If you’re looking for easy, low-traffic and nature packed bicycle pathways for an outing this weekend, look no further. We’ve put together a list of five routes across Nova Scotia that are specifically catered to those wanting to either fit in an afternoon ride or a day trip adventure with the kids with outdoor destinations ranging from beaches, lighthouses, and coastal hiking trails. Each of these routes can be easily customized to fit your family’s needs.

As cell phone reception can be spotty in areas along these routes, we always suggest you download any route maps you’re planning to your mobile device from the links included at the bottom of each route description before your ride. 

Shearwater Flyer and Salt Marsh Trail

Distance: 9.8 km (one way) Duration: 0:30/0:45 Surfacing: Unpaved

Just outside of Halifax, this route’s beautiful panoramic scenery, low-difficulty, and beach picnic destination makes this safe off-highway trail perfect for a weekend afternoon ride with the kids. Make sure that you all pack swimsuits as this ride takes you to Lawrencetown beach; a perfect spot to play along the rocks, have a picnic lunch and go for a swim. This popular route is highly accessible for families with a well maintained parking lot at 805 Bissett Rd. Meandering through the gorgeous salt marshes of Lawrencetown, this low grade ride is surrounded by wildlife creating a picturesque experience. You’ll be guided through a super unique section where water surrounds on either side allowing you to literally cycle through the marsh. As you end at Lawrencetown beach, relax by the water, enjoy some rockhopping, or even watch some surfing! There is clearly marked signage along the trail, making it easy to keep track of your distance traveled. 


To download this route to your mobile device, follow the link here:  



Rum Runners Trail 

Distance(s): ~7-13 km Duration(s): 0:30/1:15 Surfacing: Chain of Lakes: Paved,  B.L.T: Unpaved 

This highly customizable, low-difficulty, and safe series of trails through beautiful forest and greenway areas include several connected rides running all the way from Halifax to Lunenburg with accessible parking and clear signage available at the start of each segment. If you’re in the Halifax Regional Municipality area, the Chain of Lakes Trail is a nice and easy paved ride with plenty of stopping points and beautiful lake view access areas. This section is great for small children and totals at around 7 km in length with parking available at the Superstore of Joseph Howe Drive. If you are looking for a bit less busy ride on well-kept gravel roads, the B.L.T. trail is a great option as it’s further away from the city buzz. This 13 km long section begins with public parking at 21 Lakeside Park Drive  and travels through beautiful tree-covered trails that lead to a great little waterfall. There are options to stop and grab a coffee or a snack for the kids along the route. If you want to access more kid-friendly routes along Rum Runners Trail, go check out The Aspotogan, The Dynamite, and The Bay-To-Bay Trail in the link below for other easy options down the coast. 


For more information on Rum Runners Trail, follow the link here:



To download this route to your mobile device, follow the link here: 



Blue Rocks

Distance: 19.2 km (return) Duration: 0:53/1:18 Surfacing: Paved

Down on the beautiful South Shore in Lunenburg, this easy coastal ride consists both of rail trail and paved backroads, perfect for a fun weekend family outing. This route takes you along gorgeous winding roads through fishing villages that are packed with breathtaking ocean views. To top it all off you and the family can grab a sweet treat at Point General Store to reward the whole family with either an ice cream cone or a delicious coffee break where you can sit atop the rocks or walk along the rocky shoreline. To access this route, there is public parking available in downtown Lunenburg at 4 Dufferin Street. As you begin your ride through town on your way to the trailhead, be cautious of traffic as it can be busy at times. There are a couple of small hills throughout, so this route is best suited for kids that are comfortable with independent riding. 


To download this route to your mobile device, follow the link here: 



Digby Lighthouse 

Distance: 18 km Duration: 0:49/1:12 Surfacing: Paved

If you’re in the Annapolis Valley region, this quick and easy route out of Digby is a great afternoon coastal ride for you and your kids that rewards you with a gorgeous and accessible lighthouse equipt with picnic tables, perfect for a lunch stop. There are even a few beautiful little hiking trails along the shore once you get to the lighthouse park for a little change of pace. Meandering along the gorgeous coastline of the bay of fundy, this trail loops back with great ocean views across the bay to the shorelines of New Brunswick and of Victoria Beach across the Digby Gut. In Digby, there are plenty of amenity options for you and your family before or after your ride. To access parking for this route, we suggest Digby Area Recreation at 27 Shreve Street. 


To download this route to your mobile device, follow the link here: 



Cobequid Trail

Distance: 28.7 km Duration: 1:18/1:54 Surfacing: Unpaved

This ride over in Colchester County is a 18km network of primarily hard packed and smooth gravel rail trails. This flat and relaxing ride connects to a fun playground at the Fundy Discovery site where you and the kids can stop, have lunch and play around! For a real treat, check in advance and witness the amazing tidal bore phenomenon of the Bay of Fundy. There are some nice little sections along the way with beautiful water views of the Salmon River as well as views of the mudflats where you can sometimes spot some migratory birds. Most of the route is out and back, making it extremely easy to control the distance depending on your kids’ age, energy, or riding levels. The middle section of this route includes a road loop which may be unsafe for younger riders, so we suggest cutting out the middle 8km by turning around when you reach the end of the trial. This route is very easy to access being just minutes from downtown Truro and great parking at the Cobequid Trailhead beside 210 Willow Street.


To download this route to your mobile device, follow the link here: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/30264949 


Celtic Shores Trail: The Inverness Shean Trail

Distance: 16 km Duration: 0:45/1:15 Surfacing: Unpaved 

Up in Cape Breton, the Celtic Shores Trail is a one-of-a-kind destination experience for you and your family. There are several starting points along the 92 km trail that you can choose from, however, the Inverness Shean Trail is a great length for a weekend trip with the kids. This section is easily manageable and engaging with its many rest stops and picnic shelters, fun bridge crossings and wonderful sand beach end point to stop, relax, or play in the sand all while taking in the stunning scenery. This is a well-kept trail in great condition with a combination of packed crushed gravel, wooden bridges, and natural surfaces. There is cell service along this section, however, we recommend that you download the route map just in case. To access parking for this route, the best place is at the Miners Museum Trailhead Kiosk/Access/Parking at Beach Road 1, Inverness. There are lots of food and lodging amenities for the whole family in Inverness if staying for a weekend. If you’d like to access more information on other great routes along the Celtic Shores Trail, follow the link below.


For more information on the Celtic Shores Trail, follow the link here: 



To download this route to your mobile device, follow the link here: 




Calvin Cameron

I am a fourth year Environmental Science student at Dalhousie University. My passions are surfing, skiing, skateboarding and of course, cycling! It was been my pleasure to work for BNS this fall writing blog postings in efforts to outline Nova Scotia’s amazing trail infrastructure. I hope that this work will make it that much easier for cyclists of all backgrounds and abilities to find the route that gets them out and enjoying this beautiful province.


Looking for more Nova Scotia cycling tips?

If you want to find more information on these rides and so much more, check out our Where to Cycle in Nova Scotia Guidebook https://bicycle.ns.ca/where-to-cycle-ns/ 

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