Summer is quickly approaching and you know what that means? Sunshine, warmer weather, summer vacation, longer days and the beach! If you are lucky enough to live close to the ocean, maybe you make the beach your second home during the summer months like I do. Although I've been to many beaches all over North America, some of my favorite ones are right here in Cape Breton. The water may not be sparkling blue like it is in the Caribbean and the weather may not be as hot but Cape Breton's beaches are beautiful, uncrowded, long stretches of sand. Every corner of the island is home to some of these beautiful beaches and the Bras D'or Lakes offers lake swimming in the interior and some of the best sailing in the world.
As far back as I can remember, my family spent summers at the beach. Weekends were all-day events and during the week, we went as much as we could. I must have spent a lot of time at the beach as a toddler too because there are an awful lot of pictures of me with my little shovel and pale playing in the sand, frolicking in the surf trying not to get knocked over by waves and being towed around by Dad in deeper water in a little blow-up boat. I guess that is why I love the ocean and the beach so much; I've spent most of my life surrounded by water. I have always had preferences for certain beaches around the island but that is not to say the others are not great too. Dominion Beach has always been my favorite for taking an evening stroll and watching the sun go down. Port Morien was a favorite when I was kid because I could walk forever and the water would still always be up to your knees. I learned how to swim at that beach. Mira Gut was a family favorite for years because it wasn't too far away and was never too crowded. When I got older and got my own car, Ingonish was where I loved to spend all of my free time and Ingonish Beach or North Bay Beach was where I usually ended up.
So since it is almost summer and everyone who lives near the ocean is getting hyped up about beach season, I thought it might be fitting to share some of my favorite beaches from around Cape Breton. Maybe it will inspire you to explore more of the beaches where you live or maybe even come here to explore my beautiful island. If you don't live near the ocean, maybe it will inspire you to take a road trip to the coast this summer and spend a day, a weekend or a week on one of the world's beautiful beaches! So here they are...my favorite beaches....
BLACK BROOK BEACH - INGONISH
I love this beach because there are barely any rocks in the water and the sand is very soft! Another good thing about this beach is the surf is usually quite high with large waves that can be quite fun if you have a boogie board or surfboard. There are also many things to see and do in the area including hiking trails such as Sqeaker's Hole and behind some rocks on one far end of the beach is a freshwater waterfall with a small pool at the bottom where you can take a refreshing dip and get rid of all that sand from the ocean!
This beach is a little bit off the beaten path but it is worth the visit if you love long, sandy, uncrowded beaches. It is located in a Nova Scotia Provincial Park and doubles as a picnic area so there are washrooms, tables and a monument dedicated to explorer John Cabot.
This long, sandy beach is a great one for beachcombing but also has some of the nicest sunsets on the island! It is centrally located and close to many popular sights and landmarks but despite its proximity to all this, it is usually uncrowded. There is a also a lengthy boardwalk that runs along the beach and often times, wildlife, such as fox, can be spotted in the early evening.
This has always been one of my favorite beaches. It is probably one of the most crowded beaches on the island but there is still plenty of space to find your own little spot to spend a day swimming, sunbathing or enjoying the scenery! This beach is sandy and long like most others in the area and there are a number of things to do including hiking nearby Freshwater Lake. There is also a canteen, washrooms and a tennis court near the beach. The sunsets at this beach are spectacular but during a full moon, there is no better place to watch it come up and that too is a spectacular sight.
MIRA GUT BEACH
This was a family favorite growing up. The water is calm and shallow so it is safe for children. It too, is sandy and long. Sometimes a crowd can gather on very nice days but typically, it is pretty quiet. There are a few different swimming areas at this beach, two are on the ocean side while the other is on the other side of the bridge in the Mira River.
This beach is quite a ways from all the touristy areas of Cape Breton Island, but if you happen to be in the Southeastern part of the island, it is a great beach to visit! Chances are, any time of day, you will be the only person on this beach because it is in a very remote area so if you like having a beach all to yourself, this is the place! Many shipwrecks have gone down along this coast and it is said that various artifacts and coins are sometimes found by treasure hunters so if you are into metal detecting or beachcombing, this is a great beach to maybe find something interesting.
NORTH BAY BEACH
This is currently one of my favorites. The water is usually calm, it is not very crowded and it is long and sandy! It also happens to be located inside The Cape Breton Highlands National Park so it is very quiet and surrounded by natural beauty.
Another great spot to watch the sun go down. Beach fires are popular here but swimming has recently become popular at this little beach too. It may be small but the scenery surrounding the bay is spectacular and, of course, the beach is sandy!
These are just my favorite beaches around Cape Breton Island but there are dozens more including many lakes, waterfalls and other popular freshwater swimming areas. Where is your favorite beach located and why do you consider it your favorite?