Canada’s Ocean Playground – Exploring the Northumberland Shore

Nearly everything in Nova Scotia revolves around the seaside, from bustling coastal cities to historic waterfront and beautiful beaches, amazing hiking paths, and some of the most beautiful and scenic drives and trails in the world.  The hardest part about exploring Nova Scotia is deciding what to do and where to go next in your adventure.  We the staff at Spotlight on Business have made our list of the must-visit small towns and villages along the Northumberland Shore.  Leave the mapping to us and make the most of your time exploring unique places that may be a little off the beaten path but well worth the journey this summer and beyond as part of our three-part Canada’s Ocean Playground series. 


Amherst, Cumberland County

A warm welcome when entering Nova Scotia, or a friendly goodbye waving you on to your next adventure, this historic town located at the northeast end of the Cumberland Basin, an arm of the Bay of Fundy and eastern boundary of the Tantramar Marshes.  Centrally located an hour from the big city of Moncton, New Brunswick, just over a half an hour from the Confederation Bridge from Prince Edward Island making it the gateway to Nova Scotia and Amherst the “Hub” of the Maritimes and it a prime destination for business and personal travel to historic charm and friendly atmosphere this town offers. It will steal your heart and will leave you wanting more.

During the late 19th century, local industrialists and entrepreneurs constructed many fine Victorian and Edwardian homes along Victoria Street East giving Amherst its historical appearance.  Because of the emphasis on sandstone and brick for the exterior and the amazing details and skilled craftsmanship that went into these now-historical buildings, you will be taken back in time as you drive through the streets of Amherst to observe these pieces of art, or even better view them on a guided tour by horse-drawn carriage as Sir Charles Tupper, the 6th Prime Minister of Canada, who was born in Amherst might have back in the day.

The heritage downtown draws visitors to Victoria Square and many speciality retailers that make up the town’s core and charm.  Dayle’s Grand Market is a unique and historic 1906 Landmark emporium that houses several businesses showcasing a sweeping grand staircase and original tin ceilings.

For those looking for a closer look at nature, the Amherst Point Bird Sanctuary, located in Amherst Point is a nationally protected habitat with an incredible ecosystem and seasonal home to many species of birds. (Approximately 228 species of birds have been identified.) One thousand hectares of marsh and forest combine to create this amazing sanctuary with some eight kilometers of trails that wind through this diverse landscape for visitors to explore.   The sanctuary has a 2.5 km (1.6 mi) interpretive hiking trail around Layton’s Lake.  The first half of the trail is predominantly open with a forest of fir, aspen, yellow birch, spruce, white birch, and red maple aging at least 300 years old, with the last portion of the trail offering a hillside view of the lake and a great picnic spot. The sanctuary is also a habitat for wildlife, such as the red squirrel, snowshoe hare and muskrat.  This is definitely a must-visit destination for those that enjoy hiking, bird and wildlife watching.

Looking to grab a bite to eat after exploring as you are heading onto your next adventure, remember to refuel at one of Amherst’s infamous pizza spots, Bambino’s Pizzeria.  Bambino’s was the first pizza restaurant to introduce “Pizza by the Slice” to Amherst back in 1986 and continues to be a staple for locals and tourists today. If pizza is not your go-to, Amherst has family-owned and operated restaurants for every meal. For all the breakfast fans, Breakfast at Brittney’s offers delicious breakfast options for everyone so the whole family will leave full and satisfied before starting your day off.  After an eventful day, maybe you are looking to wind down with a sociable and some pub fare at Duncan’s Pub or at Merl’s and Bud’s which opened in 2021 as part of a renovation project at the old Amherst train station repurposing the building and giving tourists and visitors an opportunity to visit the historic building while supporting local businesses.

Whether you are coming or going, Super 8 by Wyndham in Amherst offers amazing rooms and amenities regardless if your travel is for business or pleasure and they are conveniently located just minutes from Exit 4, on the Trans-Canada Highway.  Oh, and did we mention that they also have a pool with an 80′ waterslide and hot tub to relax after a day of meetings or exploring.

If your travels have you coming through Amherst as you take Highway 366 towards the Northumberland shore, maybe you’re looking for accommodations that offer access to one of Nova Scotia’s best beaches on the Northumberland Strait.  If that is the case, then look no further than D’s Bed and Breakfast By The Sea.  Hosts Diane and Don are very welcoming and this beautifully restored Victorian-century home that offers ocean and countryside views, country charm, and a deliciously crafted breakfast included with your stay.

Whether you take an evening stroll on the beach or wake up to the sweet smell of the salty air as you enjoy a coffee with your feet in the sand, this stay is worth every penny.  We might be a little influenced by their homemade bread, but this is one stay you will not soon forget and may never want to leave.

But remember, there is a lot to discover along Nova Scotia Northumberland as you make your way towards Pugwash and our next must-visit village of Tatamagouche about an hour’s drive (84.3 km – 52.4 mi) from Amherst as we continue to explore Nova Scotia’s amazing shoreline.


Tatamagouche, Colchester County

Tatamagouche is a not-to-be-missed seaside village with a bustling Main Street in Colchester County, situated on the south side of Tatamagouche Bay about 50 kilometres (31.1 mi) north of Truro and 50 kilometres (31.1 mi) west of Pictou.  You’ll find a craft brewery, farmers’ market, handmade chocolates, freshly baked goodies, chowders, bike rentals, and restored rail cars that are now an inn, all within a one-kilometre stretch.

Tatamagouche derives its name from the native Mi’kmaq term Takǔmegoochk, when translated means “Meeting of the waters.”  The first European settlers in the Tatamagouche area were the French Acadians, who settled the area in the early 18th century, as Tatamagouche became a transshipment point for goods bound for the Fortress of Louisbourg.  In the 19th century, like many other villages in the area, Tatamagouche had a sizable shipbuilding industry. Trees were plentiful and sawmills started appearing on area rivers, producing lumber for settlers. Builders needed the lumber to produce the ships and it was common to send a completed vessel overseas loaded with lumber.  However, the age of steam ended shipbuilding in Tatamagouche.

One of the most famous landmarks in the village is the Tatamagouche Creamery.  In its day, most of the local farms supplied milk to the Creamery in order to produce its famous Tatamagouche Butter.  Scotsburn Dairy Cooperative acquired the creamery and kept the Creamery operational from 1968 until it closed its doors in 1992.  The Creamery was donated to the village with the stipulation that no structural changes were to be made to the building’s exterior, including the name and colour. The Creamery Square Association was formed to develop the Creamery Square project.

A new Farmers’ Market building opened in May 2006, and the Creamery building is now home to The Sunrise Trail Museum which showcases artifacts from the 19th and 20th century including the Creamery exhibit. The Brule Fossil Centre offers exhibits of trackways that are 290 million years old. Plus, a diorama and interactive display focus on creatures from the Permian Era that might have made the tracks discovered on a beach at Brule (near Tatamagouche) in 1994.  It also houses the Anna Swan Museum, which honours the life of the famed giantess Anna Swan (1846-1888) who was born and raised in the Tatamagouche area on the North Shore of Nova Scotia. Anna reached a height of 7 feet 11 inches and weighed almost 400 pounds.

Another notable person from Tatamagouche is Ron Joyce, the former Canadian entrepreneur who co-founded Tim Hortons in 1964 and help build it into one of the most successful food service chains in the world before selling the business to Wendy’s International Inc. in 1996.  Ironically there has never been a Tim Horton’s in the village where Joyce was born.

Joyce’s entrepreneurial spirit flows through this small village with many entrepreneurs wanting to move to the village to be part of the village’s revitalization of Main Street, which now attracts visitors to the area from all over the world.

Main Street truly offers something for everyone within a one-kilometre stretch, including a local craft brewery and the iconic Chowder House on Main offering homecooked meals and amazing chowders.  If you have a sweet tooth, Appleton’s Chocolates is just a short walk away, offering the finest hand-dipped chocolates featuring the traditional sweet flavours of the Maritimes (and of Nova Scotia, in particular) such as wild blueberries, cranberries, cherries and maple syrup.  If you are looking for a tasty treat to cool you off on a hot day then the Tatamagouche Ice Creamery makers of the finest, premium ice cream and gelato is the place for you. But who are we kidding any day is a good day for ice cream.

Just off Main St when heading out of the town is Hard Honey Inc a craft meadery offering crafted and fermented beverages made with 100% Raw Nova Scotia Honey.

Once you have completed your walk on Main Street, maybe you’re looking to kick off your shoes and get your toes in the sand.  Well then you are in luck as 10 minutes on either side of the village are two beaches, Blue Sea Beach and Rushton’s Beach.   Don’t worry If you forgot your beach attire, R&B Adventures has all types of outdoor apparel so that you can enjoy a little beach time. The Blue Sea Beach Provincial Park is located towards Malagash and Rushton’s Beach Provincial Park in Marshville is just outside of the village on your way to River John and Pictou.  Both beaches offer wonderful boardwalks and sheltered picnic grounds as well as a change house and toilets and are famous for having the warmest salt water in Nova Scotia.  Both beaches also offer beautiful dune systems with sandy beaches and amazing broad sandbars at low tide that stretch along the shore for over a mile and the salt marsh attracts a great variety of birds for those looking to keep an eye out for nature.

Tatamagouche is a small village that makes a huge impact on those that visit and truly has something for everyone to experience on and off the water.


Pictou, Pictou County

About 45 minutes (55.4 km – 34.4 mi) up the Sunrise Trail on Highway #6 is the town of Pictou which is known as the birthplace of New Scotland.  Once an active shipping building port and the shire town of the county, located on the north shore of Pictou Harbour, approximately 10 km (6 miles) north of New Glasgow.

The first wave of immigrants arrived in what is now known as Pictou on September 15, 1773, on the ship Hector. While there were a significant number of Scottish settlers in other parts of Nova Scotia, those that arrived on the ship Hector are recognized as the first Scottish immigrants to sail directly from Scotland to what is now Canada.  Today the town offers many important examples of stone housing constructed by those early generations of Scottish immigrants, which have clear connections to architectural styles and design in Scotland itself.  That along with the amazing waterfront views and other historic references make this small-town a must-stop tourist destination.

This year visitors will be given a special treat as the Town of Pictou celebrates a convergence of two major anniversaries in 2023.  The historic 250th anniversary of the landing of the Ship Hector and the 150th anniversary of the incorporation of the Town of Pictou. Throughout 2023, over 20 community organizations will host events that acknowledge their historic past and celebrate the present and future of this harbour town.

The Hector 250 celebrations will happen September 15th to 17th, offering a weekend filled with events and activities that acknowledge the nearly 200 highlanders that landed on Pictou’s shores in 1773.  The town celebrates its Scottish heritage with Ship Hector Tours, Hector 250 Tattoo, Bluenose II visit, and a Regatta along with a Hector Ceilidh and other Gaelic Cultural Events. To keep up to date on what is happening check out

Don’t forget about the Pictou Lobster Carnival which has been a Signature Event in Nova Scotia since 1934. This 3-day festival, July 7th -9th, celebrates the end of the lobster fishing season in the area and is rich in Maritime culture, music and most importantly lobster dinners.  This event truly offers something for everyone in the family on the waterfront of this charming town.

Shipbuilding is deep in the soul of this town. A notable shipbuilding accomplishment was the speedy construction of twenty-four Park ship freighters by the Pictou Shipyard back during World War II. After the war, the shipyard continued its operation building many fishing trawlers and ferries.

The Hector Heritage Quay is an Interpretive Centre that tells the story of the Hector settlers, housing a blacksmith shop, rigging room and carpenter’s shop. This year visitors will be able to tour a full-size replica of the Ship Hector which has been completely refurbished and will be unveiled this summer during the Hector 250 celebration, allowing you to step on board the ship and experience what the voyage might have been like for these early settlers.

For those looking to get a little closer to the water, there are two nearby beaches.  Caribou-Munroes Island Provincial Park is 11 km (7 mi) north of Pictou and close to the PEI ferry terminal.  This beach, like many along the Northumberland shore, offers a mile-long sand beach and some of the warmest saltwater swimming north of the Carolinas.  This area also offers hiking trails that can be enjoyed along the shore to Munroes Island. Plus, other activities like bird watching, canoeing, and kayaking.

Waterside Beach Provincial Park is situated east of Caribou River (3 km /2 mi north of Route 6) and offers a combination of a long sandy beach, salt marsh and open farmland with picnic tables. This long, wide beach is seldom crowded, and the water is very warm.

Once your day is done it is time to check into the Heritage Quay Bed & Breakfast and take your Pictou experience to the next level.  This circa 1855 charming heritage offers a lot more than a complimentary breakfast and comfortable room.  The Heritage Quay offers many amenities to ensure a leisurely and memorable stay. You can borrow a bike or umbrella to explore the downtown area which is only a minute’s walk or bike ride away. You can also take advantage of their newly renovated common areas designed for reading, playing games or puzzles, or simply enjoying the coastal view from one of many stately windows. In warmer months, guests can dine outdoors on the large back deck overlooking the garden or spend evenings gazing up at Nova Scotia’s starry North Shore sky by a blazing campfire before getting a great night’s sleep, so you are refreshed and ready to continue exploring all that Nova Scotia and the Northumberland shore have to offer you, after you finish your gourmet breakfast of course.


Pictou Island, Pictou County

Nestled in the Northumberland Strait between Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island lies a hidden jewel of Nova Scotia located 7.5 kms (4.7 mi) from the mainland called Pictou Island.

Getting to Pictou Island is usually done by passenger ferry which you catch at the Caribou dock. For most travelers, you will be familiar with this location as it is the same location at the end of Highway 106 where you would travel to get the ferry to Prince Edward Island. Rather than driving on the ramp, you hang a right and head down to a small fishing marina. Guests park their vehicles adjacent to the ferry terminal after dropping off their gear and supplies at the dock. Visitors need to remember the island is completely off-grid and access to supplies is very limited so pack accordingly.

The 45-minute ferry ride to Pictou Island is subsidized by the government of Nova Scotia but you also have the more expensive option to charter your own boat if you wish. If you want to take your island adventure to the next level, you can charter a plane for your trip to the island or you can even share the 4-passenger Cessna airplane with mail and supplies that will touchdown on the main road of the island. It is an amazing experience all on its own and the pilot might even give you a wing wave before you touchdown. This makes for an exhilarating and memorable way to travel to the Island for your stay, but the ferry ride is not too shabby either.

From the air, you will see that the island is heavily wooded, with several clearings on the more sheltered south side. The island has a public wharf located at the west end and a breakwater protecting the fisher shacks at the east end.  Several lighthouses are located on the island – south, east, and west. It does not take long to understand that simplicity is the theme on Pictou Island for both visitors and the small year-round population spread throughout the island.

If you are looking for accommodations while on the island, Kirribilli EcoRetreat – Pictou Island Yurts offers the feeling of truly getting away without leaving the province plus has a full slate of accommodations and amenities for guests from all over the world. If you are someone who loves nature and wants to escape the constant hustle and bustle of modern life, this EcoRetreat is the perfect place for you. Guests can disconnect as much as possible from the outside world and reconnect with their mind, body, and soul while surrounded by the natural beauty this tiny coastal island. “When guests are on the island, and especially when they come to our place, they tend to put down their cell phones and stay outside. They do not look for their phones again unless it is to take a picture,” said Paula Law, Co-Owner of Kirribilli EcoRetreat – Pictou Island Yurts.

If you are staying at the retreat once you take your water transportation across the Northumberland Strait, you are picked up in an open-air people carrier and your belongings get transported directly to the retreat. The entire island is completely off the grid, there is no electrical connection to the rest of the province. As far as power goes, it is all about renewable energy as they use solar and wind to supply their energy needs. Like the retreat, every individual household must have its own way of supplying its energy needs on the island. In an emergency, the retreat has generators for backup.

The Northumberland Shore and specifically Pictou County are known for its amazing beaches and Pictou Island is no exception, as it offers a beach in every direction. There’s a variety of beaches offering sand, bluffs, and a rocky shoreline. Once you have the opportunity to explore each of them on your own, you will appreciate the distinctive features each offers.

At the most eastern end of the island is John MacCallum Memorial Park. It is a beautiful sandy public beach plus it is a great spot for walking and beachcombing. You will find beautiful rocks, shells, and beach glass.

Wharf Beach is also a great place for day trips to Pictou Island. The beach offers a great swimming spot and it is near the South Lighthouse. Head on up to the end of the Factory Road and you will find the North Beach. This is the only other public beach on the island. The north shore has beautiful views and is the place where many of the old fishing factories were once located on the island.

Roger’s Point is located at the southern tip of the island, only a few steps away from Pictou Island Wooden Tents. The beach has beautiful sandbars, and warm water and is a sunbather’s haven.

On the north end of Kirribilli EcoRetreat is John Dan’s Cove. It boasts a navigated walking trail from the main road to the north shore.

Exploring your surroundings does not stop when the sun starts to set, some even say that it is the best time to enjoy the island. AJ Law explains, “One unique feature on the western end of the island at West End Beach, that isn’t easily found on the east coast, is an ocean sunset. Because you’re looking between Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island toward the St. Lawrence, you can see the sun set directly in the ocean.

Looking to have the perfect ending to your day, add to that image the sound of peepers, fireflies lighting up the grasses and trees, and the stars illuminating the skies and this island experience is like nothing else in Nova Scotia or Canada for that matter and why it needs to be on your bucket list for a visit.

This tiny coastal island in the Northumberland Strait is truly a unique destination that has captured the hearts, minds, and souls of visitors from all over the world looking to visit Nova Scotia.


New Glasgow, Pictou County

Located about 18 mins (22.2 km – 13.7 mi) from Pictou or Caribou is New Glasgow the commercial-service center of Northern Mainland Nova Scotia, but it is not all work and no play for this town that is located along the East River of Pictou County which flows into Pictou Harbour. A sub-basin of the Northumberland Strait makes the area very much connected to the land and the water.

Big and small businesses alike call it home. Art, culture, entrepreneurship, business and industry all coexist here with great lifestyle amenities and close proximity to fantastic beaches that make this place a must-stop when visiting Nova Scotia this summer and beyond.

Just a short drive outside New Glasgow is Melmerby Beach Provincial Park, in Little Harbour (Route 289, 16 km / 10 mi north of Highway 104, Exit 27; follow signs) on the Northumberland Shore.  Known for its warm waters, averaging more than 19° Celsius (66° Fahrenheit) in the summer months, and an amazing 2 km (1.25 mi) of beach accessible by boardwalks. The beach is supervised in the months of July and August and offers lots of space to enjoy the water, sun and sand, just remember your sunscreen.  This beach park features include change houses, flush toilets, salt-rinse showers, picnic tables, a boat launch, and abundant parking.  It also offers an accessible coastal viewing opportunity making it something that everyone should and can experience.

Once you are done exploring the beaches of Pictou County, New Glasgow offers visitors and residents alike big city amenities with small-town charm and friendliness.  The Wellness Centre is 155 000 square foot, state-of-the-art, fully accessible sports and recreation complex with two ice surfaces and a conference centre that has hosted major regional, provincial, and national sporting and non-sporting events.

New Glasgow offers a vibrant regional Farmer’s Market with an excellent reputation for offering local vendors and farmers the opportunity to sell their goods.  The market attracts more than 2,000 people every Saturday morning allowing people to have the best farm-to-table experience and get one-of-a-kind items from local craft and product makers.  The Farmers Market takes you back to a time when people took the time to chat and get to know you and it is as much a social gathering as it is a place of commerce.

New Glasgow is known for its spicy brown pizza sauces and its many longstanding signature events happening throughout the summer.  This year the Johnny Miles Marathon takes place June 18th and kicks off summer. New Glasgow has been the home to this marathon since 1975.  The event celebrates and honours the accomplishments of its namesake who was a Canadian marathon runner who won the Boston Marathon in 1926 and 1929 but was also 1925 Canadian 5-Mile Champion, 1928 Canadian 10K Champion and Summer Olympic Finalist and made it to the Summer Olympics as a finalist again in 1932.

New Glasgow also hosts annual Dragon Boat races, which are celebrating their 20th Anniversary this year.  The event happens from July 21st and 22nd and has over thirty-five paddling teams race in heats with more than 1000 participants and spectators viewing from the two shores of the East River and the George Street Bridge as onlookers cheer on the paddlers to raise money for local charities.

For music lovers, the Jubilee or “Jube” as it is affectionately known celebrates 26 years this year.  This music festival has built a solid reputation over the past quarter century on three simple things: Iconic Canadian Artists, Audience Experience, and Promoting the Artist of Tomorrow.  This signature Nova Scotia event puts rising stars on the same stage as award-winning and critically acclaimed acts.  This East Coast Music Festival has brought fans of Canadian Music to New Glasgow to witness local, up and coming and iconic Canadian artists and this year’s “Jube” is no exception.  During the long weekend of August 4th, 5th and 6th over six thousand concerts goers will converge to the edge of the East River at Glasgow Square, an outdoor amphitheatre that was built in 2001, to offer an amazing venue for this event and for putting the spotlight on Canadian music for area residents and those traveling to take in this three-day award-winning festival that provides both artists and music lovers alike,  one of the most engaging performance experiences of any venue.

For those looking to keep the party going, the Stop Bar & Grill is the place to be as the live music continues until late into the evening. It is also a great place to grab some great East Coast and Mediterranean eats before heading over to check out the music, making it truly the spot to be before and after the festival for some of the best entertainment in Pictou County.

Glasgow Square is also home to the Pictou County Ribfest making its return to the riverside venue again this summer on August 11th, 12th and 13th offering a family-friendly wood-smoked BBQ experience that is second to none. Remember to wear your stretchy pants and have extra napkins as things can get a little messy.

If Ribs and smoked meats are not your thing don’t worry, there are lots of eats in New Glasgow to keep you and your family satisfied.  Just a stones throw from Glasgow Square is the Waffle Bus Stop which offers a unique waffle experience that will have you rethinking how you have been eating waffles all your life.  Just up the East River Road, you have traditional pub fair at The Thistle Gastropub, traditional pizza and pastas at Pizza Delight, and for those trying to keep it healthy, Pita Pit.  If you are looking for a traditional home-cooked meal like the ones your grandmother made, then a stop at the East Side Family Restaurant is a must during your visit to New Glasgow.

New Glasgow offers many accommodations options but if you a looking for a unique experience during your visit or for a weekend getaway, then nestled on Nova Scotia’s Northumberland Strait along Merigomish Harbour, just outside of New Glasgow, is Fossil Farms Oceanside Retreat, a 200-year-old farm, with a vineyard, gardens, greenhouses and an orchard.  This oasis is for nature and outdoor enthusiasts looking for a unique and tranquil escape.  Tuck into one of their collection of cottages and guestrooms and spend your days savouring oceanside strolls at the farm, cycling the trails or paddling out to the islands for a picnic or going swimming in the warm waters.  As night falls, come gather around the bonfire for stargazing, sharing stories and s’mores.  You can also drop by The Barn, their version of a ‘main lodge’ for games, and just wait until you smell what they’ve been cooking in the kitchen!  Fossil Farms Oceanside Retreat takes your accommodation experience to the next level and will get you relaxed and refreshed before continuing your exploration of more of what small-town Nova Scotia has to offer.


Antigonish, Antigonish County

About an hour (75 km – 46.6 mi) along the scenic shoreline on Highway 245 will take you to the town of Antigonish. Famously known for its friendly diverse roots, and home to St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish nestles its way into the hearts of all who visit whether it is for a weekend stay or while getting your degree.

With a population of just over 4000, Antigonish offers big city amenities while staying quaint and simple. With accommodation options around every corner, Antigonish is the perfect destination for when visiting or exploring Nova Scotia and one that needs to be on your must-visit list for this summer and beyond.

If you are looking for a unique opportunity to relax, reset and connect with a time that most of us have forgotten, then Wild Orchid Farm should be on your must-visit list when in Antigonish.  Wild Orchid Farm revolves around love – love for family, for the animals, and for the land. Plus, they provide an opportunity to experience farm life firsthand with a farm stay taking your experience to the next level.  The on-farm boutique offers their made-by-hand goat’s milk soaps which are made from their own farm fresh goat milk and other locally sourced ingredients.  Located just outside the town of Antigonish, Wild Orchid Farm is home to various other farm animals which are treated like family. If you run out of time to stop in for a visit, you can find their products online, but we recommend the in-person visit as it is an experience second to none.

Staying with the farm theme, you can visit the Antigonish Farmer’s Market every Saturday from 10 am – 1 pm, located on James Street.  This market features local vendors offering fresh produce, bakery items, souvenirs, clothing, sentimental gifts, and much more. It is a great way to kick off exploring all the amazing small businesses that can be found in Antigonish’s downtown and surrounding area.

To satisfy all your cravings, Antigonish has several restaurants that offer something for everyone and are worthy of more than one visit when in town.  The Waffle Bus Stop, Gabrieau’s and The Brownstone are restaurants located in downtown Antigonish and all have friendly staff that are more than happy to serve you breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between.  Each offers you a unique dining experience with locally sourced ingredients that everyone will enjoy.

Depending on when you are visiting Antigonish, you might have the opportunity to take in some high-caliper Atlantic University Sports at the Keating Millennium Centre or at Memorial Field which are both located on the St. Francis Xavier University Campus. St. FX and Antigonish are famous for their regional and national championships in both men’s and women’s sports if you were looking to cross off attending AUS game off your university sport bucket-list during your visit.

Pictou is not the only small town in Nova Scotia that embraces its Scottish roots, Antigonish is also home to the longest-running Scottish Highland Games outside of Scotland. Antigonish has been holding the Highland Games for 158 years and this week-long event provides education and entertainment for the whole family. This includes traditional workshops, concerts, golf, parades, music, and much more. Be sure to check out the festival happening this year from July 2nd until the 9th or you can even plan your visit around this or other events. For more information check out their website (

Keppoch Mountain offers activities year-round plus there are amazing beaches within a few minutes of downtown where you can enjoy time with your toes in the sand.  If being on the water and adventure is your thing, then from July to November you can try one of the ‘Catch & Release Bluefin Tuna’ private charters.  Looking for a little less adventure, maybe a relaxing sunset cruise or family mackerel fishing or a wildlife sail where you can view whales, seals, bald eagles and other beautiful sea birds.  Regardless of what activity you choose, you can be guaranteed that it will be filled with the Maritime charm and hospitality that Nova Scotians are known for.

If music is more your thing, then Antigonish has that also with the Nova Scotia Summer Fest at Columbus Field.  This year’s festival includes amazing artists like Natalie MacMaster, Donnell Leahy, Matt Andersen and Jimmy Rankin and will be held from August 17th to 19th this year.

Antigonish and the surrounding areas has activities for the whole family year-round and it will reserve a place in your heart for years to come. The experiences and atmosphere will ensure that this trip won’t be your last!

Our next issue will spotlight the must-visit small lakeside towns and seaside villages as we cross the causeway to Cape Breton Island only 45 minutes (54.9 km – 31.4 mi) from Antigonish before heading to the Eastern Shore Region along the Atlantic coastline as we continue to share our must-visit destination as explore the best Nova Scotia has to offer.

by Karlee Atwater