Annapolis Royal Town Sign

What’s it like living in Annapolis Royal?

Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia is a charming historic town, popular with tourists. But what’s it like to actually like there? Here’s what it’s like living in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.

The first thing to know is that the locals simply call it Annapolis. This tiny town is located in the Annapolis Valley, about a two-hour drive from Halifax. While there are only just over 500 people in the town proper, it’s more when you consider residents from the even smaller neighbouring communities.

Annapolis has a thriving downtown. You can find personal services like a dentist and a vet right in town. There’s a post office, bank, two grocery stores, a specialty grocery market, and a farm market.

What's it like living in Annapolis Royal
The Red Onion Market

There is a wide variety of shops, restaurants, and art galleries in the downtown, many catering to tourists. Because Annapolis has a high retiree population, and a number of snowbirds, some of these shops do close in the off-season, and the town is much quieter.

Where will you want to spend your time in Annapolis?

What's it like living in Annapolis Royal
Annapolis Royal Community Hub

If you’re into the outdoors, the old train tracks, called rail trails, have been converted into multi-use trails. The 110-kilometre Harvest Moon Trailway that traverses the Annapolis Valley starts at Annapolis Royal and continues on to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Grand Pré. This easy, flat trail is great for off-road cycling, short walks, long-distance trekking, or 4-wheeling.

The Annapolis Recreation team offers a number of weekly sport and fitness opportunities for residents and visitors. The Town gymnasium is a hub of activity for all ages all year long. In the summer the outdoor community pool and splash pad are popular, as are the two tennis courts.

The skate park has excellent skateboarding facilities, green space, shade trees, a walking trail, and benches for spectators The Fort Anne National Historic Site overlooking the Annapolis River and the nearby Historic Gardens aren’t just tourist spots, but beloved by locals as well.

What's it like living in Annapolis Royal
Historic Gardens

King’s Theatre offers movie screenings, live theatre, and live music, including Canadian legends like Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo.

What's it like living in Annapolis Royal
King’s Theatre, Annapolis Royal

There are many other amenities in Annapolis. There’s a library with great programming for all ages. There’s a bouldering gym in the high school, with adult and family climbing nights. The closest arenas are in Bridgetown or Digby.

Most small communities in Nova Scotia usually have weekly bingo nights at the local halls and community centres, cold or hot fundraising suppers, live music nights, and more. There are numerous churches in the area too, which are a wonderful way to find connection. There’s a gardening club, and many other local community organizations. If you enjoy golfing, the Fort View Golf Club is close by. The Farmer’s Market is a huge draw in the summer, and continues with a winter location as well. You’ll find both visitors and locals there Saturday mornings.

Let’s talk about some of the necessities–housing, health care, schools, employment, and transit.

Annapolis offers homes that encompass a wide range of styles and price points. From condos to modern new builds to heritage Victorians to run-down farmhouses in need of TLC, Annapolis has it all. If you’re buying a fixer-upper, keep in mind that things move slower in rural areas than they do in big cities. It can be difficult to find skilled tradespeople with time in their schedule.

In town, homes are connected to municipal water and sewer, and the property tax rate is significantly higher than in the surrounding rural area, where you’ll be responsible for maintaining or upgrading a well and septic system. Roads will be plowed pretty reliably in town, but if you purchase land on a private road, you and the other road residents will be responsible for arranging and paying for your own road maintenance, and snow clearing.

The Annapolis Community Health Centre is right in town. Unfortunately, more than 10% of Nova Scotians are without a doctor, and it’s important to keep this in mind if you’re considering moving to a rural area.

There are two schools in town, Champlain Elementary School, which serves kindergarten to grade 5, and Annapolis West Education Centre, for middle and high school students.

The schools, health centre, and many retail businesses are the town’s major employers.

It can be difficult to get around rural communities without a car, but there is public transit in Annapolis and Kings County on major routes. The Kings Transit bus connects Annapolis all the way to Grand Pre.

Are you thinking of buying a house in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia? Be sure to reach out if you have any questions.