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This report is brought to you by David H.

A Foggy Day at Crystal Crescent Beach, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

On a recent trip to Nova Scotia, I had the opportunity to visit Crystal Crescent Beach, which is about a 45 minute drive south of Halifax. It is an unsupervised beach with no facilities so the beach area is not overly developed. However, it is a popular beach and there is ample parking available. The beach itself consists of three beaches, with the biggest and best being reserved for nude use.

The drive from Halifax is a pleasant one with three different routes you can take. Your first challenge however, is to survive the Armdale Rotary. No easy task if the traffic is heavy. If you do survive, I recommend taking Highway 253 (Purcells Cove Road) which will take you along the North West Arm and along the shore to the small town of Sambro. Enroute, you may wish to stop at the Dingle Tower in Sir Stanford Fleming Park, and the old fortifications at the York Redoubt National Historic Site. Continue on 253 to Herring Cove, then turn left on Highway 349 and essentially follow the signs to the beach from there. The access road to the beach is a rough gravel road with ends at three large parking lots. Park in the last lot. The Prude beaches are right below you with the nude beach of to your right.

To get to the nude beach, you have to follow various paths that head south from the parking lot. The paths can be rough so good footwear is advisable. It is about a twenty minute walk, so make sure you have everything you need. I found the best and most scenic route was to follow the shore. After all this trouble you are finally rewarded with a beautiful stretch of white sand beach, about 200 meters long.

The beach is sheltered by a forest and sits in a small bay. With the help of the rock outcroppings to the south, you are protected from the Atlantic surf. The rocks are flat and easy to walk on and explore, but you must be careful as the surf here can be strong. It is easy to get swept out to sea by big waves (which happens every so often at nearby Peggy's Cove). It is a great spot to sit and watch the power of the north Atlantic.

The only real disappointing thing about my trip was the weather. It was a Saturday early in June and it was the only day I had to visit the beach. The day dawned foggy and wet. It did clear up in Halifax, but I did have to contend with a thick coastal fog. The temperature was warm enough, but the fog did make it seam rather chilly. Consequently, besides myself, there was only one other beach user who was kind enough to fill me in on what I was missing. On a good day, you can expect approximately a hundred people, with a good mix of families couples and singles.

The beach appeared to be well maintained by the users, but I did see one overturned garbage can. There are no washroom facilities, so discretion is required. The nude beach is the last beach on a long wilderness peninsula called Pennant Point. It extends out into the Atlantic so the nude portion effectively extends as far south along the rocky shore as you can safely walk. The beach is not an official nude beach, but is accepted by the locals and officials. That doesn't mean that there aren't dangers. The local Moral Minority occasionally like to voice their intolerance and demand that something be done to "clean up" the beach. From what I understand, the only beaches that need to be cleaned up are the two textile ones where garbage is piled high and the police are frequently called. Fortunately, saner attitudes seem to be prevailing and the third beach continues to be safely nude: for now.

A visit to Crystal Crescent is a must for any naturist visiting Nova Scotia. Although I was disappointed with the weather, be assured that summer days in Atlantic Canada can be very pleasant and sunny days do tend to outnumber the foggy ones. Even the foggy days should be enjoyed. Sitting on the beach in the fog, the smell of the salt air with the sound of the surf and the distant wail of a fog horn the quintessential Nova Scotia experience. It was hard to leave at the end of the day. One last look made me wish that we had such a free and open beach here in Ontario.

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