News release

Opening Weekend for Provincial Parks

Natural Resources and Renewables
Photo of boardwalk and sky at Lawrencetown Beach

Lawrencetown Beach Provincial Park (Communications Nova Scotia / File)

NOTE: A list of opening dates for camping parks and their locations follows this release.

Nova Scotia’s provincial parks start opening for the season this Victoria Day weekend.

“From one end of this province to the other, Nova Scotians value their parks as special places to make memories with family and friends,” said Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables. “We’re investing in our parks system so our residents and visitors can continue to enjoy these natural spaces for generations to come.”

This year’s capital plan invested $11.8 million for provincial park repairs and upgrades, with potential projects being assessed and prioritized based on visitor safety and experience.

Confirmed projects include:

  • multi-year redevelopment work at Blomidon, Dollar Lake and Whycocomagh
  • serviced campsites at Dollar Lake available later this season
  • nature play spaces at Blomidon, Dollar Lake and Ellenwood Lake
  • parking improvements at Martinique Beach
  • road upgrades at Dollar Lake, Oakfield and Whycocomagh
  • trail, toilet and parking improvements at Carters Beach.

Causeway design and construction will proceed at Graves Island through a federal-provincial funding agreement.

More than a million people visited provincial parks in 2023. There were 86,182 camper nights despite many cancellations due to wildfires, storms and rain. Smileys and Rissers both suffered extensive damage; repairs are underway and both parks will open this season, although some of their campsites will remain closed.

Park visitors are reminded to be vigilant about wildfire prevention. Campfires and smoking are never allowed in day-use parks, which open Friday, May 17.

Effective today, May 16, campgrounds must follow provincial burn restrictions. That means campfires are only permitted after 2 p.m. when the BurnSafe map is green or after 7 p.m. when the map is yellow – the same as campfires in people’s backyards. A $25,000 fine applies to violations of the daily burn restrictions.

Devices such as gas stoves and charcoal briquette barbeques can be used any time, following manufacturers’ instructions.

Quick Facts:

  • the Province has now designated more than half the park sites in its parks and protected areas plan
  • alcohol and cannabis are not permitted at camping parks from opening day to July 1; from July 2 until closing in the fall, they are only permitted at rented campsites and are never permitted at day-use parks
  • people should take precautions to prevent tick exposure when they are outdoors, such as tucking in shirts and pulling socks over pant legs
  • for early protection against Lyme disease, people can visit their local pharmacist to have their tick bite assessed and determine if a preventive antibiotic is appropriate

Additional Resources:

Campsite reservations:

Opening dates, advisories and other parks information:

BurnSafe map:

Learn to Camp is July 13-14 at Blomidon Provincial Park:

News release – Large Increase in Fine for Illegal Burning During Wildfire Season:

Tick safety:

Pharmacist assessment of tick bite:

Camping parks opening Friday, May 17:

  • Blomidon, Canning, Kings County
  • Cape Chignecto, Advocate Harbour, Cumberland County
  • Ellenwood Lake, Deerfield, Yarmouth County
  • Graves Island, East Chester, Lunenburg County
  • Porters Lake, Porters Lake, Halifax Regional Municipality
  • Rissers Beach, Petite Rivière, Lunenburg County
  • Thomas Raddall, Port Joli, Queens County

Camping parks opening Friday, May 31:

  • Mira River, Albert Bridge, Cape Breton Regional Municipality

Camping parks opening Friday, June 7:

  • Amherst Shore, Amherst Shore, Cumberland County
  • Battery, St. Peter’s, Richmond County
  • Boylston, Boylston, Guysborough County
  • Caribou-Munroes Island, Caribou, Pictou County
  • Dollar Lake, Wyses Corner, Halifax Regional Municipality
  • Five Islands, Five Islands, Colchester County
  • Laurie, Grand Lake, Halifax Regional Municipality
  • Salsman, Country Harbour, Guysborough County
  • The Islands, Shelburne, Shelburne County
  • Valleyview, Bridgetown, Annapolis County
  • Whycocomagh, Whycocomagh, Inverness County

Other than cropping, CNS photos are not to be altered in any way.