Our favourite beaches

just a short drive from Halifax

If there’s one thing Nova Scotia does well (and, unbiased opinion here, there’s much, MUCH more than just one), it’s beaches!

Canada’s self-proclaimed “ocean playground” is almost an island, and some of the most magnificent shores surround it in Canada. In fact, when you live in or visit Nova Scotia, you’re never more than 60 km from the ocean.

Nova Scotia boasts every permutation of beach you could hope for:

                                          • expansive white sand beaches
                                          • rugged beaches filled with stones rounded over millennia by countless waves
                                          • red sandy shorelines with the warmest waters in the province
                                          • beaches where enormous waves make for perfect year-round surfing,
                                          • quiet coves where the ocean is a beautiful Caribbean-esque aquamarine that you’ll have to see to believe.

Here are some of the most beautiful beaches within an easy hour-and-a-half drive of the province’s capital city, Halifax.

Crystal Crescent

One of the contenders for the best beach in Nova Scotia must surely be Crystal Crescent Beach in Sambro Creek, about 40 minutes from Halifax. This stunner packs quite a punch: it’s not one, not two, but three crescent beaches in one, and all feature the soft white sand you’d expect of a tropical island.

Fittingly, the crystal-clear water here is a brilliant turquoise, and Sambro Island Lighthouse is visible in the distance. Beach-goers can opt for a boardwalk stroll or take advantage of the 10 km of seaside trails for more of an adventure. The third beach is clothing-optional.

 

Martinique Beach

East Petpeswick’s Martinique Beach is the longest in Nova Scotia, at over five kilometres long.
It’s also one of the best beaches in the province for finding sand dollars! One look at the white sand stretching as far as the eye can see, and you’ll feel your troubles melting away.

There’s a surf shop and surfing school here seasonally, as this is one of the top spots in Nova Scotia for catching a wave. Several different parking lots are situated along the beach, all with boardwalks for easy access to the sand. Martinique Beach is less than an hour from Halifax – perfect for a road trip – but it feels a world away.

 

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Rainbow Haven Beach

This expansive Cow Bay beach has everything a beach lover could want: a gorgeous stretch of sand that just won’t Roguetrippers visited Rainbow Haven one of the best beaches near Halifax Nova Scotia. quit, picture-perfect grass-covered dunes, and shallow water that beckons you to stay awhile. Rainbow Haven Beach is one of the easiest HRM beaches to get to since it’s not even 30 minutes from Halifax.

While this beach is a popular spot in the summer, it’s also massive, so while you might have a bit of a walk from your car, you can easily find space on the beach once you get there.
Head left once you leave the boardwalk, and the crowds will eventually thin.

 

Lawrencetown Beach

Like many beaches in Nova Scotia, Lawrencetown Beach looks different depending on when you visit. During the winter, it’s a dramatically moody cobblestone beach, but in the summer, the sand returns, and the beach is perfect for sunbathing and beachcombing.

The waves here are the stuff of legend, and you’ll see surfers catching a wave year-round. You can even learn to surf or rent a board at the East Coast Surf School on site. Boardwalks and walking trails treat visitors to fabulous coastal views, and this is a great spot to catch the sunset! Even in the summer, it can get windy and chilly here, so dress accordingly. Lawrencetown Beach is about half an hour from Halifax.

 

Conrad’s Beach

You’ll find Conrad’s Beach just over half an hour from Halifax. It’s not as well-known as its neighbour, Lawrencetown Conrads Beach is a popular beach destination for wind surfing. Stacy Milford of Roguetrippers loves visiting this amazing beach near Halifax
Beach, but it also has far less parking. So, if you’re visiting on a sunny summer weekend, expect to have to park down the road and walk.

But Conrad’s Beach is worth the walk! It’s a long sandy beach popular with dog walkers, and it’s one of the best places in the province for windsurfing, kite surfing and stand-up paddleboarding. It’s also a protected breeding area for the endangered piping plover, so be sure to stay on the boardwalk as you’re walking to the beach. If you’re up for a walk, head left when you get to the beach – during low tide, you’ll be able to walk out to an abandoned old wharf on a spit of land that disappears at high tide.

 

Check out our Favourite hiking spots around Halifax

 

Taylor Head Beach

This Eastern Shore beach is a hidden gem that’s more than worth a road trip from Halifax (about an hour and a half away). It’s a secluded beach with white sand, impressive rock formations, and beautifully clear water. It’s also one of the only places in the province home to sand volcanoes.

Like many Nova Scotia beaches, this one is located in a provincial park with fabulous rugged hiking trails. Taylor Head Beach is rarely crowded. Making it the perfect spot to relax by the shore, embark on a scenic hike to a panoramic look-off, or have a picnic with the family.

 

Clam Harbour Beach

Located in Clam Harbour on the Eastern Shore, you won’t have a problem navigating crowds on this pristine beach. Unless, of course, you’re attending the famous yearly Sand Castle Competition in August!
Clam Harbour Beach features powdery sand that your toes will adore, and there’s a LOT of beach to enjoy. The North Atlantic Ocean is not known for its warmth, but the shallow water here makes for relatively warm wading. Walk to the end of the beach on your right, and you’ll find a tidal channel that’s great for tubing. Clam Harbour is just over an hour away from Halifax, and it’s worth taking the day for a road trip to soak up the beauty of the Eastern Shore.

 

Queensland Beach

It’s one of the most popular beaches on the South Shore, and for a good reason! Queensland Beach is gorgeous, with the perfect combination of soft white sand, crystal-clear water and a sheltered location with warm water. For the North Atlantic, anyway.

The beach is small compared to others in the province. In the off-season, you won’t have a problem parking here, but this gem quickly becomes crowded during the summer. So make sure you arrive early. Queensland Beach is ideally situated in Hubbards, about 40 minutes from Halifax.

 

Honourable Mention: Carters Beach

It’s a bit further from Halifax than the other beaches on this list (approximately an hour and 50 minutes). Still, since it consistently ranks at the top of “best beaches in Nova Scotia” lists, Carters Beach deserves mention!
Consisting of three beaches in one, Carters Beach looks like a postcard. Specifically, a postcard of an idyllic Caribbean beach, complete with soft white sand and water that is impossibly blue-green. Of course, dip a toe into the frigid water, and you’ll immediately remember you’re in Canada! You’ll find this dreamy beach in Port Mouton, near Liverpool.

 

Bottom Line

Whether you’re visiting Nova Scotia this summer or are a long-time resident, there’s a beach not far from Halifax that will tick every box on your list. We have it all: soft golden sand, refreshing waves, rugged granite shorelines, idyllic aquamarine water, and scenic coastal trails! In fact, your only dilemma will be which seaside gem to visit first.

 

Roguetrippers the best beaches near Halifax that are a must visit when you come to Nova Scotia.

 

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Author

Stacy has lived in 4 countries on 3 continents and travels whenever humanly possible. Passionate about music theatre, dessert, and adventure in the great wide somewhere, she visits Walt Disney World every year, usually during Halloween! Stacy currently divides her time between writing and teaching English as a second language to children in China, and is pretty sure growing up is over-rated. Stacy is a resident of the great province of Nova Scotia and has been loving every minute of her life exploring Canada's Ocean Playground. There is no shortage of things for her to discover in Nova Scotia, and every chance she gets, she is off on a brand new adventure, including farms, museums, hiking trails, hidden gems, land and seascapes, and much more.

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