Tucked away in the stormy North Atlantic Ocean, Cape Breton Island, which is part of the province of Nova Scotia, is perhaps best know for its stunning highlands and talented musicians. However, the 77th largest island in the world is also a beach lover’s paradise.
Soft sand, clean salty air, picnic facilities, crashing ocean waves, and no crowds make these beaches worth checking out next time you visit.
Located in Richmond County, in the southeast corner of the island, this spectacular beach is quickly gaining a reputation amongst surfers. The beach hosts an annual surf competition every August. After riding the waves, enjoy a stroll on this 2 mile (3 km) sandy stretch and count the number of seals you spy.
Freshwater or saltwater? You choose! The unique geography of this beach, located on the eastern shore of Cape Breton Highlands National Park, means that swimmers can take a dip in Freshwater Lake or wet their toes in the salty Atlantic Ocean. A visit here is a great family activity with plenty of nearby amenities such as washrooms, canteen, playground, campground, golf course, and lodging.
A short drive from the island’s largest city, Sydney, Dominion Beach Provincial Park is a popular choice for locals. A protective boardwalk winds its way though fragile sand dunes on your way to the 1 mile (1.5 km) long sandy beach. Pick your spot and soak up the sunshine, build a sand castle, or go for a refreshing swim.
Port Hood & Inverness
The western shore of the island is perhaps best known for its tradition of producing world class fiddle players. However, the beaches in these communities, located about 30 minutes apart, are noted for their warm water. It is not unusual for the water temperature to reach 24 C (75 F) during the summer making these beaches a swimmer’s paradise.
Mira Gut beach is located where the Mira River spills into the Atlantic Ocean. This beach is a longtime favourite amongst homesick Cape Bretoners forced to “go west” in search of economic opportunities. Generally calm water and a sandbar that seems to go on forever make this beach a great place for families.
All beaches mentioned above are supervised by the Nova Scotia Lifeguard service. Check out their website for detailed driving directions and supervision dates and times.