Digby, Nova Scotia feels like the edge of the Earth. It’s a place where time almost forgot. You must squint to see evidence of the encroaching 21st century, and that’s alright by me. It’s impossible not slow down in Digby, Nova Scotia – even with a high-energy dog.
So how dog-friendly is Digby?
We landed in Digby, thanks to the BLF from Saint John, New Brunswick. (Check out dog-friendly Saint John experience). It was the easiest leg of our dog-friendly Ontario to Nova Scotia summer road trip – pull the car onto the ferry, then sit on deck (or below) and watch the Bay of Fundy drift by for a little more than two hours. Dogs, however, have to say below deck.
Dog-friendly Digby Ferry
My original intention on the ferry was to house my dog in one of the kennels on the parking level – until I saw them. The kennels are essentially rusty metal cages. However, I was concerned about leaving my dog in the car both for the car’s safety and hers. As I was loading her bed, water bowl and toys into the kennel, a female voice walking by said, “gross, imagine leaving your dog there.”
“Wait,” I thought jolting upright, “did I just get dog-mom shamed? Is that even a thing?” Nevertheless, I took the snarky comment to heart and reloaded my dog into the car with the windows down. Turned out it was fine – primarily because I was able to check on her during the trip. I noticed no other dog parent on the trip used the kennels.
Digby Leash-free Dog Park
At the end of the journey, we pulled off the ferry, onto the shores of Digby, Nova Scotia. My dog was fresh from a two-hour nap and eager to go, go, go. Thankfully, Digby has a off-leash dog park.
It’s not a big off-leash dog park, but it does the trick. The Digby dog park is literally a square of double-gated fencing in the middle of a field a few blocks from the waterfront for visitors. And it made us stop in Digby on our cross-province journey.
Honestly, if you don’t stop in Digby but head to the highway north to Halifax or south to Yarmouth you’re missing out. You’re missing out, first, on a chance to run the dog after being cooped up in the ferry and, second, on the chance to eat fresh seafood along the calming waterfront with your dog – a few other people’s pups too.
The waterfront along Water Street is where visitors spend their time in Digby. A walk along the coastal town whistle stop downtown takes you into a few stores, most allowing the dog to come with you, selling souvenirs such as hoodies you’ll likely need later because evenings are cooler along the seacoast than you might think. My dog loved the rocky coastline near the historic canon, because she is enraptured by seabirds.
Dog-friendly Digby Boardwalk and Patios
The Digby boardwalk along Water Street is the easiest place to dine with the dog. Several shoreline restaurants have connecting outdoor patios, so it’s easy to select your favourite based on menu and view. It was a slow the day we visited, and in fact it was only other people with dogs there – inching their way along the boardwalk and then selecting a booth because the dog could be there with them.
And yes, you can order Digby scallops, fresh off the boat, and eat them within view of a large pier where commercial fishing vessels dock. But even here, Digby scallops aren’t cheap, just fresh, as is all the seafood including my order of clam strips and a local brew.
My pup wasn’t thrilled with my choice of lunch, however, but she quietly occupied herself watching the ocean of activity only she would notice with intensity. For me, the sea was a methodic backdrop to a calming afternoon before getting back into the car for a third day of driving.
Yarmouth, specifically the dog-friendly Rodd Grand Hotel, beaconed a one-hour drive away.
If you go to dog-friendly Digby….
FERRY: The Bay Ferry Limited (BFL) runs twice a day between Saint John, New Brunswick to Digby, Nova Scotia. You can ride the ferry as a pedestrian (and back again later in the day) or take your car, which is what most people do. The ride reduces the drive from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia by several hours.
DINING: Most restaurants long the Digby boardwalk are dog-friendly outside including The Crow’s Nest, 40 Water Street; Fundy Restaurant and Bar, 32-34 Water Street, and the Shoreline Restaurant, 88 Water Street.
DOG PARK: The Digby, Nova Scotia off-leash dog park is located at a park at the corner of St. Mary’s Street and West Street.
ACCOMODATIONS: If you want to stay in the area, treat yourself to a luxurious night or two at the majestic Digby Pines Resort and Golf Course, 103 Shore Road, Digby, Nova Scotia. The resort offers well-appointed rooms, suites, and cottages.
The Digby Pines cottages are dog-friendly for an additional fee of $40 per stay. Maximum two dogs and no size restrictions. Dogs must remain on leash on the property, can not be near the pool, but can be left unattended in the cottage if the front desk is notified.
Writer bio: Sherri Telenko has been a professional writer for 30 years and travel writer for the last 20. She’s a member of TMAC (Travel Media Association of Canada) and Dog Writers Association of America, and travels almost weekly with her canine companion.