With 7,600 kilometres of shoreline, there’s a Nova Scotia beach for everyone in this maritime province. That’s why Nova Scotia’s license plates read Canada’s Ocean Playground — and it’s absolutely true. Whether it’s the red cliffs and warm sands of the Northumberland Shore, the high tides that give way to the vast mud flats of the Bay of Fundy, or the white sands and cobbled shores on the Atlantic side of the province, a great day at the beach is never far away in Nova Scotia. These are just a few of the 100 plus amazing beaches you can enjoy here this summer.
For a marvelous afternoon on a Nova Scotia vacation, head to Ingonish Beach. This sandy beach is located in Cape Breton on the northeast side of Cabot Trail just inside Cape Breton Highlands National Park. At this beach, you can take a dip in the warm fresh water lake and also go for a refreshing salt water swim in the Atlantic Ocean. Both beaches are supervised during the summer months. Washrooms and change houses, playground, picnic area, tennis courts and a canteen are open during July and August.
At Inverness Beach, you can refresh with a dip in the water or just curl your toes in the warm sand. A welcoming stretch of sandy Nova Scotia beach hugs the Gulf of St. Lawrence at Inverness Harbour on the Ceilidh Trail side of Cape Breton Island. With a section of supervised beach, the main beach area has a canteen, showers, rest room facilities and change rooms. A new, expansive boardwalk skirts the ocean, excellent for walkers and naturalists that love revitalizing seaside strolls.
Cape Chignecto Provincial Park
Beachcombing, rock hounding and fossil exploration are just some of the activities to keep you busy on the rugged shores of Cape Chignecto. Located on the upper part of the Glooscap Trail on the Bay of Fundy, it is the largest Provincial Park in Nova Scotia at over 4,200 hectares. The beach at Red Rocks is a short and easy stroll from the Visitor Centre. There are also two user-friendly trail systems that will provide an entire day of hiking and beach activity on your Nova Scotia vacation. One trail takes you to the famous Three Sisters formation, three magnificent rock sea-stacks rising more than 50 metres (160 ft) out of the beach. The second trail leads to Squally Point, an actual raised beach that was created thousands of years ago when glaciers covered much of this area leaving a spectacular wave cut terrace, 35 metres (115 feet) above sea level.
The pebble beach at Margaretsville, situated just off Route 362 from the Evangeline Trail on the Bay of Fundy, is dotted with picturesque old fishing shacks and punctuated with a beautiful historic lighthouse built in 1859. You’ll want to grab a blanket and cozy up to check out the amazing sunsets here as you listen to the pebbles tumble in the waves.
Risser’s Beach Provincial Park
Recognized for its white sandy beach that stretches for more than a kilometre (almost ½ a mile), this Nova Scotia park provides excellent opportunities for swimming, beachcombing for sand dollars, camping, or simply enjoying nature. There is a beautiful picnic park and campground, not to mention amenities such as a canteen, interpretation site, new boardwalk, picnic area, toilets and showers. Located in Petite Riviere, 24 km (9.5 mi) south of Bridgewater on the South Shore, you should include this Nova Scotia beach on your list of things to do this summer as you tour the Lighthouse Route.
This long crescent white-sand beach, located just south of Musquodoboit on the Eastern Shore, is another great beach to take a stroll and enjoy the surf and sand. Bird watching and beachcombing are also an excellent way to spend a morning here. Behind the dunes there are both open and wooded picnic areas to enjoy your lunch and boardwalks and hard-surfaced paths allow easy access to the beach.
Melmerby Beach Provincial Park
Taking its name from the barque “Melmerby” which sank off the beach on October 12th, 1890 on route to Quebec City, Melmerby is one of Nova Scotia’s most beautiful beach parks. While traveling around on a Nova Scotia vacation, it’s only a few minutes off the Highway 104 section of the Sunrise Trail between New Glasgow and Antigonish. The “Merb”, as the Northumberland Shore locals call it, offers the warmest water temperatures in the province, a large sandy beach, dunes, showers, change houses, canteen, picnic tables and lifeguards on duty during the summer.
This popular sand and cobble beach on the Eastern Shore is noted for its surf. Lawrencetown, a local favorite for near-by Halifax Nova Scotia beach buffs, has long been a favorite haunt for surfers year round. It is not uncommon to see them bobbing on the water in wet suits any day regardless of the season! Dacane Sports offers Billabong Surf Camps. You can participate in a 1/2 day or full day camp and in no time you’ll be riding the waves at the mecca for east coast surfers and beachgoers alike. If you are not a surfer at heart, the open sand beach provides an invitation to walk and enjoy the fresh ocean air. A Provincial Park, it’s also a great spot to take the kids to just enjoy the sun, surf and sand. With amenities such as change rooms, bathrooms and a canteen, you can plan to spend a full day here.
Taylor Head Beach
Cobble beaches and sand dunes, common along Nova Scotia’s Atlantic coast, are the key part of the natural landscape at Taylor Head. Located on the Eastern Shore of Marine Drive 11.2 km (4.5 mi) west of Sheet Harbour on Route 7, this is a great spot for bird watching, walking the rugged shoreline boardwalks, or just soaking up some sun and salt air.
Mavillette Beach is located on the Acadian Shore at the mouth of Saint Mary’s Bay, just off Highway 1 on the Evangeline Trail. A Nova Scotia Provincial Park with beautiful sand, this beach is great for those who would enjoy a little migratory bird watching on a Nova Scotia vacation. A 1.5 km (½ mi) long sandy stretch, backed by fragile marram grass-covered dunes, this beach is renowned across the province for its beauty. Typical of the shores exposed to the extreme Bay of Fundy tide changes, extensive sand flats are exposed at low tide allowing you to walk on the ocean floor. Change houses, a boardwalk and freshwater taps are available to visitors.