If you don’t have a lot of time to explore Halifax or just want an introduction to the city, consider one of the many tours available—they’ll maximize your time and get you to the highlights with minimum stress.
The harbor front’s premier attraction, the magnificent schooner Bluenose II divides her summer between Halifax, her home port of Lunenburg, and goodwill tours to other Canadian ports.
The vessel is an exact replica of the famous Bluenose. The schooner is operated by the Lunenburg Marine Museum Society on behalf of the Province of Nova Scotia. When in Halifax, two-hour harbor tours (902/634-4794 or 800/763-1963, daily 9:30am and 1pm, adult $55, child $32) are available from the Maritime Museum’s wharf. Each sailing has 75 spots—40 spots can be reserved by calling, with the remaining 35 going on sale 90 minutes before departure. Without a reservation, expect to line up for a spot.
Harbour Hopper Tours
Harbour Hopper Tours (902/490-8687, adult $35, senior $32, child $20) picks up passengers from the north side of the maritime museum for a quick trip around the historic streets of Halifax. Then the fun really starts, as the company’s distinctive green and yellow amphibious vehicles plunge into the water for a cruise around the harbor. The trip lasts around one hour, with up to 20 departures daily May-October (9am-9:30pm). The ticket kiosk is on the waterfront just north of the maritime museum.
Other Halifax Harbor Cruises
Many other sightseeing craft also offer harbor tours. Murphy’s on the Water (Cable Wharf, 1751 Lower Water St., 902/420-1015) operates several vessels through a sailing season that runs mid-May-late October. The 23-meter wooden sailing ketch Mar departs up to six times daily (adult $35, senior $32, child $19). The Harbour Queen I is a 200-passenger paddle wheeler offering a narrated harbor cruise (adult $35, senior $32, child $19) and a variety of lunch and dinner cruises ($72 for dinner).
Halifax Bus Tours
Ambassatours (902/423-6242 or 800/565-9662) has the local Grayline franchise. The three-hour Deluxe Historic Halifax City Tour includes stops at the Public Gardens, Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, and Fairview Cemetery. The tour also passes all major downtown attractions, working precincts of the harbor, and various university campuses. This tour departs June-mid-October daily at 9am and 1pm (adult $52, senior $49, child $30).
Another option with Ambassatours is a downtown loop tour aboard an old British double-decker bus (mid-June-mid-Oct.; adult $54, child $26). You can get on and off as you please at any of the 12 stops on the loop, and tickets are valid for two days (a good plan is to ride the entire loop once, and then plan your stops for the second go-round).
This same company also has a three-hour trip to Peggy’s Cove (departs June-mid-Oct. Tues., Thurs., and Sun. at 1pm; adult $50, senior $45, child $35) and a full-day trip that combines a stop in Mahone Bay with time in Lunenburg (departs June-Oct. Tues., Thurs., Sat., and Sun. at 10am; adult $88, senior $79, child $62).