The Shoreline Experience
The Park is renowned for the World's highest recorded tides. The very best way to experience the tides is to visit at both high and low tide and fill the interval of six hours enjoying the Park or exploring the local sites.
From May to Thanksgiving guided tours of the shoreline are available, or you can explore on your own. A booklet, Shoreline Guide to Burntcoat Head Park, is available in the lighthouse to help you identify some of the animals you are likely to see.
The shoreline can be muddy so wear shoes you don't mind getting dirty. Boots, running shoes, crocs or water shoes are recommended. Flip flops are not a good idea. Windbreaker, hat, sun glasses, sun screen should also be considered.
Bikes, and other vehicles, are not permitted on the ocean floor.
Tiptoe through the Periwinkles
When the tide is out the creatures left behind are vulnerable. Please try to avoid entering the tidal pools or stepping on the colonies of shells found on the ocean floor; even a seemingly empty shell could be housing a little Hermit Crab. If you pick up an animal put it gently back where you found it - and do be aware, some animals can pinch or bite you. After all, they have to defend themselves!
Finding Fossils, Leaving Fossils
Important fossils have been discovered at Burntcoat Head Park and no doubt there are others yet to be found. To protect them for scientific study and to provide a great experience for everyone, the law only allows you to collect fossils if you have a Heritage Research Permit (HRP). If you don't have a permit, please leave the fossils in place. However if you believe you have discovered a fossil we encourage you to take a photo, note the location and contact Joggins Research Centre so it can be identified - tell us too!
Hours of Operation
The Park is open year round. The lighthouse is open from Mid-May to Mid-October, 9 am to 5 pm. Park is open from dawn until dusk. No overnight camping permitted.
Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a leash while in the Park. We provide a fresh bowl of water.
The parking area is at the edge of the Park, a stone's throw from the lighthouse.
The Park has a series of walking trails, surfaced either in crushed stone or mulch. Getting from the parking lot to the lighthouse is fairly easy although there are some ups and downs in elevation. To access the shore there are concrete steps to the upper shelf of rock and then a sloped drop of six feet to reach the ocean floor. Depending upon one's agility, it can be a bit difficult to navigate this slope but most people are able to do so. From the parking lot to the ocean floor is about a 3-4 minute walk.
Things to Do in the Area
Lawrence House Museum
Lawrence House Museum is a provincial museum that houses artifacts and memorabilia about The W.D. Lawrence, the largest wooden ship ever built in Canada.
Tidal Bore Rafting
There are several companies on the Shubenacadie River that offer rafting experiences on the tidal bore. It is an exciting way to spend a couple of hours and experience the tidal bore and the in-rushing tides up close. A complete listing of all the river rafting companies can be found here on novascotia.com
Gallery 215 showcases the artwork of some wonderful Nova Scotian artists and is found on Highway 215 in Selma.
Walton Lighthouse is the only original lighthouse in East Hants and it still smells of the kerosene used to light the lamp many years ago! While in Walton visit the Walton Pub.
For more information about the area visit novascotia.com
Directions to the Park
From Halifax: 1 hour 9 minutes/87.9 km
- Take the MacDonald Bridge and continue onto Nantucket Ave. (signs for NS-107/NS-118/Nantucket Ave.)
- Turn left onto Marine Dr./Victoria Rd./NS-322N
- Turn right onto Woodland Ave.
- Continue onto NS-118N (14 km)
- Merge onto NS-102 (21 km)
- Take Exit 8 for NS-214 towards Elmsdale/Lantz/Windsor **
- Turn left onto Elmsdale Rd./NS-214 (signs for Belnan/Nine Mile River/Windsor)
- Turn left onto NS-14W (signs for NS-14W/Windsor/Rawdon)
- Slight right onto NS-202W
- Continue straight onto NS-354N (signs for NS-236/Kennetcook/Noel)
- Slight left in Kennetcook to stay on 354 (signs for Noel/Walton)
- At the junction of 215 in Noel turn left and a quick right onto Burntcoat Road
- Park is 5 km on the right
From Stanfield Airport: 50 minutes/59 km
- From airport take NS-102N ramp to Truro
- Take Exit 8 and follow directions from above at **
From Windsor: 50 minutes/59 km
- Take NS-101E towards Halifax
- Take Exit 5 onto NS-14 toward NS-1/NS-215
- At the end of the road turn left onto Highway 14
- Turn left onto Avondale Road
- Turn right onto Lawrence Road, keep right
- Turn right onto Highway 215
- Take a slight left onto Highway 236
- At the end of the road turn left onto Highway 354
- Turn left onto 215 and a quick left onto Burntcoat Road
- The Park is 5 km on the right
From Truro: 50 minutes/54.6 km
- Take NS236W (19 km)Turn right to stay on Glooscap Trail/NS-236W (signs for NS-215/Maitland/Windsor)
- In Noel turn right onto Burntcoat Road, the Park is 5km on the right
- Turn right onto Glooscap Trail/NS-215W/NS-236W (signs for Maitland/Windsor)