Nova Scotia is a beautiful province, but our favourite part by far is Cape Breton. There truly is something magical about this place.
Where we stayed:
We booked a campsite at the Cheticamp side of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park – with FULL hookups! Truly a blessing for a small trailer with small water tanks. Many people don’t like this campsite. They feel it is a bit too open – a field with few trees and little privacy. And they are not wrong. A few years ago, the original Cheticamp campsite had a flood, making it unusable. This new site is just that – new. They are growing trees to develop it a bit more, but much of it really is an open field. However, the tent sites are definitely more private. And we liked our site – it was roomy and comfortable. With an RV, it’s easier to create a bit of privacy – the RV itself blocks out the neighbours on one side, and you can use the truck to block the road. We stayed for about 5 days, so we got to know the neighbours bit too. The best part of this campsite though, is the location. Several hikes were within minutes, or even walking distance. And we could also get into town quickly. We loved it and would stay again in a heartbeat.
- Drive the Cabot Trail through the National Park. We didn’t do the whole trail this time, but we have in the past. It is spectacular. You can do the drive in one day and still stop for some hikes and take in some of the views. I highly recommend NOT driving it with your trailer if you don’t have too. The hills are steep and the turns are sharp. Drop the trailer and drive it just with the car.
- Hike some of the trails in the National Park. See my other post for more details on the hikes, but if you have time for just one, do the Skyline trail. It’s stunning and there are often spotted moose on the trail.
- See Cabot Cliffs and Cabot Links golf courses – my husband is an avid golfer. These two courses were the main reason we returned to Cape Breton and not other parts of Nova Scotia on this trip. They are spectacular. Even if you are not a golfer, you can drive into Cabot Cliffs and walk out to the couches set up on the 18th green to see the views. I have a separate blog post on these courses if you want more details on them.
- Have a night out at The Doryman Pub and Grill. This pub in Cheticamp is pure East Coast. We did not eat there so I cannot speak to the food, but the beer was good and the people were friendly. We went on a Thursday night – talent night and boy is there some local talent. It was pure East Coast fiddle music in both English and Acadian French. Be prepared to share your table and have fun!
- Eat at The Miner’s Daughter. This restaurant in North Sydney is amazing. We ate here while waiting for the night ferry over to Newfoundland. The food was incredible and the prices reasonable. And there are photos of the mines as well as other mining documents throughout the restaurant. I must have spent a good half hour just looking and reading – almost it’s own little mini museum.
What I wished we had done
- Miners Museum in Glace Bay. Cape Breton is rich in mining history. The Miners Museum is an old coal mine that you can tour led by a retired miner. Like many tourist destinations, it was closed by the time we arrived in Cape Breton in mid October. I would have loved to have seen it.
- Ingonish – on the east side of the island, Ingonish is a pretty town. We have been years ago, but did not make it back this time. We spent the majority of our time on the West side closer to Cheticamp and just did not find the time for Ingonish on this trip.
Would not do again: No experience is wasted but …
- Digby. Digby is a town on the northern tip of Cape Breton. I had heard that it was picturesque and quaint. I imagined walking a beach, then going into town where we could walk the main street, stop for coffee, do some shopping. Well…. There is a beach but no real town. It is a harbour town – read collection of docks and homes. No main street, no coffee, no shopping. It was picturesque. We did walk the beach. It just wasn’t what I expected.
- Sydney – I hate to say it, but honestly there is not much to do in Sydney. Part of that is because we were off season for tourists. We drove around the city. It is sweet but…. I wouldn’t plan to spend much time there.