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Exploring the landscape and experiences of this scenic gem is an essential ingredient of adventure holidays in Nova Scotia.

Photo: Tourism Nova Scotia

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Just a six-hour flight from the UK, the Atlantic Canada province of Nova Scotia is a beguiling blend of stunning natural beauty, diverse cultures, rich heritage, and warm, friendly people.

Circled by 13,000km of coastline and roughly the size of Scotland – Nova Scotia is in fact Latin for New Scotland - and home to just a million people, it features an abundance of culinary and outdoor experiences, characterised by a rich maritime culture. Known for its world-class experiences, spectacular beaches, seaside hikes, whale watching, coastal inlets, six UNESCO-designated sites, charming seaside towns and bustling city nights, Nova Scotia is an iconic destination for any road trip, boasting spectacular seaside and inland driving routes, including the world famous Cabot Trail, one of the most scenic drives on the planet, as well as the Bay of Fundy, home to the highest tides in the world.

Photo: Tourism Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is fiercely proud of its cherished national parks - Cape Breton Highlands National Park and Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site (two locations) - and exploring them is among the best things to do in Nova Scotia. From helping to share Mi'kmaw heritage to showcasing and carrying out modern day conservation efforts, these national parks offer cultural experiences, exciting outdoor adventure, and special places to stay.

Kejimkujik’s name comes from the Mi’kmaw word “kejimkuji’jk” which means “little fairies”. Kejimkujik’s canoe routes had been used by the Mi'kmaq for thousands of years as they traveled between the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic Coast.

Photo: Tourism Nova Scotia

Where are the Kejimkujik National Parks?

Within easy striking distance of the capital Halifax, Kejimkujik is actually divided into two areas. Kejimkujik inland is located 18 kilometres (11 miles) from the village of Caledonia on Highway 8 in the middle of the southwestern part of Nova Scotia. Kejimkujik Seaside, lies approximately 100 kilometres (62 miles) away along the coast near Port Joli. Both offer incredible opportunities to explore Nova Scotia’s natural and cultural heritage, see a wide range of wildlife or to simply sit back and soak it all in.

Both locations of Kejimkujik National Park are open year-round, and are must-sees of active holidays in Nova Scotia. Admission, services and hours vary with the season. 

Highlights of Kejimkujik National Park and Historic Site and Kejimkujik National Park Seaside

Nova Scotia’s only inland national park, Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site is a place where you can leave the world behind and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Nova Scotia. There are many active things you can do in Kejimkujik National Park. Blessed with lush forests, meandering rivers and island-dotted lakes, visitors can explore the park by renting a bicycle or canoe onsite to explore multi-use wooded trails and the historic lakes and waterways, and stay in unique camping accommodations, such as a yurt, rustic cabin, oTENTik, or teardrop Ôasis “duplex”, several feet in the air..

Here you can discover Mi'kmaw petroglyphs and connect with Mi'kmaw culture, experience some of the darkest (and most starry) night skies in North America.

For a contrast, located along the rugged Atlantic coast and a little over one hour from the inland Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site, is Kejimkujik National Park Seaside, with its spectacular coastline and dramatic seaside trails.

Photo: Tourism Nova Scotia

Great hiking trails in Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site

Hiking in Kejimkujik National Park is a great way to get up close to the landscapes. Hikers can choose from 15 day-hiking trails that cut through a wide range of forest, including Acadian Forests, red maple floodplains, windswept pines and old growth hemlocks. The trails are open throughout the year, giving lots of opportunities to spot the park’s wild inhabitants, such as deer and porcupines. Bikers will especially love the Ukme'k trail and its optional technical features.

Here are three of the best trails in Kejimkujik.

The Ukme'k Trail

Length: 6.3-km (3.9-mile) one way

Hiking Time: 1 hour 30 mins to 2 hours

Trail Rating: Moderate 

The Ukme'k Trail is the newest trail in Kejimkujik. Pronounced “ook-may-k”, meaning ‘twisted’ in Mi’kmaw, the trail meanders along the Mersey River connecting the campground with popular day-use areas. Designed to be shared, visitors will enjoy 6.3 km of twists and turns with optional mountain bike features. The recently completed new permanent Mill Falls Bridge and the inclusive rainbow crosswalk are just two new features to experience.

For more information about the Ukme'k Trail, go to

Beech Grove Trail

Length: 2.2 km (1.4 miles) loop 

Hiking Time: 30 minutes

Trail Rating: Moderate

This short trail starts from the pedestrian bridge across the Mersey River and makes a wide circle up and over a drumlin hill. Drumlins are steep on one side and gently sloping on the other. The top of this drumlin is clothed in beeches, bright green and full of warblers in the spring, soft brown and loaded with beechnuts in the fall. This is a shared-use trail so watch for bikers.

For more information about the Beech Grove Trail, go to

Flowing Waters Trail

Length: 1 km (0.6 miles) loop 

Hiking Time: 15 minutes

Trail Rating: Easy

The trails at Kejimkujik showcase an incredible variety of habitats, scenery and places of cultural and historical significance. This short, easy family-friendly trail explores wetlands and streams on the edge of the Mersey River. You follow the river crossing over streams then return to an old sweet-fern logging road. This is a shared-use trail so watch for bikers. It's also a gateway to the Ukme'k Trail.

For more information about the Flowing Waters Trail, go to

Photo: Tourism Nova Scotia

Camp out and Stargaze in Kejimkujik National Park

Nova Scotia is home to Acadian Skies and Mi’kmaq Lands, the first designated dark sky destination in North America. Kejimkujik National Park & National Historic Site was designated as a Dark Sky Preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada in 2010, which restricts the use of artificial light in most of the park. The result is a stargazer’s paradise, with clear nights offering unparalleled views of the moon, constellations, and planets.

Experience the night sky with your guide on a night hike or bike tour. An even better way to stargaze is to set up camp at one of the many campsites throughout the park, including serviced sites with electricity and others that are lit only by the stars!

One remarkable experience is to stay in an Ôasis Pod and spend the night under a natural canopy, while you fall asleep admiring the stars. Five new Ôasis camping units have been added to the range of accommodations available at the Jeremy’s Bay campground at Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site.

Using renewable energy, the water drop-shaped units are built on stilts and are surrounded by trees, overlooking Kejimkujik Lake. The ‘duplex’ pods have a convertible table/bed on the main level and suspended hammock loft above and can accommodate two adults and up to two children.

More information about stargazing in Nova Scotia here:

Photo: Tourism Nova Scotia

Make the most of Kejimkujik National Park Seaside's amazing coastline

Those seeking breathtaking views of a different sort should head down to the Kejimkujik Seaside. Hiking in Kejimkujik National Park Seaside is a delight. The oceanfront section of Kejimkujik offers hikers a myriad of landscapes and wildlife to admire over a 7 kilometre (4.3-mile) trail. The park’s white, sandy beaches and lagoons offer plenty of opportunity to spot harbour seals while birds such as yellowthroats perch among the shrubs and coastal forest.

Visitors here will be rewarded with incredible coastal views and wide white sand beaches after a 2.8 kilometre (one way) hike on Harbour Rocks Trail. Along the way, check out the viewing platform with views of St. Catherine’s River Beach and keep an eye out for local wildlife and birds. Pick up a Perfect Picnic in nearby Liverpool before hitting the trail and enjoy it later at the beach. Be sure to snap a photo sitting on the iconic Parks Canada red chairs.

Here are two of the best trails in Kejimkujik Seaside:

Harbour Rocks Trail

Length: 5.5 kilometres (3.4 miles) return to the car park

Hiking Time: 2 hours

Trail Rating: Moderate

The Harbour Rocks trail passes through dense coastal forest, beside bogs rich with orchids, over coastal barrens, and then to the sandy beach and rocky islands at Harbour Rocks. Along the trail, a viewing platform provides a spectacular view of St. Catherines River Beach. In the thick growth of shrubs at the trail’s edge you may see birds such as the common yellow throat, savannah sparrow, and palm warbler feeding on insects or berries. At the shore, a viewing scope provides a close-up look at offshore seals and seabirds such as gannets and eiders. This route then follows the headlands and small sheltered coves to St. Catherines River Beach.

For more information about the Harbour Rocks Trail, go to

Port Joli Head Trail

Length: 7.5 kilometres (4.7 miles) return to the car park 

Hiking Time: 2.5 hours

Trail Rating: Moderate

This trail branches from the Harbour Rocks Trail, and crosses an extensive bog to a viewing platform overlooking Boyds Cove. The trail skirts clumps of coastal forest, which provide shelter for white-tailed deer and forest birds, and then follows the coast to Port Joli Head. Here you can experience the full force of the ocean: crashing surf, salty spray, cries of gulls and eiders, and the smell of seaweed heavy in the air. Large boulders left behind by the glaciers sit perched on the rocky headlands, now encrusted with orange coastal lichens. From Port Joli Head, the trail loops along the shoreline to Harbour Rocks.

For more information about the Port Joli Head Trail, go to

You can plan your own Nova Scotia adventure with Freedom Destinations. Check out their suggested itineraries or call 0333 234 0943 to speak with a Canada Specialist.


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