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Why Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are 2024’s must-do family destinations

Last updated 14th March 2024

We predict Atlantic Canada, and specifically Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, will be top of the family getaway list in 2024. Here’s why we want vacations with fresh air, outdoor activities, and low screen time on the Atlantic coast of Canada.


Harbour Hopper, Halifax Nova Scotia

Unleash your spirit of adventure in Atlantic Canada

A vacation in Nova Scotia should include a road trip along the Atlantic coast of Canada and visit to Halifax. One of the best ways for families explore Nova Scotia’s exciting waterfront capital is on the amphibious Harbour Hopper  tour. Kids will be thrilled as the hopper goes straight from the road into the water. The narrated tour gives an idea of the city’s history from its role during war time and peace times as well as the rich account of its naval dockyards.


Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse, Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canada

Nova Scotia is a province of lighthouses

You’ll quickly find Nova Scotia is a province of lighthouses: there are over 160 to explore. Although none is more iconic than Peggy’s Cove, one of Canada’s most popular lighthouses altogether.

It’s another must do road trip in the province, but try to get there early in the day. Not only will you catch the beautiful morning light, you’ll avoid the crowds too. Kids will love clambering over Peggy’s rocks, and don’t miss the authentic local fishing village nearby.


Tidal bore rafting, Bay of Fundy

Try tidal bore rafting in Nova Scotia

This is a bit like a geography lesson and exhilarating adventure in one. Although tidal bore rafting – an adrenalin inducing zodiac trip on a river as the water travels upstream – is also a totally unique experience.

You find the incredible phenomenon when tidal waters flow into outgoing rivers and it’s only seen in a few parts of the world.

Here in Nova Scotia, 160 billion tonnes of water rushes into the Bay of Fundy at high tide. However, because there’s only so much space for it to travel, the great tides actually reverse the flow of rivers that would typically stream into the Bay.

You won’t find this experience anywhere else, plus kids who really like to get down and seriously dirty can also try mud sliding at the end of the tour.


Sunset watching, Kejimkujik National Park, Atlantic Canada

Camp under Atlantic Canada stars in Kejimkujik National Park

Anyone with kids that are budding astronomers should factor in a night’s camping in Kejimkujik National Park or ‘Keji’ for short.

Keji is a Dark Sky Preserve and, away from the light pollution of towns and cities, it offers stunning celestial displays each night.

Brilliantly set up for star gazing, the park hires ‘dark sky kits’ throughout the summer. The kits include binoculars as well as explanations of what you’re looking at and a red light to read the charts and maps at night just like a real astronomer.

If you want a top campsite for families, try Jeremy’s Bay Campground, which is nestled within a lush Acadian forest near the shoreline of Kejimkujik Lake.

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Louisbourg Fortress © Chris MacFarlane

Explore Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site

The Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site brings French colonial life between 1713 and 1758 vividly to life. As well as its  impressive fortifications, there are also reconstructions of elegant 18th century houses, and evocative ruins to explore.

It might be a slice of history, but it’s presented in a way that gets kids’ imaginations running wild. Plus, they can join the Xplorers program and Club Parka to hear traditional Nova Scotian songs and stories and watch lace-making demonstrations.

Feeling peckish? Pick up a loaf of “soldier’s bread”, baked in traditional stone ovens using an historic recipe. Then go watch the soldiers themselves, marching to fife and drum.


Ann of Green Gables, Prince Edward Island, Atlantic Canada

Visit Anne of Green Gables’ sites on Prince Edward Island

Put a classic on your vacation reading list and introduce kids to Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Montgomery.

This adored-by-generations book is set on beautiful Prince Edward Island so while you’re here you can explore the author’s birthplace in New London and the Site of Montgomery’s Cavendish home.

You’ll find the Ann of Green Gables Museum in Park Corner, where Lucy Maud Montgomery was married.  And there’s a Green Gables Heritage place where visitors can re-live Anne’s youthful escapades. Alternatively you could simply admire the views that moved Montgomery on the scenic Island Drive and Anne of Green Gables Tour.

Roll up your sleeves for an Atlantic Canada farm experience

Prince Edward Island farm experiences give families a taste of the good life by helping working farmer, Nancy Sanderson, feed and tend to her livestock.

The two-hour Chore Time farm experience is ideal even for younger children. And, after all that effort, parents and grandparents can treat themselves to some fresh local produce in the Farm Shop. Don’t miss Prince Edward Island’s world-famous potatoes!


Prince Edward Island National Park, Greenwich

Make a splash with water activities

Home to sandy beaches and the warmest waters north of the Carolinas, Prince Edward Island is made for water activities. Plus huge stretches of continuous coastline mean families can choose adventures to suit themselves.

Hop on a deep-sea fishing tour in a traditional Cape Islander and fish for mackerel or cod. Stand up paddle boarding on calm seas is a favourite way to explore the coastline. Families who like something a bit less sedate can even try kiteboarding. Malpeque Bay is an ideal location for this as it has the perfect combination of shallow waters and strong continuous winds to get the heart racing. Don’t worry if it’s your first time, instructors are available to everyone the ropes.

Swap a staycation for a ‘neighcation’ in Atlantic Canada

Swap a ‘staycation’ for a ‘neighcation’ on Prince Edward Island and kids can flex their Dr Doolittle skills by learning to talk to horses, with help from local experts.

Stable owners and horse whisperers, Jasmine and Mark Bastarache, teach families how to bond with animals on their Talking With Horses package. Then they take you out on a trail ride through stunning Prince Edward Island countryside.

If feathered friends are more appealing,  local falconer, Jamie Stride, introduces families to his magnificent birds of prey on Fun With Falcons. Not only do kids meet the birds, they get to wear handler’s glove and hold falcons and hawks before being taken out to see the birds’ impressive flying and swooping skills.