Mahone Bay is a charming town on the northwest shore of Mahone Bay along the South Shore of Nova Scotia in Lunenburg County. It is just off Highway 103 and the Lighthouse Route, about 1 hour south of Halifax.

Mahone Bay is home to numerous galleries, shops, and restaurants that cater to both locals and visitors.  Many of the town’s historic buildings have been carefully maintained and restored, contributing to its unique character and appeal. A long-standing picturesque tourism destination, the town has recently enjoyed a growing reputation as a haven for entrepreneurs and business startups.

Mahone Bay Festivals

The Mahone Bay Scarecrow Festival & Antique Fair (creative scarecrow displays, antiques, and crafts, Bay Wooden Boat Festival (town’s maritime history), and Father Christmas Festival (the town’s festive spirit)

Mahone Bay - homes along the waterfront
Mahone Bay – homes along the waterfront

Mahone Bay History

The area around Mahone Bay was inhabited by the Mi’kmaq people, who lived off the abundant resources on land and in the sea.

The area was first explored by the French in the early 1600s, and French settlers established the colony of Acadia. However, it was not until the 1700s that Mahone Bay saw significant European settlement. In 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht ceded control of Acadia to the British.

The area around Mahone Bay remained sparsely populated until the 1750s when British encouraged New England Planters to settle, farm, and trade here  with land grants following the expulsion of the Acadian.

Mahone Bay was officially founded in 1754 and the town’s name is derived from the French word “mahonne,” which were a type of boat used by pirates. The bay was thought to be a haven for privateers and pirates during the early years of European exploration.

Mahone Bay’s deep and protected harbor made it an ideal location for various maritime industries. Throughout the 1800s, the town grew as a center for shipbuilding, fishing, and trade. The t high-quality wooden vessels built here were in demand for both commercial and naval use.

In the late 1800s, Mahone Bay became known for its three iconic churches: St. James’ Anglican, St. John’s Lutheran, and Trinity United. These churches, located along the waterfront, have become symbols of the town and are frequently photographed by visitors. Wooden shipbuilding declined in the late 1800s, so Mahone Bay’s economy diversified to include fishing, agriculture, and small-scale manufacturing. The town also became popular with tourists as a charming and scenic destination, attracting artists, craftspeople, and shopkeepers.

Mahone Bay Attractions

Amos Pewter

589 Main Street, Mahone Bay, NS B0J 2E0
Website: Amos Pewter
Amos Pewter is a shop and workshop where visitors can watch artisans create handcrafted pewter pieces. The shop offers a variety of pewter products, including jewelry, ornaments, and home decor items.

Lunenburg County Winery

813 Walburne Road, Newburne, NS B0J 2E0 (near Mahone Bay)
Website: Lunenburg County Winery
Located just outside Mahone Bay, this winery is known for its fruit wines made from locally grown berries. Visitors can enjoy tastings and tours in a beautiful rural setting.

Mahone Bay Farmers’ Market

63 Edgewater Street, Mahone Bay, NS B0J 2E0 (Trinity United Church Hall)
Held seasonally, this farmers’ market features local produce, baked goods, crafts, and more. It’s a lively community event where visitors can experience the local flavor and meet local vendors.

Mahone Bay Museum

578 Main Street, Mahone Bay, NS B0J 2E0

This museum offers exhibits on the local history of Mahone Bay, including its founding, maritime history, and cultural heritage. It’s a great place to learn about the town’s past and its development over the centuries.

Oak Island Tours

Oak Island, Western Shore, NS B0J 3M0 (near Mahone Bay)

Located near Mahone Bay, Oak Island is famous for its mysterious treasure legends. Tours offer a fascinating look at the island’s history and the ongoing treasure hunt.

Saltbox Brewery

363 Main Street, Mahone Bay, NS B0J 2E0

A local craft brewery offering a variety of beers brewed on-site. The brewery features a tasting room where visitors can sample their beers and learn about the brewing process.

St. James’ Anglican Church

65 Edgewater Street, Mahone Bay, NS B0J 2E0

One of the iconic “Three Churches” of Mahone Bay, St. James’ is known for its picturesque setting and beautiful architecture. The church is a prominent landmark and a symbol of the town.

The Mahone Bay Centre

45 School Street, Mahone Bay, NS B0J 2E0

A community hub offering a variety of events, classes, and activities for all ages. It’s a great place to connect with the local community and participate in cultural and recreational activities.

These additional attractions highlight the diverse range of activities and experiences available in Mahone Bay, making it a charming and vibrant destination for visitors.

The Mahone Bay Classic Boat Festival

Mahone Bay, NS B0J 2E0

An annual event celebrating the town’s maritime heritage. The festival features classic boats, nautical displays, and various activities for all ages.

The Three Churches

located along Edgewater Street, Mahone Bay, NS B0J 2E0

The iconic “Three Churches” – St. James’ Anglican, St. John’s Lutheran, and Trinity United – are a must-see. These picturesque churches are a defining feature of Mahone Bay and are frequently photographed by visitors.

Mahone Bay Area Map