When summer hits, there is no place we’d rather be than at the beach. But a day at the beach can mean different things to a whole lot of people. For some the ideal beach day means laying on a beach blanket – summer read in hand. We can't say we blame you, it's a pretty great way to relax. But for those who are looking for adventure, there are lots of great activities that will still give you a fun-filled day at the beach.
1. Go for a Hike – Take yourself to Taylor Head Provincial Park. The gentle hiking haven boasts four trails around this tiny inlet on the Eastern Shore. The shortest – the beach walk - is 1.2 kms long. For those who want a challenge can try the Headland Trail around the loop at 8 kms. What you’ll see? Sandy beaches, rugged inlets, migrate birds and wildlife like squirrels and deer.
Kejimkujik Seaside on the South Shore also has some amazing places to hike. Here you will find two trails: the Port Joli Head Trail, an 8.7 kms trek around the rocky headlands, and the Harbour Rocks Trail, a 5.2 km trek over coastal barrens to sandy beaches.
What you’ll see? Seals frolicking off shore and coastal birds like the endangered piping plover (take special care when you are walking).
2. Search for Fossils – all kids love dinosaurs and there is a kid in all of us. At Joggins Fossil Cliffs – a UNESCO World Heritage site on the Bay of Fundy – you can explore 15 kms of layered rock cliffs and find fossils dating back 300 million years. Take one of the guided tours where an expert will help you decipher the imprints in the rocks.
3. Beach Eats – a good old lobster boil up is delicious fun, especially when you are at the beach with a chef. Take in the Lobster Bay Culinary Adventure at Ye Old Argyler Lodge where they’ll help you gather all the ingredients after which Chef Jonathan and team will help you prepare your feast over a woodfire on the shore of Lobster Bay.
Photo: Ye Old Argyler Lodge
At Burntcoat Head Park you can Dine on the Ocean Floor. They Flying Apron has put together an unforgettable, four-course feast - paired with local wine and beer. Meet with local experts for a tour before you dine at low-tide. Check back later in the day and you'll find the place where you dined is now under 50 feet of water!
If you love mussels, you'll love the Blueberries of the Sea Musseling Adventure. Spend some time knee deep in the ocean while you pick them with Murphy's Camping on the Ocean. Your captain will cook them in the boat for you as you return to shore.
Looking for something sweet? White Point Beach Resort has declared this year the of the marshmallow! Here you can enjoy one of the famous White Point Beach bonfires, complete with their extra special s’mores. Bacon jam anyone?
4. Bike to the Beach – Cyclists will love our beach trails. You can use your quad power along the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail in Cape Breton – a 92 km trail stretching from Port Hastings to Inverness. For rentals – check in with Eagle Eye Outfitters. What to expect? Fishing communities, coastal look-offs and of course sandy beaches nearby. The trail surface is unpaved but hard-packed.
5. Go Surfing – avid surfers are sure to buddy up to the locals to find those truly hidden spots. Can’t bring your board with you? You can rent from Happy Dude’s Surf Emporium or one of the surf schools.
For those who’ve always wanted to try it – it’s time to take a lesson. Try Rossignol Surf Shop at White Point on the South Shore, Quiksilver Surf School at Lawerencetown Beach Provincial Park or Martinique Beach Provincial Park on the Eastern Shore. Check swells and surf conditions at magicseaweed.com.
6. Salute the Sun – ahh, there is nothing more rejuvenating than the ocean, especially if you are doing yoga. Of course you can do a sun salute on any of our beaches. But Cape LaHave Adventures on the South Shore makes it a little extra special – taking you on a guided sea-kayak tour around the LaHave Islands (there are 20 of them). From there, you'll pick a seldom-visited white sand beach for a yoga lesson in your own private oasis.
7. Explore Tidal Pools – You’ll find tidal pools on lots of our beaches – and one of the best to explore is in Digby where Gael Tours will take you on a tour to teach you about the creatures you will find there.
8. Build a Sandcastle – building a sandcastle evokes some pretty sweet childhood memories, but around here there are some who take it pretty seriously. At the Clam Harbour Beach Provincial Park's annual sandcastle competition you'll find people building sculptures that could be in a museum and castles that make you want to shrink yourself and move in. This year's competion will take place on Sunday, August 16 - rain or shine!
9. Take a Photography Tour - SeaWind Landing Country Inn in Charlos Cove on the beautiful Eastern Shore has partnered with a local photograhper to create a fantastic Tor Bay Photography Tour. Once you've taken in all the sights of the gorgeous beaches and coastal barrens at Tor Bay Provincial Park, you can retire to this country inn for a gourmet three-course meal.
Photo: Tor Bay Provincial Park
If you fancy being a part of the photoshoot, Picture Perfect Tours offers a Surf and Snap package, where your personal photographer will accompany you to a surf lesson and capture all your cool moves on camera.
10. Go for a Swim – Of course, we’ve left the most obvious beach activity for last. There is nothing more refreshing than an ocean dip. If you love to swim, be sure to pay attention to the signs on the beach, as some are not recommended for swimming due to tides and currents. If you feel safer with a lifeguard, we have plenty of supervised beaches to choose from. Beach supervision begins in July and runs through to the end of August each summer. Wondering what the water's like? You can check beach temperatures and conditions in July and August with our friends at Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service.