Parrsboro, where Fundy tides sculpt the coastline and you can experience incredible hiking, culture, history, and dining

by W. Andrew Powell
Parrsboro, Nova Scotia

The Bay of Fundy is one of Canada’s most dramatic vacation destinations, and among many highlights around the area, Parrsboro stands out as one of the best places for hiking, outdoor adventures, and relaxing.

Located on the shores of the Minas Basin, and a little over an hour from Moncton, New Brunswick, or 2 hours from Halifax, Parrsboro is beautiful and charming, relaxed, and surrounded by some of the most impressive coastlines on the east coast.

Welcoming and friendly, with the kind of people who are naturally part of the reason this area is so wonderful, I had an amazing trip through Parrsboro last fall, and it made me ready to book another trip back as soon as I can get back again.

The perfect place for hiking and adventures

Cape Chignecto Provincial Park
Cape Chignecto Provincial Park

The Bay of Fundy and the epic tides in the region have left their incredible mark on Parrsboro and the Cumberland County coastline. Everywhere I went it was easy to see how the ocean has carved away at the rocks and shape of Nova Scotia.

In particular, West of Parrsboro, in Advocate Harbour, the coast near Cape Chignecto Provincial Park rises and falls, with huge cliffs, and rocky beaches. It’s dramatic and amazing to see the shape of the area.

At Cape Chignecto, imagine hiking through the forest to then look out over the ocean, and the beach hundreds of feet below, while you look back over the coastline. It’s a dramatic and inspiring sight.

All the way from that park, through town, and continuing east to Five Islands Provincial Park, there are lots of places with incredible views, hiking trails, and hidden gems.

A few of the best scenic viewpoints include Clarke Head, Fox Point Lookoff, or even the viewing platform at FORCE, the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy, not to mention Cape d’Or, Pardtridge Island, and the Parrsboro waterfront itself.

And the hiking in the area is excellent, with lots of other activities to enjoy in the great outdoors. Spirit Reins Ranch offers trail riding, or head to Local Guy Adventures to plan biking tours, boat excursions, and paddleboarding.

I also love Parrsboro as a hub for activities, because everything is so close to the town. From the centre of town it’s 45 minutes to get to Cape Chignecto, 30 minutes for Five Islands, and about 40 minutes to arrive in Joggins where you can explore the Joggins Fossil Centre.

Parrsboro’s arts, culture, and remarkable history

Age of Sail Museum
Age of Sail Museum

Parrsboro also has a lot of art, culture, and maritime history that goes back hundreds of years.

Mi’kmaq travellers have visited this area, and lived nearby, for hundreds of years, and there’s a rich history of storytelling about the great Glooscap, the legendary creator who helped shape the region. Throughout the area, you can learn more about the Mi’kmaq, and their lives and history.

European settlers first came to the area in the late 1700s, and that led to ship building, thanks to it being the perfect area for launching them, and the large forests for wood. Today, you can learn about that history of ship building at the Age of Sail Museum in Wards Brook, a short drive from Parrsboro. It’s a historic spot that’s scenic, and the museum has numerous exhibits, a working black smith shop, and a cafe.

For the theatre-lovers, the Ship’s Company Theatre presents productions every summer, and the award-winning group has a focus on works by Maritimers. The theatre even has a ship built right into the front of the building. Art lovers will appreciate Art Lab Studios & Gallery, with their working gallery space where you can often see works-in-progress and meet the artists to learn more about their process and their careers.

And for the movie buffs, the Parrsboro Film Festival happens every fall, offering short films, speakers, and events.

Restaurants, food, and drinks

Harbour View Restaurant in Parrsboro
Harbour View Restaurant in Parrsboro

I love East Coast food, and Parrsboro has a number of restaurants and places where you need to stop to have a beer or a glass of Nova Scotian wine.

Fox Point Inn is one of the best places to stay in the Parrsboro area, and they are also an excellent host for culinary events. Breakfasts at the inn are fantastic, if you’re staying there, so I do recommend booking a room while you’re in town, but you can also keep an eye out on their website for special culinary events and brunches. Check their Facebook page for more details, or contact them through their website to confirm dates and details.

There are also a number of other award-winning restaurants and spaces. Wild Caraway, near Cape Chignecto, was named 2023’s Restaurant of the Year by Taste of Nova Scotia, and they offer multi-course meals with a focus on seasonal and locally foraged food.

For casual and delicious seafood in a classic east-coast setting, Harbour View Restaurant was a big highlight for me. Everyone was so friendly, the service was excellent, and the big plate of clams I had one day, and clam chowder the next, were so good. This is the kind of place I expect to find in a small, Canadian town.

When you’re looking for a drink, stop by the BlackRock Bistro & Bar, or Two Islands Brewing. Both the bar and the brewery are in the middle of town, and they both offer great drink menus.


If you have any questions, feel free to leave comments below and I’ll get back to you. For more information on highlights in the area and to learn about planning a trip here, follow the links below.

Cape d'Or, Nova Scotia
Cape d’Or, Nova Scotia
Cumberland County, Nova Scotia

Discover more travel stories that explore the best of Nova Scotia, from Halifax to Cape Breton, Yarmouth and the Acadian Shores, and much more.

Learn about the best hiking, museums, restaurants and activities in our guide.

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