When Europeans were exploring the new world and developing areas modeled after their own countries, Scotsman Sir William Alexander asked himself, "Why not New Scotland?"

When Alexander visited the rolling green hillsides of eastern Canada, he found an environment that so reminded him of his home that he named it after Scotland. Nova Scotia translates to New Scotland in Latin.

Today, Nova Scotia is a beautiful place to visit at any point throughout the year where you can spend ample time enjoying the gorgeous natural scenery that will feel like you're looking at a postcard that has come to life. From the green stretches of land to the sandy shores, there's plenty to enjoy outdoors here.

But that's not all that Nova Scotia offers. The province is loaded with cultural attractions and activities that centre around everything from history to art to live musical and theatrical performances and everything in between.

You won't want to miss the excellent shopping opportunities to score a wonderful souvenir to remember your trip. When you need a break, be sure to check out Nova Scotia's restaurant scene.

With so much excitement and adventuring, it's important to have the perfect spot to rest your head each night to get a good night's sleep. Without the further ado, here are 10 of Nova Scotia's best vacation rentals:

1. Cliffhanger House

HomeAway Nova Scotia vacation rental property #3672449

Water lovers are sure to appreciate this 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home that sleeps up to six comfortable. The Cliffhanger House, aptly named, sits atop a cliff overlooking Saint Margaret's Bay as well as the ocean. You'll be treated to stunning aquatic views here that are sure to keep you relaxed as you listen to the waves crash along the shore from any of the decks, including the master's own private overhang.

Once you enter, you'll instantly feel the welcoming atmosphere brought to life through white walls, warm wood floors and lovely window trimming. The main floor boasts an open concept living space, and the fully equipped kitchen features unique light green cabinets and plenty of space to whip up some home-cooked meals. Also on the main floor are two of the three bedrooms with a queen and double bed, respectively as well as a full bathroom and laundry room.

Large windows let in tons of natural sunlight throughout the home, and in the evenings, the fireplace makes a great spot to curl up with a glass of wine or a good book. Head upstairs to the master bedroom with it's spacious queen bed, en suite bathroom and stunning views.

The cottage has its own beach, known as Anne Murray's Beach, shared with only one other home. It's a great spot to snorkel, swim, kayak or search for seashells. From the home you're only a short drive from Peggy's Cove, 20 minutes from shopping and an easy 45-minute drive from Halifax.

2. Halifax House

HomeAway Nova Scotia vacation rental property #3599143

If you fancy postcard-worthy views, Halifax House is the one for you. The living room couch is set up in front of large floor-to-ceiling windows so you can gaze across the greenest of landscapes and out onto the water of Halifax Harbour.

You'll have a front row view to watch whales and other marine life playing in the waters. And when you're ready to get out, Halifax is a mere 15 minute away with excellent shopping, dining, history and culture to enjoy. Inside, warm woods and light colours keep the cottage feeling fresh and relaxed, and the professional design is apparent through the furniture and decor that seem made for the home.

The open concept living space creates an easy flow from the family room to the spacious kitchen equipped with everything you'll need. The home itself was built in 2013, and each of the two bedrooms boast cosy beds outfitted with beautiful linens. The master also features an en suite bathroom.

3. Cheticamp House

HomeAway Nova Scotia vacation rental property #3527604

When you stay at Cheticamp House you may feel like you've actually travelled to Scotland with amazingly green views of rolling hills and sparkling waters, both of which you get with this four-bedroom, two-bathroom home. Inside, you'll get a true cottage feel and warm, lightly coloured walls make the living areas feel bright and homey whether you're relaxing on the family room couch, cooking a delicious meal in one of two kitchens or eating that tasty cooking around the dining table.

Each of the four bedrooms features a colour theme (purple, green, yellow and white) and either a queen or double bed. All are sure to be quite comfortable and have you drifting off to the sleep in no time each evening. And don't worry about fighting over the bathroom in the morning. Each has its own shower, speeding up everyone's morning routine.

Cheticamp Beach is only 8 kilometres away and just 16 kilometres away is Cape Breton National Park where you can enjoy an adventurous hikes.

4. Mahone Bay House

HomeAway Nova Scotia vacation rental property #902621

If you're looking for space and appreciate modern architecture and clean lines, book your stay at Mahone Bay House. The five bedrooms and four bathrooms here are spread over 3,500 square feet on Herman's Island, just an hour outside of Halifax.

The home's unique shape is sure to be a draw and once you enter, you'll find an interesting yet welcoming contrast between dark and light features throughout the living space. The floor-to-ceiling fireplace wall is the perfect spot for relaxing evenings while the huge dining room is optimal for enjoying a homemade family dinner.

Outside, you can take in sparkling ocean views and follow a meadow down to the beach front. At the private pool you can soak up some sun or take a refreshing dip.

5. Michaelmas Cottage

HomeAway Nova Scotia vacation rental property #479128vb

Rustic charm perfectly sums up Michaelmas Cottage, where you'll find six total fireplaces, some of which are original to the home. The cottage itself was built by Benjamin Rumsey in 1769 and sits on an acre of mostly fenced land overlooking the Bay of Fundy.

Much of the home retains its original charm with warm colours on the walls and wide planks covering the floors. The allure continues into the kitchen with the a large brick oven, and through the home with skylights, rafters across bedrooms and sloping ceilings. The cottage offers lovely views of South Mountain.

The master bedroom boasts a queen bed warmed by a fireplace while the second bedroom features a double bed and another fireplace. There are also two pull-out couches for extra sleeping space. The main bath is outfitted in colourful tiles surrounding a large tub while the second bathroom has unique fish sinks.

The cottage is not far from Granville, a lovely town along the shore.

6. Digby Cottage

HomeAway Nova Scotia vacation rental property #489291vb

This home on Seawall Hill rests on 3 acres of oceanfront property, creating a private oasis for your Nova Scotia stay. The two-bedroom, one-and-a-half bathroom cottage combines Old World charm with modern amenities complete with warm wood paneling, stone fireplaces and unbeatable views of the water. Inside, the great room boasts an impressive 27-foot cathedral ceiling, and the cook of the family will appreciate the stainless steel appliances.

A deck wraps around much of the home, making an idyllic spot to sip morning coffee as you watch the sunrise or for some relaxing with a glass of wine at night. Each of the bedrooms features queen size beds outfitted with cosy cotton sheets and gorgeous duvets.

Just one kilometre from the cottage in Seawall Beach with its red cliffs, and 15 minutes away is Fundy Beach where you can enjoy a day on the water. The town of Digby is full of fun activities including golf, tennis, a pool and spa, hiking, whale and bird watching and much more.

7. St. Alban's Vacation Home

HomeAway Nova Scotia vacation rental property #3495675

For a truly unique stay in Annapolis Valley, book St. Alban's Vacation Home, an old church converted into a cottage with two-and-a-half bedrooms and one-and-a-half bathrooms. Gorgeous wood panels and bright colours keep the home feeling lively yet warm and welcoming, and with all of the modern amenities the cottage is a quiet oasis away from the excitement where you can sit back and really relax.

The cottage has been professionally decorated, which is evident as soon as you step inside. When you're not dining out, the kitchen with its high-end appliances is the perfect place to whip some a culinary delight for breakfast for dinner.

Each bedroom features a lovely queen-size bed with comfortable linens so you should have no trouble falling into a deep slumber after exploring the area. There's also a sleeper sofa for additional bed space.

The home is surrounded by natural beauty that's great for hikers and bikers, and history lovers will love Fort Anne, Canada's oldest national historic site. The town also features shops, dining and antique stores.

8. Margarees Cottage

HomeAway Nova Scotia vacation rental property #382569

This two-bedroom, one-bathroom cottage sits in 130 acres, ensuring you have total privacy for a truly romantic Nova Scotia getaway. Plenty of windows keep the home bright and sunny, and a cathedral ceiling adds elegant drama to the space.

You can enjoy gorgeous views of the water throughout the Cape Breton-style cottage as well as from the deck, where you can catch glimpses of moose, eagles and other wildlife, or just enjoy the lobster boats as they pass by. The nearby forest is a great place for a hike, and there's plenty of culture to explore in the area.

Inside, rustic charm meets modern luxury with exposed ceiling beams and stainless steel appliances. The bathroom features a heated-tile floor and large shower, and the master bedroom boasts a queen bed where you can enjoy the ocean views. The second bedroom is outfitted with a twin bed and there's also a sleeper sofa.

You'll be near Chimney Corner Beach, Whale Cove, Margaree Harbour, Cheticamp and much more.

9. Green Gate Cottage

HomeAway Nova Scotia vacation rental property #229897

As soon as you pull up to this three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath cottage you're sure to be impressed. The stately home stands on the waterfront with two floors and not one but two large decks that will instantly put you at ease. And with 3 acres of wooded and oceanfront land, privacy won't be an issue.

Up to eight guests can stay here comfortably, so it's a great place for larger families or a group of friends. Three of the four bathrooms feature shower and tub combos, so mornings can move quickly. The first bedroom boasts a kind bed as well as deck access and its own private bathroom. The second and third bedrooms feature queen beds as well as window seats offering breathtaking ocean views and private baths. The fourth bed, also a queen, can be found in the loft area along with a sleeper sofa.

Clean white walls and tranquil, light colours keep it feeling open and airy, and the open concept in the living area makes for a great flow without separating everyone. During your stay, be sure to explore Cabot Trail, roast some s'mores around the firepit and let the ocean noises soothe you as you lounge on the deck.

10. Liverpool Cottage

HomeAway Nova Scotia vacation rental property #3569907

This four-bedroom, three-bathroom cottage sits atop a hill overlooking Blueberry Bay, providing you with gorgeous views of the sparkling, blue water. The outside of Liverpool Cottage is Cape Cod-style while the interior resembles more of Shaker style.

The home is away from the hustle and bustle of a city, so you can expect privacy, peace and quiet here. The cottage was custom renovated with modern features while retaining the original feel throughout. You'll be just 15 minutes from the town of Liverpool.

Inside, the master bedroom provides you with a king bed where you can rest your head in total comfort each night, and attached is a spacious master bathroom with a large soaker tub and separate shower. The other bedrooms are lovely as well with queen, double and twin beds.

Clean lines, warm woods and contrasting dark and light hues create a homey ambiance here with a true home-away-from-home feel. Enjoy home-cooked meals at the breakfast bar or dining table, and curl up with a good book in the great room. And be sure to spend time on the decks, sipping your morning coffee or glass of wine in the evening while you take in the area's natural scenery.