7 Things to Do on a Day Trip to Brier Island

Brier Island, located off the coast of Nova Scotia, is a haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Known for its rich marine life and dramatic coastal landscapes, the island offers a variety of activities from whale watching and hiking to exploring unique geological formations. Visitors can immerse themselves in the island’s natural beauty and enjoy diverse experiences, making it a perfect destination for an unforgettable getaway. Here are 7 ideas for things to do on a day trip to the area.

Petit Passage Whale Watch
Numerous whale watching tours operate on and around Brier Island

1. Go Whale Watching

Brier Island is renowned for its exceptional whale-watching opportunities due to the rich feeding grounds of the Bay of Fundy. The area is frequented by humpback, minke, and fin whales, making it a prime location for observing these majestic creatures. Guided tours often include knowledgeable commentary about marine biology and the behaviours of different whale species, enhancing the experience. The best time for whale watching is between June and October, when the whales are most active in the area.

The closest whale watching tour is Petit Passage Whale Watch, a little over an hour away from the Bailey House. However if you want to go all the way to Brier Island, it will be another hour away – but the scenery is unforgettable. For our complete list of area whale watching tours, see our article.

2. Hike to the Balancing Rock

The Balancing Rock Trail is a 2.5-kilometer (1.5 miles) hike that leads to a geological marvel—a basalt column that seems to defy gravity. The trail features wooden boardwalks, stairs, and viewing platforms, making it accessible for most hikers. The final descent to the Balancing Rock offers stunning coastal views, rewarding hikers with a breathtaking sight. The Balancing Rock is estimated to weigh about 20 tons and has been balancing on its end for thousands of years, surviving countless storms and the harsh coastal environment. This natural wonder provides an excellent opportunity for photography and geological study.

3. Explore the Western Light

The Western Light, or Brier Island Lighthouse, has been guiding ships since 1809. The current structure, built in 1944, stands 16 meters (52 feet) tall and offers visitors a chance to tour the grounds and learn about the lighthouse’s history. The lighthouse provides panoramic views of the Bay of Fundy, making it an excellent spot for sunset photography and contemplation. Fun fact: The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world, reaching up to 16 meters (52 feet). These tides significantly influence the local marine ecosystem, creating unique and diverse habitats

4. Dive into Bird Watching

Brier Island is a critical stopover for migratory birds along the Atlantic Flyway. It’s home to a diverse range of species, including the rare piping plover and various seabirds. The best times for bird watching are during the spring and fall migrations when the island’s varied habitats, from coastal cliffs to salt marshes, provide excellent birding opportunities. Over 300 bird species have been recorded on Brier Island, making it a hotspot for ornithologists and nature enthusiasts alike. The island’s diverse ecosystems offer a rich tapestry of avian life, providing endless fascination for bird watchers.

5. Explore the Beach & Tidal Pools at Pond Cove Beach

Pond Cove Beach is a tranquil spot perfect for beachcombing, picnicking, and relaxing by the water. The beach’s rocky shoreline is teeming with tidal pools and marine life, offering endless exploration opportunities. The beach is accessible by a short hike and offers sweeping views of the coastline, making it a picturesque location for a day of leisure. Fun fact: The Bay of Fundy’s extreme tidal range creates diverse intertidal zones, which are home to unique marine species like periwinkles, sea stars, and crabs, providing a fascinating natural playground for visitors.

6. Visit Seal Cove

Seal Cove is a popular spot on Brier Island where visitors can observe seals in their natural habitat. The cove’s rocky shores provide an ideal resting place for these marine mammals. A short hike leads to the viewing area, where seals can often be seen lounging on the rocks or swimming in the cove. Binoculars are recommended for a closer view. The best viewing time for seals is at low tide. Fun fact: Harbour seals and grey seals are the most common species found in the area. Harbour seals can dive as deep as 500 meters (1,640 feet) and hold their breath for up to 30 minutes, showcasing their remarkable adaptations.

7. Explore Boar’s Head Lighthouse

Boar’s Head Lighthouse is located on the northern tip of Long Island, offering spectacular views of the Bay of Fundy and Digby Neck. The lighthouse grounds are accessible by a scenic drive and short walk. Visitors can explore the area, learn about the lighthouse’s history, and enjoy the panoramic views. It’s a great spot for photography, especially during sunrise and sunset. Fun Fact: The Bay of Fundy is known for having the highest tides in the world, with tidal changes up to 16 meters (52 feet). This phenomenon creates unique and dramatic coastal landscapes around the lighthouse.

Bird watching

Brier Island is a great day trip destination that promises both adventure and tranquility, offering activities that highlight its natural wonders and vibrant wildlife. Whether you’re marveling at the balancing rock, watching whales breach in the bay, or exploring tidal pools teeming with marine life, the island provides an array of unique and enriching experiences. A visit to Brier Island is sure to leave you with lasting memories and a deep appreciation for the beauty and diversity of Nova Scotia’s coastal treasures.

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 •  150 Saint George Street, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia

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RYA-2023-24-04111104470229963-150

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Bailey House Inn
150 Saint George Street,
Annapolis Royal, NS B0S 1A0

RYA-2023-24-04111104470229963-150
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