Discover the best white-sand beaches in Nova Scotia for families, couples, and adventurers

Blessed with white-sand beaches on a picturesque Atlantic shoreline, Nova Scotia is one of the best destinations for a beach trip. You’ll find numerous beaches with fine white sand and turquoise waters reminiscent of the Caribbean Islands without the long travel. Each beach offers its own personality and appeal, from rugged beaches with rough seas for watersports and surfing to family-friendly beaches with shallow surf for children to swim and wade. Whether you want a beach trip with the kids, romance by the sea, or an adventurous experience with watersports and coastal hikes, check out the best white-sand beaches in Nova Scotia to plan your vacation.

Carters Beach for beachcombing

Carters Beach is located outside Liverpool on the South Shore and has 3 gently curving crescents of shoreline with soft, white sand. Many beachcombers come to the beach to pick up sand dollars and other ocean treasures. Renowned for its tropical atmosphere and turquoise waters, Carters Beach is a popular destination for sunbathing and family days out.

Martinique Beach for surfing

With 3.4 kilometres of shoreline, Martinique Beach Provincial Park is one of the longest beaches in Nova Scotia and boasts incredible surf breaks for experienced surfers. The beach is also a nesting area for the endangered piping plover. You’ll find many facilities at the beach, including changing rooms, washrooms, parking, and picnic areas.

Sandhills Beach for snorkelling

Sandhills Beach is a white-sand beach in Barrington that has warm waters for swimming and snorkelling. Surrounded by a provincial park, Sandhills Beach is popular for families to sunbathe, beachcomb, clam, picnic, and fly kites. Birdwatchers also come to the beach to see the shorebirds. You’ll find many facilities at the beach, including showers, washrooms, and changing rooms.

Rissers Beach for swimming with kids

Located south of Bridgewater, Rissers Beach is 1 kilometre of shoreline with calm waters for families with children to swim. Because the beach is maintained by the parks department, it’s well equipped with washrooms, lifeguard patrol, changing rooms, showers, and a canteen. There’s also a boardwalk along an inland marsh to stroll and see wildlife. If you want to spend more time at the beach, you’ll find a campground with beach areas and sheltered areas for overnight stays.

White Point Beach scenic beaches

One of the most famous beaches in Canada, White Point Beach boasts fine, white sand with a private atmosphere. To visit the beach, you need to book a day pass, so the beach never becomes crowded. Run by the resort, a day pass gives you access to the beach, waters, recreation facilities, and tour programs.

Crescent Beach for family activities

The 2-kilometre Crescent Beach is a picturesque white-sand beach that forms a causeway connecting the mainland to Georges Island. The wind conditions make Crescent Beach ideal for kite buggies, windsurfing, and flying kites. Another popular activity is coastal hiking to see historic lighthouses on the shoreline.

North Bay Beach for family fun

North Bay Beach is located along the Cabot Trail and boasts 3 kilometres of white sands with shallow waters for swimming. Because the bay is shallow, the high surf doesn’t reach the shores or create rough waters, perfect for kids to swim and wade. The beach is also a favourite of families for its facilities, including changing rooms, washrooms, and shady picnic areas. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can take the trail to explore more of Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

Bayswater Beach for family amenities

Located in Bayswater Beach is a beautiful white-sand beach well suited to families. During the summer season, the beach is supervised by lifeguards for safe swimming. It’s also well equipped with barbecue grills, changing rooms, toilets, and picnic areas.

Rainbow Haven for children's activities

Popular with families with young children, Rainbow Haven is a lovely beach that’s operated by Nova Scotia Provincial Parks. The beach has soft, white sand and a wide area, so it rarely gets packed, and families enjoy flying kites down the coast. Because the beach is at a tidal channel, there are designated swimming areas manned by lifeguards. You’ll have an array of facilities at the beach, including washrooms, large parking lots, wheelchair access, changing rooms, and outdoor showers.