A Day in Rose Bay
Today’s exploration begins at the Ovens Natural Park, a park that preserves the old sea caves dating back to the 1861 Gold Rush. Spend your morning kayaking along the shoreline and caves with a guide, trying your luck at panning gold on their rocky beach, and hiking the trail to see the dramatic cliffside of the caves from above.
To find the Ovens Natural Park, follow the Highway 332 out of Lunenburg toward Riverport for approximately 12km until you encounter the Feltzen South Rd, turn down this road and drive another 3km before turning onto the Ovens Rd.
After your visit to the Ovens, return to the Highway 332 and make a left towards Rose Bay, following this road for 2km to find the Rose Bay General Store and Bistro on your right. Stop here for your lunch of pizza, sandwiches, salads, soups, fish, clams, or snacks before heading to any of the local beaches!
Visit Sand Dollar Beach if you are a fan of beach combing, or Hirtle’s Beach if you are into rocks and big waves! Spend your afternoon lounging on the sand, searching for shells, or building the world’s greatest sandcastle!
For an additional active option, Hirtle’s Beach has a hiking trail out to Gaff Point, this 7km round trip hike is rated as an intermediate hike with moderate hills. Portions of the trail have roots, rocks, sand, and overall, somewhat difficult terrain, but the views make this hike a breathtaking 2 hours.
Finish the day with a visit to the Bayport Pub for dinner, featuring local pub classics like seafood chowder, deep fried pepperoni, fish and chips, and more!
(Photo above is of the Ovens Natural Park Sea Caves Trail)
Outdoor Activites in Lunenburg Region
Start the perfect family day on the right track with a visit to BernArt Maze, located on Highway 325. This art maze is the first of its kind in all of Canada! Explore the cement sculptures that have been designed and made by over one hundred international artists, and see everything on your way to the finish. This is art that the kids can see, touch, and interact with, all outdoors! See the spider sculpture that towers the entrance and find the handprints and footprints of those who contributed their art to the maze along the paths.
Following along the Highway 324 and 332 will bring you to the Ovens. The Ovens Natural Park is so jammed packed with family fun it could be nicknamed Nature’s Amusement Park. Explore the spectacular and mysterious sea caves, breathe in the salty air, observe the sky and ocean on a cliff-side trail walk or catch a little gold fever by panning on historic Cunard’s Beach. When all the fresh air activity has your family hungry, head over to the Ol’Miner Diner to fill up on their homemade delights and local favorites. Once everyone’s batteries are recharged, take a romp through the playground, a visit to the petting farm or a splash in the swimming pool.
If it’s a low tide on the way home, don’t miss a visit to nearby Sand Dollar Beach. As you stroll on the sand, the kids can run on a treasure hunt for sand dollars that can be later made into jewelry, decorations or simply kept as a memory of a wonderful day in the Lunenburg Region.
Big Tancook Island Adventure
The rustic and gentle charm of Big Tancook Island is only a passenger ferry ride away from the mainland. The 8 km (1 hour) trip across the water from Chester is free and provides a step back in time and a step closer to nature. Shaped like a fish hook and named after the Mi’kmaq word for “facing the open sea”, Big Tancook Island is only 3 miles long and 1.5 miles at the widest point. With only 150 year-round residents, it’s true island life, Nova Scotia-style.
Choose the ferry schedule that best suits your adventure and enjoy the amazing ocean views of Chester Harbour and some of the 350 islands in Mahone Bay. The first ferry stop drops off local residents to Small Tancook Island. While equally beautiful, it has less amenities to day tourists. Your second stop will be Big Tancook Island. Discover the island’s pathways by foot or by bike, inhaling the sea air, enjoying a picnic in the pristine natural surroundings and gaining a sense of the history and spirit of a hardy fishing community.
See one of Nova Scotia’s last single room schoolhouse where all island children grades pre-primary to five get their education. Follow along the road to find The Wishing Stone Gallery and Museum where you will find local art such as photography, painting, rug hooking and more. Take a break and relax at The Southwest Cove Municipal Day Park, it’s a great place for a picnic or to dip your feet in the water. During the summer months the Recreation Centre is open to tourists for a place to stop for local information, washroom facilities, or a place to take a break from the sun.
After a homemade feast at Patrick’s Restaurant or Carolyn’s Café and Crafts, both serving local cuisine and icecream, you may decide you’re not quite ready to head back to the “real-world”.
Country Fun in New Germany
Begin your day along Highway 324 north, take a tour of Lunenburg County Winery. Sample and savour their award-winning fruit wines made using traditional aging methods and the best locally grown fruit. The winery is located on a berry farm, so be sure take home some of that fresh Nova Scotia taste by u-picking blueberries or raspberries when they are in season.
The next stop a bit farther north on Highway 324. Indian Falls is a 25 foot rushing waterfall and historic indigenous salmon fishing grounds. Hike the 1.5 kilometre trail to witness the power of the falls, swim at the bottom, relax in the picnic area or stroll along the rocky beach, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the pristine environment.
To learn more about the local community, visit nearby Parkdale/Maplewood Museum for interesting displays on historic rural life as well as the traditions of the area’s indigenous peoples, the Mi’kmaq. Be sure to wander through their beautiful heritage gardens before you leave.
Heading west on the Barss Corner Road takes you through picturesque farmlands where you might catch a glimpse of some of the area’s unique white cows, called Charloais. This road also offers a fragrant experience of why the region is known as the Balsam Fir Christmas Tree Capital of the World.
After a day of adventuring, 2 PAPA`s Pizza and Donairs in New Germany has a delicious supper waiting for you. Before leaving New Germany, visit Village Glassworks for Nova Scotia designed and crafted stained-glass panels, lamps, and mirrors as well as other locally made treasures that are sure to make perfect mementos of a beautiful day in Lunenburg Region.
Blue Rocks and Beaches
Blue Rocks is a hidden gem of the region, located just minutes out of Lunenburg. Often advertised as “Peggy’s Cove without the lighthouse”, Blue Rocks is a must-see when visiting Lunenburg area. A traditional fishing community with unique natural features, Blue Rocks is a favorite among amateur and professional artists and artisans of all types. During high tide the Old Fish House appears to be floating amidst the Atlantic Ocean and the contrast of the “blue” rocks and yellow and red seaweed makes for picture-perfect additions to your vacation scrapbook and the perfect subject for all ar.
Following along Blue Rocks Rd out of Lunenburg, you will find yourself in a small community frozen in time. Small fishing shacks litter the coast and artisans open sheds along the road to display their works. Continuing out to the very end of Blue Rocks, turning right onto The Lane, and left onto The Point Rd will lead you to Pleasant Paddling. Plan ahead with them to either rent a kayak or take a guided tour of the many rocky islands sheltered from the winds of the Atlantic.
Upon your return to the shore, head back toward Lunenburg and take the time to stop at the Art Barn, a gallery displaying the work of local artist Linda Roe, who creates pieces of local scenery using acrylic and needle-felting.
As you continue toward town, visit the Blue Hog Studio, Gallery, and Food Truck! Located along the water, Blue Hog displays the fine art photography and camera collection of Donald Dunnington and the graphite and charcoal artwork of Helen Dalton, among others. The artists also run the partnered food truck outside, with BBQ and seafood, as well as homemade ice cream made daily! Enjoy their talents in multiple fields as you overlook the ocean across the road in this serene location.
If you’re looking to extend this day beyond Blue Rocks and head to the Beach, Second Peninsula PICNIC Park and Bachman’s Beach are just a short drive from Blue Rocks. Following Blue Rocks Rd to the Highway 332, turn right on the Highway 3, and right again onto Second Peninsular Rd after 1km. Turn right after 2.9km to stay on Second Peninsula Rd, and then make a left turn into the park at the sign. Park along the loop and walk down one of the paths to the small beach in the park. Picnic tables sprinkle the shore and have spectacular views of the islands in Mahone Bay.
To continue to Bachman’s Beach, continue past the entrance to the Picnic Park for 3km, the beach will be on the left.
Perfect Petite Riviere
Start your day by journeying down to Petite Riviere Vineyards, a historic winery best known for its red wines and for being one of the oldest grape growing territories in North America, dating back to the 1630s. Enjoy a tour and a tasting on the building’s terrace, overlooking the hills of lavender and grapes.
Continue into the village of Petite Riviere and stop at the Maritime Painted Saltbox, a vividly colourful art gallery displaying the works of Tom Alway and Peter Blais. Meet the artists and browse through their displays, including handmade furniture, contemporary fine art, and whimsical folk art.
Further into the village, stop by the Mariner Craft and take a peek at all the crafts made by local artists, and browse their selections of knick knacks! A left turn just past the Mariner Craft will take you to Sperry’s Beach, a quiet and small beach where the Petite Riviere itself meets the Atlantic Ocean. Often boasting warmer waters, Sperry’s Beach is a local hangout, and is great for paddleboarding!
As lunch approaches, head back to the Highway 331 and make a right turn across the one lane bridge over the river. Continue right along the Highway 331 until you arrive at Beachside Pizza, a fantastic pizza place only minutes from the beaches, and grab some lunch! Stop into Ploughman’s Lunch just down the road after lunch for some homemade soft serve ice cream before continuing the afternoon.
Head back toward Petite Riviere after lunch and spend the afternoon relaxing on Rissers Beach. One of the only lifeguarded beaches in our region, Rissers Beach boasts soft white sand, relaxing waves, public washrooms, and a small food truck! It is easy to lay here for hours and listen to the waves crash on the shore.
For the adventure seekers in the family, give Swell Time Board Co. a call ahead to schedule a surfing lesson, rent a surfboard, or rent a paddleboard! Spend some time learning how to master the waves with their helpful instructors, or try it on your own with Rissers Beach’s beginner friendly waves!
After a long day in the sun, visit the Osprey Nest Public House for dinner, less than 5 minutes away from Rissers Beach. It features local pub classics and occasional live music! With both indoor and outdoor seating, the Osprey Nest Pub is a new local favourite for people of all ages and tastes.
A Day in Historic LaHave
Make your way to the LaHave River Cable Ferry. The cable ferry service across this river has been active since the 1800s, connecting East LaHave on the Lunenburg side of the LaHave River to the LaHave and Petite Riviere region. The ferry is free to all members of the public, and is accessible to cars, trucks, RVs, bikes, walkers, and more.
Upon crossing the Ferry from the Northern Side to the Southern side, stop at the LaHave Bakery for a delicious brunch. This bakery has been in operation since the 1980s, but the building pre-dates the bakery itself, and is filled with old knick knacks to reflect the old nature of the building. Located in the same building as the bakery are the LaHave Craft Co-op, LaHave River Books, and Homegrown Skateboards.
Located just next door are West Cote Bell Pottery and Heart to Hand Studio Gallery. West Cote Bell Pottery makes one-of-a-kind pottery, tableware, tiles, sinks, sculptures, and more are made on site at the studio. Heart to Hand Studio is known for their award-winning wearable art jewelry made from recycled silver and copper, as well as sculpture and textiles.
Next, get back into the car for a short drive out to the point past LaHave. Taking a left off the 331, will bring you to the Fort Point Museum. Located just one kilometre from the ferry, this community museum is home to exhibits about the first French colonists and settlers in the area, the development of the community, and the Indigenous population who predate the settlers, the Mi’kmaq. The location also acts as a picnic ground and is a National Historic Grounds.
Leaving the Museum, returning to the Highway 331, and making a left will direct you through the community of West Dublin toward Crescent Beach. Arriving at Crescent Beach and continuing along the road that stretches the entire length of the beach will bring you to the LaHave Islands. This collection of islands is the home of the LaHave Islands Marine Museum. The museum, based in an old United Church, exhibits artifacts from the local community’s fishing history, a fully equipped dory, and a Bush Island Double Ender boat shed.
After this visit, head back toward Crescent Beach to spend some time on the sand or extend your day and head to Cape LaHave Adventures for a kayak or stand-up paddleboard rental and tour! Plan this extra visit in advance by reaching out to them.
Finish off your day with some delicious pizza from Beachside Pizza and Market or with sandwiches and ice cream from the Ploughman’s Lunch.