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Halifax’s 5 best beaches

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Snug on the Atlantic shore, Halifax must be one of Canada’s luckiest cities. All that sea bound coast offers a variety of beaches just minutes from Halifax. Queensland, just down by Hubbards, is a traditional family destination with soft white sand. It is a small beach and very well known to locals, so it may be crowded on hot summer weekends, but there are others.

Queensland

Queensland

After the closing of Dartmouth’s favourite family beach at Silver Sands, nearby Rainbow Haven was developed as a fully protected beach park. Fantastic sunsets sparkle off the grey sand and when the wind is from the land, the beach is as close to perfect as it gets. Had enough sun and sand? Explore the huge natural wetland behind the beach where breeding birds, showy wildflowers and abundant seafood all thrive in the rich habitat.

Crystal Crescent, just past Sambro at the mouth of Halifax Harbour, actually offers three beaches, each with sparkling clean water and fine white sand. Alright, it is actually pretty cold, clean water but there are other hidden attractions there, as well as some which are not so hidden, like on the third beach where clothing is optional.

Lawrencetown

Lawrencetown

Maybe the best know of all the Halifax area beaches is Lawrencetown. It has quickly grabbed a reputation as a surfers’ haven, particularly after an autumn hurricane has brushed our coast and creates those huge warm waves crashing on the shore which everybody enjoys.

Taylor Head, on the Eastern Shore, is a little farther down the Eastern Shore but it is as close to an actual Caribbean beach as you could find in North America, with sparkling white sand, stunningly transparent waters and best of all: very few people.

Taylor Head Beach

Taylor Head Beach

What makes these and all Nova Scotia’s beaches special is that they are totally protected. There are no cars, no t-shirt vendors, and no “private” signs permitted on the almost 100 designated beaches.

What makes them each unique and worth a family visit on a warm summer afternoon, is explained in the new book, Beaches of Nova Scotia. Together, Allan Billard and Donna Barnett took the time to photograph the natural history and to record the special attractions which makes each location different. Known for their earlier work on hidden wilderness waterfalls, the authors this time lead Nova Scotians to the shore and weave a fascinating account of what you can find there.

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