Cape Breton Island is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Nova Scotia. The scenery is rugged and dramatic and it will bring you to your knees!! Driving along the coast on the Cabot Trail and over the Highlands National Park is breathtaking. You do not want to miss it!!
National Geographic has called Cape Breton the prize of Nova Scotia.
I have explored almost every corner of this island and I keep discovering breathtaking scenery.
I was born here and I love telling folks about it!
The warmth and welcoming nature of the people here is something that you will love on vacation.
They will make you feel welcome every step of the way.
Getting here is part of the vacation adventure. Be sure to check out my 'travel to' page to get all of the information that you'll need. Most people get here by car but there are other options.
There is a lot to see and do here! The Fortress of Louisbourg is North America's largest 18th Century Re-construction. You can see humpback whales in the northern part of the island in the spring/summer.
Visiting the Alexander Graham Bell in Museum, fishing salmon on the Margaree River, touring a coal mine at the Cape Breton Miners' Museum, learning about Acadian culture in Cheticamp or enjoying a ceilidh on the Ceilidh Trail.....there is much to do and see in here!
There is an impressive list of festivals and events all summer long. Ceilidhs, family square dances, salmon dinners, lobster boils, Bras d'Or Lake regattas......this is just a sampling.
Each one is unique and has its own way enticing you with its charm.
But you are sure to find hospitality and friendliness in all of them. There is lots to see and do on each trail. You might even find it difficult to decide where to go first.
The Ceilidh Trail starts when you arrive on the island. Once you cross the Canso Causeway, follow Route 19 to your left and then follow the signs marking the Ceilidh Trail. This trail ends in Margaree Harbour and it is here that you meet the Cabot Trail.
The Cabot Trail is the most scenic route on the island. Many people do it in one day.
PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS! I strongly encourage you (actually, I am begging you) to take a couple of days to a week to explore the Cabot Trail. Trust me it will be worth it! Check out my pages on the Cabot Trail and I'm sure you will see what I mean. The Cape Breton Highlands National Park is basically inside the trail and has lots to offer the visitor.
The Bras d'Or Lake Scenic Route is special. It is Nova Scotia's 'inland sea'. This salt water lake covers 1165 square kilometres in the middle of the island. Sailors and kayakers love the Bras d'Or.
There are so many things to see as you travel this route....the Highland Village in Iona and St. Peter's Canal to name only two!
And don't forget the sightings of bald eagles that you will certainly see.
According to the Bras d'Or Preservation Nature Trust about 80% of all bald eagles in Nova Scotia actually live on the island.
And if you see one chances are you will see a second one! They travel in pairs!
The Marconi Trail is known as the historic coast. This is where you will find The Fortress of Louisbourg. The fortress is worth a full day visit and you will be amazed at the amount of history here.
You will walk alot so make sure you are prepared. It can also be windy and a little chilly so be prepared for that too!
You can join the Fleur-de-Lis Trail when you leave Louisbourg. Follow highway 22 north to Albert Bridge which is beside the beautiful Mira River. Turn left and you are on the Fleur-de-Lis Trail.
Much of this coastline is still very rugged and you will feel that you are in the middle of nowhere.
There are many possibilities when it comes to picking a place to stay on the island. There is a wide range of pricing and standards to choose from.
There is a mix of small luxury hotels, resorts, inns, cottages, motels, bed & breadfasts, hostels and campgrounds. There is really something to fit everyone's pocketbook and need.
I wish I could say that I have visited them all and can make a good recommendation for each one but I can't!
I have partnered with Trip Advisor to help you find the best accommodations on the island.Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor about Cape Breton accommodations.
There are 9 visitor information centres scattered throughout the island. These centres are a great source of information especially about events that are happening locally.
Port Hastings - located as you drive onto the island via the Canso Causeway
St. Peter's - located on highway #4 on the Fleur-de-lis-Trail
Sydney - located at 20 Keltic Drive in Sydney River
Margaree - located in Margaree Forks on the Cabot Trail
Inverness - located on Route 19 on the Ceilidh Trail
Cape Breton really is a wonderful place for a holiday. You can slow down, enjoy the fresh air and the easy pace.......this is what being near the ocean is all about! By the way......cell phone coverage can be spotty in some parts of the island......yes, this is a good thing!!