Just a couple of kilometres from downtown Halifax, McNabs Island is the largest island at the entrance of Halifax Harbour. A short boat ride from either downtown Halifax or Eastern Passage, it's perfect for sitting and watching ships coming in and out of the harbour. Take a water taxi there for a day and enjoy your own private beach at McNabs Cove.
Conrad Road, off Highway 207, Lawrencetown
Conrad's Beach is a part of the Nova Scotia Coastal Heritage Park System and has one of the nicest sand beaches in the area. It's a great spot for a contemplative stroll and it's just a 25-minute drive from downtown Halifax.
Clam Harbour Beach
158 Beach Road, Clam Harbour
Located an hour's drive from downtown Halifax, Clam Harbour is a long, sparkling white sand beach that usually has plenty of wide open space to spread out and suntan, or mosey down to dip your toes in the tide and enjoy the salt water. Clam Harbour's annual sandcastle competition is unfortunately cancelled this pandemic year, but you can still build your own anytime.
4015 Highway 329, Bayswater
Getting to Bayswater's white sand beach will take you on a beautiful scenic drive down the coast. It's known as a particularly safe beach with few riptides and currents. The beach includes a picnic area plus outdoor barbecue grills, changing rooms and toilets. All this about an hour from downtown.
Crystal Crescent Beach
223 Sambro Creek Road, Sambro
These three white-sand crescent beaches are located at the mouth of Halifax Harbour. With boardwalks to the first two beaches and a great hiking trail, Nova Scotian rumour says the third beach is clothing-optional. Located about 35 minutes from downtown Halifax.
2389 Petpeswick Road, East Petpeswick
Over 5km long, Martinique Beach is the longest stretch of sand in Nova Scotia. It's a popular surfing spot and has plenty of lengthy boardwalks. It's about an hour's drive from downtown, and well worth bringing your camera to catch the sunset.
4348 Lawrencetown Road, East Lawrencetown
One of the most popular beaches in Nova Scotia, Lawrenceton Beach is a hotspot for surfing with its high waves and strong tides. But you can also go swimming, soak up the sun, walk the dog or just sit and relax.
Black Rock Beach
5530 Point Pleasant Drive, Halifax
Located in Point Pleasant Park, Black Rock Beach is a great spot to swim (unsupervised) on a warm summer day when you can't get out of the city. Also popular among scuba divers, you can hike through the park and take a dip into the Halifax Harbour, or hang out on the rocky outcrops and look across to Dartmouth.
9600 Highway 3, Queensland
This small-but-mighty beach is home to some impressive waves and is often packed on a summer day. There's plenty of parking and grassy areas to picnic and change rooms on site. There's usually a nearby food truck to get fries—just don't let the seagulls get too close.