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The 10 Best Beaches in Atlantic Canada

Tired of heading south to discover a great beach? Try something different at Atlantic Canada’s most unique beaches.


By Kayla Byrne, Fodor's

When you think ultimate beach vacation, the four provinces of Atlantic Canada (Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick) probably don’t rank very high on the list. But thanks to its location on, duh, the Atlantic Ocean, there are plenty of beaches in this region to fulfill all your beach bum dreams. The water might be a bit colder than you’re used to, but the towns are charming, the waves are surf-able, and the views are divine.


Crystal Crescent Beach

WHERE: Nova Scotia

If you’re looking for a truly unique beach-going experience, let it all hang out at one of Canada’s favorite clothing-optional beaches. Crystal Crescent Beach is a series of three crescent-shaped beaches just 40 minutes from downtown Halifax, one of which is nude-friendly (one of only a handful in Atlantic Canada). Not comfortable in your birthday suit? Don’t sweat it. Only the third and farthest beach is clothing optional, but all three have stunningly white sand and turquoise waves, surrounded by boardwalks and hiking trails.


Blue Beach

WHERE: Nova Scotia

Do you remember being a kid and how cool it felt to stumble across a leaf fossil or some other unidentifiable object that you could only assume was a rare prehistoric treasure? Nova Scotia’s Blue Beach lets you relive that nostalgia over and over again. The beach is littered with everything from reptile and amphibian fossils to fossils of birds and unknown four-legged creatures. You have every chance of discovering that rare treasure you so desperately dreamed of years ago.

INSIDER TIP

Head to the nearby Blue Fossil Museum before hitting the beach to give yourself an idea of what kind of fossils you’ll find. If you do end up finding something on your stroll, bring it back to the museum and the staff will help you identify it.


Point Michaud Beach

WHERE: Nova Scotia

If you’ve ever been to Cape Breton, you know the little island doesn’t scream surfer culture the way other Canadian beaches like Tofino in British Columbia do. But if you ask the right locals, they’ll point you to Point Michaud Beach, the island’s secret surfing mecca. The beach is home to the Annual Point Michaud Surf Classic, which attracts competitors from all across Canada and the United States. Along with the lovely stretches of sand and consistent surf, you can also rent all the necessary surfing gear and take lessons right at the beach.


Inverness Beach

WHERE: Nova Scotia

Like with hunting for fossils, stumbling across a few pieces of multi-colored sea glass is like finding your own special souvenir. Unfortunately finding these little treasures isn’t always easy, and any sea glass hunting expert will tell you it’s all about the right location. Topping the list as one of most bountiful beaches, sea glass-wise, in Atlantic Canada is Inverness Beach. For the best harvest, make sure to go at low tide.


Hopewell Rocks

WHERE: New Brunswick

Any to-do list for Atlantic Canada would be severely lacking if it didn’t include the Hopewell Rocks at the Rocks Provincial Park. The park is famous for its unique rock formations and the area’s extremely high and low tides. When the tide is out, it’s so far out that you can walk for miles along the ocean’s floor, marveling at the “flowerpot” rocks from their usually sea-covered base. When the tide is in, you can hop in a kayak and paddle right through the towering giants.

INSIDER TIP

Most visitors stick to the Hopewell Rocks area, but close-by are two great beaches overlooking the rocks. Be sure to check out Sandwall Beach and Demoiselle Beach too.


Cape Enrage

WHERE: New Brunswick

Vacationing with kids can be a challenge. You’re constantly trying to find that balance of something you can enjoy and something that will keep them entertained. With its breathtakingly beautiful scenery and family-friendly amenities, New Brunswick’s Cape Enrage hits that sweet spot. Spend the morning exploring the nearby trails, beaches, lighthouse, and local art gallery. Then in the afternoon, pump up your adrenaline by swooping over the coastline on a 600-foot long zip-line or rappelling down the waterside cliffs.


West Point Beach

WHERE: Prince Edward Island

Lighthouses are iconic symbols of Atlantic Canada, making them a frequent point of interest for both tourists and locals. However most of the time your access is pretty limited—you can walk all around the lighthouses and snap a few selfies, but that’s about it. But at West Point Beach you can get the full experience by actually renting a room inside the tower of the beach’s refurbished lighthouse. When you’re done pretending you’re an old lighthouse keeper of days gone by, you can explore the nearby Cedar Dunes Provincial Park, where you’ll find scenery right out of an Anne of Green Gables novel, tons of walking trails, and a handful of playgrounds.


Basin Head Beach

WHERE: Prince Edward Island

Basin Head Beach speaks for itself—literally. If you listen closely, the sparkling white sands of this beach actually squeak with every step you take. This squeaking has been compared to singing, giving Basin Head Beach its nickname of the “Singing Sands Beach”. So, what causes this natural phenomenon? It’s still a bit of mystery although some studies suggest quartz sand will do this if the grains are very well-rounded and highly spherical. Whatever the reason, the Singing Sands Beach makes for an unforgettable experience.


Blow Me Down Provincial Park

WHERE: Newfoundland

Newfoundland is famous for its unique sight names. Dildo, Come By Chance, and Tickle Harbour are just a few places tourists visit just to snap a photo of the welcome signs. But what many people don’t know is that some of these strangely named places have the best beaches. Topping that list is Blow Me Down Provincial Park, situated on a peninsula overlooking the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the Blow Me Down mountain range. Just a short stroll from the park’s picnic area is a long stretch of sandy beach perfect for walking and discovering starfish, sand dollars, and crabs in the nearby shallow waters. According to local legend, the area got its funny name when Captain Messervey, one of the first explorers of the area, anchored his boat below the mountain range and said, “I hope they don’t blow me down.”


Middle Brook Falls

WHERE: Newfoundland

If you’re a waterfall fan, look no further than Newfoundland’s Middle Brook Falls, a well-known spot among locals during the hot days of summer. Nestled just outside the spectacular Gros Morne National Park, the popular swimming area is a series of three falls appropriately named First Falls, Second Falls, and Third Falls. With its shallow and calm waters, First Falls is great for younger or inexperienced swimmers while the other two falls offer rushing rapids and deep natural swimming pools.


See more at:  Fodor's

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Travel Magazine: The 10 Best Beaches in Atlantic Canada
The 10 Best Beaches in Atlantic Canada
When you think ultimate beach vacation, the four provinces of Atlantic Canada (Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick) probably don’t rank very high on the list. But thanks to its location on, duh, the Atlantic Ocean, there are plenty of beaches in this region to fulfill all your beach bum dreams. The water might be a bit colder than you’re used to, but the towns are charming, the waves are surf-able, and the views are divine.
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Travel Magazine
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