If you have never been to Nova Scotia, perhaps the first thing you will notice when you arrive, aside from the incredible abundance of natural beauty, is the overwhelming feeling that you belong.
Nova Scotians are renowned for their ability to make strangers feel like they are home.
Here is a list of MUST VISIT communities that truly embody the Nova Scotian spirit (take it from a local):
On the edge of everywhere, the Town of Yarmouth sits on the tip of Nova Scotia's southwest coast.
The town's long history of prosperity, thanks in part to the once booming shipbuilding industry, is preserved to this day in the magnificent architecture found throughout the community. Grand, Victorian style homes of wealthy merchants, shipbuilders, and captains line the historic streets of the downtown area.
The community has received national awards and recognition for its heritage preservation and community beautification.
Yarmouth also boasts some of the finest food, festivals, galleries, and shopping along the southwest shore.
The absolute best of Nova Scotia, both cultural and natural, can be found in this alive and vibrant community.
If you take a left at Port Hawkesbury and keep on going along the west coast of Cape Breton Island, you'll come across the community of Inverness.
It's a small, quaint little community, as many Nova Scotian communities are, but it's in this community where you'll find one of Nova Scotia's best beaches.
Inverness Beach offers 1.5 kilometres (0.93 miles) of gorgeous white sand beach and some of the warmest ocean waters in Nova Scotia, thanks to its protected position along the coast. The beach is also a great place to comb for sea glass, so be sure to keep your eyes open as you stroll along.
You'll also find a trendy coffee shop called Downstreet Coffee Company, which is housed inside of an old bank. The actual bank vault is still used today, albeit to store great Downstreet Coffee products, not bars of gold.
Nestled in the famous Annapolis Valley, Wolfville is the kind of place you just can't get enough of.
Wolfville has managed to blend its rich history and its modern day trendiness seamlessly.
With a rich history as an important site for First Nations peoples, it became home to the Acadians, who skilfully constructed dykes to hold back the waters of the Minas Basin, thus creating rich pastures for livestock and fertile fields for crops.
Today it is a thriving town, home to Acadia University, award winning wineries (seriously, the wine is incredible), beautiful heritage homes, immense natural beauty, a downtown filled with cute shops, galleries, and restaurants, and the list goes on.
Plan to spend a number of days in the area because there is just too much to see and do in one day.
Take a step back in time as you stroll through the historic downtown core which takes visitors back to the 18th century with wonderfully preserved historic buildings. The downtown area even served as the filming location for a Hollywood adaptation of American author Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter", starring Demi Moore, Gary Oldman, and Robert Duvall.
The Shelburne area is also home to multiple rivers, beautiful beaches, and clean lakes just waiting to be explored.
The town has a deep multicultural history, having been once occupied by Mi’kmaq, Acadians, Blacks and Americans. In 1783, during the American Revolution, 3,000 Black Loyalists escaped to freedom in Shelburne, making Shelburne one of the largest cities in North America at the time.
Located along the famous Lighthouse Route, it's a community that shouldn't be missed!
If history is your thing, Annapolis Royal is a must.
This peaceful Nova Scotian town has a rather violent history, being one of the most fought over pieces of land in North America and changing hands between the British and French 7 times. Annapolis Royal also served as the capital of Nova Scotia until the founding of Halifax in 1749.
Today, this welcoming waterfront community embraces thousands of years of Mi’kmaq heritage and its over 400 years of French, Scottish, and British history. It's home to Canada's oldest National Historic Site, Fort Anne, where you can see the Royal Charter from which Nova Scotia gets its name and flag.
It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful, picturesque communities in Nova Scotia.