Looking for winter things to do in the Annapolis Valley? In this post, you'll find our top 10 winter activities here in the Annapolis Valley.
There is so much to do in the Annapolis Valley in winter – this is the birthplace of Hockey after all!
If we've missed your favourite winter activity, please add to this list by commenting at the end of this post.
Top 10 Winter Things to do in The Annapolis Valley
It can be hard to get motivated enough to bundle up and face the cold weather, but I think these winter activities will help.
My list includes horse-drawn sleigh rides, eagle watching, sliding, skiing, skating and a lot more.
Here's a quick look at the top 10:
- Visit Ross Farm Museum
- Skating at an arena
- Hike to a waterfall
- Bald Eagle Watch in Sheffield Mills
- Sledding at Burger Hill
- Downhill skiing and snowboarding
- Practice photography (with 6 tips)
- Visit a winter farmers market
Each suggestion includes links and other resources.
Let's take a closer look at each of these fun winter things to do in the Annapolis Valley.
1) Visit Ross Farm Museum
At Ross Farm Museum you'll see the history of 150 years of farm life in Nova Scotia. The staff are dressed in period clothing and often seen cooking on an open fire, churning butter, spinning wool and making homemade ice-cream.
You'll also see some farm animals like sheep, cows, pigs, horses and oxen.
On weekends in the winter they offer horse-drawn sleigh rides followed by hot chocolate. They also have a sledding hill and areas for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
When the sap is running (March) you can see how maple syrup is made and even sample some. They have a lot of great events planned this season, check out their list of winter events.
Ross Farm Museum is located in New Ross – it's about halfway between Chester Basin and Kentville on the number 12 highway. See map for directions.
2) Skating at an Arena
There are a lot of indoor skating arenas in the Annapolis Valley. Many of them offer public skating and shinny (pick-up hockey).
Some rinks are available to rent. Call ahead to check for, prices, times and availability. It's also best to ask if helmets are required.
9 Skating Arenas in the Annapolis Valley
- Berwick, Kings Mutual Century Centre. The public skating schedule for this arena changes during the week, check their website for availability. See map for directions.
- Canning, Canning Recreation and Glooscap Arena. This rink offers public skating and other events. They have a list of events that you can check to plan your visit. See map for directions.
- Greenwood, Greenwood Gardens Arena. This arena is located behind the 14 Wing Headquarters Building on the Canadian Forces Base. Check the schedule and pricing on their site. See map for directions.
- Kentville, Kentville Centennial Arena. This arena is located off of Webster Street in downtown Kentville. Check for the winter skating schedule and upcoming events. See map for directions.
- Kingston, Credit Union Centre (Western Kings Arena). This arena is located off of Westwood Street, not far from the Superstore in Kingston. They have adult skating Monday mornings at 10:30 for $4.00. Check their calendar of events for other skating times. See map for directions.
- Lawrencetown, Lawrencetown Arena. Like many of the other arenas there is a learn to skate program and other community activities. Check their upcoming winter schedule to plan your ice time. See map for directions.
- Middleton, Middleton and District Arena. Along with their other scheduled skating time, they offer free skating on Sundays from 1:45-2:45 pm. See map for directions.
- Windsor, Windsor Exhibition Arena. This arena is located just off of Hwy 101 at exit 5A. Windsor is known as the birthplace of hockey. Check their list of skating times and upcoming events. See map for directions.
- Wolfville, Andrew H McCain Arena. This rink offers public skating on the weekdays from 12:00-1:00 pm. And on Sunday from 3:15-5:15 pm. Check their website for other skating events. See map for directions.
3) Hike to a Waterfall
There are some gorgeous waterfalls in the Annapolis Valley.
4 Annapolis Valley Waterfalls to Visit This Winter
Here are four waterfalls with trails that are worth a winter visit.
- Crystal Falls. You'll find Crystal Falls off an old woods road in Greenwood. Depending on how much snow is down you may have a short hike (30 min.) or a longer hike (1.5 hours). When the road is free of snow you can park closer to the falls. See map for directions.
- Delaps Cove Waterfall. This waterfall is part of the Delaps Cove Wilderness trail system along Bohaker Trail (2.2 km return). It's located along the Bay of Fundy, north of Port Royal. See map for directions.
- McMaster Falls (Rockville Notch). This falls is easy to find and the trail is short. It's found where the Harmony Road meets Rocknotch Road in Greenwood. See map for directions.
- Baxters Harbour Falls. The falls at Baxter's Harbour can be see from your car, or just a short hike down the beach (when the tide is out). See photos from our winter hike to Baxters Harbour Falls. See map for directions.
Snowfall is unpredictable in Nova Scotia. You could hike on bare ground in the middle of winter or you may need to strap on snowshoes.
4) Bald Eagle Watch in Sheffield Mills
You can see huge numbers (we're talking hundreds) of bald eagles feeding at the annual Sheffield Mills Eagle Watch!
Sheffield Mills is famous for having the the most eagles in one place in all of eastern North America.
In the following video, you'll see some of the eagles and learn what makes this event so popular.
Video of Sheffield Mills Eagle Watch
Around the end of January through the first of February, the chicken farmers put out a large pile of chicken in the field to attract the eagles. This event attracts a lot of visitors.
With its growing popularity, there is now musical entertainment and a pancake breakfast at the community hall. You'll also find all the information for the Eagle watch at the community hall (98 Black Hole Road, Sheffield Mills).
If you're into photography or bird watching, you won't want to miss this. People have counted 30 or more eagles in one tree.
See map for directions.
5) Sledding at Burger Hill in Kentville
Burger Hill has been a popular spot for sledding for many years. The hill is fairly steep with no obstacles (trees or fences) to bump into. It's located near town (between Southview Ave and Melbourne Ave) so it's easy to head to a cafe or restaurant for a hot drink after sledding.
If Burger Hill is too steep for your little ones, there are some more gradual slopes nearby at the Kentville Agricultural Center.
See map for directions.
6) Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding at Ski Martock
Ski Martock is located near Windsor, it's a popular spot for winter sports. All skill levels are welcome, they offer group and private lessons.
In the following video you'll see what it's like at Ski Martock
Video of Ski Martock in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia
Some winter activities you can try at Ski Martock are:
- Downhill skiing
- Cross-country skiing
You can bring your own gear or rent what you need. There's also a lodge where you can warm up and get something to eat.
See map for directions.
7) Practice Photography
A fresh snowfall makes me want to go out and start shooting. If you like photography, you know what I'm talking about.
So grab your camera and take a photo walk in your backyard, or hop in the car and head to the water.
You may have a hard time getting the shot you want because your camera can get messed up from all the white and light reflection. Here are a few winter photography tips that might help.
9 Winter Photography Tips
- Keep the snow looking white. Your camera is designed in a way that makes snow look grey, setting your exposure compensation to +1 or +2 will help brighten it up.
- Help your camera read the scene properly. Choose Evaluative metering. But if it's really sunny, try Spot Metering.
- Shoot in Aperture Priority mode (AV on Canon, A on Nikon). This will allow you to change your depth of field and create unique images. With your aperture wide open (a low number) you'll have a shallow depth of field and be able to create some bokeh. With small aperture setting (a higher number) you'll have a larger depth of field.
- Focus on contrast. Your camera may have trouble focusing because of all that white snow. Shift your focus point to something darker, like the bark on a tree branch. This will usually do the trick and allow your camera to lock onto a focus point.
- Keep your batteries warm. If you carry an extra battery in your inside pocket, you'll get more juice out of it. Warm batteries work better than cold ones. So when the battery in your camera starts getting low, change it out for a warm one. Then put the low one in that warm pocket, you may have a little more charge left in it when it warms up.
- Help your camera acclimatize. Carry a Ziploc bag with you and before you go back inside put your camera in it. This will help your camera warm up gradually and avoid condensation. Once your camera has warmed up, it will be safe to take out of the bag.
See my winter photography tips article here.
8) Visit the Annapolis Royal Winter Farmers Market
The Winter Farmers Market in Annapolis Royal is at the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens. It's located in the Main Courtyard and Gift Shop, and is open Saturday from 9 am -12 pm, October through May.
Among the local products you'll find are, cheese, eggs, roasted coffee, vegetables, meat, fish, and baked goods.
See map for directions.
Some of the things to do in the Annapolis Valley can be enjoyed all year round, like nature trails.
There are tons of great trails in the Annapolis Valley. Many of the trails used for hiking and biking in the summer are great for snowshoeing in the winter.
If you don't have the gear you could rent, or buy it. Check out this list of gear locations for snowshoe rentals.
10) Hit the Trails in Your Snowmobile
There are over 600 km of snowmobile trails in the Annapolis Valley. These trails are groomed and the Annapolis Valley Ridge Runners offer trail permits.
Check out their site for prices and trail conditions.
And that rounds out our top 10 winter things to do in the Annapolis Valley. Hopefully you found something to add to your winter bucket list. 🙂
What Will You Do This Winter?
Have you got your plans made for this winter? What are you favourite things to do in the Annapolis Valley? Please let us know by commenting on this post.
Or if you've experienced something from our list please share experience and help others add fun to their winter in the Annapolis Valley.
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