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- Difficulty: Easy.
- Facilities: Parking, shops, visitor’s centre, covered picnic tables, benches & public washroom.
- Signage: Interpretive panel about Devil’s Island & other basic info.
- Features: 1.2km boardwalk loop with beach access points. A vibrant waterfront with unique shops & restaurants. Popular launch point to McNabs Island. Open Victoria Day (May) until mid-October.
- Biodiversity: Piping Plover | Black Guillemot | Beach Grass | …more
- Tags: #Beach #Bird-Watching #Boardwalk #Bus-Access #Coastal #Fishing #Park #Wheelchair-Accessible
MacCormacks Beach Provincial Park
Fisherman’s Cove – Shops, Restaurants & Boat Tours
Fisherman’s Cove in Eastern Passage offers quintessential Nova Scotian scenery and culture vibrantly on display. The many colourful shops and restaurants reflect Nova Scotian seaside traditions, in artwork, food & music. There’s plenty going on in the summer months here as crowds descend on this fishing community to enjoy its authentic culture & natural beauty. An on-site visitor’s centre has all the information you need to point you in the right direction, or to learn more in-depth about the area’s rich cultural history.
On-site paddling rentals are available and you can make the short, open water crossing to Lawlors Island or onto McNabs Island. There are various paid charter boats at Government Wharf that will take you to McNabs Island, or out on a whale-watching tour. These charters operate directly out of Fisherman’s Cove. These include A&M Sea Charters, McNabs Island Ferry & Taylor Made Tours.
The wheelchair accessible, 1.2km semi-looped boardwalk starts alongside the shops & restaurants of Fisherman’s Cove & onto a small sand dune-covered peninsula. This peninsula is lined with both rocky and sand-covered beach areas. Near the Fisherman’s Wharf end of the boardwalk is an information panel about the spooky goings on at nearby Devil’s Island. Nearby this panel is a Fisherman’s Memorial extolling the virtues of the everyday fisherman who have helped shape Nova Scotia’s economy and way of life.
At the beginning of the peninsula loop is a sand beach area which is a clam digging hotspot during low tide (2022 update: no clam digging allowed for food safety reasons). As you progress around the boardwalk there are well-constructed benches and covered picnic tables along the way which offer great views of downtown Halifax, with the hustle and bustle of Fisherman’s Cove in the foreground. Lawlor’s Island sits just a few meters away at the closest point, and Devil’s Island looms on the ocean’s horizon like the mysterious bit of land that it is. A large sandy beach at the point is a very popular spot in summer, but not safe for swimming due to hazardous currents and undertow in the channel between Lawlor Island. Large sand bars to either side of this point allow you to walk out a fair distance during low tide.
The boardwalk is designed to protect the delicate dune ecosystem by eliminating destructive foot traffic (make sure to stay on the boardwalk). The shore can be a great place for seashells and sea glass. but you have to compete with others to find the perfect specimens, as this area is very busy in summer. Bikes are not allowed and all pets must be on a leash. The sandy beaches are a fantastic little oasis that expands and contracts with the tides (tide times here).
While the full loop only takes 30 minutes, you could easily spend a day in this area whether you’re shopping, strolling, bird watching, fishing or spending a day at the beach. Especially worth a visit during Eastern Passage/Cow Bay summer carnival days, a yearly event in early August, which includes sand castle building contests on the beach.