View Halifax from sea level in a kayak rental from Harbour Watercraft Tours & Adventures ADAM CORNICK

How to get out on the water

All the ways you can explore the Halifax harbour and beyond this summer

This article was independently produced by our editorial team with financial support from Develop Nova Scotia. Visit Halifax waterfront this summer for food, art, shopping and adventure. Find a list of things to do and see here

After a long winter and COVID-ridden spring, it's time to get outdoors this summer. Hiking is one thing, but seeing Halifax and Nova Scotia from the water gives you a whole new perspective on just how beautiful our province truly is. Whether it's in a kayak, on a ferry or with a guided tour, our list of rentals and bookings available in HRM will surely have your sea legs in working order by the end of the summer.

Harbour Kayaks & Watercraft

Harbour Watercraft Tours & Adventures - Rent a Sea-Doo ($125) or a sea kayak ($55) at this waterfront kiosk, which began in Dartmouth in 2018 and moved to Halifax the following summer.

East Coast Watercraft Rentals - Choose from a Sea-Doo for a speedy tour, or a pontoon boat rental for an afternoon oasis party with a larger crew. Because the rental kiosk is located in Eastern Passage, that also means you can explore both the Halifax or Dartmouth waterfronts, and McNabs Island, easily.

St. Mary's Boat Club - The municipally-run facility offers the cheapest kayak rentals in the city, for just $15 on paddle nights, and free one-hour rentals of either kayaks or stand up paddle boards on weekends.

Kayak Halifax - Offering two-hour tours of either the Northwest Arm or Halifax Harbour, in single- or double-occupancy kayaks. Ages six and up, no experience necessary but book well in advance.


Halifax Transit Ferry - If you haven't taken what city councillors call the "corporate yacht," it's one of the cheapest and easiest ways to get across the harbour in the heat of the summer. Just $2.75 or a bus transfer will have you seeing downtown from a brand-new angle.

click to enlarge How to get out on the water
Acorn Art Photography
Captain Dave and the McNabs Island Shuttle will take you to the island starting at $30 per person.

McNabs Island Ferry - Taking you to the island of the same name, the McNabs Island ferry runs out of Eastern Passage, and captain Mike Tilley's prices start at $20 a person, or $15 for kids and seniors, for a round trip.

Georges Island Ferry - Open to the public since last summer after being private for decades, Georges Island tours book up fast, but give a one-of-a-kind day trip experience starting at $22.

Water Taxis & Tours

McNabs Island Shuttle - A more private way to get to the island than the larger ferry, shuttle prices with captain Dave start at $30 a person, and private sightseeing tours are $167 for 75 minutes. Pickups range from the bottom of Quinpool Road to Dingle Park.

A&M Sea Charters - If you want to come back from your boat tour with a souvenir, this deep sea fishing expedition will satisfy your appetite for adventure (and seafood). Harbour tours are also available via their Eastern Passage location.

Taylor Made Tours - Offering shuttle service to McNabs Island out of Eastern Passage, this tour group will give you advice about exactly what to do while you explore the mid-harbour getaway.

Harbour Hopper Tour - If you're searching for a uniquely amphibian tour via both land and sea, and don't mind some "fun facts" along the way, the $35-each tickets for a 55-minute ride are actually worth it.

Harbour Water Taxi - Available right on the Halifax waterfront, this water taxi can be taken back and forth from the King's Wharf development in Dartmouth for just a bit more than the Halifax Transit ferry—and it'll get you there in style.

Lakes & Waterways

Long Lake Adventure Company - Kayak the day away without worrying about rising tides in Long Lake. Rent a kayak or paddleboard starting at just $20, and head for a dip after to cool down.

Wildwood WaterSports - The Shubenacadie Canal offers a tree-covered stream to cruise down in a kayak or canoe on a hot summer day. Find the rentals at 54 Locks Road in Dartmouth.

SUPMonkey - If stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) are your thing, this company has the hookup, renting paddle boards for $55 a day on Lake Banook in Dartmouth.

Mic Mac Amateur Aquatic Club - While Mic Mac AAC may seem anything but amateur, the "Masters" group for those aged 25+ caters to new paddlers and those with any level of experience. Membership is $375 for the entire season, May to September.

Banook Canoe Club - Banook has a few levels of membership for ages 20+, the Masters program, ranging from $80 to $150. Plenty of watercraft are available to rent, summer 2021 membership runs from July 2 to August 31.

Maskwa Kearney Lake - Offering recreational dragon boat ($120) or Masters paddling for adults ($565), the price includes a full season of practices, coaching and rentals.


East Coast Surf School -  The most popular beach for surfing in Nova Scotia is surely Lawrencetown, and many nearby shops like this one offer $20 board rental, $20 wetsuits and are just a walk away from the beach.

Kannon Beach - Surfboard rentals at the Lawrencetown shop start at $20, with paddleboards $30, and all the equipment you'll need available as well. Or get a full lesson, with board and suit rental included, for $75.

Lawrencetown Surf Co. - This spot near the beach has board rentals as well as lessons every Wednesday and Saturday for those who need to get better acquainted with the water or want to perfect their skills.

Happy Dudes Surf Emporium - Based in both Lawrencetown and Martinique, Happy Dudes has boards starting at $20 for four hours, as well as wetsuit rentals and everything else you need to take a day at the beach to the next level.

Surf Martinique - Lessons and rentals at the beautiful white sand Martinique Beach are offered at East Coast Surf School's sibling location.

Halifax Surf School - Catch some waves at Martinique with this surf school, which offers easy online booking in advance and free car straps to get your board to the beach.

Kayak & Boat Adventures

East Coast Outfitters - Situated in Lower Prospect, it's easy to pair a kayak adventure with a day trip to Peggys Cove or Terrence Bay Wilderness Park. With half-day, full-day and sunset tours of the beautiful coastline, add a picnic or BBQ to the end of your tour for true indulgence.

Norse Cove Camping - This Eastern Shore campground provides kayak rentals, lessons and tours of the nearby rugged coast and untouched 100 Wild Islands. Tandem and single kayaks are available starting at $25 an hour, but a guide is recommended if you're a beginner.

Murphy's Camping on the Ocean - Get your fill of the 100 Wild Islands by kayaking around them or taking an up-close scenic 1.5-hour boat tour. Whether it's a sea kayak or a leisure kayak, all levels are welcome, and the journey outside the city will bring you a feeling of serenity.

About The Author

Victoria Walton

Victoria was a full-time reporter with The Coast from April 2020 until mid-2022, when the CBC lured her away. During her Coast tenure, she covering everything from COVID-19 to small business to politics and social justice. Originally from the Annapolis Valley, she graduated from the University of King’s College...

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