Best Nova Scotia South Shore Beaches to Visit

Nova Scotia’s license plate “Canada’s Ocean Playground” says it all. There are hundreds of beaches dotting the 7,500 plus kilometres of coastline that make up Nova Scotia. And while I’ve spent several years in the province, I am most familiar with the south shore beaches of Nova Scotia. And let me tell you, they are beauties.

From Halifax to Yarmouth there are a fantastic number of pristine, soft white sand beaches. Whether you want to sunbathe, swim, walk or just stare out at the sea and relax, there is a fabulous white sand beach for you.

The Nova Scotia south shore beaches are some of the most beautiful in Canada, so it’s hard to pick a favourite, even though that’s what everyone wants. My top picks – more from the point of view of long walks and white sand, rather than swimming and sunbathing – are Beach Meadows Beach, Cherry Hill Beach, Crescent Beach near Lockeport and St. Catherine’s River Beach.  

To keep these beaches looking their best and to protect birds and wildlife, please practice Leave No Trace principles. Most beaches I have visited are pristine and it sure would be nice to keep it that way forever.

Best time to visit the south shore beaches in Nova Scotia
The best time to visit the south shore beaches in Nova Scotia is in the summer from June until early September as you can usually count on warm weather, long days, and less rainfall. Some years June can still be on the cool side but July, August and into September are usually ideal.

Summer is the busiest time to visit the South Shore Nova Scotia beaches, so if you prefer solitude and you don’t give a whit about swimming, then a visit in spring and fall can be lovely. 

Ocean temperatures run cold off the Nova Scotia South Shore beaches, though the water warms up – a bit – as the summer progresses. A quick, cold swim is always invigorating – and very good for you. 

For those of you love to walk the beach, it doesn’t really matter what time of the year you visit. Pick a sunny, blue-sky day in the dead of winter, and you’ll feel invigorated by a beach walk.

Safety on the best Nova Scotia South Shore beaches
Dogs: Keep dogs leashed if asked to do so.

Birdlife: The endangered Piping Plover nests on fewer than 30 beaches in Nova Scotia but they need all the human help you can give them. From May until late August steer clear of sensitive nesting areas. Don’t let your dog off leash as they can easily inadvertently crush a piping plover egg. And walk near the tide line.

Rip currents: Some beaches in Nova Scotia have rip currents – something you don’t want to get caught in but could in theory survive if you know what to do. Check out what Parks Canada has to say.

Water temperature: Nova Scotia beaches are generally very cold, though some warmup by August. Warmer water beaches in Nova Scotia are typically found along the Northumberland Strait.

Tidal fluctuation: Any beach along the Bay of Fundy is going to see a massive tidal variation. To stay safe, head back to shore two hours before high tide. When it turns, it moves very fast.
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