Novia Scotia is heavily influenced by the ocean. With bracing winds and powerful swells from the Atlantic, this wild and raw province offers some of the best places to paddle board in Canada! If you like to paddle board or kayak, and adventure is your middle name, then this is the place for you.
Winters are tough but summers are a different story. Locals reawaken out of hibernation, hit the hiking trails, and take to the waters. Most adventures begin in Halifax and the surrounding area, but you can take the fun further afield and explore the more remote parts of Nova Scotia which have breathtaking views to be seen from an inflatable paddle board.
The salty fishing towns are friendly and will always be a good trip. If Nova Scotia sounds like it could be calling to you, take these places as inspiration to go paddle boarding. Enjoy a relaxing float and paddle board yoga experience, or take to the waves and give surf paddle boarding a try.
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Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia and boasts the second-largest harbor in the world. As you can imagine, this subsequently means there is an abundance of paddle boarding adventures to be had!
This seaside town has a rich maritime history as life ebbs and flows in tune with the ocean. You can join this rhythm by hopping on a paddle board lesson or taking to the water by yourself. Here are some of the most popular places around Nova Scotia’s Halifax Harbour to paddle.
With picturesque views and great walking trails, Bedford is located on the Halifax Harbour and offers some of the most accessible paddle boarding in Nova Scotia.
Put your SUP in at Bedford Waterfront and enjoy a day exploring the various nearby coves. You can also take your fishing gear along with the adventure and give SUP fishing (check our fishing paddle boards as well) a try. If you want to stick to smaller bodies of water, check out Papermill Lake.
Dartmouth is an urban community on the eastern shores of Halifax Harbour. It has been nicknamed the City of Lakes because of the number of lakes within the district. This is music to the ears of paddle boarders!
Either take to the Bedford Basin waters of the great harbor or head deeper into the city to discover some urban lakes. Lake Micmac and Lake Charles are the largest lakes to dip your SUP paddles into, both of which have beaches to make for easy launching.
If you are looking for something a little more different, why not take a drive out of the city towards Lawrencetown? The beaches around this coastline are cinematic and utterly dreamy. Lawrencetown Beach Provincial Park in particular is absolutely stunning.
Be sure to check the swell forecast and head there on a calm day. Low tides offer long stretches of sand and gentle conditions. You may even want to give paddling a wave a try while you’re here!
Going slightly further out from the Halifax region again, you will stumble across the beautiful Martinique Beach. This is another popular surf spot where you can sneak in a little SUP session on smaller days.
This is a long sandy beach that is exposed to the Atlantic Ocean. Keep in mind that conditions can be challenging at times as you will have to navigate moving water and open ocean.
Peggy’s Cove offers the iconic lighthouse backdrop that we all think of when someone mentions Nova Scotia. The hiking trail along this coastline is a popular tourist destination. So why not escape the crowds and take in the views from the water instead?
When conditions allow, you can paddle alongside this most photographed lighthouse and soak up all of the maritime culture and history. This is definitely a spot that you will remember, especially if you catch it on a killer sunset. There are a number of guided tours that begin around Halifax Peggy’s Cove.
Cape Breton promises craggy cliff sides, hazy pink sunsets, and unbelievable places to paddle board in Nova Scotia. This island is known for its dramatic landscapes, resonating with the Highlands of Scotland.
You can spend weeks exploring the waterways that carve through Cape Breton. Here are a few suggestions to get you started on the adventure.
The Bras d’Or Lake is expansive and dominating. It is a popular vacation destination and offers countless paddle boarding adventures. The water is crystal clear with a shoreline, that can keep you interested for days upon days, along with a mesmerizing horizon.
You can put your SUP in several places on the lake. There are many small towns along the banks that offer places to stay and great SUP launch spots, like St Peters or Baddeck. If needed, there are paddle board rental stores around the lake that offer lessons or even a guided tour in places.
Margaree River offers calm waters and peaceful paddle boarding for adventure seekers and beginners alike. It is an ideal place to discover the beautiful Cape Breton landscape and have the perfect escape.
Launch your paddle board from Margaree Harbour and paddle upstream towards the town. You will weave your way through salmon pools and lush farmlands. This is a lazy river which makes it perfectly suitable for beginners to paddle boarding, giving you a different type of paddling to that on a lake.
Not to be confused with the Scottish Highlands, Nova Scotia’s Highlands refers to the northernmost region of Cape Breton. Here, a rugged landscape and coastline is waiting for paddlers to explore. This is remote open ocean, so we recommend you have the basics down before hitting these waters.
There are countless coves and bays with unbelievable views. Exploring by paddle board gives you an alternative perspective to the hiking trails and viewpoints. You can get up close and personal with the rocky cliffs, pass through arches, and venture into caves. If you are lucky, you may encounter whales in the open water.
Blue Rocks is an old school fishing village that has been discovered by artists and photographers. Visitors fall in love with the quaint views and unrivalled sunsets that paint the ocean in shades of orange and pink. Want to do one better? Take your paddle board out for a ride and live in the beauty of Blue Rocks.
Lunenburg is a cool little fishing village not too far from Blue Rocks. Again, it is the picturesque views and quaint waterfront that is the draw to explore this spot by paddle board. If you do choose to go here, remember to take a camera along for the ride so you can capture the alternative view of the town.
Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy is one of the best places to go for whale watching and encounters. Sure, sighting a humpback from a boat is incredible. But can you imagine the stoke of seeing a whale whilst out on the water with a stand up paddle board?
There are several places you can explore the great Bay of Fundy. Here are some of our favorites.
If you are after quiet beaches then St Mary’s Bay is where you need to head to! This body of water is also incredibly sheltered. There are several places that you can launch your SUP from along the peninsula stretching alongside Nova Scotia’s mainland.
Planning a paddle boarding trip in St Mary’s Bay is an adventure! Make sure you have got all the right gear and are wearing a life jacket.
Horseshoe Cove provides ideal conditions for all levels of ability. This coastline is protected from the southwesterly summer winds, meaning it is generally calm for most of the summer. Of course, there are still some ocean swells that you need to take into consideration when paddling here.
There are plenty of highlights to be enjoyed when paddle boarding Nova Scotia’s Horseshoe Cove:
Paddle boarding Three Sisters in Nova Scotia is a must-do for any keen paddle boarder. Your route will weave you through impressive rock spires and ancient lava flows. We recommend hitting up a guided tour to get the most out of paddle boarding Three Sisters. This is also the safest way to experience the super fast-moving tides in the Bay of Fundy.
Kejimkujik National Park is a staggering 164.5 square miles located in the heart of Nova Scotia. This park offers lakes, forests, and picturesque beaches steeped in aboriginal heritage.
Paddling this park is popular and a must-do for any keen paddle boarder visiting Nova Scotia. There are also some fantastic hikes to enjoy around the National Park, great for in between paddle boarding adventures.
South Shore refers to the region of Nova Scotia’s southernmost tip, wrapping around from Halifax to Weymouth and St Mary’s Bay. This coastline promises wild and rugged adventures and spectacular views for those that are up for the challenge.
There are countless places to visit on the South Shore. Here are just a few to get you started:
Last but not least, we have Nova Scotia’s 100 Wild Islands. This magical chain of islands is located on the eastern shore, between Taylor Head Provincial Park and Calm Harbour Beach Provincial Park. It is part of an ambitious wildlife campaign and offers an undisturbed insight into nature.
This pristine wilderness screams adventure and wonder. Strictly reserved for seasoned paddlers, plan your trip thoroughly with your camping spots and access points in mind. And be sure to enjoy every moment of paddle boarding in Nova Scotia!
The Bay of Fundy meets a large part of Nova Scotia’s coastline, meaning there are several places you can enjoy a paddle board and kayak excursion. This Canadian Bay is famous for its super high tides and whale sightings, both of which are amazing to experience by paddle board. Horseshoe Cove and Three Sisters are two super popular places in the Bay of Fundy that you can paddle.
Summer months are the best time to go paddle boarding in Nova Scotia. The ocean is generally calmer and the temperatures are comfortable. During your visit, try to paddle board in the mornings so you beat common afternoon winds that can pick up.
Yes! You can use your own stand up paddle board in Nova Scotia. You will also need to have a decent PFD in your gear to stay safe while paddle boarding these waters. The majority of places to SUP in Nova Scotia are open water with currents, so paddler safety is a priority in these conditions when on a SUP.
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