Cape Breton Island, a realm of lush green hills and rugged coastlines, offers a captivating escape from everyday life. With a myriad of adventures to explore, deciding which activities to partake in can be overwhelming. Here are some inspiring ideas to make your trip unforgettable and have you feeling as free as the wind!

Cycle around Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site in Baddeck, fish in the Margaree River, or explore historic sites like Fortress Louisbourg. Alternatively, hike along trails like Skyline Trail at Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Nature lovers won’t be disappointed by the diverse offerings of Canada’s easternmost province. 

Immerse yourself in local seafood and traditional Celtic music while taking in the stunning vistas, and after a day filled with excitement, relax in charming accommodations beneath the night sky.

History Of The Island

Cape Breton Island, a stunningly beautiful part of Nova Scotia, boasts a vibrant history and culture. The Mi’kmaq First Nation called this land home for thousands of years before French settlers arrived in the 17th century. Alexander Graham Bell himself spent his summers at his estate on Cape Breton’s Bras d’Or Lake.

Today, you can explore an authentic Acadian fishing village with quaint cobblestone streets and brightly coloured houses, delve into the stories of the Museum of Industry, or wander through historic sites like Louisbourg Fortress and Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site. Cultural events like the Celtic Colours International Festival and Isle Madame’s world-famous Fiddlers’ Jamboree occur throughout the year, making Cape Breton Island a premier tourist destination in Canada.

Popular Attractions

Cape Breton Highlands

Cape Breton Island overflows with incredible attractions to discover. Whether you’re seeking outdoor fun, an educational experience, or a chance to observe the island’s most awe-inspiring wildlife, there’s something for everyone! Cape Breton Highlands boasts some of Canada’s best hiking trails, offering stunning views of the rugged coastline. For whale watching enthusiasts, embark on a boat tour from Ingonish Beach to possibly spot humpback whales. 

If history piques your interest, visit The Alexander Graham Bell Museum, celebrating his contributions to science and technology while illuminating other inventors who left their mark on Nova Scotia. Cape Breton Island is truly a destination like no other.

Outdoor Activities

Cape Breton Island offers some of the best outdoor activities in all of Canada! Here, you can partake in a variety of adventures while marvelling at the incredible views. From hiking and biking trails to kayaking trips and more, there’s something for everyone.

Experience the extraordinary outdoor activities on Cape Breton Island:

  • Hiking & Biking Trails
    • Skyline Trail: This breathtaking trail provides awe-inspiring views over Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Ensure you wear suitable footwear for this 7 km (4 mile) journey.
    • Cabot Trail: For cyclists, the Cabot Trail offers 291 km (181 miles) of rugged coastline and endless mountain vistas, making it one of the most scenic drives in North America.
  • Kayaking Trips
    • Bras d’Or Lakes: At the heart of Cape Breton Island, these inland saltwater lakes present an idyllic setting for a peaceful afternoon of paddling on crystal-clear waters.
    • East Coast Rivers: For more adventure, navigate the wild rapids along Cape Breton’s east coast rivers. These exhilarating streams will satisfy any thrill-seeker’s desires.

Water Sports

Cape Breton Island is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. With sandy beaches and deep sea fishing, there’s something for everyone’s outdoor cravings. Inverness Beach is one of the island’s most beautiful and popular beaches, making it ideal for swimming and sunbathing. If you’re looking for adventure, try your hand at deep-sea fishing! You can even join a charter boat for an afternoon of fun in the sun.

There are plenty of other things to do on Cape Breton Island, such as kayaking, canoeing, sailing, or windsurfing. Plus, with numerous rivers and lakes on the island, you’ll never be short on places to explore. Experience the beauty of nature while having fun! No matter what activity you choose, Cape Breton Island has something special that will keep you coming back again and again.

Music And Cultural Events

Cape Breton is known not only for its stunning water sports but also for its vibrant music and cultural scene. From the fiddle-playing of local musicians to dancers twirling through the night air, Cape Breton Island has something special in store.

The island’s first inhabitants were the Mi’kmaq First Nations people, who have a rich history and culture that predates the arrival of European settlers. Later, Celtic Scots migrated to the island, bringing their unique culture with them from Scotland. The Gaelic language can still be heard on the island today, alongside traditional bagpipes and other instruments. 

One of the best places to experience the Scottish influence on Cape Breton’s history is at the Highland Village Museum in Iona, where visitors can take a journey back in time and learn about the island’s diverse culural roots, including both the Mi’kmaq First Nations and Scottish heritage.

Each summer, an array of festivals are held throughout the province, celebrating different aspects of life on Cape Breton Island. Some include outdoor concerts featuring Canada’s top musical talent; others bring together various cultures, such as the Mi’kmaq First Nations people or French Acadians; while others celebrate the breathtaking National Park, Cabot Trail, and Neils Harbour communities that make up the island’s beautiful landscape. No matter what your interests may be, there will surely be something here for everyone!

Adventure Tours

Embark on exhilarating adventure tours on Cape Breton Island, the ultimate destination for nature enthusiasts craving to explore the island’s breathtaking landscapes, rugged coastlines, and serene mountain trails. Experience the wonders of Cape Breton Island’s National Park or immerse yourself in a thrilling day trip along the Cabot Trail, with endless adventure possibilities awaiting you.

At the popular Ingonish Beach, dive into swimming or indulge in beachside activities like kayaking, fishing, and snorkelling. Additionally, you can embark on whale-watching expeditions or venture on guided hikes across the island’s magnificent hiking spots. For an adrenaline rush, hop onto helicopter tours that offer a bird’s-eye view of the pristine wilderness.

Whatever your interests, Cape Breton Island teems with diverse outdoor adventures that cater to everyone’s desires. Don’t miss the chance to indulge in these unforgettable experiences!

Wildlife Watching

Wildlife Watching on Cape Breton

Witness the splendour of Cape Breton Island’s wildlife, home to over 250 bird species and nearly 200 mammal species. Parks Canada reveals that Cape Breton Highlands National Park hosts 40 mammal species, making it one of Atlantic Canada’s most diverse parks. When you explore this captivating island, you can:

  • Enjoy a scenic drive through the national park, exploring its dramatic vistas
  • Go whale watching along the coast, spotting seals, porpoises, and dolphins
  • Explore local wetlands or engage in bird watching at numerous coastal sites
  • Stroll along trails offering awe-inspiring panoramas and mesmerising views.

As you immerse yourself in wildlife watching on Cape Breton Island, prepare to be amazed by the wonders of nature. Connect with the island’s unique environment, from observing moose strolling through mountain valleys to spotting bald eagles soaring above glistening lakes. Each moment promises new discoveries and cherished memories.

Dining Experiences

Savour the diverse dining experiences Cape Breton Island offers, ranging from casual eateries to upscale establishments. For a laid-back, local ambience, visit Black Brook Beach in Glace Bay, where seafood restaurants serve the freshest catch from Bras d’Or Lake. Enjoy mouth-watering dishes like fish and chips or smoked salmon chowder in lively pubs featuring live music.

For a great dining experience, consider Charlene’s Bayside Restaurant in Whycocomagh, and The Clove Hitch Bar & Bistro, showcasing renowned chefs specialising in traditional Maritime cuisine with their unique flair. Relish delectable lobster rolls and mussels, accompanied by exquisite craft beer and wine selections, all presented in an elegant setting that guarantees an unforgettable meal.

Cape Breton Island satiates every craving, offering an extraordinary culinary adventure for all food lovers.

Shopping Destinations

After delving into Cape Breton Island’s tantalising culinary scene, embark on a shopping spree that transports you to a world of freedom and discovery. With a diverse range of quaint boutiques and big box stores, treasures await at every turn.

North Sydney’s shops offer an array of souvenirs and local artisan products. Begin your shopping adventure at the Best Of Cape Breton Gift Shop, where you’ll find a plethora of unique mementos to take home. For those with a sweet tooth, Boysenberry Cape Breton offers a delightful selection of local confections. For homemade delicacies on the western side of the island, check out The Farmer’s Daughter Country Store

Continue your exploration at the Cape Breton Souvenir Shop, featuring an assortment of gifts and keepsakes. For a more eclectic shopping experience, head over to the Cape Breton Curiosity Shop, where you’ll find an intriguing mix of antiques, collectibles, and local art.

On the western side of the Island, check out The Farmer’s Daughter Country Store. Their 


Finally, embrace the coastal lifestyle at Get Nauti, a store specialising in nautical-themed clothing and accessories. With a backdrop of rolling hills, Cape Breton Island’s shopping destinations boast everything from outdoor gear to fashion accessories, providing an unforgettable shopping experience you’ll cherish.

Historical Sites

Discover Cape Breton Island’s distinctive history and striking scenery by visiting its remarkable historical sites. Explore the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site, where you’ll step back in time to 18th-century North America. 

The national park features an impressive reconstructed fortified seaport town, complete with shops, homes, and government buildings, all encircled by star-shaped fortifications. Immerse yourself in interactive experiences like musket drills or dancing workshops to fully engage with the historical ambience.

Cape Breton Island, rich in history and outdoor recreation, promises a wealth of activities for every visitor. From exploring 18th-century towns to enjoying the breathtaking views from Cabot Cliffs Golf Course, your stay on the island will be filled with excitement and discovery.

Accommodation Options

Geodomes on Cape Breton Island

After exploring the historical marvels of Cape Breton Island, find the perfect accommodation within the national park, offering a wide array of lodging options. La Digue Suite presents comfortable choices, from quaint cottages to convenient campgrounds, all within easy reach of local attractions. With mixed reviews for each option, Cape Breton Island caters to diverse preferences.

Choose from rustic cabins in the woods or RV sites with full hookups to suit your needs. For those seeking a luxurious and unique camping experience, consider Northeast Cove Geodomes in Mabou

These geodesic domes offer a perfect blend of comfort and adventure, surrounded by picturesque landscapes. Fully furnished with modern amenities, these domes provide an unforgettable stay under the stars while maintaining a connection with nature.

You’ll also find an abundance of vacation rentals close to beaches and trails throughout the island, providing spectacular nature views. With so much variety at your disposal, you’ll effortlessly discover the ideal accommodation while exploring the wonders of Cape Breton Island.

Transportation Around Cape Breton Island

Venture around Cape Breton Island using a plethora of transportation choices, each tailored to suit the unique needs of each traveller. Whether you prefer the independence of car rentals, the convenience of public buses, or the indulgence of boat tours and luxury cruise ships, you’re certain to find the perfect way to explore this captivating island.

Here’s a succinct overview of your transportation options:

  1. Car Rental – Rent a vehicle for the freedom to explore Cape Breton’s national parks, secluded beaches, historical sites, and more at your own pace without constraints. Carefully peruse reviews to ensure the quality of the vehicle before booking.
  2. Public Bus System – Cape Breton’s local public bus system covers designated routes throughout the island. Verify their schedule in advance as some routes might not operate daily.
  3. Boat Tours & Cruise Ships – Revel in awe-inspiring views of Cape Breton Island’s coastline by joining a guided cruise offered by numerous tour companies. Double-check customer reviews for the best experience.
  4. Taking a ferry – Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, offers various ferry services to enhance your travel experience. The Englishtown Ferry, a cable ferry connecting the small community of Englishtown with Jersey Cove, saves time and offers picturesque views. The Little Narrows Ferry transports passengers between Whycocomagh and Iona, providing convenient access to the beautiful Bras d’Or Lake area. Another popular choice is the Grand Narrows Ferry, linking Cape Breton Island to nearby Newfoundland. These ferries not only offer efficient transportation, but also create unique opportunities to enjoy Cape Breton’s stunning coastal scenery. Remember to check schedules and fees in advance to make the most of your maritime adventure.

Regardless of your chosen transportation, prioritise safety measures, and adhere to rules specific to each mode – including wearing masks/face coverings where required and conducting regular health checks upon arrival, if necessary.

Festivals And Celebrations

Experience the vibrant spirit of Cape Breton Island’s festivals and celebrations, which unite locals and visitors alike. Traditional Gaelic music jams, intimate outdoor art shows, lively jazz clubs, and delightful craft fairs abound on this picturesque island, ensuring a memorable and immersive cultural experience.

Whether you seek to revel in the island’s unique culture or simply bask in the sun at the beach, an unforgettable adventure awaits on Cape Breton Island.

Local Cuisine Specialties

Treat your taste buds to Cape Breton Island’s delectable local cuisine specialties, ranging from comforting seafood chowder to the classic Maritime dish, Blueberry Grunt. Discover these culinary delights at family-owned restaurants known for their fresh meals, relaxed atmosphere, and excellent service.

Whether you desire a cosy spot to savour comfort food or wish to indulge in world-class seafood delicacies, Cape Breton Island extends a warm welcome to all who pass through its doors.

Golf Courses

Cabot Links Golf Course on Cape Breton Island

Challenge yourself on Cape Breton Island’s stunning golf courses, renowned throughout Nova Scotia for their breathtaking coastal views, verdant fairways, and intricate layouts. Golfers of all skill levels can find their perfect match among these picturesque links.

Courses like Bell Bay Golf Club and Cabot Links offer diverse challenges, while Highland Links Golf Course provides a leisurely pace for honing your skills. No matter your expertise, Cape Breton Island promises an unparalleled golfing experience.


In summary, Cape Breton Island is a spectacular destination for visitors, offering a wide range of outdoor activities, cultural experiences, and memorable moments with friends and family. Its remarkable natural beauty and rich history create a haven for anyone seeking respite from daily life.

Embark on an unforgettable journey to this magical place and experience its enchanting landscapes, unique wildlife, vibrant culture, and scrumptious seafood specialties. Indulge in bird watching, and visit informative museums that showcase the island’s storied past. Capture breathtaking scenery through your lens, creating lasting memories.

Cape Breton Island is an ideal destination for visiting iconic lighthouses, exploring serene parks, and finding the perfect spot to relax and unwind. No matter your interests, be it playing golf, eating seafood, visiting museums, taking pictures, visiting lighthouses, exploring parks, or simply relaxing, Cape Breton has it all. You’ll undoubtedly leave with your heart and soul captivated, cherishing the unforgettable moments spent on this enchanting island.