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Big and rugged as Cape Breton Island appears, it would be wrong to think of the island as just its famed spectacular drive around the Cabot Trail. Almost divided into two parts by beautiful Bras d’Or Lake, Cape Breton offers much more. Half of the western part (Inverness and Victoria counties) is included within the boundaries of Cape Breton Highland National Park. Here, more than 360 square miles of highland wilderness bounded by the sea provide outdoor experiences rarely equaled. St. Ann’s Bay on the western shore is a prime spot for kayaking, and outfitters can provide gear and guides. Sydney, in the east, is a former mining town, the ...

Big and rugged as Cape Breton Island appears, it would be wrong to think of the island as just its famed spectacular drive around the Cabot Trail. Almost divided into two parts by beautiful Bras d’Or Lake, Cape Breton offers much more. Half of the western part (Inverness and Victoria counties) is included within the boundaries of Cape Breton Highland National Park. Here, more than 360 square miles of highland wilderness bounded by the sea provide outdoor experiences rarely equaled. St. Ann’s Bay on the western shore is a prime spot for kayaking, and outfitters can provide gear and guides. Sydney, in the east, is a former mining town, the largest city on Cape Breton, and jumping-off point for ferries to Newfoundland. Step into the exciting history of French North America at the huge French colonial fortress city of Louisbourg, the most important tourist draw in the province. This fortress was the key to the control of North America in the contest between Britain and France in the 18th century until its capture and destruction by New Englanders in 1758-60. Scottish settlers arrived after the English “clearances” in the 18th century and the rich Celtic musical heritage is heard everywhere, and celebrated annually in more than 30 communities during the Celtic Colours International Music Festival. Forming the southern end of Bras d’Or, Richmond county is a fascinating seashore experience incorporating the delightfully contrasting French settlements at Isle Madame.

Stillman Rogers
About the Expert

Stillman Rogers has written more than two dozen guidebooks, including Adventure Guide to Canada's Atlantic Provinces, Guide to Eastern Canada, and Adventure Guide to the Chesapeake.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Nova Scotia
  • Language: Gaelic
  • Currency: Canadian Dollar
  • Weather: Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    May to October, especially in the fall for the Celtic Colours Festival