While Nova Scotia’s South Shore is bordered by some of the province’s most beautiful swimming spots, Rissers Beach stands out because of the kilometre-long sandy beach, relatively warm water, amenities and its boardwalk.
If you’re a camper, it’s even better, because you can camp right beside this beautiful beach!
If you drive to Rissers, you’re going to be surprised, and probably a little confused. The parking lot is across the highway from the beach, and there’s not a speck of sand in sight when you get out of the car.
Persevere, though! Look for the culvert that takes you under the highway and you’ll emerge into the park area.
This is where you’ll find the amenities that make Rissers a no-brainer, especially if you have young kids.
First, you’ll come across the interpretive centre that explains the park’s ecosystem. Moving on, you’ll see the large washroom area with washrooms, showers and private changing rooms. To the right is a canteen, which, while it serves pretty typical canteen food offers two amazing things: ice cream, and the time-saving ability to just pick up and go to the beach without needing to pack a lunch & snacks.
Note: The last time we were there, it was a warm but overcast day and we arrived early, which is why the beach looks so delightfully empty. Show up on a sunny Saturday, though, and you’ll see a much more active scene. Which leads me to my…
Pro Tip: warm overcast days are a phenomenal time to go to the beach. No crowds and it’s still warm enough to swim.
If you explore to the left of the entry point, at the end of the beach you’ll find a rockier area with some sea creatures and a glacial erratic, which are common on the South Shore.
Now, I’m not going to lie to you: swimming in the Atlantic Ocean is not for the faint of heart, or easily chilled.
But, if you visit in late July – early September, the water is swimmable, and relatively free of seaweed, etc. It’ll be chilly when you first get in, but persevere because it’s nice once you’re used to it. You might even see a seal pop its head up as you frolic in the waves!
The water remains fairly shallow for a good distance, and the tides aren’t as much a factor here as they are in the Bay of Fundy. Also, the water is much, much warmer here than in the Bay of Fundy. The last time I went in the Bay of Fundy, it felt like my bones were aching, I was so cold, and I’d only been in for about 30 seconds.
The boardwalk at Rissers Beach Provincial Park
I actually don’t have much to offer on this. It looks nice, but I’m so enchanted with the sand, ocean waves crashing on the shore, and beachcombing that I’ve never had the desire to stray too far from it.
Getting to Rissers Beach
This is one of the best parts about going to Rissers.
If you’re coming from Halifax, give yourself time to take the scenic route, and make sure you stop at the LaHave Bakery on your way for supplies.
If you’re coming from further down the South Shore, give yourself time to take the scenic route and stop in to the Best Coast Coffee Gallery for a latte & a snack before you arrive.
The Nitty Gritty
- Rissers Beach Provincial Park is accessible for wheelchairs, although obviously once you’re on the sand things will get complicated.
- There’s no entry fee or fee for parking.
- Food, washrooms, changing rooms, and showers are available onsite.
- There’s a lifeguard on duty, check the Rissers website for details.
While you’re in the area, check out what else the Lighthouse Route has to offer: it’s one of the most beautiful spots in the world!