Surrounded by the ocean on nearly every side, Nova Scotia is home to some of the best beaches in Canada. The beaches boast white sands, crystal-blue waters, and excellent wind and wave conditions for water sports like surfing and sailing. You'll find everything from calm family beaches to wild shores with spectacular surf breaks, so you can have whatever kind of beach vacation you wish. Whether you’re looking for fun with the kids, a romantic day of sunbathing and nature walks in quiet dunes, or adventures on the waves, find out about the best beaches in Nova Scotia to plan your seaside trip.

Queensland Beach for children

Nestled on the South Shore, Queensland Beach offers lifeguard supervision and soft sand, making it a popular spot for families. The waters are calm and quiet, perfect for little ones to swim, and you’ll find many facilities near the beach. There’s also a surrounding parkland for nature walks and wildlife viewing.

Lawrencetown Beach for surfing

Lawrencetown Beach is one of the best beaches in Nova Scotia. Located on the Eastern Shore, Lawrencetown Beach boasts the ultimate in surfing experiences in the area. The beach has surf schools and rental shops for your first surfing experience on incredible waves. Even if you don’t plan on surfing, Lawrencetown Beach has pristine sand and cobble with designated swimming areas, ramped boardwalks, showers, restrooms, changing rooms, and other facilities. The beach connects to a park with a walking trail along the railbed to take in the scenery.

Rissers Beach for family swimming

Rissers Beach is a charming beach with sheltered waters on Green Bay. The beach has many amenities, such as picnic areas, showers, a children’s playground, changing rooms, and dog-friendly areas. If you want to experience nature, the beach has a boardwalk that travels along an inland marsh teeming with wildlife. You could also camp overnight at the nearby campgrounds to experience more of the beach.

Summerville Beach for kids' activities

Regarded as one of the best beaches on the South Shore, Summerville Beach Provincial Park is a light, sandy beach with picturesque dunes. Families enjoy Summerville Beach for its gentle surf for children and numerous shaded picnic areas. There’s also an open salt marsh near the beach that you can explore, as well as colonies of piping plovers that make their homes in the dunes.

Crystal Crescent for naturalist areas

Crystal Crescent is a collection of crescent beaches just outside the city. Families enjoy the beach for the quiet surf, boardwalks, and facilities like restrooms and changing areas. While the first 2 beaches offer traditional beach experiences, the third has naturalist areas. Near the beach, you’ll find a trailhead to hike to Pennant Point and experience some of the local wildlife.

Martinique Beach for wildlife

Boasting a long, wide shoreline, Martinique Beach Provincial Park is an excellent beach on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia. As part of a protected parkland, Martinique Beach has sandy areas, wooded picnic areas, dramatic dunes, and plenty of wildlife. Migratory waterfowl and the threatened piping plover frequent the area.

Carters Beach for snorkelling and diving

Located in Queens County, Carters Beach has 3 circular white-sand beaches against emerald waters that are reminiscent of the Caribbean Sea. With the calm, clear waters, Carters Beach is a popular spot for snorkelling and diving. The beach is also secluded and quiet, which is perfect for family days or romantic experiences.

Bayswater Beach for families and couples

Bayswater Beach Provincial Park is located outside of Halifax and offers a quiet beach retreat for families and couples. You can relax and sunbathe, swim in the calm waters, play with the kids, or have a picnic on the edge of the sand. The beach has grassy areas for picnics and grilling, complete with tables to enjoy the views while you eat. You’ll also find many facilities near the beach, including a food truck, changing rooms, restrooms, and parking.

Rainbow Haven for an urban beach

Close to the metro area, Rainbow Haven Beach Provincial Park is a popular urban beach on Cole Harbour with sand and cobble. The beach has quiet waters for children to swim and numerous amenities, such as showers and changing rooms. You’ll also have lifeguard patrols during the summer season. If you want to explore nature, Rainbow Haven has boardwalks to stroll along and take in the scenery.