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Exploring The South Shore Of Nova Scotia By Bike

Exploring the South Shore of Nova Scotia by Bike

One of the best ways to explore the south shore of Nova Scotia is the slow way – on the back of a bicycle. But as you’ll see from the photos, it’s worth a drive if you don’t like to bike. You can do the trip on your own or you can try a self-guided bike trip where a company moves your bags every day and provides you with a route description. The other option is a full guided tour.

I did the self-guided option of the south shore of Nova Scotia. I’d picked up a bike compliments of Freewheeling Adventures at their headquarters just outside of Hubbards.

My plan was to cycle as much as I could of the south shore between Hubbards and Lunenburg. But if you haven’t been to Peggy’s Cove then you must absolutely include that as part of your bike tour.

Can you fit a rental bike in your car?

What I hadn’t thought through when I organized my bike rental was how I was going to fit the bike into my rental car as I moved around. I had rented a Fiat Mini. And trust me, it is one small car. But when I took both tires off I could carefully maneuver the bike into the trunk and the back seat.

All my other gear had to go in the front seat and there wasn’t room for another soul.

squeeze getting my bike into the back of a Fiat Mini
It was a tough squeeze getting my bike into the back of a Fiat Mini

This post includes some affiliate links. If you make a qualifying purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support.

Peggy’s Cove – a must stop on the south shore Nova Scotia

Peggy’s Cove, even with busloads of tourists is an amazing sightin all types of weather. And Highway 333, the road that takes you though Peggy’s Cove, is beautiful – filled with outcrop that begs to be explored. Take the time to visit the Swiss Air Flight 111 Memorial just a few kilometers away from Peggy’s Cove too.

The road to Peggy’s Cove is hilly and the shoulders, if there are any, aren’t very big. The good news though is that drivers are extremely courteous. And if you need a great place to stay in Peggy’s Cove try Peggy’s Cove B&B, located right on the water.

The colourful harbour in Peggy's Cove
The colourful harbour in Peggy’s Cove
Beautiful sunset in Peggy's Cove
Beautiful sunset in Peggy’s Cove
Lovely peaceful evening and nice light in Peggy's Cove
Lovely peaceful evening and nice light in Peggy’s Cove
Beautiful rocks and vegetation around Peggy's Cove
Beautiful rocks and vegetation around Peggy’s Cove on the south shore of Nova Scotia

Stop at the Swiss Air Flight 111 Memorial 

Two communities, Peggy’s Cove and Blandford were crucial to the recovery operation following the crash of Swiss Air Flight 111 on September 2nd, 1998.

The sites for the memorials – Whalesback and Bayswater Beach were chosen because of the proximity to the communities and because the view lines are tied in together along with the crash site to form a triangle. That is reflected in the design of the memorial for Swiss Air Flight 111.

Swiss Air Memorial for Flight 111 at Whalesback near Peggy's Cove
Swiss Air Memorial for Flight 111 at Whalesback near Peggy’s Cove

Explore between Peggy’s Cove and Hubbards

The one way distance between Peggy’s Cove and Hubbards is 47 kilometres. Other points of interest include white sand beaches and small coves that offer photo opportunities. 

A family at a small beach near Hubbards
A family at a small beach near Hubbards

A 78 km bike ride around the Aspotogan Peninsula near Hubbards

This is a quieter road than the one to Peggy’s Cove but still very scenic. You pass through a number of small fishing villages including Northwest Cove, Aspotogan and Blandford.

You may want to get off your bike at Bayswater Beach for a stroll. Nearby is the second memorial for the Swiss Air flight.

Don’t miss a bowl of chowder at The Deck Restaurant, a few kilometers north of Blandford.

Cycle past scenes of laundry drying in the breeze
Cycle past scenes of laundry drying in the breeze
Empty beaches on the Aspotogan Peninsula
Empty beaches on the Aspotogan Peninsula
Another Swiss Air Flight 111 Memorial near Blandford
Another Swiss Air Flight 111 Memorial near Blandford
Scenic views even on a dull day
Scenic views even on a dull day
Colourful lobster traps
Colourful lobster traps
Fishing boats don't lack for colour either
Fishing boats don’t lack for colour either
Wild flowers growing along the edge of the road
Wild flowers growing along the edge of the road
It was dandelion season when I was there
It was dandelion season when I was there
"Have you had Solomon Gundy?"
Have you had Solomon Gundy?
"Seafood chowder for lunch"
Seafood chowder for lunch
Cycle past scenes like this on the south shore of Nova Scotia
Cycle past scenes like this on the south shore of Nova Scotia

Cycle about 40 km round-trip from Mahone Bay to Blue Rocks and into Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Chester area itself is pretty but I don’t think the road between Chester and Mahone Bay is anything special. It’s mostly wooded with little in the way of views. I opted to drive to Mahone Bay and do a day trip out of there.

Chester though warrants a visit. It feels a bit like Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario if you’ve ever been there – all manicured lawns and gardens and plenty of old money around. Stay at the Mecklenburgh Inn where you’ll be well taken care of by Suzi, the owner and gourmet cook extraordinaire.

Don’t miss the best lobster roll I had in Nova Scotia at The Rope Loft, down on the water.

The three churches in Mahone Bay
The three churches in Mahone Bay
South shore Nova Scotia and beautiful Mahone Bay
Beautiful Mahone Bay
South shore Nova Scotia colourful scenes along the water
South shore Nova Scotia colourful scenes along the water
South shore Nova Scotia on the way to Blue Rocks
On the way to Blue Rocks

Blue Rocks is a must see fishing village on the south shore Nova Scotia

A side trip to Blue Rocks is a must. It’s charming, beautiful and it feels like you’ve stepped back in time. It ranks as one of my favourite small villages in Nova Scotia and the subject of a previous post.

South shore Nova Scotia and loving the palette of colours in Blue Rocks
Love the palette of colours in Blue Rocks

Lunenburg

You could easily spend a day in Lunenburg wandering around the neighbourhoods with a camera in your hand. It received UNESCO Site status because it is the best surviving example of a planned British Colonial Settlement in North America.

There has been a real effort on the part of the locals to preserve the heritage of the town and in fact some of the houses date back to the 18th century.

South shore Nova Scotia and the blindingly bright colours of Lunenburg houses
The blindingly bright colours of Lunenburg houses
South shore Nova Scotia with exceptional architectural details in the Lunenburg houses
The architectural details in the Lunenburg houses are exceptional

On the way back to Mahone Bay I took whatever backroads I came across. Scenes like the one below were common.

South shore Nova Scotia and a pretty scene of Mahone Bay
Pretty scene of Mahone Bay

If you enjoy kayaking don’t miss a trip out of Mahone Bay in protected waters.

Quilt shop in Mahone Bay
Quilt shop in Mahone Bay

More day trips along the south shore Nova Scotia 

A bike ride out to Ovens Natural Park where you can explore sea caves is worthwhile. I remember visiting as a kid and loving it.

Take the cable ferry to West La Have and cycle the coastal road down to Liverpool.

Companies running bike tours

There are a number of companies that offer bike tours in the area. Freewheeling Adventures and Pedal and Sea Adventures are two locally run and operated companies. Randonnee Tours also runs a trip.

I highly recommend exploring this wonderful, scenic section of Nova Scotia. It’s sure to capture your heart.

Have you been to the south shore of Nova Scotia?

Further reading on things to do in Nova Scotia

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

Discovering the South Shore of Nova Scotia by bike

 

 

 

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 24 Comments
  1. Love your photos, Leigh – Nova Scotia is one of my favourite places in the world! I think the Peggy’s Cove pics are my favourites – we have always been there on bright sunny days and I love seeing what it looks like as the sun is setting. Haven’t been in Lunenburg for about 7 years – I need to go back!

    1. @Lisa I hadn’t been to Lunenburg in about 25 years and I didn’t remember as many brightly painted houses but perhaps I just wasn’t paying attention. I truly love Peggy’s Cove and on this trip I wish I’d had more time for Mahone Bay.

  2. What a fantastic journey this must have been! Peggy’s Cove looks positively quaint and charming and love the nautical landscapes along the entire route and the scrumptious seafood chowder to fuel you onward.

    The wild flowers you photographed above are “Lady’s Slippers” I believe and it’s illegal to pick them in NJ! Gorgeous aren’t they?

    The Swiss Air monument must have been a profound experience.

    Thanks for taking me a long for the ride!

    1. @Jeff Thanks for your great comment. A visit to the Swiss Air monument was a profound experience – and oddly personal – perhaps because of the lone red rose laid at the bottom of one of the rocks. When you look out to sea – and it’s an icy sea – it’s hard to imagine the horrible last few seconds of these people’s lives. But on a more upbeat note, this is a special area in Canada that is simply a fantastic place to visit – friendly, laid back and very pretty.

  3. I’ve seen some pretty colorful buildings in my time, but Lunenburg just might have outdone them all. Everything is so beautifully kept up, too. I’m sorry to say that I had actually forgotten about that Swiss Air tragedy. I guess that’s why these memorials are so important. The memorial at Whalesback is so well done and meaningful.

  4. Great as usual! Here the lady slipper is the state flower and you have to really hunt for them, and there you found them growing wild along the road! I love that part of Canada. . . guess I need to plan a return trip.

  5. I just love all the colors in all these pictures but wow on the Lunenburg houses. I really want to visit Peggy’s Cove and Mahone Bay and just spend some time exploring this part of Canada – with or without sunshine. I’m sure I can live on seafood chowder and lobster rolls all that time. What a beautiful area! This was such a great itinerary, Leigh.

  6. If I had the choice, I’d like to tour a town or city by bike. It allows for stopping anywhere that interests me and not as exhausting as walking. But because my travelling companion doesn’t do bikes (pedal or electric) I can’t do it as much as I would like to. But one of these days, I’ll join a biking tour they organise all the time in the town where we spend our summer holidays in Germany. Without my travelling partner, if need be. 😉

    1. @Marlys I like both hiking & biking but sometimes biking is preferable when you can cover so much more ground but still have the time to poke about. And Nova Scotia is such a great place because the towns on the south shore are close together =- and you are never far from a good meal.

  7. Okay, Leigh, you’ve tempted me enough! I’ve just decided: Peggy’s Cove is going on my list for 2014. And by summer, my ankle will be in much better shape to tackle the bike tour.

  8. What delightful views these are, Leigh. From the first shot, you convinced me that this is somewhere I have to go in the future.

    1. @Andrew Peggy’s Cove is touristy but I still love the spot. It’s wild, especially on a windy day when the waves pound the shore.I don’t think you’d be disappointed and as a photographer there is a lot of great scenery over a short 100 kms distance.

  9. I had half a mind to go visit the eastern part of Canada late summer this year but found that everything was beyond my budget at the moment. Touring on a bike seems to be a cheap way to do it… did you get to bike and camp along the way or did you stay mostly in B&B?

    1. @Jill Bike touring is always a less expensive option and there is lots of camping. I ended up camping a few times but not while biking.I stayed in some nice B&B’s and quite enjoyed myself every night after a day on the bike.

  10. Oh wow I remember that horrible tragedy with Swissair Flight 111, Leigh. That’s a beautiful memorial they’ve put up. What a gorgeous right you went on. Every picture gave me a feeling of calm and serenity. Very nice. Yikes, those Lunenburg houses are really bright except for that last one of which I would love to have a home like that! And yes please on the clam chowder – yummy! 🙂

  11. Hi Leigh, such a lovely shore area to explore by bike. I remember that lovely Peggy’s Cove from your previous post. A great yummy clam chowder is always a nice treat. I’d love to bike that route from Mahone Bay to Lunenburg – so scenic with a lot of splash of color. I hope to make it make it to Nova Scotia sometime soon

  12. Oh my goodness, I love the bright colours in all of your photos! Very magical, especially the one with the red house and the dandelions. Pretty!

  13. What a fantastic trip! I’ve driven the south shore many times, but I think traveling by bike would force me to slow down and really admire the scenery like you did.
    I would recommend a trip to Brier Island the next time you find yourself biking around the south shore. It’s tough to get to…but worth it. You need to go all the way to the end of the Digby Neck and take 2 ferries, but they’re FREE for cyclists!

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