Nova Scotia map and lighthouse pin

Nova Scotia map and lighthouse pin

This pin from Nova Scotia (2006) features the many lighthouses in Nova Scotia, almost a symbol for the province.

“Breathe in the sea air and Maritime charm while ambling along the Atlantic coast”

By Jane Doucet

There is a powerful attraction to the sea that has drawn people to it for centuries, from early explorers and sailors to present-day travellers who feel its pull. Nova Scotia is almost completely surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, and one of the most stunning coastal drives in this Maritime province is the Lighthouse Route.

Nova Scotia lighthouse route

Nova Scotia lighthouse route

Driving east along the South Shore on a sunny day, the seemingly endless stretch of sea sparkles like a sapphire to the right of the road. The route begins at the most southwesterly part of the province in Yarmouth, a historic seaport town. Yarmouth’s most popular attraction is its lighthouse. To reach it, follow Route 304 to Cape Forchu, which French explorer Samuel de Champlain named in 1604. The original lighthouse was built in 1839 and replaced in the 1960s by the current one, which sits atop a rocky point. Gaze upon the vast Atlantic Ocean before you follow the walking trail to the interpretative centre.

As you leave Yarmouth, Route 3 passes through French Acadian fishing villages—a region called the French Shore. Inland on Route 8 from Liverpool is a true natural gem: Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site of Canada, known locally as Keji. Open year-round, Keji has pristine lakes and rivers for canoeing and kayaking, while its lush woodlands make for ideal camping and hiking.

Further east on Route 3 is the historic town of Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located here is the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic and a working marine blacksmith and dory shop. In 1921 the world-famous Bluenose was constructed in a local shipyard; a replica built in 1963, the Bluenose II, is open to visitors when it’s in port.

From Lunenburg, the Lighthouse Route continues to the charming towns of Mahone Bay and Chester. Three classic churches dominate the waterfront of Mahone Bay, while art galleries, restaurants and cafés dot the narrow streets. Chester, noted for its grand homes as well as golf, sailing and kayaking, is also the starting point for exploring the Tancook islands at the mouth of Mahone Bay. Attend a performance at the Chester Playhouse or picnic along Queensland Beach on St. Margaret’s Bay before making your way to Halifax—the route’s final scenic stop.

Want to drive one of these memorable road trips? Order a CAA TripTik® that maps your route, including driving time, distances and interesting stops. Visit your nearest CAA location for TripTiks®, TourBooks® and more, or look up an online TripTik® Travel Planner from your regional CAA site.

Location: 10-C1