Antigonish is blessed with a variety of beaches within a half hour drive all along the St George’s Bay coastline. This posting is about the beaches along Highway 337 going north along the coast from Antigonish. I enjoy hunting for colorful stones and shells, breathing the fresh sea air and beach walks.
The Sunrise Trail
Traveling from the East end of Antigonish you have the beaches and coves along the Sunrise Trail (HWY 337) – Mahoneys Beach, Jimtown, Cribbons, Crystal Cliffs, Balantyne’s Cove and Cape George. Each of these has its own charm and atmosphere. As the name “Sunrise Trail” suggests, these beaches are facing to the East and a good place to see the sunrise. Head out of town on Hwy 337 past the Museum and railway tracks and up past the hospital.
The first beach you come to is Mahoney’s Beach. it’s great for a long walk along the ocean or lagoon side. I saw 6 blue herons here the other day standing in the still water of the lagoon at sunset. You will often see paddlers and Kayaks exploring the area – the outlet from Antigonish Harbour is here. This is a pebble beach with some sand on the lagoon side. It’s a great place for a beach campfire.
Jim Town Beach is a stretch of sandy beach with Ogden Pond on the inland side. At low tide you can walk towards Mahoneys Beach. Watch for the currents at this beach as the fresh water runs out into the ocean at this point. This is a good beach for watching sea birds, beach combing and beautiful views of the hills and homes surrounding this tiny beach. Stop and see the tiny white country church along the access road.
Cribbons Point comes next. This is not a beach but I am including it because during the summer season you will find Boyd’s Seafood Galley with a delicious selection of fish and chips, lobster, calamari, shrimp, scallops and burgers for the non-seafood eater. Fresh salads and ice cream top off their menu. The restaurant is perched above the harbour with a good view of the fishing boats and pleasure crafts. Eat in the gazebo, patio area, inside or take-out and explore the wharf area. This is only 20 minutes from Antigonish so head here for a great seafood dinner any night of the week.
Ballantyne’s Cove is a working fishing wharf. The Tuna Interpretive Center is worth exploring and if you are a big game fisherman you would be interested in the tuna charters that head out on angling expeditions. Just behind the Tuna Center take the path to the beach.
As you travel a bit further up the coast explore the Cape George Lighthouse and trails. This is the Northern tip of the St. George’s Bay. No beach here but gorgeous views of the entire Bay and over to Cape Breton Island. At this point you can retrace your drive to Antigonish or continue on to Arisaig and come back by the land route returning onto Hawthorne Street in Antigonish.
Future posts will explore the beaches on the Northumberland shore towards Arisaig, and another along Hwy 104 heading towards Cape Breton
Take water, sunscreen, a jacket, hat, snacks, beach shoes. There is little or no shade on these beaches so take what you need to be comfortable.