Up until my brother moved to Halifax six years ago, most of my travel has been transborder and international. It wasn’t until then, that I really started to appreciate the beauty and diversity of each Province. I have had the privilege of visiting Halifax four times, twice included my daughter, but all were heavily geared toward family activities. My brother and his wife, have five kids ranging from one to nine. Needless to say, it’s a full house when we stay.
Halifax is an incredible city for kids to grow up, and just as great to visit. Between spending the day at the Halifax Waterfront and taking day trips to the charming towns, there is something for everyone and busy kids will be kept amused. I’ll highlight some of the best kid-friendly attractions below:
Located in the heart of Halifax’s downtown, this is the home to many attractions – Theodore Tugboat, the Halifax-Dartmouth ferry (oldest salt-water ferry in North America), Seaport Farmers’ Market, and COWS Ice Cream, just to name a few. During the tourist season, each weekend brings festivals and unlimited activities. We were fortunate enough to visit during the “Tall Ships Nova Scotia” in summer 2017. The boardwalk was lined with tall ships, which my daughter referred to as “pirate ships,” some of which, got to go on. On the other side of the boardwalk, was unlimited food options and activities, including a traveling amusement park of bouncy castles and slides. For the adults, each night we were able to take in the sounds of local folk music, as the festival overlapped with the busker festival by a few days.
The waterfront is located right downtown, so you’re walking distance from many great pubs and restaurants, parks, museums, and their new library. However, the waterfront is located downhill from most of these sites, so bring a sturdy stroller or wear a baby carrier to make things easier. There are a lot of note-worthy shops as well!
As a side note, Cows ice cream is a must-try! Originally from Prince Edward Island, but now served in Halifax as well, you won’t find any creamier ice cream. They also have adorable COW parody t-shirts and paraphernalia.
The Halifax Citadel, National Historic Site
Although this isn’t my cup of tea, my daughter loved walked through, what she called a “castle.” It was also a hit with my husband and brother. With the Fortress’s extensive history and the re-enactment of the soldiers, the Citadel can be a hit for the whole family. Throughout the day, a cast of soldiers dressed in authentic attire perform the traditional guard changes and conduct the marching and band drills.
A short 45-minute drive along the Lighthouse Trail scenic drive brings you to the charming community of Peggys Cove, home to the iconic Peggys Point Lighthouse. Careful with little ones as the lighthouse is surrounded by rock, which can get slippery from the ocean waves. For older kids (and the young at heart), the area acts as a jungle gym, climbing through the rocks and jumping over the nooks and crannies. The lighthouse and the open-ocean view is picturesque. It’s no wonder that it is one of the most photographed structures of Atlantic Canada. The road to the lighthouse is lined with shops and small restaurants.
Road Trip around Novia Scotia
I think the best part of visiting Halifax, is leaving the city and visiting the incredible towns nearby or taking a weekend to go to Cape Breton. The towns’ architecture and cobblestone roads often remind you of Europe. You can easily get lost in time wondering the streets of Lunenburg, sightseeing and shopping the nautically themed boutiques. Also, Lunenberg is the home to the Bluenose II.
Take another stroll to the coast of the Bay of Fundy and catch the tide levels change drastically at Joggins Fossil Cliffs. And finally, Cape Breton has the famous Cabot Trail, which is stated to be unquestionably the most scenic drives on the planet. There aren’t words to describe its beauty – it’s a must-see! You will need a few days, as there are many things to see and do, from the Alexander Bell museum to whale watching to the Fortress of Louisbourg.
This is only a snapshot of some the great activities you can immerse yourself in while visiting Halifax. The city, and area, have a lot to offer during the summer months, but be weary when visiting in the Winter, as many tourist attractions are closed.