With the warm weather here again there is nothing quite like a day at the beach here in Nova Scotia. Build sandcastles, fly kites, take a surf lesson, or just walk barefoot in the sand. There’s nothing like a beach to bring out the little kid in all of us. We have so many wonderful beaches within an hour of HRM that every day offers up something new to explore and enjoy along Nova Scotia’s spectacular seacoast. Just load up your car in the morning and you can be at any one of these wonderful beaches within an hour or less.
Crystal Crescent Beach
Crystal Crescent Beach Provincial Park is only a beautiful 20 minute drive from the Armdale Rotary along Purcells Cove Road just past Ketch Harbor. This beautiful beach park, at the mouth of the Halifax Harbour, has 3 white-sand crescent beaches to enjoy with boardwalks to the first 2 beaches and 2 pit-toilet facilities. The park is also the trailhead for a hike to Pennant Point, 10 km/6 mi each way, giving you an opportunity to explore the area’s wildlife including bird watching. The powdery sands of Crystal Crescent feels so great under foot, you’ll want to keep coming back to this one.
Rainbow Haven Beach
Rainbow Haven Beach Provincial Park is short drive for Dartmouth area residents. Only minutes from Portland Street - take Bissett Road to Cow Bay Road and follow the signs from there. Rainbow Haven is a large sand-&-cobble beach at the mouth of Cole Harbour; a sandy oasis that has it all. No rocks to speak of, shallow waters, lifeguards, a canteen, bathrooms, and a distinct lack of jellyfish. A great place for families to create memories that will last a lifetime. Although, the water can be a little chilly in the early summer, it warms up nicely during July and August. A wooden boardwalk allows for easy access to the beach as well wheelchair accessibility for those who might need it.
If you enjoy a lively beach, Queensland Provincial Beach Park is the place to be. It’s about a half hour drive up the 103 Highway to Exit 6 east of Hubbards into Queensland, though many enjoy the coastal drive from Exit 5. Although not large, this supervised beach is one of the most popular on the South Shore. The waters are well inside St. Margaret’s Bay and offer some of the warmest water close to HRM. A fabulous sand beach, with over 300 metres of beachfront, about two-thirds of which is supervised. Queensland is a great place for swimming as there are no currents or rips, and little surf. You can also bask in the sun without having to worry about frisbees or beachballs, items which are restricted to the portion of beach outside of the supervised area. Park amenities include change rooms and vault toilets.
This long crescent white-sand beach, located on the East Petpeswick Road just south of Musquodoboit Harbour on the province’s Eastern Shore, is another great beach to take a stroll and enjoy the surf and sand. The combination of powerful waves and the wide, open shoreline also make Martinique a popular spot for surfers and boogie-boarders. The surf is fairly consistent throughout the summer so tons of fun can be had just playing in the waves all day with Lifeguards supervising an area of 200 meters. Bird watching is an excellent way to spend a morning here, as the beach is part of a protected area for the small but stout piping plover. 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.
My personal favorite for the family; Hubbards Beach is a privately controlled and maintained beach and is considered by many as a jewel of our HRM beaches. For just a nominal fee, you can experience this wonderful sand beach, located at the end of Shore Club Road, off Highway 3. Sheltered by Hubbards Cove, the gentle slope of Hubbards Beach allows swimmers to wade well out into some of the very warmest ocean water that we have near HRM. During the summer months, beach caretakers place a raft in the cove for people to swim out to and dive from. There are outdoor change rooms, toilets and parking. You can pack a lunch or take a short stroll back to the Campground Canteen for snacks. Hubbards Beach is most easily accessed from Exit 6. Turn left on Highway 3 and travel east to the Shore Club Road.
There it is, just a taste of the many great beaches to enjoy near HRM. All you need to do is load up the kids and the sand toys and get out there to enjoy the beautiful summer days ahead.
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