"I'll take the high road" Cape Breton Island by tvor

Cape Breton Island Travel Guide: 169 reviews and 438 photos

Cape Breton Island is a little piece of heaven at the end of Nova Scotia. There are two ways on and off, one via the Canso Causeway (but they don't charge you toll anymore) and the other via the ferry to Newfoundland. The main urban centre is the city of Sydney (Cape Breton Regional Municipality) which houses a casino and a university so it's coming up in the world! Other major towns are Baddeck and Cheticamp which bookend the Cabot Trail, and Port Hawksbury which is near the Canso Causeway.

Cape Breton is mainly a rural part of the province, dotted with towns and villages amid spectacular scenery. Mountains, valleys, lakes and rivers along with all that seacoast make for a very picturesque holiday. it's an excellent place for fishing and hunting and I believe they also have a few really good golf courses. There is a historic restored fortress, some interesting museums, loads of local craft shops and a wealth of fantastic local musicians to keep you well entertained into the night. Cape Breton is famous for producing many Celtic folk musicians including the Rankin Family. This area is probably the best to view the fall colours in late September and early October and indeed, the Celtic Colours festival attracts thousands to the island for the views and the Celtic music.

Ah yes, the view. The Cape Breton Highlands National Park holds some of the best views this side of the Scottish Highlands. I've been to Scotland but this upcoming trip will be my first to CB and it's been said that the landscape is similar in many areas. It is a little, but the biggest difference is that these mountains are covered in trees. Whether you think it rivals Scotland or not, i do know the drive through the park, called the Cabot Trail, can be jaw dropping.

In addition to the Celtic (Scottish/Irish) heritage, there is also Acadian French heritage from when this was a French colony, particularly around the Margaree and Cheticamp area and on the coast near Louisbourg. There are also First Nations reserves in this part of the province to add to the rich cultural mix.

So our first trip to Cape Breton consisted of overnight stays in the Acadian village of Cheticamp, the village of Baddeck and the village of Louisbourg. We didn't manage to get out whale watching due to bad timing and off season stuff and we took the wrong turn and missed the Giant McAskill museum (doh, there's only two ways to turn but the sign was a bit misleading!) Things we did do:

Bell museum in Baddeck
Joe's Scarecrow Village in St. Joseph des Moines
Fortress Louisbourg in Louisbourg

There were also stop offs, photo ops, little villages and craft stores to explore as we found them as well.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:scenic, friendly, remote, historic, lots of culture
  • In a nutshell:A little piece of heaven on earth
  • Last visit to Cape Breton Island: Sep 2007
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (12)

Comments (5)

  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo
    Jun 23, 2012 at 5:25 AM

    HI diane. Im so glad i came across your pages. I went to Cape Breton a couple of years ago with a backpacker tour had the greatest time. I had been looking for the name of the place with the scarecrows!! my pages coming soon:) regards from Maryland.Val

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Jul 28, 2009 at 3:21 AM

    Nice tips.

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    Feb 24, 2009 at 5:37 PM

    Hi Diane! never heard of Cape Breton before but that is really a bizarre array of scarecrows!!! Kinda like Freddie Kruger!!!! Very interesting though, thanks for sharing, Norman :)

  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
    Jan 31, 2009 at 7:01 AM

    Having read and loved A. MacLeod's No Great Mischief, Cape Breton has fixed itself in my mind as a place I'd like to visit. You make it even more attractive. Love the scarecrows. leyle

  • Dester's Profile Photo
    Oct 2, 2008 at 5:47 AM

    Great Louisbourg photos and tips


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