8 beautiful beaches in the Maritimes

Beach combing at PEI National Park's Cavendish BeachThe Maritime provinces – New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia – are blessed with hundreds of beaches. Whether you’re looking for white sandy beaches or something more suited to beachcombing, we’ve got it!

While our family has many years of discovering new and wonderful beaches still ahead of us, read on for a few of our favourites so far:

Prince Edward Island

Cavendish Beachbeach

If you’re headed to PEI, you’re likely going to stop in Cavendish. We spent some time on the beach there while camping in one of the new oTENTiks at Prince Edward Island National Park, and enjoyed it both for beach-combing and your more traditional day at the beach (which means it’s fun even if the weather isn’t all that nice) – read on for the full review!

Northumberland Strait

Beach combing in Prince Edward IslandWe had the chance to pop down to an unsupervised beach very close to the Confederation Bridge in Prince Edward Island recently. These are the red sand beaches the island is famous for, although we found this particular beach was better for beach-combing than swimming. Lots of shells, sand-dollars, hermit crabs, and periwinkles kept the kids happy and occupied for hours! Pro tip: that red sand will stain anything white or light-coloured, so wear a dark bathing suit and bring colourful beach towels (better yet, a folding chair). Also, keep an eye out for jellyfish.

Nova Scotia

While there are beaches all the way around Canada’s Ocean Playground, our time is generally spent on the South Shore, and all of these beaches are along that stretch of coastline.

Rissers BeachView of Rissers beach from the stairs

Situated in a provincial park (free admission & parking!), this is our go-to beach on the South Shore. Warm(er than other South Shore beaches) water, changing rooms, washrooms, a canteen, picnic area, and a lovely long stretch of white sand make Rissers Beach a hit with the whole family.

Cherry Hill BeachSurfer on Cherry Hill Beach on Nova Scotia's South Shore

For a more off-the-beaten-path experience just a few minutes down the road from Rissers, give Cherry Hill Beach a try. This beach has no amenities, but it’s beautiful!

Crescent BeachCrescent Beach, Nova Scotia

Because it’s so close to Rissers Beach, I haven’t gone swimming at Crescent Beach since our daughter was born – it lacks the amenities that Rissers has. But I do go here at least once every time we visit the South Shore because it is my absolute favourite place to run. Both the beach itself and Crescent Beach Road, which winds through the LaHave Islands, are beautiful and typically very quiet. Plus, this beach boasts the shortest car-to-sand distance if you’re lugging a lot of stuff.

White Point Beach

White Point Beach, Nova ScotiaNear Liverpool, Nova Scotia, sits White Point Beach and the eponymous White Point Beach Resort. The beach is open to the public, and you don’t need to stay at the resort to take advantage of this stretch of beach – although you will miss out on some of the amenities provided by the resort if you’re not staying there, it’s nice to know that you can pop up to the restaurant for a bite to eat. The water here is colder than at Rissers Beach, but it’s a (slightly) shorter walk to cart your stuff, and the food is better. Pro tip: make time to visit the bunnies while you’re at the resort, they’re everywhere!

New Brunswick

Irving Nature Park

Irving Nature Park beach

If you’re visiting Saint John, the Irving Nature Park should be on your to-do list. It boasts a smallish beach, and it also has a large nature and dark sky preserve, making it an ideal place to go for a hike, hit the beach, and then star-gaze at night.

New River BeachNew River Beach Provincial Park, NB

This beach is directly on the Bay of Fundy (not on a river, as the name would suggest). It’s lovely and an easy drive from either Fredericton of Saint John, but be warned: the huge tides in the Bay of Fundy mean that every 12 hours, it’s re-filled with cold Atlantic Ocean water. That makes New River Beach easily the coldest water on this list. However, it has change huts and a canteen, along with picnic areas, and we have spent many a happy day here.

Your turn

We’re always on the hunt for new ways to enjoy the ocean! Tell me – what’s your favourite beach in the Maritimes?

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