Driving east along the South Shore on a sunny day, the seemingly endless stretch of sea sparkles to the right of the road. The route begins at the most south-westerly part of Nova Scotia in Yarmouth, an historic seaport town. Yarmouth's most popular attraction is its lighthouse. To reach it, follow Route 304 to Cape Forchu, named by French explorer Samuel de Champlain in 1604. Yarmouth's original lighthouse was built in 1839 and replaced in the 1960s by what stands there today, which sits atop a rocky point. Be sure to set aside some time to gaze upon the vast Atlantic Ocean before you follow the walking trail up to the interpretative centre.
Kejimukujik National Park
As you leave Yarmouth, Route 3 passes through French Acadian fishing villages – a region called the French Shore. Inland on Route 8 from Liverpool is a true natural gem: Kejimkujik National Park – also a National Historic Site of Canada – known locally as Keji. Open year-round, Keji has pristine lakes and rivers for canoeing and kayaking, while its lush woodlands make for ideal camping and hiking.
Further east on Route 3 is the historic town of Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located here is the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic plus a working marine blacksmith and dory shop – makers of small, shallow boats used traditionally for fishing. In 1921 the world-famous Bluenose was constructed in a local shipyard; a replica built in 1963, the Bluenose II, is open to visitors when it's in port.
Mahone Bay and Chester
From Lunenburg, the Lighthouse Route continues to the charming towns of Mahone Bay and Chester. Three classic churches dominate the waterfront of Mahone Bay, while art galleries, restaurants and cafes dot the narrow streets.
Chester, noted for its grand homes as well as golf, sailing and kayaking, is also the starting point for exploring the Tancook islands at the mouth of Mahone Bay. Attend a performance at the Chester Playhouse or picnic along Queensland Beach on St. Margaret's Bay before making your way to Halifax, the Lighthouse Route's final scenic stop.
For more travel tips, visit caamagazine.ca.
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