Mahone Bay & Blue Rocks – Nova Scotia’s Hidden Gems

Not far from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Town Lunenburg are two hidden gems you won’t want to miss. Well, maybe they’re not hidden, but they are much less visited and at least as picturesque as Lunenburg. The town of Mahone Bay is a charming place with historic homes surrounding a calm bay. Further south is the very photogenic Blue Rocks where moss covered rocks form a small cove.

By chance we heard of these two treasures when driving across Canada on Our Great Canadian Roadtrip and knew we wanted to see them.

If you’re driving from Halifax to Lunenburg plan to first stop at the pretty town of Mahone Bay. Your first view as you approach the town is of three churches that are perfectly placed along the waterfront. With a green background of trees and a blue water foreground, this is a postcard-worthy view.

The cute view of these three churches is enough to make you stop and the rest of this small town will make you want to stay. Well-preserved historic homes line the edge of Mahone Bay. Settled at the same time as Lunenburg, many of the 18th century homes in this area are in very good condition. After wandering along the pretty streets, plan time to have lunch or coffee at one of the many restaurants or coffee shops.

In the water dozens of sailboats add another element to the scenic view. This small town is the definition of charming.

After visiting Mahone Bay and the Unesco World Heritage Site of Old Town Lunenburg, there is one more spot in this area that you must visit. Blue Rocks is a small fishing village on the edge a gorgeous little cove just south of Lunenburg. In this spot, colourful moss covered blue slate rocks surround a small, calm inlet. It is a stunning scene.

Old wooden fishing shacks line the shore while small fishing boats bob in the water. It is a photographer’s dream location. We were actually hesitant to mention this cute spot for fear it will become too busy and lose its charm.

There were a few kayakers arriving as we were leaving Blue Rocks. We wish we had planned our visit better as it would have been an amazing place to kayak.

We left Blue Rocks and continued to explore Nova Scotia’s southern coast. Using Google Maps, we found a route that would take us over the LaHavre River. We assumed there would be a small bridge, but to our surprise when we arrived, there wasn’t one. Instead, we ended up at a small cable ferry terminal.  The 14-car ferry is pulled across the river on a cable connected to both shores. As we sat in our car the small ferry took us on a short, 5 minute journey across the LaHavre River between LaHavre and East LaHavre. This little ferry complimented the quaintness we had experienced so far in Nova Scotia.

There is a longer route that avoids the ferry by taking the highway, but we loved our gentle ride on this slow moving ferry. We recommend taking the ferry instead of driving around the bay.

There are only 4 cable ferries remaining in Nova Scotia. They connect provincial highways and the best part is, they’re free!! 

Getting to Mahone Bay

When driving from Halifax take the #103 Highway toward Lunenburg, but instead of driving directly to Lunenburg get off on the #3 south toward Mahone Bay. After visiting Mahone Bay continue south on #3 to reach Lunenburg.

Getting to Blue Rocks

After visiting Lunenburg take Hwy #332 to Blue Rocks Road and follow it to the end. Blue Rocks Road also connects to residential streets in Lunenburg if you want to avoid the highway.

Where to stay and eat

There are several hotels and Bed & Breakfasts in Lunenburg or nearby Mahone Bay. Both towns also have many restaurants and cafes to chose from with a variety of specialties. We don’t think there are accommodations in Blue Rocks.

Coming Next – Images from Nova Scotia’s Southern Coast

For more pictures from our travels around the world visit Gallery on

To read stories from other parts of the world visit Destinations.

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