4 Whale Watching Sites in Nova Scotia

Whale-come to Nova Scotia, a Canadian province full of coastal spots ready to see the sea’s largest mammals in their natural habitat.

There is plenty to do in the Maritime Province Nova Scotia including driving the scenic Cabot Trail, wandering the colorful streets of Lunenburg, and discovering the picturesque lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove. But one of the best ways to get acquainted with the natural beauty of this region is to visit a whale watching site and admire the way these majestic animals break the surface of the water.

Each year from May to October (the whale watching season), as many as twelve species of whales, including humpbacks, minke whales, pilot, sei and fin whales, make the waters off the coast of Nova Scotia their home. So dust off your binoculars, charge your camera’s battery and prepare to catch a glimpse of these legendary sea giants at these four whale watching locations in Nova Scotia.

1. Cabot Trail, Cape Breton

Get a close-up look at a fin whale with its gray body and large nose.

You can’t travel to Nova Scotia and not drive the Cabot Trail, and while you’re there, it only makes sense to stop and watch whales of all sizes and species play beneath the ocean’s salty surface. Heralded as one of the best whale watching spots in all of Nova Scotia, the Cabot Trail offers avid animal lovers the chance to get close enough to the water’s edge to perhaps receive a splash or two from a passing minke or pilot whale.

While it’s relatively safe to say you can spot whales anywhere along the Cabot Trail, Pleasant Bay or Ingonish are usually the best spots due to their proximity to the water itself, but remember to pack waterproof clothing. No one likes to get back into the car soaking wet.


2. Digby Neck, Bay of Fundy

A humpback whale's blowhole as it swims through the waters of the Bay of Fundy.

If you’re looking for another epic whale watching spot, look no further than Digby Neck in the Bay of Fundy. The Bay of Fundy region is teeming with wildlife and sometimes boasts up to 300 whales during the summer/fall season, making it a prime time whale watching spot in Nova Scotia.

Whether you’re taking in the sights from the deck of a boat or somewhere on shore, you’re sure to see humpback whales traveling in pods, marvel at the small and gentle minke whale, and gaze at the V-shaped head of a humpback whale as it moves through the deep blue water. Fingers crossed, you’ll also catch a rare sighting of the mighty blue whale as it searches for its next meal.

3. Lunenburg

A humpback whale breaks the surface of the water outside of Lunenburg.

Holding front-row tickets to one of Mother Nature’s best marine shows becomes even more magical when you also have the chance to see dolphins, sea sunfish, bluefin tuna and leatherback turtles as they play beneath the surface of the water in Lunenburg. This town may seem sleepy on land, but it delivers big time on the wildlife front with sightings of fin, minke and humpback whales from June to October.

Although you can scan the water from somewhere along the coast, you are more likely to see a whale from the deck of a ship on a 3-hour sailing adventure through the North Atlanticdeparting from the city’s historic waterfront.

4. Halifax

A pod of finned whales juts out of Halifax waters.

While Halifax isn’t always the best place to spot whales in Nova Scotia, it should still do if you don’t have time to get to other whale-watching areas throughout the province. All you have to do is hop on a boat tour that departs from the Halifax waterfront and make your way through the Atlantic Ocean to see minke, pilot and fin whales diving below the water’s surface.

Guaranteed an experience you won’t forget; tours are relatively inexpensive and allow you to not only see these magnificent animals up close, but also learn a little about their habits and ecology. You might even be able to spot an endangered North Atlantic right whale as it glides effortlessly through its marine home from the deck of the boat.


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