Graves Island Provincial Park is located in the south-easternmost part of Canada along Nova Scotia's Atlantic coast. This isolated island paradise is a well-kept secret of Nova Scotians that live here and offers a quiet and scenic oceanfront camping experience and a great base to explore the other smaller surrounding islands.
The park offers visitors plenty to do in terms of recreational activities from hiking, sea kayaking, biking and picnicking as well as plenty of amenities and facilities for a comfortable and enjoyable camping experience.
Graves Island Provincial Park lies only a 25 min drive away from the fabled Oak Island and this island, like many along Nova Scotia’s coast, brings the same allure of adventure and mystery. The entire island seems to be one big hill full of winding trails that lead to the rocky shoreline and the highest vantage points on the island.
If you are looking for a quiet and peaceful oceanfront camping experience set your GPS to Graves Island Provincial Park!
Graves Island Provincial Park is less than an hour's drive away from Halifax, NS and is connected to the mainland via a short causeway that reaches over the water of the Atlantic ocean. Take Exit 7 or 8 off Hwy 103 and connect on to Route 3; that will take you west of Chester towards the causeway and the park entrance. The highway and roads leading to the park are in excellent condition and once inside, well-maintained gravel and paved roads lead to the various campsites and facilities.
Grave Island Campground has a total of 95 campsites out of which 33 are serviced sites offering electric and water hookups and 11 are walk-in sites. The rest of the 62 campsites are unserviced for a more primitive camping experience. The campground consists of flush toilets, showers, disposal station, fire grills, boat launch area, trailhead building, dishwashing station, and an administration building that offers free Wi-fi. Leashed pets are permitted within park grounds. The campsites are spacious but offer restricted shade and privacy. Some campsites are definitely more reclusive than others so it is always recommended to book your campsite well in advance.
Grave Island Provincial Park is a great place to stretch your legs as you hike on hilly terrain overlooking the vast Atlantic ocean. The trails wind through the entire length of the island, connecting the rocky shoreline and bringing you up to the highest cliffs. The path system is not elaborate but it’s well-groomed and takes you along the more densely wooded regions of the island with plenty of scenic spots to rest along the way. You can enjoy the island fauna and flora as you walk along these relatively easy trails.
If you fancy an oceanfront picnic destination Grave Island Provincial Park has an expansive day-use area with mowed grass and picnic tables close to the park entrance. There's a new fully-enclosed picnic shelter that is great for those family picnics. A covered dish washing station is also located near the shower house to clean those dishes after a delightful lunch or supper on this quiet and serene island paradise. There is also a playground for children to stay entertained as well as a registration building that offers plenty of information and history about the island and area in general.
The island offers some truly majestic views of the pristine Atlantic coastline with plenty of smaller islands dotted along the horizon. The park also offers picturesque sunrises and sunsets that can be watched and admired from both low and high vantage points. The dense woodlands and rocky shorelines also make for some excellent opportunities for a bit of nature photography.
Grave Island Provincial Park is especially popular as a base for sea kayaking enthusiasts that want to explore the nearby islands. The usually calm water around the Mahone Bay area makes for some truly memorable sea kayaking adventures exploring the many smaller Atlantic coastal islands. A boat launch area is located beside the short causeway leading to the park and allows campers to bring their kayaks, canoes, and other small watercraft, and take to the waters in search of adventure.
Grave Island Provincial Park does feature a beachside area although it is quite a rocky shoreline. Don’t expect any soft sand beaches here, but the designated beach area does offer quick access to the water if you want to brave swimming in the cool Atlantic ocean waters to get some respite from the heat on those hot summer days. The water is generally calm near the shoreline so it is safe to swim, although there are no lifeguards on duty, so make sure you stay close to the shore.
The Atlantic Ocean waters are teeming with thousands of species of fish, large and small, that can be caught along the island's shoreline. The best way to fish is by boat or kayak as the rocky shoreline makes it difficult to toss in a line without it getting stuck underneath a rock or fallen debris. The boat launch area on the short causeway makes Grave Island Provincial Park an excellent base for keen anglers looking to catch large-sized fish in the Mahone Bay area.