candlebox Kayaking has sea kayak tours and sea kayak instruction. They also offer multi-day kayak tours of the Tusket Islands and Lobster Bay.
  • In the Dory Shop Museum you can see these small boats being built and learn the history of these iconic maritime fishing boats. 

#9: Seal Island Light museum

The original Seal Island Lighthouse was built in 1830-31 as an octagonal wood tower with white and red bands and still exists today as a working lighthouse 18 miles from the shore. It’s 67 feet tall and it has a modern beacon in an aluminum lantern that replaced the original cast-iron one in 1978.

The cast-iron lantern now sits atop a 35-foot replica of the lighthouse at the the Seal Island Lighthouse Museum in Barrington. You can tour the replica and see numerous artifacts cataloguing the lives of local lighthouse keepers and the area’s rich seafaring history. And enjoy the panoramic view of Barrington Bay from the top.

The lighthouse museum is one part of a four-museum complex in downtown Barrington: The Seal Island Light Museum, The Barrington Woolen Mill Museum, The Western Counties Military Museum and Old Meeting House Museum.

The museum is open on weekdays from 9:30 – 5:30 and weekends from 1pm – 5pm.  Last known cost was $5.

How to get there:

[About 35 minutes] From Sandy Point, travel north back to NS Route 103 and turn southwest exiting at exit 29 onto route 3 towards Barrington. 

Continue on route 3 into the town center and you’ll find the museum complex beside the historic Barrington River in Kespugwitk.

Click to see working Google map

Other things to do in the area:

  • Barrington Woolen Mill is a musuem showing how this mill worked with wool when it was operational from 1884 to 1962. The tour exhibits the original machinery and local working floor looms and the water wheel that powered it all.
  • Visit the beautiful South Side Beach, with the white sand that is typical of many of the beaches on Cape Sable Island. As the tide moves out you can often see seals climbing onto rocks to sunbathe. Bring binoculars!

#10: The most southerly of mainland Nova Scotia lighthouses: Baccaro Point Lighthouse

Baccaro Point is the most Southern point of mainland Nova Scotia and the Baccaro Point Lighthouse stands on the edge of the rocky wave-battered coast. 

The original lighthouse was built around 1850 and then was destroyed by fire in 1934, forcing the keeper and his family to hurriedly vacate the property in nothing but their night clothes!  The replacement lighthouse was completed a few months later and is the one that still stands today.

This square, tapered wooden design was widely used throughout Canada after Confederation and you’ll see it on many Nova Scotia lighthouses today.

Behind the lighthouse, you’ll see another larger structure — its the remains of a former US Air Force – Canadian Forces radar installation which was part of the 1950s Cold-War era Pinetree Line Early Warning Radar network.

But, aside from the lighthouse, the really amazing thing to see is the ocean waves, especially on a windy day when there are many breakers. 

How to get there:

[About 20 minutes] From the Seal Island Lighthouse Museum, retrace your steps back along route 3 and turn right when you come to Villagedale Road (aka route 309). 

When you reach Port Latour Road, turn right.  When you get to Smithsville, Port Latour Road turns into Baccaro Road. 

Continue through East Baccaro and Baccardo and when you reach Lighthouse Road, turn left.  Follow Lighthouse Road all the way to Baccaro Point Lighthouse.

Click to see working Google map

Other things to do in the area:

  • Other lighthouses: Stoddard Island (Emerald Isle) lighthouse and Bon Portage Lighthouse, both in Shag Harbour.
  • Also in Shag Harbour, the Shag Harbour Incident Society UFO Interpretative Centre documents how a UFO crashed just off the south coast of Nova Scotia in 1967…  yes, really!  There’s a number of people that will swear by it!  Visitors can view television documentaries, newspaper articles, other memorabilia, and an exhibit on outer space.
  • Sand Hills Beach Provincial Park in Villagedale. The sand flats warm up at low tide creating warm water for swimming. Sand Hills is also a popular birdwatching site.

#11: Abbott’s Harbour Lighthouse was built in the wrong place!

This lighthouse was built at Abbotts Harbour in 1922 to replace the previous system of a lantern hoisted on a mast on Abbotts Island.

The lighthouse is the ubiquitous post-Confederation design: a tapered square timber building 30 feet (9.1m) high.

The lighthouse had to be moved when, transferring ownership to the community, officials found it had been built by mistake on private land!  After the move, the lighthouse now rests at Le Village Historique Acadien in West Pubnico. 

For Visitor Information, go to Visit-us @ Le village historique acadien

How to get there:

[About 45 minutes] From Baccaro Point Lighthouse, go back to NS Route 103. Head west to exit 31 and turn south onto Pubnico Connector, which becomes Route 3 shortly afterward and then turns into Route 335. 

After passing Boatskeg Distilling, turn left onto School Street, then left again onto Old Church Road. 

You will need to make a short walk to the lighthouse at 91 Old Church Rd, Lower West Pubnico, NS, not far from the center of the village.

Click to see working Google map


Other things to do in this area:

  • The Historic Acadian Village of Nova Scotia is set on 17 beautiful acres overlooking the Pubnico Harbour and invites you to step back in time to discover the heart, life, and culture of the Acadians in the early 1900s.  Check out the souvenirs made by local artisans and taste local cuisine in the café.
  • At the southern tip of the Pubnico peninsula, walk the 3.7 km Pubnico Point Trail.  Considered an easy route, it takes about 50 minutes. This trail is great for hiking and it’s unlikely you’ll encounter many other people while exploring.
  • Boatskeg Distilling Co. is a new distillery focused on premium spirits and craft cocktails. Enjoy their cocktail bar and store and the view of the Pubnico Harbour.

#12: Cape Forchu Lighthouse: Nova Scotia lighthouses you can climb to the top

Unlike many other famous Nova Scotia lighthouses, you can enter the Cape Forchu Lighthouse and climb to the top!

WIth 77 steps behind you, enter the lantern room to see the mechanics of a working lighthouse and view the breathtaking vistas of the Yarmouth Sound and the North Atlantic ocean all around you.

Take pictures while guides regale you with stories and history of the lighthouse and the surrounding area.  (The tours allow 5 people at a time and it’s best to book ahead online.)

Sea-side trails through the adjacent Leif Erikson Park have their own exhibits, including a fascinating fifty-foot whale skeleton display, craggy ocean weathered boulders, and stunning ocean views. And for those of us long in the tooth, we can tour the grounds on the free golf cart shuttle service.

The Keeper’s Kitchen café is the on-site restaurant and it offers seafood chowder, fresh-baked desserts, tasty sandwiches, and tea and coffee. You can try locally brewed beer on the patio or have some ice cream in a waffle cone while enjoying the breathtaking vistas of the Yarmouth Harbour coastline.

The cafe and the gift shop are open from May until October; visitors are welcome to the site and trail year-round.

How to get there:

[About 50 minutes] From Abbott’s Harbour Lighthouse, follow Route 335 to Route 3 and continue till you reach Vancouver Street/Route 304 in Yarmouth. 

Continue on Route 304 across the Yarmouth Bar, past the town of Cape Forchu to the Cape Forchu Lighthouse grounds.

Click to see working Google map

Other things to do in this area:

  • Yarmouth has some of the most beautiful examples of Victorian house styles in the Maritimes thanks to the wealthy captains and ship-owners of the towns lobster industry. 
  • Other Nova Scotia lighthouses in the area: Bunker Island Lighthouse, which is only a 2.5 km hike from Yarmouth or a quick drive to the lower part of Bunker Island and a short hike to the lighthouse.  Also: Tusket River Lighthouse, Peases Island Lighthouse, and the Candlebox Island Lighthouse.
  • Every town has it’s stories and secrets and the Yarmouth Walking Tours promise to share some of them with you. Tours run seasonally (June through October) and include folklore, eerie events and true crime, tales of rum-running days, and Yarmouth history.
  • The Song of the Paddle offers guided kayaking tours in and around the Yarmouth area. No experience is necessary – their friendly guides will show you all you need to know.
  • Yaciuk’s Antiques specializes in clocks & music boxes and carries a large variety of Hummel figurines, Bisque figurines, a variety of European porcelain, and more.

Travel Planning Tips

What is a lighthouse?

Nova Scotia lighthouses are similar to those we’re all familiar with: a tower or a building that shines light using lamps and lenses to warn sailors about a coastline, rocky dangerous shorelines, submerged reefs, or shoals that may damage or sink their ships.  

But did you know that many lighthouses are designed to be unique? — they often have custom paint schemes and lights with unique flashing patterns so that sailors can use them as navigational aids.

Today’s lighthouses are in jeopardy of disappearing because of new technology. The Nova Scotia Lighthouse Preservation Society in partnership with the federal government and the provincial government have identified key Nova Scotia lighthouses and are working to preserve them and make them accessible to the public.

Here’s a few things to keep in mind when planning your trip to Nova Scotia:

Nova Scotia Lighthouses Lighthouse Route sign
Watch for Lighthouse Route signs along the way
  • Tip #1: Make your tour of Nova Scotia lighthouses match the time you have available — it can be as long or as short as you want and you shouldn’t rush through it and miss the experience. To paraphrase my uncle: “Avoid those “If-its-Thursday-it-must-be-Tatamagouche” type of itineraries!
  • Tip #2: How are you getting to Nova Scotia? It may influence where your lighthouse road trip starts…
    • Halifax has the international airport. If you’re flying to Nova Scotia, you’ll likely start your lighthouse trip from there.
    • Driving from Canada? Arrive by the TransCanada highway from New Brunswick and head to Halifax.
    • Driving from the US? Take the international high-speed ferry (the “CAT”) from Maine to Yarmouth and start your tour of Nova Scotia lighthouses from there. The CAT runs between May and October – check the link for ferry schedules and to book passage.
  • Tip #3: If you are planning to travel for multiple days, you’ll need somewhere to stay. One good way to find accommodation is through this directory of South Shore Bed and Breakfasts or Hotels from NovaScotia.com.
  • Tip #4: Don’t forget that Nova Scotia is in the Atlantic time zone, one hour ahead of Eastern time. If it’s 5pm in New York city, it’s 6pm in Nova Scotia.
  • Tip #5: Many Nova Scotia businesses close earlier than you might expect — for example, restaurants might close by 9pm even on weekends. Other types of stores might close even earlier than that.
  • Tip #6: Got binoculars? Bring ’em… Some of the route’s lighthouses and other sights are only viewable from a distance.

Conclusion: Best Nova Scotia lighthouses

Nova Scotia lighthouses make for a great sightseeing trip and when they’re combined with the other attractions along the way, your journey will transform into an enjoyable and interesting vacation.

Have a great time in Canada’s ocean playground!

Thanks for joining us on this new adventure! Got a question or a comment? Go to the comments page where you can find our email address and drop us a line.

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