Peggy's Cove Lighthouse | Nova Scotia Photo Spot

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Peggy's Cove Lighthouse Reflection-Photo by Shawn M. Kent
Peggy's Cove Lighthouse Reflection-Photo by Shawn M. Kent

Peggys Cove Lighthouse

The iconic Peggys Cove Lighthouse is the quintessential Nova Scotia landmark. The light is a prime location for taking sunset and sunrise photos. Named for the quaint fishing village where it is found, Peggy’s Cove is a must-visit for any photographer visiting Nova Scotia. It is about an hour’s drive outside of Halifax and is located along the lighthouse route that travels along the South Shore. Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse was built in 1915, and its location atop rolling granite rocks makes it one of the most photographed places in Canada. Almost every day in the summer, the lighthouse and surrounding village are packed with tourists taking selfies and making the locals angry they ignore the signs to stay off the black rocks. These signs are there for a reason as nearly every year, some careless tourist is swept out to sea. But don’t let that discourage you; despite the tourists and imminent danger, you can take great photos of Peggy’s Cove, as long as you promise to stay off the black rocks.

Peggy's Cove Lighthouse Photography Tips

When to Photograph

Because of its popularity, photographing Peggy’s Cove can be a challenge. The lighthouse looks its best when minimal or no people are in the photos scrambling over the rocks. Achieving this is more about timing than anything else. Photographing Peggy’s Cove is usually at its best in the summer months, ironically, when it is most brutal to shoot during the day because of all the visitors. So, the only option is to head out early in the morning. So, when we take pictures at Peggy’s Cove, we typically head out to shoot it at 4 am for 5:30-6:00 am sunrise. You can get sunsets too, but these are better when winter snow has just melted, or it is frigid in the evenings. Bring gloves if you choose the chilly option. It is way colder at Peggy’s Cove than inland.  

Essential Apps to Plan Your Photo Shoot

The other factors to consider before you head out to shoot are the weather and the waves you plan to shoot. Weather in Nova Scotia can change very fast and can be pretty unpredictable. There are also many ways to check the weather, but any forecast more than a day or two in advance will probably not be accurate. Fog and visibility are the real issues at Peggy’s Cove, and most weather reports don’t focus on these factors. An excellent tool we recommend for tracking detailed weather information such as visibility, low clouds, wave height and other helpful photo planning info is Windy. On this site, you can check almost everything you’ll need to know before heading out to shoot Peggy’s Cove. 

So, when you wake up at 4 in the morning to travel out and take photos and see that the weather is terrible for shooting on Windy and then go back to bed, you’ll thank me later. 

You’re looking for weather that is not entirely cloudless, but full cloud cover makes the lighthouse wash out against the background. Ideally, partly cloudy to capture the most magic and colour in your photos. Also, a little wind but not too much will get the waves just right. Winds over 15 knots are probably too much, and less than two will result in flat water, which may result in reflections, but very rarely.

Don’t limit yourself to taking pictures of Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse. Use the PIXEO Photo Locations App and photograph the surrounding village and area. You’ll discover the Inuksuk gardens where guests build and rebuild Inuksuks, making for many great photo opportunities. Also, other great places to take pictures can be found a little further afield, including fishing villages and trails that will take you to stunning scenic vistas. 

Gear for Photographing Peggy’s Cove

Finally, shooting at Peggy’s Cove is a camera gear lover’s dream. Bring a tripod, a variety of lenses, and a drone if you have one. Review the rules and regulations around flying in Canada and ensure you’re certified and can legally fly there. Even if you don’t have a drone or fancy camera, there are still many great angles to shoot Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse. That’s why the tourists flock here with their smartphones. 

Shooting with a Drone at Peggy’s Cove

Drones can ruin people’s experience when visiting Peggy’s Cove, and you must follow some pretty specific rules and regulations when flying in Canada. Peggy’s Cove is in unrestricted airspace via NavCanada, but that doesn’t;t mean you can throw up a drone without considering specific rules and regulations. There are stiff fines and penalties for non-compliance, so follow the rules.

First, you must be certified to fly a drone above 250g, and certification must be completed through Transport Canada. Secondly, you must adhere to Transport Canada’s rules for operating a drone safely. The biggest challenge is that you have to keep your drone 30 metres from any people. This presents a real challenge when the lighthouse is crowded with tourists as it is illegal to fly over them. People will also get upset if you are buzzing about above their heads. So, we recommend a very early morning flight when there are few to no people. You are also required by law to have a spotter and to keep the drone near enough that they can see it at all times, so bring a friend.

Get the sunrise times and pay close attention to the weather using an app like Windy to be sure the conditions are suitable for your flight. Be aware that the weather can change suddenly on the coast of Nova Scotia so be ready to change your plans or visit a few times to get the right weather conditions. Peggy’s Cove is not the place to push the limits of your drones’ wind and weather limits. You will lose it to the ocean.

But, presuming you meet all these requirements, you will find that there are few better and more enjoyable places to capture drone footage.


(Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada)

Peggy's Cove Photo Gallery

Enjoy this collection of some of the fantastic views and angles available to photographers who visit and photograph at Peggy’s Cove.

Peggy's Cove Map Location

(Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada)