A Traveller'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.
Join us for the annual Granville Green Music Festival, from July 7 to August 11 2019, and enjoy the sounds of local and internationally acclaimed artists.
Step back in time when you visit the largest historical reconstruction in North America, complete with actors that really bring history to life!
Big Spruce Brewery
Visit this on-farm homegrown brewery for delicious unfiltered, unpasteurized Cape Breton made beer, using certified organic hops grown on-site.
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.
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!
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 zodiacs or their 42-foot cabin cruiser, 'The Double Hook-up'. Come discover the wonderful world of whales off the coast of Cape Breton Island.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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, create giant kites, airplanes, a record setting hydrofoil boat and, of course, the telephone.
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.
A ceilidh is a kitchen party where everyone is welcome to perform! The Gaelic word, pronounced "kay-lee", means a gathering of people.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Oshan Whale Cruise
Experience the wonders of the Atlantic with Oshan, a 5-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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
Come join us for the annual Highland Games Festival to see the Maritimes' Finest in Scottish competitions, cultural activities, and entertainment events!
Interested in the art of distillation? The Steinhart Distillery is a half-hour drive from the Maritime Inn Antigonish and offers short tours and tastings.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 really opens the door to awesome outdoor activities like cycling, cross-country skiing, geocaching, trail running, hiking and walking.
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.
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.
Dundee Golf Course
A 30 minute drive from the Maritime Inn Port Hawkesbury, Dundee Golf Course offers an 18-hole course and on-site dining.
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.
Pondville beach offers free parking, a change house and on site toilets. Enjoy the sand and surf!
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.
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.
Port Hawkesbury Summer Ceilidhs
A ceilidh is a kitchen party where everyone is welcome to perform! Join us Tuesday nights from 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.
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 truly play links golf is to experience the game in its most visceral sense.
Bell Bay Golf Club
Cape Breton’s true Championship Golf Course located in the centrally located town of Baddeck, Nova Scotia.
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.
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.
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.
North River Kayak Tours
Located on the Cabot Trail at North River Bridge, these tours are suitable for both beginners and advanced kayakers.
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.
MacIntosh Brook Trail
A nice, even stroll along a babbling brook, through a mature hardwood forest with a scenic waterfall at the end.
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.
Keltic Express Zodiac Adventures
KEZA is a family owned business which safely provides quality whale watching adventure tours during Nova Scotia's tourism season.
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.
Main Street Cafe
Refuel at our own Main Street Cafe, serving fabulous Taste of Nova Scotia approved dining.
Port Hawkesbury’s only Taste of Nova Scotia approved dining features a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere, and a menu to suit all tastes.