Annapolis Royal: A Short Visitor Guide

Musketeer

Annapolis Royal, the Cradle of Canada

Annapolis Royal, originally known as Port Royal, is one of the oldest European settlements in North America, dating back to 1605. The town was established by French settlers under the leadership of Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons, and Samuel de Champlain. Over the centuries, Annapolis Royal has played a significant role in the colonial history of North America, witnessing numerous conflicts between French, British, and First Nations forces. The town served as the capital of Acadia and later, Nova Scotia, until Halifax took over in 1749.  In 1710, it was renamed “Annapolis Royal” after Queen Anne, by the same Governor who named Annapolis, Maryland. Today, its well-preserved heritage buildings and historical sites reflect its rich and varied past.

Fort Anne cannon

An Intimate a Mix of New and Old

In many ways, Annapolis Royal can be compared to Williamsburg, Virginia, as both towns are celebrated for their well-preserved historical significance and commitment to heritage tourism. While Williamsburg is renowned for its large-scale living history museum, Annapolis Royal offers an equally significant, yet more intimate experience, with its compact, walkable streets lined with authentic 18th and 19th-century architecture. There are a wide variety of accommodation options, including the Bailey House Inn, Canada’s Most Historic Inn.

Brier Island

Getting to Nova Scotia

Annapolis Royal is located on the western coast of Nova Scotia, directly facing the Bay of Fundy, known for the highest tides in the world. Its strategic location provides easy access to the natural wonders of the Bay of Fundy, including whale watching and coastal hiking trails. The town is approximately a two-hour drive from Halifax, the provincial capital, and is also accessible via ferry from Saint John, New Brunswick. For American tourists, Annapolis Royal is conveniently reachable by a short ferry ride from Maine, making it an ideal destination for a quick international getaway.
Beer glass by the sea

Vibrant Food & Drink Scene

Annapolis Royal boasts a diverse and vibrant food scene that caters to a variety of tastes. From fine dining establishments to casual cafes and seafood shacks, the town offers a wide range of culinary delights. Local restaurants emphasize fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, including seafood from the Bay of Fundy, seasonal produce, and artisanal products. Some restaurants that bring in patrons from well beyond the borders of the town include, Founders House, Restaurant Compose and the more causal Whiskey Teller.
Vineyard

World Class Attractions

Annapolis Royal is home to a wealth of tourist attractions that celebrate its rich history and natural beauty. The town’s highlights include the Fort Anne National Historic Site, Canada’s oldest national historic site, and the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens, which showcase beautifully manicured landscapes and historical gardening practices. Other attractions include the Habitation at Port Royal National Historic Site, the Sinclair Inn Museum National Historic Site, and the bustling farmers’ market.

For a complete list of our top attraction picks, see our article.

Artist Brushes

Art Studios and Galleries

Annapolis Royal is renowned for its thriving arts community, which is reflected in the numerous art studios and galleries scattered throughout the town. These creative spaces showcase a diverse range of works from local artists, including paintings, sculptures, pottery, and mixed media. The town hosts regular art walks and open studio events, allowing visitors to meet artists, watch them at work, and purchase unique, handcrafted pieces directly from the creators.

For a list of art galleries and studios, see our article.

Harvest Moon Trail

A Perfect Getaway

Annapolis Royal is an ideal destination for North American travellers due to its proximity, rich history, and charming ambiance. The town offers a unique blend of colonial heritage and modern amenities, making it an attractive spot for history buffs and casual travellers alike. Its location near the Bay of Fundy allows for easy access to natural attractions, while its vibrant cultural scene ensures there is always something to see and do. Book your stay today with the Bailey House Inn.
Musketeer

Annapolis Royal, the Cradle of Canada

Annapolis Royal, originally known as Port Royal, is one of the oldest European settlements in North America, dating back to 1605. The town was established by French settlers under the leadership of Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons, and Samuel de Champlain. Over the centuries, Annapolis Royal has played a significant role in the colonial history of North America, witnessing numerous conflicts between French, British, and First Nations forces. The town served as the capital of Acadia and later, Nova Scotia, until Halifax took over in 1749. In 1710, it was renamed “Annapolis Royal” after Queen Anne, by the same Governor who named Annapolis, Maryland. Today, its well-preserved heritage buildings and historical sites reflect its rich and varied past. Although the town has only 500 people, it is a hub for the larger Annapolis County. Further, the concentration over a dozen internationally important historic sites in such a compact location makes the town a major tourist destination.

An Intimate a Mix of New and Old

In many ways, Annapolis Royal can be compared to Williamsburg, Virginia, as both towns are celebrated for their well-preserved historical significance and commitment to heritage tourism. While Williamsburg is renowned for its large-scale living history museum, Annapolis Royal offers an equally significant, yet more intimate experience, with its compact, walkable streets lined with authentic 18th and 19th-century architecture. Both towns provide visitors with a deep dive into colonial life, showcasing historical landmarks, and educational tours that bring history to life. There are a wide variety of accommodation options, including the Bailey House Inn, Canada’s Most Historic Inn.
Fort Anne cannon
Brier Island

Getting to Nova Scotia

Annapolis Royal is located on the western coast of Nova Scotia, directly facing the Bay of Fundy, known for the highest tides in the world. Its strategic location provides easy access to the natural wonders of the Bay of Fundy, including whale watching and coastal hiking trails. The town is approximately a two-hour drive from Halifax, the provincial capital, and is also accessible via ferry from Saint John, New Brunswick. For American tourists, Annapolis Royal is conveniently reachable by a short ferry ride from Maine, making it an ideal destination for a quick international getaway.

Setting of Annapolis Royal

Situated on the western shore of Nova Scotia, Annapolis Royal is a seaside town, nestled at the mouth of the Annapolis River, leading into the Annapolis Basin and Bay of Fundy. This picturesque location provides the town with stunning waterfront views and a maritime climate. The surrounding landscape features rolling hills, lush forests, and fertile farmland and vineyards, contributing to the town’s scenic beauty and agricultural richness. The unique geography of Annapolis Royal, with its tidal rivers and proximity to the Bay of Fundy, plays a crucial role in its local economy and lifestyle.
Fort Anne arch
Beer glass by the sea

Vibrant Food & Drink Scene

Annapolis Royal boasts a diverse and vibrant food scene that caters to a variety of tastes. From fine dining establishments to casual cafes and seafood shacks, the town offers a wide range of culinary delights. Local restaurants emphasize fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, including seafood from the Bay of Fundy, seasonal produce, and artisanal products. Some restaurants that bring in patrons from well beyond the borders of the town include, Founders House, Restaurant Compose and the more causal Whiskey Teller.

World Class Attractions

Annapolis Royal is home to a wealth of tourist attractions that celebrate its rich history and natural beauty. The town’s highlights include the Fort Anne National Historic Site, Canada’s oldest national historic site, and the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens, which showcase beautifully manicured landscapes and historical gardening practices. Other attractions include the Habitation at Port Royal National Historic Site, the Sinclair Inn Museum National Historic Site, and the bustling farmers’ market. The town also offers numerous outdoor activities such as kayaking, hiking, and bird watching, providing ample opportunities for recreation and exploration.

For a complete list of our top attraction picks, see our article.

Vineyard
Artist Brushes

Art Studios and Galleries

Annapolis Royal is also renowned for its thriving arts community, which is reflected in the numerous art studios and galleries scattered throughout the town. These creative spaces showcase a diverse range of works from local artists, including paintings, sculptures, pottery, and mixed media. The town hosts regular art walks and open studio events, allowing visitors to meet artists, watch them at work, and purchase unique, handcrafted pieces directly from the creators. The Annapolis Region Community Arts Council plays a pivotal role in promoting the arts, organizing exhibitions, workshops, and cultural events that contribute to the town’s vibrant artistic atmosphere. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply appreciate creativity, Annapolis Royal offers a rich and immersive arts experience. For a list of art galleries and studios, see our article.

A Perfect Getaway

Annapolis Royal is an ideal destination for North American travellers due to its proximity, rich history, and charming ambiance. The town offers a unique blend of colonial heritage and modern amenities, making it an attractive spot for history buffs and casual travellers alike. Its location near the Bay of Fundy allows for easy access to natural attractions, while its vibrant cultural scene ensures there is always something to see and do. The welcoming community, coupled with the town’s scenic beauty and diverse food options, provides a memorable and enjoyable experience for visitors from the United States and further afield. Book your stay today, with the Bailey House Inn.
Harvest Moon Trail
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Bailey House Inn
150 Saint George Street,
Annapolis Royal, NS B0S 1A0

RYA-2023-24-04111104470229963-150
2024 Bailey House Inn

 •  150 Saint George Street, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia

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RYA-2023-24-04111104470229963-150