Much of the charm of Cape Breton comes from the people that live there. Just interacting with Cape Bretoners is an activity to be enjoyed. Of course the natural beauty of the island and its location doesn't hurt either. Whether you're looking for a party or want to drink in the culture and scenery, here is a list of things to do in Cape Breton.
1. Do the Cabot Trail
Named for explorer John Cabot, the Cabot Trail winds around the northern end of Cape Breton island. Drivers or hardy cyclists begin and end at many points in the circuit, but typically do so at the town of Baddeck. The 300 km (185 mi.) long Cabot Trail is famous for the vistas it offers of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Atlantic Ocean and lush landscapes, particularly spectacular in fall. The Cape Breton National Highlands Park is at the trail's most northern points and where the trail reaches its highest elevation. The trail takes a few hours to drive, but tourists generally spend a day or two, stopping in at one or two of the towns along the way.
The Fortress of Louisbourg is an unexpected treasure for visitors to Cape Breton. One of the busiest harbours in North America during the 18th century and one of France’s key economic and military centres in the New World, today the Fortress of Louisbourg is North America’s largest historical reconstruction. Visitors get a good feel for what life was like in the 1700s through displays, on-site interpreters in costume, and even a restaurant serving up traditional fare. The fortress is in the town of Louisbourg and part of Parks Canada system of national parks.
3. Feast on LobsterIf you like lobster, you can eat it morning, noon and night in Cape Breton (McDonalds even serves up a McLobster sandwich, which is a cold, real-lobster sandwich). Lobster is caught fresh daily in Cape Breton May through July but seafood is always plentiful as the industry thrives year-round on mainland Nova Scotia. You'll see lobster dinner signs across the island, especially along the coast.
7. Go Whale Watching
Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Breton waters are some of the best places to catch sight of a whale or go on an organized tour, such as Love Boat Whale & Seaside Cruise in Cheticamp.
Cape Breton has a rich history of coal mining, dating back to the 1700s and continuing to the 1980s when the last mine closed. Tours are given by former miners, giving the experience added authenticity.
People with an aversion to cramped, damp spaces or extremely tall people may have trouble doing the tour, as the tunnels are about 5 feet high.
Glenora produces Canada's only single malt whisky: Glen Breton Rare Canadian Single Malt Whisky. The distillery is scenically situated in the hills of Glenville, Cape Breton, and includes an inn, pub and dining room. Even if you're not interested in whisky, the distillery offers great food, including a fine seafood chowder (not too creamy), and local draft on tap.