We weren’t sure what to expect when we ventured into the middle of southern Nova Scotia. With so many gorgeous coastal towns, it felt strange to be going into a forested area away from the ocean. But, Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site turned out to be one of our favorite places in Atlantic Canada. It was a peaceful oasis, with calm waters to paddle on, quiet beaches to lounge on and dark skies to admire once the sun went down.
Kejimkujik (pronounced “ked-juh-
However, I am always up for some sunshine time. And luckily, there were multiple beaches within a few kilometers of our site: Meadow Beach, Slapfoot Beach and Kedge Beach.
Unexpected Beach Vacay
I didn’t realize we would have the opportunity for beach time during our trip to Kejimkujik. But I fully embraced this option and made sure to spend a few hours each day lounging on one of the serene beaches. It was great to relax and finally finish the book I had been slowly reading (the phenomenal story of outdoor adventure by Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods).
Since we were visiting during the week, none of the beaches got very busy. However, Slapfoot Beach was slightly less popular. Of course, this quieter option was my favorite!
And since the warm sand led down to the still waters of the river, the temperature was perfect for swimming. Such a change from the cold, powerful water of the Atlantic.
Although we enjoyed a few afternoon strolls in the park, the trails were best for biking! We loved taking our bikes along the winding paths, through the forests, and over sections of the river.
Check out this fun video of one of our bike rides in the park:
Hopping on the bikes made it easy to stop by the beach for a quick swim, head down to Jake’s Landing to rent some kayaks or just tour the area. And there were plenty of places to lock up our bikes at each location as well!
Just Around the River Bend
A highlight of our trip was getting out on the still water in a kayak. After biking over in the late afternoon, we set off for a short, but memorable adventure on the river.
Being on the water is always a peaceful experience, but at Kejimjukik the stillness and quiet of the river is undeniably soothing. We could have easily fallen asleep had we let ourselves stop paddling for long enough.
But, it was also fun getting to see the plants and wildlife of the area from a different perspective – one that would have been well-known to the original inhabitants of the area.
The ancient inhabitants used the rivers and lakes for transportation and fishing, while the forested area provided moose and caribou to hunt. After our kayaking trip, we even got to participate in a fire circle, where a ranger told us stories of the past and explained how this area was used by the Mi’kmaw for seasonal camping many years ago.
Dark, quiet, lonely and peaceful. Exploring Kejimkujik at night is a can’t-miss experience. Nova Scotia’s only Dark Sky Preserve offers amazing, unhindered views of the night sky!
About 10-15 minutes from our camp site was the Sky Circle – an opening in the forest with a circular sitting area to enjoy the dark sky above you. Traditional lights aren’t allowed in this area – only red lights that won’t obscure the views for others. And if you ask at the visitor center, you can even get a dark sky kit to use during your stay!
Although this designated place is great, there are also dozens of other options throughout the park. Just wander away from the campground lights and enjoy the night sky from a trail or by the water.
If the weather cooperates, you can see the Milky Way, many constellations and even a few shooting stars. Or as I like to call it, sky magic!
One Last Surprise
This area of Nova Scotia surprised us in so many ways and we only wish we had planned for more time there. Before leaving, we even got one last unexpected gift: A gorgeous waterfall view.
Just before the park exit, is the parking area for Mill Falls. It is strange to see rushing, powerful water in a place known for its calm river. But, the contrast is what made it all the more exciting.
And that’s why Kejimkujik is such a memorable place – its sharp contrast from the rest of Nova Scotia. We love the ocean, but having a few days to really escape into nature was the perfect way to break up our visit. And it provided us with another, important perspective – not only about the varying natural areas in the province, but about its people.
Know Before You Go
Location: 3005 Main Parkway, Maitland Bridge, Nova Scotia
Camping Options: Jeremy’s Bay is available for RV and tent camping, as well as yurt and cabin rentals. However, backcountry camping is also available. Many sites can even be accessed directly from the water!
Other Helpful Tips:
- Make sure to check out Kejimkujik National Park Seaside for more unique activities!
- Bring your own watercraft or rent one during your stay to make the most of this park! You could spend days exploring the rivers and lakes.
- There isn’t a grocery store near the park, so stock up before you get there.
- Ticks are common in this area. And although we never saw any, it is still important to check yourself, kids and pets regularly.
Special thanks to Parks Canada for their support on this trip. As always, all opinions are our own.