Nova Scotia’s East Cape is brimming with places with virtually untouched wilderness, historic attractions, and many white sand beaches, among others. As such, it has become a haven for both urban and nature explorers, whether looking for traditional tours or more unconventional tours. As the local areas are protected, the East Cape offers excellent coves, pristine waters, headlands and bays, as well as many provincial parks. 

Easy Kayaking Spots in Nova Scotia’s East Cape

Easy paddles are common throughout Nova Scotia’s East Cape. We’ve listed a few of our favorites for those new to kayaking or looking for a leisurely paddle. 

Eastern Cape Breton

Cape Breton Island is characterized by its mostly hilly and forested landscape and highly indented coastline. Famous and considered one of Nova Scotia’s prime kayaking destinations, Eastern Cape Breton is known for its untouched coastlines and island coves. 

*SUP- friendly

​Where to Launch: Kayak Cape Breton

Borgles Island

Borgles Island is one of the 100 Wild Islands you will see in the area, fronted by a sandy beach and protected rocky outcrops. Kayakers can expect mild swells and calm waters and there are also camping grounds within the area. 

*SUP- friendly

Where to launch: Borgles Island

Lake Banook

Aside from surfing, canoeing, paddle boarding, kayaking, and coasteering, all of these and more can be done in the eastern town of Dartmouth.  From this route, one can paddle directly into Lake Micmac. Be careful though, as this area has many water skiers and jetboats, so great care must be taken to ensure a safe paddling experience. 


  Where to launch: Lake Banook

Murphy’s Cove 

At the launching site of Murphy’s Cove, one can paddle into the cluster of small islands off Owen Point. This small group of islands not only provides for very scenic routes as you paddle but also offers shelter from the open ocean.  


Where to launch: Murphy Cove

Mushaboom Harbour

Mushaboom Harbour is full of secluded beaches and wildlife and is considered as one of the gems of the Eastern shore of Nova Scotia. During the route to the area, kayakers can stop on the western islands for a chance to explore the bedrocks littered with boulders that were brought there by the glaciers that once covered the area. 


Where to launch:

Musquodoboit Harbour

If you choose to launch in Ostrea Lake Road, you will find yourself among a small group of islands at the narrows or going into a large lagoon at Martinique beach via a channel at the north end of Francis Nose Island. Note for more experienced paddlers, this river offers enjoyable routes. Rapids become dangerous after a rainstorm and become shallow during the dry season.

Where to launch: 

Difficult and Technical Kayaking in Nova Scotia’s East Cape

For those looking forward to more challenging or advanced routes to take, this list is more up to your speed. Offering stronger currents, longer distances, and exciting launching and landing points. 

Tangier Harbour

For intermediate kayakers, sea kayaking at Popes Harbour is recommended due to its rocky shorelines. Beautiful sandy beaches, protected lagoons, seal and sea bird colonies, and hidden homestead remnants will make the paddle fascinating as it is scenic. Many launch points are available to kayakers and paddle boarders, but fair warning must be taken note of, as the sea’s tide and waves are heavily dependent on the weather. 

*SUP-friendly, recommended for experienced paddlers

Where to launch: Coopers Rd, ramp is next to the government wharf

Dollar Lake

One of Nova Scotia’s favorite vacation spots, Dollar Lake is home to 500 acres of water surrounded by lush forests and landscapes. The beautiful rock formations such as caves and gorges are a result of glaciers and the collision of the continents millions of years ago. Kayakers can go deeper into the woodland channels for a more challenging route, winding towards the wetlands. While generally calm, its waters can become rough, depending on the upswing due to weather changes. 

Where to launch: Dollar Lake, Nova Scotia B0N 1Y0, Canada

Clam Harbour

Clam Harbour, while being a public beach area, is a great area for sea kayaking. Given the right wind and wave conditions, this area will give you the best sea kayak trip. However, waters can be very rough and cold with 2-3 feet waves going now and then, and as such, wetsuits and helmets are recommended. Kayakers also need to watch for surfers and kayak surfers who frequent the area.

Where to launch: Clam Harbour Beach Provincial Park 


The remote and serene waters of Lawrencetown are one of the best places to venture out sea kayaking. With islands, shoals, and islets, this area provides countless sheltered kayak routes, but also offers the most rugged yet spectacular coastal views. The jagged coastline is home to bird and seal sanctuaries. The waves can get a bit tough, as overall weather and sea-state can be very rough to go through, even for intermediate kayakers.

Where to launch: Lawrencetown

National / State Park Kayaking Spots in Eastern Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is abundant in diverse charming waterways including rivers and lakes.  The Eastern Cape is made up of many unique coastal communities and charming fishing villages. As such, its main attractions are its beaches, hiking trails, a heritage village, and of course, the natural wildlife parks. 

Cape Chignecto Provincial Park

This wilderness park boasts 29 km of coastline, coves, valleys, and old-growth forests. Visitors can hike its wilderness trails, have a picnic overlooking the Bay of Fundy, back-country camping, and sea kayaking.  Three campsites are available on-site, and coastal trails offer challenging hikes for those who need it. The beach can be accessed at the following points: Red Rocks, Big Bald Rock, Seal Cove, and lastly, Anderson’s Cove or Squally Point as some might call it. 

*SUP friendly

Where to launch: Cape Chignecto Provincial Park

Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Known for its highland and ocean scenery Cape Breton visitors can choose from various activities. Other activities include hiking, camping, golf, cycling, canoeing and kayaking.

Where to launch:Kayak Cape Breton & Cottages, 5385 W Bay Hwy, Roberta, NS B0E 3K0, Canada

Owls Head Provincial Park

Considered as one of the hidden gems of Nova Scotia’s East Cape,  Owls Head Provincial Park is located in Little Harbour, on the Eastern Shore, near Clam Harbour. There’s a freshwater lake surrounded by over 600 acres of beautiful landscape. There’s also bogs that are home to various forms of flora and fauna. 

*SUP friendly

Where to launch: Owls Head Provincial Park, P5F6+6M Lake Charlotte, Nova Scotia, Canada

Taylor Head Provincial Park

Occupying a rugged peninsula jutting 6 kilometers into the Atlantic Ocean, Taylor Head Provincial Park is full of walking paths, hiking trails, picnic and camping grounds, and secluded beaches. Because of the landscape, more than 18 kilometers of walking can be done and offers a fantastic area that is perfect for picnics that offers a beautiful view of the cliffs and the sea.  

Where to launch:

Recommended Kayaking Tours in Nova Scotia

For those who want to explore  Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore, then this tour that’s off the beaten path is just for you.  Tailor-made for those who want a more personal connection to the places that they visit, this tour shall go around places full of local farms and makers of the area. A half-day trip can also be arranged, with a locally-sourced charcuterie-style picnic lunch overlooking the beach as one of the highlights. 

Side-by-Side UTV Trail Tour on Celtic Shores & Creignish Mountain

This private tour provides a different spin on your Cape Breton adventure, with chances to see the island from a view unlike any other. Highlights include p waterfalls, the top view of River Denys Mountain, and a breathtaking sunset viewing at Cregnish Mountain overlooking the Strait of Canso. Lunch is included in the tour, with complimentary coffee and tea. 

Private Cabin Trail Discovery Tour

This private road trip along one of Nova Scotia’s most-known routes will definitely give you views and experiences unlike any other. Highlights include views of rugged coastline and mountains to visit the rural communities in the area. The tour includes a stop at Cape Breton Highlands National Park where one can learn about the various flora and fauna that call the park home. 

Need to Know for Nova Scotia

If you’re looking for a Canadian travel destination that’s a little off the beaten path, consider Cape Breton Island and Eastern Nova Scotia. This beautiful corner of the country is home to some of Canada’s most stunning coastline, as well as quaint fishing villages and historic towns. Whether you’re looking to hike along a rugged coastline or relax in a cozy cottage by the sea, the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia has something for everyone. Here are just a few of the highlights of this unique Canadian destination.

When to Visit Nova Scotia

The best time to visit is during July and August, which is the most popular time for festivals and  local events. Come celebrate Louisbourg Crab Fest or Rural Summer Festival, and Smokey Fest all held in July. The Celtic Colors International Festival in October and the Sydney Christmas Parade.

The province is also for those who love the outdoors on land beyond paddling. For hiking and surfing enthusiasts, the best period to go is through the months of May, June, September, and October. 

Weather in Nova Scotia

Eastern Nova Scotia’s weather is characterized by intense winters but pleasantly warm and rainy summers, as the area is surrounded by water.  Cold, foggy mornings are the norm with the mist clearing out by late morning. The low season is November to April as temperatures range  -15ºC to 5ºC. Christmas Festivals start in late December and go through early January.  With this kind of eastern-maritime climate, general weather is characterized by warm summers and cold winters. However, changing weather is common all throughout the year. 

Eastern Nova Scotia is a beautiful and under-rated region of Canada. Be it bogs, rainforests, lakes, rivers, and beaches that offer plenty of activities and attractions for visitors. If you’re looking for an interesting place to visit, consider Eastern Nova Scotia – you won’t be disappointed!

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