Pleasures galore: 3-day excursion departing from Halifax
Note: Only Parks Canada-administered sites will be offering free admission in 2017. Visitors must pay entrance fees in sites managed by third parties.
From Halifax to Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site, 164 km (2 hours)
Walk in the footsteps of the generations who’ve hiked, paddled, camped, and connected with nature in Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site. See the night sky twinkle with tens of thousands of stars in Nova Scotia’s only Dark Sky Preserve, rent a Dark Sky kit complete with binoculars and star finder to make the most of these brilliant celestial bodies. At night curl up in an oTENTik tent, a yurt or a rustic cabin and you’ll sleep like a baby lulled by the croaking song of frogs and sound of the waves lapping on the shores of Keji Lake.
Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site
After a campfire-cooked breakfast, paddle back in time on a voyageur canoe up the tranquil Mersey River. Discover Mi’kmaq stories told through ancient petroglyph rock art or hike through awe-inspiring old-growth hemlock forest where some of the trees are over 400 years old.
Annapolis Royal, 55 km from Kejimkujik (45 minutes)
Spend the afternoon in historic Annapolis Royal. Be sure to visit Fort Anne, which is celebrating 100 years as a national historic site. Explore four centuries of history in the Officers’ Quarters through a new, immersive exhibit. The fort grounds are the perfect place to fly a kite and offer a breathtaking view.
Indulge your senses with a trip to the nearby Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens, a paradise for flower lovers with an intoxicating rose garden.
In the evening, decide if you’ll dive into seafood chowder and fresh-cooked local lobster on the Seafood Trail or raise a glass to the area’s innovative craft brewers, distillers and winemakers on the Good Cheer Trail. Spend the night in one of the many heritage inns and B&B’s in the Annapolis Royal Historic District.
Port-Royal, 12 km from Annapolis Royal (15 minutes)
Plan ahead and pick up the ingredients for a perfect picnic at the Port-Royal Farmers’ market in the historic downtown core. Browse the artisans and makers for unique crafts and gifts to take home, from local honey and hand-made soaps to intricate quilts and tempting jewellery. Antiques fans should make time to drop in at North Hills Museum, home to an impressive collection of treasures.
Next stop: discovering one of the earliest European settlements in North America at Port-Royal National Historic Site. Kids can dress up in period costume complete with wooden shoes, as they learn about life was like for the early settlers and explore a replica of Samuel de Champlain’s home.
Valleyview Provincial Park, 35 km from Port Royal (30 minutes)
Time for lunch now in the woodland setting of the Valleyview Provincial Park in Bridgetown. Spread out your blanket and unpack that picnic to enjoy under a shady tree with a stunning view over the entire Annapolis Valley.
Port Williams, 86 km from Valleyview Provincial Park (1 hour)
Halfway home, don’t miss a stop in scenic Port Williams to enjoy local treats from sixth-generation farmers such as Cranberry Cheddar, smooth Italian-style gelato and creamy yoghurts. You can also take a guided tour of the local distillery and taste heady spirits including the “Tidal Run” made from molasses. Put the seal on the day with a few essentials at the nearby microbrewery.