A Traveler's Guide to Cape Breton & Northern Nova Scotia

Our Cape Breton Treasure Hunt Guide features the ultimate list of our most unforgettable and authentic things to do and see while visiting our Island. Our local experts have shared their top picks so you can have the most memorable experience during your Cape Breton stay.

Some of these hidden treasures can sneak up on you, so knowing the landmarks that precede the entry/exit roads is very helpful. During your stay with us, we encourage you to consult with any of our on-site experts to help you plan your itinerary! Experience a uniquely compelling and memorable Cape Breton vacation with a little help from our specialists.

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Big Spruce Brewery

Visit this on-farm homegrown brewery for delicious unfiltered, unpasteurized Cape Breton made beer, using certified organic hops grown on-site.

Open year-round.

Learn to Lobster Boil

Where to begin? The claw or the tail? During this interactive adventure, you will learn to cook, crack, and enjoy lobster fresh from the Atlantic ocean on one of our gorgeous beaches.

Season: June to September

Skyline Trail

The world famous Skyline Trail offers some of Cape Breton's most iconic views. With a dramatic headland cliff overlooking the rugged coast, the scenery is well worth the hike. You may even be able to spot moose and whales from the boardwalk!

Open year-round.

Captain Mark's Whale Watching and Seal Cruise

With over 20 years in operation, you're guaranteed that you will see whales aboard one of their zodiac vessels. Come discover the wonderful world of whales off the coast of Cape Breton Island.

Season: July to September

Black Brook Beach

The sand is washed away each winter and re-deposited each spring. Black Brook cuts the beach in two. Park your vehicle in the paved lot north of Black Brook. Services include: washrooms, changing area, kitchen shelter, playground, and picnic area. No lifeguards on duty.

Open year-round.

Mary Ann Falls

The beauty of the falls thundering over the twenty-foot drop is breathtaking. Platforms surround the falls for viewing purposes, or short hiking trails will take you to other viewpoints to get a different perspective of the falls.

Best Season to Visit: June to September

Franey Mountain

Climb high and seize your reward at the top! Look out over open ocean from Cape Smokey to the east. 7.4km, 2-3 hours. 

Open year-round.

Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design

Located in downtown Sydney, the Centre for Craft and Design provides education, training, events, and a gallery of the fine crafts created by local Cape Breton artisans that include pottery, jewelry, metal, and mixed media.

Open year-round.

Glace Bay Miner's Museum

Take a trip underground, guided by former miners themselves! Located in Glace Bay, this museum provides a focus on the contribution of the coal miner and coal in the continuing advancement of civilization.

Open year-round.

Highland Village

A living history museum and cultural centre that celebrates the Gaelic experience in Nova Scotia. Set on a 43 acre hillside overlooking the Bras d'Or Lakes, Nova Scotia's rich Scottish Gaelic culture comes alive with with costumed animators, farm animals, period buildings and artifacts.

Season: June to October

Highland Arts Theatre

Formerly the home of St. Andrew's Church, Highland Arts Theatre, or "The HAT" hosts many of Cape Breton's finest in the fields of music and dance! Visit their website for upcoming performances. 

Open year-round.

Inverness Beach

This beach spans 1.5km with white sand and rugged views. Walk the beach or take a stroll on the boardwalk while taking in the views of the ocean and coastline of the Cabot Links golf course. On a clear day you can catch a view of Prince Edward Island!

Open year-round.

Eagle Eye Outfitters

Offering a variety of tours, Eagle Eye has something for any outdoor enthusiast. Tours include: whale and seal tours; kayak tours and rentals; deep sea fishing tours and charters; Margaree River salmon fishing; mountain bike rentals; and private boat tours!

Season: May to October

Alexander Graham Bell Museum

Discover a world of invention! View short films, artifacts, and much more. Find out what inspired Alexander Graham Bell to teach deaf children to speak. Explore his giant kites, airplanes, a record setting hydrofoil boat and, of course, the telephone.

Season: May to October

Amoeba Sailing Tours

Experience a unique sailing tour with spectacular views of the Bras d'Or Lakes. See bald eagles, Alexander Graham Bell's estate, Beinn Breagh, and the beautiful Baddeck shoreline.

Season: May to October

Baddeck Ceilidhs

A ceilidh is a kitchen party featuring local Celtic music, song, and dance! This ceilidh features a square dance workshop in addition to performances by local artists. The Gaelic word, pronounced "kay-lee", means a gathering of people. 

Season: August to October

Paddledog Kayak Tours

Take a guided tour of the Bras d'Or Lakes. Paddle around Kidston Island and enjoy views of the eagle population, wildlife, and beautiful Bell estate.

Season: July to August

Uisge Ban Falls

Gaelic for "white water", this 4km hike leads to the impressive 16 meter (52 foot) waterfall and granite gorge. Parking, picnic tables (some with shelters), and vault toilets are on site.

Open year-round.

Dancing Goat Cafe

Recommended by Where to Eat in Canada for years, this restaurant is a must stop for delicious, fresh, local food, including home-baked goods and great soups!

Open year-round.

Egypt Falls

The widest waterfall on Cape Breton Island. The trail leading to the falls is short but steep! To get to these falls, you will have to go down into the gorge, but we promise the destination is beautiful and well worth it!

Centre de la Mi-Carême

This interpretive centre is located in the picturesque Grand Étang Harbour. Here you will find a wonderful display of locally crafted masks and exhibits depicting the evolution of one of the oldest Acadian traditions.

Season: June to October

Le Portage Golf Club

This picturesque 18 hole golf course has views of mountains on one side and the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the other. A must-play for golf enthusiasts!

Season: May to October

Lone Shieling Heritage Site

The Lone Shieling is a Scottish crofter's hut nested in an old-growth forest. This is one of the most protected areas of the park. The 350-year-old sugar maple trees are just part of this forest which is also home to rare animals like the rock vole and Gaspé shrew.

Open year-round.

North Highlands Community Museum

This museum showcases the history and heritage of the Cape Breton Highlands. Visit a number of professionally crafted exhibits including gypsum quarrying, stores, church histories, shipwrecks, furnishings, school and transportation, and many more.

Season: June to October

Oshan Whale Cruise

Experience the wonders of the Atlantic with Oshan, a five-generation family-owned and operated business. During your tour, you will have the opportunity to see minkes, humpbacks, fin whales, pilot whales, and Atlantic white-sided dolphins, along with seabirds such as bald eagles, guillemots and cormorants.

Season: July to September

Donelda's Puffin Boat Tours

This is the Cabot Trail's only Bird Island boat tour that goes to the nesting grounds of the Atlantic Puffin. Puffins guaranteed!

Season: May to September

Cape Breton Fossil Centre - Sydney Mines

Take a step back in time to 270-350 million years ago to the Carboniferous era, well before dinosaurs ever roamed the earth. Visit the Fossil Interpretive Centre or "fossil forest" for a unique, hands-on learning experience you won't soon forget!

Season: May to September

Louisbourg Lighthouse & Trail

Travel down Havenside Road and follow the Lighthouse signs. This 2km walking trail provides visitors with a beautiful scenic trail experience. Visit the site of the first lighthouse in Canada (1734), built around the time of the construction of the Louisbourg Fortress.

Open year-round.

Eskasoni Cultural Tours

Eskasoni Furst Nation and the Highland Village Museum have collaborated to develop a unique multi-cultural tour (Mi'kmaq and Gaelic culture). The tour includes two different and distinct cultures reflecting the parallels and common threads linking the cultures in history and present day.

Season: May to October

Glenora Distillery

Located in Glenville, just north of Mabou, this unique distillery produces North America's first and Canada's only single malt whisky. During your visit, you can take a distillery tour and then relax over a drink at their pub and visit their gift shop!

Season: May to October

The Red Shoe Pub

Located in charming Mabou, the musically gifted and world renowned Rankin Family owns this restaurant. A place of great food, and often, musical entertainment!

Season: End of May to mid-October

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Highland Games

Come join us for the annual Highland Games Festival to see the Maritimes' Finest in Scottish competitions, cultural activities, and entertainment events!

July 5-12, 2020

Steinhart Distillery

Interested in the art of distillation? The Steinhart Distillery is a half-hour drive from the Maritime Inn Antigonish and offers tours and tastings.

Open year-round.

Celtic Colours

For nine days in October, Cape Breton Island is alive with music, energy and excitement as people come from far and wide to celebrate our rich culture!

October 9-17, 2020

Kitchen Fest!

The annual celebration of Cape Breton-based Gaelic music, gives locals and visitors alike up-close-and personal insight into this distinct and vibrant living culture, bringing the kitchen-ceilidh feel to the forefront.

June 26 to July 5, 2020

Festival Antigonish Theatre

Antigonish’s own not-for-profit community theatre hosts a variety of performances, including concerts, plays, and improv shows! Admission price varies by production.

Season: July to August

Pomquet Beach

A quick drive from the Maritime Inn Antigonish, Pomquet Beach offers supervision for the months of July and August, and has on-site toilets and a change house.

Open year-round.

Keppoch Mountain

Keppoch Mountain is located on the western edge of Antigonish County and has 300 acres of wilderness to enjoy year round. With over 20kms of multi-use trails the Keppoch opens the door to awesome outdoor activities like cycling, cross-country skiing, geocaching, trail running, hiking and walking.

Open year-round.

Sherbrooke Village

In the 1860s, timber, tall ships and gold brought prosperity to Sherbrooke’s people. Today, you can explore this amazing village with its 25 original buildings, to experience life as it was along the St. Mary’s River before the 1900s.

Season: May to October

Cape George Lighthouse

Cape George Point Lighthouse is situated at Cape George Point in the Northumberland Shore region overlooking the waters of St. George’s Bay.

Season: May to November

Cape Breton Sailing Charters

Join Captain Greg for a day on the water! Opportunity to handle the sail, steer the boat, or just relax and enjoy. Visit their website for more details and booking information.

Season: June to September

Eileanan Brèagha Vineyard

Originally known as 'Côte de Bras D’Or', the vineyard sits on a 200 acre former homestead property overlooking the Lakes. With south-east exposure and the salt water lake providing maritime climate moderation, the property experiences late springs and a growing season extending into late autumn.

Season: July to September

Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre

The Civic Center is Port Hawkesbury’s most popular venue for entertainment and community events. Visit their website for information on their facilities and upcoming events.

Open year-round.

Port Hawkesbury Summer Ceilidhs

The Port Hawkesbury Ceilidhs are held Tuesday nights at the Civic Centre (7:30-9:00pm) and feature local artists performing fiddle, piano, song, bagpipes, dancing, and more. 

Season: July to October

Celtic Music Interpretive Centre

Designated the "Official Celtic Music Centre of Nova Scotia" and the Official Cultural Archives for the County of Inverness, the CMIC offers an in-depth look into the history, culture and music of Cape Breton Island in an authentic and lively atmosphere. 

Open year-round (limited hours during off-season).

Cabot Links Golf Course

Set against a breathtaking landscape, this is golf as it was meant to be. A place that speaks to golf’s elemental and undeniable truth: that to play links golf is to experience the game in its most visceral sense.

Season: May to October

Bell Bay Golf Club

Cape Breton’s Championship Golf Course in the centrally located town of Baddeck, Nova Scotia.

Season: May to October

Anchors Above Zipline

This ziplining adventure is located in French River, en route from Pictou County to Antigonish, and features two lines at 1100 at 900 feet long. 

Open year-round.

Chez Deslauriers

The property includes a heritage home (converted to a tearoom), an interpretive centre, and an outdoor stage. A 6 km coastal and inland walking trail is located directly to the north of the property. The property is a popular location for local weddings.

Open during the summer months.

Gampo Abbey Buddhist Monastery

Located on 230 acres of woodland overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Gampo Abbey is a Western Buddhist Monastery in the Shambhala tradition. Stop by to see the property or call to inquire about touring times.

Open year-round.

North River Kayak Tours

Located on the Cabot Trail at North River Bridge, these tours are suitable for both beginners and advanced kayakers. 

Season: May to October

Bog Walk

This unique highland plateau bog is a self-guided trail with signs that explain the life you will see and experience there. The trail is a boardwalk that is wheelchair accessible and ideal for strollers.

Open year-round.

Eagle North Canoe & Kayak

These tours will take you through oyster aquaculture and a salt marsh to a barrier beach where you can launch the kayaks into the sea and paddle to a nearby fishing harbour. Guided sea kayak tours, hourly rentals, and customer packages - including biking, guided hiking, and whale watching - are available.

Season: June to September

Keltic Express Zodiac Adventures

KEZA is a family owned business which provides exciting whale watching adventure tours during Nova Scotia's tourism season.

Season: May to October

Cape Smokey

This hike is approximately 4 hours, spanning 10km (6 miles). A moderate to difficult hike, we recommend you tackle this hike prepared with water and snacks! Although there is a picnic area at the trailhead, there are no services along the trail.

Season: May to October

Main Street Cafe

Refuel at our own Main Street Cafe, serving fabulous Taste of Nova Scotia approved dining.