Lunenburg is located on Nova Scotia's South Shore, about an hour and twenty minute drive from Halifax. The walkable town is positioned on a hillside overlooking a harbour and its main section is three or four parallel streets lined with bed and breakfasts, inns, local restaurants and shops. For a small town of about 2,300 people, Lunenburg is rich in amenities designed to welcome and charm visitors. Despite being touristy, there's also an element of lived-in authenticity that gives Lunenburg an edge over its more bland neighbor Mahone Bay.
If you're looking for an even smaller seaside town that's a little bit closer to Halifax, consider Chester. I only stopped in Chester for lunch but it made me wish that I had planned to spend at least one night there. From Chester you can take a ferry to the Tancook Islands and spend a few hours exploring.
My other favorite place in Nova Scotia was Wolfville. This college town is about an hour north of Halifax, making it very accessible to travelers. While the town itself doesn't have the quintessential attractiveness and layout of Lunenburg, Wolfville does back up to the Bay of Fundy's Minas Basin where the world famous Nova Scotia tides go in and out every six hours. From Wolfville it's a short drive to places like Evangeline Beach or Hall's Harbour where this phenomenon can really be observed.
Wolfville is smack dab in the middle of Nova Scotia's wine region - the Gaspereau Valley. Several wineries are within a 30 minute drive and the wine is surprisingly good for somewhere so far north. Perhaps because of the wine draw, Wolfville also has an elevated food scene. Some of the best dining in the province outside of Halifax is located here. Nearby Port William is also worth checking out for its food and drink.
|Nova Scotia's Wine Region|
|Evangeline Beach, Cape Blomidon in distance|
Being a college town, Wolfville is not so tourist reliant, so there's a progressive buzz going on there year round, complete with bookstores, an arts scene, and an awareness of healthy living options. The thinking seems to be that if the residents are happy, then the visitors are sure to be as well.