Top 5 things to do in Cumberland County, Nova Scotia

by W. Andrew Powell

Plan an amazing road trip through Cumberland County, Nova Scotia with five of the best things that you need to do in the area this summer or fall.

From hiking and sight seeing, to history, a hidden gem, and a great place to go glamping, these destinations will show you the different sides of Nova Scotia that you probably didn’t know about.

For more ideas on what to see and do, read the full Cumberland County travel guide, find out where you should stay, and watch my road trip video through the region.

#5 Joggins Fossil Centre

Joggins Fossil Centre, Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia has a rich geological history, and that includes fossils that date back over 300 million years ago to the Coal Age in the coastal town of Joggins. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Joggins Fossil Centre is fascinating, whether you’re an adult, or a family with young explorers.

For a small fee you can learn more in the museum, and get a guided tour of the beach where there are fossils every few feet in some places. And if you just want to explore the beach on your own, there’s no cost to look around.

While the majority of fossils on the beach are of trees, plants, and seashells–sometimes even with whole tree trunks sticking out of the cliff wall–the museum has a wide variety of fossils, including insects and even a reptile.

It’s a short drive from Amherst or Parrsboro, and plan to be here during low tide for 1-2 hours.

#4 Wallace River Ranch

There are a lot of B&Bs and inns across Cumberland County where you can stay on your vacation, but if you want to try glamping, Wallace River Ranch offers wonderful dome camping that includes a king size bed, full kitchen, bathroom, hot tub, wood stove, and BBQ.

A short drive from Pugwash and Wentworth, Wallace River Ranch is a beautiful, quiet place to get away from it all and relax in well-designed domes that are like a home away from home. Located along the river, in a forested, lush, green area, it’s a unique getaway destination for a few days. Aside from your travel essentials, all you really need to bring is food for your meals, or else plan to visit some of the wonderful nearby restaurants for delicious dinners out.

The domes are available from spring to the end of December, and you can book through their website.

#3 Cape d’Or

Cape d'Or, Nova Scotia

Take a walk alongside some of the best views you can find in the Parrsboro area, looking out over the ocean, beside a cliff wall, and with one of the cutest, little lighthouses you’ll find.

A short drive from my #1 pick, where you can go hiking, Cape d’Or is scenic and rugged, with a bench to sit and admire the view. And while it’s beautiful in the sun, I was there when it was a mix of sun and mist, and it was striking and moody watching the clouds and mist move across the water.

The drive in is over a dirt road, so take it slow, and it is a bit of a walk down to the lighthouse to get in and out from the parking lot. That said, Cape d’Or is well worth a visit and photographers will love the views here. Plan to visit for anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes.

#2 Tidnish Suspension Bridge

Tidnish Suspension Bridge

A short drive from the town of Amherst, and a real hidden gem in Cumberland County, Tidnish Suspension Bridge is a wonderful surprise once you realize how amazing it is.

Accessible from a side road in the community of Tidnish, the suspension bridge is only a five minute walk from where you can park, and it’s gorgeous at sunset and sunrise especially.

The bridge does sway a little, but it offers a beautiful view of the Tidnish River, and if you go first thing in the morning, it’s a perfect first stop before most other activities open for the day.

From Tyndal Road, turn onto Ketchum Drive, and then drive until you see a dirt road on your left. Park on the left side a few feet in, and take the path straight in front of you from where you drove in to discover the bridge. You can find directions on Google Maps.

#1 Cape Chignecto Provincial Park

Cape Chignecto Provincial Park

My top pick for what to do in Cumberland County is for the hikers and the outdoor lovers. A 40 minute drive from Parrsboro, Cape Chignecto Provincial Park is a stunning place to walk, hike, and reset.

For the adventurous, you can hike the entire cape on a 52 km trail that takes you across a gorgeous forest and high cliffs that look out over the ocean. Or, if you just want a little hike, you can hike a 4-5 km loop that starts at the visitors centre, winds through the forest and up the hill, before you descend the other side and end up on the beach, where you can hike back to your starting point. It’s a moderate difficulty hike, and it was one of the best hikes that I enjoyed on the trip.

The park also has a day use space on the north-western side, closer to Eatonville, but the Advocate Harbour side of the park is easier to access and there is a nearby restaurant in town as well.

Honourable mentions

For some culture and history, I also have to mention the community of Springhill and both the Anne Murray Centre and the Springhill Coal Miners Museum.

These two museums tell a vivid story about the history of Springhill, with Anne Murray’s remarkable career, and her roots in the area, and the coal mine that had a number of disasters over the years.

At the Anne Murray Centre you’ll see her work, her rise to fame, hear her music, and see mementos from her long career including photos, awards, and notes from other stars she worked with. Murray even visits the centre for special events in the summer.

Meanwhile the Miners Museum is informative, and shows how the men worked here, and what happened during the “bumps” that caused parts of the mine to collapse. After learning about the story, you’ll then get a chance to go a short distance down into one of the remaining mine entrances, which is an amazing experience. There are sombre elements to the museum, but it’s fascinating and exciting to step down into the cool, dark paths of this lesser known part of Canada’s history.

Travel resources

To better plan your trip, explore these links with more details on what to see and do in Cumberland County, including a map of places to stay in the area. Have a question? Leave a comment below.

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.

Join our list

Subscribe to our mailing list and get weekly updates on our latest contests, interviews, and reviews.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

You may also like

Leave a Reply


This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Accept Read More