OK, we don't recommend actually swimming here, but it's good quick fix for a sand-between-the-toes, salt-in-the-air craving.
Point Pleasant Park
Again, questionable swimming but still a nice place to explore trails, picnic or chill by the water.
Bus 15. Sir Sanford Flemming Park, Dingle Road
Lots of entry points, lots of quiet nooks and rocks, lots of woods to explore. Chances are, you’ll pass someone you know on the path.
Buses 22, 23. St. Margarets Bay Road, before Prospect Road
There are lots of quiet corners to be found a William’s Lake, which is why we recommend entering of Purcells Cove Road rather than the surpervised, William’s Lake Road entry. There’s not really a clear path, but look for cars/bikes on the right side of the road.
Bus 15. Purcells Cove Road
Lots of spots to hop in, but Birch Cove Beach is the only Blue Flag designated beach in Nova Scotia (meaning it meets a strict list of water quality, environmental and safety criteria)
The closest, easiest-access spot for a quick, temperate swim but be prepared for kid central.
Buses 6, 14, 20, 32. Melwood Avenue, off Herring Cove Road
Purcells Pond AKA Tea Lake
You’ll reach this orange pekoe coloured water after a muddy jaunt through the woods. The water’s nice here but be warned, the best entry point in is a jump. Bus 15 . Purcells Cove Road, just past house 557
Long Pond Beach 12.3 kilometres
Head up Herring Cove Road to find some quiet time at this little supervised swimming hole. Bonus, Pavia Gallery and Cafe is on the same bus route. Bus 20. Near 896 Herring Cove Road
Saunders Beach (Paper Mill Lake)
A hot spot for Bedford’s next generation, Paper Mill Lake’s supervised Saunders Beach (no relation) is fam fave. Hop off the 80 at Moirs Mill Road and walk through the 'burbs to find entry. 119, Millrun Crescent, Bedford
Lifeguarded and packed with neighbourhood rugrats, we recommend night swims in this bathwater. From downtown, it’ll take two or more buses, 89 being the final one. Hamshaw Drive, off Kearney Lake Road
Reliably packed (teens and tots aplenty), a sweet canteen, clean washrooms and cold water. 2248 Cow Bay Road
Picnic tables, proper washrooms, a sandy-bottomed shallow lake—kids and dogs love it here, but you will, too. 115 Smith’s Road, Bedford
A nice alternative to Lawrencetown (with a very tiny parking lot, be prepared to walk) this neighbouring beach is a total beauty that can draw a crowd on weekends. Conrad Road, off Highway 207
Known for its surf, Lawrencetown’s the busier sister to Conrad’s. Rent boogie boards, paddle boards, surf boards, wet suits and other such fun from various shops nearby. Highway 207, outbound
Crystal Crescent Beach
Its white sand beauty and shoreline hiking outweighs its icy water. Also, bonus nude beach! 223 Sambro Creek Road, Sambro
A smaller, sometimes less-packed option on the Hubbards strip. White sand, no lifeguards and lots of picnic room. 8878 Highway 3, Hubbards
Head to this white sand beach early and prepare to get cozy because places to park (your car, or your butt) fill up fast. 9600 Highway 3, Queensland
A stunning beach just under an hour outside the city, Martinique has nearby surf, SUP and wetsuit rentals and with five kilometres of white sand and dunes, has lots of room to throw the frisbee around. 2389 East Petpeswick Road, East Petpeswick
A haul out of town, but worth it for a sprawling shoreline, flush toilets, hiking trails and annual Clam Harbour Sandcastle Competition. 158 Beach Rd, Clam Harbour
With Peggy’s Cove in the distance, and white sand at your toes this beach it a worthwhile trip. 4015 Hwy 329, Bayswater