Inadequate parking, no washrooms or changing facilities, no amenities; so why do beach-goers and vacationers flock to Carter’s Beach, Nova Scotia, in droves? Simple: it’s one of the most beautiful beaches in Nova Scotia, Canada, if not the world. Day trippers and holiday makers alike, it seems, will tolerate a little inconvenience for staggering beauty and perfect, soft white sand. Ahhhh….

There is a Carters Beach, too, in New Zealand, but the one in Nova Scotia has a nuance that draws people to its picturesque, relaxed shores. What, aside from basic beauty, entices visitors to Carter’s Beach, Nova Scotia?

  • a triple crescent (yes, three crescent beaches, connected to one another, enabling a long, lazy beach walk)
  • all three beaches are comprised of soft, white sand, more like the Bahamas than, for example, the pebbly Nova Scotia beaches on the Bay of Fundy coast, on the opposite side of the province
  • perfectly turquoise waters that gradually fade to deep blue far from shore
  • gentle waves, which make it safe for family swimming

But it’s not a Caribbean beach. One toe in the chilly waters will tell you this is not on the Equator! Still, in the hot, sultry summers days, who wants warm water! This is an ideal beach to cool off.

With no provincial regulations in place, people do take their dogs for walks on Carter’s Beach, but it is always recommended they be kept on a leash (not everyone loves dogs) and that you carry poop bags (and use them!); children play on this beach, so help keep it clean.

Although kayaking is possible in the waters off Carter’s beach, its not the ideal spot for that watersport. What Carter’s Beach is perfect for is sunbathing, swimming, and seashell collecting. At each end of the three connected crescent beaches are boulders and rocks, also fun places to check out sea life in tidal pools, and to rock-hound. The nearby nature reserve is a special place to visit.

Many tourists choose to camp at Rissers Beach Provincial Park, which has all amenities on site, and visit Carter’s Beach for a day, arriving early to ensure they get a parking spot. Also close to Carter’s Beach (near the village of Port Mouton) is Summerville Provincial Park, and while there are no camping facilities there either, there is a lovely light-sand beach, with a boardwalk and salt marsh, a nesting ground for the piping plover, and therefore a favourite spot for ornithologists.

There are accommodations north of Carter’s Beach in nearby Liverpool, and in Lunenburg (further north) for non-campers, as well as a UNESCO-designated site for shopping, dining and browsing. While in the Lunenburg area, make a short side trip to gorgeous Blue Rocks (now, there’s a place to go kayaking!). When wet, the rocks in the area carry a blue cast, and the views are unparalleled. Spend a little time, too, at Petite Riviere Vineyards, sampling their wines and strolling through the grape vines. In the opposite direction, just south on Highway 3, visit Kejimkuji National Park Seaside Adjunct and do a little seal-watching, or head into the town of Shelburne, a place that stands still in time (its overhead wires were buried for the filming of “A: The Scarlet Letter” many years ago).

Carter’s Beach may have its limitations, but it is close to many attractions, and remains, arguably, Nova Scotia’s most beautiful beach.

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