We recently celebrated a year-and-a-half as new Nova Scotians, and finally getting settled (sort of) meant that our minds had some time to think of new things to do. So I shouldn’t have been surprised when my lovely bride asked what places there were for romantic getaways in Nova Scotia.
We’re tight — and I really wanted to find a romantic adventure that would sweep her off her feet.
I know we’re not the only couple looking for these kind of getaways, so I’ve compiled a combination of our research and places we’ve experienced in the last year and come up with (what we think are) the five best romantic getaways in Nova Scotia.
Truth be told, there are many places for romantic getaways in Nova Scotia that would be perfect — far too many too include in one blog post (it’d be a War and Peace epic!).
There’s fully-equipped resorts, charming bed and breakfasts, spa getaways, and accommodations with hot tubs. There’s destinations with breathtaking coastal views, beaches, sailing, wine country tours, and history. Or perhaps you’d just like to snuggle down in some secluded space and enjoy each other’s company away from the influence of the outside world.
All that matters is that you find the ideal destination to connect or re-connect with your significant other and create a few memories that will last a lifetime.
I’ve blocked off each romantic adventure below with a recommended venue and some suggestions for other nearby fun places if you have time. Since we’re not all in a position to budget for the top-end resorts, I’ve tried to suggest other fun but more economical lodgings for each recommendation.
At the end, there’s some recommendations on how to plan romantic getaways in Nova Scotia and how to keep it romantic once you’re there (for guys like me… ).
What are the most romantic getaways in Nova Scotia?
Romantic getaway #1: Cape Breton is the jewel in Nova Scotia’s romantic crown
Cape Breton is the most northern part of Nova Scotia and probably has the most unspoiled coast and countryside in the province. Full of scenic views and home to the fabled Cabot Trail, Cape Breton is perfect for a secluded romantic getaway. If you like nature — whether that’s up close or behind the window of civilization, it has natural beauty that will calm and sooth your soul.
Luxurious stay in Cape Breton’s Keltic Lodge
For the first of our romantic getaways in Nova Scotia, we’re starting at the Keltic Lodge at the Highlands, a resort and spa in the northern part of Cape Breton.
The Lodge sits on a high cliff overlooking Ingonish Beach and whichever way you look, the views are breathtaking. In addition to the main lodge there are two other “Houses” and several cottages, each one with an ocean view.
The rooms are finished to a high standard and the window views can hold you spellbound for ages. Some might be happy in their rooms with room service for their entire stay, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you want more, the Lodge has plenty to offer:
- A classic 18-hole, par 72 course carved out of one of Canada’s most pristine wildernesses. For a romantic getaway, this is good if BOTH of you are golfers…
- A couple of hiking trails on the grounds that will take you right down to the water’s edge. (It can be windy on the trail, so bring something warm to wear — and a good pair of walking shoes would help too!)
- Red Andorack chairs are waiting for you throughout the grounds to relax and take in the spectacular views.
- Two dining rooms, the award-winning Purple Thistle and the Arduaine with the ocean view (although this one is currently closed until further notice). And I’m told the Keltic Lodge has the best breakfasts…
- The Highland sitting room that has food and a bar with live music every evening.
- A seaside spa with packages for massages, body wraps, facials, a chocolate “moose” body treatment?? … and more.
Many romantic destinations along the Cabot Trail
Using the Keltic Lodge as a base, you can explore the Cabot Trail loop (298 km-185 mi) at the northern part of Cape Breton.
One-third of the circular trail runs through the scenic Cape Breton Highlands National Park. With its rugged coastlines and mountains, the park provides an excellent backdrop for a romantic hike or picnic. (A park pass is required to enter the National Park — you get that when you drive into the park from one of the road-side entry booths.)
Some stops on the trail include:
Click map for full version
- Beautiful Ingonish Beach in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. While there, take the Lantern Walk through the forest at dusk. It’s put on by Parks Canada, and the guide shares historical tales and a few ghost stories too!
- Neil’s Harbour is a tiny fishing village with colourful fishing boats docked in the water. There’s Salty Roses & the Periwinkle Cafe, the Lighthouse Ice Cream Parlour at the Neil’s Harbour lighthouse, and Dixon’s Zodiac Seafari whale tours (also near the lighthouse).
- The Mackenzie Mountain look off, which offers gorgeous views of Pleasant Bay. If you didn’t have time to do any whale watching while touring the Cabot Trail, keep an eye out for minke whales and pilot whales migrating through here.
- Cape Smokey, which is primarily a ski resort but is open year-round. In the summer, there are trails to hike, kayaking, live music, and a gondola ride up the mountainside for spectacular views of the ocean and Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
- The Skyline Trail is appropriate for hikers of most skill levels and includes a boardwalk with steps at the headland. The 7 km (4.3 mi) looped walking route winds its way along the top of a mountain ridge, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape and seascape. Enjoy the sunset from the lookout points (and bring a jacket and a headlamp if you stay for sunset).
- Alexander Graham Bell’s summer home and museum in Baddeck.
- Close to Baddeck is a pleasant and easy 1.5 km stroll to a beautiful waterfall along a trail called Uisge Ban (pronounced Ishkaban).
- See bald eagles while on a relaxed half-day kayaking tour run by North River Kayaking tours and enjoy a tea break on a picturesque beach.
- The Glenora Distillery, home of Cape Breton’s single-malt whiskey and the first single-malt distillery in North America.
- Archer’s Edge Luxury Camping – not your grandfather’s camping any more. The geodesic domes are completely self-contained, comfortably furnished with a queen size bed, cozy seating, a shower, and an equipped kitchenette. Each dome even has air conditioning and heat available. They face west on a high cliff and give you sensational panoramic oceanside views of the picturesque Gulf of St. Lawrence. Close by, there’s coastal trails, golf courses, beaches, music festivals, and square dancing. (Note: there’s no TV, Phone, or WiFi or pets and children, making disconnecting from society pretty easy… ).
- The Cabot Shores Wilderness Resort offers treetop domes, a cedar yurt, wooden chalet, a small house, a lodge room, a campsite, or a traditional farmhouse. They have Honeymoon & Hot Tub packages that include breakfasts and dinners and private access to hot tubs. The domes are more basic than Archer’s in that the “facilities” are outside and showers and other facilities are also communal. They have a 2000-foot private beach, and kayak, canoe, or a paddle-board rentals. They also have hiking trips to three beautiful waterfalls — in the winter, they offer snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Meals are available onsite including an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet, a bistro, and they’ll even have outdoor cookouts for you and the other guests.
Romantic getaway #2 – Romance and luxury on the Northumberland Shore
Romantic getaways in Nova Scotia along the secluded and scenic Northumberland Shore (aka The North Shore) will help you to rekindle, reconnect, and relax in this area of wineries, beaches, and many other unique things to do.
A luxurious romantic getaway at the Fox Harb’r Resort
The Fox Harbour Resort (officially named the Fox Harb’r Resort) is one of the most ideal romantic getaways in Nova Scotia. The resort is set on 1,100 wooded acres and offers stunning views of the Northumberland Strait that look out toward Prince Edward Island.
The elegant suites in twelve manor-style guesthouses feature free Wi-Fi (but for a romantic getaway, you should consider being disconnected), private terraces or balconies, heated bathroom floors, and kitchenettes.
Their Romance Escape package allows you to book any number of nights at the regular room rate, but for us lovebirds that price also includes:
- Sparkling wine and dessert for two,
- Gourmet three-course dinners for two,
- Breakfasts for two,
- Cruiser bikes,
- An indoor heated pool, the gym, and the tennis court.
- Add-on extras include the spa, golf, sport shooting, and bikes and E-bikes.
- The award-winning Cape Cliff is the main dining room and is the first restaurant in Atlantic Canada to be OceanWise certified for its sustainable seafood practices and offers a locally-sourced seafood-focused menu as well as other gourmet options.
- In The Willard, you can treat yourself to a light snack or enjoy the cozy bar area or spacious outdoor terrace for succulent burgers, famous seafood chowder, and spirits and local craft beers.
- Fox Harbour partners with Jost Vineyards for tours of the vineyards and winetasting. They have a full range of sparkling wines and champagne: whites, reds, fortified, sweet, and dessert wines.
- On the grounds, Fox Harb’r has Nova Scotia’s only five-star golf course. For unskilled golfers like me (I always buy orange golf balls so I can find them in the woods…), the resort has a golf academy, golf clinics, and camps to help links-challenged golfers like me look more cool…
- There’s also tennis, pickleball, volleyball, trails, archery, clay shooting, kayaking, and horseback riding.
- There’s even a private beach and a lighthouse from which I’m told you can catch a spectacular sunrise…
Lots of unique day trips for lovers on the North Shore
- Tatamagouche (pronounced Tata-ma-gooch) fills out a good day of sightseeing with the Appleton Chocolate company, The Chowder House (best seafood chowder I’ve had so far!), and craft brews from the Tatamagouche Brewing Co.
- Shubenacadie Canal Waterway has restored canals and locks and 19th-century restored marine railway. For the active among us, there’s hiking, biking, paddling, rafting, fishing, camping, and canoe trips out to the sea.
- For those of us who’ve been around for a while, there’s the Anne Murray Centre — an award-winning museum that showcases Anne’s incredible life and musical career.
- The Joggins Fossil Cliffs are 1hr 20mins away from Fox Harbour on Chignecto Bay where shoreline cliffs contain plant and animal fossils that are up to 300 million years old. The highest tides in the world wash against these cliffs every day exposing new fossils for visitors to find on the beach below.
- Sugar Moon Farm, where they make hand-crafted maple syrup. Make reservations to visit! They have sugar camp tours, maple syrup tasting, the Log Restaurant with traditional sugar camp food. Also a shop for maple products, books, and more.
- Balmoral Grist Mill: A restored working three-story grist mill. See grains being ground, sifted, and turned into flour just as they have been since Alexander McKay opened this mill in 1874.
Here’s other fun and romantic places to stay, all within driving distance of all the fun on the north shore:
- Train Station Inn and Railway Dining Car: vintage Canadian-built cabooses & boxcars, redesigned and developed into private deluxe suites with reflections of their railway past throughout. Situated beside an original 19th-century train station, built circa 1887. Enjoy local craft beer in the Baggage room bar and live music nights on the railway platform.
- Pictou Lodge Resort and Dining: In Pictou, the resort offers chalets, log cottages, suites, and hotel style accommodations. Dining rooms offer breakfast, lunch, and dinners made from the best local ingredients and stunning views of the Northumberland Strait. Amenities include a private beach with loungers, coaster bicycles, an outdoor heated pool, a fitness facility, a giant checkerboard, fire pits, and kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddle boards.
- Smith Rock Lodge and Chalets: 53 acres on top of Fitzpatrick Mountain, Smith Rock Lodge & Chalets offers breathtaking views and luxurious, accessible one-, two-, and three-bedroom chalets, some of which are also pet friendly and all of which have fully-equipped kitchenettes. Guests can also use the heated pool, the hot tub, use the trails, and play volleyball or basketball.
- Fossil Farms Oceanside Retreat: just outside of New Glasgow, Fossil Farms Oceanside Retreat is a 200-year-old farm that offers cottages and guestroom accommodations. While there, enjoy oceanside strolls at the Farm, cycle the trails, paddle out to the islands for a picnic or go swimming in the warmest waters north of the Carolinas. At night, stargaze around a bonfire. Finding fossils, farm tours, hiking, kiting, taking a sauna bath, bee and bird watching, and a movie night round out the things you can do here.
Romantic getaway #3: Tranquility and nature in The Highlands (aka the Eastern Shore)
The Highland region has many small fishing harbours and communities and, thanks to the many beaches, islands, and the scenic coastline, is home to a growing number of cottages and recreational properties. Largely unspoiled, you can expect to see breathtaking coastlines, unspoiled forests and rivers, and small picturesque communities.
Romantic peace and tranquility at the Seawind Landing
The Seawind Landing Country Inn is one of the first places we visited last year once our moving and home renovations had settled down.
The Inn is charming and is probably one of the most tranquil settings you’ll find for romantic getaways in Nova Scotia.
It’s nestled on 25 acres in a picturesque cove with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. The inn offers a variety of accommodations, including suites with or without jacuzzi tubs and private balconies overlooking the ocean.
Not only was it a peaceful and picturesque respite, it was a great stopover on our trip to Cape Breton to see the amazing fall colours (another story, coming soon) as it’s about halfway between Halifax and the Cabot Trail.
More economical than some other getaways, the Inn is run by Dave and Ann Marie and has all the charm of of a family-run business infused with the sea, nature, and the quiet solitude of the area.
Their Romantic Escape package is a two-night all-inclusive getaway for two in one of the superior ocean-view rooms with a jacuzzi bath. They’ll have a bottle of wine for you on your deck when you arrive and a packed picnic lunch for a day of exploring. Dinners and breakfasts are also included and we can say from experience that the food and service are very good.
- The dining room uses fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients to offer dinners and breakfasts with an array of Country-French and Acadian cuisine such as fresh halibut, cod, beef tenderloin, and succulent local scallops. There’s also a patio where you can sit and relax with a drink before dinner and enjoy the tranquil ocean views.
- (Booking hint: we booked our room through one of the large travel websites. When we got there and spoke to Ann Marie, we found that booking by calling them directly can save you a pile of money! Ask them about the weekend packages that includes dinners in their dining room.)
- The grounds include a private beach and light trails to walk around and take pictures.
- Because Seawind Landing Country Inn is on a small peninsula, you can watch the sunrise on one side of the resort. We got up at 6am to watch and photograph the sun coming up (see pics below)… and…
- … on the other side of the resort, make use of the many Adirondack chairs and the fire pit to watch the sun go down at night. Life can’t get much better than this… 🙂
Additional seashore adventure options
Seawind Landing joined with NovaNature Adventures and offers several seaside adventures that allow you to explore the bio-system of the coastline and enjoy and learn about the natural world of the area. You can book any of these adventures separately on the Inn’s website for a very reasonable cost.
- Seashells & Seaweeds by the Seashore: Beachcomb along the shore and explore tidal pools in the Tor Bay area, looking at the great diversity of wild things, some readily seen and some hidden.
- Dark Skies of Tor Bay: Embrace the world of nocturnal animals; play owl calls and listen for the sounds of the night. Explore the night sky with a Celestron telescope and binoculars, learning the constellations and looking at celestial objects.
- Sugar Islands & Seabirds Boat Tour: This tour has a lobster fisher as your skipper and a biologist as your nature interpreter. On the two-and-a-half hour cruise around the Sugar Islands you are likely to see seals, seabirds, and the tour stops to explore the ocean floor using an underwater video camera.
- Lighthouses & Lite Hikes: Travel along the coast toward Port Hilford Lighthouse, with stops at beaches and tidal wetlands.
Romantic getaway #4: A luxurious nature-filled getaway
Of our five romantic getaways in Nova Scotia, this one is probably the closest to nature. The getaway is centered around the Trout Point Lodge in the southwestern part of the province in what they call the Tobeatic Wilderness. The Tobeatic Wilderness is the largest protected area in the Canadian maritimes and was formerly known as the Tobeatic Wildlife Management Area and the Tobeatic Game Reserve.
Nature and luxury combined at Trout Point Lodge
This romantic getaway begins at the Trout Point Lodge, a major luxury resort nestled amid the forest of southwestern Nova Scotia in Yarmouth County, about three hours drive from Halifax.
The 5-star resort is on 100 acres of wooded estate and follows leading sustainable tourism practices recognized by the Parks Canada Sustainable Award. Every hotel room, suite, and cottage provides stunning river views.
The lodge has a “Romance in the Wilderness” package that includes:
- Two nights in a fireplace suite with a balcony and an ensuite bath.
- Luxurious breakfasts and candle-lit gourmet 4-course dinners on both days of your stay. You can eat in the Trout Point dining rooms or order room service for a more cosy and intimate dinner.
- A picnic basket and a bottle of french champagne to take with you on a romantic walk around the grounds.
- In case that’s not enough food, there’s tea-time cakes and pastries!
- Guided tours in the evening to gaze as the stars and during the day you can go forest bathing (a mindful walk through nature to de-stress) and kayak on the Tusket River.
- Unlimited access to all the resort’s facilities such as a wood-fired hot tub by the river, an outdoor barrel sauna, kayaks, canoes, standup paddle boards, swimming in refreshing river water, and hiking trails.
Many off-resort adventures to choose from
The Romance in the Wilderness package and all the activities it offers will certainly keep you busy throughout your stay on the lodge grounds. However, if you really want to enjoy other things to see and do before or after your stay at the lodge, there are ample opportunities especially down towards Yarmouth. Here’s a few suggestions:
- Cape Forchu Lighthouse: climb to the top and view the breathtaking vistas of the Yarmouth Sound and the North Atlantic ocean. Leif Erikson Park has sea-side trails with exhibits, including a fascinating fifty-foot whale skeleton display. The Keeper’s Kitchen Café is the on-site restaurant and offers seafood chowder, fresh-baked desserts, tasty sandwiches, and tea and coffee.
- Yarmouth walking tours: guided tours of Yarmouth’s past including the Eerie and the Ominous tour about unexplained and eerie events as well as true crime, and the Introduction to Yarmouth, with stories with somewhat less intense subjects such as the original lighthouse keepers, sea captains, shipwrecks, and unique Yarmouth events.
- Tusket Island Tour: go on a boat tour of the Tusket Islands and your guides will regale you with tales of acadian history, fishermen at sea, and perhaps more — the islands are full of stories of lobster and tuna fishing, murders, World War II spies, shipwrecks, disasters, treasure, and much more. You’ll also learn how to haul a real lobster trap, enjoy on-board live music, and seafood chowder!
- For a tasty quick meal in Yarmouth, try the Gaia Global Kitchen. We found the service quick and friendly and the food was good at a reasonable price.
MacKinnon Cann Inn: A beautifully kept period building in the historic district of Yarmouth and within walking distance from museums, fishing, hiking, kayaking, beaches, antique shops, art galleries, market places, yard sales, an array of restaurants, and more. The guest rooms feature full baths, some with whirlpool spas, WIFI secure access throughout the Inn, private telephone, HEPA Air Exchanger, cable television and more.
Argyler Lodge: located at the old fishing wharf on the shores of Lobster Bay in the village of The Argyles. The Lodge’s six rooms are individually decorated and offer top-quality bedding and towels, private entrances and bathrooms, telephones, and wide-screen televisions. Sit back and relax — listen to the sounds of the ocean and watch the tides as the boats steam out to sea. Roast marshmallows over a campfire, pick fresh vegetables from the greenhouse and garden.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing weekend or an exciting adventure, Yarmouth county is sure to please.
Romantic getaway #5: Lunenburg is for lovers
Our final recommendation for the best romantic getaways in Nova Scotia is in Lunenburg, a beautiful and historic town along the South Shore of Nova Scotia. Lunenburg is well-known for its traditional wooden architecture, as evidenced by its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town’s lively waterfront is also popular with tourists, who come to enjoy the views, the shops, and the restaurants.
Enjoy the charm of Lunenburg in the beautifully restored Bluenose Lodge
If you’re looking for romantic getaways in Nova Scotia, the Bluenose Lodge in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Lunenburg is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
The lodge offers 12 individually-decorated guest rooms, each with its own unique charm. The newly re-opened dining room serves breakfast and supper to inn guests and members of the public, serving delicious seafood dishes using fresh local ingredients.
After a romantic dinner, stroll hand-in-hand through the quaint streets of Lunenburg or watch the sun set over the harbour.
The lodge is newly refurbished and is celebrating 75 years of continuous service in the Lunenburg area. It’s only a short five-minute walk to the harbour and the historic old town.
Romantic 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 Bluenose Lodge and 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).
- The Peggys Cove lighthouse is one of the most popular destinations for couples looking for romantic getaways in Nova Scotia and its only about a 1hr, 10 min drive from Lunenburg. The picturesque lighthouse has become an iconic symbol of the province and visitors can also enjoy fresh seafood at the Sou’Wester Restaurant right on the grounds of the lighthouse.
- A number of art galleries, including the Lunenburg Art Gallery (pictured) caters to many local artists who produce some phenomenal maritime-oriented art you can take home to remember your trip. (Full disclosure: my wife Jackie has her art at the Lunenburg Art Gallery and is just one of the artists producing beautiful work.)
- Whale watching: Every year, thousands of whales visit Nova Scotia’s coastline, making it one of the best places in the world to see these majestic creatures up close. There are many whale watching tour operators in Nova Scotia, including Lunenburg. Just go down to the harbour front to see the options and pricing.
- Take a Lunenburg tour in a horse-drawn carriage. Tours run daily from 11:00 am to 30 minutes before sunset. As the carriage winds through the town, the knowledgeable driver will tell you all about old-town Lunenburg, the historic sites, and the attractions. There’s not much that says romance more than the memorable experience of a horse-drawn carriage ride.
- The Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic displays the stories of the rich and diverse fishing heritage that is heavily entwined with Nova Scotia’s coastal way of life. The Marine Life Gallery explores what lies beneath the waves, other galleries tell the stories of the Mi’kmaq fishery, the inshore fishery, the banks fishery, and the spin-off Industries while paying respects to the hardships of the stormy seas.
- As well as the dining room at the Bluenose Lodge, Lunenburg has lots of good restaurants including our favourites so far: Smoke Pitt BBQ, The Grand Banker Seafood Bar & Grill, and the most recent we went to: the Old Fish Factory restaurant next to the Fisheries Museum.
Tips for planning romantic getaways in Nova Scotia that you’ll never forget
Some of us might be romantically challenged – believe me, I know. (Don’t ask me how I know — I’ll just plead the fifth.) Here’s a few tips for planning getaways in Nova Scotia that might help:
- Look for something all-inclusive – An all-inclusive destination is simply one that includes meals and other amenities in the price of your hotel, resort, or B&B stay. You won’t be worried about the money you’re spending on dinners and lunches if it’s all paid for up front.
- Don’t plan every minute – you’re on a getaway to enjoy time with each other so don’t feel the need to plan out every minute of your trip. Often, the couples who find the greatest reconnection during a romantic getaway are those who plan for some downtime.
- Disconnect from the outside world – Switch off your mobile phone or even ask the accommodations manager to put it in their safe during the entire stay. The idea is to disconnect from the world so you can reconnect with each other.
- Leave the kids and pets at home – All the experts say your relationship with your kids comes second to the one with your significant other. This getaway is for you — the kids and the pets can stay at home with grandparents or other caretakers — they’ll be fine without you for a little while.
- Try new things – Step out of your comfort zones and try something new. Learning something together can deepen your bond and make the relationship feel less stagnant. Whatever activity you choose, ziplining, pottery, or a brewery tour, just make certain it’s a new experience for both of you.
- While on your romantic getaway, no talking about finances – I don’t think I have to say much more about that, other than what better way for that romantic ambiance to quickly slip away… Plan ahead and think small. All-inclusive bookings can help. Romantic getaways are sometimes necessary, but they don’t have to break the bank.
Rejuvenate your relationship with unique and peaceful romantic getaways in Nova Scotia
There are many romantic getaways in Nova Scotia, from charming fishing villages to scenic drives with stunning ocean views. No matter what your interests are, you’re sure to find the perfect destination for a romantic escape. So pack your bags and enjoy romantic getaways in Nova Scotia for an unforgettable experience with your special someone.