Experience Pictou > Explore > Tourist Tips & FAQs

Walking Tours are coming soon!  Visitors interested in Pictou's history can join guided walking tours led by knowledgeable locals or historians. These tours typically explore significant landmarks, historic sites, and architectural gems, providing a fascinating glimpse into the town's past.

Yes, there are several scenic drives and road trips recommended for exploring the region around Pictou. The Sunrise Trail along the Northumberland Shore is the most popular route that offer stunning views of coastal scenery, charming communities, and what locals call the "Mini Cabot Trail."  Learn more at www.explorenorthumberlandshore.com

Absolutely! There is a boat tour available for those interested in exploring Pictou's coastal waters. Nova Scotia Family Fun Boat Tours operates from the Hector Visitors Marina located at 87 Caladh Avenue on the waterfront. 

Two tours are available including a Seal Tour where seals and seabirds are plenty and a Dinner Cruise where you can dine aboard while taking in the sights and sounds of the harbour. 

Yes, you can absolutely drive to Nova Scotia without taking a ferry. While Nova Scotia is often associated with ferry travel due to its numerous ferry routes connecting to neighboring provinces, it is indeed accessible by road. Nova Scotia is a peninsula rather than an island, so there's no need to cross any bodies of water to reach it by land.

Travelers can reach Nova Scotia by driving through New Brunswick.  The Trans Canada Highway (Highway 104) provides a direct route from New Brunswick into Nova Scotia. 

Despite its relatively small size in terms of land area and population of approximately 3200, Pictou offers many attractions, amenities, and activities for residents and visitors to enjoy.  This makes Pictou one of the must stops locations when exploring Nova Scotia.

Yes, the driving distance between Halifax to Pictou is approximately 165 km.  It takes approximately 2 hours to drive from Halifax to Pictou.

The ferry trip from PEI to Pictou takes approximately 75 minutes. This ferry route crosses the Northumberland Strait, connecting Wood Islands in Prince Edward Island to Caribou in Nova Scotia, which is just outside of the historic town of Pictou.

The journey provides travelers with a scenic and convenient way to travel between these two provinces, offering stunning views of the sea and coastline along the way. Whether for leisure or transportation, the ferry provides an enjoyable experience for passengers as they cross the sea between Prince Edward Island and mainland Nova Scotia.

The Pictou Causeway, also known as the Harvey Veniot Causeway, spans across the harbor and carries Nova Scotia Highway 106. It limits the navigable portion of the harbor to approximately 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) in length.

Spending 7 days in Nova Scotia is an ideal timeframe to explore the province's main attractions and immerse yourself in its rich culture, history, and natural beauty. With this amount of time, you'll have the opportunity to visit iconic landmarks, charming coastal towns, scenic landscapes, and cultural sites at a relaxed pace.

During a week-long trip to Nova Scotia, you can explore highlights such as:

Pictou and the Northumberland Shore: Pictou's waterfront, with its historic charm and bustling harbor, serves as a gateway to the town's maritime heritage, highlighted by the Hector Heritage Quay and the Northumberland Fisheries Museum.  Along the Northumberland Shore, visitors can also explore pristine beaches like Melmerby Beach Provincial Park and enjoy scenic drives along the Sunrise Trail. Charming villages such as Tatamagouche and River John offer opportunities for leisurely exploration and local artisanal experiences.

Halifax: Spend a couple of days exploring Nova Scotia's capital city. Visit historic sites like the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, stroll along the waterfront boardwalk, explore museums such as the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, and indulge in delicious seafood at local restaurants.

Peggy's Cove: Take a day trip to Peggy's Cove, renowned for its iconic lighthouse perched on rugged granite rocks. Enjoy breathtaking coastal views, explore the quaint village, and sample fresh seafood.

Cape Breton Island: Dedicate a few days to explore the stunning landscapes of Cape Breton Island. Drive the Cabot Trail, hike in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, visit the picturesque village of Baddeck, and immerse yourself in Gaelic culture along the Ceilidh Trail.

Lunenburg: Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lunenburg, known for its colorful architecture, rich maritime heritage, and delicious seafood. Explore the historic streets, visit the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, and take a scenic boat tour of the harbor.

Annapolis Valley: Spend a day exploring the scenic Annapolis Valley, known for its wineries, orchards, and historic towns like Wolfville and Annapolis Royal. Visit local vineyards, sample award-winning wines, and enjoy the picturesque countryside.

Dedicating a week to Nova Scotia allows you to delve deeper into the province's diverse offerings and truly appreciate its beauty and charm. However, even with a week-long itinerary, there's always more to see and do in Nova Scotia, so consider extending your stay if possible to fully experience all that the province has to offer.

No, Pictou is not located in Cape Breton. Pictou is a town in the province of Nova Scotia, situated on the Northumberland Shore, which is part of mainland Nova Scotia.

Cape Breton Island is a separate island located to the northeast of mainland Nova Scotia, across the Strait of Canso. While both Cape Breton Island and the mainland are part of the province of Nova Scotia, they are distinct geographical regions with their own towns, cities, and communities. Pictou is located on the mainland, not on Cape Breton Island.

Pictou is approximately a 90 minute drive from the Cape Breton Causeway which is the entrance point to the Island.

Yes! Pictou is a small town Nova Scotia. It has many popular attractions, including Hector Heritage Quay, and nearby beaches and Provincial parks, making it well worth a visit.

No, not in the town itself.  However, the Abercrombie Golf & Country Club, a scenic 18-hole course is the perfect spot for golf enthusiasts to enjoy a challenging play.  The Club is only a short 10 minute drive from downtown Pictou across the Causeway.

Yes, the Pictou Welcome Center is located on Caladh Avenue and offers maps, brochures, and helpful staff who can provide information on attractions, events, and activities in the area.

Yes, there are direct flights to Nova Scotia from various destinations, including the United States. Airlines such as Air Canada, Air Transat, United Airlines, WestJet, and American Airlines operate direct flights to Nova Scotia from cities in the United States.

These flights provide convenient options for travelers looking to visit Nova Scotia without the need for layovers or connecting flights. The major airport in Nova Scotia, Halifax Stanfield International Airport, serves as key hub for domestic and international air travel, offering a range of flight options to and from the province.

Pictou, Nova Scotia, is known for several key attributes that highlight its cultural and historical significance, as well as its natural beauty:

  1. Birthplace of New Scotland (Nova Scotia): Pictou is often referred to as the "Birthplace of New Scotland" because it is where the first wave of Scottish immigrants landed in 1773. The arrival of the ship Hector with these settlers marked the beginning of significant Scottish migration to Nova Scotia, deeply influencing the province's culture and heritage.

  2. Shipbuilding History: Historically, Pictou was an important shipbuilding and industrial center during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The town's shipyards built many of the ships that contributed to the region's maritime commerce.

  3. The Hector Heritage Quay: This is a prominent attraction in Pictou, featuring a full-size replica of the Ship Hector. The Quay serves as a museum and heritage center that celebrates the town's Scottish heritage and the story of the Scottish immigrants who arrived on the Hector.

  4. Beautiful Beaches and Waterfront: Pictou is known for its scenic waterfront, beautiful beaches, and the Pictou Harbour. The area offers recreational opportunities such as boating, fishing, and enjoying the natural beauty of the Northumberland Strait.

  5. Festivals and Cultural Events: Pictou hosts various cultural events and festivals throughout the year, celebrating its rich heritage and community spirit. These include music festivals, cultural celebrations, and historical reenactments.

  6. Lobster Fishing: The region around Pictou is known for its lobster fishing industry, contributing to Nova Scotia's reputation for delicious seafood. Visitors often enjoy fresh local seafood, particularly during lobster season.

Pictou's combination of historical significance, cultural events, natural beauty, and maritime traditions makes it a notable and attractive destination in Nova Scotia.

While it's true that some tourists might find the highway drive in Nova Scotia to be lacking in excitement, those who venture off the beaten path to explore the scenic shorelines like the Northumberland Shore are in for a treat. Here are a few compelling reasons why you should beat the boredom and opt for a journey along the Northumberland Shore instead:

Stunning Coastal Landscapes: The Northumberland Shore is blessed with breathtaking coastal landscapes that captivate the senses. Picture-perfect beaches, rugged cliffs, and charming seaside villages dot the shoreline, offering endless opportunities for scenic stops and photo ops. The tranquil beauty of this region is unparalleled, providing a serene backdrop for your journey.

Rich Maritime History: Nova Scotia's coastline is steeped in maritime history, and the Northumberland Shore is no exception. As you travel along this picturesque route, you'll encounter historic lighthouses, fishing harbors, and heritage sites that tell the story of the region's seafaring past. Explore quaint fishing villages like Pictou and Tatamagouche, where you can learn about the area's proud maritime traditions and sample fresh seafood straight from the Atlantic.

Charming Coastal Communities: One of the highlights of traveling along the Northumberland Shore is the opportunity to visit charming coastal communities that exude warmth and hospitality. Take a leisurely stroll through colorful fishing villages, browse artisan shops for unique souvenirs, or indulge in a delicious meal at a waterfront restaurant. The laid-back atmosphere and friendly locals will make you feel right at home as you soak in the coastal charm.

Outdoor Adventures: For outdoor enthusiasts, the Northumberland Shore offers a plethora of activities to enjoy amidst its natural splendor. From hiking along scenic coastal trails and birdwatching in pristine nature reserves to kayaking along tranquil bays and beaches, there's no shortage of adventures to embark on. Whether you prefer relaxation or adrenaline-fueled thrills, this region has something for everyone to enjoy.

Peace and Tranquility: Unlike the hustle and bustle of the highway, traveling along the Northumberland Shore offers a sense of peace and tranquility that is hard to find elsewhere. The gentle lapping of waves against the shore, the fresh sea breeze in the air, and the unspoiled beauty of the coastal landscape create a serene ambiance that soothes the soul. It's the perfect escape from the stresses of everyday life, allowing you to unwind and reconnect with nature.

Pictou hosts several events, including the Lobster Carnival in July, which celebrates the town's maritime lobster fishing heritage, the Pictou-North Colchester Exhibition in early September is home to 4H displays, petting farm, barrel races, consessions and much more and the Scottish Festival in mid September featuring traditional music, dance and exhibits.

Pictou is located off exit 22 on the Trans Canada Highway (Highway 104). Once you reach exit 22, you'll transition onto TCH 106, which leads directly to the town of Pictou.

The town itself is approximately 17 kilometers from exit 22. This exit provides easy access for travelers coming from various points in the United States and Canada, as highways from New Brunswick join the Trans Canada Highway, making it a convenient route for reaching Pictou and exploring the surrounding area.

The summer months (June to August) are popular for tourism in Pictou, offering warm weather and a full range of outdoor activities. However, visitors may also enjoy the colorful foliage and quieter atmosphere during the fall months (September to November). The spectular hue of the fall leaves are just breathing taking!

Those interested in tracing their family roots or learning about Pictou's genealogy can visit the McCulloch House Museum and Genealogy Centre located at 86 Haliburton Road only minutes from downtown Pictou. 

Yes! Pictou, Nova Scotia can indeed be a great place to slow down and unwind. Here are four top reasons why:

1. Tranquil Coastal Setting: Pictou boasts stunning coastal scenery along the Northumberland Shore, offering serene views of the ocean and picturesque landscapes. The peaceful ambiance of the area provides a perfect backdrop for relaxation, whether you're strolling along the waterfront, enjoying a leisurely picnic by the sea, or simply taking in the calming sound of waves.

2. Charming Small-Town Atmosphere: Pictou exudes a charming small-town atmosphere, with its quaint streets lined with historic buildings, cozy cafes, and artisan shops. Visitors can unwind by immersing themselves in the local culture, enjoying leisurely walks through the town, browsing unique boutiques, and savoring delicious seafood at waterfront restaurants. The friendly locals and laid-back vibe of Pictou create an inviting atmosphere for those seeking a relaxing getaway.

3. Outdoor Recreation: Pictou and its surrounding areas offer ample opportunities for outdoor recreation, allowing visitors to connect with nature and rejuvenate their spirits. From scenic hiking trails through lush forests to tranquil kayaking excursions along the rivers and coastline, there are numerous ways to enjoy the great outdoors in Pictou. Fishing, birdwatching, and beachcombing are also popular activities for those seeking relaxation in a natural setting.

4. Accessibility and Convenience: Pictou's location along the scenic Sunrise Trail makes it easily accessible for travelers seeking a tranquil getaway. Whether arriving by car or by ferry from Prince Edward Island, visitors will find Pictou to be a convenient destination for a relaxing retreat. The town's compact size also means that amenities such as accommodations, dining options, and attractions are within easy reach, allowing visitors to unwind without the stress of navigating a sprawling urban area.

Whether seeking a romantic retreat, a family vacation, or a solo adventure, the Willow House Inn in Pictou provides a charming and convenient home base for exploring the town and the scenic wonders of the Northumberland Shore. With its unbeatable location, comfortable accommodations, and welcoming atmosphere, it's no wonder that visitors return to this hidden gem time and time again.

Pictou is known for being the "Birthplace of New Scotland," which means it has a special Scottish heritage. At the Willow House Inn, you're close to all the cool stuff in town, like the waterfront and the Hector Heritage Quay, where you can learn about the first Scottish people who came to Nova Scotia.

If you like being outside, there's plenty to do around Pictou. You can go to the beach, go kayaking, or just take a walk along the coast. The views are amazing!

After a day of exploring, you can relax at the Willow House Inn. The rooms are really comfy and have everything you need. Plus, they serve a delicious breakfast every morning with locally sourced ingredients as much as possible.