There are six magnificent beaches in the Cape Breton Highlands Park in the Ingonish area: 4 saltwater & 2 freshwater
I think they are all equally great ways to spend some time in the water during your stay in the area. Check out my descriptions and choose the best one of you!!
Ingonish Beach is a great place to spend the day. You’ll see the signs for it (on your right) as soon as you pass the park entrance gate. Check out the Parks Canada map to see its exact location.
You can swim, you can walk the length of this salt-water beach, or you can simply sit, relax and enjoy your surroundings. This beautiful sandy beach is probably one of the best beaches in Nova Scotia.
What I really love about this beach is that it is an easy walk from the Ingonish campground. And everything is here that you could need during your day.
The facilities are great. Washrooms, a canteen, change rooms. There is a boardwalk leading from the parking lot to the beach area. The boardwalk covers an area over very large rocks so this makes it easier to get to the sandy beach.
A life guard is also on duty during the summer months. The day use park has plenty of picnic tables, a large open field and a couple of tennis courts. I played tennis early in the morning while I was camping at Ingonish campground and it was really great.
You'll see Middle Head and the Keltic Lodge to your left and Cape Smokey to your right. The beach is nestled in South Bay and is protected (to a certain extent) from the wide open Atlantic Ocean. However, I have been there after a storm and the waves were very impressive.
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If you would prefer freshwater and you think that Ingonish beach itself is too much for the kids then just a short walk away is Freshwater Lake. This is obviously calmer than the ocean and is much more pleasant and safe for smaller children.
It is easy to find. You’ll see the signs just past the canteen building on Ingonish Beach. Check out my map.
This is a great beach for the smaller kids. The water is warmer and they aren't as many people. But you are still not far from the array of facilities at Ingonish Beach.
The beach at North Bay is a bit secluded and many may not even know it is there. There is a parks operations building in the same area. You can access the beach just before you leave the park.
The entrance is just across the road from the entrance to the Franey and Clyburn Valley hiking trails. Actually, this beach is a great place to cool in the Atlantic Ocean after your hike!
This is a salt-water sandy beach. Its length is very inviting for a long walk. The dunes here are quite special and actually protect the sand. So please look but don’t walk in the dunes.
There are washroom facilities in the operations building which you will pass when you enter the beach area.
This salt-water beach is just a short walk from the Broad Cove campground. So camping at Broad Cove with the beach only minutes away make it a great option for the family.
This sandy beach is much smaller than Ingonish beach but it is actually a hidden gem. It is located at the far end of the campground so watch for the signs. The washrooms facilities are on the campground. You can see it on this map of the area.
It is good to know that there are surf guards on duty at this beach especially if you bring thre kids along.
This sandy salt-water beach is located past Ingonish not far from Neil’s Harbour. It is not a long drive from the Ingonish area so it makes an easy day trip if you are camping in Ingonish. I love going to Black Brook. It is not as long as Ingonish but still great.
I think many people come here when they want to be around fewer people. So if you are looking for more privacy then consider spending the day at Black Brook.
I think of Black Brook as more rugged than Ingonish. More rocks, more trees and more driftwood. You can also hike the Coastal hiking trail from here.
There are picnic facilities, washrooms, change rooms, a kitchen shelter, and a playground. There are no surf guards on duty at this beach.
This is the largest lake in the park and it offers a wonderful freshwater beach for the family. The water warms up quickly in the sun and you can spend the entire day here. I really like that there is a hiking trail (#21) around the lake. This is a great opportunity to introduce the kids to hiking!
Picnic tables and pit privies are the extent of the services available here so pack up everything you need to spend the day at Warren Lake.
You can find Warren Lake opposite the entrance to the Broad Cove Campground on the Cabot Trail.
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