Destination Nova Scotia: Peggy’s Cove

If Nova Scotia was a team sport, Peggy’s Cove would be the kid that always gets picked first. You know, the athletic one that so effortlessly pulls off a swagger.

If Nova Scotia were a postcard, Peggy’s Cove would be the picture. Actually, it kinda already is. Pick up any promotional magazine, browse a local tourism website – or go buy a provincial postcard – and chances are good you’ll come face-to-face with Peggy’s Cove. It’s our Taj Mahal, Sydney Opera House, Eiffel Tower, and Empire State Building. Nova Scotia’s darling, Peggy’s Cove has popular charm in spades.

As a family, we’re big on adventure. In particular, we like finding hidden gems; places off the beaten path – spots that require us to follow grassy trails through the woods to reach a derelict lighthouse or chartering a boat to reach an off-shore island. While touristy destinations are all well and good, we like to champion the unsung heroes of our province. But Peggy’s Cove is one giant exception.

Of all the locations we’ve adventured as a family, Peggy’s Cove is hands-down the kids favourite destination. Local friends admitted that several of their (fully grown) children had never even been to Peggy’s Cove. We went three times in 2020, including Christmas Day. To say we’re obsessed might be underselling things a bit.

Christmas Day, munching on our favourite cookies, baked by our lovely neighbour.

Our devotion to those giant rock formations and that iconic lighthouse is unwavering. We visit with friends, we visit with family, and sometimes we just hop in the car on a random Friday evening to chase a sunset. We’ve been there in shorts and a T-shirt, and we’ve explored in winter coats. Sun, rain, and fog, we’ve seen it all.

Built in 1915, the current lighthouse is one of the most photographed locations in all of Canada. For good reason. She’s a beauty. But the winner for our family: those long, sloping rocks – nature’s jungle gym and the climbing wall of every child’s dreams.

Each trip I have to temporarily suspend anxiety. There are rules: no going on (or near) the black rocks. Notoriously slippery, and indicative that pounding surf reaches that area, people are washed out to sea here every year, sadly. I watch and follow the kids like they’re on invisible leashes, but I can tell they feel free. From the time they were toddlers our motto has always been “Pick a path.” Here, more than anywhere, the kids have learned to be intentional about their choices. Taking risks, assessing safety, pushing their bodies, and factoring all that information into making the way forward.

Senses go into overdrive: crashing surf, the smell of sea air, a happy assault of colours, the rush of wind.

Cheers, Peggy’s Cove; until we meet again. I have a feeling it won’t be long.

4 thoughts on “Destination Nova Scotia: Peggy’s Cove”

  1. I have to rather embarrassingly admit that I needed to google where Nova Scotia is located, but now that I know I am hoping to go!

    1. I might be a bit biased, but I think Nova Scotia is one of the most beautiful places on earth! Let me know if you ever make it to the area and I’ll gladly give you a tour (including a stop in Peggy’s Cove, of course).

  2. Last night my daughter asked us what our favorite vacation was, and both my husband and I replied “Nova Scotia”! We visited in 2012-ish and I keep thinking about wanting to go back. We both thought we could easily live there. We of course had to visit Peggy’s Cove, which was stormy but beautiful.

    1. Oh wow! It’s not typical to find people (outside of Canada) who have been to Nova Scotia. I think it’s a hidden gem, in many ways. It’s a great quality of life and is very, very beautiful. I DO wish it was a bit warmer in the winter, though!

      We actually have several friends – born and raised in Nova Scotia – who have never been to Peggy’s Cove. We got several times a year; it might be a tourist destination, but our kids just love it there.

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