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This Hidden Canadian Travel Gem Is Something You Need to See

The South Shore may get all the buzz, but this less-travelled coastline is equally scenic

Blonde woman and brunette man with lifejackets on kayaking on fresh water at sunset

The Nova Scotia shoreline around Mahone Bay and Lunenburg is justifiably famous for its craggy bays and lovely inns. But Halifax folks who want to get away from it all know to head the opposite way, along Highway 7 up the so-called Eastern Shore. Here’s why you should follow their tracks.

1. Quiet, sandy beaches with gorgeous views

Only a half-hour from downtown Halifax along Highway 207, you’ll find Lawrencetown Beach Provincial Park, a long and wonderful stretch of sand. This is one of the top surfing spots in Canada, and you’ll find several places to rent a board or get a lesson. If that’s a little ambitious, paddle a canoe or kayak on one of the quiet bays behind the beach.

Farther east along the coast, Taylor Head Provincial Park has a lovely beach and rugged hiking trails that wind through a peninsula, around bays and over bluffs.

Beautiful beach with waves greeting the sand in Taylor Head Provincial Park 

2. Scenic drives along secluded coves

A few minutes east past Lawrencetown Beach, turn right on Highway 107, then right again to follow Highway 7, the main route along the Eastern Shore. The road swings past glorious bays with hardly any cottages or homes to mar your view; it’s mostly just you and the coast and the sparkling water and deep green trees. Towns are of the small-to-tiny variety, with hardly a chain store or motel in sight.

Cyclist with helment on crosses wooden bridge that stretches across the water 

3. Roadside galleries with one-of-a-kind artwork

Roughly a half-hour past the town of Chezzetcook, at 15359 Highway 7, you’ll find an utterly delightful (and more than a little zany) spot called Colpitts Folk Art. Here, Barry Colpitts makes imaginative sculptures of all kinds, including bright blue and green fish, wooden Mounties, and colourful birds and cows. Last summer, he set out a small display of four wooden heads in a case labelled Barry’s Head Museum that invited guests to rub one of the heads—nicknamed Bob—if they wanted help quitting smoking. (It’s hard to vouch for the results, though.)

Barry Colpitts' sculptures standing in a circle on display at Colpitts Folk Art gallery 

4. Charming towns with fun-to-say names

Head of Jeddore, Mushaboom and Sober Island are just a few of the signs you’ll see. Sheet Harbour is one of the larger towns along the road and has a pretty waterfall that’s worth checking out. Further along Highway 7, Ecum Secum, named for the Mi’kmaq for “red house,” is a small village with, surprisingly, a storybook white church.

Small red tug boat floating near the coast with rocks and trees 

5. Classic waterfront lodge–style accommodations

One of the best places to stay on the Eastern Shore is Liscombe Lodge (in the alternately spelled Liscomb Mills), about two and a half hours from Halifax. The resort has a main lodge and cottages spread out over a large, grassy site along the pretty Liscomb River, where you can take their kayaks or canoes out for a ride.

Waterfall outside of Liscombe Lodge on the Eastern Shore 

Find inspiration for a weekend on the Lighthouse Route along Nova Scotia’s South Shore in the Fall 2017 issue of CAA Magazine.

Image credit: Nova Scotia Tourism,Barry Colpitts and Liscombe Lodge