Salt Marsh Trail, courtesy of Destination Halifax

Just half an hour from downtown Halifax on the eastern shore, the quaint community of Lawrencetown makes for the perfect seaside day trip. Here are five things to do in this under-the-radar surfer’s paradise.

Walk or cycle the Salt Marsh Trail

Cycle the bendy roads or walk the winding trails of the Salt Marsh Trail, a popular link to the Trans Canada Trail network. It’s a multi-use path for joggers and bikers (and cross-country skiers in the winter), and offers access to the ocean for fishers and kayakers. It’s also a bird-lover bonanza, frequented by more than 90 bird species. Because the main trail is not a loop, the best route to follow, if on foot, is across the water and then back—four kilometers each way or about two-and-a-half hours total.

Eat at the Rose & Rooster

For authentic, East Coast fare, check out the Rose & Rooster. The restaurant features two sunny patios and locally focused menu items like house-made salt cod fish cakes, smoked East Coast salmon from the nearby St. Mary’s River and pancakes made with Nova Scotia flour.

Scope out a fishing village

Fisherman’s Reserve, just east of Lawrencetown Beach Provincial Park, is a cool spot to while away an afternoon. Check out an active fishing station with colourful fishermen’s sheds protected by a rock breakwater. After, drive five minutes to Eastern Passage and watch crews bait lobster traps and unload their catch from small trawlers, the way they have for decades.

Hang out at the beach

Thanks to its prime location, smack on the coast amid a salt marsh, there are loads of beaches surrounding Lawrencetown. Lawrencetown Beach is the most obvious choice, but off the beaten track you’ll find Stoney Beach (for advanced kite surfers when the tide is out) and sandy Martinique Beach a bit further away, as well as other nameless, secret, seaside hideouts waiting to be explored.

Try surfing (or watch the surfers)

Nova Scotia is known for its beaches, but what sets Lawrencetown apart are its consistently big swells. Nico Manos, a surfing instructor and owner of East Coast Surf School, calls the area a “swell magnet.” Summertime also happens to be the perfect time to learn—lesson, board and wetsuit from East Coast Surf School will run you $75 for the day. Hurricane season in the fall entices more advanced surfers to Lawrencetown, so if you’re just starting out, you can venture down to the headland and watch surfers with a primo view.