Arts & Culture / Outdoor Adventure March 13, 2017

Celebrate Canada 150 with these 10 Parks Canada Sites near Halifax

It’s the year to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary of confederation, and what better way to enjoy this momentous year than with Parks Canada. Our National Parks and National Historic Sites provide the ultimate escape to the most beautiful and historically unique places in the country, bringing us closer to the past, present and future of the beautiful place we call home. As most of us know, admission to these wonderful Parks Canada sites is FREE for the entire year with the 2017 Discovery Pass. (If you haven’t done so already, get your free pass here) or pick one up upon arrival.

With a long list of Parks Canada National Parks and National Historic Sites to visit both in the Halifax region and all of Nova Scotia, we’ve made it easier by creating a list of 10 Parks Canada sites you NEED to visit in 2017. So start planning your next Halifax adventure today!

1. Halifax Citadel National Historic Site

Located in Downtown Halifax.
Find directions here

It was this large hill overlooking the Halifax harbour that originally led the British military to found the city of Halifax in 1749. Today, the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site is known as one of the city’s best known landmarks and welcomes thousands of visitors annually to walk within its historic walls and step back to 1869!

Discover special events happening at the Halifax Citadel in 2017 here.

2. Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site of Canada

Located 170 km from Downtown Halifax, about a 2-hour drive.
Find directions here.

Kejimkujik was first established as a National Park in 1968, after it was recognized for its old- growth hemlock, sugar maple and yellow aspen forests, warm-water lakes with quartzite shores, and rare wildlife. It’s gentle landscape provides recreational activities as well as the darkest skies perfect for star gazing.

Keji (for short) also offers visitors more than 10,000 years of Mi’kmaw heritage with stories and legends illuminated through Mi’kmaw stone carvings. Plan a camping trip or day trip and discover the rich diversity of Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site!

3. Kejimkujik National Park Seaside

Located 167 km from Downtown Halifax, approx. 2-hour drive.
Find directions here.

Discover the perfect seaside escape, Kejimkujik Seaside, the coastal region of Kejimkujik National Park. White sandy beaches, vibrant lagoons and salty turquoise waters provide you with an opportunity for an adventure along the shores of the Atlantic coast – spot seals basking on rocky inlets and see the endangered piping plover scurrying in the sand.

4. Fort McNab National Historic Site

Located on McNab’s Island in Halifax Harbour.
Find directions here.

Built in 1889 to help defend the Halifax Harbour, Fort McNab on McNab’s Island was once the city’s most powerful sentry and served as an important counter-bombardment battery in both World War I and II, before being decommissioned in 1959 and becoming a national historic site in 1965.

The island itself provides visitors with 22 km of hiking trails to explore a variety of forested and coastal settings, and a rich history to discover. It’s the perfect daytrip to escape the hustle and bustle of the city! Visitors feel as if they’re thousands of miles away, when actually you’re in the heart of it all. No Discovery Pass is needed to visit. 

5. Fort Anne National Historic Site of Canada

Located 196 km from Downtown Halifax, a little over a 2-hour drive.
Find directions here.

Canada’s oldest National Historic Site, Fort Anne is situated on Nova Scotia’s Annapolis River, one of the most hotly contested territories in North America during the 1600s and 1700s. In honour of it’s 100th Anniversary, a brand new exhibit will be unveil in 2017 providing over 3,000 years of history to experience.

6. Fort Edward National Historic Site

Located 65 km from Downtown Halifax, about a 45-minute drive.
Find directions here.

Discover a unique piece of Canada’s military history at Fort Edward, home to North America’s oldest existing blockhouse. The defensive structure was built by the British in 1750 to secure their hold over Nova Scotia and played a significant role during the deportation of 1,000 Acadians in 1755.

7. York Redoubt National Historic Site

Approximately 20-minute drive from Downtown Halifax.
Find directions here.

Although no Discovery Pass is needed to visit York Redoubt National Historic Site, it’s still a Parks Canada site you need to visit! Located near the mouth of the Halifax Harbour, York Redoubt helped to protect our port city from military attacks for over 200 years. Take a walk back in time by spending an afternoon wandering the trails and exploring the fort with the assistance of interpretive panels.

8. Port-Royal National Historic Site of Canada

Located 205 km from Downtown Halifax, just over a 2-hour drive.
Find directions here.

The Habitation at Port-Royal National Historic Site was one of the first European settlements in North America, leaving a lasting legacy on the area that can still be felt today. Head out on a day trip from Halifax to experience early European life firsthand with the help of costumed interpreters who tell the tales of a colony of French settlers in the 17th century.

9. Prince of Wales Tower National Historic Site

Walking distance from Downtown Halifax.
Find directions here.

Prince of Wales Tower National Historic Site was built to protect against French attack in 1796-97 and was the first tower of its kind in North America. The thick-walled round tower structure served as part of Halifax’s coastal defence network. Although, a Discovery Pass is not needed to visit, it’s a Park Canada place you won’t want to miss.

The Tower is located in Point Pleasant Park is situated in the South End of Halifax near the opening of the Harbour and is surrounded by 75-hectares wooded park space, with 39 km of winding walking trails.

10. Grand-Pré National Historic Site

Located 87 km from Downtown Halifax, about an hour drive.
Find directions here.

Visitors to Grand-Pré National Historic Site commemorates the Grand Pré area as a centre of Acadian settlement from 1682 to 1755 and the Deportation of the Acadians, which began in 1755 and continued until 1762. For many Acadians throughout the world, the site remains the heart of their ancestral homeland and the symbol of the ties that unite them to this day.

Interested in exploring more Parks Canada places in Nova Scotia? Check out the full list here and take full advantage of your Canada 150 Discovery Pass!

Full list of 2017 special event list

Halifax Citadel special events