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Getting the blazes out: Summer staycationing in Nova Scotia (13 photos)

Here are a few outdoor adventures supporting local businesses to start your trip planning. 

This summer is the perfect opportunity to explore and experience Nova Scotia like you're a tourist. 

Tourism Nova Scotia says there has never been a better time to buy and support local, and rediscover what's in our own backyard. 

"The most important thing you can do at this moment is to explore Nova Scotia with your friends and family," says spokesperson Zandra Alexander. "Book your getaways, vacation, experiences and activities in a region of the province you've never been, or are less familiar with. You might be surprised by what's on offer."

Here are a few unique outdoor adventures to start your trip planning. 

Luxury Camping

You don't have to rough it to enjoy the great outdoors. 

Stay in one of five geodesic domes at Archer's Edge Luxury Camping in Judique, Cape Breton, to enjoy panoramic views of the Gulf of St. Lawrence from the comfort of a queen size bed. 

The west-facing domes are built on a cliff and are furnished with a bed, bathroom, kitchenette, barbecue, and a heat pump. 

"When people ask me what they are, I tell them it is basically a free-standing hotel room, but more like camping," says owner Scott Archer. "What we really go for up here is privacy, peacefulness, and relaxation."

The campground is located on 35 acres of oceanfront property, which has been in Archer's family since 1891. He says he wanted to share its breathtaking views and peacefulness with the world. 

"It's for the outdoors people who like to hike and bike and get right into nature, and for people who are just looking to turn off the world for a bit and unplug," he says. 

Archer says the domes are best suited for one or two adults, and start at $199 a night.  

During the pandemic, Archers Edge has adjusted check-in and check out times to allow for more thorough cleaning and sanitizing between guests.

Tidal Bore Rafting

Hold on tight, and ride a water roller coaster down the Shubenacadie River with Tidal Bore Rafting Resort in Urbania. 

The river has been recognized by Lonely Planet as one of the top five rivers for white water rafting in Canada. 

Licia Elder is a co-owner of Tidal Bore Rafting Resort and calls the experience "a ton of fun, safe, and wet." She says expert guides lead Zodiac boat passengers down the river, riding waves that can reach up to 15 feet high. 

"The comment we hear most often is amazement that the river goes from calm to wild in 10 minutes or so," she says. 

The resort offers two and four hour tours beginning at $65 per adult during regular tides, high tides, and extreme tides. Elder says about 60 per cent of guests choose extreme tides. 

"It's the highest category with the biggest waves, non-stop splashing and the boat which can support 2,500 pounds is often completely filled with water," she says. "It's like a wild rolling hot tub in chocolatey mousse-coloured water!"

Elder says public health is now permitting eight passengers and a guide in each Zodiac boat, and the resort is cleaning and disinfecting life jackets, rain jackets, and loaner shoes after each trip. 

Berry U-Picks

The taste of summer fruit is even sweeter when you pick it yourself!

Berry and fruit tree U-pick farm operations can be found throughout the province. Horticulture Nova Scotia keeps an updated list throughout the season, of which farms are open to the public. 

The group's executive director, Marlene Huntley, encourages Nova Scotians to hit the fields this season to help support the sale and production of local produce.

"It can be personally gratifying to pick one's own produce and it can be an adventure - a family day out! Best of all, what they pick is as fresh as it is ever going to be," she says. 

According to Huntley, U-pick farms have strict COVID-19-related guidelines in place to protect both the public and farm staff, like staying in assigned rows and potentially booking appointments. She suggests calling ahead to know what will be expected of pickers. 

Surf's Up

Learn how to ride the wave with East Coast Surf School at Lawrencetown Beach. 

The province is gaining international recognition as a great surfing destination. Will Ewald is a manager at the school and says Nova Scotians should consider themselves lucky to have the opportunity in their backyard. 

"Surfing is an amazing sport," he says. "It can be extremely relaxing and meditative but also super exciting."

Ewald recommends first-time surfers get a lesson to be safe and progress faster in the water. Lessons start at $65, which includes a full day wetsuit and surfboard rental. 

East Coast Surf School says it has adapted its operations to ensure social distancing.

Whale Watching

All aboard for an exciting sea adventure off Brier Island - the whale watching capital of Nova Scotia. 

Amy Tudor with Mariner Cruises Whale and Seabird Tours says seeing a whale in the wild is a humbling experience. 

"It brings tears to your eyes, a smile to your face, and a sense of peace to be in their magnificent presence," she says. 

Mariner Cruises offers tours from late June to early October. Cruises can last up to four hours and cost $50 for an adult.   

Tudor says guests can expect to see a diversity of wildlife, like humpback and minke whales, as well as puffins and seals. 

Because of COVID-19, Mariner Cruises is operating at 50 per cent capacity to ensure social distancing. Each person sailing must wear a mask and pass a temperature screening. 

Sea Kayaking

Pick up a paddle, and hit the sea with East Coast Outfitters

The Lower Prospect operation offers lessons and tours for any experience level.

Manager and lead guide at East Coast Outfitters, Adam Zita, says the half-day tour is most popular. It's a four hour trip in either the morning or afternoon, that explores protected bays, secluded beaches, and rugged coastline. 

"For most people, it is something that they don't get to do every day so that makes it fun and exciting," he says. 

This tour begins at $89 a person. 

East Coast Outfitters also rents single and double kayaks, canoes, and stand up paddleboards to those with more experience.  

Zita says to prevent the spread of COVID-19, hand sanitizer has been attached to all life jackets, and equipment is thoroughly cleaned after each use. He adds that tour groups are being capped at 10 participants to adhere to public health measures. 


Katie Hartai

About the Author: Katie Hartai

In addition to being a reporter for NEWS 95.7 and HalifaxToday.ca, Katie is the producer of The Rick Howe Show
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