Chien couché sur une plage de Nouvelle-Écosse / Dog lying down on a Nova Scotia beach

Exploring Clare with your dog : Dog-friendly activities in southwest Nova Scotia

As the majority of our guests at La Bluefin visit the area with their dogs, we’ve put together a map of dog-friendly activities within an hour and a half of the cottage. Happy exploring!

Map of dog-friendly activities and places in southwest Nova Scotia

1. Whale-watching

Baleine sautant hors de l'eau dans la baie de Fundy en Nouvelle-Écosse / whale breaching in the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia

There are several whale-watching cruise operators on the Digby Neck islands, but  Freeport Whale & Seabird Tours welcomes dogs on board! We took a tour with them in the summer of 2023 (without a dog) and loved our experience. They only take a maximum of 20 passengers per trip on their boat, which is used for lobster fishing in winter – so there are less people and we’re closer to the water than with other operators in the area who run the tours with bigger boats. They’re located on Long Island, so there’s one less ferry to take to get there than with operators on Brier Island. It’s about an hour and a half drive. The whale-watching season is usually from early July to late September.

2. Lobster fishing cruise and Balancing Rock hike

Bay of Fundy Scenic Lobster Tours offers sea excursions on a real lobster fishing boat. They explain how lobster fishing is done in the area, and show some of the attractions seen from the sea (Boars Head lighthouse and Balancing Rock, among others). Dogs are allowed on board on a case-by-case basis. Dates vary from year to year, but they generally operate from July to September.

Speaking of the famous Balancing Rock, it’s just around the corner, in Tiverton. It’s about a 2 km hike (and over 200 steps) to see this natural wonder. Access is free and dogs are welcome.

3. Point Prim lighthouse

Chien devant le phare de Point Prim en Nouvelle-Écosse

Overlooking the narrow “Digby Gut”, which links the Bay of Fundy and the Annapolis Basin, Point Prim Lighthouse is set in a small park, easily accessible by a short path from the parking lot. The site offers splendid views of the water and rocky shoreline. In summer, there’s a small gift shop inside the lighthouse.

Tip if you’re taking the Fundy Rose ferry: The terminal at Digby is a large asphalt parking lot, with no grass or beach access (unlike the Saint-John terminal in New Brunswick). Point Prim is less than 10 minutes from the terminal. It’s a perfect place to take your dog for a walk and a sniff before or after the crossing.

4. Bear River Vineyards

This winery near Digby offers tastings and guided tours. Leashed dogs are welcome in the wind store and outside, where you can sit and enjoy a glass of wine, but they cannot go on the tour through the wine making operation.

5. Maud Lewis memorial and replica house

Have you seen the film “Maudie” about the life of painter Maud Lewis? Maud Lewis was a local folk artist renowned for her colorful paintings depicting rural landscapes, animals and scenes of everyday life. Despite physical difficulties caused by rheumatoid arthritis, she constantly painted on every available surface, including the walls of her small home in Marshalltown. Today, the place where she lived from 1938 until her death in 1970 has become a memorial park in her memory, with a metal monument replicating her original home. About 10 minutes away, a faithful replica of her wooden house, decorated as it was when she lived there, allows visitors to discover her unique artistic universe. 

6. Belliveau's Cove

Sentier de gravier à l'Anse des Belliveau en Nouvelle-Écosse / Gravel path in Belliveau Cove in Nova Scotia

There’s a lot to discover with your pup in Belliveau’s Cove!

  • The “boardwalk” is a network of trails along the coast, from the lighthouse to the historic site of Pointe-à-Major, the region’s first Acadian cemetery.
  • In summer, it’s the site of “Beaux Vendredis”, open-air seafood suppers featuring musical performances by local artists.
  • There’s also a local farmers’ market on Saturdays and a local artisans’ market on Sundays in July and August.
  • The seafood and Acadian cuisine restaurant “La Vieille École” is located here, and dogs are allowed outside (picnic tables).

7. "Le Petit Bois" trails

This charming 5 km network of trails winds through the woods and along the coast behind the Université Sainte-Anne campus and St. Mary’s Church (the tallest wooden building in North America). There’s a gazebo near the water, perfect for a picnic by the sea. 

8. Radio CIFA

Radio CIFA Nouvelle-Écosse / Radio CIFA in Nova Scotia

Have you ever visited a local radio station? You can make an appointment with Lisa, CIFA’s director, and she’ll be happy to show you around!

You can listen to CIFA on 104.1 FM or online at cifafm.com!

9. La Cuisine Robicheau (restaurant) and Le p'tit Robicheau (foodtruck)

Two local institutions belonging to the same family, Cuisine Robicheau and Le p’tit Robicheau warmly welcome you in Saulnierville! 

La Cuisine Robicheau is a “bring your own wine” restaurant where you can discover local Acadian cuisine or feast on seafood. Dogs are welcome on the patio. During the summer, Thursday evenings become typical East Coast kitchen parties with live music. 

Le p’tit Robicheau is a food truck next to the restaurant. It serves gourmet burgers and “poutines” (in the Quebecois, not Acadian, sense of the word). Food is available to take away, but there are a few picnic tables if you prefer to eat on site.

10. Corberrie Cider Company

Apple cider bottles in front of an Acadian flag - bouteilles de cidre devant un drapeau acadien

A true local product, Corberrie Cider Company’s cider is 100% locally produced, from bud to bottle! 

Owner Denise offers tastings and guided tours of the orchard and cidery by appointment, and dogs are welcome.

11. Meteghan - wharf, beach, playground, Smugglers' Cove provincial park

Bateaux de pêche au homard accostés au quai de Meteghan en Nouvelle-Écosse / Lobster fishing boats at the Meteghan wharf in Nova Scotia

There are many beautiful spots in Meteghan to enjoy with your pooch! 

  • Wharf: The largest commercial wharf in the region!
  • Meteghan Centre Beach (at the end of Maxwellton Road): A beach well known for its seaglass – walkers are often seen searching for the precious fragments!
  • Meteghan Family Park: This playground, with its handcrafted play modules, is very popular with children!
  • Smugglers Cove Provincial Park : Literally La Bluefin’s neighbor, this is one of our favourite places to walk with our dog, as it is a short stroll from the cottage. In fact, Smugglers Cove was our favourite place to watch the sunset (it’s no coincidence that we built our cottage right next to it!).

12. Mavillette Beach and Cape Saint-Mary's lighthouse park

Bouvier bernois qui court joyeusement sur une plage de Nouvelle-Écosse / Bernese mountain dog running on a Nova Scotia beach

Aaaahhh Mavillette beach! By far the most beautiful beach in the region! Its two ends, submerged at high tide, become accessible at low tide. The northern end, which runs alongside the road to the Cape Saint-Mary lighthouse (and is in fact Cape Saint-Mary beach), is where we go walking with Rafale practically every day when we are staying at La Bluefin. We park on the side of the road just after the intersection with John Doucette Road, and walk to the Cape Saint-Mary breakwater. We’re usually alone, whatever the season. Truly a jewel!

Just a few minutes away is Cape Saint-Mary lighthouse park. This is the most westerly point of mainland Nova Scotia. The 180-degree view is magnificent, as are the rocky cliffs that make up the Cape. There’s a picnic table under a shelter and a monument honouring the memory of fishermen lost at sea. 

13. Bartlett beach and Port Maitland beach

Chien plage Bartlett Nouvelle-Écosse h

Bartlett Beach is like a well-kept secret. A tiny sign indicates its location, found at the end of a narrow gravel path. At high tide the beach almost disappears, but at low tide it’s a fabulous (and often completely deserted) place to take a walk with your dog.

Port Maitland beach, not far away, is another splendid beach. It’s very popular for swimming, and its proximity to Yarmouth makes it a bit more crowded on warm and sunny days.

14. Sandford drawbridge and Living Wharves demonstrations

Bateau de pêche rouge accosté près du pont-levis de Sandford en Nouvelle-Écosse / Red fishing boat docked beside the Sandford drawbridge in Nova Scotia

Sandford has a tiny harbour, said to have the world’s smallest drawbridge! It’s an interesting sight to see on the way to Yarmouth. During the summer, it’s also one of three sites for the “Living Wharves” demonstrations, a free activity during which a fisherman explains all there is to know about lobster fishing in the region (the other two are Cape Forchu lighthouse and Dennis Point wharf). 

15. Yarmouth

Yarmouth’s waterfront is a lovely place to discover with your pup. If you like history and architecture, take a stroll along the 3.5 km self-guided Historic District Sea Captain’s Homes and Mercantile Heritage Walk, where you can admire the homes that once belonged to the sea captains of yesteryear. Numerous murals have been painted downtown, and various shops welcome dogs (including one we particularly like, Seahags & Scallywags). There are also several dog-friendly patios, for example at Shanty Café, Heritage Brewing Company and Studio Yarmouth Cafe and Gallery.

16. Phare de Cape Forchu

Phare en coeur de pomme de Cape Forchu en Nouvelle-Écosse

 This unique “apple core” lighthouse is said to be the second most photographed lighthouse in Nova Scotia, after Peggy’s Cove! It’s set in a small park with trails offering breathtaking ocean views, and where even a whale skeleton is on display. In summer, guided tours to the top of the lighthouse are offered with the 

 “Climb the light” experience. It’s also a popular site for stargazing and astrophotography. Access to the site is free, although there is a charge for guided tours. Dogs are welcome on site, but may not enter the buildings or the lighthouse. 

On your way to Cape Forchu, you’ll see the “Yarbar Buoy Wall” on the right-hand side of the road – a perfect spot for memorable photos!

17. Deep Sky Eye Observatory

The municipality of Clare is part of an area called “Acadian Skies and Mi’kmaq Lands”, which is the only place in North America to have received both “Reserve” and “Tourist Destination” certifications from the Starlight Foundation, a UNESCO-supported organization. The region’s very low light pollution makes it a popular spot for observing the Milky Way and the stars!

Po fully enjoy this unique environment, the Deep Sky Eye Observatory offers a 2-hour activity called the “Nocturnal Sky Theater Experience”. Although they won’t be able to look through the telescopes, dogs are welcome.

18. Historic Acadian Village of Nova Scotia

Un champ avec des maisons anciennes au loin au Village historique acadien de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Travel back in time and discover how Acadians lived in the early 1900s at the Village historique acadien de la Nouvelle-Écosse! After the deportation of 1755, Acadians returning from exile had to settle on poorly fertile land (Baie Sainte-Marie among others) and turn to the sea for their livelihood. The Village demonstrates, with animators in period costume, many aspects of this new way of life, such as the construction of boats and lobster traps.

Leashed dogs are allowed on site. Open from about the end of May to the end of September.

Chalet au bord de la mer en Nouvelle-Écosse / Nova Scotia oceanfront cottage

Looking for a dog-friendly vacation rental in Nova Scotia?

La Bluefin is a cottage located in Meteghan, in the heart of the Clare and Baie Sainte-Marie Acadian region of southwestern Nova Scotia. Built on a cliff overlooking the Bay of Fundy, it offers 180-degree views of the ocean and the magnificent sunsets over the water. Dogs are members of the family and welcome at La Bluefin at no extra charge, with special amenities provided for them.

Meteghan, Nouvelle-Écosse