20+ Parks to Explore During Winter in Nova Scotia – To Do Canada

20+ Parks to Explore During Winter in Nova Scotia  To Do Canada

Taking a stroll in the park on a winter afternoon is fun all around the province, no matter the weather (unless it’s sleeting, then stay inside if possible). Rediscovering summer favourites under winter’s cloak provides a sense of wonder, while going to a new park gives you a chance to make brand new memories. While most of these parks are unserviced in the winter, you’re still welcome to go and enjoy a nature walk or build a snowman army—the choice is yours! Here is a list of 21 parks to explore this winter in Nova Scotia.

I. Bay of Fundy & Annapolis Valley

Anthony Park

overlooks Cobequid Bay, making it an interesting destination for a cold winter’s day. As it’s part of the Bay of Fundy, you’ll be able to enjoy the extreme push and pull of the tides. You can walk along the beach at any tidal time, but if it’s low tide you can venture out to the ocean floor (make sure to wear waterproof boots). Looking out to the horizon is important on cloudy winter days when it feels like the world has gotten much smaller. And if you’re looking for an educational experience, don’t worry: there are panels at the park detailing the history of the park for several groups of Canadians through the years.

6889 Highway 215, Lower Selma ()

Blomidon Lookoff

If you want a spectacular view of the Valley in the winter, your best bet is . Easy to get to, you can literally walk to the park from the parking lot, perfect for a blustery or cold day. If you go on a calmer day, you can have a fun winter picnic as you look down on the Valley. And from that view, you can see not one, not two, not even three—but five counties all in their winter finery.

3374 Highway 358, Arlington ()

Five Islands

Speaking of five, getting to the might be trickier in the winter time, but boy is it worth it. While swimming is off the table (unless you have really good wetsuits and a dedication to being a polar bear), you can enjoy the land-based activities to your heart’s content. Hike, snowshoe, or cross-country ski the trails, especially out to the 300 ft cliffs which give you a view of the Old Wife, the Bay of Fundy, and…the Five Islands. Yes, the Five Islands is both the name of the mainland community and the actual Five Islands in the Bay of Fundy.

618 Bentley Branch Road, Five Islands ()

II. Cape Breton Island

Battery Park

If you want to have a good winter picnic, you should go to a picnic park like ! Nestled in the small town of St. Peter’s, Battery has a picnic area, trails, and beach access for winter beachcombing. It also has a lighthouse, which is very pretty. If you love the area, take a walk beside the camp sites available at the park—you can start camping here as early as May, so scope out your summer spot!

10110 Grenville Street, St. Peter’s ()

Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Ah, the Cape Breton Highlands, so vast it contains a multitude of winter adventures. Seriously, between the winter camp sites, skiing, snowshoeing trails, villages and towns contained within the park, beaches, cross-country ski facilities, and more, you’re free to have a winter park day however you wish. Do some research, plan a day (or multi-day) trip, and enjoy the wintery side of some of the wildest areas in Cape Breton. And if some parts of it are too difficult to reach because of weather conditions, just mark them down as places to visit when the weather warms again!

37637 Cabot Trail Road, Ingonish ()

North River

Baddeck is a wonderful place to visit year round, but if you want a challenging and rewarding hike, you need to head straight for . Bring your snowshoes or cross-country skis if you’ve got them, because the 18km trail through the river canyon is demanding. But if you make it to the end, you’ll be rewarded with a truly spectacular 104 foot waterfall that will freeze in the deepest winter. This is a hike to work up to, so practice winter hiking/snowshoeing/cross-country skiing at another location before you come here, otherwise you’re going to get cranky and trails are no fun when you get cranky.

Oregon Road, Baddeck ()

III. Eastern Shore

Lawrencetown Beach

Earlier I mentioned a couple of places where you can swim if you’ve got the necessary equipment and mental fortitude. At , not only are you encouraged to enter the winter water, you’ll be able to acquire the equipment to do some winter surfing. The local surf association puts on events, but you can also head out with a group of friends. And if you don’t think that sounds like fun, don’t worry—you can take a nice long walk down the beach while you watch other people pretend to be polar bears.

4348 Lawrencetown Road ()

Musquodoboit Valley

Right on the river, is the perfect place for an afternoon of learning snowshoeing. With picnic tables for break times, there’s a wide field that, once snow covered, provides plenty of space to stomp around and get used to having beaver-tail-sized feet. And if there’s enough snow…well, it looks like plenty of space for a snowman army.

11685 Highway 224, Middle Musquodoboit ()

Tor Bay

is one of the lesser-known gems of the Eastern Shore. It’s a picnic park on the point which lets you look out to the wide open Atlantic (remember what I said about having good views in winter?) You can walk along the beach and the boardwalks to work up an appetite for your lunch, or just to find cool rocks and shells (always bring a bucket when you go to the beach, you never know how many cool rocks you’ll find). Tor Bay also provides educational panels about the local environment as well as the site’s historical significance, which I will leave as a surprise for your trip!

650 Tor Bay Branch Road, Tor Bay ()

IV. Halifax Metro

Crystal Crescent

This is my favourite place for a winter beach walk, and if you like beach walks at all you will not be disappointed. The boardwalk takes you past all three of the connected beaches at , or you can walk on the beach itself (watch for ice on the snow; it is a beach, after all). If you’re up for a more challenging hike, Pennant Point Trail starts where the boardwalk ends, and the 10km hike takes you out to the Point. If you go with the latter, bring a GPS and good winter hiking gear; that way you don’t have to worry about remembering how tall a specific pile of snow is.

220 Sambro Creek Road, Sambro Creek ()

Long Lake Provincial Park

If everyone wants to do something different on a winter afternoon, you should check out . Long Lake’s winter activities’ list is nearly as long as its summer one, so as long as everyone stays in the same general area, you should be good to go! There are trails to explore, wildlife to observe, and tons of memories to make. The best part is that it’s only a fifteen-minute drive from downtown Halifax, which is perfect if the weather is changeable…and let’s be real, in Nova Scotia it usually is.

Spryfield, Nova Scotia ()

Sackville Lakes

Like Long Lake, is very close to an urban centre, making it a great choice for a day of uncertain weather. The park has two trails going around the lakes, both recommended for snowshoeing in the winter, and you’ll be rested by the natural sights of the lakes and surrounding forest. You won’t be able to skate on the lakes, but feel free to takes lots of pictures of avian visitors as they get a refreshing drink, or scuttle around on the forming ice. Come for a quick walk, a longer hike, or just to get some fresh air into your lungs, surrounded by nature.

440 First Lake Drive, Lower Sackville ()

Ph: 1-888-773-8888

V. Northumberland

Arisaig

is ready to give you an awesome time no matter what kind of winter day it is. If there’s no snow, you can hike the short trail to the shore, look for fossils and other geological marvels, and do some geocaching. If there’s snow on the ground, you can do all of the above, in addition to snowshoeing or cross-country skiing the trail. The views are beautiful, the forests are lovely, and if you’re in the Antigonish area, it’s a quick drive into this beautiful, versatile park.

5704 NS-245, Antigonish ()

Ph: 902-863-4513

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Beaver Mountain

might have the best view of all the parks on this list—on clear days, you can see not only Antigonish County, but Cape Breton Island in the distance as well. You’d need to be pretty far away to see that this mountain looks like a beaver, especially if there’s a lot of snow, but there’s too much fun to be had in the park to quibble about shapes. There are 6 km of trails in total in the park, some easy and some difficult and hilly. This provides a nice variety of paths for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, so if you’ve got a group you can split up and blaze your own trails (note: make sure everyone has at least one trail-buddy). With all the terrain in the park, it’s also a great place to have snowball fights, make snow angels, and of course…the snowman army (see Calvin and Hobbes for inspiration).

472 Beaver Mountain Road, Antigonish ()

Ph: 902-863-4513

Salt Springs

Whether this is a rest stop en route to another destination or the main attraction, is an easily accessible place of peace. Enjoy the river in all its near- or completely frozen glory, have a winter picnic, and stretch your legs on the trail. There’s also a wide field beside the river, perfect for practicing snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or simply playing tag. If you want to play a variation on freeze tag, have a rule that you can only tag people with snowballs (as long as it’s the right kind of snow for snowballs).

43 NS-4, Salt Springs ()

VI. South Shore

Fancy Lake

Visiting Lunenburg allows you to step back in time and enjoy all the heritage the village has to offer. If you need a break from being indoors though, is a solid choice. A picnic park beside the lake, you’ll find wildlife to observe and winter beachcombing to do. If you want to do a winter picnic, why not make it Fancy and bring specialty hot chocolate, fancy local pastries, and soup in your shiniest Thermoses? If you love the lake in winter, be sure to come back in the summer for swimming, canoeing, and kayaking.

854 Conquerall Mills Road ()

Graves Island

Okay don’t freak out, this is not a graveyard island (those do exist, but not here). is a beautiful island in Mahone Bay, and welcomes visitors even in the dead of winter. The 3.2 km Coastal Trail gives you plenty of different views of the bay, and the interior of the park has lots of forest to explore (snowshoes are recommended). Like several other parks on this list you can camp here in the summer, and Graves Island offers a multitude of camping options and activities, so do some recon and figure out where the best spot for your family will be once the snow melts and you can pitch your tent!

230 Graves Island Road, East Chester ()

Ph: 902-275-4425

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Port L’Hébert

’s special beauty comes from the site’s variety. The 2.1km loop trail goes through forest and boulders along the coast, giving you a great view of the ocean. You’ll see even more because right “next door” is a migratory bird sanctuary, so depending on the time of the winter you might start seeing the first of the snowbirds come back. Port L’Hébert is also close to Thomas Raddall and Kejimkujik Parks, so if you want to get a feel for outdoor conditions, this is a good place to start. Bring your camera and a bucket for rock hunting—the boulders are as old as the glaciers that left them behind, so the smaller rocks should prove interesting, to say the least.

11183 Highway 103, East Port L’Hébert ()

VII. Yarmouth & Acadian Shore

Ellenwood Lake

is a popular park year round—in the summer for swimming and camping, and in the winter for cross-country skiing. The main trail is a 1km loop, perfect for learning the ropes of this sport, and easy enough for some of the group to bring snowshoes or just hike alongside. Like the others, this is a great time to scout out this park’s camping sites, and to have fun at the beach beside the lake. You could always make a snow mermaid coming out of the lake!

1888 Mood Road, Yarmouth ()

Mavillette Beach

The pictures of this beach look like something out of a movie, so bring something to take videos! It’s a 1.5km long beach, excellent for winter beach walking, and the beach is a mix of sand and rocks so when there’s no snow it’ll be easy to find awesome rocks. Make sure you take the boardwalks to the beach no matter what— are fragile, so you need to avoid stepping on them even when they’re covered with a snow blanket. Protect the beach ecosystem while you have fun, and everyone wins.

295-395 John Doucette Road, Mavillette ()

Smugglers Cove

says that it was rumoured to be used by Rum Runners, but…let’s face it, it almost definitely was. Most coves around the Yarmouth area would be used by the players, both big and small, to hide from the Coast Guard, make drops, or plan their next trip. Nowadays there’s a better buried treasure here: geocaches. Download an app on your phone or carry a GPS, and you can spend a winter afternoon looking for the caches. If you want to try hard mode, come after the snow falls, when you’ll literally be digging for the buried treasure.

7651 Highway 1, Meteghan ()