Although there is plenty of rocky shoreline around Nova Scotia, the province is also bestowed with some fantastic beaches. Here’s where to head to play in the sand, frolic in the surf, or just lay on your towel with the warm sand between your toes:

Carters Beach in Port Mouton

With turquoise water framed by three white sanded bays, Carters Beach is very pretty and looks more like the Caribbean than the east coast of Canada. Shallow waters full of sand dollars, rolling dunes, and a warm lagoon-fed stream running into the ocean make this a fun beach for families. Because it is pretty remote (there are no real facilities there) the beach is pretty secluded even on the hottest summer days. Carters Beach is the favorite of many Nova Scotians, and one that you tend to only find out about from someone else that loves it there. 

Crystal Crescent Beach in Sambro

Just a short drive from downtown Halifax is this gorgeous long white sand beach where you can also hike along the coast. The water is pretty cold, but that doesn’t deter swimmers, or kids from splashing around in the surf. This is known as a bit of a party beach, and attracts lots of younger people from the city, so can get crowded in places (but if you walk a little further along you’ll find a quiet spot). There is a nudist area at the far end of Crystal Crescent, but unless you’re specifically headed there you are unlikely to wander in accidentally.

Crescent Beach in Lockeporte

More white sand; there’s a whole mile of it to enjoy in this beach that runs along the causeway joining Lockeport to the mainland. In 1954, this beach was featured on the Canadian $50 bill, a testament to how scenic it is. The little town of Lockeport is sweet, and you can stroll all around it on a boardwalk. (There’s also a great playground there.)

Inverness Beach on Cape Breton Island

This two mile long sandy beach is gorgeous, and the waters are warm enough (by Canadian standards) to swim in through the summer. There’s a canteen, and facilities for visitors to use.

Martinique Beach on the Eastern Shore

About a 45 minute drive from Halifax, this beautiful beach is fabulous, but does get a bit windy so take a sweater. A stop at Harbour Fish ‘n Fries (just by the turn off to the beach) is always a good call, and after playing in the sand and surf you’ll be more than ready for something deep fried and delicious.