Attractions in the Annapolis Valley

9 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the Annapolis Valley

In Nova Scotia’s charming countryside, the Annapolis Valley extends north from Digby and Annapolis Royal and runs parallel to the Bay of Fundy coastline. Sieur de Monts founded ‘Habitation Port-Royal’ here in 1605. Although the British later destroyed Port Royal, this region of Nova Scotia is still rich in tourist attractions such as historic sites, forts and gardens. The valley has fertile soil that is protected from cold and unfavorable winds by mountains on both sides. Sheltered from the weather, fruits and vegetables flourish. In May, when the apple trees are in bloom, the valley is a beautiful sight.

1 Port Royal National Historic Site

Port-Royal National Historic Site Charles Hoffman / photo modified

Outside Annapolis Royal, about six miles north, stands the Port-Royal National Historic Site – the faithfully restored settlement of Sieur des Monts. The simple wooden buildings are in the early 17th century style. There is a governor’s residence, a priest’s house, a blacksmith shop and a room where First Nations people traded their furs for European goods. The most interesting is the home of the pharmacist Louis Hébert, the first European farmer in North America who later settled in Québec.

In the “Habitation” in 1606, Samuel de Champlain founded “L’Ordre de Bon Temps”, the first society in North America based on the doctrine of love for fellow man.

Address: 53 Historic Lane, Port Royal

Official site:

Read also: Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Nova Scotia

2 Grand-Pré National Historic Site

Grand-Pré National Historic Site
Grand-Pré National Historic Site

Grand-Pré was one of the most important settlements of Acadia in the early 18th century. Through an ingenious system of dams and canals, the Acadians reclaimed fertile land from the sea and created large and productive fields for some 200 farms. But in 1755 the English expelled the Acadians, destroyed their homes, took livestock and distributed the land to New England settlers.

The Grand Pré National Historic Site is in memory of the deported Acadian settlers. The gardens contain a memorial to Henry Longfellow, who immortalized the tragic fate of the Acadians in his poem ‘Evangéline’ in 1847. There is also a statue of its heroine Evangéline. The Acadian artist Philippe Hébert sculpted both memorials.

Official site:

3 Hall’s Harbour

Hall's Harbor
Hall’s Harbor

This tidal village is a favorite on the Nova Scotia side of the Bay of Fundy. At high tide the fishing vessels sit neatly next to the village wharves. But when the tide goes out, the boats sink to the harbor bottom. There is the popular Hall’s Harbor Lobster Pound, a restaurant near the sandy beach and park. For an excellent walk, head northeast to Cape Split on the Blomidon Peninsula.

4 Fort Anne National Historic Site

Fort Anne National Historic Site
Fort Anne National Historic Site

Fort Anne, the scene of so many past battles, is today classified as a Fort Anne National Historic Site. The old fortifications, powder magazine and ramparts are all open to visitors. Tall chimneys mark the officers’ quarters. There are memorials to Sieur de Monts; Samuel Vetch, the first governor of Acadia; and Jean Paul Mascarene. A flag with the English St. George’s Cross and the Scottish St. Andrew’s Cross flies on the fort.

Official site:

5 The Lookoff

The Lookoff
The Lookoff

It sounds like an unofficial name, but even in Nova Scotia this roadside viewpoint is worth a visit NorthMountain is simply called The Lookoff. The panoramic view includes the vast fields, orchards and Bay of Fundy coastline. Blomidon Provincial Park is located in the northeast with Cape Split beyond.

Address: 3374 Hwy 358, Arlington

6 Fort Edward National Historic Site

Fort Edward National Historic Site Dennis Jarvis / photo modified
Fort Edward National Historic Site Dennis Jarvis / photo modified

Near the causeway in Windsor is Fort Edward, built in the mid-18th century by the English to defend the Halifax route to the Bay of Fundy. It was also here that the sad deportation of the French-speaking Acadians was organized. This wooden fort is one of the oldest existing buildings of its kind in Canada.

From the earth wall surrounding the fortress there are beautiful views of the Avon River valley and the Bay of Fundy.

Address: 67 Fort Edward Street, Windsor

Official site:

7 Tidal Power Station

Tidal Power Station Ctd 2005 / photo modified
Tidal Power Station Ctd 2005 / photo modified

Outside Annapolis Royal, about six miles to the north, this tidal power plant is the first of its kind in North America. It started in 1984 and uses hydro energy released by the tidal rise, the highest in the world. The station uses approximately 80 to 100 megawatt hours daily. It is also a pilot project for a much larger power plant based on the same principle.

Address: 236 Prince Albert Rd, Annapolis Royal

8 Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens

Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens Rover Esq / posted image
Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens Rover Esq / posted image

South of Fort Anne in Annapolis Royal are a number of very well-maintained gardens and reconstructed historic buildings, including a 17th-century Acadia-style house. The Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens are divided by theme to represent different eras. Plantings include the early 18th century Governor’s Garden, a Victorian garden and a very beautiful rose garden.

Address: 441 St. George St, Annapolis Royal

Official site:

9 Digby

Digby Nicole Bratt / photo modified
Digby Nicole Bratt / photo modified

The small but busy fishing village of Digby, famous for its scallops, is located on the link road between the Annapolis Valley and the Bay of Fundy. From Digby it is possible to take a ferry across the Bay of Fundy to Saint John in New Brunswick.

A scenic drive cuts along the narrow peninsula and islands of Digby Neck. Small ferries connect Brier Islandwhere whale watching tours are held, historic lighthouses and coastal parks with walking trails.

Where to Stay in the Annapolis Valley for Sightseeing

We recommend these charming inns and hotels in the beautiful Annapolis Valley:

  • Queen Anne Inn: heritage bed-and-breakfast, 1865 Victorian mansion, wonderful hosts, delicious breakfast.
  • The Stella Rose B&B: affordable bed-and-breakfast, quaint decor, home-away-from-home, wonderful hosts, four-poster beds.
  • Annapolis Royal Inn: mid-range pricing, breakfast included, saltwater pool, free parking.
  • Beach Breeze Motel: budget Grand pre hotel, beautiful surroundings, brightly colored houses, seasonal outdoor pool.

Read also:

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