McNabs Island – Paradise near Halifax, Nova Scotia

McNabs Island – Paradise near Halifax, Nova Scotia

Taylor Made Tours Dog

Just a short boat trip from various points in the metro area, military and history buffs, birders, hikers, and photographers will be delighted to visit the natural surroundings of McNabs Island. Pack a lunch and allow for at least 4 hours to view this lovely spot just minutes from Halifax and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

According to Wikipedia, McNabs Island is the largest island in Halifax Harbour located in Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia, Canada.The islands are located at the mouth of Halifax Harbour in Nova Scotia. The Fort, played a major role in defending Halifax Harbour and is now a provincial park. The island was first settled in the1780s by Peter McNab, and McNab family members lived on the island until 1934.

McNabs Forts

McNabs Island contains many forts belonging to the “Halifax Defence Complex” including Fort Ives (built 1864), Fort Hugonin (built 1899), Sherbrooke Tower, and Fort McNab. There are many historic features still around including the foundations of several houses built by early settlers, remains of a turn of the century picnic ground, cemetery, soda pop factory, and much of the Fort and it’s various buildings. Numerous military fortifications can be found, including Fort McNab, Fort Ives, Fort Hugonin and Strawberry Battery. The Battery was built in 1939 and guarded the submarine net between the lighthouse and York Redoubt during WWII.

Who owns McNab’s Island?

Today, of McNabs Island’s total area of approximately 980 acres, the Province owns 62 percent, the Federal Government 35 percent, and 3 percent is privately owned. Friends of McNabs Island Society a volunteer, non-profit organization based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, help to preserve and promote McNabs Island as a Nature Park and Outdoor Classroom. There are a few permanent residents living on the island.

Camping? How to Get There

You can camp on the island, but should go to the Nova Scotia Provincial Parks website for more information. We like to use Steve Taylor from Taylor Made Adventures for our trip over. He and his dog are very accommodating – he is also a great resource about the island.

We like to go over on the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. You can see deer, if you are quiet, and plenty of birds and the changing colours of the trees and ferns. There are tons of trails, so you could spend the entire day on the island. The deer tend to come out after 5PM, so if you are around then, look for them. Beware of droppings, as there are lots. 🙂

Map of the Island

Map – McNabs Island – Halifax

McNab’s Island Services

Be reminded that McNabs Islands has limited services. Drinking water is not available on the island. Pit toilets are situated at several locations. There are no waste management facilities on the island. It is pack-in and pack-out for garbage and recyclables. There is cell phone service on the island.

I hope you enjoy the pictures of this most remarkable island. As always, comments are welcome. This site is used to inform others of places to hike in the beautiful province of Nova Scotia.

Here are some other blogs/articles about McNabbs Island for your reading pleasure.

Eliot Wright Blog

Nova Scotia Blogs 

The Coast 


One thought on “McNabs Island – Paradise near Halifax, Nova Scotia

  1. Love the photos of friends on McNab’s… haven’t been there in years and I think it’s soon time for another visit. The history and nature buff in me has been stirred….

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