Nova Scotia

The Best of Nova Scotia: Highlands, History and Halifax

Explore the seaside villages of Nova Scotia from Halifax to the Highlands to see whales, puffins and experience the Celtic and French roots of this spectacular region.
Rating (4.73)
Program No. 23038RJ
10 days
Starts at

At a Glance

From the bustling harbor of Halifax to the colorful row of historic sea captains’ homes in Lunenburg—discover the best of Nova Scotia! Experience Peggy’s Cove, where a historic lighthouse balances on giant granite boulders and Cape Breton, where forested cliffs drop spectacularly to the ocean below. Explore the island’s fascinating Celtic influences and French roots as you savor culinary delights and learn about the local seafood industry, including Digby’s scallops and fresh lobster.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Boarding transportation and walking up to two miles on varied terrain.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Travel along the world-famous Cabot Trail as it skirts along the edges of the stunning Cape Breton Highlands National Park, and learn about the wildlife and history of Cape Breton Island.
  • Enjoy a study cruise with a chief naturalist to watch for whales and seabirds near Brier Island in the Bay of Fundy, where the local residents are outnumbered by seals and migrating birds.
  • Visit the Gaelic College to watch kilt-makers at work, learn a bit of the Gaelic language and try out some Celtic dancing!
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Shelley Lonergan
Whales have been Shelley Lonergan’s passion since she was young. It was this passion and her photography background that led her to the Bay of Fundy for her first whale watch. From the moment she saw her first whale fin, she was hooked! Shelley is the Chief Naturalist for Brier Island Whale & Seabird Cruises, a career obtained through volunteering. I enjoy the research and seeing the first humpback of the season best. Of the latter, it’s like seeing the first robin of spring.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Shelley Lonergan
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James White
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Paul Hanna
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Ralph Getson
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Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Sea Captain's Wife
by Beth Powning
Azuba Galloway, daughter of a shipwright, sees ships leaving for foreign ports from her bustling town on the Bay of Fundy and dreams of seeing the world. When she marries Nathaniel Bradstock, a veteran sea captain, she believes she will sail at his side. But when she becomes pregnant she is forced to stay behind. Her father has built the couple a gabled house overlooking the bay, but the gift cannot shelter her from the loneliness of living without her husband. When Azuba becomes embroiled in scandal, Nathaniel is forced to take her and their daughter, Carrie, aboard his ship. They set sail for London with bitter hearts. Their voyage is ill-fated, beset with ferocious storms and unforeseen obstacles that test Azuba's compassion, courage and love. Alone in a male world, surrounded by the splendour and the terror of the open seas, she must face her fears and fight to keep her family together.
Bradt Guide Nova Scotia
by David Orkin
A comprehensive guide in the growing series by Bradt, noteworthy for its focus on culture, nature and responsible travel, with plenty of practical travel details.
The Atlantic Coast, A Natural History
by Harry Thurston
Thurston illuminates the geology, plant and animal life and nature of the Atlantic coast from Newfoundland and Labrador through the Maritime Provinces and the Northeastern United States south to Cape Hatteras in this illustrated, engaging survey.
National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America
by Jon Dunn
This guide is the veteran's choice for birding anywhere in the United States. Practical to use in the field, it has maps, illustrations and descriptions of the birds on facing pages.
Lonely Planet Nova Scotia, New Brunswick & Prince Edward Island
by Karla Zimmerman
This handy, compact guide to Atlantic Canada covers Nova Scotia, New Brunswick & Prince Edward Island in detail and includes a chapter on Newfoundland and Labrador. With maps, travel information and short essays on culture, attractions and nature.
Burden of Desire
by Robert MacNeil
An intricate, suspenseful novel of love and war set against the backdrop of the 1917 explosion that destroyed the north end of Halifax. Written by the noted newsman Robert MacNeil.
Four Fish
by Paul Greenberg
New York Times journalist Paul Greenberg interviewed producers, fisherman and conservationists from across the globe for this eyewitness report on the past and future of wild fish, offering sensible alternatives to our current unsustainable interest in eating mostly sea bass, cod, salmon and tuna.
No Great Mischief
by Alistair MacLeod
A novel covering 200 years in the history of a family of Scottish immigrants living in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. MacLeod creates a modern saga of the immigrant experience, familial bonds and life in coastal Canada.
by Simon Winchester
The subtitle tells it all -- Winchester squeezes "Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories" into the covers of this latest entertaining and digressive tale.
Fodor's Nova Scotia & Atlantic Canada, With New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland & Labrador
by Inc. (EDT) Fodor's Travel Publications (Editor)
With its many photographs, great introductory chapters and practical travel information, this book is an excellent overview of northeast Canada and its attractions for visitors. Featuring separate sections on suggested places to visit, recommended walks, practical information, descriptions of restaurants and hotels, ratings of sights and a chronology of historic events.
The Grey Seas Under
by Farley Mowat
Mowat captures the drama and courage of the men of the famous Foundation Franklin, an ocean-going tug involved in dozens of rescues at sea between 1930 and 1948.
Island, The Complete Stories
by Alistair MacLeod
Raised in Cape Breton, Alistair MacLeod writes of family, the pull of old Gaelic traditions, love and the landscape and folkways of Nova Scotia in this collection of 16 stories. Winner of the Pen/Malamud Award.
The Whale
by Philip Hoare
A deeply engaging meditation on all things whale. Hoare saves his special love and attention for the sperm whale -- not only via a beautiful literary analysis of Moby Dick -- but also by indulging in a childhood fantasy and actually swimming with whales in the Azores.
The Ice Bridge
by D. R. Macdonald
MacDonald sets this lyrical romance on a on isolated Cape Breton island in the 1990
A Field Guide to North Atlantic Wildlife
by Noble S. Proctor, Patrick J. Lynch (Illustrator)
A comprehensive pocket guide to commonly encountered marine mammals, seabirds and other marine life of Northeastern North America, from North Carolina to Newfoundland and the Canadian Maritimes.

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