Atlantic Canada is filled with autumn experiences that will leave visitors transformed by the region’s beauty, food and culture. Despite recent extreme weather events, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia remain open for business and eager to welcome visitors to experience the East Coast’s seasonal delights. Here’s your checklist of must-do activities in the coming months.
17 Unforgettable Autumn Experiences in Atlantic Canada
Fall Fun in New Brunswick
See fall’s ever-shifting hues on a road trip through the spectacular Fundy Coast. Here, the world’s highest tides, charming communities and a dramatic coastline make for a delightful drive. Allot seven to 10 days to explore the Fundy Coast’s myriad adventures, including island hopping, viewing Atlantic wildlife, and indulging in locally caught lobster. Highlights include:
- Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park, New Brunswick’s most iconic landmark, where 160 billion tonnes of seawater rush out of the Bay of Fundy twice a day, allowing visitors to walk on the ocean floor;
- The Fundy Isles, a collection of islands where shorelines are guarded by lighthouses, bird and marine life bustles, and artisan and art studios offer a warm welcome.
- See a comprehensive Fundy Coast itinerary, including recommended eats, here.
Get in the spirit Warm your belly at the 25th edition of the New Brunswick Spirits Festival (November 15 – 19), the oldest whisky festival in Canada. Hosted annually in Fredericton, the event is anchored by a spirit-forward menu, including a rum dinner, bourbon whisky lunch, masterclasses, and the Festival Showcase tasting room. Book your tickets fast as many events are selling out.
Feast of flavours in Fredericton
Feeling peckish? Savour Fredericton’s fresh flavours at a locally loved dining experience:
- Journey along the Fredericton Taproom Trail. Taste craft beers that change with the seasons (pumpkin ale or oat stout, anyone?). Fredericton– also known as Atlantic Canada’s Brewing Capital – is home to 11 taprooms. Sip brews while chatting with friendly locals. The city also offers Brew Bucks, a currency that’s used exclusively to purchase taproom beer.
- There’s a reason Boyce Farmers Market is among the most recommended eateries in Fredericton. Every Saturday morning, the downtown space comes alive with vendors all kinds of goodies. Gourmet chocolates, hot coffee, seasonal produce and fresh meats. You can also find New Brunswick wines and ciders, and handcrafted gifts.
- Fuel up with a hot breakfast served at the Market. Or wander Food Alley to munch on food truck favourites like falafel sandwiches and buffalo burgers. Satisfying all sorts of appetites, the market features over 200 suppliers from across New Brunswick.
- The brand-new food festival A Taste of the Atlantic (November 5 – 6) debuts in Fredericton this fall. Built around traditional Indigenous cuisine, the festival brings chefs and creators from across Atlantic Canada. Guests can dine on a five-course dining experience that uses important ingredients in Indigenous culture. Hosted at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.
Amazing autumn in Nova Scotia
New in Nova Scotia New hotels and restaurants in Nova Scotia beckon visitors to experience the newest offerings on the coast:
- New café and restaurant Ori opened in April 2022 in North Dartmouth. It’s an intimate space for coffee, lunch and dinner. After settling into its traditional bakery items, Ori chefs ventured into more adventurous options, such as marinated tuna ceviche with puffed quinoa and smoked chillies and striped bass with pappardelle and lobster broth. Striking a harmonious balance between simple and refined fare, Ori has swiftly become a must-visit neighbourhood eatery.
- The Bedard Bakery in Windsor is located in the Annapolis Valley and opened in July 2022. While sweet treats are plentiful at Bedard, the bakery specializes in bread, including varieties of sourdough and pillowy baguettes and flavoured focaccia. Pastry delicacies include raspberry sweet cream croissants and savoury potato and feta bourekas with za’atar.
- Situated among the farms, orchards and vineyards of the Annapolis Valley, the Evangeline is a 1940’s motel that was recently reimagined into a two-hectare (five-acre) oasis. The property sits in Grand Pré, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and offers 23 rooms and a bungalow house, as well as a fire pit and deck overlooking the Bay of Fundy.
- The motel’s restaurant – a diner once made famous for its homemade pies, and now christened Longfellow after the author of the poem Evangeline – is led by well-known chef Ray Bear. Standouts here are the homemade gnudi with lemon and brown butter, eggplant involtini, and a whole roasted trout.
Active things to do in Nova Scotia this Autumn
Savour Nova Scotia’s myriad fall experiences, from sipping beer at one of the oldest breweries in North America to marvelling at brilliantly hued foliage:
- Over 200 years have passed since Alexander Keith’s Brewery began producing beer. Today, visitors to Halifax can visit the historic ironstone building to learn about Alexander Keith’s legacy. Enjoy flights of small-batch beer and the ambience of the Stag’s Head. The onsite pub serves limited-edition beers enhanced by live music.
- See fall’s symphony of colours throughout the province. In Hemlock Ravines, take an easy-to-moderate hike in one of the most popular urban parks in Halifax. Originally a country estate built in 1780 for Lieutenant Governor John Wentworth, the 80-hectare (200-acre) park is a calm oasis in the city, complete with a babbling brook and heart-shaped pond.
- Cruise the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. It boasts some of Canada’s most dazzling fall foliage. Play a round of golf at the picturesque Cape Breton Highland Links, or simply hike along the trails and soak in the fall panoramas. If you prefer water explorations, paddle the sheltered waters near North River in Cape Breton.
- Indulge in seasonal romance on a thrilling helicopter journey over Halifax and the Nova Scotia coastline. Keep your eyes peeled for trees dressed in red, orange and yellow. Once you’ve landed on Sambro Island – home to the oldest working lighthouse in North America – you and your plus-one can sip Nova Scotia bubbly on a private beach and explore a secluded cove. A portion of the proceeds from the tour are donated to the Sambro Island Lighthouse Heritage Society, which helps to protect and preserve the island and its historic lighthouse. The tour is offered year-round, weather permitting.
Cultural connections in Nova Scotia
Attend a seasonal festival or heritage site to experience the culture and history of Nova Scotia:
- Celebrate fall at the One And Only Fall Music Fest (November 25 – 26), hosted in Annapolis Royal. After a kickoff Parade of Lights and fireworks, the event continues into the night with The Sounds of Motown.
- The Halifax Citadel National Historic Site was built in 1749 to protect the city against invasion. It’s one of the most important historical sites in Canada. Here, visitors step back in time with the 78th Highlanders to learn about soldiers and their families who lived and worked in the historic fort. Join a guided ghost tour, watch the noon day firing of the gun or browse the new exhibit Fortress Halifax – A City Shaped by Conflict.
- Membertou Heritage Park in Cape Breton is a two-hectare (five-acre) site that provides a living history of the Mi’kmaq. Visitors can take a guided tour of the cultural centre, featuring ancient displays, drumming and chanting. Dine at Kiju, which serves traditional Mi’kmaq-inspired recipes; or tour the tranquil medicine gardens. With advanced booking, guests can participate in drum, beading and basket-making.