Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia – Is it really all that?

Today’s photo comes from the infamous Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia. Coming from a fishing family on the west coast, I have always wanted to go to Peggy’s Cove. I’m not sure why, it’s just the place everyone talks about. But now that I have been there I cannot help but wonder: Why Peggy’s Cove?

Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia
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Don’t get me wrong – it’s a cute little village and everything. But I don’t get what makes it so much more special than all the other cute little fishing villages on the east coast. Maybe it’s the lighthouse. It is a little larger that the typical tiny lighthouses I have seen on the east coast (but not nearly as impressive as the west coast lighthouses).

When I first arrived, it was like arriving at an ant hill during the annual ant festival when all the ants are swelling with self-importance. Yes, I am talking about the cruise ship tourists. Hundreds of them all in one tiny fishing village, crossing the roads in front of large trucks made of steel (big baby blue ones) without even looking. Tourists crouched down on the road taking photos with their point-and-shoots seemingly unaware that they did not walk on a pedestrian walkway. Buses slamming on breaks as the ants stumble out in front of them pointing like they’ve just witnessed the landing of a space ship. It’s just a lighthouse!

I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. At a local restaurant I enquired about the cruise ship schedule and went back the next day before the first of the buses arrived. It was much more pleasant.

Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia
Please click to view larger.

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  1. says


    Thanks for this. I was thinking of organizing an outing to Nova Scotia in either 2012 or 2013. For me one of the big draws of Nova Scotia are the intimate harbors that I imagine Peggy’s Cove to be a good example. The more I thought about it the more I felt like I’d be better sticking to places that I know better, Scituate, Menemsha, Vineyard Haven etc. and that offer essentially the same experience but are closer and easier to get to. Nova Scotia – worth the trip?

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    • Anne McKinnell says

      Andy, I think the nicest part of Nova Scotia is Cape Breton. But honestly I liked PEI and Newfoundland even more. If I had to pick a place for a photo workshop, it would be Newfoundland, although it might be harder to get participants to go that far. Have you been to PEI or Newfoundland? They are both well worth the trip.

      • Karma says

        I was born and raised in Nova Scotia, now living in Pennsylvania. Yes it is beautiful but more than anything the people are what drawls vacationers to the province. For photography I agree Newfoundland and Cape Breton are a better choice.

  2. says

    Hi Anne, just reading your post. Peggy’s Cove is such a well known lighthouse that there can be tons of visitors during a busy time to be certain. It can be a little frustrating for some. It can definitely be difficult to photograph when there are many visitors there.For me the appeal is all the rocks, carved by the glaciers and the ocean. It makes for a unique seascape. There many interesting fishing villages throughout the province. We’ve got some great pictures submitted by members of our flicrk group: Some areas less visited might appeal more. Halls Habour comes to mind, where you can see the fishing boats sitting on the ocean floor during low tide in the Bay of Fundy. Personally I am an east coast girl. I have lived all over Canada, including Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Labrador and Prince Edward Island. All are beautiful and well worth a visit. Cape Breton is definitely a gem, as is the Bay of Fundy. Andy, I think we’re worth the trip, but I may be biased. Kris, not boring. It does depend what your looking for, but I’m always happy to point you in a good direction. Anne, thanks again for sharing your beautiful pics and for your candor about your visit.

    Cynthia (from

    • Anne McKinnell says

      Hi Cynthia, Oh, you have a flickr group? I’ll have to update my flickr photos and submit some to the group, I haven’t been there for awhile. I did really enjoy Nova Scotia. I just think maybe each tourist bus could go to a different cove so the one isn’t so packed. The drive over to Peggy’s Cove was really pretty. We stayed at the next cove over, Indian Cove I think, and it was quaint and peaceful with a great campsite right on the ocean. I will have some photos from the Bay of Fundy coming up later this week (we were on the New Brunswick side though). It was cool to see the boats on the ocean floor. Thanks again for your visit and comments, always appreciated.

  3. says

    Anne, we’d love to have your pictures. Thanks so much! I think the fact that Peggy’s Cove once became one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world, keeps it being one of the most photographed in the world…because everyone has seen the pictures and wants to go there. That and the fact that it’s less than hour from the city which makes to access for those visiting the Halifax area. It’s a Nova Scotian icon for sure! But I know that a lot of people also like to capture things off the beaten path as well. That’s why I love our flickr group so much. Everyday I am inspired to find things I didn’t even know existed here. Some of our members are visitors but we have a lot of locals as well, so you get a real local’s know viewpoint. Thanks again Anne. I look forward to seeing your pictures.


  4. says

    Hey Anne, thanks for the pics and write up on Peggy’s cove. I’ve been dreaming of a trip to the Atlantic provinces for a long time and P’s cove was high on my to visit list. Sad to hear the truth about it, I can’t stand visiting places that have been ruined like that, but I guess that in the photographer’s hours of a.m and p.m. the tourists aren’t an issue. It’s also good to know that there are plenty of other picturesque villages to check out.
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    • Anne McKinnell says

      Hi Alan, It pays to check the cruise ship schedule so you know exactly when the bus loads are arriving. But you’re right, if you go early (like we photographers usually do) you will avoid them since it takes time for them to get off the ship and bussed in from Halifax. I didn’t get up early that first day because it was so foggy, and the first day is usually a scouting day anyway. It was much nicer when I returned the next day.

      If you are planning a trip to the maritimes, going to Newfoundland is definitely worth it.

    • Anne McKinnell says

      Thank you so much Edith, I almost fell off the rock trying to get that leading line in the corner! I actually like the few tourists that are in this shot for scale. I had to wait a bit until no one was right in front of the lighthouse.

  5. Mark Luinenburg says

    Hi Anne,
    I believe you mean the famous Peggy’s Cove. Infamous means having an extremely bad or evil reputation, which I don’t believe Peggy’s Cove has, boring or not. I have been there myself, and although it was not the highlight of the coastal tour, it was pretty. Lunenburg was my favorite place. Your photos, nonetheless, are wonderful. Thanks for sharing them.

    • Anne McKinnell says

      Oh no! I did that, didn’t I? Ok, that’s a bit embarrassing, but hey we can’t all be perfect all the time, right? :) Thanks for pointing that out, I do appreciate the feedback. And thanks for the visit and the compliment.

  6. says

    I think the attraction to Peggy’s Cove lies in all the wonderful images people see of it. The lure to GO somewhere they can get the perfect shot… to replicate what they perceive as the perfect image.

    I am contemplating a fall cruise tour to the New England area next year…primarily since we don’t experience the colors here in Florida that you see in the northern climates. BUT…I ain’t gonna be no ANT.

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