Just connected to the mainland by a causeway strewn with rocks, Cape Breton is a breathtaking location and there are many things to do in Cape Breton.
The culture, heritage, seascapes, & countryside will take your breath away, whether you’re there for a honeymoon, anniversary getaway, college road trip, or just to get away.
We advise spending at least 3 days (and 4 nights) driving the entire island along the Cabot Trail. While some tourists choose to do so in a single day, you’ll effectively get to see many of Cape Breton’s attractions if you do it this way.
1. Accommodations on Cape Breton Island
You must decide where you will stay during your visit before we begin our guide to things to do on Cape Breton Island.
1.1. The Resort at Inverary
Beddeck is a fantastic place to start your trip because the Cabot Trail loops there in both directions. If arriving by car, the trip to Baddeck from Halifax airport takes about 4 hours. The best things to do in Cape Breton.
Before continuing on your adventure to discover Cape Breton, spend the night in Baddeck at the Inverary Resort.
A very adorable and beautiful resort is The Inverary Resort. You can see why this location for weddings and honeymoons is so well-liked!
1.2. The Keltic Inn
When visiting Cape Breton Island, you must stay at the Keltic Lodge, a stunning and storied resort hotel that is situated in the town of Ingonish. The lodge is situated on a peninsula that projects into the ocean, providing breathtaking views on both sides.
In addition to its distinctive design and breathtaking views, The Keltic Lodge offers very comfortable and roomy accommodations, a lovely golf course right on the property, a pool that overlooks the water, a spa, and fantastic eating options.
2. Interesting Things to do on Cape Breton Island
There are many things to do on Cape Breton Island like visiting the Cape Breton Miners Museum, hiking trails, the world-famous Cabot trail, rolling green hills, Bras d’Or lake, Louisburg National Historic Site, Neil’s Harbour lighthouse, sandy beaches, Glace Bay and many things near the east coast.
2.1. Cabot Trail
It is frequently cited among the most beautiful drives in the world. It is a meandering, beachfront road.
Driving through the Cape Breton National Park will provide you with the chance to go on a whale viewing trip.
To enjoy everything it has to offer, travel there in an RV, convertible, or motorcycle.
2.2. Explore the Mi’kmaq Culture
The culture that flourished and was preserved on Cape Breton Island is one of the island’s treasures.
The Mi’kmaq people are a very open-minded group who were the first inhabitants of Cape Breton and comes in the list of the best things to do in Cape Breton.
Since the Mi’kmaq people have been residing in this area for ten thousand years, their culture has flourished and enriched ours. Use a smudging ritual to become fully immersed in their narrative.
Mi’kmaq chiefs’ tales should definitely be heard. The five First Nations communities on the Island will welcome you with a warm P’jilasi (Welcome) and will share a millennium of culture and traditions.
From their village, you can take a medicinal walk or learn how to make drums. You will have a deeper appreciation for the majesty of the island if you take in this aspect of Cape Breton’s heritage and is one of the many things to do in Cape Breton.
See one of the earliest multicultural cultures in North America, where genealogy is valued and family roots run deep. At one of five First Nations communities, learn about legends that date back centuries.
Explore Acadian traditions from the new world while strolling through remnants of the past. Visit any neighborhood to learn about our unique spirit and productive heritage.
2.3. Culture of Acadia
In Cape Breton, Acadians have a long history that dates back more than 400 years to the time of the first European immigrants and continues to this day along both our Highland and South coasts. Learn how to make rugs the old-fashioned way; one of the exciting things to do in Cape Breton.
Participate in the joie de vivre (joy of life) of the Acadians by attending one of the island’s many festivals, museums, or activities. The Acadian or French as well as the Gaelic or Celtic are the other two significant ethnic groups that prosper in this area.
With the former, you can see where the island’s earliest European settlers set up camp. The French established the Citadel of Louisbourg in 1713. For a while, it had the title of the largest fortress in Nova Scotia and developed into a thriving seaside community.
You may discover what the Acadian village would have looked like in the past because it has been meticulously recreated. It is safe to say that this is one of our favorite activities on Cape Breton Island because it is the biggest & best example of this in North America.
Visit the Museum of Hooked Rug and Household Life to see the other side of Acadian culture. You will be able to have a close-up look at many of the handicrafts that supported this community and get a window into these people’s daily life.
2.4. Discover your Celtic Heart
Enter a place where every dance will throw you into tradition & leave you reeling. Find a spot that can delicately pluck a fiddle with one hand while tugging at your heartstrings with the other. Go lost in the Highland mountain trails & come back to yourself thanks to road signs in your native language.
The Gaelic culture’s distinctive language, music, & dance served as the foundation for the Scottish to not only settle here but to create a home. Do you still have your Celtic heart? In Cape Breton Island, locate it.
It is not taken lightly that Cape Breton Island is recognized as the Celtic Heart of North America. This neighborhood is rich with Celtic culture and is home to the Gaelic College and is one of the best things to do in Cape Breton.
You can decide between participating in living history at the Highland Village or seeing a performance at the Strathspey Performing Arts Centre.
You will be able to reside on the 43-acre site and visit the nearby store, You’ll pick up some Gaelic words and customs through doing this.
2.5. Visit Glass Artisans Studio & Gallery
The Glass Artisans Studio & Gallery is yet another fantastic tiny store worth visiting along the well-known Cabot Trail.
You can view a varied gallery, a glass-blowing studio, a casting and cold-working studio, and a flameworking studio here, and falls under one of the interesting things to do in Cape Breton.
You can also view works by more than 20 local artists, many of whom resided on the property as artists in residence.
2.6. Harbor at Little River
Just off the Cabot Trail at Little River is where you’ll find Little River Harbour.
The Harbour of Little River is an adorable location with a functional harbor and a fisherman’s dock.
It’s reportedly a fascinating experience to see the fishermen at work if you visit during the week. Meanwhile, enjoy this interesting fact! Nova Scotian Duck Tolling Retrievers can be seen at Little River; certainly one of the fun things to do in Cape Breton.
3. Popular Beaches
Some of the most popular beaches on Breton Island are listed below.
3.1. Beach Inverness
Inverness Beach is ideal for families because of its lovely smooth sand and some of the warmest shallows on the island. It makes sense why it’s a favorite among both residents and tourists.
See golfers on the Cabot Links course while strolling along the 1.5 km of sandy beach or on the boardwalk that runs above the beach.
Look for beach glass & other undiscovered gems by strolling along the shore. You can also walk along the boardwalk to observe greater panoramas while feeling the wind in your hair.
The best things to do in Cape Breton. It’s the ideal location for setting up a beach volleyball or relaxing with a nice book under an umbrella. Perfect for friend picnics and naps on the beach.
3.2. Beach Cabot
Who doesn’t enjoy visiting a remote, “hidden” beach? Don your walking boots, don’t forget the sunscreen, and start learning. Among the best things to do in Cape Breton.
There are several names for Cabot’s Beach. Aspy Bay, North Harbour, and Cabot’s landing are among other names for it. Eight kilometers of sand on the beach are broken up into five distinct portions by harbor inlets.
You’ll be able to share one of the Island’s little-known secrets with all of your friends, and it’s ideal for trekking and exploring. Remember to pack a lunch. Happy hikers eat their snacks.
3.3. Meat Cove Beach
The beach at the northernmost point of the island is where the road truly ends. The Cape Breton Mountains rise over Meat Cove Beach, which is bordered by rocky headlands.
You may reach this sandy, pebbly beach by turning left from the café and walking a little distance down a steep hill. Throughout the route, one can enjoy some of the most breathtaking sights.
The best things to do in Cape Breton. It’s fantastic for swimming and beachcombing, but it’s also the ideal place to see whales and seals off in the distance while your toes are firmly embedded in the sand. You truly can have it all, we mean.
3.4. Ingonish Beach
This one should be obvious. Perhaps the most famous beach on the island, it’s justifiably so with its 2.5 kilometers of wonderfully sandy coastline.
Just a few steps over the Barachois (coastal lagoon) separates the saltwater from the freshwater lake. In July and August, surf lifeguards are all on duty on the oceanside. On-site restrooms, change rooms, & a hiking route are all accessible. Not to add a picnic area, soccer field, tennis courts, and playground, and is among the best things to do in Cape Breton.
3.5. Lake Warren Beach
Lake, the biggest lake in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Take in the stunning alpine landscape and local loons.
In the summer, the lake soon warms up, allowing the whole family to have a fun beach excursion while splashing around in the shallows.
Please be aware that there aren’t any lifeguards on duty. Nonetheless, there is a picnic spot, some pit latrines, and a hiking route nearby.
4. Eating Options
4.1. Bite House
The Bite House is Cape Breton Island’s top restaurant if you can reserve a table. This delicious eatery is housed in an unpretentious farmhouse with twelve seats.
All of their food is homemade and hand-selected from neighborhood markets or their garden.
Their goal to give you fantastic cuisine includes supporting independent farmers and regional wineries, breweries, and cideries and the best place to eat and things to do in Cape Breton.
To always have the most delicious and fresh ingredients available, Chef Bryan Picard will provide a menu that varies every month. The Bite House is the place to go if you can get a spot & are ready for your taste buds to be wow.
4.2. Black Spoon Restaurant
Black Spoon Cafe is in a different lovely location. This is a really handy little place that is near the North Sydney Ferry Station. We can assure you that the wait will be worthwhile even though they don’t accept reservations.
The comfortable setting serves as the ideal setting for delicious food. Each of the made-to-order soups, salads, & sandwiches will wow you.
Everybody can enjoy homemade pastries and more upscale supper selections, such as the crispy coconut chicken, and is one of the many best things to do in Cape Breton.
Thus, if you’re hungry and want to stop here before exploring Cape Breton Island further, do so.
4.3. Deli Herring Choker
Last but not least, go to Herring Choker Deli, Café & Bakery for a fantastic deli you shouldn’t miss when visiting the island.
This is the place to go if you want a cup of organic fair-trade coffee in the morning or a freshly made croissant. Have a sandwich or fresh salad for lunch to tantalize the palate.
Fresh fish is always your best bet in Cape Breton, no matter where you end up. Grab some lobster while you’re here; it’s unmatched in the northern waters’ cooler temperatures.
5. Waterfalls on Cape Breton Island
There are so many amazing waterfalls in Cape Breton. This list of stunning waterfalls in Cape Breton, however, is for you if you’re short on time and would rather not spend hours hiking.
5.1. Falls Beulach Ban
Beulach Ban Falls is the waterfall in Cape Breton that is the easiest to get out of all the waterfalls on this list. There is no need to hike because the falls are just a 1-minute stroll from the parking area.
The distance between the main road and the waterfalls is 2.3 kilometers and proceed along the dirt path to the second parking area; certainly one of the best things to do in Cape Breton.
The second parking lot, which is near the waterfalls, is reached by continuing down the dirt road. However, keep in mind all campervans must park in the large, cemented parking lot and cannot access the second parking lot.
5.2. Mary Ann Falls
The distance to Mary Ann Falls from the main road is 15 minutes. There is a short (approximately 400m) dirt road walk next to the parking lot.
There are picnic tables, a restroom, & a staircase to descend and view the waterfalls at the end of the road.
5.3. Waterfall at MacIntosh Brook
The MacIntosh Brook Trail ends at this waterfall. There are only a few exposed roots along the short, flat, and well-kept trail, and is among the best things to do in Cape Breton.
It can be finished in no more than an hour (1.7km long). At the start of the walk, there is a picnic area as well.
5.4. Falls of Uisge Ban
The best things to do in Cape Breton. The trail begins as a gravel-covered pathway 20 minutes from Baddeck and tops the list of best things to do in Cape Breton. Near the conclusion, it doesn’t get too challenging, but it gets root-covered and more uneven. This trail doesn’t have any significant inclines.
The hike is roughly 3 km long and lasts around an hour. There will be more places to stroll thanks to the paths that are now being built (as of 2020).
5.5. Egypt Falls
Although it is by no means a simple hike, you can visit this waterfall in no more than an hour if you are pressed for time. It takes 15 minutes each way to climb to & from the waterfall. There are ropes and ladders to aid you to descend because it is quite steep.
Drive to Pipers Glen Rd to locate the trailhead access. On the right side of the road, the trailhead will be marked with orange tape and a post. Among the best place to visit and things to do in Cape Breton.
There may likely be other vehicles parked on the side of the road because it is often pretty busy in the middle of the day.
The only genuine method to see the entirety of Cape Breton Island is by bus or car. Taking a tour with Cabot Trail Exploration Tours or renting a car and driving your car along the Cabot Trail is your best option.
Explore the splendid Cape Breton and do all the amazing things to do in Cape Breton with family and friends.
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