Sea Kayaking in Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia’s rugged and diverse coastline offers exceptional kayaking you can’t find anywhere else! Explore narrow passageways between undeveloped islands with white sand beaches and turquoise water. Or paddle alongside multi-coloured sea cliffs, featuring waterfalls, sea caves, and towering arches. Whether you’re an experienced kayaker, or want to try it for the first time, Nova Scotia is sure to have the adventure for you!
Many of our kayaking tour operators offer guided paddling adventures across the province. Discover some of our best sea kayaking locations below.
The Highlands of Northern Cape Breton
Cape Breton Island
One of the most spectacular kayaking destinations in North America, the coast of Northern Cape Breton is remote, rugged, challenging and breathtakingly beautiful. Offering imposing cliffs of ancient bedrock, which feature waterfalls, sea caves, and towering arches, this very exposed coast is also home to seals, seabirds and even whales - who just might decide to join you on your paddle.
Located in one of the most remote areas in Nova Scotia, the Canso Barrens feature a rugged coast of white granite bedrock, glacial erratics and stunted trees. Offering numerous rock islands, hidden coves and narrow, shallow channels, this coast is quite sheltered and makes for an amazing and diverse paddle.
Bay of Fundy & Annapolis Valley
Protruding out into the Bay of Fundy, home of the world’s highest tides, the towering cliffs of Cape Chignecto offer a complex blend of colours and textures caused by the layers of sandstones, slates, granites and even coal. The powerful force of the tides has carved and sculpted arches, sea caves and umerous pinnacles, including the Three Sisters, which make for a fascinating kayaking tour.
This chain of hundreds of islands, renowned for their historical and ecological significance, have been featured in Canadian Geographic and offer numerous white sand beaches, dramatic headlands, lush salt marshes, and expansive coastal barrens and forests. They’re also perfect for viewing migratory seabirds, osprey, bald eagles, grey seals, and the occasional sunfish!
The extensive, white granite outcroppings of this area, made famous by the neighbouring Peggy’s Cove, make for a scenic and diverse paddle. Beginner kayakers can explore incredible bays, inlets and islands, featuring white sand crescent beaches; while more experienced kayakers can wind their way around rugged headlands and into neighbouring bays and fishing communities.
The sheltered coastline of Blue Rocks offers rows of greenish-blue stratified slate, forming an archipelago of over fifty islands. This maze of islands features narrow passageways lined with golden yellow rockweed, which are only accessible by kayak. The clear, shallow waters around the islands also allow for easy viewing of sealife above and below its calm surface.
Partially linked to the mainland by road, this small group of islands offers colourful fishing communities and pristine coasts of granite rock, layered slate, sandy beaches, and a sheltered salt marsh. The numerous islands and shallow passageways create a very sheltered waterway for novice kayakers, while the more experienced will be amazed by the expansive white sand beaches further offshore.
Yarmouth & Acadian Shores
Paddling around the Tusket Islands is like stepping back in time. This is one of the few places in Nova Scotia where offshore islands are still used as fishing outposts and for grazing livestock. Though the waters are shallow in this area, with many islands and shoals, the ocean current is extremely strong and only suitable for advanced kayakers. Back on mainland Nova Scotia, the more sheltered Lobster Bay is great for beginner and novice kayakers.